Holy Trinity and All Saints Parish – our history

All Saints was founded during the year 1902, by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, under the Episcopal direction of the Most Reverend Doctor Eyre, Archbishop of Glasgow.

This event concurred with the twenty-five year papacy of the 92 year old Pontiff Leo XIII, who had consecrated the world to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, during the Jubilee Year of 1900, with which the twentieth century began.

During 1902 Edward VII entered the second year of his reign on the British throne.  Fellow Scot Arthur James Balfour became Prime Minister.  The triple alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy was renewed and Portugal was declared bankrupt.  Sibelius completed his second symphony and Enrico Caruso made his first phonograph recording.

small-outside1The Boer War, in which participants from the local population served and during which the inaugural institution of the concentration camp took place, ended in 1902 with the Treaty of Vereeniging.  British casualties numbered 5774 in this conflict.  Having escaped his Siberian prison in 1902 Jacob Braunstein (alias Leon Trotsky) settled in London.  On July 5th 1902 the eleven year old child Saint Maria Goretti was brutally murdered in a violent, frenzied attack.  She was subsequently canonised in 1947.

Within this condensed synopsis of background events, perhaps newsworthy to that period of a century ago, the Reverend Daniel Collins became the first Pastor and Parish Priest of the newly founded Roman Catholic Parish of All Saints’, Airdrie. Little remains known now concerning this priest other than the anecdote which alleges his predilection for red sandstone structures, a predisposition superbly realised in 1977.  Nevertheless it seems right and appropriate to record herein an acknowledgement of gratitude for his five year long solicitude and pastoral care for the infant parish.

small-outside2The original All Saints’ Parish church building and the ensuing complement of presbytery, primary school buildings, parish hall and playing field were erected on the site of a downward slope from the Slammanan plateau within the boundaries of a place called Airdrie.  The word Airdrie is the Gaelic name which means “height of (the) slope” or “height of (the) sheiling”.  This topography termed Airdrie, formed a sector of the historical western monastic land of the Cistercian Abbey Monastery at Newbattle.  This specific sector of the Western Monkland was sub-divided, by the monks, into areas East and West.  The East was devoted to pasture and sheep breeding and the West used for the cultivation of grain.  The monks built corn mills at Gartlea, Gartmillan and Rosehall estate, near Carnbroe.  This huge swathe of monastic land in the Central Lowlands of Scotland stretched from Newbattle in the East to Drumpellier and ultimately to Carmyle in the west.  It was gifted to the Cistercian Abbey at Newbattle, by Royal Charter during the reign of King Malcolm IV in the year 1162.

This gift was maintained and developed under monastic husbandry, a status quo which remained constant during a following four hundred years.  The demise and expropriation of this monastic land was effectively completed by the turbulent events of the sixteenth century and the fracture of Christendom.

small-outside3By 1902 that pastoral and somewhat idyllic aspect of the landscape and its environs had succumbed to the advance of the industrial revolution.  The establishment of the Iron Burgh and the constellation of ancillary industry and manpower investing and suburbanizing this arena of production, soon trampled underfoot Colt’s green garden and fair orchards.

Population figures soared and house building kept pace with the growth.  The house building statistic chronicled of the period states an average density of five to six persons per house.  The dimensions of living space per person or the quality of domestic amenities were not specified.  The original population of the area became a society of manual, technical, administrative, service and professional persons with their attendant skills.  This evolved society was a composite of families which encapsulated all stages and aspects of the human condition, including the itinerant lodger syndrome dwelling outwith the existent model lodging houses, and those of independent means.

The poor and the affluent, the patrician and the plebeian, mingled disproportionately in this industrial social milieu but a common denominative ethos prevailed, belief in God.  From the year 1875 to the year 1904 eight new church buildings were erected in Airdrie.  Four new buildings for existing congregations and four new buildings for new congregations.

This inclusive society endured as a whole, the effects of industrial pollution, the unpleasant dust and mud of whinstone “metalled “ roads, dimly lit streets and alleyways, the shortage of clean water supply, inadequate soil drainage, and the pestilence of untreated and open gully borne sewage.  A plethora of additional and pernicious burdens plagued most without exception in the form of fevers, infant mortality, terminal tuberculosis and infections devoid of antibiotic control.

All these, together with the relatively innocuous joys and pleasures of the day, too voluminous to describe herein, formed the backdrop to that era.

From this briefly outlined scenario of the year 1902 the parish of All Saints’, Airdrie emerged under the pastorship of the Reverend Daniel Collins in the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

The Parish community initially named as ascribed above, has with the passage of time, evolved with the Titular prefix of Holy Trinity and matured to celebrate the event of a Fist Centenary of Inauguration on the Feast of All Saints 2002 Anno Domine.

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