Although the Catholic Church in the Bannockburn area celebrated its centenary in 1998 the present church of Our Lady & St Ninian was not built until the 1920’s and opened for business in 1927.
The original RC church and school were located on the Cowie road near Wester Greenyards farm and had been built after a donation in 1897 from Lady Murray of Polmiase, a dowager of the local coal mining family.
Before this, Mass was celebrated in people’s homes, most notably at Granny Philliben’s at Newmarket.
The new church was to be sited in the centre of the village on land purchased from Steel Maitland and would accommodate 500 people at a cost of £8,000, the local contractors charged with the task were David Stewart & sons (joiners), D & J Duff, (plumbers) and Charles Anderson & son, (plasters), they were augmented by builders R McColl of Dunfermline, and local labour from the village.The mining community in the area was ever expanding and with this brought more Catholic families to the area, most notably in Cowie and it was decided that a new larger Church was needed, leaving the old building for sole use as a school (it later burned down in 1934 and was replaced by the current St Mary’s at Park Crescent).
Such was the interest and desire to build the church that locals from all faiths helped in any way they could, this was helped by the fact that this period in history saw the general strike and many local men were not at their normal work duties.
The foundation stone of the church was laid by J Traynor and Our Lady & St Ninian was completed on time and was opened with a celebration mass on Saturday 27th February 1927 by Rt. Rev. Henry Graham.
The present church stands today as it was then apart from the refurbishment work, mainly carried out by Fr John Callaghan, and the addition of a new hall at the turn of the new century. The name of Bannockburn will always be synonymous with Fr, later Canon, Christopher McAllister who “reigned” in Bannockburn for 47 years. Other priests who have served the church include, Fr J McDonald, Fr M Payne, Fr M Murrin, Fr B McAllister, Mgr P Kerr , Fr P Burke, Fr Jamie Boyle, Rev James Smith, Very Rev Michael Canon Bagan. The current priest is Fr Kevin Murray.
Article by Joe Smith
Member of www.bannockburn.co.uk website team