Cadder Parish Kirk - Stirlings of Cadder & Keir

From Clan Stirling Wiki

The records of the nation of Scotland carry the story of Cadder Church and Parish back to the middle of the 12th century. The Scots King David I instituted great reforms in Church and State before his death in 1153. His grandson and successor, Malcolm IV, made a grant of the lands "Conclud, Cader and Badermonoc" to the Bishopric of Glasgow. This was confirmed by his successor, William the Lion.

So there might have been a church before that, built near the old ruins of the Roman camp on the Antonine Wall. But there definitely was a church building, and people worshipping there at Cadder, about the year 1150AD. Almost 850 years ago.

The Current Building

The current structure was built in 1909, but Cadder has been a place of worship for over 650 years. The Church is situated on the banks of The Forth and Clyde canal at Bishopbriggs, just outside of Glasgow. It is just around the corner from the entrance to the Cadder estate. Though now a tony private golf and country club, Cadder is steeped in our Stirling history.

Many years ago, a Roman fort was placed at Cadder as part of the Antonine Wall. There is a plaque on the east wall of the parish. It informs us the pre-Reformation Church had to be replaced in 1750 and that in turn by the present building


The current kirk was designed by David Hamilton, one of the creators of early 19th century Glasgow, in Neo-Gothic style.

Construction began in 1825, and completed in 1829 through the generosity of the principal heritor, Stirling of Cawder.

At least three churches have been built on or near the present site of Cadder, and the area round about is likely to have been used for Christian burial for over 800 years. Included in nearby Baldernock were no less than THREE Templar Chapels in earlier times.

"It was the practice of the respectable families in the parish," says the Rev. Thomas Lockerbie in the Second Statistical Account (1836), "to bury in the aisle or middle passage of the church, and some of them below their own seats." The earliest dated gravestones now are from 1636.

When the present church was built in 1825 (tower 1829) it was the period of the "The Resurrectionists". The years roughly between 1810 and 1830 were the boom years for these body-snatchers who robbed recent graves and sold the bodies to the doctor surgeons in the growing medical schools of Edinburgh and Glasgow for anatomical dissection. Eventually a series or murders committed by Burke and Hare in Edinburgh, to provide the surgeons with yet more bodies, led to public outrage and the Government passed an Act in 1883 regulating by licence the schools of Anatomy. The mort safe, which required several men to lift, was placed over a newly interred coffin for several days when removed for re-use, while after a funeral a small group of relatives and church office bearers would mount a guard for several nights in the watch house, often armed with an ancient blunderbuss to strengthen their courage.

Cadder Graveyard

Inside the church you will see many beautiful stained glass windows donated in memory of members of the congregation. The earliest stained glass window in Cadder was installed on 10th May 1891 in memory of Alice Holden Gardner, daughter of John and Alice Gardner. This window was originally in the wall above the pulpit prior to the building of the chancel in 1908.

History Information Available

The minute books of the Kirk Session of Cadder date from 1688. There is a blank period from 8 May 1737 to 27 March 1791. The originals are lodged in register House in Edinburgh.

The old parish registers span the following dates

  • Births - 1662-1854
  • Deaths - none
  • Marriages - 1663-1854