Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.49                      Price 1/- with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       FEBRUARY, 1965.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Mr. John Tyman,M.A. LL.B., Barbank, Langholm. Tel. 223

Clerk to Board: Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Hall, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. Robert Black, 35 Eskdaill Street.

Organist: Mr. A. C. Mallinson, A.R.C.O., L.R.A.M., 72 Henry Street.

Church Officer: Mr. Archie Smith, 7 Holmwood Crescent.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Motto Text for February: "He that has something ayont need never be weary." Robert Louis Stevenson

I feel I would like to record in my February letter the message I delivered from the Old Parish pulpit on Sunday morning 24th January when our beloved and revered statesman, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, passed away in his 91st year. Someone writing recently, I forget now who it was, uses his words spoken of the Battle of Britain heroes: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few," and takes the liberty of altering the last two words, I think with complete justification—"Never was so much owed by so many to one man." And the deep sense of compassion during his last week of illness and the reverence and honour paid to his passing, not only from our own nation but from people all over the world, is evidence of the truth of the incalculable debt our nation and the Free World owes him.

In this letter I want to write about the inspiration of his great and grand life.

First that his life should be a great inspiration to young people who have not been a spectacular success during their school days.

Winston Churchill was not a success at school. He says himself: "I was what people called a troublesome boy." He was sent to St. James's School at Ascot where discipline was very strict and he rebelled against it. He was beaten by the headmaster because he refused to write Latin verses which he said he could not understand. At the age of 12 he was sent to Harrow where he was considered far and away the worst pupil and in four and half years never rose above the bottom of the school. None the less, it was through one of the masters at Harrow that he acquired his love of the English language which later on was to make him famous. When he sought to enter Sandhurst Royal Military Academy he failed the entrance examination twice, but on being admitted there was a marked change for he was now on to something that interested him—the Army—and in his first year he came out eighth in a class of 150. Later on, serving with the 4th Hussars in India, he spent the long hot afternoons reading and storing away in his mind the great literature he had missed at Harrow—Plato, Aristotle, Darwin, Macaulay. He read and learned by heart most of his father's political speeches and steeped his mind in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and it was this great literature that was to give him his sweeping style as a writer and public speaker. He began to publish books of historical interest, later became a War Correspondent in South Africa, and by 1929 was earning by his book royalties and his articles to newspapers and magazines &163;35,000 a year. higher rates than any other writer in the land with the exception of Bernard Shaw. So let young people who have not made too good a start in their training for life remember that this need not mar their way—it didn't for Winston Churchill. If a man or a woman comes to find mind and hand occupied in some work that interests and captures them, then with consistent hard work they can undo a bad start and find there is no limit to the success they may yet achieve.

Sir Winston Churchill's life should also be a great inspiration to people who have passed middle life and are approaching the three score years and ten in reminding them that their days of usefulness are not all past.

Some have done grand work who lived a few years, like Michael Bruce who gave us the bulk of our Scottish Paraphrases and who died at 22. But on the other hand others like Sir Winston Churchill have done their best work in what might be called "the evening of their days". For in May 1940 when the Chamberlain Government resigned he was called to the office of Prime Miinster at the age of 65. And. of course, it is clear that his wide experience and knowledge of affairs as politician, soldier, writer and artist admirably fitted him for the tasks of that grim hour. And can any, of us who lived through those days ever forget his words in that first speech to the new Coalition Government: "I have nothing to offer but blood and toil, tears and sweat." And then he went on: "You ask, what is our policy? It is to wage war by land, sea and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime; that is our policy." And as the House roared its approval he went on:" You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: it is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long or hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."

Those were the words of a man who knew what he was talking about, who knew of all the plots being hatched by the Nazis and their intention to perfect and use wicked and devastating weapons of war like the VI and V2. Knowing the worst, he believed and spoke to our people only about the best—about coming victory after a hard road and a bitter fight. But my point here is that Winston Churchill did his best work after reaching his three score years and five. And many others in leading places have done the same. Gladstone formed his last administration at the age of 84. Alfred Tennyson, the poet, did his best work in his eighties, including writing "Sunset and Evening Star". John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and the evangelical revival in the 18th century, carried on travelling throughout England on horseback, preaching and writing until nearly ninety. And on page 22 of February "Life and Work" we have an account of a minister of the Church of Scotland in Perth, the Revd. Joseph Shillinglaw, who has just retired from St. Stephen's Church, Perth, at the age of 93 after having served in the ministry for 64 years. And his mind is as fresh and his ideas as up to date as any young man, according to press comment. So let no one ever think their days of usefulness are over because they have passed middle iif. They may be if you get into that way of thinking, but you may be on the verge of doing the best work of all your days.

I would like to say a few words about the contagion of Sir Winston Churchill's faith.

He brought to office as Prime Minister in days of defeat and disaster a tremendous faith in our country's destiny and the survival of the free world. And he communicated this faith to our people and to the over-run countries of Eurpose. When the Nazi armies were over-running France he went over to meet the French leaders to try and urge them to carry on the fight, even if from North Africa. And this was his comment upon that last sad meeting with the French President and Generals: "When I warned them—the French Government—that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, the Generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet: "In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken." He replied: "Some chicken; some neck." It was having a leader who talked as Winston Churchill did about our ability to come through to victory that gave our sailors and soldiers and airmen and the people at home the will to endure, suffer and, if need be, die. Without faith in a cause you can never hope to prosper and win. This is why the Italians surrendered in their thousands in North Africa—because they had no faith in the futile cause to which Mussolini had committed them. Faith is like joy—you catch it from other people. The countries of Europe that had been trampled under foot by the Nazi hordes, and which were being subjected to the most terrible treatment from the Gestapo, caught new hope for a coming day of deliverance as they listened on the radio to the great speeches of Winston Churchill about how we would fight on whatever the cost and bring the monster down to a day of reckoning. And so it is in daily living, in home life and in church life—if we have people who possess faith, others catch it from them and walk the road of life with firmer step.

A few words about Winston Churchill's generosity of feeling towards his critics and opponents in the political arena, and his utter lack of malice.

Through all the years of the Chamberlain Government he kept warning the House about our military weakness in the face of the German build-up of forces at sea, on land and in the air. It all fell on deaf ears or was met with the scorn of "warmonger", or as one prominent frontbencher said: "Oh, the usual Churchillian filibuster." But when he met the same men in the Coalition Government never once did he hit back and say: "I told you so." He was withering in his speeches in the House against those whose policies he couldn't share, but outside the House there was a fellow-feeling towards these men and a kindness and concern for their personal well-being that showed the man's real greatness. It is said that when Abraham Lincoln came to power, in his first address as President, and knowing how many enemies he had, he declared: "I shall conduct the administration with charity to all and malice to none." The same thing could be said of Winston Churchill. He reserved his words of venom for the two monsters who were the promoters of tyranny and crime—Hitler and Mussolini—and he never spared them.

What do we know about Winston Churchill's religion?

He knew his Bible better than anyone else in Parliament and its language gave colour and figure to his famous speeches. He always spoke as a man of faith in God, and he believed our national destiny was in the hands of Divine providence. I have the impression that he disliked long Church Services, cut enjoyed good singing. In his book "Painting As A Pastime" he says he has always found standing for half an hour in a Church Service to be tedious, while to stand for three hours painting was a delight. When in August 1941 he met President Roosevelt in Placentia Bay, on the Sunday morning he invited he President and his staff to join in a religious Service on board H.M.S. Prince of Wales. He writes of that occasion: "The service was felt by us all to be a deeply moving expression of the unity of faith of our two peoples, and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented that sunlit morning on the crowded quarterdeck—the symbolism of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes draped side by side on the pulpit; the American and British chaplains sharing in the reading of the prayers, the highest naval, military and air officers of Britain and the United States grouped in one body behind the President and me, the close packed ranks of British and American sailors, completely intermingled, sharing the same books and joining fervently together in the prayers and hymns familiar to both. I chose the hymns myself—For those in peril on the sea' and 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. We ended with '0 God our help in ages past' based on the 90th Psalm, which Macaulay reminds us the Ironsides had chanted as they bore John Hampden's body to the grave. Every word seemed to stir the heart. It was a great hour to live. Nearly half those who sang were soon to die." And it is interesting that Winston Churchill chose the hymns for his own funeral service, including "Fight the good fight" and "Who would true valour see", which we sang in his memory in Langholm Old Parish Church last Sunday morning. He asked for his funeral cheerful singing and plenty of music. Like Bunyan's pilgrim coming to the last river beyond which lay the Celestial City after saying: "My sword I give to those who come after me, my courage and my skill I give to those who can get it, my marks and my scars I carry with me to show that I have fought his battles who will now be my rewarder. And so he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded."

One last word about some of the resources Winston Churchill had to fall back upon to keep his life strong and steady and true in times of testing, disappointment and sorrow.

Robert Louis Stevenson has told a story of one day when he was on a walking tour in Fife, he came upon a man who was cleaning the dung out of a byre, and getting into conversation with him discovered he was a man with wide knowledge of literature and poetry. So he remarked to him: "Don't you find this kind of life wearisome?" And the man replied, "He that has something ayont need never be weary." To have some interest other than our daily task to occupy our minds and take us away from things is of great importance for men and women who carry high responsibility. Winston Churchill had many delightful interests which brought him rest of heart and refreshment of mind in days when the conflict of life threatened to break him down. For one thing he had a very happy home. Lady Churchill brought harmony and love and peace to him, and speaking of his marriage in one of his books he remarks: "We were happy ever after." At the age of 40 he took up painting in water colours, at a time when he had suffered a severe blow by being left out of office in the newly formed government in 1915. And ever after painting provided a distraction which, without tiring the bcdy, brought him an interest that took his mind away from the cynical world of political enmity. And among the many tributes paid to him during the past two weeks, one comes from Sir Charles Wheeler, president of the Royal Academy, who says "Churchill became a distinguished amateur painter, and his work was so good that he often stepped over the boundaries of amateur into more professional territory". He also found great delight in work like brick-laying, joinery, and in reading great books. Farming and horse-racing were also among his relaxations in his 70's. "He that has something ayont need never be weary". Churchill never was even in the darkest and most disappointing days, and I can think of a lot of people who might have been saved living in despair and resentment against life, if they had in earlier days cultivated some healthy interest, something to fall back upon when the things we have been toiling to achieve fail us, as so often they do.

Lord Avon in his tribute to Sir Winston Churchill, suggests the best kind of memorial would be to institute a Churchill Day in the calendar. It is a very good suggestion. Churchill was born on St. Andrew's Day, and this would mean him sharing a day in the calendar with another brave man. For St. Andrew is remembered for his courage. That is why Russia, a country that shares with Scotland having Andrew as patron saint, holds the Order of St. Andrew as the highest order that can be bestowed upon any of its sons for bravery. To remember these two great and brave men on the same day of the year would help many to emulate their faith and courage, and in doing so they would not fail to inflame a like faith and courage in the lives of those around them.

Church Services and Activities in February and March

On Sunday, 14th February, I am taking the Morning Service at Castleton, and the Morning Service in the Old Parish Church, Langholm, will be conducted by the Revd. A. R. Alexander, M.A. On Sunday, 21st March the United Service will be in the Old Parish, when we will have the Langholm Town Band providing the music.

Youth Club and Centre

The Langholm Youth Club Committee has carried on bravely despite loss of permanent premises. In the hope of getting accommodation in the Old Infant School in Charles Street Old, now promised for March, the Committee has met monthly and built up funds to a balance of over &163;100. Weekly club meetings are held in the Drill Hall on Wednesdays, with an attendance of over 40. The Committee is a very lively and competent one, and has adventurous and exciting plans or activities once premises are available as a permanent home.

When the Youth Club Committee is settled in premises, there is a hope that they will offer accommodation during afternoons to the Pensioners Club.

This I think is a service youth could render the elderly in Langholm. The Church of Scotland Social Service Committee has recently opened a Day Centre in Edinburgh, where elderly people, especially those living alone can spend the day, or come and go as they please. It is a very real service if the premises are warm, comfortable and of cheerful furnishing, and where refreshments including a mid-day meal can be served. This may sound all very ambitious, but in co-operation with the Old People's Welfare Committee it should not be thought impossible.

Boys' Brigade Parents Night

I was delighted to attend the recent B.B. parents night in the Old Parish Hall. There was a good attendance and an excellent programme of good films and interesting slides. The slides taken mostly by Mr. Robertson the Captain, and by Mr. Matt Armstrong, recalled some of the happy camps, the visit to the Continent, and special parades.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

During January we have lost two well known and highly thought of Old Parish Church members. Mrs. Margaret Ann Smith, Arkinholm Terrace, passed, away on 4th January in her 81st year. For many years, since my coming to Langholm at any rate, Mrs. Smith has been unable to get out much. I have had the privilege along with her Elder, Mr Maxwell, of taking her Communion to her home. Every Sunday morning she watched from her window the people entering and leaving the Old Parish Church and was always highly delighted when she witnessed a large congregation. She greatly enjoyed the friendship and visits of her neighbours, and this did much to make her latter years full of live interest—especilly the frequent visits of her son Willie and daughter-in-law Helen, from Heathery Fold, Catlowdy, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy in bereavement. On 6th January, Mrs. Jane Elliot Moscrop, passed away at Milnholm in her 86th year, after spending happy years at Bentpath near to her married daughter, Mrs. Hogg. Hers was a long and good and happy life. On 31st January, Miss Annie Macfarlane Burnet passed away in her 80th year. She was well known by many Langholm people, having been a teacher in Langholm Academy for many years. Many remember her with gratitude and pride for all she did for them when they were children in her class. Our deepest sympathy with her two sisters and three brothers in their bereavement.

Annual Kirk Week Visitation by Office-Bearers

You will remember last February we conducted a visitation of all Church members during one week by sending out eighteen teams of two. Each team included an Elder and a member of the Congregational Board. The visitation was well received and did much to revive the interest of many members in Church attendance. We plan to repeat the visitation this year on the week commencing 14th March. The purpose of the visitation is to help in recalling the interest of all our members in the work and worship of the Church, and at the same time to hear any suggestions or criticisms our people may wish to make. In the next issue of this Magazine we will give names of visiting teams and streets to be visited. The Annual Congregational Meeting will be held on the week following the visitation.

With warm greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,




The last meeting of the Guild took the form of a Burns Supper, when an excellent supper of haggis, turnip and biscuits and cheese was served. The haggis was piped in by George Graham, carried by Mrs. Elaine Anderson, and suitably addressed by Miss Jeannie Graham. There was a very good attendance. The toast to the Immortal Memory was moved by Mr. Adam Anderson of Corrie Mains, who gave us an excellent speech. Another toast to Town and Trade was moved by Mr. Alec Watson, the recently appointed English teacher at the Academy. The reply to this toast was given by Mr. Edwin Armitage. All the speeches were full of interest, humour and good sense.

Miss Jeannie Graham recited Tam o' Shanter, and the minister remarked he had never heard it done nearly so well. Among the singers were Miss Jean Ferguson, Tom Beattie, Tom Irving, Jim Little and Andy Ritchie. A warm vote of thanks to the singers, speakers, and to Mrs. Wood, accompanist, was proposed by Mrs. Elaine Anderson, Vice-President.

The next meeting of the Guild is on Tuesday, 9th February when our Guild ladies are the guests of the Erskine Guild, meeting in the Erskine Church Hall.

On Tuesday, 16th February there will be an additional meeting, when Mrs. Mina Carter, Guild President, will give a second showing of her lovely coloured slides illustrating her recent visit to West Africa. There will be a charge of admission to this meeting in aid of Guild Funds.

The Guild Jumble Sale is fixed for Friday, 19th February, at 6 p.m. We invite gifts of jumble, and will be glad to arrange collection if information is passed to the minister.

The Guild meeting on 23rd February will be in the Reid and Taylor Gallery, when the Guild will be entertained as guests, and a film on how tweed is born, will be shown.

The Guild Annual Sale of Work will take place on Saturday, 13th March.


January 24th—Leslie Stuart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ian Murray, High Street.

January 31st—Elaine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Hendrie, Cleuchfoot, Wauchope.


February lst—John Richard Wilson, 28 Langholm St, Newcastleton to Marguerite Marie Scott, 7 Douglas St., Newcastleton. In Langholm Old Parish Church.


January 4th—Mrs. Margaret Ann Smith, Arkinholm. Terrace, in her 81st year.

January 6th—Mrs. Jane Elliot Moscrop, Milnholm, in her 86th year.

January 31st—Miss Annie Macfarlane Burnet, Holm Cottage, in her 80th year.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith". 2 Timothy 4. 7.


February 14th—11 a.m. Revd. A. R. Alexander, M.A. Flowers, Mrs. K. Neill, Firbrae. 6 p.m. United Service of Congregational, Erskine and Old. Parish in Congregational Church.

February 21st—1111 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. R. Graham, 29 Eskdaill Street.

February 28th—1111 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Toni Calvert. Flowers, Miss Elizabeth Rowe, 30 Henry Street.

March 7th—1111 a.m. and 6 p.m. Revd. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Kay, 22 Caroline Street.


The Kirk Session meets on Wednesday, 10th February, at 7 p.m.

The Congregational Board will meet on Thursday, 25th February in the vestry at 7.30 p.m.


The minister considers the present issue, February, of Life and Work one of the best so far produced. Great improvements are being made to make the magazine interesting to the average church member. In the present issue special attention is drawn to the article on page 2 about an R.A.F. wing-commander and later senior B.O.A.C. captain becoming a Church of Scotland minister through the influence of his own little daughter--and of how he is now settled in Burra, Shetland Isles, sharing life at sea with brave fishermen. Page 1.2 of an elder ordained at Lcchgoilhead who is deaf and dumb, and ordained by Revd. George Nicholson, also deaf and dumb. Page 17 story of the new minister of St. George's West, Edinburgh, Revd. W. D. Cattanach, who was wartime R.A.F. pilot, shot down into the sea, and after being in the icy ocean for eight hours resolved that if he was saved he would give the rest of his life to the service of Christ's Church. And page 21 the story of a Lanarkshire C.I.D. man becoming a minister because he thinks in this way he will' be better able to help people with their problems.

I would like to see more of our people taking and reading Life and Work.