The History of Overton Church
Chapter 7: Another Vacancy & The Fourth Ministry (1866-1905)
After Dr Boyd’s retiral there was another long vacancy, this time of over two years – so protracted because again the financial position of the congregation caused difficulties in obtaining permission to call from the Presbytery.
It was two years before suitable financial arrangements were agreed, and a stipend of £129 promised.
The fourth minister was the Rev. James Clark Balderston. Coming originally from Paisley, Thread Street, he had been ordained at Boveedy in Ireland in 1865. He was admitted to West Kilbride on 4th August 1869. His was the longest ministry, lasting 36 years.
When Mr Balderston took up his duties there was no manse. But soon after his settlement it was agreed to feu more ground behind the church in Meadowfoot Road, and a manse was built there. It cost over £900, of which £300 came from the Manse Board of the UP Church.
It is this handsome-looking house overlooking the Glen, recently renovated, which the Overton Minister still occupies.
An interesting event of church co-operation took place in the early years of Mr Balderston’s ministry. In 1873 the heritors of the Parish Church were faced with the necessity of building a new church for the Parish in place of the dilapidated building then in use.
The new church had to be built on the site of the old one, so the Parish Kirk Session approached the UP Kirk Session, asking to have the use of the UP building for worship while the new Parish Church was being built. Terms were agreed: payment of £30 per half-year was made by the Parish Session to the UP Session for this privilege, the Parish Session reserving the right to let seats if they wished.
One congregation therefore used the building on Sunday morning, the other on Sunday afternoon, “the collection belonging to the congregation whose diet it happened to be”.