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United Church of Bute


(Rothesay High Kirk)

A B-listed box at the rural southern end of the High Street in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, the United Church of Bute is the focus for presbyterian worship on the island. This was formerly the High Kirk, but was renamed after the five congregations of Ascog, Craigmore St. Brendan's, Kingarth and Kilchattan Bay, North Bute and Rothesay High Kirk came together in 1999 and buildings sold for conversion to residential use. Constructed in 1796 by a local architect, Robertson Buchanan, this was the third church to built on this site. His design involved a tower which was never built. Along with John Keppie (1862 - 1945), Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928) was involved in the design of a new entrance wing in 1907, which features a narrow pedimented front. The interior was reorganised 1905-06 and features fine stained glass by the studio of Stephen Adam (1848 - 1910).

The late-Mediaeval St. Mary's Chapel lies adjacent, now reroofed. Within the extensive graveyard is the Bute Mausoleum, which dates from the late 18th C. and was placed on the 'buildings at risk' register in 2007. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-92), who served as British Prime Minister, lies buried here. Other burials include hydraulic engineer Robert Thom (1774 - 1847), artist and garden designer Edward La Trobe Bateman (1815-97), Manchester-born organist and hymn-writer Benjamin St John Baptist Joule (1817-95), his wife Stephanie Hortense Marie Mathilde Elisabeth Amélie Bonaparte (1837-85), who may, or may not, have been a member of the French imperial dynasty, and Sir William Maxwell (1841 - 1923), a champion of the co-operative movement. The name of Lieutenant Henry 'Birdie' Bowers who died with Captain Scott in Antarctica in 1912 is recorded on his mother's stone.


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