St Andrew’s by the Green

Hunter / Paull / Thomson, 1750

St Andrew’s by the Green, 2009.

St Andrews by the Green or the Whistling Kirk, was built at a cost of £1250 and is similar in style to Glasgow’s Georgian villas. Richard (1687-1763) and Alexander Oswald (1694-1766) were heavily involved in its foundation. The Oswalds came from Caithness and assumed a prominent position in Glasgow society based on trade in tobacco, sugar and wine. Alexander was the chapel’s first patron. They are both buried at Glasgow Cathedral, testimony to their position in society and their loyalty to the government during the Jacobite rebellion in 1745-6.

The Oswald family had extensive links with the tobacco and sugar trades, both built on slave labour. In addition, they employed their cousin, Richard Oswald of Auchincruive (1705-84) as their factor in the Caribbean and Virginia before he returned to Glasgow in 1741 as a junior partner in their firm. After moving to London in 1746, Richard branched out into horses, sugar and slaves, including four plantations in the Caribbean, over 30,000 acres in East Florida, and Bance Island in Sierra Leone, which he used as a base for transporting Africans into slavery in South Carolina. Ironically, the Oswalds’ nephew, James, was an M.P who supported a petition moving for the abolition of the apprenticeship scheme in 1836.