Laying of the Foundation Stone 1873






                                       (as reported in the Southport Visiter)

8th Earl of Kintore


An interesting ceremony was performed under auspicious circumstances on Tuesday afternoon. (30th November 1873).   For some time past the congregation of the English Presbyterian Church have conducted their services in the Town Hall, and arrangements were made by which they might worship in a church of their own, the memorial stone of which was laid on the above-named afternoon by the Right Hon. the Earl of Kintore, Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire.  Among those present were… Rev. J. Laurence Rentoul, Rev. T.F. Forfar,   Rev. R.H.Lundi, Dr Morgan and other important  invited guests plus a large party of ladies and general spectators.  The space was decorated with flags, and the arrangements were satisfactorily carried out, although there was a good deal of unpleasant crowding around the Earl at times. The building committee comprised Dr Morgan,, Messrs Anderson,  Bannerman.  A Greer, Selby and Sutherland.

Just before the hour named for the performance of the ceremony, the Earl of Kintore, accompanied by Dr Morgan, arrived at the church and was received at the porch by the officers of the church.   His lordship proceeded to the spot where the stone was to be laid, in the north wall, and the proceedings commenced with the singing of the dedication hymn.

Spirit of glory and of grace,      Thy favour we entreat

At the conclusion of the hymn, the Rev. W. Graham M.A., read appropriate passages from Scripture, and the Rev. R.H. Lundi  M.A. of Liverpool offered up the dedication prayer.

The Rev. J. Laurence Rentoul, addressing his Lordship, said the Presbyterians of Southport sincerely thanked him for coming to their town of Southport to lay the memorial stone of their new church.   They were glad that the ceremony was to be performed by the head of the noble houses of Keith and Falconer, and they still more rejoiced that it was performed by one who had a real and earnest belief in the truths which that building represented.   They hoped that the motto of his lordship’s house “Quae amissa salva” (what has been lost is safe) would be the motto of that house of God, and that its people would live the earnest life of practical goodness, like him who was to lay the memorial stone.

It was their intention to present his Lordship with a silver trowel, the purity of which would have marked the sincerity of their esteem for him, but he (the Earl) had asked the committee to omit that part of the ceremony, and in its place, had preferred a much nobler gift. 

He had therefore simply to request his Lordship to lay the memorial stone with an honest workman’s trowel.  Handing the Earl of Kintore, the bottle above referred to, the Rev. J.L. Rentoul said –I beg you my lord, to place this bottle in the receptacle within the memorial stone.  On behalf of the Presbyterians of Southport and in the name of the Presbyterian Church of England, of Jesus Christ, its only king and head, I request you to lay the memorial stone of St. George’s Presbyterian Church.”

The Earl of Kintore, in responding, briefly said he should reserve any further remarks until presently.The memorial stone was then laid, the bottle deposited in the cavity, and was covered with lead. The Earl was assisted in his new capacity of stonemason by Mr Wishart (one of the contractors engaged in the erection of the new church), and Mr Greenwood. The Earl having laid the stone in a thoroughly workmanlike manner, gave the finishing tap, and said: “I have great pleasure in announcing that my portion of the ceremony is performed.  I hope the memorial stone of this church has been laid long ago, not in the outward walls, but in that which we must present to our Lord, the inward and grateful hearts of this people.”

A thanksgiving hymn was then sung, “Praise ye, the Lord, praise the Lord most holy etc”

The first portion of the afternoon’s proceedings having been brought to a conclusion, as far as the actual laying of the stone was concerned, the audience betook themselves to a platform erected at the eastern end of the Church.  The Earl of Kintore occupied a prominent place in the centre of the platform, and was surrounded by many of those ministers and laymen whose names appear above.

The Earl of Kintore then spoke and some of his words were Longing as he did for agreement among all the churches, he hoped to live to see the day when the clergy of the different persuasions of Christians would meet on one common platform to declare the same Gospel truth.” (Applause).  There was one way in which they could meet at once, and that was in evangelistic work. (Applause)

His Lordship concluded by thanking them for having presented him with a beautiful Bible, and he thanked the dear children for the bouquet they had given him.  These children were clothed in white; might they ever be clothed in that Redeemer’s robe which should make them whiter that snow.  His Lordship turning around, said “God bless you all, every one of you”.

(Later in the report it stated that   …….  The little girls…. were five only in number instead of six, one of their number being absent through illness.  The five were dressed in white, with consummate taste… (their demeanour reflected the greatest possible credit to their parents.)

.The Earl knelt down and kissed each of the children who returned his lordship’s salute amidst applause……….

.In olden times the saints saluted each other with a holy kiss and although that kiss was now properly limited to little children he would take advantage of exercising his prerogative as a father……..

Then many others spoke.

The Rev. R.H. Lundi in the name of the Presbytery of Liverpool, spoke and ended by saying that he begged to present his heartiest congratulations to the congregation in the auspicious work done that day.

The Rev. J. L. Rentoul remarked that he was a strict Presbyterian, and he desired them to remember that Presbyterianism was in England no foreign thing. (Hear hear).

Presbyterianism was at one-time England’s established form of worship where they were then standing.  Although the form of Presbyterian worship would be adhered to yet from the pulpit which would be built, nothing of sectarianism would be enunciated. (Applause). 

The blessed Gospel was preached and so it would be his effort to preach that which would go to the heart of people of every denomination, his doctrine being Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (Applause).  He expressed his thanks to the Earl of Kintore for coming all the way from Aberdeenshire to show the interest he felt in their Church, and his obligations to the company assembled for their presence on that occasion.

The Rev. T.F. Forfar pronounced the benediction, and the proceedings were brought to a close.

A DESCRIPTION OF ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH followed, but, as the Southport Visiter reported,  the “corner stone” of which was so satisfactorily laid by a Scot Nobleman who has proved himself to be one of the most considerate and kind hearted of men.

The Earl concluded by saying God bless the clergy of all branches of the Christian Church; and “right glad am I to understand that in Southport you all work so well together.”    (Applause).

Dr Morgan (one of the Vice-Chairmen) replied to the sentiment, as one of the oldest members – perhaps the oldest member – of the Presbyterian Church in Southport.

He had watched the progress of the building from time to time; and, as he passed down Lord Street, he had seen tier upon tier laid upon the foundations of the Presbyterian Church; and he trusted tier upon tier of spiritual masonry would be raised up within its walls, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.  (Hear, hear). He did not believe in success according to the usual acceptation of that term.  It was not success in numbers or in crowded churches that determined the success of any individual church. 

The success of a Christian Church, lay not in its numbers, but in the living word getting entrance into living hearts prepared to do all, to brave all, and to dare all in the service of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Luther did more real service for the church of Christ by his works, than if he had crowded all the churches of Germany with multitudes of men and women

Inscription in the Bible presented to the Earl of Kintore

Presented to the Rt Hon. The Earl of Kintore, on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of St. George’s Church, Southport 30th November 1873.  “For he loveth our nation, and He has built our synagogue” Luke 7. v5.

Dinner at the Victoria hotel   An excellent dinner was provided later in the day at the Victoria Hotel.  The manager (Mr Baker) as he always does, placed a splendid repast upon the table and received well merited compliments for his admirable catering.   because it was a religious ordinance there should be no “toasts” drunk or responded to (Hear, hear) The desired to give a few “sentiments” which would be connected with the meaning or gist of their meeting. (Hear, hear)

THE MEETING IN THE MUSIC HALL.  At seven o’clock in the evening a large number assembled in the Music Hall, Portland Street to hear addresses from Lord Kintore and several ministers and laymen.  On the platform were his lordship and invited guests.The Rev. J.L.RENTOUL occupied the chair, but not being present just at the time of commencement, the Rev. R.H. Lundi opened the meeting by the singing of a hymn, after which he offered up an appropriate and impressive prayer.The Rev. J. Laurence Rentoul having arrived in the meantime, said he had to thank the Rev Mr Lundie for opening the meeting during his absence.  He wanted to give them a very brief summary of that which they had been doing that day.