Page 1

Belfry The



From the Manse Hi Folks This is my first article for The Belfry and I must begin by thanking the small and dedicated group of people who keep this and the “Friends” of Balquhidder Church alive and productive. We certainly live in “interesting times” as the phrase goes, accompanied by a multitude of changes and challenges. Yet I never fail to be amazed at the people who with dedication and commitment continually volunteer to do something positive for their Church and Community. They truly are the salt of the earth. My wife Brenda and myself are well settled in now at our lovely Manse at Killin and I’m slowly but surely finding my bearings around a larger parish than I have ever had before... in geographical terms, that is, not numerical. In Edinburgh I could visit my whole parish on foot... no chance of that here! If I tried that it would be like the old joke: “Grannie took up walking when she was 70. She’s now 80 - and no one knows where she is!” Of my two churches Killin is the larger and the busier - but there is something very evocative about Balquhidder. I remember being brought here on holiday when I was a young boy, by my parents, who loved this area. Little did I know then, that one day I would be the Minister here. What a privilege it is! I never tire of the journey over Glen Ogle and then down the wee winding road to the village. It is truly a special place. I have now taken two funerals and one wedding in the church with more weddings booked for this coming summer. In joy or in sorrow, Balquhidder delivers in terms of a deeply spiritual site... a wonderful and appropriate setting for the basic rituals that mark the most important experiences of life. Of course this could not happen without the continued work of the local membership, the support of the wider community and the prayers and endeavours of national and international “Friends”. It is wonderful to see and to meet some of the many tourists and pilgrims who visit the Church throughout the year - but especially so in the summer months. In recent weeks some have arrived during the Sunday services. One week seven people entered at various points during the sermon and as I saw some of them were carrying bibles and immediately engaged with what I was saying, I found myself expanding my sermon along the way. My poor regulars coped... I think! At coffee afterwards I spoke to four Chinese Christians from Singapore and it was an exciting and inspiring morning. Our wee church here is world famous. Aren’t we blessed! I hope you all have a great summer.

Russel Russel Moffat (Rev Dr)


Russel and Brenda

Welcome to the 2017 summer edition of The Belfry.

Note from the


Hello everyone! It seems like only yesterday that the Winter 2016/17 issue was being put together during dark, cold days; and now here we are in midsummer... with, as I write, dark, cold days! But let’s keep optimistic, and hope that the rain clouds will pass to allow the sunshine through again. At least the continual rain is doing great things for Balquhidder’s vegetation; with each year the trees and wildflowers - and subsequently the butterflies and bees - seem to be increasing in numbers and beauty. Lime trees this year are particularly glorious. Jean Moir’s evocative poem on page 8 gives you a sense of the scenery here. I hope you enjoy reading our splendid article on pages 4 and 5 about the Findlater sisters; a local minister’s daughters who, at the turn of the last century, were ahead of their time with their pioneering spirit in the field of writing. You’ll also find an update on all the excellent restoration work that has been lately done on Balquhidder Church. What a difference it has made! Included separately with your Belfry is a copy of the Church’s Constitution, which I urge you to read and approve. If you have any comments, please get in touch with me. With all good wishes for a peaceful - and warm - summer. GW Gill Waugh • Stronvar Farm • Balquhidder • FK19 8PB

Come and enjoy Loch Earn’s finest views Tarken Bistro Light Lunch & Supper Meall Reamhar Award winning Rosette menu & Evening menu Sunday Lunch from £15.95 Afternoon & Cream Tea

Free soft/non alc drink for designated driver of 4 or more diners

The Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans

01764 685533



The Findlaters

by Rosemary Whittemore

The Rev Eric John Thomson Findlater was baptised in Durness, Sutherland on 11 April 1813. He was the First Free Church Minister of Lochearnhead, and was minister there for forty years until his death on 2 May 1886. He was laid to rest on the Knoll of Fire, just outside the Balquhidder Churchyard (see photographs below). On the 4 December 1861 in Edinburgh he married Sarah Laurie Borthwick. She was born on the 26 November 1823 in Leith, Edinburgh and died 25 December 1907 in Torquay. In 1855, before her marriage, Sarah and her sister Jane Laurie Borthwick co-produced a book of translations of German hymns titled Hymns from the Land of Luther which ran for several editions. One of the hymns was ‘Be Still my Soul’. Reverend Eric and Sarah Findlater had three children: Sarah Jeminia Borthwick Findlater, born 9 August 1862 and died in 1931 in Rye Sussex; Mary Williamina Findlater, born 26 March 1865 and died on 22 November 1963 in Comrie, Perthshire; Jane Helen Findlater, born 4 November 1811, died 20 May 1946, also in Comrie, Perthshire. The girls were raised at the Manse of the Free Church in Lochearnhead, Perthshire and led a conservative and restricted life. Their close relationship was of great importance to them and continued throughout their lives. None of them married, and in 1911 all three were living together at 5 Southfield Mount, Paignton in Devon. They were taught by governesses, including Annie Lorrain Smith before she trained as a botanist. They listened to stories told by family, friends and servants - and then started writing from a early age, both together and individually. In 1866 their father died, and the remaining family moved to Prestonpans, East Lothian, where Jane and Mary tried to help the family finances by writing, while their older sister Sarah (Mora) worked as a nurse. It was ten years before Jane’s book The Green Graves of Balgowrie (inspired by her mother’s family history) struck a cord with both the general public and critics. It had been written on grocer’s paper. Its success brought both freedom from financial worry and literary acclaim. After a few years they moved south in search of a warmer climate for their mother’s health. From then until the outbreak of World War One, the sisters published a series of novels, including their co-authored work, and two collaborations with Kate Douglas Wiggin & Allan McAuley (pseudonym



Mary Findlater The novels & other writings of Mary & Jane Findlater Mary: 1895 Sons & Sonnets 1897 Over the Hills 1899 Betty Musgrave 1901 A Narrow Way 1903 The Rose of Joy 1907 A Blind Bird’s Nest 1914 Tents of a Night Jane: 1896 The Green Graves of Balgowrie 1897 A Daughter of Strife 1899 Rachel 1902 A Story of Mother 1904 Stones from a Glass House 1905 All that Happened in a Week 1906 The Ladder to the Stars 1912 Seven Scots Stories 1921 A Green Grass Widow & Other Stories

Further information can be found in the book The Findlater Sisters by Eileen Mackenzie

of Charlotte Stewart of Ardvorlich in Lochearnhead ). Their popularity led to a much wider circle of acquaintances, including friendship with Ellen Terry, the actress, and Mary Cholmondeley, the novelist. After meeting Henry James, another British writer, they got to know his brother William and sister in law Alice while on a lecture tour in the United States in 1905. Both sisters’ work showed an attention to the details of everyday life, including its pleasures, combined with a sense of the restricted opportunities for women at the start of the 20th century in Scotland. For them, marriage was not necessarily a happy ending. Jane’s book The Ladder to the Stars (1906) was less well received than The Green Graves, because of its focus on women’s personal freedom. The heroine is “wholly absorbed in the cultivation of Self”, according to one reviewer. Crossriggs (1908), often considered the sisters’ best collaborative work, widely read in its day and republished in 1986, is just one of the books in which they reject “the idea that a single life is a wasted life”. This nicely observed picture of village life, while telling stories of love, also explores “the lonely situation of an articulate and emotional woman” for whom marriage is not necessarily the answer. In the 1920s, however, their work seemed old fashioned, and Beneath the Visiting Moon (1923) was their last book. They moved from Devon to Rye on the south coast - where their sister Sarah died - then in 1940 for World War Two, safely back to Perthshire. They lived at the ‘Four Hollies’ in Comrie which was owned by their distant relations the Maclagans, and their neighbours at ‘Earnhope’ were Nan and Haya Maclagan. Jane and Mary are both buried in the Maclagan Family Graveyard, Laggan Wood, The Balmuick Road, Comrie. The inscriptions read: ‘Jane Helen Findlater, 4 November 1866 - 20 May 1946. ‘Jesus said: I am the Light of the World; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.’ ‘ ‘Mary Williamina Findlater, 26 March 1865 - 22 November 1963. ‘He that dwellest in love dwellest in God.’ ‘

Sources: The Findlater Sisters by Eileen Mackenzie Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland. Braes O’ Balquhidder by Elizabeth Beauchamp

We seem to have been following the ministers and their families in and around Balquhidder in the last few issues. If you have any similarly interesting stories to relate, The Belfry would love to hear from you!

Jane Findlater Collaborations by Mary and Jane: 1901 Tales that are Told 1908 Crossriggs 1911 Penny Moneypenny 1916 Seen and Heard before and After 1914 1916 Content With Flies 1923 Beneath the Visiting Moon With Kate Douglas Wiggins & Allan McAuley 1904 The Affair at the Inn 1911 Robinetta

village shop at Strathyre Main Street Strathyre Near Callander FK18 8NA 01877 384275

CTN & Groceries 5

Church Property News I thought that you would like to read about our latest repair work to the inside of the church. We have not had to do too much inside for quite a few years - until this last year, when we have had most of the woodwork treated for woodworm (and other little critters). The bill was kindly met mostly by the MacLaren Society of North America. We are so grateful to them. Some eighteen months ago there were some bad storms with very high winds. Although there appeared to be no external damage the inside of the building was quite a mess. Part of the archway above the large westend windows had collapsed. This was caused by the ingress of rainwater. It doesn’t look much in the photograph (top right) but what a mess the sodden plaster debris, showered all over the communion table and the sanctuary carpet, made. Still, we were able to clear that up with no ill effects to the table or carpet. An application for an insurance claim was made and as you can imagine this took a considerable time to sort out. We had to get a steeplejack contractor in to do a thorough assessment of the outside uppermost wall, roofing area including the belfry, and the lead gullies at the west end, to find out how the rain water got in to cause the damage. His findings were then reported and then discussed by the insurance damage assessor. The outcome of all this was that the insurance would only uphold a claim for the damage inside. We would have to foot the bill for any external works. This we have done - and hopefully no more water will get through. The cost of external repairs was in the region of £6,600. Next we had to find a contractor to repair the arch, replaster, and then redecorate. The complete archway and sides of the window area were taken down and re-boarded and plastered. This took a while too - but I am pleased to say at long last the work both inside and out is now complete. As you can see from picture no. 4 (opposite page) we are now thankfully back to normal and the church is looking great. Our church funds paid for this. Let us pray nothing else happens as our savings are dwindling fast. It has been decided that the sanctuary carpet will be cleaned professionally and the Friends have kindly offered to pay for this. So a big thank you in advance.

Pauline Perkins Property Convenor


1 - Main damage at right side of arch

2 - If this picture was in colour you would be able to see the discolouration of the crumbling plaster more clearly!

Beautiful Music...

3 - Work underway at the redecorating stage

The Friends would like to express their grateful thanks to the Community Choir of Killin who kindly came to sing at our service at the Church on the 2nd April. They treated us to superb renditions of Felix Mendelssohn’s He Watches Over Israel and Finlandia by Jean Sibelius. We hope they’ll come again!

4 - Work completed!


Through Eighteenth Century Windows

Poetry Corner I was fortunate enough to spend my childhood from 1949 to 1961 at Creag an Turc (then Balquhidder Manse). I wrote this poem a few years ago. It is purely a work of imagination. I had not then read the excellent article in The Belfry of Summer 2016 which gives details of the actual first family in the new manse! Jean Moir

Brother and sister swing with shouts of glee Darting in and out of the sun As the huge lime-tree shadows lengthen. Across the fields, the farm, the school, the church In their Victorian solidity. Beyond, the elegance of the “big house”, Lawns sweeping down to rhododendron banks, And the loch. Above, the unchanging hills. I hear the workman’s Gaelic shouts, Ponies neighing, trundling carts The mason’s clinking cuts, the joiner’s saw, Crafting those seasoned windows For this gracious, homely room. She sniffed the new paint, trailing her rag-doll Five brothers ran about the grass Near spindly saplings. Through her smile, She mourned two sisters lying under the moss At her last home. Across the fields, The old church in its yew-tree cloak, Small crofts nestled below, with peat-smoke wisps. Beyond, the loch and the unchanging hills. JM


A Eagle’s Eye View...

Thanks to Ebay, it’s getting to be very easy to find old postcards of virtually anywhere! Highland Photography’s Richard Harris is keeping his eagle eye on the site for any examples of old images of the area - and particularly the Church. In this aerial picture from the 1960s you can see that, apart from having much less in the way of woodland, not a great deal has changed in fifty years. Follow the paths indicated by the two arrows - and where they meet, you can just make out the Church. We’ll be including more postcards in future issues - do you have any to share?

Briar Cottages on Loch Earn

Luxury & Pet Friendly Self Catering fishing • putting • petanque Twitter @Briarcottages Tel Kim 07917 416 497 9

Letter to the Editor Stockport January 2017 Dear Ms Waugh Thank you for the latest edition of The Belfry. I am writing in appreciation of the article entitled The Rev Malcolm Macleod and Balquhidder’s Gaelic Connections. He was my warmly remembered grandfather and during the war 1938-45 my brother and I alternated between living at the manse and boarding school as our parents were abroad so we have great affection for Balquhidder also. It was interesting to read again of the works of Rev Robert Kirk and his part in the transcription of the Irish bible into Scottish Gaelic. Please could you give my appreciation again and thanks to Graham Cooper for a most informative article. Yours sincerely Ann Gorrod


In our last edition (Winter 2016) we included a very interesting article about the Reverend Malcolm Macleod, written by Graham G Cooper MD. The Reverend Doctor Roddie MacLeod reviewed The Belfry in the ‘Books’ section of the Gaelic Pages of Life and Work for March, on-line today. Here is Graham’s translation of what he wrote: ‘We were delighted to receive this attractive periodical, especially so since there was an essay within it about a Highland minister who ended his work in the parish of Balquhidder and is buried there in the Church graveyard. We are indebted to the author of the essay who sent us the newsletter, Dr Graham Cooper. In addition to writing about the Reverend Malcolm MacLeod, from Uig in Lewis, who was living in Balquhidder at the time of his death in 1946, Dr Cooper also mentions other notable Gaelic personalities who have a connection to the area, such as the poet Dugald Buchanan and the Reverend Robert Kirk, who translated the Psalms of David into a metrical form in Gaelic. A new minister was inducted to this parish at the end of last year, the Reverend Dr Russel Moffat, who has been in the ministry since 1986. May he have every success in his new calling. Many readers of the Gaelic Pages of Life and Work will have respect and affection for Malcolm MacLeod’s book, An Iuchair Oir, a collection of sermons delivered and broadcast by the Reverend Macleod. The sermons in the collection are scriptural and evangelical, delivered in elegant and attractive language. For a time, he was minister at Lochgilphead, south of where we are living now. In An Iuchair Oir, edited skillfully by the Reverend Thomas MacCalmain, we may also read about Malcolm MacLeod’s experiences as a Chaplain on mainland Europe in the First World War.’


Visitors on Loch Voil

This summer we are lucky to have a pair of breeding Goosanders in Balquhidder. These handsome diving ducks have long, serrated bills, used for catching fish. A largely freshwater bird, the goosander first bred in the UK in 1871, building up numbers in Scotland slowly. They love to catch salmon and trout - so they won’t be very popular with fishermen! Photograph by Richard Harris

Gifts and Souvenirs of Balquhidder Church


The Belfry is published twice yearly by The Friends of Balquhidder Church Association Chairman Rev Dr Russel Moffat

The Manse, Main Street, Killin FK21 8TN

Vice Chairman Pauline Perkins

1 Auchtubh, Balquhidder FK19 8NZ

Treasurer Maureen Lipscomb

3 Ravenscroft Road, Lochearnhead FK19 8PW 01567 830234

Membership Rosemary Whittemore Secretary Editor Gill Waugh

Tannoch Taigh, Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384359 Stronvar Farm, Balquhidder FK19 8PB 07778 702304

The Friends of Balquhidder Church Association is a Registered Charity - No. SC008569

Friends of Balquhidder Church AGM and St Angus Day Service Our AGM will be held in Balquhidder Church on Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 5.30pm. Our St Angus Day Service will follow at 6.30pm All are very welcome to both!

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND Balquhidder Parish Church WEEKLY SERVICE Every Sunday at 11.30am

The Belfry summer 2017  
The Belfry summer 2017  

News from Balquhidder Church and Friends, Stories -The Findlater Sisters of Lochearnhead by Rosemary Whittmore, Poetry Corner, Church prope...