This majestic chapel is located on the outskirts of Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire and was built in 1943. Despite its ruinous state, the chapel exudes a powerful aura, which conjures up visions of former days when it was used as a place of prayer and meditation for trainee priests. This Renfrewshire chapel was also used as by the people of Lochwinnoch who worshipped there until the construction of Our Lady of Fatima Church in the Renfrewshire village in 1955. Sadly the interior has further decayed making the building far from safe to enter and the crucifix has long been missing.
Garthland House sits next to the chapel and was one of Renfrewshire’s most majestic mansions. The greyish-pink Tudor-style architecture of the two-storey building was enhanced by a pillared porch, elegant stairway, ivy-clad walls, pedimented portico, soaring chimneys, sloping roof and exquisitely-carved dormer and bay windows.
Built in 1796 by David King for wealthy Renfrewshire land-owner James Adam, Garthland was embowered by beautiful gardens embellished by manicured lawns, gravel paths, sprawling rhododendrons, towering conifers and fragrant flowers and herbs. A Renfrewshire delight.
Sadly the historic Renfrewshire house is now but a shell of its former self. Today it lies derelict, abandoned and boarded-up in woodlands now overgrown and neglected. Yet still the old Renfrewshire mansion clings tenaciously to its proud history. Even in the midst of its devastation it is not difficult to imagine Garthland in all its architectural and horticultural glory.
Known originally as Garpel House then Barr House before becoming Garthland House, the regal residence was acquired by the Macdowall family who came initially from Garthland in Wigtownshire and were descended from the Lords of Galloway. During the mid-1930s, Henry Macdowall sold it to the Mill Hill Foreign Missionary Society that was founded. Garthland House in Renfrewshire was renamed St Jospeh’s College by the Society and, during its heyday, around 30 young men were students there.
A three-storey dormitory block was added in 1936 followed by the beautiful brick-red chapel in 1943. Both the sleeping quarters and the chapel can still be seen today although, like the house, they have fallen into disrepair and are but fragments of their former selves.