St Barr, Northbay
St Barr’s is one of those unexpectedly magical churches. Going in, I was instantly taken aback, for most of its tall lancet windows contain simple, yellow glass. As a result, everything is bathed in the most glorious amber light, creating a truly uplifting atmosphere.
The church was completed in 1906 and was constructed using grey, local stone. Sitting ashore of Northbay’s small natural harbour, it was designed by Woulfe Brenan who was also responsible for Our Lady, Star of the Sea Church at nearby Castlebay. Brenan was born in 1844 and was a pupil of William Wilson of Queen’s Square, Westminster. After his apprenticeship, Brenan worked as an assistant to civil engineer, Sir John Fowler, who specialised in the construction of railways and their infrastructure. In 1882 he moved to Oban and set up an independent practise as an architect and civil engineer. He later had offices in Glasgow where he was joined by a partner, Hunter, working such buildings as St Bride’s RC Church at West Kilbride and the Oban Distilery.