Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert

Tarbert Parish Church sits atop a grassy hill that overlooks the town’s charming harbour where the ferries cross over from the mainland to Kintyre. There are nods throughout the church to the area’s fishing heritage, not only in the quaint Parish banner but also in the carvings of the Celebrant's chair and the lobster pot in the vestibule.

The church was built in 1886 on the site of an earlier 18th century mission church and is Romanesque in style, with rounded arches and windows and plain columns. The northeast tower is one hundred feet high and is topped with a lantern and crown. Inside, the nave ceiling is beautifully painted with an unusual pattern in shades of coral, turquoise and navy blue.

The church is the work of Glasgow architects, John McKissack & William Gardner Rowan of Glasgow.  McKissack and Rowan formed a partnership in 1872, with Rowan undertaking much of the design work side of the business. Rowan had a considerable affinity for Scots 15th century Gothic and 12th century Norman, the latter is reflected in his work at Tarbert. Rowan continued to work with McKissack until shortly after McKissack’s son, James, joined the practice in 1890.

There are two trios of stained-glass windows in the church, each comprising one round and two single lancet windows. In the main round window above the alter, Christ is shown standing between the inscriptions ‘O death, where is thy sting’ and ‘O grave, where is thy victory’. Beneath him is depicted the figures of Prayer and Praise. In the west aisle is a similar, albeit smaller configuration of glass, the central window of which shows an angel with outstretched raspberry red wings flanked by the figures of Hope and Faith.

1. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
2. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
3. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
4. West alise window
5. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
6. Nave ceiling
7. Inside the tower
8. Lobster pot
9. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
10. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
11. Parish banner
12. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
13. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
14. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
15. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
16. Celebrant's chair detail
17. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
18. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
19. Tarbert Parish Church, Tarbert
20. Inside the tower