A Short History of St. Gildas', Rosneath

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St. Gildas

It is not certain wheather a church existed in this area from the time of our patron, St. Gildas, born in Dumbarton in 517 AD, but one was built shortly afterwards and remained until the time of the reformation. A small piece of the amsonry from this church still adorns the ruined church in Rosneath cemetery. There is a tantalising gap with regard to Catholicism on the peninsula until about 1928, when Catholics in the area were brought under pastoral care of St. Joseph's, Helensburgh. This situation continued until 1952, when Fr. John Conway founded the parish of St. Modan's, Cove, saying Mass in his house or Cove Burgh Hall. The numbers in the parish continued to grow and the decision to build a new church was taken in 1965, work beginning in 1967.

The church, sited on part of the old Clachan House Estate, was designed as a representation of a ship under sail, by Mr. Peter Borthwick of the Glasgow Architects Thomas Gardiner, Cunningham and Partners. The building contractor was John A. Russell of Glasgow and the marble work on the Altar was carried out by Galbraith and Winton, also of Glasgow. The unusual bronze crucifix on the reredos was the first of its kind and was made by Mr. Jack Mortimer of Lochwinnoch. An interesting fact to the design of the church was that the exterior was, and still is, finished in Barra Cockle Harling, thus maintaining the nautical theme.

The church was finished in March 1968 (renamed St. Gildas in deference to the Church of Scotland whose church in Rosneath was called St. Modan's) at which time the first Parish Priest, Fr. Sam Lavery was appointed. The official opening by Archbishop James Scanlon, assisted by Fathers Francis Coyle and Dan Friel, took place on 29 September 1968. Others in attendance were Bishop James Ward, Mgr. James Ward, Mgr. Samuel Kilpatrick, Canon Michael Connelly, Canon Michael Meechan and last but not least Canon John Conway, the founding father of the Parish.

Parish Priests

  • Canon J. Conway (1951-1968)
  • Fr. S. Lavery (1969-1973)
  • Fr. T. McAteer (1973-1976)
  • Canon H. Cassidy (1976-1977)
  • Fr. P. Kelly (1977-1978)
  • Canon P. Dineen (1978-1986)
  • Fr. F. McPartlin (1986-2004)
  • Fr. M. Maloney (2004-2010)
  • Canon G. Bradburn (2010-2015)
  • Fr. Mathew Thottathimyalil (2015-2017)
  • Fr. M. Maloney (2017-)

In 2017 Fr. M. Maloney returned to Rosneath. In addition to SS. Peter and Paul, Arrochar, Rosneath has now been entrusted with the Pastoral Care of St. Mahew's, Cardross.

The Parish of St. Gildas' is a Parish of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, a Designated Religious Charity.
The number is SCO18140