Fort William – History of the Building

The first Episcopal church building in Fort William was erected in 1817 on the site of the present St Andrew’s. It was known as the Rosse Chapel after the Countess of Rosse who was largely responsible for its being built. By 1876 it was already in a bad state of repair and the future looked bleak for the congregation until George Baynton Davey had the building demolished and replaced, very largely at his own expense, by the present St Andrew’s . It is built of Abriachan granite, with a roof of Cumberland slate, and was designed by Dr Alexander Ross of Inverness. The building was consecrated on 9th September 1880. Known as “The Queen of Highland Churches” it is now a Category A listed building

Among the many notable features of the church are the carved oak entrance doors, (the work of Harry Hems of Exeter who was responsible for all the woodcarving in the church); the set of stained glass windows by Clayton and Bell; the mosaic floor of the baptistry by the Italian artist Salviati of Milan; the beautiful mosaic (inset behind the Altar) depicting the Crucifixion, also by Salviati; and a copy of a painting of St Francis of Assisi by Murillo. 
The original rectory of the Rosse Chapel was demolished in 1959 and replaced with a new house on the old site. Further up the hill, behind the church, are the former school and school house, built in a similar style to the church, but now converted into two private houses.