The Old West Kirk there is a brass plaque which lists its
ministers from 1591 to 1832: the heading is a reminder of
its historic beginning:
Charter of King James VI
Given at Holyrood House November 18th, 1589 This Church
by Sir John Shaw
of Greenock in 1591.
are the Ministers of the Church:
John Layng (1598)
James Taylor (1640)
Niel Gillies (1679)
David Turner (1721)
Disused in 1841
after having been for 250 years
the Parish Church
and for (150) of these
the only church in
re-opened on Christmas Day 1864
liberality of the parishioners."
Presented by James
here July 21st, 1865.
Near the plaque
is recorded details of the minister who succeeded the
Rev. J. Rankine:
"In memory of
the Rev. Alexander Erskine Shand, M.A., who died May 3rd,
1897 and was for upward of 22 years The Esteemed Minister
of this Church.
On the north wall, within the church is secured a
plaque dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Donald
Morrison, M.A., minister in Greenock for twenty one years
and first minister of the union between The Old West Kirk
and St. Columba Gaelic Church.
In 1979, he was
called upon to unite the two congregations. His successor
in the charge paid him this warm tribute on behalf of the
congregation. "That the union of these two congregations
has proved to be so successful and happy is in no small
degree due to the gentle influence of Rev. Donald
Morrison. His pastoral care and concern for all members
did much to create a sense of unity and fellowship within
The Old West Kirk. The Kirk Session and Members recognise
with gratitude to God their indebtedness to the man,
whose glad endeavours for Christ, fostered within them to
resolve to become one people for the worship of God and a
witness to His Grace. The congregation will long remember
its debt to the Rev. Donald Morrison.
The plaque, gifted
by the Morrison family to The Old West Kirk in 1992,
interestingly lists the names of all the ministers who
served both congregations.
Alex. E. Shand,
Adam Currie, M.A.
John Morrison, M.A.
John Banks, B.D.
James T. Fields,
M.A., B.D., S.T.M. (1989)
During the War
Years, the Reverend Philp served in the Forces. His
replacement during 1939 - 1945 was the Rev. K.
The Rev. John Morrison was
ordained and inducted to the Holy Ministry in The Old
West Kirk on Wednesday 16th June, 1948.
Prior to this, The Rev. John
Morrison was Assistant Minister at New Kilpatrick Church,
Bearsden, having just completed his training for the
ministry at Glasgow University and Trinity
He was well loved and respected
by all his congregation and served The Old West Kirk
faithfully until his death at Easter 1969.
The building of the John
Morrison Youth Hall was the dream child of the minister,
and the men of the church worked tirelessly to turn the
minister's dream into reality. The new extension was
opened in 1965.
Rev. Robert Urquhart (1912 - 1982)
The Rev. Robert Urquhart's first
charge was at Ferryden, Montrose (1943), where he became
the friend of the fisherfolk. During this time he and his
wife Mary went to serve with the Church of Scotland Huts
and Canteens in Germany.
In 1949 Rev. Robert Uquhart was
called to Raploch in Stirling where there was no church
building, only a hall which served as a meeting place for
organisations during the week and for worship on Sundays.
His ministry was so successful that it was decided that a
church be built. - St. Mark's which could be regarded as
a memorial to Robert Uquhart.
In 1959, Rev. Robert Uquhart was
called to Bonnethill Church in Dundee - a congregation
which he eventually built up to over 1200
In 1970 the Rev. Robert Uquhart
was inducted as minister of Greenock North Church (The
Old West Kirk) which he served until his retiral in 1978.
He was an excellent pastor who delighted in visiting the
homes of all his members.
Mr. Uquhart never sought the
limelight but was always a conscientious, diligent and
Mr. Uquhart's quotation in the
'Exit Dinner' Programme for 1942 of the Glasgow
University and Trinity College Faculty of Divinity reads
nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and
The Rev. John Banks was ordained
in 1980 to the ministry of The Old West Kirk, having come
from Netherlee Parish Church.
He became a popular minister and
In 1988, the Rev. John Banks
received a call from Ailsa Hospital in Ayr to act as
The Rev. James T. Fields became
minister of The Old West Kirk in 1989, subsequent to him
having been Associate Minister for our extended
Rev. James T. Fields is a Glaswegian. Before coming to
Greenock, he spent two years in New York as an Assistant
Minister and as a student at the Theological Seminary of
New York, where he gained his Degree of Master of Sacred
Rev. James Fields while finding pleasure in anything to
do with the "Arts", his keenest interest is in music, in
all its related forms.
Rev. Ian Johnson
has been minister of The Old West Kirk since June 1997.
His family connections are with Tyneside and Renfrewshire
- how many times must he have been at the Esplanade in
his youth, quite unsuspecting...?
from St. Andrews, 13 years in Banking in Greater
Manchester, Birmingham and London served as a good
apprenticeship for what was to follow. He studied for the
ministry in Glasgow, gained practical experience in
Bearsden, Clydebank and inner city Glasgow.
Ian is married with