St Bride’s is a community of Christians of all ages and from all walks of life, who share their faith in God together in Glasgow’s west end. Above all, we are committed to making St Bride’s a warm, welcoming and friendly place for everyone who visits us, for whatever reason. People with faith, people with none, and those who are exploring aspects of their spiritual life – we want all of you to be a part of our community. We welcome everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, colour or creed, and hope to see you in person soon!
Prayerfulness is a fundamental part of what St Bride’s is all about; services of reflection and prayer are offered in the church throughout week, not just on Sundays. The church is an oasis of calm in the bustling, lively west end of the city. Come inside to just sit and enjoy the quietness, pray, have a look at the architecture and stained glass windows, or listen to beautiful music.
We try to help others wherever we can. This could be by simply offering a listening ear, collecting items for a foodbank or knitting clothes for babies living in deprived areas of the world. There are lots of opportunities for you to get involved! See our Links page to learn about the charities we support.
Music is a vital part of life at St Bride’s, and underpins our worship from week to week. Our choir sings a range of beautiful music for all services throughout the year. We always welcome new members, and Choral Scholarships are available; see our Choir page to find out more. St Bride’s, with its excellent acoustic, is used frequently for concerts and occasionally for recordings. We are currently raising funds to restore our wonderful, 150-year-old organ; see our Organ and Events pages for more information.
St Bride’s Episcopal Church is part of the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, one of the seven historic Dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC). The SEC is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, an association of churches in full communion with the Church of England, and specifically with its Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The SEC has also entered into several formal agreements with churches across Europe, such as the Porvoo Agreement (with Nordic and Baltic churches), and has close links with other British denominations.
In 1891, Bishop William Harrison agreed to a proposal by a group of business and professional men for the creation of a church in the Kelvinside area of Glasgow. An arrangement was made for them to have the use of a small wooden chapel which had been in the grounds of Douglas Castle, South Lanarkshire. A plot of land was provided for the church, in Beaconsfield Road.
Between 1891 and 1893, this mission was served by curates from St Mary’s Cathedral, but by 1893 it was ready to support its own priest-in-charge. Fr Theodore Younghughes was appointed and the church was dedicated to St Bride of Kildare, patron saint of the Douglas family.
On 5 November 1899, the wooden church of St Bride was moved by a traction engine to a new site on the Hyndland Estate. Plans for a permanent church were commissioned from the well known church architect George Frederick Bodley. Work on the chancel began in 1903 and on the nave in 1906. The church was dedicated in 1907. Work on the rest of the church, however, was hampered by a lack of funds and a growing dissatisfaction with the workmanship of the original contractors.
With the appointment of Fr Edward Reid in 1910, St Bride’s fortunes were reversed. The son of a successful locomotive engineer, Reid funded necessary repairs to the nave and the construction of the tower and the north aisle. The church was finally consecrated on 1 February 1915, but the proposed south aisle was never built. This gives the interior of the church today a distinctive shape, with the Lady Chapel at the left and the main nave to the right.
Saint Bride of Kildare, Abbess
St Bride (or Brigit/Brigid in Ireland) c. 451 – 525, is one of Ireland’s patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. She was an early Irish Christian nun, abbess and founder of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and revered. Amongst many other things, she is the patron saint of scholars, travellers and mariners. This is reflected in the fact that one of the charities we support is the Mission to Seafarers. The feast day of St Bride is 1 February, or Candlemas. The distinctive cross of St Bride was, according to the legend, woven from reeds or rushes by the saint so that she could convert a dying man. Read more about St Bride here.
It is said that the Hebrides are named after her, hence her name ‘Bride of the Isles’. Legend has her arriving on the shores of South Uist with an oystercatcher bird (gille-Brihde, the servant of St Bride) on each wrist. West Kilbride has her arriving on the shores of Ayrshire in the 6th century, where Kilbride River meets the sea. She was allegedly buried at the Abernethy Kirk of St Bride, before being transported back to Ireland. According to myth, St Bride was locked in Ben Nevis for three months of winter, before being rescued by Aonghas of the White Steed on the first of February.
St Bride is also said to have been carried by angels from Iona to Bethlehem, to be midwife to Mary, at the birth of Jesus. Another ingredient in the mix is a prehistoric settlement named Balbridie near Banchory, which has been dated to around 3600 BC, which points to an earlier Brigid. This might be the legendary Brighid, the Ancient British Goddess, to whom wells, springs and rivers may have been dedicated in pre-Christian times.
Our monthly church magazine, which you can read on this website via the link on the Welcome page, is called The Oystercatcher. This lovely coastal bird (Haematopus ostralegus), from the family of waders, represents the devotion and spirituality of St Bride beautifully. It is notable for its striking black and white plumage, its stout, straight, orange beak, and for its voice which can be identified by strident pipings and kleep calls. Click here for more information about the oystercatcher.
The oystercatcher has long been associated with St Bride, as outlined above. When St Bride was becalmed at sea, oystercatchers flew to her boat and by the beating of their wings, filled the sails of the boat so that she could sail safely to land. From the same legend, or another legend drawing from it, St Bride sends oystercatchers to guide sailors to safety.
The information on Saint Bride of Kildare is taken from the Introduction to ‘CIRCLE OF BRIGHT LIGHT – The 30 St Bride and St Brigid Churches in Scotland Consecrated and in Use’, compiled by Heather Upfield, May 2011.