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THE STORY OF HOUSTON AND KILLELLAN KIRK
No one knows exactly when Houston got its first place of worship or where it was built but in all probability it was in the 8th century, near Greenhill Farm, Houston.The oldest surviving church building is the ruined Kirk of Kilallan, which bears the date of 1635. This ruin is situated in Barochan Cross Road about 4 miles west of the centre of Houston. An evening service in the churchyard there is held annually in July, when old Psalms are sung to tunes well known to the parishioners of the time.
As a result of the Decree of Union which took place in 1771, the Kirk of Kilallan was no longer required and soon became a ruin. Worship then centred around a fairly modest building which was erected on the site of our present Church around 1775. It was envisaged that a new church, big enough to hold the united body, would be built at Houston but, because of the considerable costs involved, in the event only galleries were added to the existing building.
Around 1870, Mrs Ellice of Glengarry was given permission by Paisley Presbytery to build a new church, on the present site, in memory of her young son, Alexander Archibald Spiers of Elderslie, who had died shortly after being elected as MP for West Renfrewshire. By the early 1930's, this building was badly in need of repairs and by this time responsibility for any church repairs fell on the congregation. Fortunately, the Laird came to the rescue and he agreed to carry out a scheme of restoration, improvements and re-decoration in memory of his mother. This work was completed in 1938 and, apart from the installation of two new stained glass windows and the resiting of the organ, the church has remained virtually unchanged up to the present day.
The present Church Hall was built in 1844 at the time of the Disruption when a body of members of Houston Kirk broke away to form a congregation of the newly constituted Free (later to become the United Free) Church. This was called the West Kirk.
In March 1941, a fire broke out in the loft of the Church. This resulted in the complete destruction of the Church. However, in 1949, it was agreed that the two congregations would unite on the understanding that worship would be held in Houston and Killellan Kirk and that the rebuilt 'West Church' would provide hall accommodation. As a result, the original part (next to the main street) was reopened in 1953 and an additional hall (next to the Manse) was added in 1989, the main hall was also refurbished at this time, adding 3 committee rooms and extra storage facilities.
See some photographs.
Ministers at Houston & Killellan and Houston West
MINISTERS AT HOUSTON AND KILLELLAN
John Monteath (1), MA 1771-1797
John Monteath (2), MA DD 1797-1843
Peter Dale 1843-1856
George Stewart Burns, MA 1857-1863
Alexander McLaren, MA DD 1863-1890
Daniel Kirkwood, MA BD 1890-1916
George Muir, MA BD 1917-1939
Andrew Heron, MA BD LLB 1940-1959
George Keith McEwan Mortimer 1960-1978
John MA Thomson, BD ThM 1978-1988
Georgina M Baxendale, BD 1988-2006
Donald Campbell, BD 2007-
MINISTERS AT HOUSTON WEST 1843-1949
Alexander Robertson Findlay 1843-1874
John Scott, MA 1857-1887
George Lang, MA 1887-1932
Steele Henderson Rentoul, BA 1932-1933
James Wyllie Girvan 1934-1949