Coalburn Parish Church

Original Church

Original Coalburn Church from 1900s

The first building opened in 1893 as a Mission Station of Abbeygreen Church, Lesmahagow, and by 1895 it was a fully sanctioned charge.

This building, made of corrugated iron and lined with wood, was destroyed by fire in 1918 and replaced in 1922 by the current building.

sunday  school outing 1914

Sunday School Outing from the original church in c. 1914

It is not certain what happened at this outing, but this report from the Hamilton Advertiser in 1918 gives an indication of what normally happened at a Sunday School Outing:-

Coalburn United Free Church On Saturday, June 29th, the children of the Sabbath School connected with this congregation had their annual summer trip. By the kindness of Miss Greenshields, the field adjoining the Westoun Planting, as in former occasions, was placed at the disposal of the children.

Assembling in large numbers at the Masonic Hall, the bright processon, with flags waving and in exuberant spirits, set out about one o' clock. The march was most enjoyable. Arriving at the field about two o' clock, the whole afternoon was spent in the most delightful summer amusements. Refreshments of tea and bread were served at intervals. The local Brass Band accompanied the trip, and added greatly to the day.

Rebuilt Church

Sunday School outside rebuilt church in 1920s

This photo shows the rebuilt church in the 1920s with the entire Sunday School assembled for a photograph prior to an outing.

Coalburn Church c1970

Coalburn Church in c.1970

Coalburn Church 1985

Coalburn Church in 1985. Notice that the somewhat derelict building to the right of the church in the previous image has become the Coalburn Silver Band Hall.

Inside Coalburn Church in 1993

Inside Coalburn Church in 1993. Photographer: Peter McLeish

Within the church there was a wall hanging depicting the village, past and present. This was completed by the children of the Sunday School to celebrate the church´s centenary in 1993.

Wall Hanging Inside Coalburn Church in 2001

Wall hanging commemorating the centenary of the church in 1993. Photographer: Peter McLeish


The church was refurbished in 2001 during which the wooden pews were removed. These were replaced by indivdual chairs which enabled the church to be used in different ways for other events. The wall hanging was refurbished for the re-dedication service, and two additional wall hangings were donated.

Inside Coalburn Church in 2001

Inside Coalburn Church in 2001

Outside Coalburn Church in 2001

The inside and outside of the church after refurbishment in 2001. Photographer: Peter McLeish

Ministers and change

During the 118 years of its existence, the church has been served by seven ministers. Rev. Brian Cross was minister of Coalburn Parish from 1961 to 1998.

Rev Brian Cross

Rev. Brian Cross. From the order of service for a Service of Thanksgiving for his life and witness held in the church on 17th May 2015, following his death a year earlier.

Following the retirement of the Reverend Brian Cross in July 1998, the church was linked with Lesmahagow Old Parish Church and shared a minister, who conducted a service at Lesmahagow at 10 am followed by a service at Coalburn at 12 noon. The last minister was Rev. Aileen Robson who served from 2003 to 2011. As a result of a shortage of qualified ministers in the Church of Scotland, no replacement was available and the church has been served by a succession of locum ministers.

In 2017, a further radical change combined the two churches in one parish, the Parish of Coalburn and Lesmahagow Old. The Interim Moderator of this parish is Mr Alan Grant, who had been locum minister for a number of years. A Service of Union for Lesmahagow Old Parish Church and Coalburn Parish Church was held on Thursday, September 28 2017 which was attended by the Presbytery of Lanark.

Coalburn Church Nov 2013. Photo: David Halls

Coalburn Church Nov 2013. Photographer: David Halls