The Church Weather Vane
"I feel the winds
of God today;
Today my sail I lift,
Though heavy oft with drenching spray,
And torn with many a rift;
If hope but light the waters' crest,
And Christ my bark will use,
I'll seek the seas at His behest,
And brave another cruise.
Quite a few churches have
ships as weather vanes but Fairlie Parish Church is probably unique in
having a yacht. She is the yawl Latifa, built at Fairlie and launched
in 1936. Constructed for ocean racing she was regarded by the late William
Fife as his finest design and it was for that reason she was given her
name -- a Hebrew word meaning "most beautiful" -- and was chosen
by the Misses Fife as their brother's memorial. Latifa still sails the
Caribbean and the Mediterranian; her scale model, sheathed in copper,
swings always to windward on the spire of Fairlie Parish Church,
Officially the weather vane recalls William Fife, O.B.E., J.P., who was
described at the time of his death as "a great genius, whose achievements
will always occupy a leading place in the records of the yachting world".
But Latifa also represents hundreds of boats designed and built by three
generations of the Fife family and is no less a tribute to the local craftsmen
whose loving and meticulous work over the years gave so much pleasure
to so many people and made Fairlie literally world famous among yachtsmen.
to Mr David McNeur, D.A., who drew Latifa, originally for the cover of
a church handbook
which hangs on the rear wall of the Church was made and gifted to the
Church by members of the Women's Group.
The centre panel depicts the Cross of Christ, radiating beams of life,
and the descending dove of the Holy Spirit, along with the legend. "
I am the Life."
Surrounding this panel are thirty smaller panels, each representing
an individual impression of some aspect of the life of the village of
The Banner was accepted on behalf of the congregation and dedicated
to the glory of God by the minister, the Rev. Robert J. Thorburn, during
the dedication service for the Woman's Group on Sunday 24th. September,
The Fairlie Stone depicts, on the
left, a man armed with a circular shield and sword, lying in a horizontal
position: in the middle, a beast proceding towards the man with its mouth
open as if ready to devour him; and on the right, a beast biting the end
of its tail. The figures on the stone are very similar to those on the
side of the Inchinnan Cross Slab dating from the 9/10 th century
and also to Pictish carvings on the stones in Meigle and St Vigeans museums.
The figure of the 'fallen' man is apparently fairly unique and the iconography
unclear, however, this stone is one of a limited number of early medieval
sculptured stones in Scotland.
The Stone was recovered from the
Chapel House in Kelburn estate. The Chapel House was built in 1745, on,
according to an elderly resident in 1894, the site of an early Chapel.
She said that she had helped to remove the ruins and what could not be
moved away was blown up with gunpowder. The Fairlie Stone had been used
as a lintel over a fireplace and was conered in blacklead. The house was
demolished in 1844-1845 and stones from it were used in the construction
of the Free Church manse, later called St Margaret's Manse;. The stone
was intended to be built over the doorbut it remained in the Manse garden,
then later removed to St Margaret's Church and inset into the wall of
the front vestibule. Following the union of St Margaret's and St Paul's
Churches the Stone was removed to and inset in the wall of the vestibule
of the former St Paul's, known, since the union, as Fairlie Parish Church.
THE PANELLED CROSS
The Panelled Cross was originally
presented to St Margaret's Church in 1952 by Ronald Tippet in memory of
his wife,Isobel McLean, who died 1st, November 1950. The Cross was removed
from St Margaret's when the Church was converted to the Church Hall and
positioned behind the pulpit of Fairlie Parish Church.