The Row of Cottages Before Renovation
The Queen Opening The Chapel

our history

A brief history of Scottish Churches House

In the mid 1950s there was a row of 18th century derelict cottages which stood to the side of Dunblane Cathedral. 

These little cottages lay between two bases for mission for the churches throughout the centuries.  In around 600 AD Blane and his Celtic monks established a community at the top of Holmehill and in the 12th century the cathedral was built. 

The Town Council were set to demolish these little cottages to erect a war memorial. The ‘Friends of Dunblane Cathedral’ contested the decision and eventually a local builder, Mr Monaghan, was given the job of restoration and converting the row into an ecumenical conference centre.

 

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Renovation begins
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The Oikoumene sign is unveiled

In March 1960 Dr Ian Fraser was appointed Warden of the new Scottish Churches House and generous gifts from the Russell Trust and Historic Buildings allowed the restoration work to start. 

By July 1960 the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches visited Dunblane and a ceremony to unveil the Oikoumene sign (still visible on the front of the House) was unveiled.

Ian Fraser recruited groups of volunteers helped with the renovation of the grounds.  As mud and overgrowing ivy were cleared from the site, a small building which is known now as the chapel was uncovered. It is likely to date back to the days of Blane.

 

Over the years many acts of exceptional work have been carried out at Scottish Churches House.  The venue was seen as natural place for the churches to meet together and it attracted those from the arts with music and worship an essential part of the life of House. 

Many issues on interfaith, topical issues on health and global concerns over Israel and Palestine have all been addressed at the House, ecumenically. 

Interest groups were also attracted to the house, Poetry events, Painting workshops and the ever popular Senior citizens who came to the House for a week twice a year all added to the buzz. 

More can be read in the book “An Ecumenical Adventure – a Dunblane Initiative” written by Ian M Fraser. 

 

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 Uncovering the Chapel
   

Scottish Churches House sadly closed in 2011. Having been empty for a couple of years, then in late 2012 Alex McKie a local business chap saw the potential to bring the House back to life and into the centre of the community again. 

Taking the keys on the 1st march 2013 and after spending 5 months of blood, sweat and tears, We finally got to open what is now a cute and cosy wee hotel, brasserie, event spaces and so much more right in the heart of the community.

The new name, Old Churches House, reflects the respect we have for the history that has gone before us. Here’s hoping to many happy years to come for Old Churches House.

Since opening, this wee hotel has served over 50,000 guests (as of Autumn 2015) and Alex has even repaired and refurbished The 13th century Chapel in the back garden and is now in a condition where people can once again use it for what it was intended.

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