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ST. PETERS CHURCH

BUCKIE.

On 7th August 1857, the Banffshire Journal carried the following notice " Opening of New Catholic Cathedral"

" The new Catholic Cathedral at Buckie was opened by the Rt Rev Bishop Kyle assisted by Rev Wm Clapperton who was the first missionary therein"

Such was the plain statement of the opening of the Church. After the Reformation, when the practise of the Catholic Religion was forbidden, there were many Catholics in the Enzie area, and the Statistical records of 1834 show that there were around 400 at that time in Buckie alone. For many years, these Buckie Catholics had been active members of Preshome Parish, but as Buckie was now growing as a centre, the case for its own Church grew stronger.

In 1832, some three years after the passing of the Act of Catholic Emancipation, the Trades Hall, located in what is now Cluny Square, was leased and opened as a Chapel on Trinity Sunday. Thus was the beginning of the Congregation which was to develop into the present St.Peters.

In January 1850, Bishop Kyle negotiated with Sir William Gordon, Baronet of Letterfourie, ( who together with his brother, are buried in the church) for ground to build a new Church. This was agreed and sufficient ground was marked off to accommodate a Church with an adjacent House for the Priest, and for a School.

Following a design conceived by Bishop Kyle and the young Architect, Alexander Ellis, (who subsequently designed St.Mary's Cathedral in Aberdeen) the foundations were laid in 1851 and completed in 1857, with Father Clapperton as Parish Priest.

The resulting fine Gothic Church with its prominent west front ( said to be a reduced version of that of Elgin Cathedral) with its twin towers and spires, has become one of the Landmarks of the area.

The grandeur of the exterior of St.Peters is matched by the richness of the interior, which has been much enhanced in later years.

The interior is unusually light, with clerestory windows along the length of the nave, and a large Gothic window in the west front above the choir. and a rose window in the east gable.

Although his Church was a "handsome edifice", Father Clapperton nevertheless made many improvements.

In 1865 he opened the School, and in time for Christmas 1867, a new Organ was installed.

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Parish, the Congregation presented Fr. Clapperton with 200 pounds which he spent in enhancing the two side altars with marble. This was the beginnings of the interior marble work, now such a feature of the present St Peter's.

Fr McIntosh became Parish Priest in 1890, and began to plan and raise funds, to embelish and enlarge the Church.

The work duly started in 1906, and included an extension to the Chancel, a new High Altar, new Altar Rail, Baptistry, and an additional Arch, which was formed in what was formerly the east gable wall.

The marble used came from many different sources.

The altar rail has bands of Bleu Beige, Irish green and Skyros marble on top, St.Sylvester and white Sicilian underneath.

The beautiful High Altar is predominately Pavenezzo, green Swiss, and Langeudoc marbles, with the ornamental parts of it, and the Reredos in Caen stone.

The Altar and Reredos were designed by Charles Menart, ( the Architect responsible for the dome of St Thomas Keith) and form a fitting focal point at the end of the nave.

The end result of these alterations and additions has resulted in a Sanctuary which must be one of the most cohesive and asthetically pleasing in the Diocese.

During this work, the thirteen foot diameter rose window was transferred intact from the old gable to the new.

In 1910, a new pulpit was constructed, incorporating a handsomely carved timber canopy, which complemented the decorative frames of the "Stations of The Cross", which date from 1891 and are a feature of the side aisles.

A few years later, this elegant interior was completed and enriched by the application of marble facings to the lower sections of the walls of the side aisles.

During 1957, the centenary year of St.Peter's, a set of new distinctive wrought iron gates were installed to re-place those which had been removed during the second World War.

Following Vatican 11, in order to accommodate the new Liturgy, the altar and reredos were most skillfully separated, with the altar being brought forward to the position it now occupies.

Despite maintenance over the years, a detailed survey arranged by Father Traynor, highlighted that major repairs to the flaking sandstone walls, the supporting buttresses, the roof and leadwork, were necessary. A Restoration Committee was formed, whose fund raising, together with grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, and from the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust, gathered the 700,000+ necessary to carry out the work.

On 14 th June 1999 Messrs Hall and Tawse started work on site, and after many months, with the expensive, but essential work more or less complete, it was most rewarding to see St.Peter's slowly emerging from its "cloak of scaffolding", ready to face the elements with confidence, for the future.

On completion, a service of thanksgiving was celebrated by Bishop Conti on the 15th of August 2000.

After Mass, the Jubilee 2000 Tapestry, made up from the individual panels sewn by, and representing every Deanery and most of the Parishes of the Diocese, and which had taken exactly 12 months to complete was unveiled by Bishop Conti.

The Tapestry will travel round every Parish of the Diocese before returning to a permanent location in St.Peter's.

In 1999, at the time that the existing organ was considered to be uneconomical to repair, it transpired that the historic organ at Fort Augustus had became available due to the closure of the Monastery. St.Peter's Church being in the fortunate position of having an Organ Fund, which was created through a generous legacy from a parishioner, was able to arrange for the purchase of this instrument.

Messrs Rushworth & Dreaper were engaged to transfer and rebuild the organ in the Choir Loft. The Installation and tuning were sufficiently advanced for the Organ to be played for the first time at Midnight Mass on 24th Dec. 2000.

During 2001, a number of internal alterations were made, including removal of the little used pulpit, (parts of which have been re-used within the Church), and re-carpeting the main Church floor. The Sanctuary floor has been relaid with marble using tiles from Spain, Portugal and Italy. This was the first addition to the marble work of St.Peter's since 1911.

On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, 29th June 2001, and 150 years since the foundation stone was laid, Bishop Conti led the congregation in a service of rededication.

Times of Mass :-

St.Peter's Church

Saturday Vigil ----------6.30 pm

Sunday Mass ---------10.00 am

Resident Priest ---------Mgr.E.P.Traynor

St.Ninian's Tynet is served from St.Peter's

Sunday Mass -----------8.30 am

St.Gregory's Tynet is served from St.Peter's

Mass Times as Announced.