Though now a parish of some 1400 catholic homes St Cadoc's,
only became a parish in its own right in 1966. Before that it
was part of St Joseph's, Clarkston.
At the Reformation the Mearns clung on to its strong catholic
tradition for some time. . . until the Covenanters finally
had their way. The Faith began to recover when various small
clothing workplaces were set up in the nineteenth century.
These relied on water power and were built along the various
small rivers and streams in the area. The first major one
was in Eaglesham where the first parish in the area (St Bridget's)
was established in 1856. In 1880 the Eaglesham mill was burned
down and a new one started in Busby. Consequently the parish
was then centred at St Joseph's Clarkston.
In Newton Mearns there was a hostel for the women who worked
in the various local clothing mills and workshops. Many of
these were catholics from Ireland and the Highlands and some
married local lads and this gave rise to a small, but strong
catholic community in Newton Mearns.
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Newton Mearns
was only one part of St Josph's parish which took in a wide
area including Clarkston, Busby, Eaglesham, East Kilbride,
Giffnock and Newton Mearns. At that time the people in outlying
parts got mass only once a month and the parish priest was
anxious to have a proper chapel in both East Kilbride and
New1on Mearns. With the cooperation of the parishioners two
small chapels were built. The one in East Kilbride had obviously
to be dedicated to St Bridget (Kilbride = Chapel of Bride
or Bridget) and Eaglesham was already dedicated to St Bridget,
so he cast around for another saint with a local association.
To his delight he discovered that St Cadoc had once had a
cell or chapel in the Cathkin Braes (then part of his parish)
and the Kirk in Cambuslang (and later a catholic church at
Halfway, Cambuslang) was dedicated to him. So it was decided
that the little chapel (still standing in Barrhead Road, Newton
Mearns) should be dedicated to St Cadoc.
In 1966 Newton Mearns became a parish in its own right. Fr
Eugene Divney was the first parish priest and FrThomas J.
Cunningham (now Canon Cunningham, the present parish priest)
was the first assistant .... an assistant was considered necessary
because of the demands of Mearnskirk Hospital which was then
a general hospital with 720 beds. A site was sought for a
proper parish church, but there was little cooperation from
either the various developers or the local authorities until
1978 when the present site in Fruin Avenue became available
from Lawrence & Co. and in October 1981 the present church
was opened. At that time there was some discussion about the
possibility of renaming the parish, but in the end it was
decided to keep to St Cadoc. In 1993 the hall was added in
such a way that it could be used as an extension to the church.
Now the capacity of the church is beginning to come under
strain and it may be necessary to find some way of extending
Some people believe that there were two St Cadoc's .... a
Scottish one and a Welsh one, but it is more likely that there
was just the Welsh one and that he travelled to Scotland and
spent some seven years here near Cambuslang while he (and
his companions) evangelised East Renfrewshire and parts of
This St Cadoc was born the son of a Welsh King, St Gundleus
and St Gwladys at the very end of the fifth century. He was
educated by the Irish Saint, Tatheus and the story is that
when he went to St Tatheus, the good man turned him away sadly
saying that because of a bad summer there was no food. Cadoc
hung about swithering what to do when he noticed a mouse emerging
from a hole and later disappearing into another only to re-appear
with what appeared to be a grain of wheat in its mouth. Cadoc
caught the mouse and tying a piece of thread to it, was able
to find out that the mouse was going in to a hoard of wheat
left in the cellar of a great house that had been burned down.
So food was found for the whole village and Cadoc got his
Cadoc went on to study in Ireland for three years before
returning with some companions. With them he went on to found
several churches and monasteries. The greatest being that
of Llancarfan near Cardiff. In his travels he is said to have
visited Brittany and sailed up to Scotland where he worked
his way up the Clyde and White Cart to the Cathkin Braes where
he spent some seven years.
In Scotland he was known as "Docus the Wise" and
was probably referred to as Madoc (My Friend, Doc) as in the
church of Kilmaddock near Doune.
There is a tradition that Scottish surnames like Doak, Doig,
Doakie can be traced back to St Cadoc. His feast in Scotland
is on 24th January and in Wales the 25th September. His life
was not written till some six hundred years after his death
and there is inevitably uncertainty about many details.