Onich St Bride’s – History


In 1875 Onich was separated from Ballachulish and made into an individual charge. St Bride’s was built in 1874, the architect being J Garden Brown of London.

The first incumbent was The Revd J R A Chinnery-Haldane who became the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles in 1883 and died at Alltshellach in 1906. He and his wife are buried in the churchyard, their graves marked by the large cross near the porch.

St Bride, also known as Brigid, was an Irish lady who founded the first nunnery in Ireland at ‘Cill-Dara’ (the Church of the Oak), now Kildare. We commemorate St Bride on her feast day, 1st February.

On the south side is a window of Pre-Raphaelite design of the Annunciation, in which the Archangel Gabriel announces to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she is to become the mother of Jesus. On the north side the Chinnery-Haldane memorial windows show St Patrick, St Columba and St Bride. The Lady Altar once stood in the Argyll Oratory of Cosmo Gordon Laing, Archbishop of Canterbury, who crowned King George VI in 1937. It was later bequeathed to a Rector of St Bride’s who donated it to our Church.

Behind the Altar is the East Window, depicting Our Lord coming again in Glory, surrounded by his holy angels. St Bride and St Columba stand below, welcoming him, joined by the faithful who kneel to recieve the Holy Sacrement when heaven and earth are brought together. The East Window was given in memory of Bishop Alexander Ewing, 1847-73.

Bishop Hannay lived in St Bride’s Rectory from 1942 to 1962 but the Rectory was subsequently sold.

Rev David Railton 1884-1955 is buried within the graveyard along with his wife Ruby who died in 1966. Rev David Railton was instrumental in creating the idea of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. He had been a padre during World War 1 when finding a lone grave behind his billet in Armentières, of an unknown Blackwatch soldier,  gave him thought of those other nameless soldiers whose families had lost their sons, husbands, brothers etc. After approaching Earl Haig without reply, his idea was finally taken up by the Dean of Westminster, Herbert Ryle. Rev David Railton retired from his parish in England to the village of Onich. He died following a fatal fall from a train in Fort William station, in 1955.  On 12th November, 2017 a small group of local church members of St John’s, St Bride’s, and St Adamnan’s Episcopal Churches together with Nether Lochaber Church of Scotland and retired veterans and wives of the Welsh Battalion, 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards,  gathered at St Brides, North Ballachulish for a short service in memory of Rev Railton. A banner was presented to St Bride’s the following day, Remembrance Sunday, by Rev David Railton’s  grandson, Jim Railton.