Below, we share extracts of our history. The full “A Short History of St Mungo’s Episcopal’s Church” is available here.
St. Mungo’s Church began in a simple way. On 25 July 1851 John Ord Mackenzie of Dolphinton recorded that:
‘We had no clergyman in our chapel last Sunday, and a large Party went to the opening of a small room in West Linton which Mr. Forbes has got fitted up as a school room on weekdays and a place for the performance of the English Church Service on Sundays’.
The present building was started soon afterwards, and its unusual shape, essentially northwest- southeast with a small chancel on the northeast reflects the fact that for the next generation it served both as a school room and church. It was one of the first of the ‘Gladstone’ Churches built by local landowners aimed at reviving the Episcopalian tradition in Scotland. During the week the chancel was curtained off. In 1857 the Bishop of Glasgow consecrated the church and preached the inaugural sermon.
During the 1880s a separate school was built a little further down Chapel Brae. It was designed to accommodate 60 pupils and their teachers. The architects were Hay and Henderson and the church was altered at the same time. The chancel was enlarged and the present bell tower and porch added. The 19th Century pews were re- placed with chairs a some years ago. The school was closed in 1908, when a purpose built Primary School was opened, with, for the time, advanced teaching facilities.
The Forbes Family
For 75 years the Forbes family of Medwyn were the driving force behind St. Mungo’s. The family originated in the North East of Scotland, and were members of the ‘faithful remnant’ who continued to adhere to the Episcopal tradition after the Church was disestablished in 1690. Many ministers refused to take the oath of allegiance to William of Orange, and the Episcopal Church became associated with Jacobitism. Alexander Lord Forbes of Pitsligo raised a regiment for Prince Charles in the ’45, and suffered exile and confiscation. But, a cadet branch of the family re-established itself in Edinburgh and flourished while remaining true to the Episcopal tradition.
Sir William Forbes was a highly successful banker, and was a major benefactor of the Church and charities in Edinburgh. His second son became a judge and bought the Medwyn estate 1812. He had three sons. William the eldest, who remained at Medwyn House and built this church. Alexander Penrose Forbes who, after service in the East India Company returned to Oxford, was ordained, became Bishop of Brechin and built St Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee. The youngest son, George H Forbes built St. Serf’s Episcopal Church in Burntisland, and established the Pitsligo Press, which printed liturgical books, volumes of sermons and a monthly journal The Gospel Messenger.
The Stained Glass Windows
The largest window, installed in 1893, is dedicated to the memory of William Forbes of Medwyn, who provided the land and major endowment for the church, school and the rector. The window illustrates the supper at Emmaus, Melchizadek. and St Thomas Aquinus. This, together with the window opposite the entrance, were designed and installed by C.E. Kempe of London, one of the best- known late Victorian stained glass artists.
This latter window, showing the Virgin and Child , is dedicated to the memory of Mary Anne Forbes, wife of William Forbes. The Chancel window shows Moses, the serpent and the crucifixion.
The blue plaque adjacent to the south east window is dedicated to John Houblon Forbes, his daughter and sisters. The family connection with St. Mungo’s was broken in 1936 when Dorothy Forbes died. She was the last direct descendant so the Medwyn estate was sold and split up.
There are two brass tablets in the chancel commemorating sons of James Fergusson to his third wife Alice Fanny Simpson. James Adam Hamilton was killed in action at the battle of the Aisne in 1914 whilst Charles Hamilton was murdered on New Years Day 1953 on his farm in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising.
The brass plaque behind the lectern is dedicated to the Rev. William Fancourt who was rector here for over 25 years.