Architects and Builders
A London architect, William Wardell (1823-1899), was entrusted with the design of the church. Smith of Darnick was chosen for the construction of random rubble and sandstone dressings.
The Main Body Of The Church
The massive buttresses required to support the force of such a large roof, rather than being built on the outside of the church were brought within the walls of the building, as at King's College Cambridge. They thus formed a series of recesses, which open into the body of the church through lower arches. These serve as side chapels, confessionals and vestry.
Stained Glass Windows
The interior contains pointed arcades, decorative carving, painted and stenciled walls and an open timber ceiling. On entering the church and looking towards the High Altar with its lofty spire one can see two large stained glass windows surmounted by a spherical window, which has a representation of the Crucifixion as its central light.
Altars and Statues
There are seven side altars and nine statues in the church. Beginning from the right hand side of the church (Epistle side) the statue to the side of the main door is of Our Lady of Sorrows. Directly in front on the facing column is a small bust and plaque to Mr. Hope Scott, patron and benefactor of this church. (Please refer to page 7 for the inscription)
The first altar on the Epistle side is to St. Joseph and has a fine statue of the saint on the altar. There is a tablet on the column to Father John Pittar S.J. who died in the parish on the 24th July 1889 aged 52. Father Pittar is buried in the Eastland Cemetery, Galashiels.
Our Lady of Lourdes is the next altar on this side of the church. It was erected in 1884/85 and on the altar is a beautiful statue of Our Lady. On the opposite wall is the Lourdes Banner carried by the parish on its pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2002.
The adjoining altar is to St. Patrick and was erected in 1866 by donations from the congregation. It was built by Mr. Currie of Darnick who also carved the statue of MungoPark the explorer from Selkirk. A tablet on the wall gives the following information:
In honour of the great Apostle of the Irish, the altar in this chapel, used for the first time on the 22nd July 1866, in presence of the Right Reverend Francis Kerril Amherst, Bishop of Northampton, and a great concourse of the faithful, and solemnly consecrated on the 24th March 1867, by the Right Reverend John Strain, D. D. Bishop of Abila and Vicar Apostolic of the Eastern District of Scotland was erected by his children and clients in Galashiels, Selkirk, Louder, Earlston, Stow, Melrose, Darnick, Midlem, etc.
Lady Chapel and Polish Window
Standing beside the High Altar, is a beautiful Lady Chapel, gifted by Charlotte Sophia Hope-Scott of Abbotsford from the sale of her private jewellery. Mrs. Hope-Scott gave generously to charitable institutions, especially the orphanage under The Sisters of Norwood. She is remembered as having disposed of, for the purchase of the orphanage, a precious ornament given to her by her husband, and which had once belonged to Empress Josephine. A portion of this money was reserved, however, for a Lady Altar in the Church of Our Lady and St. Andrew, Galashiels.
The Lady Chapel is the last altar on this side of the church and it contains a triptych, handsomely carved in stone, depicting the Madonna and Child, the Annunciation, and the Visitation. The brass plate on the wall reads,
Pray for the soul of Charlotte Hope-Scott of Abbotsford born January 1st. 1828, died October 26th 1858, who, by the sale of her jewels, provided this altar of Our Lady.
The statue of Saint Michael the Archangel on the high altar was donated to the church by Maxwell Scott in memory of his son Michael who died at a very young age. The High Altar has a lofty spire, forming a magnificent throne for the Blessed Sacrament. It was executed by Mr. Earp of London and fills the space between the two large windows. On either side of the altar
Work was carried out to the sacristy in 1864 to provide cupboards and vesting-tables. Above the sacristy entrance is a picture of the Sacred Heart.
There are eight pediments on the buttresses in the nave, four on either side. On the Gospel side looking from the High Altar are St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Margaret (Queen of Scotland), St. Stanislaus, and St. Winefrida. On the Epistle side looking from the Altar are St. Monica, St. Colomba, St. Birgitta, and St. Aloysius.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, 1491-1556
He founded the Jesuit order in 1537. St. Ignatius died on 31st July 1556 and was canonised in 1622. He was made patron of spiritual exercises and retreats by Pope Pius XI. His feast day is on 31st July.
St. Margaret (Queen of Scotland), 1046-1093
She was the wife of King Malcolm III of Scotland and helped to reform the Church in Scotland, promulgating Easter communion and Sunday observance. She played a prominent role in the foundation of monasteries, churches and hostels. She died aged 47 and was subsequently named patron of Scotland in 1673. Her feast day is on 16th November.
St. Stanislaus Kosta, 1550-1568
He was born in Poland and educated by the Jesuits in Vienna. He later walked 350 miles to Rome in order to join the Jesuit order, which he entered at 17, sadly dying after 9 months. A model religious in all respects, he was canonised in 1726. His feast day is on 13th November.
St. Winefrida (7th century)
She was a Welsh virgin who was Abbess of a nunnery at Holywell in North Wales, which became a site of pilgrimage. Her relics are at Shrewsbury and her feast day is on 3rd November.
St. Monica, 332-387
The mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. She was revered as a model for Christian mothers and her feast day is kept on 27th August.
St Colomba, Abbot, 521-597
He founded monasteries in Derry (546) and Durrow (556) before leaving for lona with 12 companions to work among the Picts. He was seen as a leader of the Irish in Scotland.
St. Birgitta, Patron of Sweden, 1303-1373
She founded the order of Birgettine nuns and monks. They had up to 70 houses, of which there are still twelve in the world including one in Devon. She was canonised for her virtue and her feast day is on 23rd July.
St Aloysius 1568-1591
He was the son of a wealthy Spanish family who became a Jesuit, being professed in 1587. Whilst nursing the sick in a plague hospital in 1591 he caught the disease and only partially recovered, dying on 21st June of that year. He is remembered for his single minded devotion to God, and was canonised in 1726. He was declared patron of youth in 1729. His feast day is 21st June.
Altar to the Sacred Heart
In 1890 the little Altar to the Sacred Heart, with its statue was erected. The Warmemorial to members of the parish who died in World War 1 was commissioned in 1919 and was designed by F. Osborne and Co. Ltd. Thechapel contains a painting containing several figures, possibly Elizabeth and ayoung John the Baptist with Mary, Joseph, and the boy Jesus. This is a reproduction of uncertain date.
Altar to St. Francis Xavier
The St. Francis Xavier Altar is made from Caen stone, richly and decoratively carved with incidents from the life of St. Francis Xavier. It has minutely chiselled flowers and angels. It was the gift of Lord and Lady Henry Kerr of Huntlyburn, the parents of Fathers William and Schomberg Kerr, S. J. and of Mother Henrietta Kerr, a nun of the Sacred Heart Congregation. The chapel has one painting on display, an oil on canvas of the Adoration of the Infant Jesus.
The three small windows contain the figures of three Jesuit saints, who are, looking from left to right, St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, and the third is unknown. The brass plate beside the altar is inscribed,
Of your charity, pray for the souls of Lord Henry Francis Charles Kerr, who died March 7th, 1882 and of Louisa Dorothea, his wife who died January 18th, 1884, the donors of this altar, and for their family, for whom an annual mass is founded in perpetuity.
In 1884 the two confessionals now in use were built and the wooden boxes formerly used were discarded. The statue of St. Anthony by Henri Gerard was placed in the church in 1904, and on the opposite wall is a triptych containing a portrait, Ecce Homo.
The Oratory was completed in the 1990's whilst Monsignor Murray was Parish Priest, and it is used regularly on weekdays for services. It has a small brass plaque in memory of the Monsignor's parents. The picture on the inner wall is an unusual depiction of Christ Baptising. The painting on the rear wall of the Oratory is the Presentation in the Temple (Bellini), which was executed by George Richmond, a parishioner, in 1962 and presented to the church in 2001.
Stations of the Cross
On holiday in the Venezia department in north-east Italy, the late Lady Maxwell-Scott visited a church where she observed an artist painting. He explained to her that these were paintings of the Stations of the Cross for a church in the Venice area. Her admiration for these paintings, however, was so great that he offered to copy a set for her family's private chapel at Abbotsford House. The work of the unknown artist was similar in style to the VeroneseSchool of Painting, employing similar techniques, colour and style to that of the VenetianSchool. When fitted into their wooden frames, made to complement this style of painting, they were brought to Abbotsford and hung on the walls of the small chapel. Unfortunately, fourteen paintings were too many and unsuitable for its size. They remained there, however, until theopening of St. Columba's College, Newtown St. Boswells, at which time Sir Walter Maxwell-Scott donated them to the White Fathers for their chapel.
On the closure of the seminary, the White Fathers asked Canon Corcoran where an appropriate home might be found for these excellent paintings. He replied that they would be most suitable for his church in Galashiels, and was delighted to be offered them.
West End of the Church and Organ
The west end of the church, which looks towards Market Street and the town, has a great towering window with five lights topped with an ornamental circular window. It is flanked by two lofty octagonal turrets whilst beneath them runs an arcade passing the two entrance doors and pierced by some smaller windows. The gallery which forms a beautiful feature is carried along three handsome arches and in 1903 the organ was installed by E.H.Lawton, organ builder.
The picture on the wall below is of Christ on the Cross, which is possibly by a Flemish or other European artist and is over 250 years old. There is also a small picture of Jimmy McArdle together with his Bene Merenti medal, which was presented to him by the Pope. Jimmy was a great servant of the parish for most of his life and died in 2001.