W R Mainds' watercolour sketch from behind the Old Tron Church, looking north across the rooftops towards its steeple, 1891.
The construction of the Collegiate Church of St Mary and St Ann in Trongate is believed to have commenced in the 1480s. It became the Tron Kirk or Laigh Kirk after the Reformation (the former name referred to the fact that the city's tron, or public weighing machine, had been sited there). The tower was built in c 1593 and its steeple added in the 1630s.
In 1793 the old church building was destroyed by a fire started by members of the notorious Hell Fire Club, a group of young men who supported the radical political views of Thomas Paine (although the fire was almost certainly the result of a drunken prank, not a political "statement"). The tower and steeple survived and in 1855 arches were built in the base of the former, to permit the pavement in the widened Trongate to pass under it.
Reference: Sp Coll Bh12-x.3
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
Church of St Mary and St Anne, churches, clock towers, dwellings, Hell Fire Club, houses, radicals, roofs, rooftops, spires, stair towers, steeples, tenements, Tron Steeple