ST. PETERS CHURCH
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
The marble used came from many different
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
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
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 :-
Saturday Vigil ----------6.30 pm
Sunday Mass ---------10.00 am
Resident Priest ---------Mgr.E.P.Traynor
St.Ninian's Tynet is served from
Sunday Mass -----------8.30 am
St.Gregory's Tynet is served from
Mass Times as Announced.