Last service then Rigside Church closes its doors

Rigside Church...Closing its doors after this evening's service (Picture by Sarah Peters)
Rigside Church...Closing its doors after this evening's service (Picture by Sarah Peters)
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THE last service will be held in Douglas Water and Rigside Church on Sunday, August 30, at 7pm, then it closes its doors after 129 years.

The congregation at Rigside and Douglas Water merged with the Douglas congregation to form Douglas Valley, and services have been taking place in Douglas and then in Rigside Halls every Sunday.

Since the Rev Robert Cleland left, services have been taken by local minister Rev Nancy Norman.

Now the Rigside Church is going up for sale.

“One of the reasons is dwindling attendance. It was running at 12 to 15 every Sunday,” said Dr Sinclair Scott, session clerk of the joint congregations.

The church, which has a manse attached, has no disabled accesss nor proper toilets.

The foundation stone was laid on Wednesday, September 9, 1885 – with a time capsule of coins and information inside – and the church opened in May 1886.

But the congregation which built it could trace their origins right back to 1681 and were proud of their historical links to the Covenanters.

The first church building in the area was a thatched cottage, followed by a more substantial building in 1789, and a new church in 1844. But a split in the congregation left the majority homeless, and the new Douglas Water Free Church opened in 1886, becoming the Douglas Water United Free in 1900 and Rigside Church of Scotland in 1929.