The large red sandstone building we all know as the West Church was completed in 1901 and replaced an earlier church, built in 1724, as the Parish Church, with the older building being used as the church hall.
The ruins of an earlier 15th century church, St Katherine's, is located within the church grounds, as is the grave of Robert 'Habbie' Simpson, the famous 16th century piper from whom the natives of the village take the honourary title of 'Habbies'.
The Parish Church became Kilbarchan: West Parish in 1929 when their neighbours rejoined the established church and became Kilbarchan East thus giving Kilbarchan two Church of Scotland congregations.
Kilbarchan East congregation began as a protest against the system of "patronage", whereby a local land owner would have the right of "presenting" a Minister to the parish. The "Presbytery for the Relief of Conscience" was a breakaway from the Church of Scotland.
The congregation of the Relief church first met on the 28th of May 1786. The following Sunday the congregation was recognised by the “Presbytery of Relief” when the minister, Mr Bell, preached in the open air in the Steeple Knowe to 1000 people. The foundation stone of the Church building was laid in March 1787 with the congregation worshipping in the unfurnished Kirk a year later.
It remained a relief church until 1847 when the Secession united to form the United Presbyterian Church which in 1900 joined with the Free Church of Scotland to form the United Free Church of Scotland. With subsequent union with the established Church in October 1929 it was agreed that the church be known as Kilbarchan East Church of Scotland.
Kilbarchan West Parish and Kilbarchan East Church joined together in 2015 to form Kilbarchan Parish Church. The service of union took place in the West Church on 15th December 2015. Worship is now conducted in the former East Church buildings.
Kilbarchan Parish Church
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