As it was in the Beginning

To be able to trace one's history back to the days of William the Conqueror is regarded by many as a status symbol and it is a distinction to which Pollokshields – Titwood Parish Church might well lay claim on account of its connection with the Maxwells, one of the most ancient and chivalrous families in the West of Scotland.

After King Harold II was defeated by William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 many of the Saxon nobility, including Maccus, son of Undwin, came north to Scotland The barony of Mearns and Pollok came into the hands of the Maxwells following the marriage of Sir Aymer de Maccuswell of Caerlaverock to Mary, heiress of 51, Roland de Mearns.

In 1270 51, Aymer granted the part of the barony known as Nether Pollok to his third son, Sir John Maxwell, Knight a great-grandson of Maccus.

Pollokshields forms part of the Nether Pollok Estate and in the mid-nineteenth century was open country with some woodland and a scattering of farms. Between 1780 and 1830 the population of the day had increased from 40,000 to 200,000 and the first of many overspills began. The wealthier citizens were moving further weal of crossing to the south side of the Clyde.

On July 11, 1851, the first Pollokshields Feu Contract was signed between Sir John Maxwell, 8th Baronet, and Mr. Andrew Craig, St. Andrew’s Road (later altered to Drive) was so named in honour of Scotland’s Patron Saint and to commemorate the first Feuar. It was in this area that the first mansions and villas were built, forming the nucleus of the suburb by 1560. The residents were domiciled within the parish of Govan, in the sheriffdom of Renfrew, but there was no convenient church for the twenty or so Pollokshields families connected with the Established Church of Scotland.

In November 1863, some of the householders concerned met to consider the possibility of having a church built in the vicinity. They realised their number was too small to maintain a church within Pollok­shields, but extensive building was going on in the adjoining residential district of Kingston and a church in that area would serve until such rime was Pollokshields could support a church of Its own. It was agreed that a site at the corner of Pollok Street and Ardgowan Street would be the most suitable for the purpose and application for the feu was made to Sir John Maxwell who gave his approval. This concluded the first step towards the building of Maxwell Church, where the residents of Pollokshields were to worship for the next decade.

Sir John Maxwell died in 1865 and Nether Pollok passed to his sister Elizabeth's son, William Stirling who became Sir William Stirling Maxwell of Pollok, Keir and Cadder, 9th Baronet, Sir William continued his uncle's policy of feuing West Pollokshields for residential purposes.

In the 1870s villas, terraces and tenements were rising rapidly in Pollokshields to absorb the steady influx from Glasgow where the population had risen to 500,000. At last the day came when Pollokshields felt it qualified for a church of its own.

Those founder-members of Maxwell who now wanted a church in Pollokshields felt a moral obligation to see their original one free of debt and a specia1 collection taken at Maxwell on March 27, 1874, achieved this happy financial state plus a credit balance of £120.

Various sums of money (shown in round figures for convenience) are mentioned throughout the story and it is hoped that the reader will take time to compare the figures quoted with their present day equivalent. The results will show more dearly than any words how much the church meant to its congregation.

NOTE 1:­-
As Pollokshields expanded further and further from Pollok Street It was natural that the residents should want a church in a more central position. The Founders of Maxwell Church had taken this into account when they made their plans in 1863, but very few of the original Pollokshields members of Maxwell transferred to the "new" church.

NOTE 2:­-
The decision to build the Kingston Bridge was the death-blow for Maxwell Parish Church. It was demolished, its pulpit and communion table were presented to Renfield St. Stephen's Parish Church while the organ, three stained glass windows and the eagle lectern were preserved and are now at the Church of Maxwell Mearns Castle.

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