10: William Bodin

Reverend William Bodin (b.1891- d. 1953)

  • Minister of the parish of New Cumnock (1920-1926)
    • Current Parish Church
  • Spouse: Elizabeth Marr
  • Children: Hugh, Ian, Cyril, David


William was born at Kilmartin, Argyllshire in April 1891, the son of Coatbridge-born tailor Hugh Bodin and his wife Anne Hastie from Govan. By the time he was 10 years old the family had settled in his mother’s home parish of Govan where his father found work in a clothing warehouse. William wasn’t cut from the same cloth and after graduating from University of Glasgow he was destined to make his mark as the Rev. Wm. Bodin M.A.

Not long after his move to New Cumnock he married Elizabeth Marr, daughter of master mariner John Marr and Martha Seaton.

Elizabeth would soon become a football widow as her husband’s goalkeeping skills came to the attention of New Cumnock United and it was the good minister who pulled on the goalie’s pullover the day they faced Dalry in the Scottish Junior Cup. In the first round the U’s had defeated Catrine 1-0 at Connel Park in a 2nd replay courtesy of a Keegans spot-kick and then survived a Catrine protest and so on to the 2nd round, where they faced Dalry Thistle at home.

The Cumnock Chronicle Report reads—

United 1 Dalry 0
Dalry Thistle supplied the opposition in the delayed Scottish Cup second round game at New Cumnock on Saturday. The ground team had Bodin in goal; Joe McHallum deputised for Dunsmuir (injured); Martin came in for Clapperton at left-half; Gibb was back in his old place; and a Glasgow lad, Flynn, acted as a pivot. McDonald took a corner-kick, then cut in and netted before the ball was cleared. There was no more scoring. United’s last defences was strong and the goalkeeper clearing everything easily.

The league fixtures were not completed that season but United won the Ayr & District Cup and Coylton Cup. A Grand Social was held in the Town Hall in July 1921 with the Rev. Bodin as chairman, his place as first choice keeper taken by Sandy McDonald.

In 1921 William and Elizabeth’s first child, Hugh was born at the manse and three years later another son, Ian was born.

In April 1925 the Cumnock Chronicle reported that a  sale of work was held in the Town Hall in connection with the installation of a pipe organ in New Cumnock Parish Church. It was declared open by Mrs Hyslop of Bank. The sum of £141 was drawn.  The chairman , Rev. William Bodin M.A., parish minister , intimated that a cheque for £500 have been recieved from Mr William Hyslop of Bank.


In 1926 the Reverend Bodin and his wife along with their two young sons Hugh and Ian had left New Cumnock for the minister to fill the vacancy at Barony Church, Ardrossan. Here, the family expanded to three sons with the birth of Cyril.


Three years later the family was on the move again after William filled the vacancy at St. Luke’s Parish Church , Lochee. He was chosen by the Church to carry out the experimental work in the seaside missions at Millport in 1933 and it was during this time a fourth son David was born.

During the war he was appointed to organise the Church’s big venture of industrial chaplaincies developing the idea of the padre for the munition worker in much the same way as the padre for the fighting man. The idea of industrial chaplains had been in Mr Bodin’s mind for about 20 years, and he was determined continue the  work after the war. Two hundred and fifty ministers of the Church of Scotland became disciples in dungarees, with Mr Bodin as their leader.

He still had time for football though !

In 1936 Glenafton travelled to play Lochee Harp in the Scottish Junior Cup and the local newspaper suggested that his “sympathies my lie with the Ayrshire side . In his early days he was a playing member of New Cumnock United, and Glenafton are an off-shoot club”. Glens lost 2-1 in front of a crowd of 10,000.

The Reverend Bodin also featured in the annual charity match between Dundee Ministers and Dundee Butchers at Dens Park. The report from the game in May 1937, relate he walked the length of the pitch to score a goal for the ministers. Back in his own goal he was forced to “draw the feet” of an opponent at the expense of a penalty , which he duly saved.

In  September 1994, his eldest son Hugh while serving in the RAF was killed when his plane crashed on training operations in Lincolnshire George Sanderson in ‘New Cumnock Long Ago and Faraway’ recounts that it was the Reverend Bodin who had conducted the ceremony when the War Memorial was unveiled in 1921 after the Great War.  With his son Hugh’s name now engraved  on the memorial stone along with others lost in World War II he was invited from Dundee to re-dedicate the memorial.

In 1948 the Reverend William Bodin retired from his work and moved to Corby, Northamptonshire where heworked as a social realtions officer at Stewarts & Lloyds, tube manufactuter. He died in April, 1953 , aged 62 years old.