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Lochwinnoch's Churches

Lochwinnoch has had many churches, large and small, over the years.

This page has a selection of the most well known.


The first is the Collegiate Church built by the first Lord Semple in 1505. The first picture provides additional information. The headstones are of subsequent owners of the Castle Semple estate. More will be said about them when the section on Castle Semple estate is added.


Probably the most well known structure in the village - Auld Simon.  There is a short video of the inside of the tower and the clock mechanism below. 



The Calder United Free Church was originally known as the Burgher Kirk or these days affectionally referred to as the Wee Church.

It was built in 1792. MacDowall provided the land and supported the construction of the Kirk. However, when he found out he would not appoint the minister he withdrew support. The tower was completed in 1815 when the new laird of Castle Semple (John Harvey) donated £50. In 1900 it became part of the United Free Church, a body which had split from the Church of Scotland in 1843. In 1929 when the two parts of the Church re-joined the Calder Church refused and remained a United Free Church. 


In 1806 the decision was taken to build the Parish Church. Work was completed by 1808. It replaced the church at Auld Simon. A more central church was required due to the significant industrialisation that was going on in the village at that time using the power of the River Calder. In 1812 a petition was raised by John Swan of Wattieston, William Brodie of Kerse, John Stewart of Wateryett, Robert Fleming of Auchengowan, Robert Kirkwood of Langstilly, Allan Pinkerton of Mossend and others in protest at the division of the Church Yard and allotment of seats within the church between the petitioners and all heritors in the parish. Basically the heritors paid for the church and wanted their contributions recognised by the number of seats credited to each of them. On the 3rd of June 1812 the petitioners won their case. I guess this could be viewed as demonstrating either self importance or how important it was to demonstrate your committment to the church at that time.

Rev. Robert Smith (1787-1865) became the minister of the Parish Church in 1815. In 1843 Rev. Smith was one of a large group of minister to leave the Church of Scotland and set up the United Free Church of Scotland. On 14th April 1844 a new church was opened adjacent to the Parish Church, this was to become known as the West Church.