The opening of St Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception

By March 25th, 2024No Comments

We have now to state that St Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception, the new Roman Catholic Church in Lochee, will probably rank: among the finest of of its kind in this neighbourhood, as both from the peculuarity of its architectural beauties and, of finish, it is much superior to any of the Roman Catholic Churches in this part of the country.

The opening was celebrated by: the service known as Pontifical High Mass, which began about half past eleven o’clock, The Right Rev. Dr Strain, V.A. of the eastern district of Scotland, officiated. The Bishop was assisted by the Rev. Mr Brick at Deacon, and the Rev. Mr Byrne as Sub-Deacon; and the Rev. Mr M‘Dermott Master of Ceremonies.

The; musical part of the service was under the charge of Herr Arnold, together with Father Magini, a clergyman attached to St Mary’s, Maxwelltown, who were ably assisted by Mr Lewie of the and several vocalists from Dundee and Edinburgh. There is no organ yet in the gallery, but Herr Arnold presided with his usual ability at a very excellent harmonium, together with a band of instrumentalists, opened the service with an effective Te Deum.

The commenced with Weber’s Mass in G – one of the most effective Masses ever written, characterised by shortness and uniform beauty of design. The Kyrie and Gloria were sung with precision and beauty which reflected great credit on the performers. The Credo was rendered, as well as the previous pieces, with great spirit and executive correctness. A slight change was made here and an Ave Maria Mozart, in E flat Major, was introduced. The solo parts were taken up by Miss Harvey parts and Father Magini. Both soloists rendered by their parts to perfection, and gave them that very power of feeling and sentiment intended by the composer.

The Sanctus was then given, and a beautiful interludium followed on the harmonium, by Herr Arnold, which, at this solemn part of the service had a very fine effect.

The Benedictus, in our opinion, the gem of the whole Mass was interpreted in such a way as to give satisfaction to the most fastidious. The Agnus Dei and Dona Nobis finished the music of the Mass, where the soloists displayed great ability and precision in the rendering of the solos and the adjoining chorus.

Then followed Haec Dies by band and chorus, in conclusion, in very fine style, and altogether the music on this occasion was of a very high order.

There was a service in the church in the morning conducted by the priest in charge, the Rev. Mr Mc Kerrell, at which a considerable number of persons were present. The principal service of the day, however, was that of the forenoon, and before eleven the congregation had begun to assemble. As usual in such cases, the admission was by ticket and when Mass began the nave was well filled, while the west side aisle was also occupied to some extent, Notwithstanding that the workmen were busily engaged on Saturday afternoon within he building, on entering the church yesterday the visitor could not fail to be struck by the extreme neatness and order visible throughout.

As we shall presently have occasion to describe St Mary’s in detail, we need only mention here that the building is cathedral in form, consisting of nave, side aisles, and clerestory, with a lot and elegant sanctuary. Careful preparation had been made for the service, and the appearance of the interior of the building was not spoiled by any tokens of unfinished work. The altar was handsomely decorated with vases pf flowers; upon it stood a number of tall tapers; behind it towered a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The peculiarities of the service need not be described, but it may be mentioned that, after the reading of the First Gospel, the Rev. Father Noble preached a sermon suitable to the occasion, in which he explained that the building was under the patronage of the Virgin, and entered into some reason why his hearers should venerate her. At the conclusion, the preacher announced the Episcopal Blessing, which was given by Bishop Strain standing with mitre and crozier from before his seat, and the services terminated about two o’clock. In the evening, Vespers were said; after a sermon was delivered by Father Magini; and there was also the Benediction of the Sacrament.

The church thus opened is in some respects a novelty in ecclesiastical architecture. So far as we are away, it is the first in Scotland where the material of terra cotta has been used as at the stonework of the interior. The effect of this new style of building is not, at first perhaps very pleasing. It is certainly not, and never can have, the dignity of pure stone. At the same time, the style of the building – a mixture of Norman with early English – the pilfered aisles and vista of arches, topped a a rather low, but well executed celestrory, the pretty sharply pitched roof, and the fine high spanning arch above the sanctuary, all combine to lend a dignity to the church with which the strangeness of the terra cotta coloured work does not interfere. Those have not seen St Mary’s – and it is well worth a visit – will probably be surprised when it is stated that, although internally built of white and red fire brick, the effect on the mind after the first impression is decidedly pleasing.

Great praise is due to the architects, Messrs J.A. Hansom & Sons, of London, for the admirable manner in which the church is planned, for the skill whereby such fine effect has been produced by what some would denominate as the poorest material.

The manner in which the coloured stonework of the pillars is made to harmonise with the variegated terra cotta, and the clean appearance which the building has totally devoid of plaster, is remarkable. Not less to be observed is the fact that, while the interior of the church is this built, the exterior is comprised of what is known as walling, from the neighbouring quarry of Carmyllie, with Fife stone for the cornice and dressings. The outside is this one material – the interior of another; and as already said, the way in which this is managed in such as to reflect great credit upon the architects, for while St Mary’s will henceforth be among the best ecclesiastical sights of the district, it undoubtably is a great ornament to Lochee.

admirable manner in the ch and for the db fine has’ been. by whos the coloured stonework of the ismade to harmonise and the which the be an it is remarkable. HOt lew be is thus built, fact tha Va Se, of what of Carm with Fife Ot and dress- ings. outside is thus of one of another ; and, as already in which this is is such as to reflect the archi- tects, for while St Mary’s among the A pad ing have stated, the Qin & n miniature, St with the is situated a little back from the sd Hits “heanly andl It con- dew <td ‘septs, and senetuary. ph side in one of the aisles calcd the Chapel f te ‘amily, aes ard wet while the ous. are at the north of architecture is Norman er tae fide aisles are deeply pe. and finishing with ornamental wa ce buttresses. above the side ‘ales, finishing. with ornamental and those of the clerestory windows of the aisles have richly cut tracery, lights, with q foil heads. Those of the.east’and west transepts double windows, with on the heads and are cad var lofty indeed, beihg are four—13 to the spring of the head-tracery, and the windows is a distance of 6 feet. the massive pro, windows of sanctuary there are deeply- as fiying cornice of under Family, at the “the ‘rect, Im the Chapel end of the west of the with quatrefoil heads. This chapel is circular, ing now to the north-end of the church, there is a richly door leading to the porch west side of the tower. The arcade, and abeve these contains at the bottom are two lancet lights for the organ gallery. A centre but- tress runs up the front of the tower, terminates in a niche and Above this, again, is the belfry, though it the tower at present, the tower shall”be carried up higher, eer at On, the east side of the open square form at some ,. which and the windows have trefoil It the windo the transept, baptistry, and organ ve ali labels. The roofs of the side and obapel are all slated roof of the nave has an bine, purp! ma , which is 3s finished in a pattern. The roof of fthe bands of slate. Tie patterns are first, a aa quatrefoil, highest is -shaped. termination of the apex there. are crockets running, a large and from the greand being upwards. of The. oY the aad of the ve An mental fi Sack is an of this. little cathedra laads to now By the porch, e The supported iby pil- lars . There is an entrance to the west side aisle, and there is an entrance the baptistry. The ye Se is to the centre the interior may be of the rae! spot a fine view of of the nave, the tower tothe uary, transcpts, 98 feet, width from outside walls, aisle te is 41.-f “Tak the church, tho Instead of the cal ,severitm of. shafted: stone the trang white clerestory window pillars and upspringing arches, and an upwards to where the. high- roof arrests the end to end the terra cotta, white snd. dark ned seen windows enengh— tde fect in the smal] 5 walls ; bu’ fine areh above the sanc- and the sense of by the altar, dp. set show to would # the windows hewever, a the interior, These pillars are composed red stone with bases, shafts, is not great from floor to. the oh even feet but it that the bases of the shafts do not rise from the bases of the pillars, but midway, and greater height than they otherwise would. is one af the many points about the building which proves the masterly and hand of From the top of the caps of the pillars spring the arches, and these arches (which is nine feet are in ferra cd Gn exten un tue dude of Blended and red, ‘also in th ¢ ‘pillars are base, Bing and | and sry poe 7 the arched roof ts are of white arches are of red titel ina the The side aisles are of of red and white and white intermixed abave this chequered band, are pes carved, In the centre of each ‘bay of the walls of the the stations for the six ou each side and one at Passion. Above are the six traced’ small windows, at he roofs of the by the – transepts after to the height of nearly 18 feet over the latter. width from the 5 feet, and the are seen, men ‘th red stone bands, 13 the from the floor —and this fine and yet grand to ‘this there are three The sanctuary on the also in red stone bands, and these are corbels. Above arches are inner jambs of the fale anni op oe = and ipal beams of the chancelroof. ‘This roof has a 9 ss with 3 star shaped centre side is_ the feet from the fluor. On the other is entered to the sacristy. The chapel of the the west transept, and is we character of ang the church is ‘that known by the term timbers are eak colour, and the sarking, a to ridge of roof is it WT is no leas than 55 feet, while the side roof of the nave-it under 40. The roofs of in nave are plains, but neat, there are no was the side . aisles, ime. rail is low, The rail well. Tothe extgemely simple, it looks end of the Kise with it is but we understand that there is abundance of The church Messrs the work has been snd Son of London; and for the architects, by MrJ. whe bas carried the building between 800 and 1000 persons, entire cost is believed about £6000 or £7000 ; this is cost of the mason work has been carried out by Mr which adds so much te appearance. ofthe pillars, was the jeiner work, which is neatly done, slater work was carried out by Messrs & J, Wilson, & W. Crabb, Dundee ; and the plumbing and the new favour, was now coming.inte public fireclay manu- > near and the and other shows what: a hand- be had in a small gael what of such pounded church is not often one seea the ae crand qian

Dundee Advertiser – Monday 14 May 1866