St Kessog

Saint Kessog, also known as Saint Kessoc or MacKessog, lived from about 460 to 10 March 520, though there is some doubt about these dates. We have seen sources that give his date of death as 10 March 560, which would mean his year of birth must also have been later. We’ve gone with the majority view in giving 460-520. Kessog was born into the royal family of Munster in Ireland and made his name as a missionary in Scotland. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.

Kessog was the son of the King of Cashel in Munster and started his religious life while still in Ireland. It is said that a swimming accident when he was a child led to the deaths of the sons of a number of visiting princes. Kessog brought them back to life and averted a war by spending a night in prayer. He was then educated at a monastery by St Patrick and St Machaloi before setting out for Scotland.

St Kessog was mainly active in west and central Scotland, having established a monastery on the island of Inchtavannach (Monk’s Isle) on the western side of Loch Lomond. He was also active across southern Perthshire. He was attacked and killed at Bandry, on the western shore of Loch Lomond overlooking Inchtavannach, and that the place was marked by St Kessog’s Cairn. The reasons for his murder are unclear.

Whilst there is a claim that Kessog was buried on the western shore of Loch Lomond, and the herbs that grew up around his grave led to the place becoming know as Luss (Gaelic for “place of herbs”), local tradition has it that ‘By the side of [this] burn, in the Holm Glen, is St. Kessog’s Well, near to which tradition says St. Kessog, patron saint of the Earl of Lennox, is buried‘.

St Kessog was widely venerated in the medieval period. Troops under Robert the Bruce used “Blessed Kessog” as a battle cry during the Wars of Independence, and he was considered to be the patron saint of Scotland until Saint Andrew took over the role.

St Kessog is remembered in the name of a number of churches, including St Kessog’s Church in Luss, in which there is an effigy of the saint. The Roman Catholic church in Strathblane and the old parish churches in Comrie, Callander and Auchterarder are also named after St Kessog, as, rather further afield, are the villages of North Kessock and South Kessock near Inverness. It follows that the Kessock Bridge, and before it the Kessock Ferry, are/were named after St Kessog, as is the Kessog oil field in the North Sea.


Over the coming weeks, all women aged 50-70 who are registered with a local GP practice will automatically be invited to attend for breast screening (mammogram).

Women will receive their appointment letter through the post inviting them to a mobile unit situated at the Oakwood Garden Centre Car Park, Laighpark Farm, Killearn, G63 9PT.

Women over the age of 70, who still wish to attend for regular mammograms, can make an appointment by contacting the centre on the details below:

Tel: 0141 800 8800


Breast screening every 3 years is the best way to detect breast cancer early when treatment is most likely to be effective.

Balfron: Active Places project

The Balfron: Active Places project will develop designs to potentially create a safe network of walking and cycling routes within Balfron village.

Balfron: Active Places will build on the knowledge gained from the successful Balfron: A Space for Living project undertaken from January to July 2018. This project identified six locations for particular attention.

Stirling Council, on behalf of Balfron Community Council, has been awarded funding through the Community Links programme, which is administered by Sustrans Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland. This funding will allow the ideas which were generated in 2018 to be progressed further.

Read more here>>>

Location of Part 1 and Part 2 of the project.

Wedding reception at Ballinkinrain

Rita Jolivet (born Marguerite Lucile Jolivet; 25 September 1884 – 2 March 1971) was an English actress of French descent in theatre and silent films in the early 20th century. She was known in private life as the Countess Marguerita de Cippico.

Jolivet was a passenger on the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland. She was saved with others when boats arrived from Ireland.

On 14 November 1908 Jolivet married Alfred Charles Stern, but the marriage soon failed. On 27 January 1916 she married her second husband, Italian nobleman Count Giuseppe de Cippico, in Kew Gardens, Surrey. Cippico and Jolivet had no children together, and the marriage ended in divorce.

After the divorce, Lady Marguerite Allan (the wife of Sir Hugh Montagu Allan of Ravenscrag, Montreal), another survivor of the Lusitania, introduced Rita to ‘Jimmy’, her husband’s immensely popular Scottish cousin, Bryce Allan of The Cliff, Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire. He was the son of Captain Bryce Allan of Ballikinrain Castle, Stirlingshire, and his wife, daughter of Stewart Clark (1830–1907) MP, DL, of Dundas Castle, South Queensferry; and grandson of James Allan of Glasgow, older brother of Sir Hugh. Jimmy was a nephew of Sir John Stewart-Clark and Sir Thomas Dixon, 2nd Baronet.

Ballinkinrain Castle, from the north

Jimmy and Rita’s marriage at the Church of Scotland in Paris on 26 April 1928 was “celebrated with much fanfare”. The reception was held at Ballikinrain Castle (a 4,000-acre estate, which employed fifty servants), and which Jimmy subsequently leased. After the war the couple took up travelling again and sold Ballinkinrain, moving to a smaller castle in Scotland, where they threw parties with royalty, heads of state and many other famous people on their lengthy guest lists.

Ballikinrain is, in 2017, an independent residential school. It is run by CrossReach, a social care outreach arm of the Church of Scotland.

SS Balfron

On the 4th July 1941 when on passage from Southend-on-Sea to Grangemouth with a cargo of sand, the SS Balfron foundered and was lost off Hyburn Wyke, north of Scarborough. She was a British Steam Coaster of 362 tons built in 1920 by Scotts, of Bowling, for The South Shield Steamship Co Ltd, managed by Walker & Bain, Grangemouth.

The Balfron was bombed and sunk when 3 miles off Ravenscar, after being attacked by German aircraft. Four of her crew, including her Master, Angus Leitch, went missing, presumed killed, and are remembered at Tower Hill Memorial (panel below).

This un-named bell was found close by the wreck.

Community Council Meeting – 1st June 2017

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Here’s the agenda for Thursday’s Community Council meeting at 7.30 in the High School, which will be preceded by the AGM at 7pm. BCC also be discussing possible community uses for the ‘Bunker’ building below the shops at 151-159 Buchanan St.

The Chairman, Colin Cameron, be in Doyle’s on Thursday morning between 1030 and 1130 for anyone unable to make the evening meeting.

The Church Bells

Missing church bell, which used to hang from the tree at the church gates.
This photograph was taken in about 1947.

Not perhaps of immediate interest to most, but my interest was aroused when I read that one Balfron church bell was apparently cast in 1791, and the other in 1888.

The earlier (small) bell was cast by “John Wilfone & Co” of 73 Trongate, Glasgow.  The 43 inch bell was supplied by the Gorbals Brass and Bell Foundry in 1888. It was presented by Rev Alexander Slessor, who was minister here 1878-1904, and inscribed ‘Voco, Venite in Domini Temphum’.

Ranald Clouston’s “Church Bells of Stirling and Kinross” records that in the 1940s a 17 and 3/8th inches bell was preserved in the church. It was inscribed:

Gifted by Robert Dunmore of Ballindalloch 1791. (See image above)

The book notes that there was, before the church was rebuilt in 1832, a bell tree at the churchyard gate.

The bell is probably the work of John Wilson & Co of 73 Trongate, Glasgow. The manufacturers initials were inscribed inside the bell, which is, apparently a rarity.

So, where is this bell?

Any campanologists out there who might know something about our church bells?