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Parish History

The early years

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The beginnings

In 1859 a Catholic mission was set up in Chapelhall, the priest in charge being Father James Milne, from the Enzie, Banffshire; in his care were included the Catholics of the Holytown, Mossend, Bellshill area. Nine years later, in 1868, Father Milne opened a new chapel-school in Mossend, dedicated to the Holy Family. It is from that event that we date the beginnings of Mossend as a parish, though in fact Father Milne continued to be in charge of both Chapelhall and Mossend and indeed resided in Chapelhall for another two years or so after which he took up residence in the new presbytery built at Mossend. Eventually, in 1873, Chapelhall and Mossend became independent missions, Father Milne remaining in charge here until 1881.

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Rev. Fr. James Milne
Holy Family Church Mossend 1868 Drawing.
Our church building in 1868- now part of the parish centre.
1881- An extended school

During these years the population of the district was increasing rapidly. Evidence of this is to be seen in the fact that Father Michael Fox, who succeeded Father Milne in 1881, immediately set about the building of a large extension to the school, giving it an accommodation for 460 pupils. It had begun in 1868 with a roll of 140.

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1883- Building begins on a larger church
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Rev. Dr. Michael Fox
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Accommodation for church services, too, was no longer adequate and in 1883 work began on the erection of a new place of worship.

Holy Family was one of the earlier churches designed by P P Pugin, and was designed with a 124ft high broach spire that was unfortunately never completed. This was not due to financial reasons, but because objections raised by the Church of Scotland led to plans for the spire being refused.


Today you can still see the base of what would have held the church spire.

At the left of the church frontage you can see the large supports that were built to bear the weight of the spire, this was completed in the hope that one day the spire might be completed.

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Original Pugin Plan showing our completed church with spire.
1884- A new church for Mossend

The Scottish Catholic Directory for 1885 reports: "On 16th November (1884) there was opened at Mossend a very beautiful church designed by Messrs Pugin and Pugin of Westminster... one of the neatest, most chaste and elegant in this part of the country."

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Church image early 1900s.jpg
Church image early 1900s.jpg
Church image early 1900s.jpg
Church image early 1900s.jpg

Above -One of the earlies images we have of the inside of our church, taken in the early 1900's. Notice the original pugin paintwork around the high altar, the arches and the nave. The Original Chandelers, Sacred Heart Altar and Pulpit.

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