The Macdonald Memorial Window

Bellshill Central Parish Church is extremely fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.

This window is the earliest church window to replace the original leaded diamond glass design

We call it the Macdonald Memorial window as it commemorates three major milestones in our church buildings history.

This window is above the pulpit and is almost hidden by the organ pipes which is rather a pity. It is best viewed from the upstairs gallery.

While not as decorative as the downstairs windows, it is still beautiful and it tells the history of Macdonald Memorial Church (now Bellshill Central Church).

There are three separate arch windows with a sort of leaf pattern at the top and bottom in green, blue and purple.

  • The window on the left has a Communion Cup in the middle of it and the date 1873 at the bottom.
  • The middle window has a Cross in the centre and the date at the foot is 1912.
  • The right window shows a Crown in the middle and the date is 1923.

In January 1873, the Free Church Presbytery of Hamilton formed a committee to look at the surrounding areas to see where there was the greatest need for mission and decided on Bellshill and Mossend. However, it was actually a group of folk who had left Holytown Church who were instrumental in setting up the Mossend Mission. Originally, it met in the Mossend Schoolroom under the care of Rev Ogilvey and the Kirk Session of Dalziel Free Church. The first occasion that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed was in October 1873 when Rev Ogilvey conducted the service.

William Macdonald, a Probationer of the Free Church of Scotland, was ordained and inducted to the Bellshill Free Church (still meeting in Mossend Schoolroom) on 31 December 1874. In June 1875, the congregation moved to the site of the present Church and built a hall which required them to borrow £300 from the Bank of Scotland. By August 1877 the Church had been built and decorated. Estimates for the build had been received at £2,700 although the final cost would appear to have been £3,200. The Manse was completed by March 1881 at a cost of £832.1s.8d.

On 28 August 1900, (in view of the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland) the Church was named East United Free Church. In 1912 it was changed again, this time to Macdonald Memorial United Free Church in memory of Rev William Macdonald, its first minister.

The plaque at the front door of the Church in memory of Rev William Macdonald states that he was the ‘first pastor’ from the beginning in 1874 until 1906. It goes on to say that, ‘He was a devoted minister of the word, a zealous pastor and a true friend to his people.’

By 1923, it was 50 years since the Mossend Mission had been set up and the occasion was celebrated by large congregations at both services on Sunday, 28 October that year.

The Good Friday window

Bellshill Central Parish Church is extremely fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.

The four central windows were gifted by Matthew Corbett, in memory of his son Sergeant James Brownlie Corbett of the Royal Air Force, who was shot down and killed over Holland on 26 May 1943. These windows were designed and fitted by the Abbey Studio under the direction of Frank Ryan. They were dedicated on 7 October 1962.

Good Friday – third window on the west or right side of the Church

This is one of the windows placed in memory of James Brownlie Corbett, who was killed in 1943 while serving with the Royal Air Force. The RAF crest features in the bottom right hand pane of the window. The words on the crest are, “Per Ardua ad Astra” which translates as, “Through Struggles to the Stars.”

Above that, there is a picture of a pelican with two smaller birds under her wings; one on either side. Apparently, in medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican became a symbol of the Passion of Jesus.

The story of Good Friday begins in the top left hand pane where, as written in Matthew 26, 49 (page 40) – Judas went straight to Jesus and said, “Peace be with you, Teacher,” and kissed him. The bag of silver coins, which Judas later tried to return, can also be seen.

In the pane below Jesus can be seen carrying his cross before Simon of Cyrene was forced to help.

The right hand side of the window is dedicated to the crucifixion where Jesus can be seen with a criminal on either side. The crown of thorns is visible and some nails are also in the picture.

Some of the Jesus followers are shown, including a woman holding on to the cross.

Two soldiers are at the foot of the cross; Matthew 27, 54 (page 43) – When the army officer and the soldiers with him, who were watching Jesus, saw everything that happened, they were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

St Matthew Window

Bellshill Central Parish Church is extremely fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.

The corner windows were gifted in memory of the Blackie Family, benefactors of the Church for many years and were dedicated on 14 October 1973. These were designed by the renowned Gordon Webster with the leadwork being undertaken by Neil Hutchison.

The pictures displayed in the windows help you focus on the stories which lie behind and which, in fact, tell the whole story of the Bible. You are welcome to visit the Church, look at the windows and then read in one of the Pew Bibles the whole story depicted in each window.

ST MATTHEW WINDOW (West Side at vestry)

This window shows two separate stories from the Bible. On the right had frame Jesus can be seen at Lake Galilee, with the town in the background, inviting Andrew and Peter to join Him with the words. ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ See Matthew 4, 18 – 22 (page 6 of the Pew Bible). Look at the detail of the houses, water and fish.

The left hand frame depicts the story of the workers in the vineyard, as written in the first 16 verses of Matthew Chapter 20 (page 29 of the Pew Bible). The workers had been hired to do a day’s work for one silver coin. Some had started in the morning, others at lunch time and more later in the day. Some grapes can be seen hanging on the vines and same have already been gathered into a basket. At the end of the working day, everyone received the same wage for their efforts which caused some industrial unrest. Jesus concludes at verse 16, ‘So those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last’

Baptismal Font

A baptismal font is an article of church furniture used for baptism.

Here are some facts:

  • fb_img_15387821788728030216432403088843.jpgThe Baptismal Font in Bellshill Central Parish Church is not the original font for the building.
  • It was gifted to what was Macdonald Memorial Church of Scotland in 1943 by the junior choir.
  • It is a solid wood font, but still moveable around the Choir Box.
  • It contains the original pewter bowl from Bellshill Free Church, which has been incorporated into subsequent fonts.
  • It features an eight-sided design, which is a reminder of the new creation and as a connection to the practice of circumcision, which traditionally occurs on the eighth day.
  • Saint Ambrose wrote that fonts (and baptisteries) were octagonal “because on the eighth day, by rising, Christ loosens the bondage of death and receives the dead from their graves”. Saint Augustine similarly described the eighth day as “everlasting… hallowed by the resurrection of Christ”.

The eight panels around the top each has a story engraved thereon:


1. To the Glory of God
Presented to Macdonald Memorial Church
by The Junior Choir
October 1943

2. and 3. The panel to the left of the presentation inscription has the Greek letter Alpha and the panel to the right shows Omega –

Revelations 1:8 (Page 313 of Pew Bible) says:  ‘I am the first and the last,’ says the Lord God Almighty, who is, who was and who is to come.


4.  Moving right from Omega, the next panel shows Jesus baptism, with a dove overhead and a finger pointing from the sky.

Matthew 3;16-17 (Page 6 of Pew Bible) says:  As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water.  Then heaven was opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and alighting on him.  Then a voice said from heaven, ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.’


5.  The next panel shows this symbol:

The Chi Rho is a symbol made from the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek.  It is said that before an important battle, the Emperor Constantine saw this symbol in the sky and heard the words “By this sign, conquer”


6. The next panel has the quote from Mark 10; 14 (Page 60 of Pew Bible):

‘Suffer little children to come unto me’


7 . The following panel has this symbol:

IHS are the first three letters of the Greek word for “Jesus” (iota, eta, sigma).


8. The final panel shows the baby Jesus in the manger at Christmas.


Here are some pictures from some recent Baptism’s at Bellshill.