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FROM 1733 TO 1900 













IT was in September 1891 that I undertook the work of which the first 
volume now appears in print. It is a long time to have been engaged as 
a hewer of wood and a drawer of water. But, as Dr M Kelvie attested, 
when investigation of innumerable dates and incidents has to be carried 
on, and correspondence engaged in, " weeks and months waste away at a 
rate which experience alone can calculate." To bring the completion nearer 
the field came to be limited to Scotland, and the Union of October 1900 was 
made the terminus. Since this latter date a few deaths have been entered 
in parentheses, but nothing more. 

The aim throughout has been to keep by authoritative documents and 
let facts speak for themselves. Condensation has been demanded at every 
step to the exclusion of, perhaps, half the material, and any inclination to 
enlarge on the merits of the dead or the gifts of the living has been checked 
by the summons to move on. Little, therefore, is to be looked for in the way 
of direct laudation. We thus steer clear of the untrustworthiness which 
John Foster ascribed to monumental tributes, though in these, owing to 
their brevity, there is seldom much to complain of. But of an inscription 
on a marble tablet newly put up to the memory of a worthy minister many 
years dead he wrote as follows : " The greater number of the lines and 
epithets were appropriate, but there was one which I knew to be totally 
false false not only in the sense that it was not the truth but that a 
contrary expression would have been the truth." With regard to brief 
biographical notices of departed ministers, relatives are often unreasonably 
exacting, as I have had occasion to learn before now. 

In drawing up this history I have had facilities which were not within 
reach forty years ago. Since then, to use the words of the committee en 
trusted with the business, " 150 volumes of Synodical and Presbyterial 
Minutes, forming a valuable history of the denomination in its several 
branches," have been collected within the Church premises and made 
accessible. The first class referred to are almost entire, and though the 
second have many blanks they constitute a wonderful assortment when we 
consider the little care that was bestowed on their preservation. Besides, 
within the period mentioned carefully drawn up narratives of individual 
congregations have been published to an extent never known before, to say 
nothing of books on a larger scale, such as Mr Finlay s History of Buchan 



Dr M Kelvie s Annals and Statistics, on which the present work is based, 
was prepared under heavy disadvantages. The author in his country manse 
had slender means of sifting the information he obtained from local sources. 
Inaccuracies were unavoidable, and the same will be true of the work which 
is now completed amidst more favourable surroundings. The labour Dr 
M Kelvie had in collecting material must have been enormous, and the 
thought makes me almost relent over the need I have had to point out 
blemishes and make corrections. The Annals were carefully revised, on their 
way to the press, besides being brought up to date, and only those who have 
examined the original manuscript can estimate how much the book owes 
to the editorship of Dr Blair. 

Dr George Brown s manuscript History I have also found of inestimable 
service, though it is confined mostly to dates of licence, ordination, and 
death, with brief notes appended. On the whole, it is a model of painstaking 
accuracy. For this kind of work Dr Brown had aptitudes which Dr 
M Kelvie did not possess. His mind had acquired a strong bent in that 
direction in his boyhood. The Burgher and Antiburgher ministers he heard 
preach in his early days, the ordination services he witnessed, the com 
munions he went to, with the long walks, and the edifying converse by 
the way, these had all a place among his cherished recollections. But 
Dr M Kelvie, though attached to the Church with which he had cast in his 
lot on coming to years, had no interest in her antiquities or in the ministers 
of a former day like that displayed by Dr Brown of Broughton Place and 
Dr Macfarlane of London, children of the Secession manse. 

The Annals of the Original Secession Church by Dr Scott of Saltcoats 
has been constructed on a plan similar to that of Dr M Kelvie s, but the 
author had a comparatively narrow field to traverse, and written records to 
draw from almost throughout. Hence the book carries what we may call 
a rounded-off completeness, and it does justice to a phase of Secession 
workings which even the present age can ill afford to despise. The author, 
however, makes too much use of Presbytery Minutes, giving very generally 
the ministers who presided at moderations or officiated at ordination ser 
vices, matters of no importance and on which nothing turned. The thought 
of falling into the same mistake has occurred to me in noting down lists of 
calls that were given and declined, or when endeavouring to determine the 
precise date of a minister s death, or whether a certain ordination took place 
on the gth or the igth of a particular month. But the excuse may be given 
in the words of another : " When a reader finds that mistakes have been 
made about trifling matters of which he happens to be cognisant, he loses 
that confidence which is so essential if a biography (or history) is to be 

In a book of this kind it is desirable that even the minutest blunders 
should be corrected. Several errors in dates and the like have been dis 
covered since these pages were in print, and hence a list of corrigenda will 
be given at the close of this volume. Further corrections will be welcomed 
in view of issuing a similar list along with the second volume. But besides 
surface blunders readers will be certain to mark omissions and mistakes 


which I can only ascribe, like Dr Johnson with a wrong definition in his 
Dictionary, to "ignorance, pure ignorance." 

In compiling this history my obligations to correspondents are too mani 
fold to be acknowledged in detail. When applied to for personal informa 
tion or written documents brethren in the ministry, and others, have all but 
universally been willing to oblige, and only in two or three cases have letters 
of inquiry received no answer. But my large indebtedness to Mr William 
Crawford, son of the late Dr Crawford, Portobello, must have special men 
tion. From his wide acquaintance with Secession, and still more with 
Relief, antiquities I have benefited all along. Besides this, while these 
sheets have been passing through the press he has done what no one else 
could in the way of rectifying errors which go much deeper than typography, 
to say nothing of following out inquiries which I have been unable of late 
to prosecute for myself. 

I should also make mention of friends, chiefly in the West, who have 
exerted themselves to make this undertaking successful. Among these I 
must specify the Rev. James Primrose of Cathedral Square Church, Glasgow, 
without whose zeal and energy the labour of so many years might have 
remained permanently in manuscript. As it is, though the U.P. Church 
has now merged in a larger fellowship, it is to be hoped that a goodly 
number will value this two-volumed book as an attempt to preserve the 
congregational annals of a Church which has had a history of widespread 
interest, stretching back in its various branches over more than a century 
and a half. And though one generation cometh and another goeth, I 
believe that in our older congregations there are still a few for whom 
the words " Secession " and " Relief" have something of a magic sound 
as they come up from the midst of departed years. 

R. S. 


EDINBURGH, May 1904. 




ABERDEEN . ..... i 

ANNANDALE . . ..... 42 

ARBROATH ......... 65 

BANFF . . . . . . . . . .in 

BUCHAN ... . 135 

CUPAR ..... . 152 

DUMBARTON .... ... 211 

DUMFRIES .... . 243 

DUNDEE ......... 278 



DUNS ..... . 398 

EDINBURGH ..... . . 425 





FALKIRK . . . . 657 










History of the Congregations of the 
United Presbyterian Church 



IT was not till 1757 that the Secession got footing in Aberdeen. John Bisset, 
one of the ministers of the Established Church, and a pronouncedly evan 
gelical preacher, died on 2nd November of the preceding year, " greatly and 
deeply regretted," his tombstone bears, "by all who wished well to the 
interests of religion." The Scofs Magazine in announcing his death states 
further that "he absented himself from Church judicatories ever since the 
year 1737, when many of the ministers of the Established Church read the 
Porteous Act. His principles seemed to be very nearly the same as those 
of the seceders." But George Whitefield was nearer the mark when he 
wrote : " Mr Bisset is neither a seceder nor quite a kirkman, having great 
fault to find with both." At one time he seemed very near acceding to the 
Associate Presbytery, and they accordingly appointed three of their number 
to observe a Fast at Montrose on the last Wednesday of August 1740, and 
hold a conference with him next day, " according to his proposal in his 
missive to some of the brethren." But he drew back when the time came, 
and put in no appearance. In 1742 he published a letter against Whitefield, 
in which he denounced the seceders for being the first " inviters and em 
ployers of that foreigner." It is in this connection that John Bisset is best 
seen on the repellent side. 

On the second Sabbath of October 1741 the great evangelist, who had 
been urgently invited to Aberdeen by Bisset s colleague, preached in St 
Nicholas Church in the forenoon. At the afternoon service Mr Bisset, as 
reported in a newspaper of the day, delivered a most learned and orthodox 
sermon, in the course of which he addressed Whitefield, who sat right before 
him, by name and surname, and told him that his doctrine tended to mislead 
and not to edify. Of this scene Whitefield himself further relates : " He also 
quoted a passage or two from my printed sermons, which he said were 
grossly Armenian." But, though Mr Bisset s zeal for Presbyterianism and 
sound doctrine sometimes outran discretion, he secured for himself a com 
pany of faithful adherents, who afterwards betook themselves to the seceders 
for sermon. 

On 4th January 1757, two months after Mr Bisset s death, a petition to 
be taken under their inspection was laid before the Burgher Presbytery of 
Perth and Dunfermline from a considerable number of people in and about 
Aberdeen, and Mr Shirra of Kirkcaldy was appointed to preach there on the 
fourth Sabbath of that month, and remain other two Sabbaths if he should 


see cause The origin of this congregation has been sometimes ascribed to 
the appointment of Mr George Campbell, afterwards Principal Campbell, of 
Aberdeen, and one of the ablest divines of his time, to succeed Mr Bisset. 
In Bruce s "Eminent Men of Aberdeen" this assumption is turned to the 
discredit of the movement in the following terms : " They had been 
accustomed so long to the stimulus of ignorance and fanaticism that true 
religion had no charm for them." It was in the author s characteristic style 
whenever evangelical truth crossed his path ; but Mr Bisset s admirers 
acceded to the Secession a month before George Campbell got the pre 
sentation at all ! Besides this, the petitioners ascribed the step they were 
taking to no local grievance ; all they said was, they had no freedom to 
hold communion with the iudicatories of the Established Church. It was 
the very position so long taken up by their late minister. 

Until now the Burgher cause had never lifted its head in the north of 
Scotland ; but a letter written by Mr Bisset to Ebenezer Erskine, after the 
Breach, shows that his sympathies lay with the milder side of the Secession. 
He even held out the hope that he and some other ministers in that part of 
the country might cast in their lot with them, if the swearing of the covenants 
were no longer made a term of ministerial and Christian communion. This 
may account for the fact that the above application was addressed to the 
Burgher, and not to the better-known Antiburgher, Presbytery of Perth and 
Dunfermline. Sermon being granted, they lost no time in raising money by 
subscription, with which, to use their own words, they procured and fitted up 
a place of worship, which served them for fourteen years. 

First Minister. ALEXANDER DICK, best known as the father of Dr John 
Dick of Glasgow, Professor of Divinity to the United Associate Synod. 
Importance attaches to the cradle of this widely-known Secession family. 
Mr Dick of Aberdeen, we have ascertained, was a son of John Dick, who 
tenanted the farm of Binn in Cleish parish, and he was baptised, 2ist 
September 1729, and brought up in the Established Church. Received as 
a student of divinity by the Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline 
on 4th January 1757. After attending Mr Fisher s classes for one session 
he got licence, and was called to Aberdeen in April of the following year. 
This call the Synod, by a great majority, preferred to another from Torphichen, 
and Mr Dick, who had some difficulty in accepting, was ordained, 7th 
December 1758. The sermon preached on the occasion by Mr M Ewan of 
Dundee, author of a once popular book on "The Types," was afterwards 
published. Under Mr Dick s ministry the congregation prospered, includ 
ing among them some of the best-known families in the town, and in 1772 
they removed to a new and more commodious church, in the Nether Kirk- 
gate, with 700 sittings. The cost, which amounted to .500, was met by 
subscriptions at the time, and what remained was cleared off from the 
proceeds of the seat rents. A house for the minister was built on the same 
piece of ground. Mr Dick died, I7th February 1793, in the sixty-fourth 
year of his age and thirty-fifth of his ministry. In a memoir prefixed to 
"Sermons and Notes of Sermons" preached by him, and published in 1852, 
it is stated that, though afflicted with nervous weakness during the last 
years of his life, Jje was only laid aside from public work the Sabbath before 
his death. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM BRUNTON, a native of the parish of New- 
battle, whose connection with Aberdeen is little else than a record of 
disaster. First of all, the moderation in his favour was objected to and 
petitioned against, but by persistent pressure his supporters carried their 
point, though the stipend of ^80, with house, pertinents, and communion 
expenses, the Presbytery pronounced inadequate. The call to Mr Brunton 


was signed by 240 members and 30 adherents. In the face of an opposing 
representation from 64 members it was sustained and accepted, and the 
minority, who had set their hearts on Mr Dick of Slateford, the son of their 
former minister, instead of acquiescing applied forthwith for a disjunction. 
But there were strong-willed men at the helm of affairs, and the proposal 
was sternly resisted. With matters in this state Mr Brunton was ordained, 
22nd April 1795, little to his own comfort as the event proved. The dis 
junction insisted on was granted by the Synod a few weeks afterwards ; but 
the particulars belong to the history of St Nicholas Church. Messrs John 
and Ebenezer Brown, in reporting to the Presbytery the outcome of their 
mission to the north in the autumn of 1796, gave it as their opinion that the 
disjunction would be productive of good. "The dissatisfaction of the old 
congregation," they said, "continues, but there is reason to think it will 
gradually cease, and that both congregations will increase and prosper." But 
the two were about to enter on diverging paths, which were to land them in 
rival communions. 

The controversy between the Old and the New Lights was already begin 
ning to stir, and the session of the old congregation came forward at the very 
first with a petition to the Synod against any change in the Formula. Their 
minister, however, favoured relaxation, and he was rewarded by the refusal 
of his elders to take part with him in the observance of the Lord s Supper. 
They next went the length of forbidding him to assist any of his brethren at 
communions, and this was followed in 1798 by a petition to have the relation 
between them and their minister dissolved. Petitions in Mr Brunton s favour 
were also coming up to the Presbytery from his friends to the number of 
forty or fifty ; but these went for little. At last four elders, the heads of 
the opposition, who had been laid under suspension some months before, 
were cut off from the fellowship of the Church, which seems to have left 
Mr Brunton without a session. It must have been a relief to all parties 
when the majority withdrew, and on the first Sabbath of March 1800 had 
sermon from the Original Burgher Presbytery. 

The contest was now transferred to the courts of law, the question 
being, Which party should retain the property? Mr Brunton still occupied 
the pulpit, and an attempt to close the door against him was circumvented 
by altering the locks. The sheriff decided in favour of the Old Lights on the 
ground that they were admittedly the majority, and because Mr Brunton had 
failed to make good that the call he received gave him a right to the subjects 
for life or until removed by a deed of Presbytery or Synod. The case 
having been carried to the Court of Session, the judges were much divided 
in their views. Expression was given to the opinion that in the titles the 
jurisdiction of the Synod was recognised and should be given effect to ; 
but in the end the judgment of the sheriff was confirmed, and the Old 
Light majority were put in possession of church and manse. 

The case was decided on i3th May 1801 ; but how Mr Brunton and 
his little party contrived to meet the ruinous expenses, or whether they 
ever met them at all, we have no means of ascertaining. He gave in the 
demission of his charge on 3rd September, and though four elders and 
managers petitioned the Presbytery not to receive it, the connection was 
dissolved on I5th December 1801, and his adherents were recommended to 
join the new congregation. Thus was the earliest Secession Church in 
Aberdeen lost to the annals of the U.P. denomination. Mr Brunton now 
removed to Dundee, where he became a teacher. At the Synod in 1809 
he applied to be employed in neighbouring vacancies, and the Presbytery 
was authorised to grant his request, provided it could be done without 
detriment to the preachers or the congregations. In 1820 he emigrated to 


Canada, and was inducted to the charge of a small congregation at Lachine 
in connection with the Church of Scotland ; but he remained there not more 
than two years. His tombstone at La Chute bears that "after preaching the 
gospel in various other places he undertook the pastoral care of this congre 
gation in 1831, where he spent the last seven years of his valuable life." He 
died, 1 2th August 1839, in the seventy-third year of his age and forty-fifth of 
his ministry. 

After being six years in connection with the Original Burgher Presbytery, 
Nether Kirkgate had a minister set over them. Strife and turmoil must have 
told upon their numbers, and of the three calls they issued during this period 
none had more than 165 signatures, including adherents. Mr William 
Primrose, a preacher from Kincardine-on-Forth, was ordained, I3th August 
1806, the stipend to be ^100, with a manse. In 1837 the communicants were 
given at 160, and the stipend was the same as at first, with ^20 for house 
rent. In 1839 minister and congregation were admitted into the Church of 
Scotland, but adhered unanimously to the Free Church at the Disruption. 
Mr Primrose died, 3oth May 1866, in the eighty-third year of his age and 
sixtieth of his ministry. Of his pulpit appearances it is testified, " He had 
not only clear views of the gospel, but was correct in expression and very 
fervent in delivery." Nether Kirkgate is now known as Melville Free 
Church, and under this broader flag it has a membership of nearly 600. 


ON 29th June 1772 Mr Brown of Craigdam petitioned the Presbytery of 
the North for supply to his people in Aberdeen. This little branch of his 
congregation was eighteen miles distant from the centre, and consisted 
mainly of a few families who had removed to the town from about Huntly 
and Craigdam. Such is the account given in a carefully-got-up history of 
Aberdeen, and it surpasses in probability the story of the Antiburgher cause 
in that town having originated with 7 members of Mr Bisset s congregation. 
In February 1776 a petition to be erected into a congregation was rejected, 
"the people applying being so very few." However, on I2th November of 
the following year, " the praying society at Aberdeen," with the entire ap 
proval of Craigdam session, had their request granted without the least 
opposition. Here comes in an entry, of date 23rd November, from the diary 
of a humble member of the Church : " Mr William Brown in the Spital 
Church declared that to be a new congregation of seceders in and about 
Aberdeen." On the first Sabbath of November 1779 they removed from 
their hired place of worship to the church they had erected in Belmont 
Street, which was seated for 800, few as their numbers must have been. 
The cost was put at ^1000 long afterwards, but the plain appearance of the 
building, taken along with the standard of the times, turns that estimate into 
extravagance. In 1781 the congregation called the Rev. William Barlas of 
Whitehill, a pulpit orator ; but he was in precarious health, and the Presbytery 
declined to translate. 

First Minister. MICHAEL ARTHUR, who had been nearly eighteen years 
in office, first in Dumbarrow and then in Peebles. Everything being ripe 
for a further change, he was-Sent through to supply at Aberdeen, and his 
induction followed, 26th June 1782. All promised well for a little, and 
during the first year 40 members are said to have been added to the church. 
But Mr Arthur was a man whom ill-fortune attended wherever he went. 
Three years before leaving Peebles he preached a sermon at the opening of 
the Antiburgher Synod, which he afterwards published, entitled " The Two 


Witnesses." Besides giving his views on a difficult passage in Revelation 
the preacher turned aside to lament the unhappy rupture in the Secession 
on the question of swearing the Burgess Oath, and this stung Adam Gib 
like a personal insult. Owing to partial deafness the worthy man did not 
catch the meaning fully at the time ; but on reading the sermon in print his 
wrath was kindled, and he brought up a lengthy paper of complaints to next 
Synod. Mr Arthur was not the man to shrink from warfare when smarting 
under what he deemed ill-usage. The Synod enjoined both parties to lay 
down their weapons, but the contention was again and again renewed, and 
Mr Arthur alleged that, at the Synod which transferred him from Peebles to 
Aberdeen, Mr Gib aspersed him in a way fitted to injure his prospects in his 
new sphere of labour. But other evils came in to trouble him at Aberdeen. 

After Mr Arthur had gone on there for three years the diary quoted from 
above tells of dissension between him and his people, and adds : " They are 
all out of order ; for the present some will not come to hear him at all." 
Accordingly, on 8th February 1786, he tendered the demission of his charge 
to the Presbytery, but assigned as the reason that the Synod at their last 
meeting issued a decision on the controversy between him and Mr Gib most 
dishonourable to themselves and injurious to him. He had signified at 
their bar that he could no longer continue among them. After he had been 
reasoned with in vain the case was referred to the Synod, which on 4th May 
severed the connection, and declared the congregation vacant. Subsequent 
procedure, ending in deposition, may be passed over ; and we come to 3rd 
January 1787, when Mr Arthur was received into the Relief Church by 
Edinburgh Presbytery, and though the deed was hurriedly done the Synod 
confirmed it, being fully satisfied as to the applicant s character and talents. 
Two years later they found that he had "gone off, and connected himself 
with another society." This was the Lifter Presbytery, which had the 
Rev. David Smyton of Kilmaurs at its head, and with which Mr Arthur 
had already manifested affinity in a sermon on "The Obligation and Extent 
of the Redeemer s Dying Command." This was the court from which his 
son William got licence, and by which he was ordained over what became 
Portsburgh Burgher congregation, Edinburgh. In this connection we have 
a view of Mr Michael Arthur at his worst in a pamphlet by the Rev. John 
Gemmell, the "Lifter" minister of Dairy, Ayrshire. Allowance must be 
made for hostile feeling, but, if the half of what Mr Gemmell says is true, 
Mr Arthur must have had rare talent for brow-beating and abuse. He 
seems to have claimed a seat in this ill-compacted court as the representa 
tive elder from Edinburgh session ; but it speedily fell to fragments. In 
1793 M r Arthur s son emigrated to America, where he was settled ere long ; 
and it is believed that he was accompanied by his father, of whom we lose 
all trace at this point. 

In 1787 Bclmont Street congregation gave a divided call to Mr John 
Smith, which was not sustained, and eight years afterwards Mr Smith was 
admitted to Whithorn. Next year they called Mr Frederick MacFarlane, 
whom the Synod appointed to Montrose (now St Luke s). 

Second Minister. WILLIAM McCAUL, from Sanquhar (South). At the 
Synod in September 1788 two other calls came up to Mr McCaul the one 
from Burntisland, the other from the united congregations of Kilmaurs and 
Stewarton. Burntisland having been set aside, a member s belated vote 
raised Aberdeen to equality with Kilmaurs and Stewarton, and then by the 
Moderator s casting vote it got the decision in its favour. But owing to 
delicate health Mr McCaul had required to shorten his stay at the Hall year 
after year, and for probably the same reason he stayed away three suc 
cessive sessions before he finished. Fearing that the regular work of the 


ministry would be too much for him he now held back from delivering his 
trials, pleading also that the stipend of ,50 was insufficient. The people, in 
their earnestness to obtain him, promised other ,10, and impressed by the 
spirit they displayed he yielded, and was ordained, 6th April 1789. After 
six and a half years of trying labour, including three services each Sabbath, 
Mr McCaul s reserve of strength gave way, and we read of the congregation 
observing a Fast owing to being so long deprived of their beloved pastor s 
ministrations. But work was resumed and carried on other two years, and 
then he felt necessitated to lay down the burden, "because of his weakness 
of body." The commissioners from the congregation were earnest and 
unanimous for Mr McCaul remaining ; but on 2oth November 1798 the 
Presbytery had very unwillingly to loose him from his charge. He then 
removed to Dumfriesshire, and in 1805 he purchased the estate of Caitloch, 
near Moniaive, and became a great support and encouragement to the 
congregation there. On 29th March 1835, when he was in the seventy- 
seventh year of his age, Mr McCaul met his death in very distressing 
circumstances through being attacked by an infuriated bull. The original 
seat of the family was Ulzieside, near Sanquhar, a name linked with the first 
application to the Associate Presbytery from "The Societies of the South 
and West" for sermon. 

Third Minister. JAMES TEMPLETON, from Kilmaurs. The congregation 
had been previously in a divided state, a large number wishing to call 
Mr Laurence Glass, afterwards of Midholm, but others, including most of 
the elders, refusing to concur. Mr Templeton brought them to entire 
unanimity, and though he had scruples about the state of the congregation 
the Presbytery held they were not weighty enough to bar procedure, and he 
was ordained, and September 1801. The stipend was to be ^70, but in 1812 
it was ^100, with a gift of .50 generally superadded year by year. For 
some life-like reminiscences of Mr Templeton s early ministry we are 
indebted to an article by Dr George Brown in the Secession Magazine for 
1841. The writer recalled the slender form ; the figure under the middle 
size ; the voice, not strong, but distinct and clear, with a plaintive cadence ; 
the striking, pithy remarks ; the weighty appeals to the conscience ; and the 
crowded auditories at the Sabbath evening discourses month by month. 
Then he comes to the inbreak of the Old Light controversy and the loss of 
some members "eminent for piety and exemplary conduct," including, as 
we know, the father of Dr John Duncan and the family of Mr Brown, the 
first minister of Craigdam, the church never being again so crowded as 
during the first five years of Mr Templeton s pastorate. But a more 
serious inroad was made on the congregation s entireness in 1820, when 
Mr Templeton, influenced probably by Mr Mitchell of Clola, his father- 
in-law, stood out against the Union, and afterwards took part in the 
formation of the Protestor Synod. This was the origin of what is now 
Garden Place Ghurch. But when the Protestors opened negotiations with 
the Constitutional Presbytery Mr Templeton dissented, and renewed his 
dissent a year later. He was not prepared to go over to Old Light ground, 
remembering, perhaps, the trouble the controversy gave him two dozen 
years before. On I7th May 1827, when this minor Union was consummated, 
Mr Templeton was absent, and on loth July he applied for admission to the 
United Secession Presbytery of Aberdeen, intimating that he departed from 
his former protest and acceded to the New Testimony. He and his elder 
were cordially welcomed to seats in the Presbytery, but about 40 of the 
members preferred to join the Original Secession congregation under the 
Rev. John Aitken. 

In April 1833 pulpit supply was required for Belmont Street, Mr Temple- 


ton being unable to preach owing to a nervous affection, and in this state 
matters continued more or less for nearly two years. Meantime a party in 
the congregation got so eager to have a certain candidate called that, when 
others held back, they applied to the Presbytery to be disjoined. But, 
Mr Templeton believing himself able to resume work, a reconciliation was 
effected on the understanding that, if he were unable to go on, a moderation 
should be proceeded with after a reasonable time. In July 1836 they were 
unanimously in favour of going forward. As for money arrangements, the 
junior minister was to have ^iooa year, and Mr Templeton was willing to cast 
himself on the liberality of his people without the mention of any definite sum. 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT SEDGEWICK, from Regent Place, Glasgow. 
He was already on trials for Cumbernauld, but accepted Aberdeen, where 
he was ordained, 2ist September 1836. A year afterwards the membership 
was 350, and the people were endeavouring to give each of their ministers 
^100. The debt was under ^400, and had been considerably reduced within 
recent years. There were three services at this time, Mr Templeton being 
so far recovered as to take part of the work ; but the conducting of the week- 
night meeting and the Bible classes devolved entirely on his colleague. 
Three years after this trouble came in an acute form, and rapidly reached a 
crisis. It was a time when suspicions of error in doctrine were abroad, and 
the Church was in the first stirrings of the Morisonian controversy. To 
guard the defences the Presbytery of Aberdeen assigned to the three divinity 
students under their care as the subject of an essay " The Extent of the 
Atonement." On the exercises being read several of the members deemed 
them unsatisfactory, and the manuscripts were handed over to a committee, 
of which Mr Templeton was convener. When a report was given in discus 
sion arose, and when it was carried by a majority not to sustain the essays, 
as they contained views of the Atonement " inconsistent with Scripture and 
our standards," the two colleagues came to an open rupture. The particulars 
are given on the written authority of the Rev. H. A. Paterson of Stonehouse, 
under whose name a fuller account of the doctrinal case will be given. 

At first Mr Sedgewick said little beyond complaining that the students 
were being too severely dealt with ; but, after Mr Angus made common cause 
with the accused, he got up from the recumbent position and declared that 
he did the same. Thereupon Mr Templeton said he would no longer be 
colleague to a heretic, and next Sabbath he came out on the subject of 
heresy, pointing the application, it was alleged, with eye and finger. Very 
clearly this state of things could not be endured, and after another Sabbath 
the congregation of Belmont Street prayed the Presbytery to take their 
circumstances into serious consideration. The papers were given in at a 
meeting in Edinburgh while the Synod was sitting, and, foreseeing stormy 
weather, the Presbytery requested the Synod to appoint assessors to help 
them through. On 7th July 1840 the Presbytery met, and along with them 
were Dr Young of Perth, Mr Hay of Arbroath, and Mr Campbell of Peter- 
head. Written documents were read and parties heard at great length, and 
at the second sederunt, on the second day, a basis of agreement was put into 
shape, of which the central article was that the aged minister should take 
only one of the services on the Sabbath, leaving the other two to Mr Sedge- 
wick. It was pleaded that this was the usual arrangement in all such cases, 
and it was what had been agreed on when Mr Sedgewick began his ministry. 
It was also enjoined on the members of the congregation to give faithful 
attendance on the ministrations of both pastors, who on their part were 
asked to pledge themselves to study by their whole deportment to promote 
each other s comfort and usefulness, terms to which the commissioners 
and the junior minister agreed. 


At this stage Mr Templeton proved impracticable, and when Dr Young 
and Mr Campbell were .appointed to retire with him and urge acquiescence 
they had to return in a short time with the report that " he had determinedly- 
refused." The Presbytery elder also insisted that half the public services 
on Sabbath ought to be assigned to Mr Templeton. Baffled in their en 
deavours the Presbytery adjourned for a week, but when they met again 
it was to find Mr Templeton forward with a petition to be separated without 
delay from his colleague, and to be allowed to open a place of worship for 
himself, neither of which requests could be complied with. To prevent 
damage to Belmont Street it was thought needful to suspend him from the 
exercise of his ministerial functions until the appeal which he had taken to 
the Synod should be heard. At next meeting, on nth August, certain 
elders and members of Belmont Street Church asked to be erected into 
a new congregation under the pastoral care of Mr Templeton. He had 
preached to them in the open air at first, and they were now worshipping 
in a hall. Supply of sermon was granted in consequence of their minister s 
indisposition, and indeed it was known that, to all appearance, he was dying. 
The Presbytery in the circumstances declared the sentence of suspensioli 
removed ; but before that day closed the worthy man died, in the seventieth 
year of his age and thirty-ninth of his ministry. The history of Charlotte 
Street Church supplies the rest. 

There was peace in Belmont Street now under the sole pastorate of 
Mr Sedgewick ; but controversy must have brought the cause into disfavour, 
and prosperity was slow in returning. Mr Sedgewick, feeling this, resigned, 
with the view of emigrating to America, and the relation was dissolved, 
1 2th February 1849. On 4th September following he was inducted to 
Musquodoboit in Nova Scotia, where he laboured till i5th August 1882, 
when he retired owing to the infirmities of age. He died, 2nd April 1885] 
in the eighty-second year of his age and forty-ninth of his ministry. A 
little, racy book of his, entitled "The Wine of the Kingdom," was published 
in 1846. His son, the Rev. Thomas Sedgewick, D.D., was a student in our 
Hall for one session, and then went to Nova Scotia. He is now minister 
at Tatamagouche, and clerk to the Synod of the Maritime Provinces. 

Fifth Mims/er.jOHN CROUMBIE BKOWN, from Haddington (East), a 
grandson of the Rev. John Brown of Haddington and a brother of the 
celebrated Dr Samuel Brown. Ordained at St Petersburg on 6th December 
1835 as an agent of the London Missionary Society. After labouring there 
for some years he returned to this country. He afterwards became minister 
of an Independent Church at Beverley, Yorkshire, but left in 1844 for 
Cape Town under the auspices of the above society. The year after that he 
published a volume on "The Truths of Christianity," and in 1847 a volume 
of discourses. Received into the U.P. Church by the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, 8th June 1849, and inducted into Belmont Street, 24th April 
1850. The congregation at this time furnished a stipend of only ^120, and 
the call was signed by 124 members and 19 adherents. From 1853 to 1860 
Mr Brown was also Lecturer on Botany in King s College, Aberdeen, from 
which he received the degree of LL.D. in 1858. He was loosed from his 
charge on i6th February 1863, having accepted the situation of Government 
Botanist at the Cape of Good Hope, and Professor of Botany in the South 
African College. The arrangements there having collapsed in the interests 
of retrenchment, Dr Brown returned home, and had his name placed on the 
probationer list in May 1867. He was inducted into Church Street, Berwick, 
2nd March 1869; but heartiness could scarcely be looked for where the 
minister chosen was above threescore, and owing to an unhappy state of 
feeling in the congregation Dr Brown, at his own request, was loosed from 


his charge, 5th July 1870. He afterwards removed to Haddington, his 
native place, where his freedom from other work was favourable to the in 
terests of science. He there gave himself to the study of Forestry, on which he 
published a series of valuable books, fifteen in number, the first in 1876 and the 
last in 1884. He died, I7th September 1895, aged eighty-seven. Dr Brown 
was a son-m-law, as well as a nephew, of the Rev. John Brown of Whitburn. 

When this vacancy occurred Belmont Street had a membership of 160, 
and the stipend was to be ^150. Three unsuccessful calls followed, the first 
to Mr Adam Welsh, who afterwards got Kincardine ; the second to Mr R. 
S. Bruce, who afterwards got Wishaw ; and the third to Mr Robert Lyon, 
who preferred North Leith, where he became colleague to Dr Harper. 

Sixth Minister. DAVID BEATT, from School Wynd, Dundee. Ordained, 
iSth^Apnl 1865, after declining calls to Hartlepool and Bishop Auckland. 
On Sabbath, loth January 1869, the present church, with sittings for 700, 
was opened by the Rev. Andrew Morton, afterwards D.D., Edinburgh. It 
stands on the old site, and cost over ,3000, which was nearly all defrayed 
m the course of eight years. In 1895 Mr Beatt received the degree of D.D. 
from St Andrews University. At the close of 1899 the membership of 
Belmont Street was 587 and the stipend ,350. 


THE Relief denomination in Aberdeen, as in Dundee, had tangled, disrupted 
fortunes for the first forty years. The origin has generally been traced back 
as far as 1773, ""hen the first minister was settled in Gilcomston Chapel of 
Ease ; but for two reasons we reckon this too early. First, it was not till 
29_th April 1778 that the managers of the Relief Church resolved to proceed 
with the erection of a place of worship, and on i;th August of the same 
year, when application was made to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow for 
sermon, they were described as "a forming congregation." Second, the 
first ordination at Gilcomston seems to have been harmoniously gone 
through, but the second minister, though chosen in June 1776, was not 
admitted till November 1778. This may be taken as the period within 
which the Relief cause took shape. The church was built "by voluntary 
subscription," with accommodation for 1000 people. 

First Minister. JOHN BRYCE, who, we have some reason to believe, 
belonged to the parish of Carsphairn. If so, he is almost certain to have 
come over from the Established Church, which may account for his prepared 
ness to go back to the Established Church again. The date of his ordination 
cannot be given ; but, according to the minutes of the congregation, the call, 

which was unanimous in a way, came out on ijth October 1779, the Rev! 

James Baine of College Street, Edinburgh, presiding on the occasion. For 
reasons which will fully appear under next heading Mr Bryce and his 
people joined the Established Church, into which they were received, on 
nth August 1791, by the Presbytery of Aberdeen. The first Relief con 
gregation in Dundee was lost to the denomination in the same way and 
almost at the same time, and in both cases they took the property with 
them. The Relief Presbytery of Perth asked the Synod at next meeting for 
advice as to how they should proceed with Mr Bryce, and were told to 
summon him to their bar and deal with him according to the rules of the 
Church. But the fugitive was safely settled down in his new connection, 
and the matter was allowed to drop. 

For three dozen years Mr Bryce preached on without having either a 
session of his own or a seat in the Church courts. At last, on s th March 


1828, Belmont Street Chapel of Ease, which is said to have been largely 
attended, was erected into a parish church, and the Rev. John Bryce became 
a regular parish minister. He died, loth March 1831, in the seventy-seventh 
year of his age and fifty-second of his ministry. His son, Dr James Bryce, 
formerly an army chaplain, figured in the Assembly in pre-Disruption days 
as an extreme Moderate, and wrote a history of the Church of Scotland 
on the same lines. 


THE chapel in Belmont Street was built by subscription, and hence, when a 
minister came to be chosen, the right to vote was limited to the subscribers. 
They united in electing Mr Bryce, " there not being another put into the 
field " ; but non-subscribers resented the exclusion, and by all accounts they 
were mostly in favour of another candidate. It issued in the erection of a 
rival chapel in the Shiprow of like dimensions with the other. The parties 
betook themselves for sermon to Cowan of Colinsburgh, who along with 
certain fluctuating quantities constituted the Old Presbytery of Relief. 

First Minister. JOHN BRODIE, a licentiate of Dysart Relief Presbytery, 
whose family seems to have belonged to Kennoway or its neighbourhood. 
Having preached to his supporters in Aberdeen without Presbyterial 
authority he was excluded from the Relief connection. He was ordained 
over Shiprow congregation by the Rev. James Cowan on 6th August 1780, 
and for ten years the two assisted each other on communion occasions. But 
in 1790 Mr Brodie and his congregation applied for admission to the Relief 
Synod. It was now that long-cherished antipathies burst forth, Mr Bryce 
and his session having lodged papers with Uysart Presbytery reflecting on 
Mr Brodie s character. The Synod remitted the matter to the Presbytery, 
instructing them to inquire into the grounds of these charges and also how 
far the admission, if agreed to, would affect the interests of the other con 
gregation in Aberdeen. Next year Dysart Presbytery reported that all they 
had learned about Mr Brodie was favourable, and accordingly, having sub 
mitted to rebuke for his disorderly conduct eleven years before, he was 
received into ministerial communion. The pastoral bond between him and 
Shiprow congregation was at the same time recognised ; only, a member of 
Synod was to occupy the pulpit some Sabbath and read the minute of 
Synod by way of administering censure. The next we hear of Mr Bryce and 
his congregation is that they have found a home in the Establishment. On 
6th September 1798 Mr Brodie was loosed from Shiprow on accepting a call 
to Dovehill, Glasgow (now Kelvingrove). His former congregation called 
him back within a twelvemonth, which brought out their regard for him, 
but had no further effect. With Mr Brodie s departure the prosperity of the 
Relief cause in Shiprow came to an end. 

Second Minister. ALEXANDER BOWER, from College Street, Edinburgh. 
John Campbell, the African traveller, who was a cousin of his, states that 
his father was an elder in that Church, and remarkable for strict Sabbath 
observance. Mr Bower himself got licence from the Presbytery of Armagh 
in Ireland, and was received as a probationer by the Relief Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, 23rd May 1799. Ordained over Shiprow Church on 6th 
November of that year. But disaffection early showed itself, and altogether 
the settlement proved most unfortunate. Mr Bower, however, proved 
himself to be what his cousin called him "a scholar" and in 1802 he was 
awarded a prize by the Blackwell Trustees for the best essay on " The 
Character, Manners, and Doctrines of the Socratic School." On the other 
hand, one who had the means of knowing testified long afterwards that " Mr 


Bower s ministry was the bane of the Relief cause in Aberdeen." There had 
been mutterings of discontent long before, but to get quit of him the 
managers of Shiprow Church on 3oth July 1805 laid on the Presbytery s 
table a list of fourteen charges against him, some of them frivolous enough, 
such as shaving on Sabbath and saying there was no sin in doing so. 
There was more in the allegation that he had all along preached the 
doctrines of the Bereans, including the crotchet that it is wrong to pray for 
a blessing on the sacramental elements. But, worse still, he had read from 
the pulpit a document in which he applied a libellous epithet to the mana 
gers about the decline of the congregation. Three additional articles were 
afterwards thrown into the scale, the weightiest of them being "drunkenness." 

At a Presbyterial visitation on 28th August the whole affair was pressed 
into little compass. The managers had locked the church door against 
their minister, and it was declared that on this account they had lost their 
rights as prosecutors. It was consequently agreed "to throw said charges 
over the table." Then a committee was appointed to inquire on the spot 
into the grounds of the fama raised against Mr Bower s character, but all 
they brought up was that he had acted imprudently in the matter of private 
baptism. The managers had previously engaged to pay down ^50 to Mr 
Bower at once if he would resign, and they had also told the Presbytery that 
unless he were suspended forthwith they would sell the church for the 
payment of the debt resting on it. But Mr Bower preached on to his own 
adherents for another year, and then on 6th September 1806 he tendered his 
resignation, which was at once accepted. We lose sight of him now till 
1814, when he applied to the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh to be recog 
nised as an ordained probationer. This was agreed to, but at next meeting 
the decision was unceremoniously cancelled. We next meet with him as 
Assistant Librarian in Edinburgh University, of which he wrote an elaborate 
history in three volumes, strong, according to Sir Alexander Grant, in 
biographical details, but weak in everything else. Before leaving Aberdeen 
he published a biography of Dr James Beattie, poet and professor, in which 
he refers to him as having been his patron, and this was followed in 1813 by 
a life of Martin Luther ; but neither of them is of any account now. His 
literary work, however, has found a place for him in the National Biography, 
where he is spoken of as having been originally a teacher in Edinburgh. 
The writer knew nothing of him as a minister of the Relief. He also 
states that Mr Bower died suddenly in 1830-1, whereas he lived on till 23rd 
February 1837. 

Two months after Mr Bower left, a number of the people petitioned 
Perth Presbytery to preach the pulpit vacant and grant them sermon. The 
elders, it was found, were all gone, but the old managers came forward, 
professing penitence for their unruly conduct at the time of the Presbyterial 
visitation, and, after submitting to rebuke, had supply appointed them. But 
another Relief congregation in St Andrew s Street was on the point of ob 
taining a minister, and Shiprow Church disappears henceforth from the 
Presbytery records. It is known, however, that Dr Paton, of whom more 
will be given in connection with St Paul s, now became the occupant of the 
pulpit, but we can scarcely say that he belonged to any denomination. He 
died, nth March 1811, "much regretted," the newspaper notice stated, "by 
his congregation and his numerous friends and acquaintances." He was 
succeeded by David Gellatly, the champion of the Cowanite party, who, after 
ruining the Relief cause in Haddington, had exercised his gifts for ten years 
in Castlegarth, Newcastle. Having gone out to Peterculter for his health, 
he died there, 2oth August 1821, aged fifty-eight. A tombstone "erected by 
his relict and congregation " in the churchyard near by marks where he is 


buried. He was succeeded by one Patrick Ross, whose ministry was of 
short duration. Next, a newspaper notice tells that on 7th September 1823 
the Rev. Hugh Hart of Paisley was elected minister of the old Relief Chapel, 
Shiprow, Aberdeen. This translation bears on the annals of the U.P. 
Church, as, shortly after Mr Hart left Paisley, the congregation, which had 
been Independent, acceded to the Secession Presbytery, and brought the 
building with them. This was the beginning of St James Church. In 1837 
Mr Hart returned the communicants of Shiprow at 600. The congregation 
was now designated the United Christian Church, and the minister had a 
lease of the chapel for life at ^70 a year. His stipend was not more than 
.120. The building was demolished some time afterwards to make way for 
improvement purposes, and with that the chequered history of the Relief 
Chapel in Shiprow, Aberdeen, came to an end. 


COMPARED with the brethren they left behind them in Nether Kirkgate, the 
party that originated the new Burgher congregation in Aberdeen had a 
peaceful history. Their candidate on the moderation day was the Rev. John 
Dick of Slateford, and failing to carry his election they went in for separate 
existence. After a pause 73 of their number petitioned the session for a 
disjunction, which was first delayed and then refused. Their protest having 
come up to the Synod in May 1795 it was sustained, and the disjunction 
agreed to. Two petitions for sermon from 100 outsiders were indirectly met 
by this decision, it being explained that the parties would have an oppor 
tunity of hearing the gospel along with the disjoined members, and this, we 
may believe, was all they ever thought of. The two companies now coalesced, 
and in January 1796 they called Mr Dick, the subscribers numbering 107 
members and 64 adherents. At this time they were designated Belmont 
Street congregation, indicating that their church was already built and 
occupied. The call was repeated six months later, but the Synod on both 
occasions, in keeping with his own wishes, refused to translate, and Mr Dick 
remained in reserve for a more important situation. Three unsuccessful 
calls followed the first to the Rev. George Henderson of Lauder, who had 
been sent by the Synod to supply in and about Aberdeen ; but the congre 
gation, after the call was sustained and transmitted to Kelso Presbytery, 
unanimously agreed to let procedure drop. The second was addressed 
to Mr Thomas Brown, probationer, whom the Synod appointed to Dalkeith, 
and the third to his brother Ebenezer of Inverkeithing, who had been 
evangelising in the north ; but the call was withdrawn at his own request. 
Thus four years came and went. 

First Minister. LAURENCE GLASS, from Orwell (now Free Church). 
He was also under call to Crail, but the Synod preferred Aberdeen without a 
vote. Ordained, 5th March 1800. Dr George Brown, who was present, a 
boy of ten, remembered the neat appearance of the church, and its situation 
on a steep declivity, no stairs being required for the gallery. But next year 
the building had to be removed to make way for Union Street, and out of 
the materials another was erected in St Nicholas L<tne, the cost, first and 
last, to the congregation being ,850, which subsequent enlargements raised 
to ^1000, and made the sittings 604. Of Mr Glass, Dr Brown states in his 
reminiscences that his delivery was unnatural from his not taking a breath 
ing in the middle of his sentences ; yet "such was the hallowed unction of 
his preaching, his profound views of divine truth, and the fine taste which 
characterised his composition, almost a novelty till then among dissenters in 


the north," that he soon gathered round him a devoted congregation. But 
pulmonary disease was superinduced, and he died, 7th May 1813, in the thirty- 
fifth year of his age and fourteenth of his ministry. Mrs Glass was a sister of 
Mrs Balmer, so often referred to in the life of Principal Cairns, and they were 
sisters of John Scott, the first editor of the London Magazine, a literary man 
of great talent and varied accomplishments, who died, 27th February 1821, 
from a wound received in a duel eleven days before. It was a time when 
the atmosphere of the political world was thunderladen ; but a man like 
John Scott ought never to have given a challenge and placed his own 
and another s life upon the hazard, great as the provocation may have 

During the vacancy which followed Mr Glass death the congregation 
presented a call to the Rev. John Jamieson of Scone, signed by 239 members, 
the stipend to be ,150. But he had no wish to remove, and the Synod de 
cided unanimously not to translate. 

Second Minister. HENRY ANGUS, M.A., from Inverkeithing. The call 
from Aberdeen was preferred both by himself and by the Synod to another 
from Lochwinnoch, and Mr Angus was ordained, 23rd July 1816. St 
Nicholas congregation under their young minister, who proved himself an 
all-round man, acquired a high standing in the town, and in 1837 there was 
a communion roll of 400 and a stipend of i 50, with a house. A new church 
was built on the old site in 1845, with 700 sittings. In 1857 the congregation 
called one of their own number, Mr William Watson, to be colleague and 
successor to Mr Angus, but he chose Forres instead. They next called their 
own minister s son, but he was already bespoke for Trinity Church, Sunder- 
land, and preferred to go there. He is no\v the Rev. Henry Angus, D.D., 

Third Minister. JAMES M. M KERROW, M.A., son of the Rev. Dr 
M Kerrow, Manchester. Ordained, igth October 1859. Each minister was 
to have ,150 of stipend, and during what remained of his life Mr Angus as 
a rule took one of the services each Sabbath. He died, 28th June 1860, in 
the sixty-sixth year of his age and forty-fourth of his ministry. On lying 
down in bed that night he felt seriously ill, and in a little he whispered the 
word "death," turned his face to the side, and passed away. We have a 
befitting memorial of Mr Angus gifts in a volume of high-class discourses 
published in 1861, with a very tastefully-written memoir from the pen of his 
son, the Rev. Robert Angus of Peebles. The collection includes the sermon 
Mr Angus preached at the opening of the Synod in 1851, which George 
Gilfillan characterised as the best of the kind he ever read "calm, masterly, 
and truly eloquent." The same critic in his " Remoter Stars" has a glowing 
notice of the author, whose preaching power he admits was limited owing to 
his delivery, but "when roused by special circumstances or committed to a 
great effort he wrote noble sermons, original in thought and elaborate in 

In October 1866 Mr M Kerrow was invited to remove to the newly-formed 
congregation of Birmingham, but declined, assigning as a reason the diffi 
culties which beset the cause of Presbyterianism in England, partly through 
being debarred from the use of instrumental music in public worship. But 
on 23rd April 1867 a second call was presented, and, pleadings being dis 
pensed with bymutual consent, Mr M Kerrowsimplyannouncedhisacceptance, 
and was loosed from his charge. In his new sphere of labour Mr M Kerrow 
experienced for two years the disadvantage of conducting services in a hired 
room in the heart of the town, but on 3rd June 1869 a new church was 
opened at Camphill, with 650 sittings. The entire cost was about .4000, 
of which the greater part had been previously raised. In 1885 Mr M Kerrow 


emigrated to New Zealand, where he was inducted soon after into his present 
charge at Mossgiel, in the Presbytery of Dunedin. 

A vacancy of one and a half years followed at Aberdeen, during which 
the congregation called the Rev. R. S. Bruce of Wishaw, who had been the 
choice of Belmont Street Church three years before, but he decided to 
decline in this case also. The stipend was now up to ^300. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN RUTHERFORD, B.D., son of the Rev. A. C. 
Rutherford, Edinburgh. Ordained, nth November 1868. In 1874 some 
50 or 60 members, including 4 elders, withdrew from Mr Rutherford s 
ministry. This may have suggested the desirability of a change, and 
accordingly he accepted a call to Leicester, 3oth November 1875. Having 
resigned his charge on the ground of impaired health, he applied to the 
General Assembly of 1882 for admission to the Established Church, 
and had his application granted. He is now minister of the first charge in 
Kirkwall parish. Before a successor was obtained at Aberdeen the congre 
gation called Mr A. F. Forrest, who preferred Erskine Church, Stirling. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN ROBSON, D.D., son of the Rev. Dr Robson, 
Wellington Church, Glasgow. Was ordained as a missionary to Ajmere, 
India, on 3ist July 1860. After being twelve years in the foreign field 
Mr Robson had to come home owing to failure of health, but expected to 
return on regaining lost ground. He had, however, under medical advice 
to tender his resignation to the Mission Board and remain permanently in 
Scotland. In 1874 he published a valuable book, "Hinduism and its Rela 
tions to Christianity," the outcome of his stay in the East, and had the 
degree of D.D. from Glasgow University in 1876. He was inducted to St 
Nicholas Lane on 2ist September of that year. The congregation had 
come down from 389 to 325 since the commencement of Mr Rutherford s 
ministry, but the stipend was ,300 as before. The present church, built 
about a mile from the former site at a cost of ^5000, was opened, with 700 
sittings, on Sabbath, I5th September 1888, when the collections came within 
^60 of clearing off the ^700 of debt remaining. Dr Robson having 
arranged for at least partial retirement, the congregation in November 1898 
invited the Rev. James G. Goold of Dumbarton to be his colleague, but 
without success. At next Synod the service he had rendered to the Church 
was recognised by his elevation to the Moderator s Chair. Besides his book 
on Hinduism, by which he is best known, Dr Robson published "The Bible: 
Its Revelation, Inspiration, and Evidence" in 1883, and "The Holy Spirit, 
the Paraclete" in 1894. 

Sixth Minister. JAMES G. WALTON, B.D., who, finding Bell Street, 
Dundee, too much for his ebbing strength, accepted what promised to be 
a lighter charge. He was inducted to St Nicholas Church on i4th Sep 
tember 1899, and, this point being reached, Dr Robson, to give the junior 
minister a free hand, intimated his entire withdrawal from active service. 
But Mr Walton was already under the grasp of an ailment which refused 
to let go its hold, and in a few months all was over. He died, 2gth January 
1900, in the forty-first year of his age, and was buried at South Shields, 
where his ministry began sixteen years before. 

Seventh Minister. D. RITCHIE KEY, M.A., translated from London 
Road, Edinburgh, where he had been nearly fifteen ^ears, and inducted as 
colleague to Dr Robson, but with responsibility for the whole work, I ith June 
1900. The membership now approximated to 500, and Mr Key s stipend 
was to be ,400, Dr Robson taking no retiring salary. 



THIS congregation owed its rise to the disintegration of Shiprow Relief 
Church under Mr Bower. Dr George Brown put it in this form : " The 
more pious part were dispersed on the appointment of a minister who was 
ultimately no ornament to his profession." The Presbytery of Perth had 
an early call to inquire into the state of matters between Mr Bower and his 
people by a number of charges being sent up against him before he had 
been six months in office ; but without making any allowance for distance 
they declared that, as the complainers were not forward, the paper must be 
dismissed. In December 1801 Mr Bower brought Mr Paterson of Dundee 
before the Presbytery for having preached in a hall to a number of people 
who were disaffected to his ministry, and got him rebuked for the offence. 
It is a token that another congregation was in course of being formed ; but 
instead of facing opposition from Mr Bower they betook themselves to the 
Old Relief party, as Shiprow did at first, and they got the Rev. John Paton, 
M.D., James Cowan s successor at Colinsburgh, to become their minister. 
He was inducted, as we learn from Dr George Brown, on I2th October 1803, 
and their church in St Andrew s Street, with 900 sittings, and built on the 
proprietor system at a cost of about ^1000, seems to have been taken 
possession of soon after. On ijth September 1805 seat-holders in St 
Andrew s Chapel, to the number of nearly 200, applied to be taken under the 
inspection of the Relief Presbytery of Perth, and the petition was granted. 
Dr Paton, their minister, had previously left, and he was now preaching to 
his own adherents in some temporary meeting-place, but when Mr Bower 
was loosed from his charge he got possession of Shiprow Chapel, where he 
ministered till his death, as given under that heading. 

In June 1806 the new accession called the Rev. William Strang, formerly 
of Newton Stewart, promising him ,140 and a dwelling-house. He had 
given them reason to believe that he would accept, but he drew back, 
alleging that the subscribers were a mere handful and not at all what the 
proprietors led him to expect, most of them being so illiterate as not to be 
able to sign their own names. More than this, when the call was read on 
the moderation day, a number on hearing the amount of stipend engaged 
for left the meeting, which showed they were unwilling to come under legal 
obligation to support him and his family. The Presbytery expressed them 
selves strongly on the part he had acted ; but Mr Strang got free, and was 
inducted into Ford next year. 

First Minister. SAMUEL M MlLLAN, from E. Campbell Street, Glasgow. 
Ordained, nth February 1807. "The proprietors, managers, and others" 
now named ,120 for stipend. Mr M Millan s tastes are indicated by his 
"Beauties of Ralph Erskine," which he published in two volumes in 1821 ; 
and, says a history of Aberdeen, "He sustains a character more honourable 
to the Relief body than was that of several already mentioned." He also 
appeared about the same time as the author of " Evangelical Lectures and 
Essays." But, though his doctrine and life were all that could be wished, 
he seems to have wanted the popular element, and the cause made little 
progress. In 1837 he reported the communicants at 150, and the average 
income of the congregation for the preceding seven years had been but 
slightly over ,100. Yet Mr M Millan was preaching three times every 
Lord s Day, and he had also conducted a Sabbath school since the 
beginning of his ministry. But he was now laid aside by serious illness, 
and the congregation first required pulpit supply and then resolved to have 
a colleague. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM BECKETT, from Thread Street, Paisley, 


Ordained, 2gth November 1837, on a stipend of ^80, Mr M Millan to receive 
,30 and the proceeds of a yearly collection. The tide rose under the young- 
minister ; but on 7th July 1840 he accepted a call to Rutherglen. It had 
been arranged that Mr Beckett was to receive other 2.0 at the senior 
minister s death, but Mr M Millan survived for an entire generation. The 
congregation now fixed on Mr Thomas Sommerville of Auchtergaven, but 
he drew back from the difficulties of Aberdeen. 

Third Minister. JOHN THORBURN, from Allars, Hawick. At the 
moderation he had 68 votes, and 55 were given to Mr Thomas Stevenson, 
afterwards of Bread Street, Edinburgh. The call was signed by 119 com 
municants, and 51 persons adhered, some in full membership and some 
only seat-holders. The stipend promised was now 110. The people 
being wishful to have Mr Thorburn recognised as sole pastor, Mr M Millan 
expressed his willingness to give up all official duties, and his ministerial 
connection with St Paul s came virtually to an end. In 1845 ne wrote a 
pamphlet on the Atonement question, taking, as was to be expected, the 
thoroughly Calvinistic side, and in 1848 he edited the Works of Thomas 
Boston in twelve volumes. He died, nth January 1864, in the ninetieth 
year of his age and fifty-seventh of his ministry ; and an edition of Ralph 
Erskine s Works in seven volumes, prepared under his care, was published 
that same year. 

Mr Thorburn was ordained, 27th May 1841. Next Sabbath he was 
introduced to his charge by the Rev. William Anderson of Glasgow, who 
took for his text in the evening John vi. 68 : " To whom shall we go ? " From 
these words he preached a terrific sermon on "The Prospects of the World," of 
which his biographer says : "This is a discourse which we might put into the 
hands of his friends if we wished them to be more deeply impressed with an 
idea of his powers of mind, and into the hands of his enemies if we wanted 
them to see his weaknesses of temperament and limitations of view." How 
his fury flashed forth, for example, on the United States of America, in their 
bosom the simmering lava of two millions of slaves. " Ho for the red veng 
eance which shall overwhelm both the religious and the political hypocrisies 
of these doomed republicans!" Altogether the discourse in its published 
form, and much more when listened to, gave Aberdeen a specimen of the 
stormy might that could wake up in the slighted pulpit of the Relief in St 
Andrew s Street. 

But that old pulpit was to be closed ere long. The place of worship had 
been burdened with a debt of ,400, and, payment being demanded, a brother- 
in-law of Mr M Millan advanced the money, and got command of the 
property. Some years after his death his trustees required the congregation 
either to redeem the building at the foresaid price or part with it altogether. 
They chose the latter alternative, and on Sabbath, I3th November 1842, a 
new church, with 900 sittings, was opened by the Rev. Daniel Gorrie, Kettle. 
The funds of the congregation having gone a great way back owing, the 
people alleged, to general dissatisfaction with the junior minister, and "harm 
done by the pecuniary difficulties in which he was involved," Mr Thorburn 
resigned, i6th December 1845, and the resignation was at once accepted. 
But as he was a man of talent and considerable pulpit power he was in 
ducted within five months into the Relief Church, Dunning. The congrega 
tion now came back on the object of their choice five years before, the 
Rev. Thomas Sommerville of Auchtergaven, but again they met with a 
refusal. Then, early in 1847, they fixed unanimously on Mr Robert 
Anderson ; but when he received a call to become his father s colleague at 
Kilsyth, the claims of Aberdeen were set aside. 

Fourth Minister. ANDREW DICKIE, translated from Colinsburgh, 


where he had been for little more than one and a half years. Inducted, i8th 
August 1847, the stipend to be .120, and under his energetic ministry the 
congregation greatly improved. The progressive steps cannot be given, 
but in 1879 there was a membership of fully 400 and a stipend of ^290. In 
1882 Mr Dickie, owing to advancing years, applied for a colleague, and the 
congregation arranged to give him ^70 a year, of which ^20 was reckoned 
to be for the Sabbaths he might occupy the pulpit, and the colleague was 
to have .250. They now called Mr John Cullen, afterwards of Leslie, and 
the Rev. D. K. Auchterlonie of Craigdam, both of whom declined. 

Fifth Minister. DAVID BURNS, translated from Linlithgow (East), 
where he had been for six years. Inducted to St Paul s, 28th August 1883, 
and loosed on gth August 1887 on accepting an invitation to undertake the 
building-up of a mission church in connection with Queen s Park, Glasgow. 
It appeared now that the congregation in engaging for a joint stipend of 
,320 had gone beyond what their income would allow, and that the annual 
deficits had run up to ^350. To relieve the pressure Mr Dickie consented to 
accept an annual allowance of ,10, and though he was to retain his seat in 
Presbytery and Synod his official connection with St Paul s was to cease. 
This led on to the Emeritus position having a place in our ecclesiastical 
arrangements. Mr Dickie died, i3th April 1895, m the eighty-second year 
of his age and fiftieth of his ministry. His widow survived him only three 
days, and they were buried together. Two of Mr Dickie s sons were U.P. 
ministers Matthew in Alva, who predeceased his father ; and William 
Stevenson in Trinity Church, Irvine. The Rev. Charles Connor, formerly 
of Old Meldrum, and now in New Zealand, is a son-in-law of Mr Dickie s. 

Sixth Minister. JAMES AITKEN, from Leitholm. Ordained, 28th 
February 1888. The membership at this time was 360, and the stipend was 
to be .240. On ijth December 1892 Mr Aitken accepted a call to Falkirk 
(West), and left St Paul s with a membership of 400. 

Seventh Minister. DONALD G. FAIRLEY, from High Street, Dumbarton. 
Ordained, i8th April 1893. The present church in Rosemount Viaduct, 
with 650 sittings, was opened, 27th March 1897, by the Rev. James Rennie, 
Glasgow, Moderator of Synod. The estimated cost was ,4750, of which 
there was ,3000 in hand obtained from the School Board for the old 
church. At the close of 1899 the membership was almost 500, and the 
stipend ,240. The debt was being gradually reduced, and stood about 
^1000 at the Union. 


PRIOR to the Union of 1820 there were strained relations in Belmont Street 
Church. In February 1817 some of the elders complained to the Presbytery 
that their minister did not take them into his counsels about the assistants 
he was to have at the communion. The matter was allowed to slumber for 
nearly two years, and then it woke up again, through the minister having 
denied the right of the session to interfere with his sacramental arrangements. 
The case was peculiar, and the Presbytery handed it over to the Synod for 
judgment, but they made short work of it, putting the complainers entirely 
in the wrong, and hoping they would never hear such a thing breathed 
again. In the beginning of 1819 dissatisfaction sought another outlet, 60 
members petitioning the Presbytery to be disjoined from Belmont Street. 
They were told that it was premature to ask a severance before the 
grievances they alleged were inquired into. At a subsequent meeting the 
paper was withdrawn, and the elder who presented it summoned to answer 


for his conduct. Thus was the way prepared for the parting asunder at the 
Union of 1820. Mr Templeton, as we have seen already, took part with the 
Protestors, and at the first meeting of the United Presbytery about sixty of 
his people petitioned to be erected into a new congregation. The signatures 
being the same in number as before, we may believe that this was sub 
stantially the same party. Hopeful that Mr Templeton might yet be gained 
over to the Union the Presbytery kept the matter in abeyance ; but, when 
he proved irreconcilable, the application was agreed to, and sermon was 
granted on 2ist January 1821. The place of meeting at first was a hall in 
Gallowgate, but the Synod at next meeting allowed them ^20 to encourage 
them in building a place of worship. The church in George Street, with 
sittings for 750, was finished in 1822 at a cost of ,1170, the first erection 
of the kind in the United Secession Church. 

First Minister. JAMES STIRLING, from Strathaven (First), a brother of 
the Rev. Hugh Stirling of Mearns. Ordained, 29th September 1824. At 
the moderation the Rev. Patrick Robertson of Craigdam was the other 
candidate, and Mr Stirling carried by the merest cast of the balance. In 
1837 George Street had a membership of 512, the largest of any Secession 
or Relief congregation in Aberdeen, and there was a stipend of . 150. The 
debt of ^763 on the property was being gradually reduced. The minister 
catechised the congregation and visited from house to house year by year 
alternately. In 1868 Mr Stirling suffered from severe and protracted illness, 
and in the following year both minister and people felt that a colleague had 
become indispensable. Three unsuccessful calls followed the first to Mr 
James S. Scotland, who was settled in Errol a year afterwards ; the second 
to Mr John Boyd, who made choice of Wemyss Bay ; and the third to Mi- 
Alexander M Donald, who preferred Cumnock. Thus time passed, and the 
collegiate state was never reached. Mr Stirling died, 22nd June 1871, in 
the seventy-second year of his age and forty-seventh of his ministry. One of 
his sons was Senior Wrangler at Cambridge, and is now a judge in the 
Court of Chancery, London, under the title of Sir James Stirling. As does 
not always happen in such cases, he remains faithful to denominational 
principles, and is connected with Westbourne Grove Church. A daughter 
of Mr Stirling s is the wife of the Rev. James Davidson, minister-emeritus 
of Finnart Church, Greenock. 

Second Minister. ARCHIBALD YOUNG, M.A., from London Road, 
Glasgow, who had declined a call to Middlesborough a year before. 
Ordained, 6th September 1871. The church in Garden Place was opened 
on Sabbath, 2nd April 1882, by Dr John Ker. It cost a little over ^9500, 
has sittings for 700, and is free of debt. The old building was turned into 
a large drapery establishment. Garden Place had a membership of 389 in 
the beginning of 1900, and the stipend was ,300. 


ON nth August 1840 certain elders and members of Belmont Street Church, 
who kept by Mr Templeton when he set up for himself, petitioned Aberdeen 
Presbytery to be erected into a congregation under the inspection of their 
old minister. It was agreed to grant them sermon at once, as it was known 
Mr Templeton would preach no more, and before that day closed he was 
dead. The Presbytery met again a week after, when Belmont Street session 
reported that they had no objections to the granting of the application, pro 
vided they were secured against all interference with their property. They 


were thereupon enjoined to grant such disjunctions as might be asked for, 
and this was the origin of what was known at first as the Fourth Secession 
congregation in Aberdeen. 

First Minister. PATRICK ROBERTSON, translated from Craigdam, and 
inducted, 3oth June 1841, when he was entering on his sixty-fifth year. In 
this connection Mr Lincl of Whitehill inserted in his journal: "Poor old 
Mr Robertson has been tempted to leave Craigdam for Aberdeen. The 
Lord can overrule this event for good to both parties." As Mr Robertson 
was a natural orator and in high repute for memorable sayings, given in a 
memorable way, the calculation may have been that he would draw crowds 
around him, and fill even a large church. Hence the erection of a place of 
worship in Charlotte Street with 1000 sittings, which was opened soon after. 
Hence also the liberality of this little company in offering a stipend of ,150. 
But, whatever Mr Robertson might have done seventeen years earlier, when 
he was very nearly called to George Street, he was now beyond the trans 
planting age, and, though he got large audiences at first, they grew "small 
by degrees and beautifully less." Then difficulties thickened in on every 
side, and in March 1844 the congregation memorialised the Debt Liquida 
tion Board to aid them in lightening their burdens. The application was 
looked on with disfavour in the Presbytery, the allegation being that the 
congregation was constituted on the understanding that it was not to come 
back on the funds of the denomination. Irritation arose, and after a time 
Mr Robertson persuaded himself that he and his people were not well used, 
and in the spirit of a disappointed man he resolved to throw up connection 
with the Secession Church. Intimation of the step he was about to take 
he made on Monday, 4th November 1844, to his session, of whom the 
majority were acquiescent. Next Sabbath a congregational meeting was 
called for the following Wednesday, at which the members present were 
asked by their minister whether they would go with him into the Free 
Church, and the greater part responded by standing up. They afterwards 
went into the vestry and signed a paper to that effect. The number, 
Mr Robertson said, far exceeded his most sanguine expectations. 

But two of Mr Robertson s elders had already parted company with him, 
and the proceedings of the congregational meeting were also protested 
against. Accordingly a. pro re nata meeting of Presbytery was summoned 
for Monday the i8th, to consider the situation of affairs in Charlotte Street. 
A document, signed by eight persons, testified to offensive statements made 
by Mr Robertson from the pulpit on the day he called the meeting of the 
congregation, and on this ground he was suspended from the ministerial 
office. Procedure was eventually wound up by declaring him no longer a 
minister or member of the United Secession Church, and the certificate he 
received bore that he had laboured for forty years in their connection faith 
fully and successfully, but that in the end he had attempted to draw away 
his people to another denomination, and that he had made unfounded 
statements against his brethren, and brought charges of heresy against the 
United Secession Synod. At the Free Church Assembly in May 1845 ms 
application for admission was granted on the understanding that he was not 
to have a stated charge in Aberdeen. Next year he was inducted to the 
Free Church, Culsalmond, and though now verging on threescore and ten 
he had still ten years of active service before him. In 1856 he removed to 
Aberdeen ; but, though his work was done, he retained the status of senior 
minister. He died, 26th July 1867, in the ninety -first year of his age and 
sixty-fourth of his ministerial life. Mr Robertson had two sons, who entered 
the Divinity Hall together, and became ministers of the United Secession 
Church Patrick, who was ordained at Sunderland (Smyrna Chapel), 


5th July 1831, and died in Craigdam Manse, 6th July 1837, in the thirty-first 
year of his age ; and John, whose record belongs to Burghead. 

Second Minister. JOHN B. RITCHIE, son of the Rev. Dr Ritchie, 
Potterrow, Edinburgh. Ordained, 3rd December 1845, having declined a call 
to Broughty Ferry in the early part of the year. The Free Church Assembly 
having refused to recognise Mr Robertson s adherents as a congregation, 
they were dispersed, and those who remained numbered from 80 to 100, 
including 4 elders. The stipend they promised was ,100, and the call was 
signed by 80 members and 47 adherents. In 1851 Mr Ritchie published 
three discourses on "The Armour of the Christian Church," which were pro 
nounced by an eminent critic to be " alike seasonable and effective. A 
sermon of his, entitled " Christian Patriotism," delivered at the centenary of 
Craigdam U.P. congregation, appeared two years later in the memorial 
volume, "The Church of a Hundred Years." Mr Ritchie, owing to impaired 
physical strength, was loosed from his charge, 6th February 1866. In 
tabling his demission he stated that the congregation during his ministry 
had cleared off a debt of ^5?o, besides improving the property, so that he 
left them much better than he found them. Portobello now became his 
place of abode ; but a number of years ago he removed to Edinburgh, where 
he and his family keep by Hope Park Church, the representative of Old 
Potterrow. Mrs Ritchie, who died comparatively early, was a daughter of 
the Rev. James Borwick, Rathillet. 

During the vacancy of two years, which now intervened, Charlotte Street 
Church addressed a call to Mr W. T. Henderson, but Millport was preferred. 
They next invited the Rev. William Turner to come in from Craigdam, as 
Mr Robertson had done twenty-five years before, and then the Rev. William 
Galletly to come south from Peterhead ; but, though Aberdeen had its 
advantages, neither of them was prepared like Mr Robertson to face the 
experiment. The membership at this time was 120, and the stipend was to 
be ^160 in all. 

Third Minister. JAMES CORDINEK, from Campbeltown, Argyll, though 
the family, including his uncle, the Rev. Robert Cordiner of Lesmahagow, 
were originally from Southend. Having decided for Charlotte Street, 
Aberdeen, rather than Shapinshay in Orkney, he was ordained, 5th February 
1868. But within a few months consumption emerged amidst the keen air 
of Aberdeen, and he died, I3th September, in the thirtieth year of his age, 
leaving a widow and two young children. 

Fourth Minister. MATTHEW GALBRAITH, M.A., from Edinburgh (now 
Eyre Place). Accepted the call, though another intervened from Moffat, to 
succeed the Rev. John Riddell, and was ordained, I3th April 1869. In 1874 
two calls came up to Mr Galbraith at the same meeting, the one from Victoria 
Street, Dundee, and the other from Gillespie Church, Glasgow, but he 
declined to remove from his present charge. Five years afterwards he had 
a membership of almost 600, the largest of the six in Aberdeen, and the 
stipend was ^300. In the year of the Union Charlotte Street still kept the 
lead with a membership of 606, but Belmont Street was very nearly abreast. 
The stipend remained as before. 


ON loth February 1863 Mr Thomas Brown, who became the first minister of 
Nelson Street Church, applied to Aberdeen Presbytery to be received as a 
licentiate. He had been engaged for nine years at mission work in the 
Gallowgate under the supervision of a Free Church Missionary Committee, 


but he had now renounced his former connection. The Synod in May 
authorised the Presbytery to receive Mr Brown, as the Free Church 
Presbytery had nothing against him on the score of status or reputation. 
As the counterpart to this application a memorial from fully 300 individuals 
connected with the Free Church Mission in the Gallowgate was laid before 
the Presbytery of Aberdeen on 5th July, praying to be received into the 
U.P. Church. It came out that during the nine years Mr Brown had 
laboured among them the membership had increased from 91 to 211, and 
they were specially dissatisfied with the Free Church for refusing them the 
standing of a regular congregation. As it was, they felt, and so did Mi- 
Brown, that the tie between them was liable to be severed at any time by 
the Mission Committee in charge of their affairs. It was further ascertained 
that the chapel in which they met was rented, and had accommodation for 
250 people, and that on the previous year they contributed ^80 to the 
Sustentation Fund. The petition was granted, and on 8th September a 
communion roll with 133 names was made up. Mr Brown was now located 
in the Gallowgate for three months, and towards the end of the year the 
people obtained a session of their own for the first time by the ordination of 
two elders. On 3rd May 1864 Mr Brown was ordained, the stipend promised 
being 100. But another place of worship was felt to be needed, and on 
3 ist March 1867 the new church in Nelson Street was opened. The cost 
was over ^1000, but the people had previously raised over ^500, and they 
were to receive another 100 from the Extension Fund. In the end of the 
previous year the congregation was placed on the supplemented list, after 
being in receipt of grants in aid to the amount of from ^60 to ^80 for the 
two preceding years. In 1875 the stipend amounted in all to ^187, los. 
On gth April 1878 Mr Brown s resignation, tendered on the ground of failing 
health, was accepted. He died, loth May 1879, in the sixty-seventh year of 
his age, from which it appears that he was over fifty when ordained. Free 
Tolbooth, Edinburgh, is given as Mr Brown s native congregation ; but he 
must have been a man of thirty before there was a Free Church at all. 

Second Minister. JOHN E. DoBSON, who had been ordained as a Con- 
gregationalist minister at Blairgowrie in April 1867. After two years he 
removed to Lerwick, where he remained five years, and then, owing to the 
climate, had unwillingly to resign. Gainsborough was his next charge ; but 
before two years were ended he complained of ill-treatment, and at the 
Synod in 1877 he was received into fellowship with the U.P. Church. He 
assigned as his reason for making the change the interference of office 
bearers, against which the Congregational system furnished no safeguard, 
and his belief that Presbyterianism was more workable. Mr Dobson was 
inducted to Nelson Street, I7th September 1878, and on 2nd November 1886 
he resigned, and was loosed from his charge. He was inducted to Guard- 
bridge in 1892. Nelson Street Church was now reduced for a time to a 
preaching station, and at the end of 1887 the membership was returned at 
100. This contrasted with the 240 of seventeen years before. 

Third Minister. ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, from Sydney Place, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 8th January 1889. Eleven years after this the membership was 
returned at 152, and the stipend from the people was ^90. 


THE cradle of the Secession in Aberdeenshire was Buchan Proper, or the 
region of Deer, as will be shown under Clola ; but Craigdam, a mere hamlet, 
a dozen miles farther south, became the seat of the earliest Secession con- 


gregation. For reasons to be assigned afterwards, it was at Kinmundy, in 
the parish of Old Deer, that the first seceder services were conducted, and 
when in 1746 it was proposed to have a minister ordained, with Moray for 
his centre, he was to preach two successive Sabbaths out of every eight in 
the county of Buchan the one at Kinmundy and the other about Craigdam. 
The latter place was ultimately fixed on as the gathering point of the tribes. 
Whatever may have determined the selection, it cannot have been the 
difficulty of finding a site farther north, since the proprietor of Kinmundy 
was an out-and-out supporter of the Secession in Aberdeenshire from the 
very first. Craigdam is fully a mile from the village and the parish church 
of Tarves. 

First Minister. WILLIAM BROWN, from the parish of Forgandenny and 
the North congregation, Perth. Ordained, 23rd July 1752. Fully a month 
before this he received a unanimous call to Holm of Balfron, as the records 
of that congregation show. This was a far more desirable place, but the 
Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline seem to have treated this competing 
call as too late, and the ordination at Craigdam was proceeded with. The 
Presbytery minutes having perished, we cannot condescend on either the 
numbers who signed the call or the amount of stipend promised, but we 
cannot help thinking that tradition has placed both figures far too low. 
There was no church as yet, but a year afterwards the congregation applied 
to Perth session "for assistance in building a house for public worship," and 
received 6. About the same time the Presbytery recommended "a contri 
bution for the relief of the community of Craigdam, who are in straitened cir 
cumstances." In April 1754 Mr Brown complained to the Presbytery that 
some of his people were insisting on him preaching in more places on 
Sabbath days than had been originally agreed on, and the clerk was in 
structed to write them about adhering to the first arrangement. Still, it is 
certain that Mr Brown s itineracies took in a very wide circuit, but much 
of this may have been on week-days. As time passed there was a branching 
away on every side first Clola, 16 miles to the north ; then Aberdeen, 
1 8 miles to the south; then Shiels, 12 miles to the south-east; and lastly 
Auchmacoy, 10 miles to the east. 

Of Mr Brown s method of preaching Mr Lind of Whitehill, who was 
brought up under his ministry, stated that a single text served him for a 
year, and that each text was entered on at the great communion gathering 
in summer. We have one sermon of his from the words : " What think 
ye of Christ?" marked by much fervour; but though his earnest appeals 
find frequent expression in the interjection, O, the story of the printer find 
ing himself nonplussed by having his supply of O s exhausted before its time 
may be safely set down as a myth. Mr Brown died, loth April 1801, in the 
seventy-third year of his age and forty-ninth of his ministry. Two of his 
grandsons attained to high positions in the Free Church Principal Brown 
of Aberdeen, known specially for his standard work on " The Second 
Advent" and his "Life of Dr John Duncan." The other was Dr Charles 
Brown of the New North, Edinburgh. The marriage of his eldest daughter 
to James Ferguson, Esq. of Kinmundy was announced in August 1788. 
Both families acceded to the Constitutional Presbytery, and thus were 
lost to the denomination. A third grandson of MHP-. Brown s came to be 
minister of the Original Secession Church, Coupar-Angus. 

After Mr Brown s death Craigdam congregation called Mr Andrew 
M Gregor, but he refused to accept, and had to be released. He afterwards 
obtained Buchlyvie, where his ministry came to an unhappy end. 

Second Minister. PATRICK ROBERTSON, from Perth (North). Ordained, 
8th March 1804. The stipend was only jx> at first, with a new manse, but 


in eight years it rose to ^100. In a year or two the second church was 
built at a cost of .400 or ^500 sittings 600. Mr Robertson acquired a 
name for striking remarks and out-of-the-way comparisons, given largely in 
the broad Doric, but it is doubtful whether he always kept up the dignity of 
the pulpit. It is certain, however, that his preaching often made a deep 
impression, and he was much admired both among his own people and in 
other congregations. After the Union of 1820 it looked at one time as if 
his light might be placed on a loftier candlestick by his removal to Aberdeen 
as the minister of what is now Garden Place congregation, but when the 
moderation day came a probationer was carried over him by a very slight 
majority. In 1836 the membership of Craigdam was within a little of 300, 
about a fourth of the families being from adjacent parishes. The stipend 
was, as it had been for twenty-five years, ^100, with manse and garden, and 
there was a debt on the property of ^90. On i8th May 1841 Mr Robertson 
accepted a call to Charlotte Street, Aberdeen, a step which both he and his 
best friends had reason to regret. Before obtaining a successor to their 
aged minister Craigdam congregation experienced a severe disappointment. 
Stewartfield Presbytery met on 6th July 1842 for the ordination of Mr John 
Steedman, but instead of appearing he had a letter forward intimating that 
he had closed with a call from Stirling (now Erskine Church), which had 
emerged since his trial exercises were given in. 

Third Minister. JOHN CALLANDER, from Stirling (Erskine Church). 
Having declined Keith he was ordained at Craigdam, 3rd November 1842. 
In September 1849, knowing that charges of a heinous kind were working 
into publicity against him, Mr Callander abruptly disappeared, and made 
for America, " a sorely, but deservedly, chastened man." On the 24th of 
that month the Presbytery cut the pastoral tie. They afterwards proceeded 
against him by libel, of which several counts were found proven, but as the 
Atlantic intervened they simply declared him no longer a minister or member 
of the U.P. Church. He died at Toronto, nth May 1853, aged thirty-six. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM TURNER, from Dunbar (West). Ordained, 
I4th October 1851, the stipend being ^105, with manse, garden, and sacra 
mental expenses. In 1867 Mr Turner, unlike Mr Robertson, though a 
much younger man, declined a call to Charlotte Street, Aberdeen ; but on 
8th October 1872 he was loosed from Craigdam on accepting an appoint 
ment to be superintendent of the Edinburgh City Mission. This office he 
filled till 1894, when he retired under the burden of years. During most of 
his residence in Edinburgh he was a member of Bristo session. He died, 
2 1st September 1897, in the seventy-second year of his age and forty-sixth 
of his ministerial life. In 1876 Mr Turner published a volume of very 
scholarly essays, entitled " Studies Biblical and Oriental," several of which 
had previously appeared in magazines or reviews. 

Fifth Minister. DOUGLAS K. AUCHTERLONIE, from Gorbals, Glasgow 
(now Elgin Street). Ordained, 4th November 1873, after having set aside a 
call to Holm, Kilmarnock. The manse had been recently rebuilt at a cost 
of ^544, for which the Manse Board allowed ^200. Though the congre 
gation has always been far gathered, and the population around is on the 
decline, the membership at the Union was 188, and the stipend from the 
people ,157, slightly more than when Mr Auchterlonie went. 


ON 26th July 1761 the Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline 
received an accession from some people in Tough, a parish two dozen miles 


west of Aberdeen, and the Rev. William M Ewan of Dundee was appointed 
to preach there on the third and fourth Sabbaths of August. The parish 
minister had set himself to put down the reading of the line in public 
worship, and the Old Statistical History says he "persisted in his design, 
and this occasioned a schism among his hearers." Those who withdrew 
built a humble place of worship soon after, the Presbytery having engaged 
to aid them with the erection. It still stands, forming part of the out 
houses on the home-farm of Lynturk, and bears the date 1762. On 2Qth 
June Of that year there was a further accession from Banchory-Ternan, and 
though the places are at least fifteen miles apart the two sections were to 
form one congregation. In 1763 six elders were ordained, four for Tough 
and two for Banchory, one of the former being William M Combie, a family 
name long prominent both in the congregation and in Aberdeenshire. 

The first call was issued in March 1764, and this introduces us to Mr 
John Bennet, son of the Rev. James Bennet, minister of St Andrews, and 
proprietor of Gairney Bridge. Trials were assigned Mr Bennet with a view 
to ordination, but month after month passed without progress being made. 
Tough and Banchory were far from the centre and far from each other, and 
altogether the outlook was not encouraging. After waiting patiently for an 
entire year the people began to insist on " the expediting of Mr Bennet s 
trials," and commissioners were sent south to Perth to demand a decisive 
answer. The business was terminated at Aberdeen in July 1765, when Mr 
Bennet " was dealt with at considerable length both in open Presbytery and 
by some of the members in private to remove his scruples against going to 
Tough, but all to no purpose, he pleading his weakliness of constitution, and 
the broken state of his health." The Presbytery owned they could do no 
more, and the call had to be dropped. Mr Bennet itinerated other fifteen 
years as a probationer, but he was never again invited " to submit to a 
settlement." In 1781 the Synod was overtured to withhold appointments 
from preachers who, after a considerable trial of their gifts, were found not 
to be acceptable, and that " it be recommended to them to apply to some 
other business." Mr Bennet s name never again appeared on the pro 
bationer list, and in the course of a month he married and settled down to 
cultivate "the paternal farm of Gairney Bridge." In 1783 he was inducted 
to the eldership in Kinross (West), and died, 8th April 1804, aged sixty-nine. 
In 1813 the property passed into the possession of another family. 

The next call from Tough came up to the Synod along with other three 
to Mr James Moir in May 1766, but Cumbernauld was carried over it by the 
final vote. At the request of the commissioners the Presbytery was then 
recommended to grant the congregation as regular supply a*s possible, their 
remote situation exposing them to frequent, and sometimes wide, blanks. 
The call to Mr Moir was signed by 94 members. 

First ./J//7z/-y/Vr. CHARLES HUNTER, a native of Kildrummie parish, 
Aberdeenshire, according to Dr George Brown, who had good means of 
knowing. After this third call was issued the people represented their 
mournful situation to the Synod by reason of their long vacancy and severe 
disappointments, and they earnestly craved to have Mr Hunter sent through 
to Perth Presbytery to be put on trials for ordination among them. But 
though this was agreed to the process advanced stewly, giving time for 
Kinross (West) to come between them and the object of their choice. This 
was a place far more to be desired, but the Synod refused to allow Kinross 
to come into competition with Lynturk and Banchory. Still it was not till 
24th August 1769 that Charles Hunter was ordained minister of the united 
congregation. He died, 2oth May 1775, in the sixth year of his ministry. 
The people, limited as were their resources, had sought to promote his 


comfort by providing him with a manse, but at the first Synod after 
his death they represented that this undertaking had involved them in 
serious difficulties. Little help was to be got from central funds in 
those days, and it would be left for the people to work out their own 

Second Minister. ANDREW MURRAY, from West Linton. The stipend 
they finally offered was ,40, with manse, garden, office-houses, and a glebe 
of four acres, for which they paid a rent of fully ^5. The call was signed 
by 122 members and 38 adherents, but Mr Murray was bent against 
accepting till, by consent of both parties, Banchory was disjoined from 
Tough. He was ordained, 8th June 1780, after a delay of fourteen months. 
The relation between the two centres will be discussed when- we come to 
Banchory. In 1789 the Synod recommended sister congregations to aid 
the people of Tough in rebuilding their church, but after two years delay 
they erected another church a mile farther south. In 1793 the parishioners, 
young and old, under Mr Murray s care were put at 127, but there might 
be at least half that number from other parishes. In March 1800 the office 
bearers complained to the Presbytery of inability to support the Gospel. 
The new formation at Midmar, they explained, had weakened them by 
withdrawing some of their members ; but, worse than this, a divisive spirit had 
entered in among them through contact, the Presbytery thought, with the 
" Old Light" party in Aberdeen. A year later a committee of investigation 
found the income from collections and seat rents to be only 28. The 
membership was over 100, but of these there were 37 who contributed 
nothing, pleading the hardness of the times terms which carried meaning 
at that trying period and to lighten their burdens the Synod granted them 
^lo a year. But the Original Burgher Presbytery instructed their pro 
bationers when supplying at Aberdeen to go out and preach at Lynturk, an 
arrangement which would keep the wound from closing. Mr Murray died, 
9th July 1816, in the seventy-ninth year of his age and thirty-seventh of his 
ministry. The former figure, given in the Scots Magazine, harmonises with 
the statement that he was baptised at West Linton by one of the Secession 
Fathers in 1738. It appears from this that he had reached the age of forty- 
two when ordained. 

Third Minister. JOHN ROBB, from Bridge-of-Teith. Ordained, 17th 
March 1819. The call was signed by 87 members and 15 adherents, and 
the minister was to have ,60, with manse, office-houses, "and the land 
which Mr Murray had." After 30 years the stipend was ,70, with the 
manse, and a supplement of ^15. But plain comforts would be enjoyed 
among the farmers who formed the strength of the congregation. Mr Robb 
died of cancer, 29th November 1853, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and 
thirty-fifth of his ministry. In August 1855 Mr James Harrower was called 
to be his successor, but he remained on the list, and after nearly two years 
was settled in Eyemouth. 

Fourth Minister. GEORGE M ARTHUR, M.A., from New Deer. Or 
dained, 1 3th February 1856, the stipend to be .90, with a manse. Mr 
M Arthur was loosed from his charge on 3rd March 1863, on accepting the 
appointment of Mathematical Master in the Gymnasium, Aberdeen, a situ 
ation in keeping with his scholarly attainments. He afterwards held for 
many years a situation in the office of Messrs Adam & Charles Black, 
Publishers, Edinburgh, but on the completion of the Encyclopedia Britan- 
nica, Ninth Edition, he sailed with his family for New York. After some 
years he returned home, and is now engaged in literary work in London. 
During most of his sojourn in Edinburgh he was a member of Bristo 
session. Soon after he left Tough the congregation called Mr Thomas 


Whitelaw, who in a few months became junior minister of Mile End, South 
Shields, and is now Dr Whitelaw of Kilmarnock. 

Fifth Minister. WlLLlAU AITKEN, M.A., from Lathones. Ordained, 
2nd March 1864. The members at this time were about 60, but the at 
tendance was double that number, and the stipend from the people ^80, with 
a house. On Sabbath, 6th May 1866, a new church, with sittings for 320, 
erected at a cost of ^1760 about two and a half miles to the west of the 
former site, was opened by Dr Finlayson of Edinburgh, and the name finally 
changed from Tough to Lynturk. A manse was built at the same time, 
which, along with the price received for the former, cost ^440, of which ^200 
came from the Board. But believing there was to be little progress made at 
Lynturk, Mr.Aitken agreed to remove to Singapore in connection with the 
English Pre sbyterian Church, and was loosed from his charge, nth 
November 1875. The membership had increased in the interim to 83, 
and the stipend from the people was now ^100. In 1882 Mr Aitken, having 
returned home, officiated for some time as assistant to Dr Black of Welling 
ton Church, Glasgow. He then took charge of the Mission Church at 
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, from May 1885 to the close of 1889. He is now 
Chaplain to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. [Mr Aitken died, 27th October 
1901, aged sixty-four.] 

Sixth Minister. JAMES B. DUNCAN, M.A., from Whitehill. Ordained, 
6th June 1876. For a number of years the membership exceeded the above 
83, but amidst local displacements the accessions began to fall beneath the 
removals. The names on the communion roll at the close of 1899 were 
71, and the stipend from the people was ,90, while nearly a third of that 
sum is raised in addition for missionary and benevolent purposes. 


ON I4th June and again on I3th July 1773 Mr Brown of Craigdam asked 
Elgin Presbytery to grant some supply to his people in Belhelvie, twelve 
miles distant. From the congregational records we find that Mr Brown 
had preached occasionally in that parish since 1755, but sermon was now 
begun under the auspices of the Presbytery, and was kept up in a sparse 
way year after year. In 1775 a long, narrow, thatched house was erected 
for a kirk, and on 26th June 1782 Belhelvie was disjoined from Craigdam. 
In the following year the Presbytery, with much hesitancy, allowed the 
people to proceed with a moderation. The call came out for Mr Robert 
Laing, and was signed by all the male members present, 26 in number, and 
by 35 adherents, men and women. The Presbytery gave the preference to 
a competing call from Cabrach, but their decision was thwarted by Mr 
Laing, and he was afterwards ordained at Duns. 

First Minister. JAMES ANDREW, a native of Madderty parish, but 
entered the Hall from Methven congregation. Called unanimously in July 
1785, but he persistently refused to accept. In December, after he had been 
prevailed on to give part of his trials, it came out that the call was lost, and 
he pleaded that this allowed him to go free, that being dead wherein he was 
held. The mishap was made up for by a second moderation, though, when 
this was spoken of, he declared it was of no use to go on, as he would never 
submit to be ordained at Shiels. The matter was at last referred to the 
Synod, which had had trouble with him three years before in connection with 
a call from Newtonards, Ireland. He carried his point on that occasion, but 
he was not permitted to be victorious a second time. He was ordained at 
Shiels, by constraint, 5th July 1786. The stipend was ,40, which in a few 


years was raised to ,45, and the membership was about 60. A manse had 
been built in 1784, and in 1791 "the long, narrow, thatched house" was 
superseded by a neat little church, with slated roof, its dimensions forty 
feet by twenty-six. The expense of the two together is set down at .280, 
and the wonder is where the money came from. 

In the closing years of the century Mr Andrew was put out of sorts by 
the spirit of innovation which the visit of the Haldanes in 1797 had wakened 
up in several Antiburgher congregations around. In July 1798 Shiels 
session represented to the Presbytery that persons in their connection had 
gone into practices directly opposed to the principles of the Church, and 
they declined fellowship with all such, whether sessions, ministers, or 
people, till open acknowledgments were made. On i6th April 1799, after a 
paper had been given in from members of Keith congregation in favour of 
Sabbath schools and missionary societies, Mr Andrew, who had been 
Presbytery clerk since his ordination, "signified that he did not mean to 
continue in that office any longer." He was dealt with to go on as before, 
but "he was positive in his resolution to give it up." He happened also to 
be moderator of session at this time in the vacant congregation of 
Aberdeen, and, when the Presbytery expressed disapproval of the high 
handed way in which that session had dealt with certain ecclesiastical 
offenders, " declaring so many out of communion at once," he protested to 
the Synod, and never attended a Presbytery meeting again. In April 1800 
he gave in the demission of his charge to the Synod, accompanied by certain 
complaints against his co-presbyters : but the Synod expressed disapproval 
of his conduct, and the demission was not accepted. The congregation 
meanwhile wished him to remain among them, but in June the Presbytery 
had to grant supply to Shiels, and in July they found he had left altogether. 
For these irregularities the Synod suspended him at their next meeting ; but 
in May 1801 he acknowledged his faults, was admonished, restored to office, 
and "the affair dismissed." The Constitutional Presbytery having been 
constituted in 1806, Mr Andrew became a probationer in that connection. 
In 1816 he settled down as a farmer at Redford in Madderty parish, where 
he died, i$th February 1822, in the 68th year of his age. 

Second Minister. DAVID WADDELL, who had been fourteen years in 
Cabrach, from which he was loosed in circumstances narrated under the 
history of that congregation. Having suffered for his attempt to enforce 
the rigid, Antiburgher system of discipline, it was meet that Shiels should 
open its doors to receive him. He was inducted, 24th December 1800. 
The membership was about 70 when he went, but it increased under his 
ministry to nearly 100. The stipend also advanced from ^45 to ^52, and 
then to ^60. Out of these sums the rent of the glebe had to be paid, but 
the people engaged to cast and drive fuel for the manse. In 1802 galleries 
were erected in the little chapel, which was made to contain 330 sittings. 
This was, as Dr George Brown explains, -to give increased accommodation 
to the crowds who went from Aberdeen and other places to the communion 
at Shiels. Frequently it was his privilege, he said, to join these companies, 
and listen to their edifying conversation, and over the recollection he could 
say : " It was good for me to be there." He speaks of Mr Waddell as a 
judicious preacher, though, owing to a certain hesitancy in his speech, he 
was less popular than some of his brethren. He also describes him as 
" ministering to a people few in number, but warmly attached to their 
pastor, and some of them, though of humble station, deserving to be ranked 
with the excellent of the earth." But evil days came, and in the beginning 
of 1822 the cause was at a very low ebb. The spirit of former times con 
tinued strong at Shiels, and in 1808 William Edwards, one of the elders, 


gave in his declinature, and joined the Old Light Antiburgher Church at 
Aberdeen, ten miles off. Now we read : "The late Union in the Secession 
having caused a great number of our members to desert us, this with other 
causes puts it out of our power to raise more than ^45 annually of stipend." 
But the Presbytery agreed to make up the deficiency till more prosperous 
times should come ; the Synod granted them 20 ; the arrears were paid 
up ; and the stipend was kept at ,60 during what remained of Mr 
Waddell s ministry. The people also got into better spirits, and improve 
ments on the church and manse amounting to ^30 were met by 23 of their 
members giving two-thirds of that sum, and the rest was made up by 32 
others. Mr Waddell died, i6th November 1826, in the seventy-first year of 
his age and forty-first of his ministry. Though the treasury at Shiels was 
not overflowing, the funeral charges, paid from the funds, amounted to 
over ;i i. 

Third Minister. JAMES M lNTOSH, from Coupar-Angus. Ordained, 
30th July 1828. The call, which was "most unanimous," was signed by 75 
members and 62 adherents. The stipend was to be ^72, with manse and 
garden. In 1836 the membership, which had recently come down 10 by 
emigration to America, was 88, and the emoluments were the same as 
before. In the report of the Debt Liquidation Board for 1840 the con 
gregation is described as very poor, and they had a debt of ,36 which they 
were unable to pay, but the Board granted them ,20, and the people raised 
the other 16. In April 1844 Mr M Intosh, finding money matters in an 
unsatisfactory state, gave in his resignation to the Presbytery. A committee 
reported at next meeting that the elders and others warmly desired their 
minister s continuance among them, and promised to do everything in their 
power to make him comfortable, and the result was that Mr M Intosh with 
drew his demission. In 1846 a stipend of ^80 was arranged for, the people 
to raise ^45 and the supplement to be ,35. On i2th March 1850 the 
Presbytery met with the congregation to inquire into their financial state, 
and the meeting ended with Mr M Intosh finally resigning. A slight 
majority afterwards declared in favour of the relation being continued, 
assigning as the reason that they were benefited by their minister s preach 
ing, and that they were afraid if he left they might be deprived of gospel 
ordinances altogether. But Mr M Intosh declined to yield a second time, 
and on 9th April his demission was accepted. After being four years on the 
preachers list he emigrated to Canada, and he was inducted to Amhurst 
Island in 1854. He died in the early part of December 1875, in the seventy- 
eighth year of his age and forty-eighth of his ministry. 

Towards the close of 1850 the congregation called Mr Alexander 
M Lean, afterwards of Kirriemuir, but as he had only preached one 
Sabbath the call was not sustained. In March 1851 they called Mr James 
A. Johnson, afterwards of West Linton, and repeated the call in October, 
but both times without success. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM GILLESPIE, from Denny. Mr Gillespie 
had been ordained as a missionary to China on ist November 1843 m Well 
Street Chapel, London, under the auspices of the London Missionary 
Society. After labouring in the East for six years he returned home, and 
had his name placed on the probationer list in May 1851. Inducted to 
Shiels, 28th April 1852, the stipend to be ^55 from the people and ,35 
expected from the Board. Accepted an invitation from the missionary 
societies of Broughton Place and Rose Street, Edinburgh, to undertake 
mission work in the High Street, and was loosed from his charge, I4th 
August 1855. In January 1856 the congregation called the Rev. William 
Inglis, formerly of Banff, but he preferred to seek a field of labour in 


Canada. They then fixed on Mr Peter Davidson, but he waited on, and 
got Brechin (High Street). 

Fifth Minister. EDWARD RANKINE, from Kincardine-on-Forth. 
Ordained, loth June 1857. There were only 58 members at this time, 
but 21 acceded before the end of the year, and all onwards there was a 
gradual rise, till at the beginning of 1868 the maximum of 107 was reached. 
Removals from the district now began to tell at an average rate of two in 
the year, and this brought the number down to 97 in 1873. 1 "865 the old 
manse was superseded by another at a cost of ,515, of which .340 was 
raised by the people and ,175 came from the Board. Mr Rankine was 
enrolled minister-emeritus, 5th May 1892. He removed soon afterwards 
to Edinburgh, where he now resides, and is an elder in Merchiston Church. 
His son, the Rev. T. P. Rankine, has been recently translated from Water- 
beck to Pollok Street, Glasgow. 

Sixth Minister, JOSEPH T. J. WHYTE, from Oban. Ordained, I4th 
August 1894. The call was signed by 53 members out of 56, a fact which 
brings out alike the unanimity of the congregation and its numerical strength. 
At the close of 1899 there were 53 names on the communion roll, and the 
stipend from the people was ^50. 


ON 8th September 1788 the session of Clola referred to the Antiburgher 
Presbytery of Aberdeen an application for sermon from some people about 
Slains, a parish on the east coast of Aberdeenshire, eight miles south of 
Clola, but within their bounds. This was followed on 8th April 1789 by two 
petitions of like import from parties "not of our communion" in the parishes 
of Slains, Logie-Buchan, and Ellon, and from this time they had supply 
nearly every alternate Sabbath. On 1310 April 1791 some members of 
Craigdam congregation " in and about Ellon " petitioned to be erected into 
a distinct congregation, and, the list of names having been given in, the 
petition was granted on 27th June. Then on I4th November the families 
connected with Clola congregation residing in the district were disjoined 
and annexed to the forming cause. The spot chosen was at Auchmacoy in 
Logie-Buchan, and in the Old Statistical account of that parish, written in 
1791, the church is stated to have been built "last summer." Thus has the 
Secession found a new centre ten miles east from Craigdam and eight 
south from Clola. 

First Minister. JAMES RONALDSON, from Abernethy congregation. 
The stipend promised was ,45, with a house. A session had been con 
stituted two years before, of whom one member had previously held office 
in Craigdam or Clola, and five were duly elected. The call was signed by 
only 25 (male) members, and sustained by the moderator s casting vote. 
After this some of the occasional hearers sent up a paper to the Presbytery, 
signifying that they disapproved of the congregation s choice, but it was 
agreed after long deliberation to present the call to Mr Ronaldson. He 
accepted, though a declinature might have been better for the cause at 
Auchmacoy in its weak beginnings. He was ordained, 3oth June 1795. 
Mr Ronaldson resigned after a ministry of thirty years, and the church was 
declared vacant, 3oth March 1825. His name then appeared on the pro 
bationer list till 1829, but he eventually settled down to cultivate a small 
property of his own at Newton of Falkland, where he was in the member 
ship of Freuchie congregation. By his marriage Mr Ronaldson was a 
brother-in-law of the Rev. William Scott of Leslie, and this may have 


influenced him to take up strong Calvinistic ground during the Atone 
ment Controversy. In 1843 he ceased to attend public ordinances at 
Freuchie, and when Cupar Presbytery appointed two of their number to 
hold a friendly conference with him he refused to receive them, and on gth 
July 1844 they declared him no longer a minister or member of the United 
Secession Church. He and his family now connected themselves with Falk 
land Free Church. Mr Ronaldson died, 2oth May 1845, aged seventy-eight. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM STOKBS, from Yetholm. Called to Strom- 
ness, Ellon, and Blyth. Between the last two there was not much to choose ; 
but Stromness was far weightier than either, their call being signed by 228 
members and 248 adherents, while that from Ellon only showed 59 members 
and 152 hearers. But the claims of the weaker congregation prevailed with 
the Synod, and Mr Stobbs was ordained at Ellon, 6th November 1827. By 
this time circumstances had necessitated a change of centre. In October 
1826 the congregation informed the Presbytery that the proprietor of 
Auchmacoy was not to allow them possession of the manse after the 
expiry of the present lease. The building must have been in a dilapidated 
state, Mr Ronaldson having given as one of his reasons for retiring that 
through want of repair the house was scarcely habitable. But, besides this, 
the people were "altogether uncertain whether they could get a new lease 
of the ground on which the church was built." The issue was that they 
resolved, by a great majority, to remove to Ellon, two miles to the west, and 
there the present church was built in 1827 at a cost of ^320, with 340 sittings. 
It was at this stage that Mr Stobbs was put in to build up the cause anew, 
but in the course of a year Stromness people came back on him again, and 
the Synod in May 1829 decided to allow the translation. Thus Ellon had to 
face the contingencies of another vacancy. 

Third Minister. JAMES YOUNG, from Pitcairn-Green. Ordained, I5th 
July 1830, after ten years of probationer life. " He had some good sermons," 
said George Gilfillan, "but spoilt himself by a bad delivery, and his voice 
was husky." But Ellon congregation got much attached to their minister, 
and in 1835 they built a manse for him, which, notwithstanding outside help, 
raised their debt to ^150. In 1837 there were 98 communicants, but the 
average attendance at the evening service was more than double that 
number. The stipend was slightly under ^75, with house and garden. Of 
the families, thirty-three, which must have been the larger proportion, came 
from over two miles, including the neighbouring parishes of Slains, Cruden, 
Logie, and Udny. In 1840 the debt was lightened by ^100 being cleared 
off, the Board aiding to the extent of one-half, and appearances were thought 
to be better than they had ever been before. But evil came in a form little 
expected. On 27th January 1842 Mr Young was deposed for confessed im 
morality, though his brethren restored him to membership soon afterwards. 
The congregation, believing that he had satisfied for his offence, petitioned, 
though not with entire unanimity, to have him set over them again, but 
" the Synod judged that there was not reason at present for granting the 
prayer of the petition." Mr Young then became a city missionary in con 
nection with Rose Street Church, Edinburgh. He caught fever in the 
discharge of his official duties, and died, i6th November 1847, in the forty- 
ninth year of his age. Some specimens of his pulpit work given to the 
world in the following year, with memoir by Dr Voting of Perth, were ill- 
chosen, the lectures on the Intercessory Prayer, the part fixed on by the 
magazine for special commendation, being almost literal transcripts from 
Matthew Henry. Still, Mr Young s high reputation for gifts of intellect 
cannot have been baseless, though George Gilflllian in his "History of a 
Man," and elsewhere, treated his memory with scanty respect. 


The attempt to have Mr Young back among them having failed, Ellon 
congregation in November 1842 called Mr Laurence Gowans, but he 
accepted B rough ty Ferry. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES IRELAND, from Milnathort. As Mr Ireland s 
mother was a sister of the Rev. Robert Morison of Bathgate, and as his 
cousin, the Rev. James Morison, had been recently convicted of heresy, the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen kept strict watch at the entrance gate, and by trial 
discourses on Predestination and the Atonement, and also by minute oral 
examination, they tested his soundness in the faith. Having passed through 
the ordeal with some difficulty he was ordained, gth November 1843, and 
on the following Sabbath he was introduced to his charge by his friend and 
fellow-townsman, the Rev. John Steedman of Stirling. Mr Ireland in student 
days made an admirable teacher, as the writer can attest from early recol 
lections. There were unfailing tact, perfect order, an eye for the humorous 
side of things, and the gift of imparting instruction, and, as he had little out 
flow in the pulpit, the friends of his student days were of opinion that he should 
have made this his profession. But he chose differently, and in Ellon he 
found scope for his peculiar talents, making instruction the basis of pulpit 
work, and training the old, and specially the young, in acquaintance with the 
Word of God. In 1845 tri e remaining debt on the property, which had 
grown to ^75, was liquidated, the Board allowing ,37. The stipend was 
supplemented to ^90, with the manse, in 1848, and it rose with the progress 
of the Augmentation Scheme till before Mr Ireland retired from active duty 
it reached ^180. This was in June 1886, and a few months previously the 
congregation called Mr James Gilmour to be Mr Ireland s colleague and 
successor ; but he decided to work on in Cowdenbeath, where his ordina 
tion followed. The manse built in 1835 had been improved in 1865 at a 
cost of ,275, of which the Board allowed a grant of ^170. 

Fifth Minister. JAMES A. ADAM, M.A., from Caledonia Road, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 25th August 1886. Mr Ireland died, 2gth September 1890, in 
the seventy-eighth year of his age and forty-seventh year of his ministry. 
At the close of 1899 the membership was 93, and the stipend from the people 
.70, with the manse. 


THIS congregation originated in a petition presented on 3rd September 
1799 to the Burgher Presbytery of Perth from twenty-eight heads of families 
in and about Midmar. It set forth their unhappy situation through want of 
the pure Gospel, and entreated supply of preaching. One of the commis 
sioners on their behalf was the Rev. John Brown of Whitburn, who had 
been itinerating in the north under the Synod s directions. The petition 
being granted, the first church was erected in 1802, and that year 8 
members were annexed from Tough. 

First Minister. JAMES PATERSON, from Tough. Ordained, I5th May 
1805. Progress was checked almost at the beginning of the upraising of the 
Old Light flag, a number breaking away from Mr I aterson s ministry, and 
travelling regularly on Sabbath to the Original Burgher Church at Aberdeen, 
fifteen miles off. In 1818 they were recognised as a vacancy, though not 
more than 21 in number ; but, when their first call was issued fourteen years 
after, it bore the signatures of 47 members and 13 adherents. They had 
hitherto met in a barn, but in 1832 their church was built, and they now 
form the Free Church congregation of Midmar. This was a parish in which 
the seceders could ill afford to divide ; but the New Statistical History 


states that both congregations were mostly made up from neighbouring 
parishes. Mr Paterson died, 8th March 1838, in the sixty-second year of 
his age and thirty-third of his ministry. In 1815 he published an "Essay on 
Witchcraft," the design of which was to prove that popular superstitions on 
this subject have no foothold in Scripture. This was followed in 1830 by a 
volume of sermons. Mr Paterson was the father of the Rev. H. A. Paterson 
of Stonehouse. 

The congregation now got into serious difficulties about their place of 
worship. Their lease of the property had expired, from which we infer that 
it had only been for two nineteens far too short a period. The report of 
the Mission Board for 1840 bears that they were even refused the use of the 
place of worship till they could provide themselves with another. At this 
time the membership stood at 52, and they had to proceed with the erection 
of a church and manse two miles from the former site. The Board promised 
them a grant of .100, provided they would raise ,80. The requirement 
was more than met, for, few as they were, they subscribed ^120 among 
themselves. While thus engaged they presented a call to Mr William 
Barrie, who was under engagement to go to Canada (see Johnshaven). 
They next called Mr W. C. Brodie, but when the time for decision came he 
requested a month s delay, and before that period expired Lassvvade opened, 
and Midmar was declined. 

Second Minister. ROBERT PATERSON, who after a ministry of nine 
years at Greenloaning resigned in 1838, and returned to preacher life. He 
was then for a short time in Smyrna Chapel, Sunderland, but on I2th 
January 1841 his demission was accepted, and the congregation soon after 
passed out of existence. Mr Paterson s name now appeared on the 
preachers list for the third time. Having declined Crail, and then pre 
ferred Midmar to Tain, he was inducted, I4th December 1842. His 
ministry in his third congregation had an unpropitious beginning, as he was 
unacceptable to a very large minority, who nevertheless signed his call, as 
had been agreed on, owing to their long vacancy and repeated disappoint 
ments. But there was smouldering dissatisfaction, and in September 1846 
the affairs of Midmar were pressed on the notice of the Presbytery. Certain 
members had been attending Morisonian preachers, and, this being com 
plained of by others, they were suspended from Church privileges. To 
make matters worse, Mr Paterson was at this time laid aside from duty by 
severe illness, and when a Presbyterial visitation was held at Midmar in 
January he was unable to be present. The parties who had been com 
plained of assigned as their reason for hearing elsewhere the want of 
edification under their own minister, and this state of feeling was found to be 
general throughout the congregation. 

Mr Paterson on recovering offered to make good that those who had 
withdrawn from attendance on his ministry did so because he adhered 
faithfully to sound doctrine. To establish this charge against 6 of them 
witnesses were examined, the case occupying two days ; but all the 
Presbytery found proven was that one of the accused had expressed himself 
rashly and erroneously on some doctrinal points. Against certain of their 
findings Mr Paterson protested and appealed, and the Presbytery agreed in 
this connection to refer the whole case to the Synod. It came back to them 
again with a recommendation to take minister afffl people under their 
special care. A committee of reconciliation was appointed at next meeting, 
when Mr Paterson engaged to resign if no adjustment of differences was 
arrived at. On 3rd August 1847 a petition was presented by 9 members 
against his removal ; but owing to its disrespectful language it was not 
received, and though Mr Paterson told his brethren he had changed his 


mind, it was carried by six to two to loose him from his charge. At the Synod 
on 7th October it was found that the Presbytery had acted precipitately in 
dissolving the relationship and in not sisting procedure when an appeal was 
taken ; but instead of involving themselves in technicalities they accepted 
his resignation ; declared he had prosecuted his ministry at Midmar with 
commendable fidelity ; and ordered his name to be placed on the preachers 
list. Four years afterwards he was admitted to Aberchirder. 

During the vacancy which followed the congregation called, without 
success, Mr Archibald Cross, afterwards of West Linton. 

Third Minister. JOHN PEDKN BELL, from Greyfriars, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 2/th April 1849. Mr Hell was a man of philosophic mind without 
corresponding gifts of expression. The books he has left behind him, one 
of them entitled "Christian Sociology" and another Mercy as Conditioned 
by Righteousness," evince mental subtlety and a vision of his own. He 
died, 9th July 1875, in the fifty-eighth year of his age and twenty-seventh of 
his ministry. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES N. DODDS, M.A., from Peebles (West). 
Ordained, I3th January 1876, the stipend from the people to be ^100, which 
supplement made up to ^157, ios., with the manse. On nth October 1887 
Mr Dodds made an acknowledgment to the Presbytery, which was followed 
by suspension sine die, with deep sorrow on the part of his brethren, and 
much to the regret of the congregation. He then removed to Aberdeen, 
and is now a teacher in New Zealand. 

Fifth Minister. HENRY FERGUSON, from Alloa (Townhead). Or 
dained, 27th March 1888, and accepted a call to Broxburn, i6th July 1895. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN D. SINCLAIR, B.D., from Camphill, Glasgow. 
Ordained, igth May 1896. The membership at the close of 1899 was 72, 
and the stipend from the people ,90, and the manse. 


ON 7th September 1802 the Burgher Presbytery of Perth granted sermon to 
Stonehaven in answer to a petition subscribed by twenty-one persons, 
"setting forth their great need of the Gospel." This agrees with what the 
Haldanes recorded in their Journal five years before. " At Stonehaven we 
noticed the greatest indifference to eternal things we have seen anywhere." 
At this time Episcopacy was strong in the place, with two chapels, the 
one Scottish and the other English. The parish church was a mile from the 
town, and there was no Secession congregation nearer than Aberdeen to the 
north, and Johnshaven to the south, each distant fourteen or fifteen miles. It 
was meet that advantage should be taken of the present opening, and in 
1803 a church was built, with sittings for 400, the cost being put down 
at ,500. 

First Minister. JOHN BALLANTYNK, a native of Kinghorn parish. With 
drew from the Established Church when a university student, and became 
a member of the Burgher congregation, Lochgelly. Was called to North 
Berwick, as well as Stonehaven, but the latter call was signed by 45 
members and 262 adherents. These last figures gave promise of great 
things, and Mr Ballantyne wrote the Synod assigning reasons for thinking 
Stonehaven should be preferred, which was agreed to without a vote. He 
was ordained, igth March 1806. In 1824 Mr Ballantyne published in 
pamphlet form his " Comparison of Established and Dissenting Churches," in 
which the theory of voluntaryism was very ably wrought out before its time. 
This was followed in 1828 by a monument of abstract thought, entitled "An 


Examination of the Human Mind." Mr Ballantyne died, 5th November 
1830, in the fifty-first year of his age, as the tombstone in Fetteresso church 
yard bears, and the twenty-fifth of his ministry. A fine tribute is paid to 
Mr Ballantyne s character and attainments in the memoir of the Rev. Henry 
Angus, Aberdeen, prefixed to his published sermons. 

Second Minister. DAVID TODD, from Dundee (School Wyncl). Or 
dained, 3 ist August 1831. In 1840 the congregation, which consisted of 130 
members, engaged in an effort to clear off their debt of ,200. Of this sum 
the Board agreed to furnish one-half, and the people forthwith subscribed 
the other half. Stimulus came from an aged member who, as their most 
liberal supporter, was anxious to see the burden removed before he died, 
and " in this very affecting particular they had the wish to gratify him." 
Mr Todd resigned, roth April 1855, assigning as the reason want of en 
couragement, but the drawback may not have lain entirely with the con 
gregation. He emigrated to Canada ; returned under paralysis, and died at 
Liverpool, 7th December 1859, aged fifty-three. 

During this vacancy Stonehaven, simultaneously with Shiels, called 
Mr Peter Davidson, who, instead of choosing between the two, waited on, 
and obtained High Street, Brechin. Soon afterwards they called Mr Robert 
Scott, who went to Canada.* 

Third Minister. THOMAS SCOTT, from Portsburgh, Edinburgh (now 
Lauriston Place). Ordained, 29th September 1857. The stipend promised 
by the people was ^65, which was to be raised by supplement to ^110. 
In 1867 a new manse was built at a cost of ^1000, of which ,400 came 
from the Manse Board. Mr Scott retired from active duty on 5th July 1886, 
but retained the status of senior minister, with an allowance of ,10 from 
the congregation, and the occupancy of the manse. His son, after attending 
the U.P. Hall two sessions, went over to the Establishment, and is now the 
Rev. Thomas Scott, M.A., parish minister of Laurencekirk. The father 
died there, I5th September 1894, in the seventy-second year of his age and 
thirty-seventh of his ministry. 

Fourth Minister. Peter B. Crowley, M.A., from Wishart Church, 
Dundee. Ordained as colleague to Mr Scott, 28th December 1886. The 
membership at the close of 1899 was 89, and the stipend from the people 
^70, with the manse. 


AFTER the death of Mr Brown, their first; minister, in 1801 the Presbytery 
suggested to Craigdam congregation the propriety of removing to Old 
Meldrum, a village three and a half miles to the south-west, with a popula 
tion of 800. This would have been a better centre ; and as a new manse 
was needed at the time, and a new church would be needed in a few years, 
it was thought the change would be to their advantage. The proposal, 
however, was not entertained. Four years afterwards a paper was presented 
to the Presbytery from 20 persons in Old Meldrum, members of the 
Established Church, about having sermon there, but the commissioners did 
not wish the petition to take effect unless the people of Craigdam decided 
to remain where they were. With this the matter dropped out of sight, 

* Mr Scott, from Braehead, was minister at Dundas, Canada, for fourteen years. 
He then passed to the United States, and in 1875 was inducted to Jane Street Church, 
New York. He died of paralysis, igth July 1877, in the fifty-fourth year of his age 
and the seventeenth of his ministry. 


and did not reappear till after sixteen years. This was on nth December 
1821, when some people in Old Meldrum requested a day s supply of sermon, 
and Mr Robertson of Craigdam was appointed to preach to them on the 
first Sabbath of the year. Nothing followed, the reason assigned being the 
want of a place of worship. 

This want must have been manfully provided for, as on 8th July 1823 
" the subscribers to the new chapel at Old Meldrum requested the ad 
vantage of having sermon directly from the Presbytery." It hence appears 
that prior to this they were allowed preaching at such times as Craigdam 
minister and session thought fit to appoint, and they now wished to be set 
free from this state of pupilage. But the Presbytery were apprehensive that 
Craigdam congregation might suffer if an independent charge were set up 
at Old Meldrum, and the matter was remitted to the consideration of the 
session there. At next meeting the two parties were recommended to 
consult with each other in the spirit of meekness, and by mutual concessions 
accommodate their differences so that the interests of neither might be 
materially injured. The church which the petitioners had built, amidst 
slender encouragement, had sittings for 312, and in March 1824 they ap 
pealed to the Presbytery to grant them frequent supply for themselves, and 
not in connection with any other place. But when steps were adopted to 
have a congregation organised the first group of members were admitted 
by examination, and though the second group claimed to have been once 
connected with Craigdam the session there repudiated the relationship, and 
they had to be proceeded with in the same way. At last, on i2th April, a 
report was made to the Presbytery that those persons in Old Meldrum who 
had been approved of for admission to the Secession Church were formed 
into a congregation. The Lord s Supper was to be observed by them on 
the third Sabbath of August, and six elders elect were to be ordained on the 
Fast Day. So after a long struggle with unfavourable breezes they reached 
the harbour at last. 

First Minister. JAMES M CRIE, from Colmonell. Ordained, ist 
February 1827. The call was signed by 37 members and 38 adherents. 
The stipend was to be ,85, the figure at which it stood for at least eighteen 
years, but a manse was added after a time. In 1836 Mr M Crie obtained 
an equivocal majority at a moderation in Stranraer (now Ivy Place), as is 
fully related in that connection, but the Synod had to lay the call aside. 
Thus the prospect of a transference to a more open sphere was blighted, and 
Old Meldrum was to enjoy Mr M Crie s services till his strength failed. 
Had Aberdeenshire been favourable soil for Secession principles the quality 
of his ministrations, accompanied as they were by corresponding weight of 
character, should have gathered round him a flourishing congregation. By 
Mrs M Crie in " Maria" we have Old Meldrum set before us as it was in the 
early years of her husband s ministry. Distilleries tainting the moral 
atmosphere ; two families vying with each other for social influence ; and as 
for preaching, "there seems to have been nothing done by the la A- teachers 
for the spiritual benefit of souls, except in so far as necessary to secure the 
salary." An Aberdeenshire clergyman of the old school is thus described : 
" In ecclesiastical rule he is said to be dictatorial ; in politics an unswerving 
Tory ; in the diffusion of secular knowledge and in the intellectual and 
moral improvement of the people, an unbending obstructive ; but gentle 
manly so long as acquiescence and subservience are rendered." 

Thus situated, the Secession minister had uphill work, and his people 
prior to 1840 were much burdened. Though the church cost only ^250, 
the building of the manse may account for the debt rising to .320. At this 
date the Liquidation Board came opportunely in, and the congregation, 


encouraged by the promise of aid to the extent of ,144, entered into the 
movement with much heartiness, nine or ten of their leading men standing in 
the gap, and to their own surprise the other .180 was raised. Now for the 
first time in their history they were out into a large place. " Having come 
to their separate constitution with some struggle," wrote Mrs M Crie, "they 
are earnest and resolute and self-sacrificing in the maintenance of their cause." 

In 1859 Mr M Crie published his "Primal Dispensation," a well-com 
pacted volume of theology on the highly Calvinistic side, and in 1861 he had 
the degree of D.D from Princeton, New Jersey. Possessing private means, 
he now expressed a wish for a colleague, probably with the view of devoting 
his years of remaining vigour to the labours of the pen. - 

Second Minister. ROBERT HALL, from St Vincent Street, Glasgow. 
Called first to Dubbieside (now Innerleven), but declined, and then to 
Bonhill, but owing to commotion there he accepted Old Meldrum. Or 
dained as colleague to Dr M Crie, 24th April 1862. The membership was 
about 130, and the call unanimous. The stipend was to be ^112, los. in all. 
The senior minister, besides retaining the manse and garden, was to receive 
;io a year, and he was to perform an eighth part of the pulpit work. All 
looked fair at first ; but in the course of three years money difficulties began 
to press, and reference was made to the Presbytery. Dr M Crie had mean 
while surrendered his share of the stipend until the circumstances of the 
congregation should improve. But friction was at work all round, and 
complaints were brought up against the junior minister, which led to a 
wearisome amount of futile investigation. The Presbytery were of opinion 
that the spirit of dissatisfaction was confined to a small fraction of the congre 
gation ; but we can believe that people trained under the preaching of Dr 
M Crie might be hard to please sometimes. The case widened out till it 
reached the Synod in May 1866, when a protest against a decision of 
Presbytery was dismissed, and a committee appointed to meet at Old 
Meldrum "with the ministers, session, and congregation for friendly con 
ference regarding the differences that have existed among them." Next 
year they reported that the object had not been gained, but they had 
tendered such counsels as might help to modify the evils they had failed to 
remove. Dr M Crie now ceased to discharge the eighth part of the work, 
and, on his being admitted to the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund, the 
congregation notified that they could only give him the manse and garden. 

Experiences like the above had their effects. In 1869 Old Meldrum 
congregation intimated to the Presbytery and the Augmentation Board that 
in consequence of what they had come through they could not promise more 
than ,95 of stipend at the very utmost, and they requested a yearly grant of 
^55. The adjustment come to was that the people should raise 97, IDS. 
and receive ^60, the manse being still retained by the senior minister. In 
1865 Dr M Crie published "Jehovah s New Covenant Love," of which the 
contents answer to the name; in 1866 "Autopedia; or, Instructions on 
Personal Education," a book of much merit, though the applause it received 
in the U.P. Magazine at the time was only fitted to do it harm. In 1872 
the author s most interesting book appeared, entitled " Maria ; or, Remini 
scences of Domestic Scenes and Incidents." It relates to Mrs M Crie, who 
died fifteen years before, but left memorials of her gifts and graces, which 
are fitly embalmed in this volume. Dr M Crie had now removed to Col- 
monell, his native seat, where he died, I3th January 1873, in the seventy-third 
year of his age and forty-sixth of his ministry. On 2nd October 1877 Mr 
Hall was loosed from Old Meldrum on accepting a call to Mordaunt Street, 
now Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow. The membership at the close of the year 
was 101. 


Third Minister. WILLIAM LAWRIE, from Abernethy. Ordained, 1st 
May 1878. On I2th February thereafter a letter was received from his aunt 
stating that her nephew from the state of his health found it necessary to 
demit his charge. Sermon was arranged for, and parties were to be heard at 
next meeting, but Mr Lawrie died on the 24th of that month in the twenty- 
eighth year of his age. This was the end of one brief ministry, and it was 
to be succeeded by a ministry briefer still. In the course of the year which 
intervened the congregation called Mr Thomas Taylor, but he chose rather 
to break new ground at Banchory. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN M LUCKIE, who had been ordained at Lanark 
(Bloomgate) twenty-two years before, but removed from thence in 1865 to 
build up a new cause at Uddingston. In course of time rumours affecting 
his deportment for sobriety got abroad, but a committee of inquiry came to 
the unanimous conclusion, which was ratified by Glasgow Presbytery, April 
1879, that "there is nothing in these rumours on which to found a charge 
against him." There was enough, however, to make Mr M Luckie table his 
resignation at that same meeting, and enough to make the Presbytery 
accept it without preamble. But with the Synod s sanction a month later 
his name was put on the probationer list, and on 315! March 1880 he was 
inducted into Old Meldrum. In exactly four weeks the Presbytery convened 
in answer to a hasty summons. This again eventuated in obtaining from 
the Synod the appointment of a Commission to dispose of any appeals that 
might arise from a case of discipline at Old Meldrum. It next came out that 
on 2oth May the Rev. John M Luckie was suspended from office sine die, and 
loosed from his charge, and that he had allowed the sentence to become 
final. He ultimately returned to the employment of his youth, that of a 
pattern-designer, and died in Glasgow, i6th March 1898, aged seventy. 
Had he remained true to the abstinence principles of his student days he 
might have had happier fortunes and a more useful life-course. Would that 
he had been duly mindful of the text from where he preached an eloquent 
discourse during his last session at the Hall, " Take heed, lest any of you 
be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin " ! 

Fifth Minister. CHARL ES CONNOR, M.A. Ordained, 26th October 1880. 
Demitted, and was loosed from Old Meldrum, gth February 1892. Mr 
Connor is a son of the Rev. Charles Connor, Oainaru, New Zealand ; a 
cousin of the Rev. David M. Connor, Govanhill, Glasgow ; and a son-in-law 
of the late Rev. Andrew Dickie, Aberdeen. On leaving Old Meldrum he 
returned to New Zealand, his early home, where, after being stated supply for 
a time at Waikari, he was inducted into Port Ahuriri and Meanee, in the 
Presbytery of Hawke s Bay, 5th May 1895. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN MOORE, B.D., from Belhaven, Glasgow. Or 
dained, loth January 1894. After conflicting with successive storms Old 
Meldrum has only a membership of about 60, and the stipend of ^50 from 
the people is made up to ,126, or thereby, with the manse. 


IN June 1830 Kildrummie begins to appear in the records of Aberdeen 
Presbytery as a place to which they were sending supply of sermon. This 
went on for three years, and then Lumsden, in the parish of Auchindoir, 
which had recently grown into a village of 200 inhabitants, supplanted 
Kildrummie, an entirely rural parish. Services had been hitherto kept up at 
both places, the preachers taking the one in the forenoon and the other in 
the evening, but now Lumsden became the centre ; and in 1833 a small 


church, with 200 sittings, was built at a cost of .120. In September 1834 the 
Synod granted the Presbytery of Aberdeen liberty to erect Lumsden into a 
regular congregation. The Established Church was about two miles to the 
north-east, and the nearest Secession Church was Tough, not less than eight 
miles to the south-east. 

But the Secession had footing in Auchindoir two generations before. 
When Mr George Cowie was ordained at Huntly in 1770 that parish was 
included in his widespread territories, and it was one of the preaching 
stations for which he obtained stray supply through the Presbytery. In 
1775, when his congregation was broken into three, Auchindoir was 
hooked on to Cabrach, and the minister was to preach there four Sabbaths 
in the year, two in spring and two in autumn, the people to pay ,4 of his 
stipend " and find quarters for himself and his horse." In 1794 the statistical 
history of the parish gave the Burghers and Antiburghers above ten years of 
age as only fifteen in number, and of these the former would attend at Tough 
and the latter at Cabrach. But there is nothing here with which to link the 
origin of Lumsden Church. " When we first sent sermon," said the Presby 
tery of Aberdeen, " there was not in the whole district a single person be 
longing to the Secession," and the 36 members congregated in December 
1834 were all from the Established Church. 

In March 1836 the Presbytery sustained a call from Lumsden to Mr 
George Morris, from Regent Place, Glasgow, but Mr Morris decided for 
America, and we hear of him afterwards as minister at Silverspring, 
Pennsylvania. A call followed in January 1837 to Mr Robert Lees, from 
Stow, but after some hesitation he also declined. In 1842 Mr Lees withdrew 
from the list, and, having passed through a medical course, he settled down 
as an apothecary in Edinburgh, was ordained to the eldership in Bristo 
Church 1846, and died, I7th December 1877, aged seventy-seven. His 
widow, a sister of Dr John Taylor, survived him many years. 

First Minister. ROKERT CREASE, who had retired from the old Anti- 
burgher Church, Peebles, two years before. Inducted, I7th January 1838. 
The stipend promised was ,60, with lodgings, or ,65 in all ; but Broughton 
Place, Edinburgh, came to their aid, and enabled them to pay other ^30 
a year. The call was signed by 37 members and 118 adherents, the latter 
number giving promise of more than was ever realised. Increase followed, 
but not enough to encourage Mr Crease to persevere, and he had the pastoral 
bond dissolved, i6th March 1841. In the end of that year he declined a 
location at Letham, as he had obtained a fixed settlement in Dalkeith as a 
town missionary. From this time till the Union of 1847 his name appeared 
in the little group of " Revs." that used to head the probationer list in the 
U.S. Magazine. The writer heard him preach on one occasion in Balgedie, 
and remembers the unusual extent to which his discourses were embellished 
with poetry or verse. Mr Crease was also a missionary in connection with 
North Leith congregation. He died, gth May 1852, aged fifty-eight, and a 
lowly tombstone in Grange cemetery marks where he is laid. His widow, 
a granddaughter of John Brown of Haddington, died, 2Oth December 1877, 
aged sixty-seven. 

It was thirteen years before Lumsden obtained another minister. In 
1844 they called Mr Robert Ferrier, but he preferred Tain. There was 
reason now to question the propriety of going on. The Disruption had led 
to the building of a Free church for Auchindoir parish on the other side of 
the village square, and the ordination of a young minister followed to contest 
the ground. But after a pause of six years a renewed attempt was made 
to have the vacancy filled up. In September 1850 they called Mr Alexander 
L. Wylie, whose name comes up under Mossbank, but he declined. In 1852 


they called first Mr William Main, who preferred Ardersier, and then the 
Rev. Alexander Walker, who waited on the list till Crail invited. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM THOMSON, from Glasgow (John Street). 
Ordained, 28th March 1854. Looked at in the light of what Mr Thomson 
came to, there was much in this for Lumsden to be proud of. In that narrow 
sphere he remained till 5th May 1863, when he accepted a call to Burton-on- 
Trent, but during these nine years there had been little made of the sparse 
material, the members at the close being scarcely 60. It was a comment on 
the capabilities of the place. Mr Thomson was inducted to Kirkmuirhill, 

Third Minister. WILLIAM SIMMERS, from Savoch of Deer. Ordained, 
2$th November 1863, and loosed, 5th February 1868, on accepting Portsoy. 
In the course of the year an unsuccessful call was given to Mr William 
\Vatson, afterwards of Kirkcudbright. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES WILSON, from Glasgow, Cathedral Street (now 
Kelvingrove). Ordained, 24th February 1869. On gth April 1872 a deputa 
tion of Presbytery, which had visited Lumsden, reported "general deficiency 
of funds and general dissatisfaction." A fortnight afterwards Mr Wilson 
tendered his resignation, which was accepted on I4th June. As there was no 
moral element involved, the intention was to have his name put on the 
roll of probationers, but he removed to the West Indies in an educational 
capacity. Mr Wilson was admitted by the Assembly in May 1885 to the 
Church of Scotland, and before the end of the year he was inducted to the 
quoad sacra church, Gardenstown. 

During this vacancy four calls were issued, but affairs had been going 
back, and not one of the preachers was inclined to lead the forlorn hope. 
These were as follows : (i) in 1873 Mr Thomas Granger, now of Coupar- 
Angus ; (2) in 1874 Mr G. M. Hair, now of Ceres; and (3) in 1875 
Mr John Black, late of Lochwinnoch, and Mr James Bell, now of 

Fifth Minister. JOHN F. DEMPSTER, M.A., from Wishart Church, 
Dundee. Ordained, 2nd May 1876. Loosed from Lumsden, 28th September 
1880, on accepting a call to Carnoustie. The membership had meanwhile 
risen from 40 to 65. 

Sixth Minister. JAMES STARK, M.A., son of the Rev. John Stark, 
Horndean, and nephew of the Rev. Gilbert Meikle, Inveraray. Ordained, 
2gth June 1881. On 29th July 1886 Mr Stark intimated to the Presbytery 
that, with the view of removing barriers to a union with Lumsden Free 
Church, which was arranging to call a colleague, he intended to demit his 
charge, as there was neither room nor need for two congregations in the 
little village of Lumsden. A committee was appointed to take steps to secure 
the desired consummation. Preliminaries were speedily arranged. It was 
agreed that the united congregation should belong to the Free Church as 
the Church of the majority. The sessions were to become one, and the 
U.P. managers were to be transformed into Free Church deacons by formal 
ordination. On i2th October these things were reported to Aberdeen 
Presbytery, and Mr Stark tabled his demission, which the Presbytery de 
layed accepting, that his rights under the Mutual Eligibility Act might be 
conserved, should he incline to become a candidate for the collegiateship. 
On Sabbath, i3th December, the two congregations met in the Free Church 
in the forenoon, when Mr Duncan of Lynturk, as representing the U.P. 
Presbytery of Aberdeen, preached ; and they met in the U.P. Church in the 
afternoon, when Mr Brander of Alford, as representing the Free Presbytery 
of Alford, preached. At the close eight elders were present, five of the Free 
and three of the U.P. Church, and there was one absent from each side. 


The united session was constituted, and Mr Henry Nicoll, the retiring Free 
Church minister, declared moderator. The communion rolls, when com 
bined, gave 125 members, 86 from the Free and 39 from the U.P. congrega 
tion. Of the latter only 3 had declined to go into the union. On 8th 
February Mr Stark s demission was accepted. At the Synod in May his 
name was placed on the probationer list, and, after three years of probation 
expired, he discharged pastoral work in connection with Broughton Place 
Church, Edinburgh. He was also an active elder in the young congregation 
of Merchiston. He died on 24th August 1895, after a brief illness, in his 
fortieth year. 

The united congregation retains the parish name of Auchindoir. The 
old Free church was sold, and the proceeds employed in building a ne\v 
church on the U.P site. The Free Church manse was also disposed of, and 
the U.P. manse was bought by the congregation, and the balance handed 
over to the Manse Fund of the denomination from which a grant had been 
obtained for its erection. Thus was the first corporate union between a 
Free and a U.P. congregation accomplished, and such were the adjustments 
that followed. 


OF Lynturk congregation it has been already stated that the name was at 
one period " Tough and Banchory," places at least fifteen miles apart. This 
began in an accession of some people in the latter parish to the Burgher 
Presbytery of Aberdeen in 1762, and it continued till 1780, when, by mutual 
consent, the two were disjoined. Of the united session, as first constituted, 
we have also seen that two of the 6 members were from Banchory, but what 
proportion of the minister s labours was assigned to that place is not 
recorded. It would probably be one Sabbath out of three. But Mr Murray, 
the second minister of Tough, when under call, objected to the double centre, 
and on 2nd May 1780 Banchory was formed into a separate congregation. 
No sooner was this arranged for than a petition was read "from some persons 
in the parish of Echt, setting forth their deplorable situation through the 
want of the Gospel, and craving supply." Here was companionship for 
Banchory at not more than half the distance, and that day a well-known 
preacher, Andrew Swanston, \vas appointed to supply the two places until 
further notice. For the next twenty years the usual arrangement was for 
the preacher who had been supplying at Montrose to go on to Banchory and 
Echt, where he was to remain until recalled. The system, dictated by the 
remoteness, was one of brief locations with considerable blanks between 

But though Banchory ranked all the while as a regular congregation, no 
attempt was ever made to obtain a fixed ministry. The Old Statistical History 
sketches its state in 1793 as follows : " There are in the parish about 30 
seceders" these it is presumed were adults, and there would also be a 
sprinkling from other parishes. "They obtained liberty," it adds, "from 
one of the heritors more than twenty years ago to build a place of worship. 
They have another in the parish of Echt, but no settled minister in either." 
This last name disappears from the Almanac in 1803, absorbed probably by 
the forming congregation of Midmar, a few miles to the west, but sermon 
was still kept up at Banchory in a fitful way. In October 1800 they notified 
to Perth Presbytery that owing to their peculiar circumstances they could 
not receive supply during the winter. Still the name lingered on the roll of 
Burgher Churches till 1816, and so late as September 1820 we find ^5 
allowed to Banchory by the Synod " for procuring supply of sermon." 


After a break of nearly sixty years the name is revived in the records 
of the denomination. On i3th November 1877 it was intimated to the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen that steps had been taken with the view of forming 
a congregation at Banchory. The place was on the increase both in 
population and in importance. There was, moreover, a chapel, with manse 
and garden, which had belonged to the Congregationalists, to be purchased 
on moderate terms. The measure was approved of, and on the second 
Sabbath of June 1878 the station was opened by the Home Secretary, 
Dr Scott. On 8th October certain petitioners from Banchory were 
with due formality congregated, and an interim session appointed. In 
January 1879 they called Mr William Logan, and in June Mr Matthew 
Dickie, but for both preachers there were other openings in the south, 
and the former found his destination at Lanark, and the latter at Sanquhar. 

First Minister. THOMAS TAYLOR, from Alloa (West). Ordained, i8th 
November 1879. Though the membership at this time was only 15, they 
undertook to provide ,90 of the stipend from their own resources, a figure 
which proved too high-pitched, and had to be exchanged for ,75. On 
27th December 1887 Mr Taylor accepted a call to Graham s Road, Falkirk. 
There were then 99 names on the communion roll. 

Second Minister. COLIN NICOL, from Kilwinning. Ordained, 5th June 
1888. Accepted a call to Clydebank, 29th June 1892. 

Third Minister. JAMES R. WARK, M.A., from Irvine (Trinity). Or 
dained, 1 5th December 1892. With a strong Free Church congregation 
in the place it is found impracticable to get much beyond 100 members, 
and this point was reached within the first ten years. At the close of 1899 
the number was 105, and the stipend from the people ,85, with the manse. 


THIS suburb of Aberdeen, about two miles to the north, gives its name to 
a quoad sacra parish with a population of between 6000 and 7000. On 
1 3th November 1877 the Presbytery of Aberdeen met to consider a petition 
from 43 members in full communion with the U.P. Church, residing in that 
quarter, to be formed into a congregation. Four weeks afterwards 
Dr Robson was appointed to preach at Woodside on Tuesday, i8th De 
cember, and declare the petitioners congregated. Then, like Banchory, 
Woodside had to face the inconvenience of two unsuccessful calls, the first 
to Mr John Dundas, who preferred Muirkirk, and the second to the 
Rev. A. K. Kennedy, M.D., but he kept himself in reserve, and in the end 
gave to the young congregation of Clune Park, Port-Glasgow, such benefit as 
was to be had. 

First Atinister. WILLIAM A. DUN BAR, from St James Place, Edinburgh. 
Ordained, i6th July 1879. At the end of this year the return gave 90 members, 
being fully double the original number. On Sabbath, 6th February 1881, 
the church, built at a cost of ,1800, and seated for 500, was o pened, 
Principal Cairns preaching in the forenoon and Dr Robson of Aberdeen in 
the afternoon. Mr Dunbar s ministry at Woodside ended on 9th September 
1890 in the acceptance of a call to Wishart Church, Dundee. By this time 
the membership was nearly doubled a second time. 

_ Second Minister. JOHN URE, M.A., from Glasgow (Greenhead). Or 
dained, 22nd January 1891. The communion roll was over 250 at the close 
of 1899 and the stipend from the people ^110. The property is free of 



ON I2th March 1738 the Associate Presbytery received an accession from 
the Corresponding Societies in Annandale, and on igth July Messrs Ralph 
Erskine and James Fisher were appointed to preach to them on 2oth 
August. Sermon followed at intervals ; baptism of "many children," and 
the ordination of an eldership. About this time there was an accession given 
in from some people in the parish of Tundergarth, and the cause \vas also 
strengthened by a violent settlement in the parish of Middlebie. Before 
obtaining a fixed pastor they gave a call to Mr John Cleland, but though 
only a probationer he was considerably beyond middle life, and on that 
ground his objections to being ordained over a community so widespread 
as that of Annandale were sustained, and he was afterwards settled in 

First Minister. GEORGE MURRAY, from Gateshaw (now Morebattle). 
Ordained, 2nd May 1744, exactly eleven months after the call came out. 
According to a manuscript note in an old pamphlet, the church was erected 
in 1746, and Lockerbie was made the seat of the congregation, very much to 
the chagrin of Ecclefechan people. At the breach of 1747 Mr Murray took 
the Antiburgher side, and the majority of his people adhered. He died, 2nd 
April 1757, in the forty-second year of his age and the thirteenth of his 
ministry. Like many of the early Seceding preachers Mr Murray is de 
scribed as having dwelt strongly on the defections of the times. He was 
buried in Tundergarth churchyard, where his tombstone is still standing. 
Mr Murray s son John went to America as a preacher in 1773. He became 
minister of Marsh Creek, Pennsylvania, in 1777, and died in the summer of 

A trying vacancy of five and a half years followed, during which the con 
gregation called Mr William Graham, whom the Synod appointed to White- 
haven. They next called the Rev. Richard Jerment of Peebles, a minister 
of popular gifts, who had been appointed by the Synod to supply at Lockerbie 
three Sabbaths, and was understood to be transportable, but in this case also 
there was disappointment, probably to both parties. 

Second Minister. GEORGE MURRAY, from Duns (East). Ordained, 
6th October 1762. The name has led to the erroneous conclusion that he 
was a son of the former minister. Mr Murray died after a lingering illness, 
5th November 1800, in the sixty-fourth year of his age and thirty-ninth of his 
ministry. A tablet was erected to his memory by his widow, Margaret 
Moncrieff, a daughter of Moncrieffof Culfargie. Mr Murray was a Berwick 
shire laird, and this accords with his marriage relationship. In the 
Christian Magazine he is characterised as a man of "amiable temper and 
engaging manners." 

In March 1801 Lockerbie congregation called Mr Andrew Bayne, but the 
Synod appointed him to the less important charge of Eastbarns, afterwards 
Dunbar (East). 

Third Minister. WILLIAM PATRICK, a native of Kilsyth parish, and 
belonging to a Reformed Presbyterian family. On joining the Antiburghers 
he connected himself with Cumbernauld. Called to Hamilton as well as to 
Lockerbie, but the Synod, contrary to his wishes, gave Lockerbie the pre 
ference. Aware of his feelings, Hamilton called him anew ; but the Pres 
bytery delayed procedure, and the matter was allowed to drop. Mr Patrick 


was ordained, i6th December 1802, and eight years afterwards the second 
church, with 570 sittings, was built at a cost of ^800. In May 1815, when 
the Synod were deliberating on the wants of Nova Scotia, they were informed 
that Mr Patrick had signified his willingness to undertake a mission to that 
part of the world. Being called on, he tendered the demission of his charge, 
assigning as his reasons, first, the want of temporal support, and second, the 
almost uninhabitable state of the manse. The Presbytery found on inquiry 
that the congregation had resolutely decided to make no advance in the 
stipend, which some years before was given at ^80, with manse, garden, 
office-houses, and a glebe of four or five acres. Having been loosed from 
Lockerbie on I7th July 1815, Mr Patrick landed in Nova Scotia in September, 
and was inducted into Mergomish on i6th November, where he died, 25th 
November 1844, in the seventy-third year of his age. He is described as a 
man of great activity, and abundant in labours. Though requiring to 
cultivate a small farm he was careful in preparing for the pulpit, and in 
pastoral work. Mr Patrick was a son-in-law of the Rev. John Young of 

Fourth Minister. JOSEPH TAYLOR, from Brechin (City Road). Or 
dained, 29th August 1816. In April 1825 the Presbytery of Annan and 
Carlisle, which had libelled Mr Taylor for intemperance, referred his case to 
the Synod. There he came forward at last, and frankly confessed that " in 
several instances he had been overtaken in the manner alleged." A petition 
from elders and members of the congregation had been previously read, ex 
pressing attachment to their minister, and hoping that, if found blameworthy, 
he might be leniently dealt with. There was also another to the same effect 
from 174 inhabitants of Lockerbie. He was now rebuked and restored to 
office. But in September the case came back to the Synod, there being 
reason to fear that the old evil had reappeared in Mr Taylor s public ministra 
tions, and as he had declared he would rather resign his charge than submit 
himself to the judgment of his own Presbytery, the members of Dumfries 
Presbytery were appointed to take part with them in the investigation of the 
case. It was wound up on 5th November by a sentence of suspension sine 
die. He then removed to Brechin, where he died suddenly on I2th 
September 1827 in his thirty-eighth year. The congregation during this 
vacancy called Mr John Taylor, M.D., whom the Synod appointed to 
Auchtermuchty (East). 

Fifth Minister. HUGH DOUGLAS, brought up in Ayr (First), now 
Original Secession. Ordained, 25th March 1828. In 1836 there was a 
membership of 220 and a stipend of ^100, with the manse, and a glebe 
valued at 6. The greater part of the congregation came from over two 
miles, and twenty-one families were more than six miles from the place of 
worship. Fully 100 members were from the parishes of St Mungo, Apple- 
garth, Hutton, and Tundergarth. There was no debt on the property, and the 
minister conducted three services each Sabbath. Mr Douglas died, 2oth 
December 1864, in the sixty-fourth year of his age and the thirty-seventh of 
his ministry. Mrs Douglas was a daughter of the Rev. James Primrose of 
Grange. Two of their sons became U.P. ministers : George, formerly of 
Walker, and now Secretary of the Religious Tract Society, Edinburgh ; and 
Robert Primrose, formerly of Ardersier, and now minister of the English 
Presbyterian Church, Otterburn. The Rev. William Morrison of Rosehall, 
Edinburgh, is Mr Douglas son-in-law. 

Sixth Minister. DAVID THOMAS, from Balfron. Ordained, I5th March 
1865. I n 876 Mr Thomas was called to Bell Street, Dundee, but he re 
mained in Lockerbie. A new manse was built in 1885, which, in addition to 
the sum received for the old manse, cost ,600, of which the Board paid one- 


fourth. At the close of 1899 tne membership was 300, and the stipend was 
,205, with the manse. 


THIS congregation originated shortly after the breach of 1747. When the 
Associate congregation of Annandale had its centre fixed at Lockerbie, six 
miles to the north of Ecclefechan, the arrangement caused much irritation 
among the Seceders in the southern division of the correspondence, and pre 
pared the way for a severance. Accordingly, on 27th September 1748 the 
Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh received a representation from several 
members of Annandale congregation, giving an account of their melancholy 
situation owing to the rash, schismatical course their minister was following, 
whereby they were deprived of the privilege of baptism. It was not, however, 
till the end of the following year that sermon was granted them. It does not 
appear from the minutes of Lockerbie session that the breach was serious at 
first as regards numbers, not more than one of the thirteen elders having left 
at this time, though they complain later on that " many in this congregation 
have gone off from a Gospel-witnessing standard in this place, and in a most 
disorderly way are calling in others to preach among them." 

First Minister. JOHN JOHNSTON, from West Linton. Ordained, 26th 
August 1761. They had no church as yet, and the services were conducted 
in the open air. The most prominent name among them at this time is that 
of Thomas Forsyth. During the thirteen years that had elapsed since the 
breach there can have been little progress made, supply of sermon being so 
sparse that in 1757 they complained of having had none for three-quarters of 
a year. The thatch -covered church Thomas Carlyle speaks of, with 600 
sittings, was not built till 1766. Three years before this the congregation 
were in danger of losing their minister, Mr Johnston being called to 
Cumbernauld, to which place he had also been called when a preacher, but 
the Synod vetoed the translation. The stipend for a long course of years 
remained at a low figure. Up till 1771 it averaged only ^30 a year, and 
then it was raised to over ^45, and in 1779 they promised more liberal 
things, and received some advice from the Presbytery "relative to those who 
neglected to contribute for their minister s subsistence." 

Ecclefechan congregation at this time had a branch stretching as far as 
Moffat to the north, and until a Burgher congregation was formed at Annan 
in the early part of the century it extended nearly as far to the south. Let 
a vivid picture from Thomas Carlyle s Reminiscences do service here : 
" One family whose streaming plaids hung up to dry I remember to have 
noticed one wet Sunday pious Scottish weavers settled near Carlisle, I was 
told were in the habit of walking 15 miles twice for their sermon, since it 
was not to be had nearer." Mr Johnston died, 28th May 1812, in the eighty- 
second year of his age and fifty-second of his ministry. In an obituary 
notice it is stated that he preached for the last time "under the pressure 
of corporeal infirmity, and literally fell down in the pulpit." It adds : 
" Supported by the assured hope of a blissful immortality, he was gently 
dismissed to his rest." Carlyle s estimate of his father s minister, and the 
minister of his youth, may be repeated anew : "The priestliest man I ever 
under any ecclesiastical guise was privileged to look upon." Mr Johnston s 
son, of the same name, was minister first in St Andrews, then in Eglinton 
Street, Glasgow, and finally in New York. 

There was now a lengthened vacancy at Ecclefechan, and an array of 
unsuccessful calls. In April 1813 the Synod appointed Mr John M Kerrow, 


the object of their first choice, to Bridge-of-Teith ; and in September a call 
from Ecclefechan to Mr Robert Balmer was one of three which were set 
aside in favour of Berwick. In the case of the third call there was no 
competition, but the preacher, Mr Andrew Hay, stated that "his mind 
insuperably induced him to decline that most important and hazardous 
office" the charge of a congregation.* The call was ultimately withdrawn. 
The fourth preacher called was Mr William Brash, but he was appointed 
by the Synod to the collegiate charge of Campbell Street, Glasgow (now 
Sydney Place). 

Second Minister. ANDRKW LAWSON, a son of Professor George Lawson 
of Selkirk. There were rival calls in this case also one from North 
Middleton, which was not prosecuted, and another from Yetholm ; but "after 
so many disappointments Ecclefechan was preferred without a vote." Mr 
Lawson was ordained, 2nd October 1816. On i3th April 1824 he was loosed 
from Ecclefechan by the Presbytery of Annan and Carlisle that he might be 
inducted as his father s successor at Selkirk. The circumstances were 
altogether peculiar. Selkirk congregation had called his elder brother three 
times, but the Synod, in keeping with his own wishes, declined to translate 
him from Kilmarnock. The congregation then fell back on the younger 
brother at Ecclefechan, but he also preferred to remain where he was, and 
the Synod in September 1823 decided by a great majority that it should be 
so. The call being repeated soon afterwards, Mr Lawson indicated an 
inclination to accept, and Ecclefechan people refused in the circumstances to 
move a finger to retain him.t So when the Presbytery met to dispose of the 
call they had not even a commissioner forward, and Mr Lawson was unani 
mously loosed from his charge. 

Third Minister. GEORGE JOHNSTON, from Ayton (West). Ordained, 
1 2th April 1826. At their meeting in September 1830 the Synod had to 
adjudicate on a call to Mr Johnston from Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, and, 
guided by his expressed preferences, they decided against the translation. 
However, in April 1831 they had easy work assigned them. A second call 
Mr Johnston had looked at in a different light, and, aware of this, Ecclefechan 
people, true to their antecedents, sent no one up to Edinburgh to utter a 
word in favour of retaining him, and without a vote his removal was 
agreed to. 

In the following year they competed with Rigg-of-Gretna for the services 
of Mr Matthew M Gill, but the balance went against them, not much perhaps 
to their disadvantage in the end. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES HARK.NESS, from Blackfriars, Jedburgh. Or 
dained, 1 5th August 1832. Four years after this the communicants 
numbered 273, of whom 70 were from Middlebie parish, 34 from Annan, and 
20 from Cummertrees, with a very few from Kirkpatrick, St Mungo, and 
Tundergarth. At least two dozen families came from beyond four miles. 

* Mr Hay was a brother of the Rev. Robert I lay of Stow, and a brother-in-law of 
the Rev. Dr Henderson, Galashiels. He remained on the preachers list for thirty 
years, and died loth September 1845. 

t Thomas Carlyle s father is credited with having clinched the matter at the 
congregational meeting by growling out: "Let the hireling go." It needed little 
charity to interpret Mr Lawson s motives in a milder way. This was an invitation to 
fill his father s place and labour among the people he had known from his childhood. 
They had also shown their attachment to the family in five successive calls. No 
wonder though Mr Lawson s mind was swaying now in the direction of Selkirk, with 
its vacancy of four years duration. The last link of connection with the Carlyle 
family was lost about the year 1864, when Thomas s brother James left through 
dissatisfaction with the costliness of the new church. 


The stipend was i 10, with manse, garden, and a small park. The minister 
preached once a month at the villages of Eaglesfield and Brydekirk, the 
one nearly three miles to the south-east of Ecclefechan, and the other fully 
four miles to the south. Owing to unfortunate circumstances, connected 
with his wife more than with himself, Mr Harkness resigned, and was loosed 
from his charge on 5th March 1839. He then emigrated to America, and 
became pastor of a congregation in New York. He died on 4th July 1878, 
in the seventy-fifth year of his age and forty-sixth of his ministry, in New 
Jersey, where he both practised as a medical man and officiated as a 
minister. By his second marriage Mr Harkness was a brother-in-law of 
the Rev. Andrew Wield, Thornliebank. 

Fifth Minister. WILLIAM TAIT, from Fala. Ordained on a unanimous 
call, 23rd June 1840. In 1864 a new church was built at a cost of ^1750 
with 600 sittings. The membership at this time was about 230. Mr Tait s 
constitution early gave way, and often he had to be carried to the pulpit, 
owing to paralysis of the lower extremities. He died, igth July 1867, in the 
fifty-seventh year of his age and twenty-eighth of his ministry. 

Sixth Minister. NATHANAEL F. M DOUGAL, from Portsoy, where he 
had been ordained two years before. Inducted, 7th January 1868. The 
stipend was i 50, and in a year or two a new manse was built at a cost of fully 
^700, besides the price received for the former manse, the Board allowing 
^350. For Mr M Dougal the death summons came on Sabbath ist January 
1872. Feeling himself unable to proceed with the service, he gave out a 
Psalm, and came down from the pulpit to the vestry. He there requested 
his brother-in-law, now the Rev. J. W. Dunbar of St James Place, Edin 
burgh, who was then a student, to go up and read the fourteenth chapter of 
Job. He had intended to preach from the tenth verse : " But man dieth 
and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost and where is he?" 
Shortly afterwards he became unconscious, and died at half-past two on 
Monday afternoon, in the thirty-fourth year of his age and the seventh of his 
ministry. The text was preached from in the silence of the death-chamber. 

Seventh Minister. JAMES S. RAE, from Buccleuch Street, Dumfries, but a 
native of Urr parish. Called also to Belfast ; Garscube Road, Glasgow ; 
Maryhill ; London Road, Edinburgh ; and Queen Anne Street, Dunferm- 
line. Ordained at Ecclefechan, 4th February 1873. On 25th April 1876 he 
accepted Trinity Church, Sunderland, and was loosed from his first charge. 
In 1890 he was translated to Newington, Edinburgh. 

Eighth Minister. ARCHIBALD SMITH, originally from Kirkwall. Or 
dained, 3rd October 1876. After a lingering illness Mr Smith died, 3Oth 
January 1889, in the fifty-first year of his age and thirteenth of his ministry. 

Ninth Minister. ROBERT SMALL, M.A., son of Rev. Robert Small, D.D., 
Gilmore Place, Edinburgh. Ordained, 3rd December 1889. Loosed, I7th 
April 1895, on accepting a call to be colleague to the Rev. Dr Hutchison, 

Tenth Minister. ALEXANDER STEELE, from Dean Street, Edinburgh. 
Ordained, I5th September 1896. The membership three years after this 
was 21 1 and the stipend as before, ,200, with the manse. 


THE earliest notice we have of this congregation is on loth September 1776, 
when a petition for sermon was laid before the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow 
from what was called the forming congregation of Annandale, and supply 
began on the fourth Sabbath of that month. The parish minister of 


Wamphray at this time was a man whose dissipated habits compelled him 
to retire in 1793. This accounts for the fixing down of the church at Gate- 
side, a village in that parish, from which the congregation took the name by 
which it used to be best known. "But," said the Old Statistical History, 
" it is composed of people from ten or twelve parishes." The place of worship, 
with sittings for 300, is understood to have been built in 1777. 

First Minister. THOMAS MARSHALL, from the Havannah, the old Anti- 
burgher congregation in Glasgow. According to Ramsay, the minister of 
his youth, he was kept back from licence by the Antiburgher Presbytery of 
Glasgow, and even advised to turn his attention to some other calling. The 
consequence was that in a few weeks he was " a thorough-paced Relief 
man" ; but Ramsay s statements when he was out of temper have to be 
taken with abatements. We know for certain, however, that in June 1777 
Mr Marshall applied to be taken on trials for licence by the Relief Presbytery 
of Glasgow, and before the end of December he had a call from Wamphray. 
His ordination must have taken place between this and May 1778, as he was 
a member of Synod that year. In 1781 his name appears on the Synod list 
for the last time, but there is nothing to guide us nearer the date of his 

Second Minister. GEORGE HALIBURTON NICHOLSON, translated from 
Pittenweem. Mr Nicholson had been called to Wamphray when it was 
in the forming state, but preferred Pittenweem. He had uneasy feelings, it 
is said, on the remembrance, believing that his choice was dictated by 
worldly motives, and when Wamphray fell vacant a few years afterwards he 
made the people aware that he was willing to undo the wrong he had done 
them, and would become their minister if invited. Accordingly, before the 
Synod in May 1782 his induction into his new charge took place. In 1785 
Mr Nicholson was called to Falkirk, but remained a fixture in Wamphray. 
He died, 4th June 1792, after ministering there a little over ten years. 

The congregation then called Mr James Taylor, who preferred Earlston. 
Third Minister. DECISION LAING, of whose antecedents we only know- 
that he was introduced to Glasgow Presbytery for licence by Mr Bell of 
Dovehill Church. Ordained, 2Oth July 1797. The stipend was ,70, with 
4 for sacramental expenses, a house, garden, and two acres of enclosed 
land. Mr Laing was loosed, 28th June 1804, on accepting Balfron. 

Fourth Minister. HENRY PATERSON, from the Relief Church, East 
Campbell Street, Glasgow, but a native of Bothwell parish. Some time 
before this they had called unsuccessfully Mr William Gilmour, who became 
minister of Banff. Mr Paterson was ordained, ist August 1805. Towards 
the close of his ministry the congregation got into pecuniary difficulties. In 
a report to the Synod of 1845 ^ s stated that their seventy years lease of 
the property was nearly expired, and they were in debt s -veral hundred 
pounds to the agent, although they had got partial relief from the Liquidation 
Fund. Mr Paterson died, I4th June 1847, in the seventieth year of his age 
and forty-second of his ministry. Next year the membership was returned 
at 80, and the supplement of stipend was to be ^30. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN BRASH, son of the Rev. William Brash, East 
Campbell Street Secession Church, Glasgow. Having preferred Wamphray 
to Aberchirder he was ordained, i3th February 1851. In May 1850 a new 
church, built at a cost of only ^300, was opened with 250 sittings. Mr Brash 
demitted his charge, i ith July 1854, having agreed to become minister of the 
Cameronian Church, Jane Street, New York. He remained there from 1855 
to 1868 ; then he was two years in South Boston, Mass. He then joined the 
Presbyterian Church, and died at South Amboy, New Jersey, 2ist March 
1 88 1, aged fifty-six. 


Wamphray congregation, after Mr Brash left, called Mr John S. Hyslop, 
afterwards of Leven, who declined. 

Sixth Minister. DAVID MANN, from Braehead, Carmvath. Ordained, 
26th December 1855. The congregation had improved much before 
Mr Brash left, and at the close of 1853 there was a membership of 125. 
But times had changed since the days when people gathered in to Gateside 
on Sabbath from ten or twelve parishes, and decline now began to show 
itself, specially in the attendance, which came down in three years from 
1 20 to 70, and in 1860 it was returned at 40. But in February of that year 
the Presbytery received a communication from parties who were absenting 
themselves from public worship. This led to inquiries, which came to turn 
on domestic bearings ; but the Synod in 1861 acquitted Mr Mann of all 
blame, considering that nothing had been brought out against him warrant 
ing even admonition. But this decision did not make amends for the 
mischief done by whispering tongues, or bring back the people who had 
left. When the commotion was over the communion roll was exactly one- 
half what it had been seven years before. In August 1870 Mr Mann asked 
leave of absence for six months, as he was going to Canada to test the 
outlook there, and the Mission Board had agreed to grant him .150 for 
that purpose. On 28th March 1871 he sent in his demission in consequence 
of an invitation to become minister of Walton congregation in Canada. 
In 1877 he removed to Biddulph in Stratford Presbytery, and in 1883 he 
was in New Glasgow, where he remained four years. After that he held 
various charges, most of them in the United States, besides crossing the 
Atlantic five times. He finally reached Scotland in August 1899, and took 
up his abode at Dunoon. 

Wamphray, on becoming vacant, was reduced to a preaching station, 
and since then has been wrought sometimes by students and sometimes by 
retired ministers, the manse proving an attraction. In view of approaching 
events we may calculate that by amalgamation with the Free Church of 
Johnstone and Wamphray an end will come to this congregation s separate 
existence. The membership at the close of 1899 was 52, and the sum paid 
by the congregation for the support of ordinances was ^33. 


THOUGH there is no mention of any accessions to the Associate Presbytery 
from this parish it furnished from an early period some families to 
Ecclefechan church, which was over twenty miles distant. This appears 
from an entry in the minutes of the Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh, 
where Mr Johnston, the minister, is appointed to hold session with the 
elders of Moffat in order to purge scandal, which implies that at least two 
of their number resided there. But the first trace of an attempt in the 
direction of separate existence is not found till I5th April 1789, when a 
request was made for as frequent supply of sermon as possible during 
summer, which from this time was granted with more or less regularity. 
The parish minister, Dr Walker, had been appointed Professor of Natural 
History in the University of Edinburgh the year before, and keeper of the 
museum. It is stated in the Fasli that during a great part of his ministry 
he resided away from his charge, and got forward to the church only on 
Sabbath morning. In this state of matters the need for a Secession con 
gregation in the place may have come to be more deeply and widely felt. 

At the Synod in May 1793 calls came up from Moffat, East Linton, and 
Peebles to Mr Thomas Leckie, and though the first of these was the only 


one which he expressed unwillingness to accept, the Synod gave that place 
the preference. From this decision reasons of dissent were given in by 
Mr John Dick of Slateford, in which he urged that, though appearances 
might be more promising in Moffat than they once were, he questioned if 
authority were properly exercised " in appointing the settlement of any man 
in a place where his comfortable support is not so probable as in another to 
which he is called." But Mr Leckie refused to implement the decision, and 
the difficulty was got over by the people intimating to the Synod in May 
1794 that they wished their call laid aside, as Mr Leckie s aversion had 
cooled their attachment to him. After this he became the first minister 
of the Burgher Church at Peebles. 

First Minister. HECTOR CAMERON, from Bridge-of-Teith, who was 
also called to Ayton and Jedburgh, but though each of these had more 
than 300 signatures and that from Moffat only 53, the vote in the Synod 
stood thus : for Moffat 59, for Jedburgh 2, and for Ayton, none. Mr Cameron 
was ordained, I5th October 1794, and was continued in Moffat, notwithstand 
ing repeated attempts to remove him. Not to mention a call from Paisley, 
which was withdrawn owing to want of harmony, he was called to the new 
and promising congregation of Barrhead in 1799, and again in 1800, but on 
both occasions the Synod refused the translation. In the latter of these 
years Ayr made a similar attempt, but with no better success. Something 
different might have been better both for Mr Cameron and Moffat con 
gregation. Towards the end of 1803 bodily indisposition set in, often 
unfitting him for duty, and the church was reported to be suffering every 
way. Next, mental derangement supervened, and dissension also got in 
among the people. In April 1805 Mr Cameron demitted his charge, 
pleading " want of health, the divided state of the congregation, and their 
inability to support him." A section of the members meanwhile adhered to 
Mr Cameron, but on 22nd May of that year the Presbytery decided to 
dissolve the connection. Mr Cameron died on 2oth November following, 
in the thirty-seventh year of his age and the twelfth of his ministerial 

Second Minister. JOHN MONTEITH, from Dunblane. Ordained, 27th 
September 1809, after a vacancy of over four years. The membership had 
suffered through contention, and it was down now to 75, and the stipend 
promised was ^90, with a house, or ^5 instead. An uphill struggle followed, 
which was not got over till Mr Monteith s course was far advanced. He 
died, 23rd April 1844, in the sixtieth year of his age and thirty-fifth of his 

Third Minister. JOHN RIDDELL, from Greenlaw. Ordained, 4th 
March 1845. In the early part of his preacher course, which extended to 
four years, Mr Riddell was called to Crail. Then he was located upwards 
of a year in a station at Liverpool. Next, he was called to the Secession 
Church, Campbeltown, but at that very time the door opened at Moffat. 
After his ministerial gifts came to be widely known Mr Riddell had trans 
lating calls as follows : first, to Albion Chapel, London, in 1858, and again 
in 1860 ; second, to Hawick, Eastbank, in 1861 ; and, finally, to the forming 
congregation of Leicester in 1866. A change might have lessened the strain 
of pulpit preparation and gone to prolong his usefulness and his life. He 
died, 1 3th January 1868, in the twenty-third year of his ministry and at the 
age of fifty A volume of his discourses was published soon after, with a 
memoir by the Rev. Dr Thomson, Edinburgh. The present church, with 750 
sittings, was built in 1862 at a cost of over ,3000. 

In February 1869 the congregation called Mr Matthew Galbraith, but he 
chose Charlotte Street, Aberdeen, instead. 


fourth Minister. -WILLIAM HUTTON, translated from Cumnock, and 
inducted, igth October 1869. On 23rd March 1880 he accepted a call 
to Grange Road, Birkenhead, of which he is still the minister. The 
membership at Mofifat when Mr Hutton left was 265 and the stipend 

Fifth Minister. ALEXANDER R. M EwAN, M.A., Oxon., son of the 
Rev. Dr M Ewan of Claremont Church, Glasgow. Ordained, 7th December 
1880. Mr M Ewan had also calls to Colston Street (now Ualmeny Street), 
Edinburgh ; Mount Pleasant, Liverpool ; and Pollokshields and Woodlands 
Road, Glasgow. In 1884 he was again called to Woodlands Road, but 
remained in Moffat till 6th July 1886, when he accepted Anderston, Glasgow. 

Sixth Minister. DAVID W. FORREST, M.A., translated from Saffron- 
hall, Hamilton, and inducted, 24th May 1887. The stipend was now ^310, but 
the membership was slightly on the decrease. Within two years he was invited 
to Ibrox, Glasgow, but declined. Accepted a call to be Dr Black s colleague 
in Wellington Church, Glasgow, on 3oth January 1894, and Moffat again 
fell vacant. In an immature state they called the Rev. James Brand Scott, 
from Saltcoats (West), but he very considerately declined to accept. 

Seventh Minister. JAMES TODD, B.D., translated from Duns (South), 
and inducted, i$th November 1894. The membership at the recent Union 
was slightly over 200, and the stipend ^260, with a stately manse. 


IN the beginning of 1761 there was a movement at Langholm in the 
direction of the Antiburghers. A petition to the Presbytery of Sanquhar 
for supply of sermon, and for a conference with any of the members, was 
answered by the appointment of a probationer for a single day, but there is 
mention of nothing further. It was to the Burgher Presbytery of Selkirk 
that application was next made, and Mr Lawson of Selkirk opened the 
station on the fourth Sabbath of April 1781. In the following year the 
building of a meeting-house was resolved on, but it was not till 1 784 that the 
walls were finished. At this point the projectors were brought to a stand for 
want of funds, till four of their number advanced the sum of -,37 to have it 
roofed in and kept from running to waste. The agreement ran thus : "If 
the design is dropped, the house to be sold, and the money divided among 
those who have contributed to the building thereof, in their several pro 
portions." At this time matters were going from bad to worse at Langholm. 
For two winters the people had to dispense with sermon altogether, and 
during the whole of 1785 they had supply for only eight Sabbaths. Unable 
to fit up the building as a place of worship, the proprietors let it out for a 
warehouse. At this juncture help came in a way never to be forgotten. On 
6th October 1786 a traveller passing through Langholm observed the state 
of the erection, inquired minutely into the circumstances, and the outcome was 
that he paid down a sum of money sufficient to complete the humble edifice. 
Langholm by and by appeared on the Presbytery s list of vacancies, and in 
October 1787 four elders were elected, one of whom had previously held 
office in Liddesdale. The name of the above benefactor is not known, but 
assuredly it was not, as has been supposed, John Howard.* 

First Minister. JOHN JARDINE, from Jedburgh (Blackfriars). Mr 
Jardine had passed most of his trials for ordination at Belford when the call 
from Langholm came out. The Presbytery met on gth December 1788 to 

* See letter in U.P. Magazine for 1897, page 559. 


decide between the conflicting- claims ; but a letter was read from Belford 
to the effect that, fearing they would not succeed with their call, many of 
the members had left, and they found themselves utterly unable to support 
the gospel. So the congregation lapsed, to reappear after a time in the 
Antiburgher connection, and Mr Jardine was ordained at Langholm, I4th 
April 1789. A few years after this the Burgher families in Langholm parish 
were represented as numbering about twenty-five, but there would be others 
from Canonbie and elsewhere. Towards the end of the century the con 
gregation suffered through the introduction of Old Light views and the 
unbending attitude of their upholders. Mr Jardine died, 6th April 1820, 
in the seventy -first year of his age and thirty -first of his ministry. A 
volume of his sermons, with memoir by the Rev. John Law, then of New- 
castleton, was published in 1822. Mr Jardine left a widow and six children 
poorly provided for, three of them under twelve years of age. His son 
George was long a Secession probationer, but never obtained a church. 
He supplied a Sabbath at Balgedie about the year 1847, when the psalms 
he gave out, more than the discourses he delivered, indicated deep mental 
depression. He died suddenly at Langholm, 2nd November 1875, aged 
sixty-three, being found dead in his room. 

Second Minister. JOHN DOBIE, from Dumfries (Loreburn Street). 
Ordained, 3Oth August 1821. Mr Dobie had got licence earlier than his 
fellow-students of the same standing in order to go to America, but when 
the call from Langholm came up to the Synod it was sustained and the 
prior engagement cancelled. It was decided, however, that in future 
preachers so situated should not be eligible -to home vacancies. In 1822 a 
new church was built, with sittings for 550. After a lingering illness 
Mr Dobie died, 6th February 1845, in the forty-fifth year of hisage and 
twenty-fourth of his ministry. One of his sons is Dr John Dobie, now 
minister-emeritus of Shamrock Street, Glasgow. Another son, William, 
attended our Hall several sessions, but turned aside to medicine, and has 
attained to professional distinction in London. 

On ist January 1846 the congregation called Mr Alexander Wallace 
unanimously. In Mr Jardine s time the stipend was so limited that, accord 
ing to his biographer, it precluded him from travelling, and during his whole 
ministry he was only once at a meeting of Synod. To Mr Dobie ,120 
was promised, "with a manse as soon as they were able," and now, when 
putting in for Mr Wallace, they named .140. But the object of their choice 
was at the same time under call to Avonbridge, Busby, and Alexandria, and 
of these he preferred the last. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM BALLANTYNE, from Lauder. Ordained, 3151 
December 1846. Langholm had now surmounted its early difficulties , and 
the call carried a membership of 252. The present church, which cost fully 
,2100, and accommodates 600, was opened on 29th May 1867. In 1879 
there were 318 names on the communion roll, and the stipend was /2oo 
and the manse. Mr Ballantyne died, I3th November 1892, in the seventy- 
third year of his age and forty-sixth of his ministry. One of his daughters 
was the wife of the Rev. Stephen H. Wilson, M.A., U.P. missionary, first 
in Trinidad, and then in Falmouth, Jamaica. She died at the latter station 
2nd January 1894, "after a long and severe illness," leaving three young 

Foiirth Minister. GEORGE ORR, from Wellington Church, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 24th January 1893. T . ne membership at the recent Unionwas 
over 280 and the stipend ,240, with a manse. 



ON 2 1st August 1797 a petition was presented to the Relief Presbytery of 
Dumfries "from the people of Canonbie for supply of sermon. There was 
no change of ministry in the parish at that time, nor till long afterwards, but, 
according to Dr Mackelvie, there was dissatisfaction with the ministrations 
of an unacceptable assistant. In answer to this petition the Rev. Decision 
Laing, the newly-ordained minister of Wamphray, was appointed to preach 
there on the first Sabbath of October. There was a blank now till 4th April 
1798, and then the application for sermon was renewed by " the forming con 
gregation of Canonbie." For three years partial supply was kept up, but in 
summer only, a limitation which implies that public worship was held in the 
open air. In July 1800 appointments begin to be divided between Langholm 
and Canonbie. Then in August 1801 there is a petition for sermon from 
"the forming congregation of Canonbie and Langholm," and henceforth the 
former of these names disappears from the records. In the provincial town 
of Langholm, five or six miles to the north-west of the village of Canonbie, 
the Relief congregation for that parish was now to have its centre. Prior to 
this there were, according to the Old Statistical History, between 30 and 40 
Seceders in Canonbie, who would mostly attend the Burgher Church at 
Langholm. If the two sections of dissenters could have coalesced a site 
might have been obtained in the face of difficulties, and a fair congregation 
formed nearer home. 

As year after year passed without progress being made the Presbytery 
began to get impatient, and on I7th July 1805 they ordered Langholm 
people to inform them " what they intend to do respecting the erection of a 
place of worship, and calling one to break the bread of life among them ; 
and that, unless this be done, they will get no more supply of sermon." The 
injunction and the threat brought out "a favourable account of their cir 
cumstances," but still there was the dead pause in winter, and sermon 
sometimes not applied for till summer was far advanced. In that state 
matters continued for other four years, but in May 1809 the Presbytery ex 
pressed their regret to find that the congregation had "not followed up the 
spirit of the resolution lately adopted anent fitting out their church." From 
this time supply was kept up over the whole year. In 1811 they issued a 
call to Mr John Barr with much cordiality and in the firm belief that he 
would accept, but a rival call having come out in his favour from Dovehill, 
Glasgow, the situation of affairs was changed. Perceiving that their claims 
were to be set aside, Langholm congregation brought a formal complaint 
against Mr Barr before Dumfries Presbytery. They alleged that he asked 
them to look out lodgings for him till the manse was finished ; that he 
told them he would prefer Langholm to Glasgow ; that he was greatly 
pleased with their money arrangements ; and that he urged the putting up 
of galleries in the church, adding that he would not be the least liberal of the 
subscribers. The charges were handed over to Glasgow Presbytery, and 
the case ended with the verdict that Mr Barr had given Langholm people 
too much encouragement. For this offence he was rebuked, and twelve days 
afterwards ordained minister of Dovehill Church. 

First Minister. THOMAS GRIERSON, a licentiate of Edinburgh Pres 
bytery. Ordained, i6th December 1812. It cannot be said that during his 
preacher course of three years Mr Grierson had a stainless record. In 1810 
he acknowledged, when brought before Edinburgh Presbytery, that before 
being a probationer he had " embezzled money received from individuals to 
obtain licences from the excise, which licences were never obtained, nor the 
money accounted for." There was enough admitted to require suspension, 


but at a subsequent meeting he declared himself in readiness to settle the 
whole affair, friends having come to his aid. He was thereupon restored to 
his status as a preacher. Another charge, involving dishonesty of a more 
flagrant kind, was brought up against him after he went to Langholm, but in 
this case the Presbytery pronounced him " honourably acquitted." But 
honourable acquittal was not to attend him all onwards. At a meeting of 
Presbytery on 2ist March 1815, Mr Grierson being present, a two-fold faina 
reared its head against him. First, there was a minute read from Waterbeck 
session, bearing that a female member of their church, who was under scandal, 
had made a statement before them seriously affecting the moral character of 
the Rev. Thomas Grierson. This was supplemented by a report from 
Langholm that at a marriage party Mr Grierson had overstepped the 
bounds of moderation, and been guilty of improprieties both in speech and 
behaviour. Without loss of time a libel was framed against him, and 
witnesses brought forward in long array. The case issued on i8th April in 
a unanimous verdict of " Proven " on both counts. Deposition ought to have 
followed, " but, considering that Mr Grierson has a numerous young family," 
the Presbytery agreed to rest in suspension and the dissolving of the 
pastoral tie. Mr Grierson appealed to the Synod, but the sentence of the 
Presbytery was confirmed without one contradictory voice. 

In December following Mr Grierson applied to Dumfries Presbytery to 
have the sentence of suspension removed, but this was declared premature, 
and, besides, it was work which belonged to the Syn^J itself. In August 
1816 it was ascertained that he was preaching at large, and in opposition to 
a law of the Synod. He next set up for himself in a deserted chapel in 
Castle Wynd, Edinburgh, and in 1819 he, along with certain elders and 
managers, petitioned the Synod to be received into their communion. The 
Presbytery of Edinburgh was instructed to inquire into his character and 
conduct, but a year afterwards they reported that they could not recommend 
his admission. About this time he must have vacated the chapel in Castle 
Wynd, as it was taken possession of by Professor Paxton and the congre 
gation he gathered round him. Our next trace of Mr Grierson is in May 
1824, when a petition for sermon came before the Relief Presbytery of 
Edinburgh from parties worshipping in Carrubber s Close, who explained 
that Mr Grierson, their minister, had gone to London, and their connection 
with him was at an end. All we know further is that he died in Glasgow, 
8th February 1829 -the newspaper notice says: "much esteemed and 
deeply regretted." " Some hand unseen strewed flowers upon his grave." 

Langholm congregation had now a vacancy of five years to pass through. 
The cause at this time was altogether at a low ebb, and seemed sometimes 
near the expiring point. In May 1817 the Synod was urged by the Presbytery 
to aid them with collections, but there is no indication that anything sub 
stantial followed. In June 1819, when sermon was declined on account of 
pecuniary embarrassments, the Presbytery appointed one of their number to 
preach at Langholm, and converse with the people. The visit seems to have 
inspirited them, and by November they came out with a unanimous call, 
which proved successful. 

Second Minister. PATRICK HUTCHISON PEACOCK, from Canal Street, 
Paisley, and manifestly a name-child of the Rev. Patrick Hutchison, the 
first minister there. Ordained, 3oth March 1820. The people promised 
well. The stipend was to be ^100, with ^10 for house rent and 2, IDS. at 
each communion. Drawing upon the uncertain future, they were also to 
give ,5 for every ^100 of debt paid off. But on completing the first year 
of his ministry Mr Peacock tendered the demission of his charge. He 
explained that he had repeatedly laid before session, managers, and congre- 


Cation his money difficulties, and urged them to relieve him, but without 
effect, and a voluntary separation had now been agreed on. The congre 
gation expressed the satisfaction their young minister had given them in 
every respect, but, having been unable to pay him his stipend regularly, 
they did not object to the step he had taken. His resignation was accord 
ingly accepted, 8th May 1821. Mr Peacock then removed to the west, and 
was receiving appointments from Glasgow Presbytery so late as April 1826. 
Hut meanwhile he was studying medicine, and the last notice we have of 
him runs thus in a newspaper death list: "At Paisley, on the 5th May 
1831, of a fever caught in the exercise of his professional duties, Mr Patrick 
H. Peacock, Surgeon, much and justly lamented by all who had the pleasure 
of his acquaintance." 

Langholm congregation on the day they fell vacant asked the Presbytery 
to appoint the Rev. William Muir, who had recently left Mainsriddell, to 
be their supply. This was agreed to, and the arrangement was renewed 
from meeting to meeting, till it had the look of permanence. However, in 
February 1824, Mr Muir wrote the Presbytery, renouncing connection with 
the Relief Synod, and after this Langholm passed into the background for 
years, and in 1831 the name even disappeared from the almanac list of 
Relief congregations. 

Third Minister. JAMES CROSS, from Dalkeith (West). Ordained, 2nd 
June 1835. The money arrangements were now made on a humbler scale, 
the stipend being ^80, including sacramental expenses. The minister was 
also to receive one-half of the surplus funds, an asset which may be kept out of 
the calculation. On loth January 1843 Mr Cross, rinding no doubt the work 
uphill, accepted a call to a more trying position still in Newcastle, a place 
where the Relief cause had never prospered. In May 1845, requesting to be 
relieved from the adverse situation, he intimated to the Presbytery that he 
could make no greater or further sacrifices on behalf of Newcastle than he 
had already done A letter of concurrence "in the lamented resolution of 
their minister," signed by the chairman of a congregational meeting, was 
read, and on gth July the connection was dissolved. Two months later 
Mr Cross applied for his credentials, as he intended to join the Presbyterian 
Church of England. In the course of a year he became minister of Crewe 
in that connection, and died there on 2nd September 1849 m tne thirty- 
ninth year of his age and fifteenth of his ministry. A tombstone erected by 
his congregation and friends records that "he died in the faith of that 
blessed Gospel he so faithfully and zealously preached to others," and was 
"universally lamented." He was a brother of the Rev. John Cross, Temple 
Lane, Dundee, and the Rev. Archibald Cross of West Linton and Canada. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM WATSON, from Bloomgate, Lanark. Or 
dained, 20th March 1844. The stipend was to be ^80, with i at each 
communion, and the debt was now reduced to ,160. W r ithin a year after 
Mr Watson s ordination it was intimated that if the congregation would 
raise ,80 a certain friend would give other ,80, and have the burden 
removed. The movement was entered into with spirit, and the sum realised. 
A congregational meeting was held, and a vote of thanks awarded to the 
unknown donor, when the preses disclosed that this was none other than their 
young minister. It was like security for self-denial and mindfulness of the 
apostolic maxim: "We seek not yours but you." It was not till twenty 
years had passed that the stipend of ,105 from the people was supplemented 
to ^150, along with the manse. The membership at this period maintained 
an average of from 130 to 140, and as the Augmentation Fund improved 
Mr Watson got corresponding benefit. On Sabbath, I 5th July 1883, closing 
services were conducted in the old church, and the communion observed 


for the last time. Another was now to be built at an estimated cost of not 
more than ^1500, and of this sum ^iioo was already collected. In Sep 
tember next year Mr Watson was able to inform the Presbytery that the 
new church, which is seated for 350, had been opened free of debt. On the 
first Sabbath of February 1889 his public work came to a close. It was 
the communion, and Mr Watson had only proceeded a short way with the 
service when he became unconscious, and had to be carried home. He 
never entered the pulpit again. On the morning of I3th March 1890 he 
was found dead in bed. He was in the seventy-fourth year of his age and 
forty-sixth of his ministry. Along with fidelity to ministerial duties Mr 
Watson had laboured with energy and perseverance in the cause of temper 
ance and Christian liberality. The address at the funeral was delivered by 
Mr Ballantyne of the North Church. During forty-three years the two 
ministers had lived in cordial brotherhood, and now the one was taken and 
the other left. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN WALLACE MANN, from Nairn. Mr Mann had 
been Mr Watson s assistant, and was under call to be his colleague and 
successor when death intervened. He was ordained, 2oth March 1890, 
seven days after that unlooked-for event, and exactly forty-six years after 
the ordination of his predecessor. The membership had declined before 
Mr Watson s death, but at the close of 1899 it reached 173, which was an 
increase of about 50, and the stipend from the people was ,130, with the 


ON 1 8th March 1790, when the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow met at 
Dumfries for the induction of the first minister there, they received a petition 
for sermon from "the forming congregation of Middlebie," this being the 
parish in which Waterbeck is situated. There are, however, traces of 
supply a year and a half before this, a probationer having been appointed to 
preach there three Sabbaths in October 1788. Craigs was the place where 
they sometimes met, and hence the earliest tokens bear the letters C. and W., 
for Craigs and Waterbeck. At the latter place the church was built, and a 
large stone which was over the door bears the figures 1790. The putting in 
of a gallery in 1804 raised the sittings to 490. Now comes the record of 
three unsuccessful calls the first in 1790 to Mr James Grimmond, who 
preferred Coupar- Angus ; the second in the early part of 1791 to Mr James 
Smart, who preferred Kirkbean, afterwards Mainsriddell ; and the third 
towards the end of that year, to Mr David Gellatly, who preferred Hadding- 
ton. The stipend they undertook was ^80, and ^4 a year for sacramental 
expenses. After this the people of Waterbeck and the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh got into strained relations. In March 1792 the Presbytery, in 
answer to a complaint from a probationer who had supplied at Waterbeck 
seven Sabbaths, enjoined the congregation to pay him 153. for each Sabbath, 
and nearly .3 besides for travelling expenses. The latter sum ought not in 
their opinion to be grudged, since the preacher "had no horse to encumber 
any of the Society with." If payment were not made they need expect no 
more sermon from the Presbytery. This decision, and perhaps the issue of 
the three recent calls, tempted the congregation to look for supply elsewhere. 
In May 1792 an outsider from Workington in Cumberland was allowed to 
occupy the pulpit, and for this offence Waterbeck was disowned for a time. 
But in December they brought up a call to the Rev. John Selkrig, the 
minister above referred to, " unanimously subscribed by the members of that 


Society," when the Presbytery declared they could do nothing until the 
object of the congregation s choice applied for admission to the Relief 
Church, and was regularly received. Negotiations followed, but the move 
ment came to nothing ; only, the congregation had to stand a rebuke for 
breaking a rule of Synod which forbade them to call or employ any clergy 
man or preacher not of the Relief body. 

First Minister. JAMES GEDDES, a licentiate of the Relief Presbytery of 
Edinburgh. Called to Coldingham as well as Waterbeck, but he preferred the 
latter, and was ordained, igth March 1794. The stipend promised was ^80, 
with a comfortable house, and 4 in name of sacramental expenses.* On 
1 5th April 1802 Mr Geddes life came to a tragic end. The particulars have 
come through a single link of connection, and are as follows : He was 
much annoyed by a female member of his congregation, and, being of a very 
nervous temperament, his mind became completely unhinged. The old 
manse still stands, and there are stains on the floor of a certain room, 
attesting how the deed was done. He survived the infliction a very few 

Second Minister. JOHN M FARLANE, from Head Street, Beith. Or 
dained, i6th June 1803. In 1807 Mr M Farlane was called to Greenhead, 
Glasgow, but he wrote declining, and the call was dropped. After a brief 
interval they called him again, and having accepted he was loosed from 
Waterbeck, 28th August 1810. 

Third Minister. DAVID STRUTHERS, from Anders ton, Glasgow. Or 
dained, 23rd May 1811. Died suddenly, 28th October 1829, in the forty-third 
year of his age and nineteenth of his ministry. He dispensed the Lord s 
Supper on the previous Sabbath, and on Tuesday was in his usual health, 
when all at once he was struck down with apoplexy, and in a few hours 
breathed his last, leaving a widow and ten children. 

Foitrth Minister. JAMES WATSON, from Dovehill (now Kelvingrove), 
Glasgow. Ordained, i6th September 1830. Owing to a breach of morality 
Mr Watson was loosed from his charge, gth April 1839. In the beginning of 
1841 Glasgow Presbytery took steps to have him restored to office, but the 
Synod in May delayed procedure, and the proposal passes out of notice. 
Mr Watson afterwards emigrated to Nova Scotia and became minister at 
Economy in that colony. Then in 1852 he was inducted to West River, 
Pictou, and in 1859 to New Annan, where he died, i2th December 1881, in 
the seventy-eighth year of his age and fifty-second of his ministry. 

Fifth Minister. ROBERT HAMILTON, from Saltcoats (now Trinity). 
Ordained, i3th January 1840. It has been said that Mr Hamilton s grave 
and circumspect demeanour fitted him peculiarly for Waterbeck at that 
trying time. After going on for eleven years he resigned his charge, assign 
ing as the reason inadequacy of stipend, and the connection was dissolved, 
6th May 1851. Emigrated to Australia, and became minister at Fitzroy, 
22nd February 1852. Resigned in July 1883 owing to his advancing age 
and growing infirmities. He died at Melbourne, 3oth November 1891, 
having nearly completed the seventy-ninth year of his age and the fifty- 
second of his ministry. In 1888 Mr Hamilton published his "Jubilee 
History of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria," a volume into which he has 
condensed a large amount of important information, and for which he 
received the degree of D.D. that same year from St Andrews University. 

* From certain old records of the congregation we find the expenditure on the 
property to have been as follows : in 1789, to building and slating the church, 
5 ; in 1794, the manse included, close upon .170; in 1795, stable building, over 
; and in 1803. slating and plastering the church, including galleries, over 62. 


Sixth Minister. DAVID S. GooDBURN, from Peebles (West). Called 
also to Bankhill, Berwick, and to Beaumont Union, Northumberland. Or 
dained, 29th January 1852. A new manse was built in 1868 at a cost of 
,742, in addition to the price received for the old manse, the Board allowing 
two-fifths, and on Thursday, 2gth July 1869, the present church was opened 
by Dr Eadie, the whole property being almost entirely free of debt. The 
collections that day and on the following Sabbath yielded ,130. On 3oth 
June 1874 Mr Goodburn wrote the Presbytery demitting his charge. He 
had taken some disappointment to heart in connection with a little money 
matter, and the congregation, while appreciating his preaching, acquiesced 
in the acceptance of his resignation. There was, however, a settled resolve 
among them to part with their minister on friendly terms, and they engaged 
to present him with a farewell gift of between ^100 and ,150. Impaired 
health may have induced sensitiveness and some failure in social amenities. 
The connection was dissolved on 4th August. Mr Goodburn died in 
Edinburgh, igth December 1878, aged fifty-seven, and is buried in Dean 
Cemetery. He bequeathed property to the Synod to found two Waterbeck 
Bursaries of ^13 each. 

Seventh Minister. ARMSTRONG BLACK, son of Rev. John Black, 
Newcastleton. Called also to Irvine (Trinity) and St Andrews. Ordained, 
6th June 1875. Loosed, 3ist October 1876, on accepting a call to Palmerston 
Place, Edinburgh. 

Eighth Minister. JAMES M. SCOTT, M.A., from Milnathort. Called also 
to Renfrew. Ordained, nth September 1877. The stipend was to be ^210, 
with the manse. Declined a call to Yeaman Place (now Merchiston), 
Edinburgh, in November 1884, but accepted Junction Road, Leith, loth 
February 1887. 

Ninth Minister. ADAM C. WELCH, B.D., son of Rev. John Welch, 
missionary at Goshen, Jamaica. Ordained, 29th November 1887. Loosed, 
1 5th November 1892, on accepting a call to Helensburgh. 

Tenth Minister. "THOMAS P. RANKINE, M.A., son of Rev. Edward 
Rankine, Shiels, Belhelvie. Having preferred Waterbeck to Moat Park, 
Biggar, he was ordained, 3rd April 1894. Continued there till 3rd April 
1900, when he accepted a call to Pollok Street, Glasgow. This gives four 
translations from Waterbeck within twenty-four years. 

Eleventh Minister. ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, B.D., from West Linton. 
Ordained, I3th September 1900. The membership at this time was a little 
over 200, and the stipend as it had been for more than twenty years. 


THIS congregation was an offshoot from Ecclefechan, which lies six miles to 
the north. In 1800 an attempt was made to proceed with the building of a 
church, but, the Synod having returned no answer to a petition for aid, it was 
decided to have no more sermon for the time. There was now a pause of 
several years, but on 8th October 1805 the session of Ecclefechan trans 
mitted to Selkirk Presbytery a petition for a disjunction from members 
residing in and about Annan. At this time 59 persons were erected into 
a separate congregation, but on the express condition, volunteered by them 
selves, that they would contribute their usual quota to Ecclefechan during 
the life of their present pastor. The Rev. James Henderson of Hawick was 
appointed to preach at Annan on the second Sabbath of November, and in 
conjunction with Mr Johnston he was in the following week to receive 
accessions from such as seemed to understand and approve of Secession 


principles. Supply was now kept up on alternate Sabbaths, or thereby. In 
the beginning of 1806 five elders were ordained, one of them being Adam 
Hope, a name which figures in Carlyle s Reminiscences. It was fortunate 
at this stage that a place of worship belonging to the Independents was ob 
tained by purchase, so that they did not require to build a church for 

First Minister. WILLIAM GLEN, from Loehwinnoch. Ordained, I5th 
April 1807, the call being subscribed by 56 members. Owing to their fewness 
in numbers it is not surprising that the congregation soon found themselves in 
money difficulties. This again prompted a petition to the Presbytery to be 
relieved of the obligation under which they had come, to continue their usual 
support to Mr Johnston of Ecclefechan during his lifetime. In the face of 
the obligation to which they had voluntarily agreed it was found that this 
could not be done, but a committee was appointed to examine into the con 
dition of both congregations. The Annan difficulties were aggravated in 
1 8 16 through Mr Glen s illness and the congregation s inability to pay for 
supply of sermon. To aid them at this time the Synod in September made 
them a grant of ,20, but Mr Glen now resolved to resign his charge and 
become a missionary to Astrakan, in Russia. On I2th November 1816 his 
demission was accepted, and a long course of productive labour followed. 
In 1845 Mr Glen had the degree of D.D. conferred upon him by the 
University of St Andrews. He died in Persia, i2th January 1849, in his 
seventy-first year. Mr Glen s removal was succeeded by a vacancy of nearly 
four years, during which the congregation called first the Rev. George 
Lawson of Bolton, Lancashire. The number of subscribers marks consider 
able increase, there being 157 members and 117 adherents. As it was 
understood that Mr Lawson was transportable his popularity as a preacher 
secured him three calls at this time, but Kilmarnock was deemed to have the 
best claim, and the Synod pronounced accordingly. They next called 
Mr John Law, who was appointed to Newcastleton. 

Second Minister. JAMES DOBBIE, M. A., from East Campbell Street (now 
Sydney Place), Glasgow, father of the Rev. Thomas Dobbie of Lansdowne. 
Ordained, i6th August 1820. The present church was built in 1834-5 at a 
cost of ^iioo, with sittings for 750. The membership at this time was 
approaching 300. Mr Dobbie died from accidental poisoning, 22nd May 
1846, in the fifty-first year of his age and twenty-sixth of his ministry. 

During the vacancy which followed a union was effected between the 
Secession and Relief Churches in Annan, and their joint history will be given 
further on. 


ON loth June 1833 the Relief Presbytery of Dumfries agreed that each of 
the members should preach a day in the town of Annan. This was at the 
solicitation of several individuals, who considered that the place was not 
adequately supplied with the means of religious instruction. On the fourth 
Sabbath of June sermon was commenced by the Rev. Edward Dobbie of 
Burnhead, and four others followed in succession. The population of the 
parish at this time, exclusive of Brydekirk, was close upon 5000, and there 
had been an increase of about 600 within a few years, while, to meet the 
demands for church accommodation, there were only the Established and 
Secession places of worship available. 

Appearances being favourable, steps were taken in a few months to have 
a church built, but before this could be accomplished the people deemed 


themselves ripe for a moderation, and in May 1834 they called the 
Rev. William Ritchie, promising a stipend of ^80, with 2 for each com 
munion. We find that 200 took part in the vote, of whom all but 1 1 sup 
ported the successful candidate. The Presbytery had previously decided 
that persons of sound character were entitled to take part in the choice of 
a pastor. This call, however, was withdrawn, Mr Ritchie having accepted 
a call to Auchtergaven. A second moderation took place on ist August, 
when only 166 voted, 144 of these forming the majority. 

First Minister. ARCHIBALD TUDHOPK, from Thread Street, Paisley. 
Ordained, I4th October 1834. In the following year the church, with 600 
sittings, and built at a cost of between 700 and ^800, was opened. On 
3rd April 1838 Mr Tudhope s resignation was accepted, as he had resolved 
to leave for America. On I3th September he received a call to the Ninth 
Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, though he was not formally installed till 
1 2th January 1841. Two days before this a new place of worship, which cost 
19,000 dollars, was opened by Mr Tudhope, the sermon he preached on that 
occasion from the text : " We will not forsake the house of our God," being 
afterwards published. Owing to dissatisfaction in the congregation he re 
signed in 1849, an( l after many movements hither and thither, and several 
locations, he died in Cincinnati, 6th September 1861, in the sixty-first year of 
his age and twenty-seventh of his ministry. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM WYPKR. Inducted, 3oth October 1839. 
Mr Wyper was from Glasgow (Calton). Had been called when a preacher 
to Alnwick and Newcastle (Bethel Chapel), and was ordained over the latter 
church, 8th August 1838. Before he had been more than a few months 
settled there he endeavoured to secure a translation to Duns, but convul 
sions followed, and while the strife was going on he got Annan instead. 
The stipend promised was ,20 higher than before. In his first charge Mr 
Wyper had acquired some notoriety as a dcclairner on politics, and was the 
man to make a sensation ; but his behaviour in connection with Duns 
Church having been brought before the Synod, he was found guilty of 
fomenting dissension in that congregation, and subjected to rebuke. Three 
months after this Mr Wyper set about gaining admission to the Established 
Church, and attempted to take both the people and the property with him. 
His petition was backed by 302 names, including 90 members of the Relief 
and 60 of the Established Church. On 2gth July 1840 Mr Wyper was loosed 
from his charge and declared out of connection with the Relief Church. 
Next Sabbath Mr Dobbie of Burnhead occupied the pulpit, and preached 
to about 100 people, 40 of whom declared their adherence to the Relief 
cause. Mr Wyper conducted services in the Black Bull Inn, when about 
50 declared their determination to remain with him. 

It was next arranged that Mr Wyper should be accepted as minister of 
a new church which was in course of erection at Annan in connection with 
the Established Church. "His cause," says the author of "The Chaff and 
Wheat/ "was warmly taken up by Dr Duncan (of Ruthwell), by whose 
instrumentality he was received into the Establishment, and large contri 
butions towards his place of worship made by the Evangelical party." But 
at the Disruption he did not secede, and before the end of 1843, according 
to the same authority, he " secured a call from some residuum of a con 
gregation about Paisley." In November 1846 he was inducted to the quoad 
sacra church, Norrieston, and on Thursday, 23rd June 1870, a newspaper 
report bore that he was found lying on the road between Doune and 
Thornhill in a helpless and stupefied condition, and died about an hour 
afterwards, from the effects of laudanum. He was in the sixty-eighth year 
of his age and thirty-second of his ministry. Mr Wyper had raised himself, 


after he reached manhood, from an illiterate state and a humble position in 
the ranks, owing much, it was said, to the assistance of his wife. Would that 
he had had a more consistent life-course and a happier end ! 

Third Minister. JOHN DONALD, from Hutchesontown, Glasgow. Or 
dained, 2Oth July 1842, and died, 26th May 1844, in the twenty-sixth year of 
his age and second of his ministry. 

During the three years which intervened before the union with the 
Secession Church in Annan the congregation twice attempted to obtain a 
minister, but it was now in a shattered state, and preachers were chary about 
accepting. The first they called was Mr Allan M Lean, from Anderston, 
Glasgow, who preferred, like Mr Wyper, to cast in his lot with the Established 
Church.* The second was Mr John Mitchell, who held back, and some time 
afterwards was ordained at Leven. Then in May 1847 the two denomina 
tions became one, and the way was cleared for a union between the Secession 
and Relief congregations in Annan, both of which were vacant. 


ON 3 ist August 1847 steps were taken by the Presbytery with a view to 
coalescence. The Relief congregation had never recovered from the 
disaster occasioned by Wyper s defection, who took with him the majority 
of the members. Still, it seems to have been on their side chiefly that 
reluctance was shown to forego independent existence. But the Presbytery 
was urgent, and a joint committee of both congregations drew up terms of 
agreement. The main difficulty would arise from the fact that the Relief 
place of worship was burdened with debt beyond what a sale would bring. 
The understanding come to seems to have been that this burden would not 
come on the united congregation. A proposal was made to hand the property 
over, encumbrances and all, to the Synod, but this arrangement the com 
mittee on the union of weak congregations could not sanction ; parties 
would have to adjust pecuniary matters for themselves. On 2ist March 
1848 the Presbytery found that both congregations had unanimously adopted 
resolutions for immediate union, which was thereupon declared to be effected, 
and Mr Douglas of Lockerbie was appointed to preach in what had been 
the Secession church at Annan on the first Sabbath of April, and intimate 
the final decision. 

After hearing candidates for a year Annan applied for a moderation. 
A question put by the commissioners on this occasion shows that the union 
feeling had not reached the very core. They wished to know whether 
parties who had kept aloof from the Lord s table since the union were 
entitled to take part in the vote. The answer was Yes, if their names are 
on the communion roll, and if they attend public worship. 

First Minister. ROBERT GARDNER, from Johnstone (East), and the 
Relief side of the United Church. Ordained, 2nd October 1849. The call 
was far from harmonious, as is apt to be the case in such circumstances, but 
there is no doubt that it spoke the will of the majority, the entire member 
ship being 233 and the signatures 170. When the document came before 
the Presbytery it was met by a petition from 75 members, 14 of whom had 
signed the call, asking that the legality of the proceedings should be in 
quired into. For this purpose the Presbytery met at Annan a week after- 

* Dumfries Presbytery reported to the Synod in May 1845 that a unanimous call 
from Annan was awaiting Mr M Lean s decision. On 6th January 1846 he obtained 
extracts of his licence from Glasgow Presbytery, and at next Assembly was admitted 
into the Establishment. In the following year he was ordained minister of Calton 
parish, Glasgow, where he died of consumption, 8th October 1861, aged 50. 


wards, and took up the allegations one by one. It was found that sixteen 
persons voted who had not joined in sacramental work since the union 
of the two churches, and that one voted who was not a member at all. A 
charge of canvassing was also brought forward against two individuals, but 
the offence was denied, and no evidence in its support was forthcoming. 
The Presbytery might have reminded the complainers that the objections to 
the sixteen votes had been pronounced on by anticipation, but they preferred 
simply to say that, though the seventeen votes were deducted, Mr Gardner 
would still have a fair majority. On 24th July the call was accepted, and 
that same day a memorial of the no-surrender kind came up from Annan, 
and, though it was not received, the Presbytery saw meet to put up the 
danger signal. It was carried to transmit a representation of the state of 
matters at Annan to Mr Gardner, who had been previously called, first to 
Comrie, and then to Blacket Street, Newcastle, and might perhaps incline 
now to wait over. But all went on without interruption on his part, and on 
nth September the ordination was appointed. When the decisive day 
came, objections framed at a meeting of members and adherents were 
brought forward by the chairman, but two of these were pronounced invalid, 
and the third, which announced danger to the congregation and the cause 
of United Presbyterianism in Annan, might have been treated in the same 
way. After some sort of investigation had been made the proceedings went 
on. On 6th November the objecting minority applied for sermon, the paper 
being signed by 88 members and 67 adherents, and one of the members was 
appointed to preach on a week-day at Annan and meet with the applicants. 
On 27th November the managers of the congregation opposed the new 
erection, and sermon was refused by a majority of 1 1 to 6. The case was 
carried by protest to the Synod, where, parties having been fully heard, the 
following motion was proposed and unanimously adopted : " That the Synod, 
strongly disapproving of divisions in congregations on insufficient grounds, 
and of setting up new congregations in localities where they are not required, 
dismiss the protest and appeal as ill-founded, and affirm the decision of the 
Presbytery." A deputation of three ministers was at the same time appointed 
to visit Annan with the view of healing divisions, but so far as visible results 
were concerned this measure might probably have been dispensed with. 

There was trouble to the Synod after this with the Relief place of worship. 
In 1849 it was reported to have been offered for sale at ^180, or less than 
one-fourth of the original cost, but could find no purchaser, and several 
parties were involved in legal obligations. Two years afterwards it was 
found that the property had been disposed of, but a balance of ^156 re 
mained, for which several members of court had become liable, and this 
money had been paid out of the Synod Fund. The building is now used as 
an Institute. 

In 1 86 1 a debt of ^300 resting on the old Secession church was liqui 
dated. Mr Gardner was translated to Wolverhampton, 7th August 1871, 
and Annan declared vacant. His ministry in his new charge lasted little 
more than a year. On 3Oth January 1873 ne was killed when crossing the 
railway, where he had been bidding some friends good-bye. He was in the 
sixty-third year of his age and twenty-fourth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. JAMES RONALD, previously of Douglas, where he had 
been for seven years. Admitted, 23rd January 1872. In 1879 the stipend 
was ,200, with the manse, and there was a membership of 269. Mr Ronald 
died, 24th October 1900, in the sixty-first year of his age and thirty-sixth of 
his ministry. His was the last name dropped from the roll of the U.P. 
Synod. The membership of Annan congregation at this time was given at 
277, and the emoluments were as before. 



ON jOth October 1810 some people in Half-Morton parish and its neigh 
bourhood petitioned the Burgher Presbytery of Selkirk for occasional supply 
from some of its members. As that place was believed to be in want of the 
gospel Mr Dunlop of Dumfries was appointed to preach there on the third 
Sabbath of November, and after that the propriety of granting further supply 
was to be considered. The outcome was that on loth December a paper 
subscribed by upwards of 100 householders and others, none of them 
connected with the denomination, was laid before the Presbytery asking a 
continuance of sermon. But at this stage a question arose as to the effect 
the erection of a congregation at Half-Morton might have on the Burgher 
churches of Ecclefechan, Langholm, and Annan, though none of these was 
within a less distance than nine miles. After reports came in from Lang- 
holm and Annan the Presbytery were afraid they had acted precipitately in 
granting sermon without consulting the neighbouring sessions. Supply, 
however, was not withdrawn, but for a time it was furnished very slenderly. 
On 1 5th July 1811 fully 140 individuals craved to be congregated. Two 
members of Presbytery were then appointed to receive accessions, and on 
1 7th August they reported that 28 persons had been examined and admitted 
into fellowship with the Church. Such was the beginning of Chapelknowe 
congregation, a name derived, it is said, from a detached knoll on which the 
place of worship is built. 

Prior to this the parish of Half-Morton had been for a dozen years 
destitute of religious ordinances. The minister of Langholm held the 
benefice, the condition being that he was to preach there every fourth 
Sabbath. Such was the limited supply of sermon afforded to Half-Morton 
when the congregation of Chapelknowe was formed, but for a lengthened 
period there was little progress made. Though public worship was kept up 
at the rate of two or three Sabbaths each month it was not till 1822 that the 
congregation was organised and elders ordained. In April of that year it 
was also announced that "a neat and comfortable place of worship has been 
recently erected, and is almost completed." About this time the parish 
minister of Langholm ceased to preach at Half-Morton, the plea apparently 
being the want of fit accommodation. But though there was greater need 
now to carry on the work with vigour at Chapelknowe, a fixed pastor was 
not obtained for other ten years. At last in April 1831 the congregation gave 
a unanimous call to Mr Alexander Robertson, preacher, Selkirk, who 
declined acceptance, and after remaining on the probationers list for other 
sixteen years he was laid aside for immorality, and went to Australia. The 
next they called was Mr Samuel Spence, afterwards of Wishart Church, 
Dundee, whom the Synod appointed to a forming congregation in Liverpool. 

First Minister. GEORGE CLARK, from Castle Street, Jedburgh. Or 
dained, :8th December 1832. There was immediate increase in the 
membership, but before the close of another year the Established Church 
was revived at Half-Morton, and a regular assistant appointed. Owing to 
this, as Mr Clark reported to the commissioners on religious instruction in 
1836, his attendance was reduced by about one-fourth. He also stated that 
his stipend was ,75, with manse and garden ; that the church cost only 
,175 ; that twenty-two families came from more than two miles ; and that 
the communicants had been doubled in four years and numbered 90, of 
whom fully one-half were from the parishes of Canonbie, Kirkpatrick-Fleming 
Kirk-Andrews, and Gretna. Mr Clark died, 23rd February 1852, in the 
fifty-fifth year of his age and twentieth of his ministry. 

Two unsuccessful calls were now issued from Chapelknowe, the one to 


Mr Andrew Graham, afterwards of Crossgates, and the other to Mr John 
Milne, afterwards of Greenlavv, and Rockvilla, Glasgow. 

Second Minister. JOHN C. MEIKLEJOHN, from Denny. Ordained, 25th 
April 1854. In 1868 the manse was improved at a cost of ,418, of which the 
Board furnished ^150. On 6th July 1886 Mr Meiklejohn s demission of his 
charge was accepted by the Presbytery. Nearly a year before this Edin 
burgh had been his residence, the state of Mrs Meiklejohn s health, who 
was a sister of Principal Cairns, necessitating this. The arrangement come 
to was that Mr Meiklejohn should retain the status of senior minister 
without any responsibility, and resigning all claim to emolument. After 
this he acted for a number of years as chaplain to the Fever Hospital, 
Edinburgh, but has now retired. 

Third Minister. ANDREW LAINC;, from Charlotte Street, Aberdeen. 
Ordained as colleague and successor to Mr Meiklejohn, loth February 1887. 
The membership at the close of that year was 89 and the stipend from 
the people .70, which supplement raised to ,160, with the manse. Twelve 
years after this the membership had increased to 100, and the funds yielded 
an additional 10. A new church, with 20x3 sittings, was opened by Principal 
Cairns on Tuesday, 23rd October 1890. The cost, of over .900, was already 
provided for by subscriptions. 


ON 3rd May 1831 about 32 persons, who had been examined for Church 
fellowship and approved of, were recognised as constituting the United 
Associate congregation of Rigg. The name occurs in the Presbytery 
records for the first time in January of that year, when a day s supply at 
Rigg from ministers in the neighbourhood was recommended. In July an 
election of elders took place, and within a fortnight a moderation was 
granted, ^90 being the stipend promised, with sacramental expenses and a 
manse. Mr William Miller was the preacher fixed on, but, believing that 
they had no chance with West Linton, the people allowed the call to drop. 
However, it was Whitburn and not West Linton which became Mr Miller s 

First Minister. MATTHEW M GlLL, from Mauchline, the nephew of a 
minister well known in the north, the Rev. Robert Campbell of Peterhead. 
The call to Rigg came before the Presbytery along with another from Eccle- 
fechan, where a stipend at least ^10 larger was offered, but Mr M Gill ex 
pressing a preference for the new place, he was ordained there, 25th May 
1832. On Sabbath, 3oth December, the congregation took possession of 
their new church, when the building, with sittings for 350, was "crowded to 
excess." At this time the manse was also nearly finished, the entire cost 
amounting to somewhere about ,1000. Four years afterwards the com 
municants were 148 and the debt ^170. Of the congregation twenty-four 
families came from beyond two miles, about one-half of these from the 
parish of Kirkpatrick-Fleming. The stipend was now ^95, with manse and 
garden. About 70 sittings were taken by Established Church families, for 
convenience. Mr M Gill s ministry began with large promise he was 
described as the very man to build up an infant cause ; but in 1863 it was 
found that the funds were behind, the attendance much reduced, and some 
of the best contributors away. Reports of insobriety on Mr M Gill s part 
prevailed, and refused to be put down. Laborious investigation followed, but, 
as often happens in such cases, it was hard to get definite charges beyond 
the point of " Not Proven." Still, the Presbytery considered that enough 


had come out to demand admonition and the loosing of Mr M Gill from his 
charge. This latter step was deemed essential, if the ruin of the congrega 
tion was to be averted. A committee of Synod which finally sat in judgment 
on the case found one of the counts established, and they added that from 
what had come under their own observation " they were fully convinced that 
the mental and moral condition of the appellant was such as to render it totally 
inexpedient to continue him in the exercise of his office." The Presbytery in 
accordance with this decision pronounced sentence of suspension sine die on 
24th May 1864. After clinging to the manse for a time Mr M Gill removed 
to a house of his own at Mauchline, where he died, 4th April 1884, aged 

The congregation was now reduced to the verge of extinction, and 
Central Funds had to be largely drawn from to keep the lamp burning. 
Locations were secured in succession, the longest being that of the Rev. 
George Thomson, who had been in Campbeltown at a former time. But in 
February 1869 they called Mr Thomas Weatherstone, a probationer from 
Horndean, who accepted, but illness intervened, and he died, I3th June, aged 
thirty. They next made choice of Mr John Robertson, from Glasgow 
(Hutchesontown) but he preferred Burton-on-Trent, where he was ordained, 
25th January 1870. Then Mr David Drysdale, a brother-in-law of the Rev. 
David Russell, St Margaret s, Dunfermline, accepted a call to Rigg, but 
withdrew his acceptance. He afterwards joined the Episcopal Church, and 
was assistant for some time to Dr Teape in Edinburgh. The membership 
at this time was 48, and the stipend was to be 70 from the people and ,60 
from the Board, with manse and garden. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM WILLIAMSON, from Alva. Ordained, nth 
April 1871. The manse was now put under repair at an outlay of ^420, the 
Board allowing one-third. Mr Williamson had been previously called to 
Loanends, Ireland, where he was about to IDC ordained, but he drew back, 
alleging that he dreaded personal violence in that part of the United 
Kingdom. He had also Gateshead, Newcastle, in his offer, but he saw 
reason to decline. Demitted his charge, 26th November 1872, and after 
being a short time on the probationers list joined the Established Church. 
He ultimately became minister of the quoad sacra church, Inverallochy, near 
Fraserburgh. The end with him was peculiarly sad. Along with four 
gentlemen and a lady he was out on a pleasure sail on the Gareloch, 2oth 
July 1 88 1, when in a squall the boat struck a little above Shandon, and the 
whole party perished. The lady was the daughter of the parish minister of 
Erskine, and they were to have been married the following week. His age 
was forty-two, and his intended s was twenty-two. 

Third Minister. GEORGE LAMBERT, from Dalkeith, East (now 
Buccleuch Street), but a native of Gorebridge. Ordained as a missionary to 
Trinidad on igth October 1853. Laboured there for seventeen years, first 
at Arouca, and then in San Fernando. Constrained by family considerations 
to return home, he was inducted to Rigg-of-Gretna, 5th August 1873. Gave 
an address at Lockerbie on the evening of 5th February 1892, and then 
went to Lochmaben manse, where he was found dead in bed on the following 
morning. Mr Lambert was in the sixty-fifth year of his age and thirty-ninth 
of his ministry. His only son is the Rev. John C. Lambert B.D., late of 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM HOGARTH, son of the Rev. Robert Hogarth, 
Stranraer, and one of three brothers who are ministers of the United 
Presbyterian Church. Ordained, 25th October 1892. At the close of 1899 
the membership was 65, and the stipend from the people ,75, with the 




THIS name is met with in the minutes of the Associate Presbytery once for 
all on 5th March 1740, when, in answer to petitions from Dundee and 
Fettercairn, nearly thirty miles apart, Mr Moncrieff of Abernethy was 
appointed to observe a Fast at Dumbarrow. The place was about midway 
between, but it appears by-and-by that the parish minister was in deep 
sympathy with the Secession movement, and this may be taken as having 
dictated the selection. 

First Minister. ANDREW ARROT. Ordained at Dunnichin, i3th Sep 
tember 1716. His father, the Rev. William Arrot, was admitted to Channel- 
kirk in 1683, during the reign of prelacy, was received into the Presbyterian 
Church in 1689, and was translated to Montrose in 1696. It was at 
Edinburgh, I3th October 1742, that the son gave in his accession to the 
Associate Presbytery. This was nine years after the meeting at Gairney 
Bridge, so that, compared with the other eight Seceding ministers, he was 
"as one born out of due time." Next month the Commission of Assembly 
instructed the Presbytery of Forfar to set about reclaiming Mr Arrot, but, 
on reporting that their efforts to that effect had proved fruitless, they were 
ordered to proceed against him by libel, and on 5th June 1745 he was 
deposed. Mr Arrot was proprietor of Dumbarrow, an estate of some 600 
acres in the parish of Dunnichin, and here on his own ground, if not entirely 
at his own expense, he built a church, which became the gathering point for 
seceders from a great part of Forfarshire, though the following he had from 
among his own people does not seem to have been large. 

When the breach took place in 1747 Mr Arrot was absent, but he went 
to the Antiburgher side. In the winter of 1752-3 he was unable for full work 
"owing to his frailty and indisposition," though he held on for other seven 
years. On i6th May 1760 he died, in the seventy-first year of his age and 
forty-fourth of his ministry. By the marriage of one of his sisters Mr Arrot 
was brother-in-law to the Rev. John Willison of Dundee, and his son, the 
Rev. David Arrot, was for fifty-eight years minister at Markethill, Ulster, 
while his son-in-law, the Rev. Isaac Paton of Templepatrick, was the first 
preacher ordained in Ireland by the Associate Presbytery. In his Memoir 
of Moncrieff of Abernethy Dr Young says : " About two weeks before his 
death he took a journey of forty miles to prosecute measures he had in view 
for the support of a weak congregation which had recently become vacant." 
This must have been Dumbarrow ; but the people there, though few in 
number, had no intention of giving up. So far from this, they set about the 
erection of a new church. The impression may have been that, to meet the 
expected influx from other parishes under a new ministry, it would be wise to 
have the little edifice replaced by a larger. Certain it is that in 1764 they 
received 8 from the session of the North Church, Perth, to assist in defray 
ing the charges of the house they had built. In September 1762 Dumbarrow 
appeared before the Synod in competition with Pathstruie and Ceres for the 
services of Mr Thomas Bennet ; but Ceres got the preference. 

Second Minister. MICHAEL ARTHUR, a native of Collessie parish, 
whose father, William Arthur, was long an elder of Mr Moncrieff s at Aber 
nethy. When a student he taught a school at Kinclaven, where he also acted 
as precentor and session-clerk. The Synod having preferred Dumbarrow 


to Jedburgh (Castle Street) and Kendal, he was ordained there in October 
1764, the call being signed by 35 (male) members. Mr Arthur was a man of 
talent, but his ministry was not a success either in his first charge or in any 
other. After he had been three years at Dumbarrow he took part with his 
fellow student, Mr Scott of Dundee, in propounding "scruples" to the 
Presbytery as to covenanting and other things. The papers they gave in 
were laid before the Synod in September 1767, and for a time their experi 
ences ran parallel, both being suspended from the exercise of their ministry. 
But at the meeting of Synod a year afterwards Mr Arthur appeared, 
declared anew his adherence to the ordination formula, and was restored to 
office, while Mr Scott, who continued unyielding, was ultimately deposed. In 
one of his pamphlets Scott reflects on the inconsistent conduct of his co 
adjutor in turning his back on his own "scruples." 

But Mr Arthur had made Dumbarrow too hot for him, and he now asked 
to be loosed from his charge "after what had happened." The congregation 
was in a divided state, and on 2nd October 1770 the Presbytery of Perth and 
Dunfermline dissolved the connection. The congregation of Peebles was 
already in course of calling him, and with this the first chapter of Mr Arthur s 
chequered history ends. 

Third Minister. JOHN YOUNG, who appears to have belonged to the 
bounds of Perth Presbytery. Ordained, 27th April 1774. The limits of the 
congregation were now to be greatly circumscribed. The formation of a 
church at Forfar, four miles distant, in 1778 cut off a goodly branch, and 
stopped supplies from the west. A few years later Arbroath was disjoined, 
and that narrowed Dumbarrow in from the east. Then in 1788 there was a 
movement for sermon at Barry, to the south, and Mr Young feared his 
congregation was to be ruined. But to make amends for this last en 
croachment it was agreed to grant an annual allowance of ^5 to the funds of 
Dumbarrow, and year after year this sum was paid, the one-half by the 
Presbytery of Forfar and the other by the Presbytery of Perth. But these 
matters were scarcely adjusted when, on I5th July 1789, the brethren who had 
been assisting Mr Young at his communion reported that "he had been 
observed much overcome with drink while administering divine ordinances 
on the preparation day." He made full confession and was rebuked, the 
sentence to be intimated from Dumbarrow pulpit next Lord s Day. Another 
member of that little Presbytery had been loosed from his charge for in 
temperance only three months before. In those times drinking usages were 
fostered on solemn occasions ; and, " Do men gather grapes of thorns ?" 

But not till after eleven years did the real crisis come. In 1794 Dum 
barrow congregation, as appears from Alyth session-book, was soliciting 
collections, "being engaged in an expensive repair of their kirk," and the 
number of members did not exceed 120. Self-help was greatly needed, the 
sum raised by seat rents being at the rate of is. gd. a year each on an 
average. But the final development was now at hand. In August 1799 
four of the male members brought before the Presbytery " a report of their 
minister being from time to time overcome with drink." One instance he 
had acknowledged, and they craved relief from the reproach under which 
they laboured. But here, on the other hand, were 22 male and 30 female 
members petitioning the Presbytery to oblige these brethren to prove what 
they alleged. Mr Young, when questioned, denied both the charge and the 
acknowledgment. He could not "freely say" that he was the worse of 
drink on the occasion specified. But he had formerly confessed the offence 
to five of his brethren, and he was now contradicting himself. The case was 
referred to the Synod, and Mr Young was required to desist meanwhile from 
the exercise of his ministry. 


At the Synod in October all turned on the accused having acknowledged 
guilt and then retracted, and the Presbytery were ordered to censure him for 
this. When Mr Young appeared before his brethren at next meeting he was 
profuse in his expressions of regret for seeming prevarication, but "he never 
intended to make them believe he was not the worse of drink" on the occa 
sion specified. On being further interrogated he again veered round, and 
declared that "he had gone beyond conscience already in what he had 
acknowledged." It carried to Rebuke and Suspend, against which sentence 
he protested, and appealed to the Synod. At a meeting of Presbytery in 
February 1800 the game of hide-and-seek was resumed. It came to this 
now that perhaps he might have been overcome with drink, but it did not 
appear to him. For his inconsistency he owned himself "heartily sorry" ; 
but next morning he told them that "his inconsistency was owing to in 
disposition and inveiglement." Again the motion to Rebuke and Suspend 
was carried, and again Mr Young protested and appealed. The Synod hav 
ing confirmed the above sentence, he declined their authority, and returned 
to Dumbarrow to exercise his ministry as before. The confusion in the 
congregation now ended in a rupture, and the two parties seem to have been 
nearly equal. Mr Young was deposed 23rd June 1800. 

With Presbytery aid withdrawn, and his little congregation reduced to 
half its numbers, Mr Young s stipend must have been reduced to a little 
above zero, but an attempt by the other party to deprive him of the meeting 
house came to nothing. In the latter part of his ministry he used to preach 
on Sabbath forenoon at Uumbarrow and in the afternoon in a schoolroom 
at Connonsyth, a place on the borders of Carmyllie and Inverkeillor parishes. 
When he died cannot be ascertained, but it was later by several years than 
1 8 10, the date given in Dr M Kelvie s Annals and elsewhere. He applied in 
August 1813 to be received into communion with the Constitutional Pres 
bytery, but they went back over fourteen years, and wished to hear from him 
what he thought of his conduct in denying what he had previously confessed. 
In February 1814 they had a letter from him, but in the absence of Mr Aitken 
of Kirriemuir, who was best acquainted with the case, consideration of the 
contents was delayed. It tempts the suspicion that they did not care to be 
troubled with him, especially as he had the merest remnant of a congregation 
at his back. But at a meeting of Presbytery at Kirriemuir in July 1815 
Mr Young appeared in person to be dealt with. What about the paper they 
sent him one and a half years before bearing on certain parts of his former 
conduct, with the request to have his mind thereon ? " To the best of his re 
collection he had received no such communication from the Presbytery." On 
hearing this they agreed to let him have a copy of the same to reflect on at 
his leisure. In November 1816 the Presbytery appointed a day s supply to 
Dumbarrow. Twice the same thing was repeated at intervals, and hence 
forth all is blank. Mr Young, we may infer, was dead, and the congregation 
too far down to be kept from extinction. 

The church, left empty now, was converted into the farmhouse of what 
is fitly called " Hillkirk of Dumbarrow." Of Mr Young s family a son, who 
died in 1876, at an advanced age, was long parish teacher in Panbride. 
Jervise in the Memorials of Angus and Mearns describes him as very con 
servative in Church matters, and bitterly opposed to all innovations. It may 
have been an Antiburgher element of character received by inheritance from 
his father. 



THE earliest notice of the Secession taking shape in the Mearns and the 
northern part of Forfarshire is at Fettercairn in 1738. Then on iyth June 
1740 there was an accession to the Associate Presbytery "from some people 
in Montrose," and this resulted in a visit to that place by Messrs Wilson, 
Moncrieff, and Thomas Mair on the last Wednesday of August, and the 
observance of a Fast. The first regular supply we read of was on the first 
Sabbath of December 1740, when Mr Adam Gib, then a probationer, offici 
ated. In 1742 there is reference to an election of elders. In 1744 the 
Seceders in Montrose and Dundee were looked on as forming one congrega 
tion, and on aoth December of that year the meeting for a moderation was 
held in Dundee. The members from Montrose nominated Mr John Swan- 
ston for themselves, and Dundee Mr James Johnston, both of whom were 
elected. The call to the former was signed by 22 persons, elders and others, 
and adhered to by 45 who could not attend owing to distance. The design 
was to make the charge collegiate, for the benefit of Montrose, the weaker 
partner, though there were thirty miles between. The cause was referred to 
the Synod, who laid aside both calls, considering that the coalescence could 
not continue to mutual advantage. So Dundee and Montrose were dis 
joined. At the breach in 1747 the great majority of the Montrose Seceders 
took the Antiburgher side. 

First Minister. COLIN MACKIE, who seems to have come from within 
the bounds of Elgin congregation. Ordained, 23rd October 1751. The 
people, we find, applied to Ceres session more than a year before this for 
help in erecting a place of worship, which guides to the time when the first 
church was built. The cause did not prosper under its first minister. The 
Presbytery minutes for 1759 disclose a scene of confusion at Montrose, the 
minister along with a single elder sitting in judgment on parties charged 
with speaking evil of him. The Presbytery enjoined Mr Mackie to beware 
"of an overbearing disposition in the session, of marring the freedom of 
members in speaking or voting, and of personal reflections in his doctrine." 
A case which came before the Synod from Montrose in 1782 reveals the 
same characteristics. Three elders elect had been objected to, but Mr Mackie 
went straight on with the ordination, passing over several questions in the 
formula, one of these being whether they had used any undue methods to 
procure this call. The omission was scarcely accounted for by telling the 
Presbytery, as Mr Mackie did, that "the day was dark, and that he wanted 
his usual glasses." 

In November 1784 the people were bent on securing a junior minister, 
but though Mr Mackie concurred they found themselves baffled on attempt 
ing the first move. In common with Perth, Dundee, and Kinclaven, they 
went in for the Rev. James M Ewan, but instead of coming up for a 
moderation they complained to the Presbytery that Mr Mackie had blocked 
their way by refusing to call a congregational meeting. Irritation now 
became acute, and nothing remained for Mr Mackie but to retire. His 
resignation was accepted, I4th March 1786, the congregation agreeing to 
give him an annuity of ^25. The last half-yearly payment was made on 
2nd January 1792. This is the nearest we can come to the date of his death. 

In 1787 Mr David Williamson, from Abernethy church and Strathmiglo 
parish, was called to succeed Mr Mackie, but the Synod, contrary to his 
wishes, appointed him to Whitehaven. His is a name which has a place 
in Dr M Kerrow s list of Secession authors. In the early part of his ministry 
he published " Lectures on Civil and Religious Liberty," bringing into com 
parison the constitution of the two countries, France and England. His 


connection with Whitehaven ended on I5th March 1820 owing to differ 
ences between him and a section of his people, not unaccompanied by moral 
failure on his own part. He sailed for America, but caught cold on the 
voyage, and died at New York, I3th May 1821, in the fifty-eighth year of 
his age and thirty-fourth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. FREDERICK M FARLANE, from Nicolson Street, 
Edinburgh. In September 1787 the Synod appointed him to Montrose, 
in preference to Craigend and Aberdeen (Belmont Street), but he openly 
refused to submit, and the case came back to the Synod in April 1788. 
Here, under pressure, he accepted, but the wheel had to describe another 
round before the end was gained. After his trials were given in his objections 
to Montrose came up as strong as ever. " He found it prejudicial to his 
health," he said, " to preach in the place of worship there in its present 
state." On 3rd September he was pointedly asked by the Provincial Synod 
of Perth whether, if they fixed the day of ordination, he would submit, and 
his reply was Yes. The 25th of the month was named, and on that day the 
unpropitious bond was formed. The services were conducted in the Estab 
lished church, as their own place of worship was undergoing repairs. A 
gallery was put in, making the sittings 550, and the primitive-looking build 
ing, with the little graveyard round it, was both "repaired and lifted about." 
Mr M Farlane s call carried only 46 (male) signatures. The stipend is not 
recorded, but after deducting the ^25 a year to Mr Mackie, and the interest 
on borrowed money, it cannot have been great. The chances of increase 
were also lessened owing to the Burghers in Montrose having the obtaining 
of a minister in near prospect. Two or three years after this the two parties 
numbered 376 persons, young and old, within the parish. 

In the beginning of 1790 the congregation of Edinburgh, vacant by 
Mr Gib s death, applied under Synodical authority to Forfar Presbytery 
for two of their number to supply their pulpit a day each, and named 
Mr M Farlane of Montrose for one of the days. Nothing emerged for a 
year, but in January 1791 Mr M Farlane was carried over other two 
candidates proposed. Keen feeling was stirred, and the parties being 
about equally balanced, the Synod refused to give effect to the call. 
Mr M Farlane s supporters now obtained a severance from their brethren, 
and built a church in the Potterrow. In March 1793 they called their former 
favourite, with only one dissentient voice, but the Synod, by 41 votes to 5, 
refused to translate. This was followed in December by a second call, more 
numerously signed, and now the scales were nearly equal, there being 24 
in favour and 26 against. Writhing under a sense of wrong, Mr M Farlane 
sent a letter to the Moderator, throwing up his charge at Montrose. Had 
proper tenderness, he said, been shown to his friends in Edinburgh, they 
would not have been in a state of rebellion against the Synod, and he would 
not have been tempted to risk health, and perhaps life, by casting in his lot 
with them. But the Synod pulled him sharply up, and the letter was with 

There was a calming down no\v, the understanding being that Mr 
M Farlane s friends in Edinburgh would try once more. Accordingly, a third 
call was laid on the Presbytery s table in March 1795, but only to be laid 
aside. Against this decision a protest was taken, but it was unanimously 
dismissed by the Synod. Mr M Farlane, who had previously withdrawn 
from attendance at meetings of Presbytery, now sent in his resignation, and 
broke away from the Antiburgher connection ; but all we know of his subse 
quent movements shrinks into little compass. It is certain that he removed to 
Edinburgh, where he began to conduct Sabbath services in a hall provided 
for him by a large party from Potterrow church. On 25th September 1795 


the Synod deposed him from office and membership "on account of his 
having deserted his profession and connected himself with a society in 
a state of separation from the Synod." In the end, as comes out under the 
heading of Potterrow, Edinburgh, Mr M Farlane emigrated to the United 
States. All I have met with bearing on his after history is a statement in 
an American periodical that "he was located in Long Island, and adopted in 
part the profession of the Friends." When in Montrose he married a 
daughter of the Rev. Thomas Bennett, Ceres. During the vacancy of two 
and a half years which followed in Montrose, the congregation called 
Mr James Methven, whom the Synod appointed to Balmullo. 

Third Minister. ARCHIBALD WILLISON, from Dennyloanhead. Forfar 
people applied on the same day for a moderation, " but, as it was believed 
this was for the same object, the petition was laid aside." The call was 
signed by 41 male members, and Mr Willison was ordained, I4th March 1798. 
On 22nd May 1804 he resigned, alleging that for the suitable maintenance of 
his family he required a stipend of ^100, and he seems to have received no 
more than ^80. " Some in the congregation," he also alleged, " maintained 
doctrines and principles in direct opposition to the standards of the Church." 
This may relate to Congregationalism which, we know, had been asserting 
itself in Montrose. "The church consisted of only about 16 members at 
first, but about 12 from the Secession congregation were added at once." 
Mr Willison s demission was met by a minute of the congregation, to the 
effect that it would not be for his comfort or their edification that he should 
continue among them. Meanwhile, Mr Willison had removed to Denny, his 
native place, where he owned some property, and at next meeting he had 
a letter forward, intimating that he was not to return. On 25th June 1804 
he was loosed from his charge. What remains of Mr Willison belongs to 
the history of Birsay congregation, Orkney. 

Fourth Minister. ANDREW WILSON, a native of Dunning parish, but 
brought up at Cairneyhill. The number who signed the call was much as 
before, 39 male members and 14 male adherents. The stipend was ^80 in 
all. At three successive meetings Mr Wilson refused to accept, but on the 
last occasion the congregation, though distrusting their resources, agreed to 
come up ^10. He still had difficulties, arising chiefly from being required 
to give three services each Sabbath, but he at last accepted, and was or 
dained, i6th April 1806. There were tokens of progress now, and in 1812 
the people were furnishing Mr Wilson with a house, in addition to the ^90 
of stipend. In 1836 the communicants were about 150, of whom all, except 
5 or 6, were parishioners. The sittings were let at rates so low that the 
yearly income from this source was only ,35. The debt on the property 
was ,^6. In April 1844 the congregation got supply of sermon, with the 
view of choosing a colleague to Mr Wilson. The first they fixed on 
was Mr Robert Dick Duncan, but Wishart Church, Dundee, supervened, 
and was accepted. The money arrangements were that Mr Wilson should 
receive ,75, and the junior minister ^100. 

Fifth Minister. ALEXANDER ANDERSON, M.A., from Perth (North). 
Ordained, I2th August 1845, but the collegiate relation lasted little more 
than a year. On 29th December 1846 Mr Wilson handed in to the Presby 
tery the resignation of his charge, assigning as a reason what had passed 
between him and three of his elders at the close of public worship on a 
recent Sabbath. Inquiry by a committee brought out that the elders had 
spoken very plainly to Mr Wilson about the attack which he had just made 
on his colleague s doctrine, and told him, " if such things were to go on, 
they would not make the sacrifices they had done for the support of two 
ministers." Mr Wilson, on the other hand, alleged that his doctrine had 


been attacked first of all by his colleague, a charge which the latter re 
pudiated. The committee proposed that the two ministers abstain in future 
from all reference to each other s doctrine, but while Mr Anderson assented 
Mr Wilson adhered to his resignation. The congregation reported their 
deep regret that anything had occurred to mar the peace and harmony 
which had prevailed among them during Mr Wilson s lengthened ministry. 
They had hoped the obtaining of a colleague would increase his comfort, 
but now they did not intend to oppose his resignation. At next meeting 
of Presbytery Mr Wilson was absent, but on 2nd March 1847 he appeared, 
but declared he could not accept the recommendation to abstain from all 
public reference to his colleague s doctrine, and it carried to accept the 
demission. Mr Wilson then intimated that he felt it his duty to withdraw 
from the United Secession Church both as a minister and a member. 
After this he entered into fellowship with the Free Church, and continued in 
that connection till the end. He died at Montrose, i6th April 1854, in the 
eighty-fourth year of his age. His son, of the same name, was minister of 
the E.P. Church, Wark, Northumberland, 1862-79. 

Mr Anderson was now sole pastor, and the congregation appears to have 
escaped unharmed from the turmoil. In 1851 the old church was displaced 
by another, with 650 sittings, built on the same site, but taking in the little 
burying-ground. The entire cost was .1250. There was ,400 of debt 
resting on the property in 1859, but it was cleared off a few years afterwards 
with the aid of ^100 from the Liquidation Board. Mr Anderson s stipend 
at this time was ^120, but there was now to be a supplement of 20 from 
the central fund. In 1865 the congregation reached .150, and became 
self-supporting. In June 1876 Mr Anderson required rest for six weeks ; 
but the long rest was drawing on. He died on igth August, in the sixty-first 
year of his age and thirty-second of his ministry. Mr Anderson, as the 
Presbytery minute testifies, was a man of superior gifts and acquirements, 
and in his student days at St Andrews he was specially strong in the de 
partment of mathematics. He was also very pronounced in his Voluntary 
ism, as became one who, like Principal Hutton, was brought up in Perth 
under the ministry of Dr Young. In 1870, when the Union movement was 
going on, he published a pamphlet, entitled " The Voluntary Principle Vindi 
cated : a Criticism on the Articles of Agreement," which, owing partly to its 
hard, logical style, obtained less attention than it deserved. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN GOOLD, son of the Rev. Marshall N. Goold of 
Dumfries. The membership was almost exactly 200, and they were pre 
pared to make the stipend ,200. Mr Goold was also called to Mordaunt 
Street, now Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow (Burra Isles, Shetland, may be 
kept out of account). Ordained, I3th February 1877. In three years the 
stipend was raised to ^220, with ,30 in name of house rent, and ^10 for 
sacramental expenses. On 2$th July 1882 Mr Goold accepted a call to 
Elgin Street, Glasgow. The communion roll had now risen to 270. 

Seventh Minister. DAVID B. CROOM, M.A., son of the Rev. David 
M. Croom, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh. The call was signed by 236 
members, and the ordination took place, 2ist February 1883. It was 
deemed proper at this altered stage to pitch the figures somewhat lower and 
make the stipend ,230 in all, but in the course of some years it rose to 
,300. In 1892 the trustees of Miss Joan Kerr, Sanquhar, where Mr Groom s 
father had been minister, handed over ^2000 to the Synod s Debt Liquida 
ting Fund, but stipulated that ,1000 should go to Mill Street Church, 
Montrose. Thus a debt of ^100 was cancelled, and the property improved 
at a cost of ,735, with the prospect of the whole sum being required. 
Owing to a painful ailment, Mr Croom, much to the regret of his people, 


surrendered his charge on 25th October 1898, and since then he has only 
been able to resume pulpit service occasionally. The congregation now 
called Mr Alexander M. Wright, but, owing to want of harmony, the call 
was not proceeded with. 

Eighth Minister. ROBERT F. LOCKHART, from Paisley (Abbey Close). 
Ordained, 4th October 1899. The membership at the end of the year was 
329, and the stipend ^300. 


A FEW of the Seceders in Montrose separated from their brethren at the 
breach in 1747, and in June of the following year they applied for sermon to 
the Burgher Presbytery of Dunfermline, when Mr Johnstone of Dundee was 
recommended to give them a Sabbath as soon as practicable. This little 
party had one elder at their head but no session, and hence a case of 
discipline among them had to be dealt with by the Presbytery, and Mr John- 
stone was to rebuke the offender " when he shall have occasion to be in that 
corner." " The Societies of Brechin and Montrose," now begin to figure 
in the Burgher records, sermon being kept up at one or other of these 
places at varying intervals and in nearly equal proportions. After 1761, when 
the congregation of Tough (now Lynturk) was formed, the general arrange 
ment was for preachers to supply a Sabbath at Montrose or Brechin on 
their way to and from the north, but in the end of 1767 these "Societies," 
disappear from the Presbytery minutes. 

After a blank of sixteen years sermon was appointed anew to Montrose 
on 2ist June 1784, but not now along with Brechin. In September 1787 
the Synod recommended congregations to aid them in removing part of 
their debt, which indicates that the meeting-house was already built. In 
May 1788 a call was brought up from Montrose to the Rev. John Kyle 
of Kinross, and in a few months it was followed by another, but the trans 
lation was in each case refused. These calls were signed, the one by 38 
members and the other by 40, but the people could not engage for more than 
^55 of stipend, with a house, till their debt was lightened. 

First Minister. JOHN KING, from Beith. He was brought up in the 
Antiburgher congregation there, but about the close of his Arts course 
"he left his profession " and joined the Relief. However, in January 1787 
he appeared before the Antiburgher Presbytery of Glasgow and acknow 
ledged that, while his mind was embarrassed about the Lifter controversy, 
he had been drawn away from his steadfastness, but he now wished to be 
restored, with the view of studying divinity at Whitburn. Though a letter 
was read in his favour from Mr Mitchell, his minister, the Presbytery re 
buked him, and ordered the sentence to be intimated to Beith congregation. 
This severity overtaxed endurance, and in July he obtained admission to the 
Burgher Hall, and, having already attended the theological classes in 
Glasgow University for two sessions, he was ready for licence in the end of 
1788, and was ordained at Montrose, 26th May 1790. Mr King s experiences 
were fitted to liberalise him, so that in 1797 his church and pulpit were 
opened to the " Missionary Preachers," the Haldanes. The contrast 
in liberality between the Burgher and Antiburgher congregations of 
Montrose may partially account for the former shooting ahead in numbers 
and prosperity. A new church, with sittings for 750, was built in 1824 at 
an outlay of ^iioo. From a touch of description in Hay s "History of 
Montrose " we picture Mr King as a minister of plain exterior going his 
rounds of pastoral duty among a plain and much-attached people. No 


appeal or case of discipline came up to the Presbytery from Montrose 
session during his whole incumbency. He died, i;th May 1827, in the 
sixty-sixth year of his age and thirty-seventh of his ministry. His son, 
afterwards Ur King of Greyfriars, Glasgow, was at this time in the middle of 
his theological course. 

Second Minister. JAMES LILLIE, from Kelso (First). Some were 
against going forward, and the call was signed by only 132 members, the 
stipend being .120, without a house. Ordained, nth March 1829. Of Mr 
Lilhe s characteristics we read : " He was a man of great abilities, and 
highly educated ; he was very honest and outspoken ; but he was positive, 
combative, resolute, and almost reckless, sometimes to the amusement, 
often to the regret of his friends, and generally to the disadvantage of him 
self." Voluntaryism he made a burning question, and the temperance cause 
he championed with untempered zeal. In a few years John Street got 
weakened through one family after another withdrawing, and on 27th 
February 1833 Mr Lillie s resignation was accepted. The congregation 
expressed regret at the step he had taken, but for himself he declared he 
stood inflexibly to his purpose. In 1835 he emigrated to the United States, 
where he was a minister, first in the United Presbyterian Church, then in 
the Dutch Church, then in the Presbyterian Church, and then he joined the 
Baptists. He also held a professor s chair, first in Wisconsin, and then in 
Upper Canada. Next, he returned to this country, studied medicine in 
London, took his diploma, and began to practise. He was, says Dr 
Scouller, " a man of noble presence, a grand preacher, and a man of ripe 
and varied culture, but too restless to be successful." Besides the degree of 
M.D. he had that of D.D., presumably from some American college. He 
died at Kansas, United States, on 7th October 1875, aged seventy-five. 

Third Minister. HENRY HYSLOP, from Annan. Ordained, 2ist January 
1834. The funds had suffered during the late pastorate, and the stipend was 
reduced now to ^100, but in 1835 it rose to ,115, and in 1859 it was 145. 
In 1836 the communicants were reported as increasing at the rate of 20 
a year, and the entire number was 325, of whom about a dozen were from the 
parishes of Logic-Pert, Dun, and St Cyrus. The debt on the church was in 
course of being reduced, but it was still over ^600. In the beginning of 
1877 the state of Mr Hyslop s health required him to withdraw from active 
duty, and in view of this the congregation decided to give him a yearly 
allowance of 70, an arrangement with which he expressed his entire satis - 
faction. On 6th March 1877 he was relieved of all responsibility, though 
retaining the status of senior minister. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES W. HAY, from St Vincent Street, Glasgow. 
Ordained as Mr Hyslop s colleague and successor, I3th November 1877. 
The call was signed by 286 out of a total membership of 300, and the stipend 
was to be .150, augmented by ^10 of supplement, a share in the Surplus 
Fund, and ^20 from the Board in name of house rent. In 1879 the people 
undertook ^160, and a year later they came up to ,180. Mr Hyslop, who 
had removed to Langholm after his retirement, died, 3rd October 1880, in the 
seventy-third year of his age and forty-seventh of his ministerial life. A 
volume of his sermons was printed for private circulation soon after his 
death. The Rev. John Thomson of Campbeltown was a son-in-law of Mr 
Hyslop. The ^70 which the congregation had been paying to the senior 
minister was now transferred to Mr Hay, making ,250 in all. In 1882 a 
commodious manse was finished at a cost of ^1450, of which the Board paid 
^350 and the people raised ^iioo. The present stipend, along with the 
manse, is ,210, and the membership is a few units over 300. 



THIS congregation originated in a territorial mission which had been 
carried on in Castle Street, Montrose, for many years, in connection with 
Free St John s Church. On I2th October 1858 a petition was laid before 
the U.P. Presbytery of Arbro ath from a body of people worshipping in the 
Thistle Hall under the care of Mr Campbell, a probationer of the Free 
Church. In the preceding March the Mission Committee of St John s 
had attempted to remove Mr Campbell, but the people rallied round him, 
and now he and they had resolved to seek admission into the United 
Presbyterian Church. On 7th December a committee which had inquired 
into the state of the communion roll reported favourably, and it was 
decided to constitute the petitioners into a congregation. At next meeting, 
on 8th February 1859, it was reported that three elders had been ordained, 
and that a building in a suitable situation had been bought and fitted up 
as a hall for public worship. 

First Minister. ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, a native of Caithness-shire. 
Admitted to the status of a preacher by the Synod in May 1859, and 
ordained, ist November of that year. The call was signed by 85 com 
municants and 75 ordinary hearers, and the stipend was ,90 a year from 
the people and ^20 from the Home Board. Mr Campbell was now in his 
fortieth year, and before commencing his studies for the ministry he had 
been engaged as a teacher in Edinburgh under the auspices of Tolbooth 
Free Church. He had at last found a sphere of Christian activity, where 
he was to labour for thirty-three years. The severance from the Free 
Church left dregs of bitterness behind it, and the Rev. William Nixon, 
minister of Free St John s, subjected himself by his utterances to an action 
for defamation before the sheriff of Forfar, with damages and costs. The 
present church, which accommodates 550, was opened on Sabbath, 8th 
May 1864, a point which was not reached without friction. The Free 
Church had a mission church organised in the same district, with a minister 
ordained over it, and it was deemed unseemly that Mr Campbell s con 
gregation should have its centre in the immediate neighbourhood, but 
after building operations were begun it was too late to arrest procedure. 
The entire cost was to be ,900, and the Mission Board promised a grant 
of ^100 on condition that the people should raise ,500, which would 
leave only ^300 of debt. Energy and perseverance on the part of a 
minister can effect much, and so the difficulties were surmounted. In 
1868 the funds yielded ,115 for stipend, which a supplement from the 
Board raised to ,150. In 1874 there was a membership of nearly 250, 
and the stipend was made up to ,167, los. In the beginning of 1882 
Mr Campbell reported that by the aid of friends his church was free of 
debt, and in October 1883 he expressed the wish to dispense with all 
assistance from central funds, and after being conversed with he thanked 
the Presbytery for their kindly interest, but adhered to his purpose. 
The communion roll was now within a few units of 300, and the people 
paid him ,150. 

Five years before this, when the Board wished to press on the con 
gregation the need for greater liberality, Mr Campbell wrote declining to 
receive a deputation, and gave as his reason that he believed his people 
were already doing their utmost, and that too much urgency was fitted to 
do harm. Rather than have them interfered with in that way he would 
dispense with all grants in aid. At this time, in addition to his regular 
mission work, Mr Campbell was actively engaged evangelising among 
foreign sailors at Montrose, Dundee, and other seaports. He conducted 


ninety-eight meetings with this neglected class in 1877 alone, and the 
Presbytery were wishful to have his income raised to ,200, exclusive of 
house rent, but it never exceeded ^180 in all. Mr Campbell died, I2th 
March 1892, in the seventy-second year of his age and thirty- third of his 

Second Minister. GEORGE P. MACFIK, M.A., from Glengarnock. 
Ordained, 3ist August 1892. As usually happens with congregations of 
this class, when the minister whose watchful care kept them together is 
removed, there was a great reduction in numbers during the vacancy. 
The membership at the close of 1899 was 190, and the sum contributed 
for stipend was ^120. 


IN Johnshaven the Antiburgher cause originated about the year 1763, as 
appears from the first baptism having been on 27th May 1764. The 
parish minister had abolished the reading of the line in the service of 
praise, and this measure, as his successor explained in the Old Statistical 
History, gave great offence, the plea being that it kept those who could 
not read from joining in that part of public worship. Finding their re 
monstrances vain, "they abandoned the church, built one for themselves 
at Johnshaven (the principal village of Benholme parish), and invited a 
minister of the Secession to settle among them." Their first church 
consisted of two dwelling-houses with the dividing wall removed. 

First Minister. DAVID HARPER, a licentiate of Earlston Presbytery. 
Ordained, 22nd February 1769. Johnshaven being in a remote part of the 
bounds, there were only four ministers present. The Presbytery of Perth 
stretched at that time from Montrose to Crieff, and from Burntisland to 
Elgin and Nigg, so that absenteeism at that season was to be excused. 
Up till then the Secession had a very slender hold in Kincardineshire, 
and, according to the above authority, all the parishioners of Benholme 
belonged to the Established Church, except a few Episcopalians. But 
after Johnshaven was organised there was a gathering in from wide 
distances. In the beginning of Mr Harper s ministry one elder had the 
parishes of Kinneff, Arbuthnot, and Bervie ; another, the greater part 
of St Cyrus ; a third, part of Benholme and what remained of St Cyrus ; 
and a fourth, the other part of Benholme and also Garvock. At first 
there were only 54 members, of whom a few may have been previously 
connected with the Antiburgher congregation of Montrose, but there was 
now a large increase. From the session minutes we reckon up 48 accessions 
within the first six months, and in the following year there were 29. The 
family which tenanted the farm of Brotherston rendered important service 
at this time. The husband was one of the elders, and, in view of Mr 
Harper s first communion, his wife presented the congregation with a supply 
of tokens and a set of sacred vessels. But in Church life what displace 
ments time makes among the pillars ! Thirteen years afterwards trouble 
arose in connection with this leading man, and the Presbytery was appealed 
to. He was first granted a certificate, with the view of joining the sister 
church at Montrose, but at a later period he had to be excluded from 
Church fellowship altogether. 

In 1785 affairs were going back, and the non-payment of seat rents may 
have betokened ebbing vitality. When the pulpit loses tone everything is 
sure to go wrong. In May 1788 a report came before Forfar Presbytery 
that Mr Harper was addicted to intemperance. He pleaded guilty, and was 


rebuked. On i3th April 1789 he came forward with his demission, assigning 
as the reason that he was determined to stay at Lauriston, a village in the 
parish of St Cyrus, as Johnshaven did not agree with his health ; but this 
arrangement displeased the people, so that his comfort was gone. Com 
missioners offering no objection, the demission was accepted. Being 
questioned as to matters of greater moment, they signified that Mr Harper 
had given fresh occasion for scandal. It proved to have been a case of 
flagrant drunkenness in the face of day. At next meeting the poor man 
made humble acknowledgments, and was laid under suspension, but it 
carried by the Moderator s casting-vote not to intimate the sentence from 
Johnshaven pulpit. So far as indications go, he resided at Lauriston, two or 
three miles out from Johnshaven, till his death, the date of which cannot now 
be ascertained ; but it appears from the register of Benholme parish that he 
had a wife and family. It would have been satisfactory to know that he 
attended his old place of worship and was in membership there, but infor 
mation to this effect is not to be had. 

Second Minister. JOHN MURRAY, from Glasgow (Duke Street). Or 
dained, 1 2th April 1791. From the diary of his old fellow-student, the Rev. 
Samuel Gilfillan of Comrie, we learn that Mr Murray had to push his own 
way at college, and that " he taught a school in an unhealthy room, and 
acquired knowledge at the midnight lamp." The call to Johnshaven gave 
41 male members, and the Old Statistical History puts down the adherents 
in the parish at about 100. In the neighbouring parishes the Secession 
seems to have been rather losing ground, though St Cyrus was still sending 
in fifteen families. The whole membership we cannot reckon at more than 
120, and, whatever the excellences of the young minister were, they did not 
keep down discord. In 1802 irritation arose through the treasurer s books 
being in confusion, with ^35 in dispute, and through Mr Murray taking part 
in the investigation. The Synod about the same time sent him to Orkney, 
the more readily, perhaps, that he had a connection with Stronsay manse by 
his sister s marriage. But complaints were made that he went away without 
meeting with the session ; that instead of writing them during his absence 
he sent a letter to a member of another community, and that after his return 
he preached a sermon in which he made his own people contrast unfavour 
ably with the Orcadians. 

In the midst of the turmoil three of the elders resigned, and on loth 
August 1803 Mr Murray tabled his demission. He explained that the 
treasurer, after resigning office, "set himself to undermine the credit and 
influence of his minister." He stated further that this man s circle of 
relationship took in one-fourth of the congregation, a peculiarity marking 
Johnshaven as a fishing village. That party had most weight in money 
matters, and they had withdrawn their support from ordinances, and at a 
recent communion only 13 male members took part out of a total of 32. On 
1 2th October 46 members petitioned against Mr Murray s removal, while 
1 8 men intimated that, unless this was to be the issue, "they would not be 
bound for one penny in name of stipend." The demission was accepted, 
but the Presbytery laid these 18 men aside from communion. They will 
reappear when we reach the origin and history of the Burgher congregation. 
By these bitter contentions the cause was now " covered with great odium," 
and the session was reduced to one acting member. The Synod at their 
next meeting made Johnshaven a grant of ^30. Mr Murray they also 
allowed ^20, and sent him back to Orkney, where they might expect him 
to find a profitable sphere of labour. But Carnoustie was to be his field 

Third Minister. WILLIAM CAIRNS, M. A., from Duke Street Glasgow. 


Prior to this Mr Cairns was called to Dublin, but he firmly refused to accept. 
Johnshaven call showed a better muster of names than was to be expected : 
" 19 male members and an adherence of 43 female members, also 65 males 
and 63 females not in full communion, but who usually attend." The stipend 
promised was ^60, with manse and garden. Mr Cairns was ordained, 2nd 
March 1808, but he craved to have it marked that he went under the 
impression that it was a hazardous situation. For nearly seven years Mr 
Cairns was kept in this humble position, but from the stipend being ^80 
in 1812 it is to be inferred that there was progress made. At a meeting 
of session on igth September 1815 he signified to the five elders present that 
he intended to resign, "being elected for a professor in the new academy, 
Belfast." No sympathy had the worthy men with their minister s readiness 
to accept promotion, and indeed, after a good deal of reasoning and con 
versation, they testified " their disapprobation of his conduct." The 
congregation when they met showed worthier feelings, agreeing to pay up 
the stipend, and over against some repairs he had made in the manse he 
was to retain ^3, which he had received for the reading of books in the 
library, "of which he had the management." They parted on friendly terms, 
and on I2th October he gave in his demission to the Synod, which was 
accepted, and no doubt with all good wishes. 

Dr M Cosh in his " History of Scottish Philosophy" says that Mr Cairns, 
who long enjoyed the degree of LL.D., was chosen to the chair in Belfast 
College "from his known intellectual ability." He further states that as Pro 
fessor of Logic and Belles-Lettres "he helped to produce a fine taste among 
the ministers of religion and the educated men of Ulster." It is specially 
gratifying to be informed that in this high position his interest in evangelical 
religion remained unchanged. Dr Cairns died, 2ist April 1848, in the sixty- 
fourth year of his age. The book by which he is best known is his "Treatise 
on Moral Freedom." His gifts must have made themselves known in student 
days, since, with nothing from his pen, they could never have emerged into 
distinction from their hiding-place at Johnshaven. 

The congregation he left lingered on for other five years, and in 1818 
they called Mr William Hannah, afterwards of Arbroath, but he firmly 
declined, owing to the smallness of their numbers and the inadequacy 
of the stipend. The Union of 1820 was now in prospect, and the two 
congregations in Johnshaven behoved under the pressure of necessity to 
melt into one. Particulars will come up under the United Church. 


OUT of the turmoil in the Antiburger Church in 1803 this congregation took 
shape. The resignation of Mr Murray was accepted on 27th December of 
that year, but the hostile party went off to the Burgher Presbytery of Perth 
for sermon all the same. The Antiburgher Presbytery of Forfar had laid 
1 8 of their number under suspension from membership, and that was 
enough to alienate them from that section of the Secession for ever. The 
Burgher Presbytery of Perth were in doubts about how to treat the ap 
plication, and a letter from Mr King of Montrose, explaining the situation, 
did not quite clear their way. But at next meeting, on 27th December, 
misgivings were got over, and a petition for supply signed by 74 persons 
was granted. In June 1804 a paper of accession was given in with 34 
names. There was an election of elders before this, but most of those 
chosen belonged to the 18 who were under censure by the other Presbytery. 
This again involved a pause, but nothing more. In April 1805 the Synod 


in answer to a petition for aid in view of building a place of worship, 
allowed them ^20, with this proviso that the money was to be paid back 
should the building "come to be used for other purposes." When finished 
it accommodated 330 people. 

In 1807 they called Mr Robert M Laurin, but at the Synod they had only 
43 members names to show, and Coldingham with 271 was preferred. 

First Minister. THOMAS TROTTER, a native of Lauder, but brought up 
under the ministry of Mr Johnston, Ecclefechan. Johnshaven being pre 
ferred to New Deer by the Presbytery, he was ordained, I3th April 1808, 
exactly six weeks after Mr Cairns of the other church. Here now were these 
young men, the one twenty-four and the other twenty-six, planted down in the 
village of Johnshaven, each of them over a section of a congregation which, 
when united, had scarcely 90 members. In numbers they were not un 
equally balanced, but the money power was with the Burgher party. Mr 
Trotter, like Mr Cairns, is said to have been "a man of great mental power 
and extensive knowledge," less scholarly by much, but in the pulpit perhaps 
quite his equal. Both were victims of position, but though for the one a 
great door and effectual was opened, there was no similar outlet for the 
other. Mr Trotter held on fully two years after his brother was raised to a 
professor s chair, and then resignation became imperative. Stagnation of 
trade came in the rear of the French war, and the congregation, weak before, 
got weaker still. On 2nd March 1818 he was loosed from his charge, with 
the view ot emigrating to America. His people said they would have done 
everything in their power to make him comfortable, but believing that any 
attempt of theirs to retain him would be vain they remained passive. In 
Nova Scotia Mr Trotter became minister of a far-scattered congregation, 
with its centre in Antigonish, Presbytery of Pictou. The most distant ex 
tremities were from thirty-six to forty miles apart, at no station had he more 
than 40 hearers, " and the number of communicants, taking the whole 
together, amounted only to 15." In 1834 he reported that they numbered 
80 or 90, but the stipend was small, uncertain, and paid in agricultural pro 
duce. To provide for his own, he had still, like eight or nine of his brethren, 
to engage in farming. But he held on, " highly esteemed and respected," till 
1851, when he had a paralytic stroke. He recovered so far as to preach 
once a day till 1853, when his successor was inducted. He died, 2oth April 
1855, in the seventy-fourth year of his age and forty-eighth of his ministry. 

After this Johnshaven Burgher congregation, like the other, made an un 
successful endeavour to have the vacancy filled up. In January 1819 they 
called Mr William Nicol, and the settlement bade fair to become an 
accomplished fact, but when the Presbytery met at Johnshaven on the day 
fixed for his ordination Mr Nicol was not present. A call had come out in 
his favour from Airdrie, and between the two places there was no com 
parison, so he stopped short, and refused to go a step further. The 
Presbytery ultimately set the call aside, and referred the case to the Synod, 
where a slight utterance of dissatisfaction with Mr Nicol s conduct sufficed. 
But this disappointment may have done something to prepare the people for 
the amalgamation with their Antiburgher brethren, which was to come on 


WHEN the Union of 1820 was drawing on the two congregations in Johns- 
haven were in the mood for coming together again. In December 1819 the 
Antiburgher party intimated that they could not pay for much more than half- 


supply and in April 1820 the Burgher party wished preachers for only the first 
and second Sabbaths of each month. In September 1820, when the roll of 
the United Synod was made up, Johnshaven was entered as one congrega 
tion. Calculating from the signatures to recent calls, we make the com 
munion roll at the junction point 140 or 150. Had the stipends promised, 
6$ and ^75, been likewise put together, they would have made a sub 
stantial figure, but these sums implied large drafts upon future possibilities. 
The joint burden of debt amounted to ^357, but the sale of the Antiburgher 
property brought 170. Had all gone well otherwise, difficulties would 
have been surmounted, but the time had not yet come. 

First Minister. WALTER SCOTT, from Selkirk (Burgher). Ordained, i8th 
November 1823. Entered the hall thirteen years before this, and had been 
long a teacher. The stipend named was ,90, but a few months brought 
the funds of the church to the verge of collapse. In April 1824 the elders 
requested advice in relation to Mr Scott. Shortly after he was settled " a 
weakness appeared about him," the attendance had fallen off, and the seat 
rents had come down by more than a half. Mr Scott, who seems to have 
been quite submissive, gave in his resignation on 29th June, and it was at 
once accepted. From this time till 1829 his name appeared regularly on 
the list of probationers. He then settled clown as a teacher in Edinburgh, 
was connected with Bristo Church, and died, 3rd July 1837. This early 
and entire failure must have lowered the general cause in Johnshaven, even 
though there were no moral elements involved. It also increased their 
debt by some ,60. 

Second Minister. JOHN LIDDELL, from Dennyloanhead. Ordained for 
Nova Scotia, and admitted to Amherst in that province on 22nd October 
1817. Returned to this country n 1820, and had his name put on the pro 
bationer list in May 1822. Inducted to Johnshaven, i6th November 1825. 
The stipend was to be ^100, with a manse, but for this the people claimed 
three services each Sabbath, In 1827 the membership was 135, and in 
1837 the New Statistical History gives forty-five families within the parish of 
Benholme alone. In 1838 Mr Liddell gave in his demission, owing mainly 
to the existence of dissensions within the congregation. The observance 
of a third communion in the year, without the usual accessories had caused 
dispeace ; but there had been alienation of feeling on other grounds, and 
Mr LiddelPs resignation was accepted on 24th April 1838. He then re 
moved to Denny parish, and had his name on the preachers list during the 
remainder of his days. He died at Wardhead, near Bonnybridge, where he 
owned a small property, 2Oth June 1844, after a short illness, in the twenty- 
seventh year of his ministry. 

In February 1839 the session drew up a statement of their affairs for 
transmission to the Debt Liquidating Board. Their late minister, they told, 
was engaged to preach three times each Sabbath, but he only gave them 
five services in the fortnight, and this ought to have abated the stipend by 
one-sixth, but they gave him the full ,100 for seven years, and ,90 the 
remaining five. Still though he got ,150 too much he claimed other .50 
to make up for the five years reduction, but on the Presbytery s advice 
renounced his claim. Then it was announced in the Montrose Review that 
they were bankrupt, and the elders were afraid the bills for borrowed money 
would not be renewed. In answer to this appeal the Board promised a 
grant of ^60, provided the congregation made up ^100, and they would add 
other ^50 if an equal sum were raised the second year. Both conditions 
were met, and in 1841 the debt of ^250 was got rid of. A rumour, how 
ever, reached headquarters that the money required to secure the second 
grant had been borrowed, and the Presbytery were asked to institute in- 


quiries. The rest may be given in the treasurer s words. " He made the 
following proposal at a meeting of their congregation viz. that he would 
himself advance the whole ^50 on condition that 50 of them would agree 
to pay him a penny a week for five years ; that he would ask no obligation 
beyond their bare promise ; that to this they readily acceded, and more 
than the number he proposed had given their promise, so that in two years 
he had received from them ^30, and the whole sum would be discharged 
to him in another year and a half." The artifice might scarcely be con 
sistent with the understanding of the Board, but it was conceived and 
wrought out in a way creditable to all concerned. 

In June 1841 the congregation called Mr William Barrie, but opposi 
tion took form at the bar of the Presbytery. The call was sustained, but 
Mr Barrie was engaged to go to Canada, and the Committee on Foreign 
Missions intimated to him that they would oppose his settlement in Johns- 
haven or any other part of Scotland. Mr Barrie was a preacher of ten 
years standing, and into his forties. He was from Edenshead, and of 
humble origin. Report bore that diffidence marred his public appearances, 
and kept him on the probationer list. It is remarkable that, after it was too 
late, openings came both at Midmar and at Johnshaven. But he had 
special aptitude for "enduring hardness" among the settlers in Canada, 
West. On 4th January 1843 he was ordained at Eramosa, and on the day 
following at Nichol, the latter place to have every third Sabbath. His field 
of labour, he said, was as large as the three Lothians, and he had ten times 
more travelling than when he was a preacher in Scotland. Mr Barrie 
became a prominent man in the Canadian Church, and received the degree 
of D.D. from Monmouth College, United States. He retired from the active 
duties of the pastorate on 28th May 1877, and died, 28th July 1879, m the 
eightieth year of his age and thirty-seventh of his ministry. 

Third Minister. GEORGE WALKER, from Greenock (now Trinity 
Church). Ordained, 3ist March 1840, and located at Muirkirk as a mis 
sionary. Johnshaven congregation having asked the Presbytery to secure 
them a hearing of Mr Walker, he was called in due time, and inducted, 
27th October 1842. On 22nd March 1848 he resigned, as he felt "there 
was a cry for help from abroad." The congregation deeply deplored his 
resolution to leave them, but they knew that further pleadings were in vain, 
and the demission was accepted. " They had surmounted many difficulties, 
and Mr Walker had laboured five and a half years with acceptableness, and 
also with appearance of success, particularly among the young, in which 
part of his work he much delighted." He sailed with his family for Nova 
Scotia, under the auspices of the Mission Board, but passed over to Canada, 
and was settled in New Glasgow, where he died, minister-emeritus, ist 
February 1884, in the eightieth year of his age and forty-fourth of his 

Fourth Minister. JOHN COOPER, from Broughton Place, Edinburgh. 
A year before this they called Mr John Primrose Miller, who accepted 
Carnoustie. The stipend was to be ^75, with a manse, which they purchased 
that year. There were about 120 names on the communion roll. Mr 
Cooper, who had declined Walker two years before, was ordained, 3oth 
October 1849 > but ill-fortune was again upon their track. On I4th February 
1854 he was loosed from his charge, and laid under suspension for "culpable 
imprudence." The sentence was removed at the meeting in April, and on 
6th June he received a certificate of ministerial standing. After a brief 
sojourn in America he went to Australia, where he was admitted to Geelong 
on 2gth August 1855, the stipend being ,400, "and the place of worship 
one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in the town." In the end of 1857, 


the majority of the people being unfavourable to the broad Presbyterian 
Union, he left, and in 1859 became minister at Rokewood. Thence he was 
translated to Coburg in 1866, where he also held a Government appointment 
as prison chaplain, and remained till his death in December 1885, in the 
thirty-seventh year of his ministry. He published several works, of which 
Dr Robert Hamilton says : " Some criticisms have rated these productions 
very high for their intellectual ability and metaphysical grasp." Such titles 
as "Christian Evolution" and "The Province of Law in the Fall and Re 
covery of Man " indicate the department of theology to which they belong. 

Affairs had not progressed at Johnshaven during Mr Cooper s ministry, 
and the congregation could only engage for ^60 of stipend, with the manse, 
but there was u the prospect of some members returning who had left during 
the former incumbency." They came up by-and-by to 70, and the Board 
was to give 20 of supplement. During the next four years rive preachers 
were called without success: (i) Mr John Milne in October 1854, who 
accepted Greenlaw ; (2) Mr David Williamson in January 1855, who de 
clined, and was afterwards in Queensferry ; (3) Mr Ebenezer E. Whyte in 
June 1856, who got Yetholm five years afterwards ; (4) Mr Robert Brown 
in January 1857, but with Zion Chapel, Newcastle, in near prospect, he put 
Johnshaven aside ; (5) Mr John Pettigrew in December 1857, but the 
Presbytery, with the consent of the congregation, decided to drop the call. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN M NAB, from Alyth. Ordained, 23rd February 
1859. The call was unanimous, and the signatures in advance of what they 
had been on the five former occasions. The stipend was now raised to 
^100, with the manse, by the addition of other 10 from the central fund, 
and the membership was slightly under 100, the figure at which it continued 
with little variation for the next thirty years. As a student at St Andrews, 
Mr M Nab had distinguished himself, particularly in mathematics, in which 
he took the gold medal. A tractate of his, published anonymously when 
a preacher, entitled " The Trade Spirit versus the Religion of the Age," 
gave evidence of a strong, earnest intellect, and a vigorous pen. But, want 
ing the graces of delivery, Mr M Nab found himself outdistanced among the 
vacancies, and it was not till the six years of his probationership were 
ending that a door opened for him at Johnshaven. He died, I2th April 
1889, in the sixty-fifth year of his age and the thirty-first of his ministry. 

Sixth Minister. ALEXANDER A. RUSSELL, son of the Rev. Robert 
Russell, Blairgowrie. Ordained, 27th November 1889. A debt of .130, which 
had long rested on the property, was cleared off in 1892 by the aid of ^50 
from the Liquidation Board. The membership at the close of 1899 was 104, 
and the stipend from the people ^80, with the manse. 


THOUGH we have no authoritative documents to guide us, we may take it 
for certain that the nucleus of this congregation consisted of families dis 
joined from Dumbarrow, four miles to the east, about the year 1778, and 
that the first church, with sittings for 470, was built in 1780 or thereby. 

First Minister. JOHN JAMIESON, M.A., son of the Rev. John Jamieson, 
Glasgow. The call from Forfar was preferred by Perth Presbytery to 
another from Dundee, and the Synod confirmed this decision, the reason 
assigned being that Dundee was divided and Forfar unanimous. Mr 
Jamieson s feelings, when Forfar opened out to his view as he crossed the up 
lands from Dundee to supply there, have been described by himself, and how 
the thought arose : "What if this gloomy place should be the bounds of my 


habitation?" There he was ordained, 23rd August 1780. The stipend is 
given as only ^50 to begin with, but it is not correct to say that it never was 
more. His successor was to have ^60, with house, garden, and some land, 
and this was stated to be the same as their former minister had. At this 
time Mr Jamieson was in the flush of youth, being only in his twenty-second 
year. In the following August occurred what George Gilfillan has called 
his "romantic, moonlight marriage." To Mr Jamieson belongs the honour 
of being the first Secession minister who obtained the degree of D.D., and 
it was fifteen years before there was another. His title to take precedence 
thus far of even his most distinguished Seceding brethren is not easy to make 
clear. He had, indeed, published in 1786 an ordination sermon, and in 1787 
an anonymous pamphlet entitled " Socinianism Unmasked." These were 
followed in 1789 by " Sermons on the Heart," in two vols., a series of dis 
courses which he had preached to his own congregation, and by his " Sorrows 
of Slavery," a poem which counts for little. Yet on these grounds he was 
singled out in 1791 by Princeton College, New Jersey, for this unique 
distinction.* Professor Bruce of Whitburn at a later time treated "the 
New Jersey Doctor" with little ceremony, and in view of what his own pen 
had done might think himself excused. But Dr Jamieson did ample honour 
to the selection as years passed. 

The time for removing Dr Jamieson to a more congenial sphere of labour 
came at last. Adam Gib s congregation in Edinburgh had split over a 
successor, and in September 1792 the party adhering to the old walls made 
choice of the Doctor for their minister, but in May 1793 the Synod decided, 
by a majority of forty to seventeen, that he should remain in Forfar. This, 
no doubt, was in trying antagonism to his own wishes, and no such possibility 
was likely to come within his reach again. Yet in four years the same door 
opened, and the Synod refrained from closing it a second time in his face. 
On 2nd May 1797 the motion to translate was carried amidst opposition, 
Ramsay of Glasgow coming through for the express purpose of giving a 
hostile vote, and when that failed, he, along with some others, entered his 
protest against the deed. This is what Ramsay s unhappy temperament 
might have led us to expect when promotion for the son of his former 
colleague was involved. During his stay in Forfar Dr Jamieson s taste 
for antiquarian research was developed, and material collected which had its 
outcome in his "Dictionary of the Scottish Language." 

Second Minister. ANDREW AEDIE, from Pathstruie. The family 
belonged originally to Orwell congregation, as the records show, but 
Auchtinny, where they resided, is within a mile of Pathstruie, and they be 
came connected with the church there. Of two sisters of Mr Aedie s one was 
married to the Rev. Thomas Dick of Stirling (Viewfield), better known now 
as Thomas Dick, LL.D. , Broughty Ferry, and another to the Rev. Andrew- 
Murray of Carnoustie. Mr Aedie was appointed by the Synod to Forfar in 
preference to Kinross (East) and Ceres, much against his will, and was 
ordained, gth October 1798. The call was signed by 57 male members and 
108 male adherents. It is as if under Dr Jamieson the cause had taken a 
fair hold of the community. While the calls were pending the stipend was 
raised to ^70, with house, garden, and some land, as given above. Mr 
Aedie died at Alloa on 8th July 1838, in the house of the Rev. Peter 

* On this matter there has been some confusion as to dates. Dr M Kerrow places 
the degree as early as 1788, when a stray sermon and an anonymous pamphlet were 
all his claims had to rest on. In a memoir prefixed to the Scottish Dictionary, and 
followed by the National Dictionary, the degree is linked with the reply to Priestley, 
which was not published till 1795. The date given above has been got from the 
records of Princeton University, and is bound to be correct. 


M Dowall. He had been enjoying a few days relaxation at Bridge of Allan, 
and was on his way to assist at Lochgelly communion, "when he was 
suddenly seized with apoplexy, and after a short but severe illness he 
expired," in the sixty-fourth year of his age and fortieth of his ministry. 

An attempt was twice made to form a Relief congregation in Forfar prior 
to this, but without success. The first was in February 1793, when Dr 
Jamieson was under call to Edinburgh, but the Synod refused to sanction 
the translation, and the appointments ceased. The next was not till August 
1829, and it was part of that swell of denominational activity which led to the 
formation of Relief churches in Kirriemuir, Brechin, and Arbroath. On 
1 8th August some people in Forfar applied to the Relief Presbytery of 
Perth for sermon, and Mr Reston of Coupar-Angus was appointed to preach 
to them on Sabbath first. He reported at next Presbytery that "he had 
both opened and shut up the meeting in one day." For this masterly stroke 
of business he was admonished by his brethren. Mr Frew of Perth was 
sent to take up the broken thread, but he told, on coming back, that "he 
deemed it unnecessary to make any further attempts there at present." 

Two years before the close of Mr Aedie s ministry the number of com 
municants was 265, but 40 of these belonged to the preaching station at 
Letham. The stipend was now between ^105 and ^no, with manse and 
garden, and 12 for sacramental expenses. The building, including a 
schoolroom, had a debt of ,263, but over against this three properties 
yielded a rental of ^40. About a third of the congregation was from 
beyond the parish of Forfar, and of the sittings So were let to outsiders, 
chiefly members of the Established Church. But in 1836 a qiioad sacra 
chapel was opened in the town, and an Independent church was also 
organised. Thus the Secession had more to contend with, but, on the other 
hand, the population was advancing at the rate of 200 a year. 

Third Minister. ANDREW MURRAY, son of the Rev. Andrew Murray 
of Carnoustie, and a nephew of the former minister. Ordained on 8th 
October 1839. The stipend promised was ,100, with manse and garden, 
and ^5 for sacramental expenses. After a dozen years disputes arose in 
the congregation, and Mr Murray demitted his charge ; but peace being 
restored, and the people having expressed much attachment to their minister, 
he withdrew his resignation. In 1854 the present church, with sittings for 
500, was built, an undertaking which left them under a burden of debt. Mr 
Murray may have felt this, and, if M Cheyne s account of Forfar was correct, 
he may have found discouragement in the moral tone of the community 
around him. He was also of opinion that an entire stranger might labour 
with greater efficiency than he had done, which indicates that Mr Murray 
was ministering to those who had known him from his youth, the family 
having removed to Forfar after his father s death. Accordingly, on 6th June 
1857, he intimated to the Presbytery that, although he had neither want of 
harmony nor alienation of feeling to complain of, the measure of success he 
had met with did not warrant him continuing his ministry at Forfar. The 
resignation was accepted on 23rd June, the congregation expressing un- 
diminished affection for their pastor, and the Presbytery recording their 
conviction that Mr Murray had acted from a high sense of Christian duty 
and responsibility. His name was then placed on the probationer list, 
where it continued till June 1860. He then took charge of a mission for 
some years in connection with Anderston Church, Glasgow. After that he 
became a farmer in Forfarshire, but returned to the list in 1868 to complete 
his term of probation. He died in Edinburgh, i6th February 1890, in his 
seventy-sixth year. 

Forfar congregation now called Mr Alexander Aikman, but the call was 


signed by only 64 members, while 3 elders and 9 members prayed that it be 
not sustained, "on account of disunion." Meanwhile, Mr Aikman was called 
to Muckart, and set Forfar aside. They then united on Mr James M Owan, 
who intimated that he could not accept, and before the letter reached the 
Presbytery he was ordained at Bannockburn. The next call had the 
misfortune to be accepted. 

Fourth Minister. HUGH NIVEN, a married preacher from Greyfriars, 
Glasgow. I recall his smart, mature, clean-cut look, and his methodical 
note-taking in the divinity classes. It occurs to me that he kept by himself, 
and was smooth and polished in his bearing. His call to Forfar was signed 
by 102 members, and he was ordained, 24th February 1859. The stipend 
was lowered from ^90 to ^70 during the vacancy, but other ^30 was 
expected from the Board. Before the end of the year an effort was proposed 
for clearing off the debt, Mr Niven being active in work of this kind, besides 
figuring in the temperance movement and other good causes ; but drags 
were put on by certain leading members. Then a fania of serious import 
got into circulation against the minister, but, by means of a letter opportunely 
produced, his leading elders were satisfied. At this crisis a paper was sent 
up to the Presbytery, subscribed by 102 members, 18 adherents, and 19 
occasional hearers, expressing esteem for their pastor in his trying circum 
stances. Thus other fifteen months were tided over, and then, on the 8th 
or gth of July 1862, Mr Niven suddenly disappeared, the way and manner 
giving rise to some graphic touches of description. On 23rd September a 
committee of Presbytery served up an assortment of charges against the 
fugitive, such as has seldom been put upon paper, and on the threshold of 
further procedure the pastoral relation was dissolved. But the object of 
their quest was gone, and the Presbytery wound up the case on 6th January 
1863 by pronouncing sentence of deposition on Mr Niven " for refusing to 
obey a citation of Presbytery, deserting his family and charge, and con 
tracting an irregular marriage," though these were only the fringes of his 
alleged misdeeds. Where he went, or what his after fortunes in life were, 
is never likely to be known. 

Fifth Minister. PETER WRIGHT, from Kilmarnock (King Street). The 
call was not quite harmonious, there being 72 signing and 16 objecting ; 
but a committee reported that "the opposition did not appear to be factious, 
or likely to be carried further." So Mr Wright was ordained, 2oth October 
1863. The stipend was ^70 as before, with ,50 from the Board, but in 
1868 the people were giving ^100 instead of ^70. That year the present 
manse was built at a cost of ,1200 in the end, of which ^300 was promised 
from the central fund. A great part of the ,900, it has been stated, was 
raised by the minister. In 1873 it was intimated to. the Presbytery that 
^157, ios., the point of self-support, was henceforth to be aimed at. But 
owing to adverse fluctuations the membership declined from 25010 212 in 
five years, and it was seen that aid would be required to the extent of ^40 
a year, an arrangement in which the Board acquiesced. In 1881, though 
the membership was scarcely over 200, the stipend was fixed as high as 
;i6o, entitling the minister to a full share in the surplus of .40. On 2$th 
June 1895 M r Wright was enrolled minister-emeritus, and he died, i8th 
April 1899, in the seventieth year of his age and thirty-sixth of his ministry. 
Prosperity had returned before the close, and at the time of his retirement 
the communion roll was over 250. 

Sixth Minister. ALEXANDER GRIEVE, M.A., Ph.D., from Millport. 
Ordained, 28th January 1896. The membership now exceeds 320, and the 
stipend is .185, with the manse. 



THE origin of this congregation has been put as far back as 1758, but this 
is too early by eight years. It was on i8th March 1767 that the Seceders in 
the district petitioned the Antiburgher session of Montrose (now St Luke s) 
for a disjunction. They must, however, have had sermon before this, as 
we find from an entry in the parish register of Marykirk that there was a 
child baptised in February of that year in presence of " the Secession congre 
gation." Though the distance of seven miles from Montrose pleaded for a 
severance, the session, having surrendered their hold of Brechin three years 
before, hesitated about allowing a second encroachment, and referred the 
case to the Presbytery. But the congregation intervened, and at a general 
meeting expressed approval of the disjunction, and on 3rd July 1769 the 
session was brought to unanimous concurrence in the application. As two 
names disappear at this time from the sederunts of session, we may 
assume that Muirton people had an eldership among them from the very 
beginning. In the prosecution of the petition for disjunction there is 
mention of two commissioners from Fettercairn, a parish which furnished 
acceders to the Associate Presbytery so early as 1738. 

In 1771 the new cause gained an accession of strength through an un 
popular settlement at Marykirk, the parish to which Muirton belongs. 
The patron, who had bought the right shortly before, presented his own son 
to the benefice, and the General Assembly, before whom the case was brought, 
set the charge of simony aside, and confirmed the action of the Presbytery 
in ordaining him. The result was, as the minister himself stated, "a very 
great alienation of affection." Their numbers being increased through that 
dispute, the erection of a church was proceeded with, though this also has 
been ante-dated, and put as early as 1769. But in November 1773 there is 
a collection entered in the session minutes of the North Church, Perth, on 
behalf of Muirton, " for enabling them in the building of a house for public 
worship, and a manse." They had a minister now, which made the double 
undertaking the more urgent. The site was well chosen, being equidistant 
from the parish churches of Marykirk, Fettercairn, and Logic-Pert, and these 
fully three miles off. 

First Minister. JAMES IMRIE, from Glasgow (now Cathedral Square). 
Ordained, I2th May 1773. As feeling died out there may have been a 
seeking back to the Established Church by those who were not Seceders 
from conviction ; and in April 1779 the Presbytery of Perth brought the state 
of Muirton congregation before the Synod, explaining that it was very weak, 
and considerably in arrears to Mr Imrie, with a good deal of debt resting on 
the property. They had received ,10 some years before, and now en 
deavours were to be made for their assistance ; but in May 1780 the Synod 
instructed the Presbytery to loose Mr Imrie at their meeting on the last 
Tuesday of that month, unless the congregation gave satisfaction for his 
future maintenance. In August the Presbytery reported that they had 
dissolved the connection. As for Mr Imrie, he acted for some time as a 
preacher, but in 1782 he intimated to the Presbytery of Glasgow that, "as 
he was entering on a new line of life, he did not mean to take any more 
regular appointments." He now resided in Paisley, and in 1786 he was 
inducted to the eldership in Oakshaw Street, and besides supplying pulpits 
he was occasionally appointed to moderate in calls within the bounds of the 
Presbytery. In 1819 he was in the membership of Duke Street Church, 
Glasgow, and he died, 3oth May 1835, in the ninetieth year of his age. 

Second Minister. DAVID MEEK, from Kirriemuir (West). Ordained, 
1 9th November 1794. During the vacancy of fourteen years which went 


before Muirton was scarcely more than a preaching station. Mr Meek s 
call was signed by 33 male members, and, as the stipend was raised to ^45 
in 1807, it must have been under that sum at the beginning. In 1812 the 
congregation consisted of 20 male members and 50 female, and the stipend 
was ,50, with a house and four acres of land. Mr Meek s ministry closed 
on 25th March 1818. At his request the Presbytery of Forfar had been 
summoned to meet that day at Muirton, and amidst deep penitence on his 
part and painful feelings on theirs he was deposed from the ministry and 
from Church fellowship. At a meeting on gth June he was restored to 
communion without demur, but he never held office again. Having removed 
to Edinburgh, he became one of Dr Paxton s people at the Union of 1820, 
and died, 2oth October 1848, in his eighty-fifth year. His son, the Rev. 
James Meek, was long minister of the Original Secession Church, Carnoustie. 

After being vacant for two years Muirton called Mr Robert Paterson, but 
finding themselves in hopeless competition with Kirkwall they withdrew 
from the contest. 

Third Minister. JAMES RENWICK, from Moniaive. Ordained, 6th 
March 1822. In 1824 the present church was built at a cost of ^400, with 
sittings for 430. In 1835 there were 90 communicants, two-thirds of these 
from Marykirk parish, and most of the other third from Fettercairn and 
Logic-Pert. Ten of the families came from over four miles. The stipend 
was ^60, with ^5, IDS. in name of sacramental expenses, and there was 
also the driving of fuel and the working of the glebe. In summer there 
were two discourses in the forenoon and one in the afternoon, and in winter 
two discourses without an interval, and an evening service once a month all 
the year round. Mr Renwick died, 22nd October 1845, in the sixtieth year 
of his age and twenty-fourth of his ministry, leaving a widow and a very 
large family in dependent circumstances. Their claims were met by an 
appeal to the Church generally, and a fund of ,800 was formed, the pro 
ceeds of which lasted till 1868. 

In 1846 Muirton was the first of six vacant congregations that made 
choice of Mr William Cowan, who accepted Buckhaven. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN BuiCK, from Alyth. The call was signed 
by 1 02 members, and was preferred to another from Banff. Ordained, 
24th March 1847. His resignation given in under constraint was accepted, 
loth January 1849, and he was suspended sine die for intemperance. On 
2 ist January 1850 a committee of Presbytery was appointed to meet with 
him, to prepare the way for his restoration to Church privileges, but on 
25th February they reported that he had been removed by death. He 
was buried, we find from the Montrose register, on the 5th of that month, 
in the twenty-eighth year of his age. 

Fifth Minister. JOSEPH LECKIE, from Falkirk (Erskine Church), to be 
afterwards known as Ur Leckie of Ibrox, Glasgow. Ordained, 3ist October 
1849. This quiet sphere was favourable to culture and calm reflection ; 
but it was not befitting that it should be the young minister s permanent 
abode. After he had been laid aside from regular work for a considerable 
time Mr Leckie s resignation was accepted, 8th June 1858, the congregation 
paying a high tribute to the character of his ministrations and the piety 
of his life. In 1864 he entered on his second field of labour at Millport. 

Sixth Minister. THOMAS SWAN, from Leslie (now Trinity). Ordained, 
3oth October 1860. In the preceding year they called Mr Andrew G. 
Fleming, now of Paisley, but Alva came in, and was accepted. Under 
Mr Swan s ministry there were five years of peace and harmony, but the 
introduction of the hymn-book, though cautiously gone about, occasioned 
disturbance, and Mr Swan, who had suffered a severe domestic stroke not 


long before, felt this state of things so keenly that he demitted his charge, 
but after some kindly dealings on the part of the Presbytery peace was 
restored and the resignation withdrawn. On 7th October 1873 it was 
intimated to the Presbytery that Mr Swan was seriously ill. Their next 
meeting was at Muirton on his funeral day. He died, 2Oth October, in 
the thirty-ninth year of his age and thirteenth of his ministry. Mr Swan was 
a nephew of the Rev. James Anderson, who was long Secession minister in 
Dunblane. After a pause of a year the congregation unanimously called 
Mr Alexander Duncan, but he preferred Muir-//r/ to Muir-/0w. 

Seventh Minister. JAMES Y. THIRD, who had been six years in 
Ollaberry, Shetland, but resigned in July 1874, and returned to the 
probationer list. Inducted, 8th June 1875, but after three years he accepted 
an invitation to labour at Lahore, in the Punjab, India, and was loosed 
from his charge on 24th September 1878. In May 1881 Mr Third, who 
had returned to this country in full ministerial status, was again enrolled 
as a probationer. When his term of three years was nearly expired he 
emigrated to Canada, but it was only to find a grave. Having been 
appointed to take charge of Hantsville, Ontario, he had scarcely been a 
month there when he was seized with inflammation of the lungs, which 
after a week terminated fatally. He died, 9th April 1884, in the forty-fifth 
year of his age and sixteenth year of his ministry, leaving a widow and 
three children. 

After Mr Third left Muirton it was a question whether the congregation 
could go on. In the early years of Mr Swan s ministry the membership 
reached its maximum of 133, but the population was now to experience 
rapid decline. The straggling village of Luthermuir, where the church 
is situated, decreased from 868 in 1861 to 383 in 1881, and Mr Swan spoke 
sometimes of being in all likelihood the last minister of Muirton. A little 
before his death there were only 80 names on the communion roll, 26 men 
and 54 women, and when his successor left the numbers were scarcely 
over 50. 

Eighth Minister. WILLIAM ARNOT MITCHELL, from Brechin (High 
Street). Ordained at Durham, i6th April 1873. Called to Muirton by a 
majority, only 19 taking part in the vote, but the call was signed by 35 
members and 26 adherents. Inducted, 2ist May 1879. Since then there 
has been a steady gathering-up, so that the membership now stands within 
a little of 100. As for stipend arrangements, Mr Swan was to have ^80, 
with manse, garden, and a glebe valued at ^24, and there was also to be 
a supplement of 10. When preparing for a moderation in 1874 the people 
stated that with their reduced numbers they could not offer more than 
^70, with the glebe. This offer was approved, and in view of Mr Mitchell s 
induction the same arrangement was continued. The sum paid by the 
people in 1899 was ^74, while supplement and surplus made up other 
,92. The glebe of four acres is still possessed, by the minister, but 6 of 
the stipend goes to pay the rent. Thus does Muirton hold its place among 
the older congregations of the U.P. Church, and whatever ecclesiastical 
displacements may be impending it has a district of its own, within which 
a dispensation of gospel ordinances behoves to be upheld. Mr Mitchell, 
it should be stated, has bestowed special attention on the young, and in 
the returns of the Synod s Committee on the Care of Youth Muirton has 
held a foremost place. 



IN sketching the beginnings of this congregation we have original docu 
ments to draw from. These bear that on 7th February 1 764 a number of 
members of the Antiburgher congregation of Montrose residing in Brechin 

accordingly granted by the Presbytery, and as two of those disjoined ^yere 
elders, a session was constituted forthwith. The first church, with sittings 
for 550, is found from a reference in the session minutes to have been 
occupied in the early part of 1766. A year after this the congregation 
called Mr Colin Brown, whom the Synod appointed to Abernethy. 

First Minister. JOHN GRAY, from Edinburgh (Nicolson Street). Called 
also to Elgin, but the Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline gave Brechin the 
advantage, and Mr Gray was ordained, 22nd December 1768. During the 
five years they were without a pastor the accessions to the Act and Testi 
mony averaged about a dozen each year, and during the early part of 
Mr Gray s ministry that number was doubled. Calculating from the 
baptisms recorded in 1770 we may put down the membership at" not less 
than 200. The collections at the church door were about ,40 a year, and 
this money the session, with some slight deductions, handed over to the 
managers. There is no mention of disbursements for the poor, which in 
many congregations absorbed this source of income almost entirely. In 
1769 the session enacted "that persons in this congregation intending 
marriage shall have public proclamation made of the same three several 
Sabbath days." There are traces of the same thing in other old Secession 
churches, but it can hardly have superseded the proclamation of banns in 
the parish church. 

In a brief memoir of Mr Gray which appeared in the Christian Magazine 
it is stated that throughout his ministry he generally delivered four discourses 
each Lord s Day. This means that there were three services, and in the 
forenoon he gave both a lecture and a sermon. It was inconsistent with 
efficient pulpit preparation, and in Mr Gray s case it may have aged him 
before his time. It is certain that at the end of twenty-four years the 
congregation took steps to provide him with a colleague, as " he was un 
able to fulfil his ministry to the same extent as formerly." But a section of 
the members had scruples as to ways and means, and they might think it 
better to dispense with the evening service than undertake the maintenance 
of two ministers. The Presbytery also hesitated about going forward, and 
the Synod advised them not to proceed till they had better evidence of it 
being for the ends of edification. 

Second Minister. JAMES GRAY, son of the old minister. Licensed in 
July 1792, when he was little over twenty, and the fact that he was on the 
field may have hastened the movement for a colleague. The call was signed 
by 46 male members, but it was accompanied by a paper from a minority, 
giving reasons why they could not concur in the election of another minister. 
The stipend promised was ^50, the Presbytery having strictly stipulated 
that it should not beless, and Mr Gray was ordained, i6th April 1794. In 
the Old Statistical History we have a view of the congregation s position 
shortly before the collegiate charge began. The stipend of the minister was 
only ^60, but in 1790 the congregation built a commodious house for him, 
and the chapel was very elegantly repaired. Of examinable parishioners 
under his care there were 243, and there would also be a goodly proportion 
from other parishes. The old minister was able to take part in the work 


for other eight years, and only a few weeks before his death he preached 
the communion sermon, though he had to be supported to the place of 
worship. He died, 8th September 1802, in the thirty-fourth year of his 
ministry. In 1806 an effort was made to reduce the debt, and in 1812 the 
stipend was 100, with the manse, and payment of taxes. In 1819 the two 
sections of the Secession were drawing together, and on igth March the con 
gregation met to consider the propriety of petitioning the Synod " to facilitate 
a union in the truth with other denominations." The draft of a petition to that 
effect was unanimously approved of, and Mr Gray was to present it to the 
Synod at its approaching meeting. Nothing as yet of divided counsels, 
and nothing to forebode a parting asunder. 

But in April 1820, when the Articles of Agreement came to be voted on, 
James Gray stood prominent among the dissentients, and in September, 
when the Union was consummated, he stood aloof. All went on for a time 
in pulpit and pew as before, but on 2ist April 1821 the preses, who was on 
the Unionist side, called the managers and trustees together. A rumour 
was going that their minister intended to leave them, and two of their number 
waited on him to say how extremely sorry the congregation would be if he 
came to any such resolution. They were also to express the hope that 
matters would be made up between him and his brethren. But on 2nd May 
the Synod received a letter from Mr Gray and seven others, intimating that 
they could not accede to the Union, as they had not " sufficient security for 
the maintenance of the public cause of the Secession/ 

On the afternoon of the following Monday the congregation met for some 
thing decisive. Mr Gray opened with a sermon from Abraham s words to 
Lot when they were about to part, and before pronouncing the benediction 
he intimated that he was to remain, and asked to be allowed to preside. 
Then a list of the male members was produced and adjusted, making 109 in 
all. Mr Gray then gave his views of the principles involved, and stated that 
he would read over the list of names, and let those who were willing to re 
main under his ministry say so, the state of the vote to be, Continue as 
formerly, or Not ? The result was that 48 voted Continue, 2 voted Not 
Continue, and 26 declined to take part. 

The two parties were more equally balanced than the above would indicate. 
Besides the 48 who voted adherence to Mr Gray, 10 men and 115 women 
afterwards signed a paper of concurrence. The other party mustered 52 
male members, and, as two or three of the majority had passed over to their 
side, the two sections were within a few units of equality. Sagacity and good 
feeling among the leaders availed to arrest legal proceedings about the 
property. The Unionists, indeed, entered their case before the sheriff, but 
this was scarcely done when David Reid, one of their number, mentioned 
at a meeting of the managers that Robert Moir, who was prominent on the 
other side, had expressed his earnest wish that the law process should be 
stopped, and that with this view he and his friends would give up all right 
to the property on the receipt of ^150. The offer seemed reasonable, 
counsels of peace prevailed, and the meeting unanimously agreed to the 
proposal. It is pleasant to have a consummation like this to put upon record, 
and the names of the two mediators are entitled to honourable mention. 

On 29th May 1821 Mr Gray, along with six other ministers and five elders, 
took part in forming the little Synod of Protestors, and on 25th June the 
Presbytery of Forfar declared him out of connection with the United Secession 
Church. Regular supply of sermon was now granted to the party who had 
withdrawn from his ministry. In the interim they had worshipped with 
their brethren in Maisondieu Lane, but in six weeks they were to get posses 
sion of all their former belongings, except the communion tokens. The 


sum of .150 seems little to give in return, but the property was burdened 
with .424 of debt. In July 1822 they brought out a unanimous call to 
Mr James Gilfillan, signed by 38 male members, and the 14 absentees, to 
a man, afterwards gave in a paper of adherence. There was also a paper 
subscribed by 70 persons " who professed friendship to the congregation 
and to the present call." The stipend was to be ^100, and instead of the 
manse, which was occupied by Mr Gray at a rent of ^10, they were to allow 
,15 for a house ; but Mr Gilfillan was appointed to Stirling. 

Third Minister. JOHN CRAIG, who had resigned Kinkell two and a 
half years before. Inducted, 28th August 1823, but it cannot be said that 
prosperity followed. Though animated by a good spirit the people had 
heavy burdens to bear, and instead of adapting himself to his situation Mr 
Craig was complaining before the end of another year that his stipend was 
inadequate, and, though the people agreed to allow him 10 "by way of 
compliment," the money had to be raised by subscription. In 1825 the 
debt was slightly reduced, but in 1826 the income fell short of the expendi 
ture by ^20, " owing to the dearth of provisions and the dulness of trade." 
In 1829 a deputation was sent to Mr Craig to suggest the need for returning 
to a third service each Sabbath if the ^100 was to be raised, but he said 
he considered the call a sufficient guarantee for the sum named, " and he 
would look to the Presbytery to enforce it." The gearing was now getting 
out of sorts, remissness in duty was complained of, and want of interest in his 
people, and it was even moved at a congregational meeting "to apply to the 
Presbytery for a separation." In this state matters continued till February 
1833, and then, apparently with perfect unanimity, they petitioned to have 
the relation between them and Mr Craig brought to an end. 

In the paper presented to the Presbytery it was explained that many of 
them had made great exertions to meet the necessary expenditure, that a 
number had now left off attending, and that many more were threatening 
to do so if no alteration were made. But Mr Craig was not in the mood for 
retiring, and as there were delicate matters involved the case was handed 
over to the Synod. This ended in Mr Craig being recommended to demit 
his charge, " as, from the state of feeling between the parties, he could no 
longer fulfil the duties of the Christian ministry there with advantage," and 
on 4th June 1833 he tabled his resignation to the Presbytery, which was at 
once accepted, and the church declared vacant. But in fixing the arrears 
of stipend he claimed 70, whereas the commissioners produced a written 
account to show their indebtedness to be neither more nor less than 8s. The 
Presbytery pronounced for ^27, ios., which led Mr Craig to intimate an 
appeal to the Synod, but instead of the case coming up his name was put 
on the list of probationers, where it continued for five years. In 1838 he 
was residing in London, where he began a preaching station on his own 
account in Pell Street, which was afterwards formed into a congregation. 
But at a week-evening service there was a sudden collapse in his capacity to 
go on, and it ended his connection with the work there and with the 
exercise of the Christian ministry. He died in Glasgow, 28th July 1847. 
Mr Craig was twice married first, in Kinkell days, to a daughter of the 
Rev. James Pringle, Kinclaven ; and second, to a daughter of the Rev. John 
Thomson, Belford, Northumberland. His daughter, Catherine Pringle 
Craig, was known for her literary gifts, and specially as the authoress of 
Isodore and other Poems," and also of a drama of much merit, entitled 
"Mary, the Mother of Jesus." 

Fourth Minister. JAMES BOYD, M.A., from Wellington Church Glasgow. 
Ordained, 26th August 1835. They had previously called Mr William B 
Berwick, who accepted Bell Street, Dundee. The stipend of ^100 was to 


include everything. Fourteen months afterwards the membership was 184. 
Before Mr Craig left the original debt of ^470 had been augmented to 
^530, but now, through having apparently parted with manse and school, 
the people were able to tell : " There is no debt affecting the property." The 
collections had risen largely, but the income from seat rents was deplorably 
low, averaging only ^24 a year. There was strengthening needed at this 
point if the principle of self-support was to have free course. 

On 1 2th August 1845 tne Presbytery of Arbroath met at Montrose for 
Mr Anderson s ordination, and Mr Boyd was to address the people, but 
the clerk stated that, in consequence of a letter he had received from him, 
he had arranged otherwise. That was the summer in which the Atonement 
Controversy reached its height, and in the afternoon Mr Boyd explained that, 
"owing to his dissatisfaction with the state of matters in our church, he 
intended to withdraw from its communion and attach himself to the Free 
Church." The congregation intimated by commissioners their regret at the 
step their minister was taking, but, as they had no sympathy with the 
feelings he expressed, " they would not offer the slightest objection to the 
acceptance of his demission," which was received accordingly. Mr Boyd 
was admitted into the ministry of the Free Church on the 23rd of that month 
at the Inverness Assembly, and he was inducted to Polmont on 23rd 
September 1846. He died in London, I4th April 1885, in the seventy-sixth 
year of his age and fiftieth of his ministry. 

Fifth Minister. WILLIAM S. HEDDLE, from Kirkwall. Ordained, 2/th 
January 1847. The call was signed by 1 18 members, and the stipend was .105. 
Under Mr Heddle s ministry the congregation prospered, but owing to the 
state of his health he had to retire in little more than three years, amidst the 
regrets of the congregation. The stipend had been paid up, and a sum sent 
to Mr Heddle in addition, " which he had been induced to accept." On I2th 
March 1850 the pastoral tie was dissolved, the Presbytery bearing testimony 
to Mr Heddle s eminent qualifications for the ministry. In November 1851 
he was inducted to the charge of Rosehill, Jamaica, but in 1854 he had to 
remove, first to another part of the island, and then to Scotland. He 
eventually resided in Kirkwall, where he was much respected. He died of 
paralysis, i5th February 1881, aged sixty-one. 

Sixth Minister. SAMUEL HUSTON, a native of Larne in Ireland. In 
the early part of this vacancy the congregation called Mr David Young, who 
accepted Milnathort. The signatures were now about 160, and the stipend 
was to be ,120. Mr Huston had been a student of the English Presbyterian 
Church, but after his trials for licence were sustained by London Presbytery 
he asked permission to make some explanations as to the magistrate s power 
before subscribing the Confession of Faith. This request being refused he 
joined the U.P. Church, and on 22nd July 1851 he was ordained over City Road, 
Brechin. But Mr Huston was now entering on his forties, and after being 
so long engaged in scholastic duties he may have been wanting in adaptation 
for regular ministerial work. Whatever the reason, discontent cropped up 
early, and on 2Qth March 1853 a minute of session brought the divided state 
of the congregation under the notice of the Presbytery. They met with the 
people on the evening of nth April, and of the members present 52 to 36 
voted " Dissatisfied." A private interview followed, and next day Mr Huston s 
resignation was accepted, with complimentary mention of his amiable dis 
position and large acquirements. The congregation had previously decided 
that in the event of Mr Huston leaving they would indemnify him for any 
pecuniary loss he might sustain, and the Presbytery, after all was over, 
expressed their appreciation of the satisfactory manner in which this 
engagement had been fulfilled. 


Mr Huston now remained on the probationer list for three years, and 
then settled down in Newcastle as the proprietor of Elswick Academy, and 
became an elder in Blacket Street congregation. In 1877, when he had 
reached the age of sixty-six, he entered on a mission charge in the Island of 
Alderney, where he was also chaplain to the soldiers, and this post he occupied 
for six years. Brief as his ministry in connection with the U.P. Church was, 
by a benign interpretation of the rules he was placed in 1884 as an annuitant 
on the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund. Mr Huston spent his closing 
years in Belfast, where he died, 3ist July 1899, aged eighty-eight. 

We now reach an interesting chapter in the history of the two congre 
gations which parted company at the Union of 1820, and this takes us back 
over a period of thirty-three vears. Mr Gray s people took possession of their 
new church in the South Port early in 1822. It cost 700, and besides the 
^150 received from the other party they raised ^130 by subscription ; but in 
1836 there was a debt of ,263 resting on the building. The minister was 
true to his convictions of duty, but the congregation by reason of its isolated 
position was bound to decline, and the willingness of his people to exert 
themselves for his support could not overcome the growing difficulties of 
the situation. Unlike his brother in City Road, Mr Gray, finding that the 
funds in 1830 were a good way behind, wrote surrendering ^10 of his stipend. 
Various expedients were adopted "to raise as much as possible," but always 
the treasurer was behind, and in 1840 the minister agreed to accept whatever 
might be over after the common creditors were paid. The amount available 
got less year by year, till it came down to ^62 in 1844. About this time Mr 
Gray completed the fiftieth year of his ministry, and on that occasion the 
Provost of Brechin, in name of the community generally, presented him with 
a purse containing 220 sovereigns. In 1847 the funds only afforded him ^51, 
and on Wednesday, 5th July 1848, he was removed by death, in the seventy- 
seventh year of his age and fifty-fifth of his ministry, having taken ill in the 
train on the previous Friday, when on his way to Kirkintilloch to fulfil a 
preaching engagement. 

It was a question now with the congregation whether they should attempt 
to go on, but Mr Aitken of Aberdeen met with them, and "they unanimously 
agreed to use their utmost endeavours to continue." However, after being 
vacant for a year they were divided about the propriety of calling a minister. 
The fact stared them in the face that the membership was now reduced to 
84, of whom 27 were males and 57 females. Still they ventured forward, 
and had Mr David Simpson ordained over them on New Year s Day 1851, 
the stipend to be ,68 in all. In 1852 the congregation along with their 
minister unanimously acceded to the union with the Free Church. In 1854 
Mr Simpson was called to Laurencekirk, and having left himself in the hands 
of the Presbytery they decided for the translation. The people felt aggrieved, 
and the next we hear is that a proposal to unite with their former brethren 
in City Road had been cordially entertained, and on 25th July 1854 the 
advice of the U.P. Presbytery was asked as to formal procedure. Already 
the union had taken practical shape, and for three Sabbaths the congre 
gations had been worshipping together in the South Port church. On the 
evening of 2gth August the Presbytery met with them in the same place, 
when the Rev. Jarnes Gibson of Brechin preached from the text : " Behold 
how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." 
The basis of union was the U.P. standards, with mutual forbearance where 
slight differences of opinion might exist, and the communion roll was to be 
made up of the combined rolls " in so far as the members of the South Port 
should accede." At the close the united session was constituted, when the 
two sets of elders gave each other the right hand of fellowship. 


In a carefully drawn-up memoir of Mr Gray, which appeared in the 
Original Secession Magazine, it is testified that the breach of 1820 in the 
congregation was comparatively peaceful, and that "he carried with him 
the undiminished respect of almost all who left his ministry, and from not 
a few of them he continued to receive the most decided expressions of 
friendship to his dying day." A little incident at the close of 1836 brings 
out the kindly feeling which prevailed among the leading men in both 
churches towards each other. A legacy of ^25 fell due "for behoof of the 
poor of the Antiburgher congregation," but instead of upholding their 
own exclusive claims Mr Gray s people agreed that, after payment of 
expenses, "the money should be divided between them and their brethren." 
For the spirit displayed by both parties all through the reward came in 
1854, when they entered anew into Church fellowship. City Road had 
recently issued a call to Mr Robert Angus, who accepted Peebles (East), 
and this declinature kept the way open for co-operation in the choice of 

Seventh Minister. HUGH AIRD, M.A., from Greyfriars, Glasgow. 
Called unanimously, and ordained, 3ist January 1855, the services being 
conducted in the South Port church. The stipend was to be ,130, with 
a manse, which was a rise of ^10 compared with the sum named when 
Mr Angus was called. From this and other things it is to be inferred that 
the union did not add greatly to the resources of the congregation. The 
gain was probably more in weight of character than in actual numbers, 
but altogether it was a happy consummation. The united congregation 
worshipped in the South Port church till nth September 1859, when 
they took possession of a new church in City Road, with sittings for 550, 
and built at a cost of ^1200. The funds now admitted of ,20 being 
added to the stipend, which was increased from time to time till in 1882 
it reached ^280. In 1869 a new manse was built at a cost of ^850, of 
which ^650 was raised by the people and ,200 received from the Board. 
Mr Aird, who obtained the degree of D.D. from Glasgow University in 
1889, died, 1 8th July 1895, in the seventy-first year of his age and forty-first 
of his ministry. An elder brother of his, the Rev. John Aird, was for 
fifty years one of our missionaries in Jamaica, first in Mount Olivet, then 
in Bellevue, and then in Goshen. He died, nth February 1889, aged 

Eighth Minister. DAVID M. MORGAN, M.A., translated from Partick 
(Newton Place), where he had been for twelve years, and inducted to City 
Road, 24th December 1895. The present membership is 330, and the 
stipend ,280, with the manse. 


AT the breach of 1747 most of the Seceders about Brechin, like their 
brethren in Montrose, adhered to the Antiburghers ; but a few in both 
places took the other side, and for twenty years they had sermon occasion 
ally between them. For example, in 1752 eight Sabbaths were filled up, 
but next year there were only three, two in Brechin and one in Montrose. 
After 1767 there is no reference in the Burgher minutes to "The Societies 
of Montrose and Brechin," or to preachers supplying at either place on 
their way to Tough or Banchory. How the glimmering light was kept 
burning for the next thirty years there is nothing to indicate, though it is 
understood that ministers passing to and from Aberdeen at communion 
times preached occasionally at Brechin. But in 1798 the cause woke 


up anew, and entered upon vigorous existence. On 26th September of 
that year a petition, signed by 26 men, was laid before Perth Presbytery, 
and it was forthwith agreed to recognise Brechin as a regular vacancy. 
This application is traced very much to a sermon said to have been 
preached at Brechin in the summer of 1798 by Ebenezer Brown of 
Inverkeithing, and we know that Mr Brown was on an evangelistic tour 
in Aberdeenshire, Banff, and Moray in August and September of that 
year, and would almost to a certainty be passing through Brechin on his 
way. But, 1 prior to this, Mr King had come in frequently from Montrose 
on Sabbath evenings and conducted services in what was called the 
Gardeners Lodge. 

Supply was now kept up at Brechin at the rate of about three Sabbaths 
each month, and in the end of 1799 a committee of thirteen was appointed to 
take steps towards the erection of a meeting-house. In the early part of 
the following year the membership consisted of 41 men and 29 women, 
and in 1802 building operations were entered on, the Synod aiding in a 
slight way, but taking security "that, if ever the church be alienated to 
any other purpose, they shall repay the sums received, amounting to ,20." 
Affairs were at a low ebb not long before, and in the first month of the 
century the congregation represented to the Presbytery that unless they 
obtained aid "they would not be able to defray the expense of sermon." 
It was a trying winter for Scotland as well as for Brechin. Then, in 1802, 
we have traces first of a barn and barnyard being purchased for ,105, 
and then of seat rents fixed at from 2s. to 35. a year, and of a gallery in 
course of erection. The building when finished furnished 400 sittings, 
and the debt amounted to ,240. 

First Minister. DAVID BLACKADDER, a native of Blackadderton in 
Berwickshire, but admitted to the Hall from Blair-Drummond. At that 
time he was minded to go abroad as a missionary, and was allowed to 
enter on his theological course after being two years at the university. 
Ordained, 4th April 1804. The call was signed by 57 members, and 
adhered to by 65 ordinary hearers. Among those who joined the con 
gregation about that time were the mother of Dr Thomas Guthrie, his 
brother, afterwards Provost David Guthrie, and their oldest sister. The 
Doctor in his Autobiography gives the following account of the matter. 
Referring to his mother he says : " She felt that the welfare of her own 
soul, and the importance of getting spiritual food on the Lord s day, must 
over-rule all other considerations, and so she sought the teaching of Mr 
Blackadder, and joined herself to the communion of the Seceders." Three 
years before this five elders had been chosen and ordained, and to the pen 
of Dr Guthrie we are indebted for a graphic sketch of a sixth, who was 
his first teacher, though in a very primitive way. " I remember," he says, 
"how impressed I was with the prayers this old man offered up at meetings 
of the congregation. I have never heard anything like them since. With 
a remarkable knowledge of the Bible and perfect mastery of its language, 
he so interwove its sublimest passages into his prayers that they seemed 
like the utterances of a seraph before the throne." Piety of this stamp was 
the strength and the life-blood of our congregations. It might not help 
much with the ^80 of stipend at Brechin, but it did much to advance the 
building up of " a spiritual temple unto the Lord." 

Under Mr Blackadder s ministry things went quietly on year by year. 
In 1806 an addition of 10 was made to the stipend, the congregation being 
of opinion that, owing to the high price of provisions, the present stipend was 
insufficient to maintain him in the station to which his office entitled him. 
In 1820 the congregation set about providing him with a dwelling-house, 


and in 1 836 the debt on the whole property was ^380. The communicants at 
this time were 157 and the stipend ,90, with the manse. Besides preaching 
frequently at different stations on week-days, Mr Blackadder regularly con 
ducted three services in the church on Sabbath, and also superintended the 
Sabbath school. He died, 4th August 1843, m tne seventy-second year of 
his age and fortieth of his ministry. Mr Blackadder was described as a 
stately man, "very kindly and of sunny temperament." He was never 

Second Minister. WILLIAM THOMSON RANKINE, from Galashiels 
(East). Ordained, 2nd September 1844. The call was signed by 101 
members, and the stipend was still ^90, with manse and garden. The people 
went on now with renewed vigour, and in 1845 the remaining debt of ,250 
was cleared off with the aid of ,100 from the Liquidation Board. In 1849 
the old church was replaced by another on the same site, with 500 sittings, 
and in 1859 the stipend was ,100, or ^10 higher than before. Mr Rankine 
died, 24th June 1860, in the forty-second year of his age and sixteenth of 
his ministry, "after a long and severe illness, borne with remarkable 
patience and resignation." He is said to have been a man " of cultured 
mind and refined tastes, but hampered by ill-health." 

Third Minister. ALEXANDER H. DRYSDALE, M.A., from Bridge of 
Allan. The first call was declined, but it was promptly followed by a 
second, unanimous and cordial, and Mr Drysdale was ordained, 23rd June 
1861. The stipend was to be ,120, with the manse, "and interest on 100 
for a life insurance." This last was a legacy from Provost Guthrie, who 
died in May 1854, and to whose work and worth a Minute of the congrega 
tion bears high testimony. Almost from the beginning he had been one of 
its most valued members, and " contributed much to its support, both by his 
means and his personal example." On 4th June 1867 Mr Drysdale accepted 
a call to Rochdale, Lancashire, and was loosed from Maisondieu Lane. In 
1883 he was translated to Morpeth, Northumberland, where he still ministers. 
His " History of the Presbyterians in England," published in 1889, is a book 
of enduring value, and evidences a large amount of care and labour skilfully 
and successfully employed. 

Fourth Minister. THOMAS KIRK, from Erskine Church, Stirling. The 
membership was now 230 and the stipend ^150 instead ,120. There was 
a minority of 19 in favour of Mr Peter Stewart, a preacher from Campbeltown, 
who died on 2nd April 1868. A protest taken against sustaining, on the 
ground of illegal correspondence, bore only one signature, and it came to 
nothing. Mr Kirk had been previously called, first to Kinkell, and then to 
two places in Orkney, Holm and Sandwick, but these calls were at once 
declined. Banff came next, and was accepted, but Brechin intervened and 
secured the preference, even at that late hour. The ordination took place 
on 22nd April 1868. On 26th March 1873 Mr Kirk accepted a call to 
Haymarket, Edinburgh. 

Fifth Minister. GEORGE MORRISON, M.A., who had resigned Gourock 
three years before in uncertain health. After spending a couple of years on 
the Continent and in America he returned to Scotland, and was inducted to 
Brechin, i8th March 1874. C* n Thursday, I2th November, he spent the 
evening at Coupar- Angus, in Dr Marshall s manse, with whose family he was 
expected to become united in marriage bonds. On retiring to his bedroom 
about midnight the death spasm came, and next morning he was found 
stretched on the bed, partially undressed ; but all was over. He was in the 
thirty-third year of his age and ninth of his ministerial life. Soon after his 
death a volume of his discourses was published, with a biographical and 
critical sketch from the pen of the Rev. Fergus Ferguson, then of Dalkeith. 


Sixth Minister. JAMES .LANDRETH, M.A., son of the Rev. Peter 
Landreth, once of Aberchirder, but better known in the literary world. 
Mr James Landreth, when a preacher, had received three Orkney calls in 
close succession from Westray, Sunday, and Stromness not to mention 
Cabrach. Ordained, 26th January 1876, the stipend being then ,160, with 
the manse. Under his ministry of eight years the congregation made steady 
progress, and at the close there was a membership of 288. On 26th February 
1884 the Presbytery of Arbroath met, pro re nata, and a letter was read 
from Mr Landreth, tendering the resignation of his charge, "as he feels he 
is out of harmony with the ecclesiastical policy of the U.P. Church." On 
4th March, when the case came to be disposed of, the congregation in 
timated that they had nothing to suggest, and the Presbytery in accepting 
Mr Landreth s resignation, recorded their "satisfaction with the ability and 
success with which he has discharged the duties of the ministry in Maisonclieu 
Lane." At next General Assembly he was received into the Established 
Church, and he was chosen soon after to be parish minister of Logic-Pert, 
near Brechin, where he still labours. 

There was now a short period of confusion. At the first moderation the 
number of candidates nominated gave evidence that there was not ripeness 
for an election. In the final vote there was a majority for Mr Charles 
Christie, M.A., Dunblane, but the call, having only 84 names out of 283, 
was beneath the level of validity, and the Presbytery did not sustain it. 
The commissioners acquiesced, but Mr Christie felt aggrieved, and with 
drew first from the preachers list and then from the denomination. At 
the Assembly of 1885 he was received into the Established Church as a 
probationer, and in 1 886 he became minister of Augustine Chapel, Greenock, 
his present charge. In the end of the year the congregation called Mr 
David Smith with entire unanimity, but he accepted St Ninians. 

Seventh Minister. WILLIAM GRAY, M.A., from Stonehouse, one of 
three brothers who became ministers in the U.P. Church, at Rothesay, 
Brechin, and Cathcart, Glasgow, respectively. Ordained, 22nd April 1885. 
The stipend was ^180 at first, with the manse, but in two years it rose to 
,200. Maisondieu Lane, which was long the weakest of the three Brechin 
churches, both in numbers and resources, was now coming abreast of the 
others, and in one respect it resolved to take the lead. A new church was 
planned for in another situation, the cost of which reached .6000. It was 
opened on I7th April 1892, by Mr Gray s former minister, the Rev. H. A. 
Paterson, Stonehouse, when the name was changed into Maisondieu, the 
undignified appendage dropping away. On 7th December 1896 Mr Gray 
accepted a call to Cambuslang, and was loosed from Brechin. 

Eighth Minister. JOHN T. ALLAN, from Broughton Place, Edinburgh. 
Ordained, 26th May 1897. The membership at the close of 1899 was about 
350 and the stipend ,200, with the manse. 


AT a meeting of the Relief Presbytery of Perth on 29th December 1829 
regular supply of sermon was granted to Brechin on an application from the 
Rev. John Cross of Dundee, and exactly six months after that a congrega 
tion was formed. In December 1830 the people wished to proceed with a 
moderation, but the Presbytery " earnestly enjoined them to cultivate peace 
and unanimity among themselves, suffer no undue influence to bias their 
minds in the choice of a minister, and if they cannot agree about their 
present candidates, to make trial of others." This well-timed counsel put back 


procedure, and gave disunion leisure to die out. On 3oth June 1830, the 
day after being organised, the congregation leased a place of worship in the 
High Street for fifty-seven years. It was an English Episcopal chapel, and 
had been built a century before. When the town was visited by the forces 
of the Duke of Cumberland in 1746 it was partially burned, the members 
being looked on as friendly to the rebels. The building was repaired and 
reoccupied, but, as there was a Scottish Episcopal church in Brechin, it 
could be dispensed with. The Relief people became responsible for a debt 
of ^150 which rested on it, but they were to be relieved or repaid at the 
expiry of the lease. The terms were surprisingly easy, but within a few 
years .500 had to be laid out on needed repairs. 

First Minister. JAMES GOODWIN, from Kilsyth, but brought up in 
Glasgow under the ministry of Dr Struthers. Ordained, 2ist December 
1831. Mr Allan was ordained at Arbroath on the previous day, and Mr 
Stirling at Kirriemuir a few months before. It was the Relief Church 
lengthening her cords in Angus-shire. A fourth attempt was made in the 
town of Forfar, but it proved a failure. In Brechin Mr Goodwin built up a 
large congregation. So early as 1836 there were 650 names on the com 
munion roll, and the sittings, 536 in number, were all let, the highest at 
45. a year. The stipend engaged for was ^100, but the people were 
now giving ^20 additional. Since 1832 the seat rents had risen from 66 
to ,90, the collections from ^85 to ,120, and of the debt on the building 
^50 had been paid up. The public work on Sabbath was three services one 
half of the year and two services the other. Thus all went on successfully 
till Sabbath, 4th July 1847, when Mr Goodwin preached forenoon and after 
noon, but was taken suddenly ill on his way home. Reaching the house, he 
lay down on the sofa, and in a few minutes breathed his last. He was in 
the forty-eighth year of his age and sixteenth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. JAMES GIBSON, who had recently resigned Dun- 
fermline. This step was taken to facilitate the union of his congregation 
with Professor M Michael s, and there was widespread satisfaction when, 
within six months, he was invited to High Street, Brechin. At the modera 
tion 179 voted for Mr Gibson and 152 for the Rev. Alexander Walker, 
formerly of Newcastle, but the call was signed by more than the two 
numbers put together. Inducted, I4th March 1848. The membership at 
Mr Goodwin s death was over 700 ; but in their stipend arrangements it 
cannot be said that they devised liberal things. At a congregational meeting 
it carried to give ^110 in preference to larger proposals, many of those 
who went in for this limited provision being probably of opinion that, look 
ing at their own scanty incomes, nothing more was needed. Under Mr 
Gibson s ministry the work of compacting went on, but in a congregation 
which had been rapidly collected this involved a formidable reduction in 
membership, which in itself was discouraging. So after labouring in Brechin 
for eight years Mr Gibson agreed to go out to Canada under the auspices 
of the Mission Board, and a pro re nata meeting of Presbytery was held on 
9th April 1856 to receive the tender of his demission. The reasons given 
in by the congregation against his leaving were strongly supported by the 
commissioners, but he declined to recede from his engagement, and the 
pastoral bond was dissolved. Very soon after reaching Canada Mr Gibson 
was inducted to Sydenham, Owen Sound, where he had at first a member 
ship of 40 and an attendance of about 100. After labouring there with 
success for a few years he removed to New York, where he died of a painful 
illness on 7th April 1860, in the forty-ninth year of his age and twenty-sixth 
of his ministry. He was the father of the Rev. John Monro Gibson, D.D., 
of St John s Wood, London, a name well known in the Presbyterian Church 
of England, and far beyond it. 


Third Minister PETER DAVIDSON, from Craigdam, who had been 
nreviouslv called to Shiels and Stonehaven. The membership was down now 
To 400, which implies a large melting away from the outskirts of the encamp 
ment yet the stipend was to be 140, or ^30 more than when there were 
718 names on the communion roll. The call was signed by 222 members, 
instead of 333 as on last occasion, and Mr Davidson was ordained 2 4 th 
December i 856. In two years his stipend was raised to i 50. In February 
1860 Mr Davidson was invited to take charge of the mission station in 
South Gray s Close, Edinburgh, but he decided to remain in Brechm On 
7th February 1862 he intimated to the Presbytery that illness in his family 
necessitated their removal to a wanner climate, and that he had accepted a 
call to Adelaide, South Africa. The congregation, as the case admitted oi 
no alternative, acquiesced, and amidst ample recognition of the prosperity 
which High Street Church had enjoyed during his five years ministry the 
bond was severed. Mr Davidson laboured in Adelaide till 1893, when he 
retired from active service. He died, 3ist December 1895, in the seventy- 
third year of his age and fortieth of his ministry, having taken part in pulpit 
work the Sabbath immediately preceding. 

Mention should be made of a terrible trial which befell Mr Davidson and 
his family sixteen years before. In June 1879, when the mother and 
children were on a visit to Glenthorn, their little boy of four mysteriously 
disappeared on a Sabbath afternoon while communion work was going on. 
Every nook and crevice of the country around was explored, hundreds being 
engaged in the search for four days, but no trace of the child could be 
found. The last they heard of him was that a Kaffir maid on her way to the 
service had seen him about a quarter of a mile from the house, 
blow," wrote the father, "has taken away a great part of my earthly life. 
Durin^ eight shaded years rumours came from time to time that a boy 
answering to the description had been found, but these were mere air 
bubbles upon troubled waters. At last, when grief was calm and hope was 
dead, the remains of the lost child were discovered in a mountain cave four 
or five miles from Glenthorn church. It was for the mother now to go 
through and identify her own by "the buttons, boots, and part of the 
clothing." Beyond the fact that this must have been the work of heathen 
Kaffirs nothing was ever known. 

In November 1862 High Street congregation called Mr Richard Leitch, 
probationer, from Coldstream (West), but he was already under call to 
Blacket Street, Newcastle, where he was ordained, 28th January 1863. 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT WORKMAN ORR, son of the Rev. William 
Orr of Fenwick. Ordained, 22nd December 1863. On 22nd September 
1875 a new church on another site was opened, and the name of the congre 
gation changed from High Street to Bank Street. The sittings are 650, 
arid the cost was ,4000. The present membership is a little over 300, and 
Mr Orr s stipend has risen by degrees from ,170 to ,250, with a manse. 


THE first Seceders about Arbroath formed part of Dumbarrow congregation, 
nine miles to the west, but there is reason to believe that they had occasional 
services from an early period. Kinclaven books, for example, show that there 
was no sermon there on a certain Sabbath in 1762, as their minister was at 
Arbroath. Their own records begin in December 1783, and they speak of 
an elder who had been disjoined from Dumbarrow " along with the rest in 
1782," which fixes the year of the congregation s origin. Another elder had 


settled down since then in Arbroath, and these two were constituted into a 
session on 24th February 1784. In 1791 the people set about erecting a 
place of worship, and we find, accordingly, that in January 1792 Alyth con 
gregation had a collection " for Arbroath in straits, being under the necessity 
of building a new meeting-house." In a memorial notice of Robert Greig, 
merchant in Arbroath, which appeared in the Christian Magazine for 1807, 
it is explained that, "being few in number, and none of them in affluent 
circumstances, they were not able to contribute much." A church and 
manse having to be provided, this worthy man laid out at that time upwards 
of ^600 in the interests of the congregation, ^400 of which he freely dis 
charged some years after, and the other ,200 before his death. It was his 
custom besides to make up in a great measure any deficit in the yearly 
balance. Beneficence like this in a sacred cause deserves commemoration. 

In 1785 a call signed by 23 male members was addressed to Mr James 
Browning, but the Synod appointed him to Auchtermuchty (North). In 
1788 a second moderation was applied for, but Mr Young of Dumbarrow 
objected because Arbroath people had still accounts to settle with his con 
gregation. The matter was put to rights by a payment of ^2, us. 6d., "to 
be in full for all demands." A call followed to Mr William Wilson, who 
comes up more fully under Kinclaven ; but it was not harmonious, and on 
the plea of irregularities it was set aside. 

First Minister. JAMES MILLER, from Comrie. Ordained, I4th July 
1789. The stipend was ^55, and it is to be assumed that there was also a 
manse in near prospect. After going on for seven years there was a 
membership of 70. Among those who had been accustomed travelling 
eight or nine miles to church there was sure to be a large infusion of the 
rigid element. Hence turmoil arose in 1790 over an election of elders, the 
allegation being that more than one of those chosen wanted the qualification 
of having " a good report of them that are without." The evil reached its 
height when the "New Light Testimony" was in course of being enacted. 
In April 1804, on a petition against the proposed change being presented to 
the session for transmission to the Synod, it came out that of the elders 
three were on the Old Light side, and only two went with the Moderator. At 
a meeting in May 1805, when arrangements were being made for observing 
the Lord s Supper, " a majority of the elders and a number of the people." 
as Professor Bruce put it, " declared against proceeding upon the new terms," 
It might have been well if the parties had agreed to defer the observance, 
but the matter was carried to the Presbytery, by whom minister and session 
were enjoined to go forward under the Synod s recent deeds. At next 
meeting of session the three " Old Light " elders gave in a declinature, and 
withdrew, leaving their two brethren and Mr Miller to take their own way. 
Before the year closed four others were ordained, including David Lumgair, 
a family name which long had prominence both in this congregation and 
in the town of Arbroath. 

North Grimsby Street Church must have suffered seriously at this time, 
though Dr Scott of Saltcoats goes too far in making those who left about 
half the membership. Professor Bruce speaks of them as a number of the 
people, and the petitions sent up to the Synod against the New Testimony 
were signed by only 17 or 18 members, male and female. This party wor 
shipped for fifteen years in a schoolroom, and might almost be looked on as 
a branch of Mr Aitken s congregation at Kirriemuir, twenty-one miles 
distant. In 1821 they had Mr Benjamin Laing, a son of the Rev. Robert 
Laing, first of Duns and then of America, ordained over them, but in 1829 
he resigned "owing to difficulties and discouragements." He was subse 
quently admitted to Colmonell. After the congregation had gone on for 


thirty years there were 89 names on the communion roll, and the stipend 
was /8o in all The minister at this time was the Rev. John Sandison, who 
with the majority of his people united with the Free Church m 1852. The 
little party who kept by the old ground retained the property, and under 
their present minister, the Rev. Alexander Stirling, they had a membership 
of 145 in 1884, and furnished a stipend of ^153, with a manse, betokening 
prosperity beyond what was to be looked for. 

After the disruption Mr Miller moved on, with weakened resources, and 
in i8n his stipend was only ^80, and a house. In 1817 disaster came in 
the form of charges seriously affecting his moral character, and though the 
Presbytery pronounced against the accuser the people with apparent un 
animity insisted on his removal. The case being referred to the Supreme 
Court, it was declared that, though there was nothing proven against Mi- 
Miller, "the alienation of affection on the part of the congregation was such 
that the Synod found his continuance in Arbroath would not promote the 
great ends of the gospel ministry." Having accepted a mission to America 
he was loosed from his charge, 7th October 1818. On landing in the United 
States he joined the Associate Synod, and was admitted to Putnam, 
Washington County, New York, and continued there till 1826, when he 
was deposed for immorality of the same stamp as was charged against him 
in Arbroath. Dr Scoullcr in his manual adds : " His subsequent history is 
not known." The end showed that the aversions of congregations are not 
always at fault. 

In 1819 the congregation called Mr William Hannah, but he declined to 
accept, owing to want of harmony, and after a time was ordained over the 
other Secession congregation in the place (now Erskine Church). In 
August 1820 they called Mr David Young, and came up with the stipend 
from 2 8 to l . At next meeting of Presbytery, to help them in the 
competition with Carnoustie, the commissioners intimated an additional rise 
of 2s- Three months afterwards Mr Young stated that "he would take the 
call to Arbroath in preference to any vacancy in Angus," but the North 
Church, Perth, pressed in, to which he was appointed by the Synod. In 
February 1822 Mr David Allison became their unanimous choice, and the 
call was accepted ; but Stewartfield intervened, and Arbroath was again 
disappointed. At this time the congregation suffered through a number of 
Mr Hannah s friends withdrawing, and joining the other church, so that the 
younger was strengthened at the expense of the elder. 

Second Minister. ]OSKPH HAY, a son of the Rev. James Hay of Alyth. 
Anstruther came forward with a rival call, but the time to favour Arbroath 
had now come, and Mr Hay was ordained, I5th October 1823. The stipend 
named was ^105, with house and garden, and at this figure it stood thirteen 
years afterwards, with the addition of a piece of land valued at ,15 or 20 a 
year. In 1836 there were 225 communicants. The church had been en 
larged the year after Mr Hay s settlement, and it was now seated for over 
700. The debt on the property might be reckoned at ,550. Throughout 
his whole ministry, or at least until visited with partial blindness, Mr Hay 
was abundant in labours. At the date just mentioned he was able to report 
an attendance of 233 young people at his weekly classes. He was also 
accustomed preaching in the villages around, and of the sick visited by him 
about one-half, and of the young instructed by him nearly three-fourths, 
were not of his own congregation. Work like this must have been productive 
of untold good, and at the centre of all else there was the building-up of his 
people, Sabbath by Sabbath, in solid acquaintance with the Word of God, 
while his consistent life gained him the respect of the whole community. 
Mr Hay was Moderator of Synod at the memorable meeting in July 1845, 


when Dr Marshall of Kirkintilloch libelled Dr John Brown for heresy. He 
died, nth July 1859, in the sixty-third year of his age and thirty-sixth of his 

On taking steps to obtain a successor to Mr Hay harmony was disturbed. 
Canvassing was alleged, and some were against going forward, but at the 
moderation the only candidate proposed was Mr John Wilson, Ph.D. If 
any unkindly feeling lingered it was superseded by Mr Wilson s acceptance 
of Mitchell Street, Glasgow. 

Third Minister. ROBERT JOHNSTON, I.L.B., from Biggar (now Moat 
Park). Ordained, 4th December 1860, the stipend to be ^130, with the 
manse. Within ten months Mr Johnston was called to Shamrock Street, 
Glasgow ; but removal would have been premature, and he elected to stay. 
The present church, with 850 sittings, and built at a cost of ^2600, was 
opened, 2/th January 1867, and the name changed from N. Grimsby Street 
to Princes Street. In the earlier part of his ministry at Arbroath Mr 
Johnston published the first of his expository works : " Lectures, Exegetical 
and Practical, on the Epistle of James. On 5th December 1871 he accepted 
a call to Parliamentary Road, Glasgow, and was loosed from Arbroath, 
where he had been for eleven years and a single day. 

The membership of Princes Street was now considerably over 410, and 
the stipend was to be ,200, with the manse. At the first moderation Mr 
Peter Morton, afterwards of Strathaven, had an absolute majority over other 
two preachers , but the call was not signed by over three-sevenths of the 
members, and he very considerately declined to accept. 

Fourth Minister. ARCHIBALD B. CAMERON, B.D., from Newmilns. 
Mr Cameron had declined St Paul s, Birkenhead, and had also been called 
to Belfast, an honour to which a succession of preachers attained in those 
days. Ordained, 26th March 1873, an d remained there till 25th April 1882, 
when he accepted College Street, Edinburgh. The communion roll had 
now risen to 450. 

Fifth Minister. JAMES MURRAY, from Kilmarnock (King Street). 
Ordained, 2oth December 1882. The membership at the close of 1899 was 
over 530, and the stipend .262, IDS. with a manse. 


AN unsuccessfulattempt was made to forma Burgher congregation in Arbroath 
towards the end of last century, and a member of the Antiburgher Church, 
we find, was dealt with by his session for making himself active in promoting 
the movement. The petitioners were thirty-one in number, and their ap 
plication came before the Burgher Presbytery of Perth on i6th December 
1794, and was partially successful. In August 1797 the Synod allowed them 
,20 to aid with debt contracted in paying for their meeting-house, but within 
three months the parties wished all appointments cancelled. At next Synod 
" the treasurer reported that he had not paid the people of Arbroath the ^20, 
as he learnt they had fallen from their design of forming themselves into a 
congregation." From this time all is blank till i8th May 1813, when the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen appointed Mr King of Montrose to preach in Arbroath 
any Sabbath in June that he might find most suitable. Sermon followed at 
intervals, and on 4th April 1814 a number of inhabitants, designating them 
selves heads of families, requested constant supply. The matter took more 
definite shape on 27th June, when twenty-three persons petitioned to be formed 
into a congregation. The result was that on 7th July Mr Blackadder of 
Brechin met with the applicants, received them into communion, and pro- 



ceeded at once with an election of elders. On the fourth Sabbath of August 
this little company were to have the Lord s Supper dispensed among them, 
and three of their number were to be ordained to the office of the eldership 
on the preceding Thursday. 

In Hay s "History of Arbroath" Dr M Kelvie s statement is contravened 
that this congregation originated in dissatisfaction with the services of the 
Established Church. The author alleges that their number was very small, 
which is quite true, and that very few of them, if any, had been members of 
the Established Church. It cpmes out, at least, that of the 23 who formed 
the nucleus of the congregation the whole number were from outside, not 
one of them having previously been in communion with the Burgher Synod. 
For eight or nine years they met, first in Croal s Rooms, and then in the 
Trades Hall, and in April 1815, and again in September 1817, they were 
allowed 10 from the Synod Fund to assist them in obtaining supply ot 
sermon In 1818 they explained to the Presbytery that they contemplated 
having a church built, and a petition to the Synod for aid was answered by 
a grant of 20. In 1819 a like sum was allowed them, and congregations 
which had given them reason to expect assistance were recommended " to 
fulfil these expectations." The church which they had in contemplation was 
not opened till 1821. It had sittings for 630, but, according to the above 
authority, it remained for a time in an unfinished state, without flooring, and 
the end windows not in. There were few to share the burden as yet, their 
own account being that " there were rather more than 40 members in the 
congregation." It is all in contrast with the strength and importance which 
Erskine Church, Arbroath, has since acquired. 

First Minister. WILLIAM HANNAH, from Wigtown. Ordained, I5th 
August 1822. Before the Union the Antiburgher congregation of Arbroath 
had divided over the same candidate, and, as the. minority refused to 
harmonise with their brethren, Mr Hannah firmly declined to accept. The 
Union having taken place, the resolve was formed to have him for the 
minister of the new church, and with this view supporters of his had been 
finding their way from the one congregation into the other without being 
regularly disjoined. This was complained of, and even brought under the 
notice of the Synod. But with strength augmented by these accessions the 
people saw their way to offer a stipend of 100 guineas. In February 1829 
Forfar Presbytery arranged that each minister should give the congregation 
a day gratuitously, as their minister had been laid aside for some months by 
severe illness. On 23rd March Mr Hannah died, in the forty-second year of 
his age, as given on the tombstone, and the seventh of his ministry. A 
nephew of his, the Rev. Peter Hannah, became minister of Wigtown, their 
native congregation, at an after time. 

During this vacancy the congregation called Mr William Nisbet, but 
after Cowgate, Edinburgh, came in they wished to proceed no further. The 
Presbytery, however, having learned from the commissioners that the peti 
tion to have the call withdrawn was the result of private correspondence, 
refused to grant the request, the right to pronounce on rival calls belonging 
to the Synod alone, and leaving room for no underhand adjustments. But 
at next meeting the petitioners carried their point. "They cannot see," they 
said, "any reason for continuing the process, as the said Mr William Nisbet 
is now ordained pastor of the congregation in the Cowgate, Edinburgh." 

Second Minister. PETER DAVIDSON, from Dundee (now Bell Street). 
The call was signed by 155 members, and the stipend was 100 guineas as 
before, only with ^10 additional for sacramental expenses. In the prosecution 
of this call a family name comes up, long and honourably known since then 
in connection with Erskine Church, Arbroath, that of Mr David Corsar. Mr 


Davidson was ordained, gth March 1831, and on igth July 1836 he accepted 
a call to Stockbridge, Edinburgh (now Eyre Place). When in Arbroath he 
published a sermon, entitled "The Voluntary Support of the Gospel Vindicated 
and Explained as an Ordinance of Christ." He had preached it at Alyth in 
1833, when moderating in a call there, and also from his own pulpit, and 
" a request for its publication was transmitted to him, subscribed by upwards 
of 200 individuals." 

Third Minister. ALEXANDER SORLEY, from Falkirk (now Erskine 
Church). The signatures amounted to 184, and the stipend was to be ,120, 
with 12 for expenses. The call was presented to him in January 1837, but 
he was not prepared to accept at once. He had already set aside a call 
from Cumbernauld and another of less importance from West Kilbride. On 
20th February he wrote the clerk, intimating his acceptance of Arbroath, 
but at the meeting of Presbytery on I4th March he was not forward with his 
trials. Eight days after this the congregation of Lothian Road, Edinburgh, 
met for a moderation, and the vote stood thus : 195 for Mr Andrew Thomson, 
and 1 66 for Mr Alexander Sorley. There was nothing now between Arbroath 
and the object of their choice, and the ordination took place, 2oth June 1837. 
Under Mr Sorley s ministry the congregation grew and prospered. The 
time when he began was favourable, the population of the burgh increasing 
by about one-third between 1831 and 1841. During the vacancy the com 
municants were put at 274, and the average attendance at nearly double that 
number. There was a debt of .200, but it was in course of melting away. 
The weak point in their finances was the seat rents, which only yielded 
^40 a year, but the funds by-and-by passed into a sounder state, and in 
1859 they furnished a stipend of .180. The present church, with some 800 
sittings, was opened on Sabbath, 6th July 1851, by Dr King of Glasgow. 
It cost about 1300, which the hall and other accessories raised to ^2000. 
On I5th May 1875 Mr Sorley, owing to failing health, resigned his place as 
acting minister of Erskine Church, the congregation allowing him ,150 a 
year as a retiring allowance. 

Fourth Minister HENRY ANGUS, M.A., son of the Rev. Henry Angus, 
Aberdeen. Ordained over Union Church, Sunderland (now Trinity Church), 
on 2nd March 1859, and inducted as colleague and successor to Mr Sorley, 
9th February 1876. The stipend was fixed at .360. Mr Sorley died, 23rd 
January 1877, in the sixty-seventh year of his age and fortieth of his ministry. 
Mr Angus received the degree of D.D. from Aberdeen University in 1889. 
The membership at the close of 1899 reached 600, and the stipend was .4360, 
as before. 


THIS congregation had a prior history, the details of which are not easily got 
hold of. It is certain that the church was built in 1825 for Mr John Graham, 
who possessed great elocutionary gifts, and had previously ministered to a 
Methodist congregation in the town. For some reason he left that connec- 
ion, taking the greater part of his people with him. He and they assumed 
the name of Relief Methodists, a hybrid between what they had been and 
what they were to become. In 1827 Mr Graham set out for England to 
raise funds to free the church from its burdens, but, instead of returning, he 
settled down as minister of Wallknoll Chapel, Newcastle, a church out of all 
ecclesiastical connection. In this isolated state minister and people re 
mained till 1 2th August 1835, when, with the sanction of the Synod, they 
were received into the Relief communion by the Presbytery of Kelso. Here 


we part with Mr Graham, to meet him again under the history of Blackfriars 
Relief Church, Glasgow. Park Street pulpit had been occupied for some 
time by a locum tenens, but when the membership went down to 52 he 
thought it time to leave. His, no doubt, is one of the cases to which the 
parish minister s assistant made reference in the New Statistical History : 
"Within the period of a very few years three ministers have been literally 
starved out of the town by their congregations," the Independents and 
Wesleyan Methodists furnishing the additional material out of which this 
weapon against Dissenters was fashioned. 

When matters were at this low ebb in Park Street the trustees of the 
chapel applied to the Relief Presbytery of Perth for sermon, which was 
granted on 3oth March 1830. Without waiting to be congregated the people 
applied for a moderation, but they were not sufficiently consolidated for this, 
neither had they security as yet for retaining their place of worship. How 
ever, the trustees were accommodating, and on 27th July a congregation 
was constituted, with a membership of about 60. In March 1831 they called 
Mr George Boag, who declined, and was settled a year afterwards in Brandon 
Street, Hamilton. 

First Minister. WILLIAM ALLAN, from Tollcross, Glasgow. Ordained, 
20th December 1831, the managers undertaking to pay him ,70 a year to 
begin with. In 1836 the membership was returned at little under 250, and 
the stipend was ,120. Of the -5 72 sittings the number let had grown from 
70 to 200, and the uniform charge was 35. 6d. a year. The great drawback 
was the burden of over ,600 upon the building. Owing to this the stipend 
of ,120 could not be maintained, and in 1859 it was only .100. But that 
year the Board guaranteed a grant of ,150 for the liquidation of the debt, 
and the people must have grappled successfully with upwards of .450. 
For eleven years more Mr Allan laboured on, his stipend sharing in the 
benefit of the improved situation. He died, 22nd October 1871, in the 
seventy-first year of his age and fortieth of his ministry. " He was," said 
George Gilfillan, " a man who, with some peculiarities, possessed a vast fund 
of knowledge and much kindness of heart." He succeeded in building up 
Park Street Church by unremitting and laborious service. 

Second Minister. JAMES HOWAT, from Muirkirk. Ordained, loth July 
1872. The communion roll suffered a big reduction at the transition time, 
but in 1878 there was a membership of almost 500, and the stipend was 
,230. In 1887 the church underwent extensive renovation, becoming very 
much a new building, and it was opened in February 1888 by the Moderator 
of Synod, the Rev. J. B. Smith of Greenock. The expenses, amounting to 
between ,1600 and ,1700, were met partly by a bazaar and partly by a 
legacy from the widow of one of the elders. The present membership is 
about 450 and the stipend ,230, as given above. 


THE original seat of this congregation was Barrymuir, two or three miles to 
the west of Carnoustie. On 8th April 1788 a petition from 171 persons in 
the parishes of Panbride, Barry, Monifieth, and Monikie, setting forth their 
want of the gospel in its purity, and craving supply of sermon, was laid 
before the Antiburgher Presbytery of Perth, and it was agreed to grant them 
a few days preaching. But Mr Young of Dumbarrow voted against this, as 
he had a sprinkling of families from that wide district, and his opposition 
had to be bought off by an arrangement to reimburse his congregation for 
the loss their funds might sustain by the new erection. On nth July it was 


reported that steps were being taken for securing ground at Barrymuir on 
which to build a place of worship. The spot fixed on was unattractive, and 
the country around thinly peopled, but Carnoustie was not then in existence 
to put in a rival claim. On 3rd March 1789, 16 members from Uumbarrow, 
along with 8 from Dundee (now Bell Street), were formed into a congrega 
tion. Such of the outside petitioners as inclined were left free to seek 
admission by acceding to the Secession Testimony, and on this footing 1 1 
were added some months later. An elder was also disjoined from Arbroath 
in 1792 and annexed to Barry. 

When or how the Secession first got footing in this locality is uncertain. 
Dr M Kelvie puts it as early as 1744, and he ascribes it to several parish 
ioners of Monikie having taken offence at their minister, the Rev. James 
Goodsir, for not joining the Four Brethren, "after the support he had given 
to their measures." Mr Goodsir, it is true, was one of the forty-two ministers 
who remonstrated against the Act of Assembly which provoked Ebenezer 
Erskine s Synod sermon, but he died in less than a month after the eventful 
meeting at Gairney Bridge. Now, when half-a-century had passed, there 
was double possession taken, the "East Muir kirk" being built at Barry for 
the Antiburghers and the "West Muir kirk" at Newbigging for the 
Burghers, with some miles between. In September 1789 an election of 
elders was arranged for at Barry, two of their number who had held office 
at Dumbarrow to be received if no objections were offered. In December a 
call was brought out for Mr Samuel Gilfillan, whom the Synod in May 1790 
appointed to Cornrie. 

First Minister. SIMON SOMMERVILLE, from Lauder (First congrega 
tion). The call was signed by 37 male members and 99 adherents. Or 
dained, gth November 1791. The stipend promised was ^50, with a house, 
and "they would, as far as in their power, provide him with a horse for 
sacraments and for the Presbytery, and would assist with fuel driving." Of 
Mr Sommerville s work among the young the Missionary Magazine for 
1797 has the following notice : "At Barry the Seceding minister began a 
Sunday School in the beginning of Summer, which has succeeded beyond 
his most sanguine expectations. Not less than 60 young people attend 
every Sabbath morning." But before this there were signs that all was not 
moving smoothly at Barrymuir. In 1794 Mr Sommerville s continuous 
absence from meetings of Presbytery was found fault with, and he wrote 
in reply that the horse which the congregation promised him for these 
occasions had not been provided. In 1798 he brought up that his stipend 
was not sufficient, nor regularly paid ; but the congregation did not see how 
they could advance it, and the Presbytery counselled the raising of the seat 
rents by at least is. a year, which would bring from ^5 to 10 additional. 
We hear nothing further till 27th August 1804, when Mr Sommerville tabled 
his resignation, advancing some charges against his people with which "the 
Presbytery expressed their highest disapprobation." On gth October the 
Provincial Synod of Perth brought the ill-assorted union to an end. A few 
months after this Mr Sommerville threatened to raise an action against the 
congregation in the Court of Session over some money demands, but the 
Presbytery wrote him that he had no claim, and ordered him to let the 
matter drop. He could afford now to forget Barry and its affairs, as he was 
already inducted into the far more important charge of Elgin (Moss Street). 

Barry now called Mr Robert Buchanan, promising a stipend of ^65, with 
a house and an acre of ground. They were also to drive fuel as before, but 
there was no further mention of a horse. While waiting the disposal of the 
call they came up ,5, but the Synod none the less preferred Dalkeith (Back 
Street) to Barry. 


Second Minister.-}^ MURRAY, who had retired from John shaven 
three years before. Inducted, 3 ist December 1806. As these two calls were 
each signed by only 37 male members, the same number as in I 7 94, we fear 
that little had come of the 171 outsiders who petitioned for the first supply 
of sermon Money demands and strict terms of communion may have been 
too much for the surface zeal of the majority. But when the third year of 
Mr Murray s ministry was closing a step was taken which led the way 
to better things. For twelve years the Barrymuir ministers had preached 
occasionally at the Feus of Taymouth, and the proprietor now offered them 
i half-acre of Around on which to build a church. The great majority of the 
members favoured the proposal to remove, and in April 1810 it was reported 
to the Presbytery that the building would cost from ^180 to 200, of which 
/6o had been already subscribed. Soon afterwards there was the transfer 
ence from the "Muir" of Barry to the "Feus" of Taymouth. This was 
Carnoustie of which the first stone was laid only thirteen years before. 1 he 
Constitutionalists had already entered on the field, and a congregation m 
that connection was erected in July 1810. The two sections of Antiburghers 
were to keep each other s strength in check, while upholding the interests of 
a pure gospel. Mr Murray died, ist July 1817, in the fifty-third year of his 
ao-e and twenty-seventh of his ministry. The Rev. Samuel Gilfillan of 
Comrie, who had been his room-mate at college, referred to him in his 
Journal as his " dearest friend, and one of the best men he ever knew. It 
is pleasant to read that the last year of his ministry was the most com 
fortable, and apparently the most successful, he ever had. Mr Murray by 
his marriage in 1808 became brother-in-law to the Rev. Andrew Aedie of 
Forfar, and by the marriage of his own sister in 1801 he was similarly 
related to the Rev. James Sinclair of Stronsay. 

The congregation in October 1819 called Mr William Parlane, procedure 
which the Presbytery branded as "fickle and unhandsome," because the 
moderation was applied for in view of another. It had surely been less 
frequent in those days than now for one candidate to intervene at the 
eleventh hour and supplant another. But Mr Parlane s mind was made up 
not to go to Carnoustie, and he kept his ground with the same strength of 
resolve as he manifested sixty years afterwards, when occasion offered. At 
last the congregation wished the matter brought to an issue, and Mr Parlane s 
mind being unchanged, the call was laid aside. On 24th October 1820 calls 
to Mr David Young were laid on the Presbytery s table from Arbroath and 
Carnoustie, but after some time the North Church, Perth, came into view, 
with weighty results. 

Third Minister. JAMES CHAPMAN, from Perth (North), whom they had 
called three years before. Trials for ordination had been appointed, but he 
held back, pleading difficulties of which he had no previous knowledge. 
Many of the people had taken up the impression that he had no liking for 
the place, and some were afraid his settlement would not be for the good 
of the congregation. It was found, on the other hand, that the great majority 
of the women in the congregation, who, on the old Antiburgher lines, took 
no part in the election, were strongly in favour of Mr Chapman. Still, he 
wished the call dropped, and the Presbytery decided accordingly. This 
was in April 1819, but in April 1822 Carnoustie was still without a minister, 
and Mr Chapman was still without a church. Would it not be possible for 
the parties to come together again? A moderation was asked for, a call 
brought out to Mr Chapman, and on I4th August he was ordained at 
Carnoustie. The stipend was to be ^80, with a house and two acres of 
land. It might have been more had not a burden of .500 rested on the 
property. In 1827 Mr Chapman became unfit for regular work. In this 


state matters continued for five years, and then, on a representation from the 
people, the Presbytery met at Carnoustie on 5th June 1832, and repaired 
constituted to the manse. The conclusion come to was that the congrega 
tion could not go on in their present way, and the minister, submissive to 
the will of Providence, was prepared to resign his charge, if that were thought 
desirable. On igth September the Synod decided that his demission should 
be received, and granted him a donation of ,20. He was to have the use 
of the manse till a successor should be appointed. He died, 24th July 1833, 
at Barnhill, Perth, in the eleventh year of his ministry. His age has not 
been ascertained, but he was probably a good deal older than his official 
standing would suggest, as we find from the records of Abernethy Church 
that he taught a school there as early as 1805. 

Fourth Minister. LAURENCE PlTCAITHLY, also from Craigend, but the 
family belonged to Forgandenny. Ordained, i8th February 1834, and at 
the end of 1837 the communicants were 184, and the stipend was ^86, with 
the manse and an acre of ground. The debt had also been reduced by 
^170 ; but the most hopeful part of the minister s report to the Parliamentary 
Commission was that his two classes on Sabbath evenings were attended by 
78 young persons, the great majority of whom did not belong to the con 
gregation. At this time about one-fifth of the membership was drawn from 
the parish of Panbride, and there were two or three families from each of 
the parishes of Monifieth, Carmyllie, and Monikie. On 8th July 1845 
Mr Pitcaithly intimated to the Presbytery that he had accepted a situation 
in an educational establishment at Simla, Northern India, where he would 
also have an extensive field of ministerial and missionary usefulness, and 
requested his resignation to be accepted without any delay. So, amidst 
expressions of unabated affection on the part of the congregation, and deep 
regret on the part of the Presbytery, the connection was dissolved. Of 
Mr Pitcaithly s fortunes in the Far East we have nothing to put on record, 
but the post he filled shows him to have been a man of scholarly attainments. 
He died at Simla, igth December 1849. 

In October 1845 Carnoustie congregation called Mr James Cursiter, who 
preferred Comrie. The stipend at this time was only ^75, as the people 
were in the midst of an effort to have their debt of ,300 cleared off. This 
was accomplished by the aid of the Liquidation Board, which made a grant 
of one-half, and for the first time in its history the congregation could afford 
to breathe with freedom. 

Fifth Minister. GEORGE JERMENT M KENZIE. Ordained, 24th Nov 
ember 1846, amidst bleak wintry surroundings. Mr M Kenzie was born in 
India, but brought up in Edinburgh under Dr Ritchie s ministry, along with an 
only sister, who became the wife of the Rev. James Berwick, Rathillet. His 
father s family belonged to Nigg congregation, but his mother was a daughter 
of Dr Jerment of London, a relation which placed Moncrieff of Culfargie 
among his ancestors. He had been called to Nairn four years before, but 
declined. " I did so," he explained, "because I thought that after a longer 
trial of the work of a probationer I might, if Providence gave me a call to 
another church, find my difficulties either lessened or entirely removed." 
He died, i8th November 1847, and was buried on the first anniversary of his 
ordination. His age, as given on his tombstone in Newington cemetery, 
was twenty-eight. A few specimens of Mr M Kenzie s discourses were 
published soon afterwards, with a memoir by his cousin, Mr William Barlas, 
"the blind preacher," who, like himself, was a grandson of Dr Jerment s. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN PRIMROSE MILLER, a son of the Rev. James 
Miller of Huntly, a grandson of the Rev. John Primrose of Grange, a brother 
of the Rev. Alexander Miller, then in South Ronaldshay, and he became a 


son-in-law of the Rev. James Scott, Inverness. Johnshaven brought out a 
call for Mr Miller a fortnight later, so that in the fifth year of his probationer- 
ship he had two vacancies to choose between. Ordained, gth January 1849. 
The stipend at first was ,86, with manse, garden, and a piece of ground. 
In seven years the people gave 100, and received ^10 in aid. On iQth 
June 1873 a new church in a more central position was opened, with accom 
modation for 550 when the galleries were finished, and built at a cost of 
slightly under ^2000. In the beginning of 1880 Mr Miller s ministry at 
Carnoustie came unexpectedly to a close. On the 29th of December his 
elders were present at the Presbytery, and expressed the pain they felt in 
dealing with a matter affecting their minister s reputation. Next week a 
committee of inquiry reported that they had examined witnesses, but had 
failed to get evidence which would justify further action. There had been 
indiscretion, and forgetfulness of the injunction : " Let not your good be 
evil spoken of," but the Presbytery wound up the case by expressing 
" continued confidence in Mr Miller." Unfortunately, the session and con 
gregation were still to be reckoned with, and before next meeting, on loth 
February. 1880, Mr Miller had seen enough to make him "desirous of 
resigning." So, a payment of ,200 being arranged for, the ministerial tie, 
which had lasted thirty-one years, was dissolved. He then removed to 
London, where he was employed as pulpit supply, and where he died, 23rd 
June 1900, in the eighty-third year of his age. 

Seventh Minister. JOHN F. DEMPSTER, who had been four years in 
Lumsden, Aberdeenshire. Inducted, 26th August 1880. The communion 
roll in Mr Miller s time never quite came up to 200 ; but Carnoustie was 
growing to large dimensions, the population having nearly doubled itself 
within ten years. The stipend from the people was to be ,130, with a manse, 
recently built at a outlay of ^850, of which nearly a third came from the 
Manse Board. Since then there has been steady increase both in numbers 
and in resources. In 1893 the membership was close upon 300, and the 
funds afforded ^200 a year. At the close of 1899 there were over 350 on 
the communion roll, and the stipend was .220, with the manse. 


ABOUT the end of the last century Letham was a scene of busy activity, the 
inhabitants being chiefly hand-loom weavers. Had all been right at Dum- 
barrow the Antiburghcr congregation there might have shared in the benefit, 
but the pulpit was already under eclipse. On I4th March 1797 sermon was 
obtained from the Burgher Presbytery of Perth by 77 persons in Letham, with 
the view of forming a congregation in that connection. In the course of a year 
they arranged for the building of a place of worship, and the Synod in April 
1799 allowed them .20 to assist them in the work. The church, with its 200 
sittings, was scarcely opened when a section of the Dumbarrow Antiburghers 
appeared to contest the ground. The Burgher cause succumbed early, and 
the question with the Synod in September 1802 was how to recover the 20 
they had sunk on the building. It had passed to the Independents, and it 
gave them a footing in the village, which they retained till 1886. We come 
back now to Dumbarrow congregation. 

After the Antiburgher Synod of 1800 had deposed Mr Young the party 
adhering to the denomination petitioned Forfar Presbytery for aid. They 
pleaded the fewness of their numbers "and their being divided and broken in 
judgment anent the present dispensation." Mr Young having refused to give 
up the meeting-house, they were to worship at Letham, a village a mile to 


the east. As the congregation, when entire, had not over 1 20 members, \ve 
may reckon that the applicants did not exceed 50 or 60. They were without 
a session, but they had two elders ordained before the end of the year, and 
sermon was kept up at Letham in an irregular way, the people being expected 
on blank Sabbaths to attend at Forfar, where they enjoyed sealing ordinances. 
In 1814 they asked advice about building a church, and next year they even 
applied for a moderation, undertaking 60 of stipend and 10 for a house. 
The proposal to build a church for themselves was now abandoned, and 
services were kept up in the village hall as before. 

In July 1826 the Presbytery were taken aback by the announcement 
that Letham congregation was to ask no more sermon for the present. 
The income was found to be much under the expenditure, and they could 
not even provide proper accommodation for the preachers. When there 
was sermon the services were attended by about 40 members, none of 
them nearer Forfar than four miles. An effort was now made to have 
everything put upon a better footing, and in 1828 the congregation was 
placed on the list of missionary stations, " as they were not able to pay 
the necessary expenses of sermon on the present plan." But a regular 
place of worship was still in their thoughts, and at last, in August 1838, 
the Magazine announced the opening of a new church at Letham, and 
added that " the station presented a most promising appearance. " The 
sittings were 300, and the debt of ^140 was cleared off in a few years by 
a grant from the Board and the assistance of friends. But unfortunately 
the village of Letham was now in a declining state through the failure of 
the manufacturing interest. 

In 1836 the number of parishioners attending the station was given 
at about 60, and the Independents had a membership of 44. Still, the 
Secession cause showed tenacity of life, and to meet the wishes of the 
people to have an ordained missionary located among them Mr Watt, 
afterwards of Aberlady, was stationed for some time at Letham. But the 
real solution of their difficulties, it was believed, lay in the obtaining of a 
settled minister, and with this view a moderation was obtained immediately 
after the opening of the new church. Mr John Robb became the choice 
of the majority, but it was found there had been no accredited communion 
roll to go by, and of a large proportion it was doubtful whether they were 
members at Letham or at Forfar. The call having been laid aside, some 
members of Presbytery met with the session " for the purpose of separating 
between the two congregations," and 43 were put down as connected with 

First Minister. JAMES GALLOWAY, from Lauriston, Glasgow (now 
Erskine Church). The people were to give 50 guineas, and it was under 
stood that ,20 would be granted by the Synod. The call was signed by 
36 members, and there was a paper of adherence with 80 names. Mr 
Galloway was ordained, i6th July 1839, but within half a year Letham 
was out into the open sea again. Rapidly the income fell behind the 
expenditure, and, though Mr Galloway testified that he had done his 
utmost to further the interests of the congregation, the Presbytery were of 
opinion that he ought to demit his charge, and on i8th February 1840 the 
short-lived relationship was declared at an end. The people made no 
objections, and had paid him all his stipend and something more. The 
Presbytery blamed Mr Galloway for having manifested want of confidence 
as to the success of the congregation from the very first, and they felt 
so keenly on the point that they refused to recommend the placing of his 
name on the roll of probationers. This was done, however, and Mr 
Galloway itinerated as a preacher for a number of years. In 1845 ne sought 


admission to the Free Church, and the Assembly authorised the Presbytery 
of Glasgow to admit him to the standing of a minister without a charge. 
He is then lost sight of till March 1864, when he was introduced to the 
Presbyterian Church of Victoria as a minister recently arrived from 
Scotland, but he remained in that colony only a year. We can follow 
him no farther. 

Mr Watt was now located at Letham a second time, but in the beginning 
of 1841 a call, signed by 29 members and 108 adherents, was addressed 
to Mr Sloan S. Christie, who after a period of indecision accepted 

Second Minister. ROBERT FORBES, from Kinross, where his father was 
long Procurator- Fiscal, and an elder in the East United Secession Church. 
Ordained, 25th October 1842. The report of the Home Mission Board for 
that year gave a membership of 30, and the people could not give more 
than ^35 and a small piece of ground. The attendance, it was said, ranged 
from 70 to 200. Mr Forbes, after a period of broken health, died on igth 
December 1847, in the thirty-third year of his age and sixth of his ministry. 
During this brief period the membership doubled itself, and altogether he 
must have made the most of the situation. On the roll of the Sabbath 
school there were upwards of 100 names entered, and Mr Forbes taught the 
more advanced scholars himself, besides a class for young men and young 
women during the week. During his ministry there was a debt of ^140 
cleared off, the one-half coming from the Board. It was also through his 
exertions that a manse was built. Next year the congregation called 
Messrs David Young and Joseph Hay, both of whom were under call to 
Lethendy ; but while the former declined both invitations, and was after 
wards settled at Chatton, in Northumberland, the latter accepted Lethendy 
and declined Letham. 

Third Minister. ANDREW R. JOHNSTON, an ordained probationer, who 
had been ten years in Duntocher, but resigned in 1849. Mr Johnston entered 
on a six months location in January 1850, but before the first two months 
had expired a moderation was applied for. The call was signed by 51 
members and 70 adherents, and instead of ^35 the people saw their way to 
offer .50. Though Mr Johnston had difficulties his induction took place, 
25th June 1850 ; but the promise of better days to Letham was not yet to be 
fulfilled. The funds may have kept up while the novelty lasted, but in 1853 
it was found that 11 of the money engaged for had to be made up by sub 
scription. But in April 1855 matters at Letham were brought to a point. 
In arranging a supplement for another triennial period it was proposed to 
make the factors ^50 from the people and ,40 from the Board, but when 
a deputation from the Presbytery met with the congregation the attendance 
was limited to three office-bearers, and they were of opinion that the people 
could promise no definite sum. At a second meeting in October all present 
agreed that ^50 was beyond them, and Mr Johnston, seeing the situation 
of affairs, intimated his resignation. On nth March 1856 he urged im 
mediate acceptance, and, the congregation having left the case in the hands 
of the Presbytery, the connection was dissolved. Mr Johnston s name was 
to be placed on the list either of regular or occasional supply as he might 
prefer. He chose the latter, and removed to Glasgow, where he died, i5th 
April 1875, aged sixty-three. 

It was a fair question now whether the time for closing the scene at 
Letham had not arrived. There was a Free church in the place with a 
goodly following, and the population of the village, which had increased 
considerably between 1831 and 1851, was undergoing rapid decline. But 
the people were said to be particularly desirous to have ordinances continued. 


A location was accordingly arranged for, and Mr Robert Fisher, afterwards 
of Dubbieside, laboured at Letham for a time in that capacity. But a fixed 
ministry was once more to be secured, and, though the members only 
numbered about 40, it was thought " many who had left would return." 

Fourth Minister. ALEXANDER CLARK, from Bethelfield, Kirkcaldy. 
Ordained, 27th April 1858. Letham was now to have "a last trial for 
existence," and the new minister was to lead the forlorn hope. Devotedness, 
by all accounts, was not wanting, and the progress made was all that could 
be expected. In three years the people came up from ^25 to ,30, and there 
was even mention of ,40 being raised to meet a supplement of ^50. But 
as the attendance at the day service in winter was from 20 to 30, and in 
summer from 30 to 40, the Board might be excused asking the Presbytery 
on what grounds they rested their case for the continued existence of 
Letham congregation, " at the expense, not merely of funds, but a separate 
minister s labours." But this raised the question of life interests, and in 
1871 the matter was referred to the Synod. The decision come to was 
that the grant should cease at the end of a twelvemonth, and it was re 
mitted to the Home Mission Board " to make such liberal arrangements 
with Mr Clark as his circumstances and his faithful labours at Letham for 
thirteen years entitle him to expect." At the expiry of the year of grace Mr 
Clark intimated to the Board that "he would expect at least ^500, with right 
to the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund," and their reply was that " they could 
not offer him more than .250, and they thought that liberal." On 6th 
October 1874 ^ r Clark was loosed from his charge. 

It was fortunate that at this time there was an opportunity given for 
disposing of the property on fair terms to Dunnichin School Board, but 
the difficulty lay in adjusting about the retiring allowance. The Mission 
Board was prevailed on to grant ,350 as compensation money, exclusive of 
,31 which had been obtained by Dr Sommerville from private sources. 
The figure Mr Clark kept by was ,400, and his brethren in the Presbytery 
were left to find the remaining ^19 as they best could. At the first meeting 
of Presbytery after the resignation was accepted an offer of ,350 for the 
property was given in from the School Board, coupled with the notice 
that if this were not accepted another site would be chosen. The bargain 
was concluded forthwith, and that day, 3rd November 1874, the congregation 
of Letham was formally dissolved, and all that remained to represent the 
mother church of Dumbarrow passed out of existence. Mr Clark on leaving 
Letham removed to Edinburgh, where he carried on mission work for a 
long course of years in connection with Nicolson Street Church, and only 
retired recently under the pressure of advancing years. 



IN 1770, when Elgin Presbytery was formed, Huntly and Grange are entered 
as a single vacancy. It is understood that Craigdam, distant more than 
twenty miles, drew members from that locality at an earlier period, and that 
these became the nucleus of this congregation. 

First Minister. GEORGE COWIE, a native of Banff district. Ordained, 
I3th February 1771, over the united congregation of Huntly, Grange, and 
Cabrach, though Grange is ten miles from Huntly, and Cabrach considerably 


more. In September 1773 Huntly received ,5 from the Synod to aid them 
in building a church. This entry betokens the slender sums expended on 
Seceding places of worship in those days, and also helps us to fix the date of 
the erection. But it came by-and-by to be felt that Mr Covvie s energies 
were spread over too wide a circumference, and on 25th July 1775 it was 
agreed that the Association should be divided into three, each of them with 
two centres viz. Grange and Keith, Huntly and Culsalmond, Cabrach and 
Auchindoir. They all pleaded to have Mr Cowie for their minister, but Huntly 
and Culsalmond got the preference. 

In a few years Mr Cowie gave evidence that he was not in line with 
Antiburghcr strictness. In March 1782 it was reported to the Presbytery 
that he had gone to Banff one Sabbath afternoon to hear a Relief minister. 
Called before them he admitted that several times he had heard ministers of 
various denominations within the last few years, and that he looked on this 
as the surest way of ascertaining what their characteristics were. After pro 
tracted dealings he acknowledged wrong-doing, and the Presbytery expressed 
dissatisfaction "with his principles on the head of promiscuous hearing, and 
with his conduct, particularly on a recent occasion, when his own people 
wanted sermon." Towards the close of the century Mr Cowie became the 
leader of an anti-sectarian agitation which shattered in its progress several 
Antiburgher congregations in the counties of Aberdeen and Banff. The 
controversy turned on the formation of missionary societies upon a catholic 
basis, and the countenancing of the missionary preachers, as the Haldancs 
and their coadjutors were called. On these matters contention waxed keen, 
first in Aberdeen Presbytery, and then in the Synod. To the Supreme 
Court which met in April 1800 Mr Cowie sent an ill-tonecl letter, in which 
he characterised some of his co-presbyters as the "south country s leavings." 
On the 25th of that month he was suspended from the exercise of his office. 
The sentence was disregarded, and, as Mr Cowie possessed remarkable pulpit 
gifts, his was "a name that for many years carried with it an electric energy 
in the north." He died, as his tombstone bears, on 4th April 1806, in the 
fifty-seventh year of his age and thirty-sixth of his ministry. 

The bulk of the congregation having adhered to Mr Cowie, the Secession 
cause was all but extinguished in Huntly. The remnant who adhered to the 
Synod had a long and weary struggle to maintain. In 1805 they petitioned 
the Synod to appoint them supply for six months, and pay the preachers, 
leaving them to provide the lodgings. In 1809 there was some prospect of 
Cowie s people returning to their old connection. Though Independents in 
a way, they had a favour for the Presbyterian system, with a session in each 
congregation. Had this movement succeeded another church would not 
have been needed, but the terms laid down by the Presbytery were too 
stringent, and the result was that the majority became Congregationalists, 
while a smaller number returned to the communion of the Secession. The 
second place of worship was built in 1809, with sittings for 340. 

In August 1812 the people called Mr Robert Morrison, who had preached 
there, as he said, " to a small handful of seemingly not very opulent people, 
many of whom went to church with nothing on their heads but old night 
caps," but the Synod appointed him to Bathgate. A year afterwards they 
called Mr Thomas Gilmour, a probationer from Strathaven (First), but " he in 
the most positive manner refused to accept." The work was too much and 
the stipend too little, and rather than submit to be ordained at Huntly he 
would remain a preacher all his days. The congregation withdrew their call, 
and he was afterwards appointed to North Shields in preference to Moyness. 
His ordination took place, 22nd September 1813, and he died, ist July 1841, 
in the seventieth year of his age and twenty-eighth of his ministry. Huntly 


next made choice of Mr Charles Robertson, of whom fuller particulars will 
be given under Holm congregation, Orkney. It was not much to be regretted 
that this call proved unsuccessful. 

Second Minister. JAMES MILLER, from Haddington (West). Ordained, 
loth May 1815. The stipend promised was ^80, with ^10 for house rent, 
but the Presbytery took them " as engaged to cast, win, and lead home their 
minister s peats, and drive his coals, over and above the ,90." The 
signatures to the call were not given, but it was recorded that " a great many 
persons residing in and about Huntly, not members of the congregation, 
most cordially approved, and wished the settlement pressed forward." But 
the injury done the cause in Mr Cowie s time was never to be repaired. In 
1837 the communicants were only about 130, 70 of these in the parish of 
Huntly, and the other 60 from Gartly, Drumblade, Forgue, and Glass. 
Nearly half of the families were from over three miles, and 9 members came 
from beyond ten miles. The stipend now was ,97, including everything. Of 
this sum a great part must have been raised by subscription, as the ordinary 
income was only ,75. In the Independent church there were about 150 
communicants, and the stipend was ^100. The two united would have 
formed a vigorous congregation, with the means of providing a fair income 
for their minister. As it was, difficulties increased with Mr Miller, and on 
22nd June 1847, when he was about threescore and ten, his resignation was 
accepted. He died at Grange on i6th October 1863, m the eighty-seventh 
year of his age, leaving two sons in the ministry the Rev. Alexander 
Miller, afterwards of Huntly, and the Rev. John Primrose Miller of 
Carnoustie. Their mother was a daughter of the Rev. John Primrose of 
Grange, and in this way the family had a wide clerical connection. 

After Mr Miller s retirement the congregation called Mr James Inglis, 
who preferred Johnstone, and Mr John Young, who became minister of 

Third Minister. JAMES WHITE MAILER, M.A., from Perth (North). 
Ordained, 29th August 1849. Mr Mailer was the author of several works, 
the best known of which is entitled " Philosophy of the Bible ; or, Union 
between Philosophy and Faith." In the latter part of his ministry he threw 
himself with much enthusiasm into the revival movement. Died, ist May 
1869, in the forty-sixth year of his age and twentieth of his ministry. 

Fourth Minister. ALEXANDER MILLER, M.A., previously of Keith, and 
son of Mr Miller, the former minister. Admitted, i4th December 1869. 
After five years of successful labour Mr Miller was constrained to tender 
his resignation, and on 22nd December 1874 he was loosed from his charge. 

Next March the congregation called Mr R. C. Inglis, probationer, 
from Kirkcaldy (Bethelfield), who declined, and was ordained at Berwick 
(Chapel Street) on 28th December following, where he still labours. On 
leaving Huntly Mr Miller acted for a number of years as secretary of the 
Scottish Coast Mission. Having removed from Edinburgh to London he 
died there, I2th June 1900, in his eighty-fourth year, being survived by his 
brother, the Rev. John Primrose Miller, only eleven days. 

Fifth Minister. DAVID MERSON, B.D. from Cabrach. Ordained, 
i3th December 1875. The membership at this time was 135, and the stipend 
from the people ^90. Mr Merson resigned, 5th September 1882, and was 
inducted into the English Presbyterian church, Stamfordham, I7th July 
1884. In 1887 he published a book which deserves to be more widely known 
than it is, "The Heroic Days of the Church." It portrays the working out 
of religious liberty in various lands amidst tears and blood. Mr Merson 
died, 1 3th June 1897, in the forty-ninth year of his age and twenty-second of 
his ministry. 


Sixth Minister. ANDREW B. DICKIE, M.A., from Kilwinning, a nephew 
of the Rev. Andrew Dickie, Aberdeen. Ordained, 5th June 1883. The 
membership at the close of 1899 was 88, but the stipend was still .90, with a 


ON 25th July 1775 Grange was disjoined from Huntly, and in conjunction 
with Keith, eight miles distant, began to receive supplies as a vacancy. 
Their place of worship, a primitive affair thatched with heather, stood at the 
northern extremity of the parish, five miles from the Established church. It 
may be premised that in sketching the history of Grange and the three con 
gregations that come next much information has been drawn from Dr Gordon s 
" Chronicles of Keith," etc., a marvel of minute and accurate research. 

First Minister. ANDREW YOUNG, from Eaglesham. Ordained at 
Keith, 1 2th November 1777. Grange, however, was considered the chief 
centre, and there the manse was built, of which the mason work cost only 
^3. On I4th December 1785 Keith was formed into a distinct congrega 
tion, but Mr Young, who was of a delicate constitution, preferred to remain 
in Grange. He died, 2ist May 1788, in the thirty-seventh year of his age 
and eleventh of his ministry. 

Second Minister. JOHN PRIMROSE from Alloa (now Townhead). 
Ordained, 28th July 1789. The call was signed by 22 male members, and 
the stipend promised was ,40, with a free house. After receiving licence 
Mr Primrose was fixed on by the Synod to undertake a mission to Nova 
Scotia, but he preferred to remain at home, and eventually settled down at 
Grange. In 1791 the Presbytery granted occasional sermon to Portsoy, a 
place which came to obtain a regular share of Mr Primrose s labours, as will 
be seen when we come to Portsoy. 

Towards the end of the century Grange congregation suffered through 
the dissensions which prevailed in that quarter in connection with Mr 
Cowie s case, and Aberdeen Presbytery represented to the Synod the 
inability of the people to support their minister, which brought them the 
promise of ,20. Soon after this Ord took the place of Portsoy, with the 
advantage of being considerably nearer, and Mr Primrose preached there, in 
.a carpenter s shop, every third Sabbath till 1819. In 1808 the old church at 
Grange was displaced by another and a better. 

In 1831 Mr Primrose, who had reached the age of fourscore, was in 
capacitated for regular work through palsy, and was allowed an annuity of 
30 from the Synod, which he did not long enjoy. He died, 28th February 
1832, in the eighty-first year of his age and forty-third of his ministry. Mr 
Lind of Whitehill has described him in his Journal as "a singularly tasteful, 
sound, and faithful minister," and as having " died full of honour and in 
ripeness for heaven." He says further that on a slender stipend he brought 
up an attractive family, and " watched over a flock which has not been very 
dutiful to him, as to support at least." Three daughters of Mr Primrose 
were married to Secession ministers, the Rev. James Miller, Huntly ; the Rev. 
Hugh Douglas, Lockerbie ; and the Rev. John Meikleham, Grange. 

Third Minister. JOHN MEIKLEHAM, M.A., from Buchlyvie. Ordained 
as colleague and successor to Mr Primrose, 3ist August 1831. The church 
was in a feeble condition at this time, and the aged minister had been appre 
hensive that ordinances might be discontinued, but under Mr Meikleham 
it improved, till in twelve years the membership exceeded 100. A number 
of years before this a manse was built at a cost of ^200, a sum which the 
people raised with the aid of friends ; but the church had soon after to 


undergo repairs to make it comfortable or even safe. This left them with 
a debt of S9i of which the Liquidating" Board in 1839 undertook to pay one- 
half, if the congregation would raise the other half. The terms were met, 
very much through the kindness of a widow in humble life, who gave 14. 
out of her limited means. In 1849 the stipend was 64 and the manse 
from the people, with a supplement of ^30 from the Board. In 1875 the 
congregation, though a third lower in numbers, gave ,90, and the entire 
stipend was now ,197, ios., with the manse as before. Mr Meikleham s 
resignation, owing to age and infirmities, was accepted on 7th March 1876. 
His son John, after passing through a theological course at our Hall, had 
settled down as a teacher at Pluscarden, near Elgin, and there the father 
died, 1 2th April 1879, in the seventy-sixth year of his age and forty-eighth 
of his ministry. Another son is the Rev. M. B. Meikleham, Rockvilla, 
Glasgow, and the Rev. James Gilfillan, Longtown, is a grandson. 

The congregation now called Mr H. J. T. Turnbull, for whom a quiet 
place like Grange might have proved peculiarly suitable, but Nairn super 
vened, and was accepted. 

Fourth Minister. GAVIN STRUTHERS Mum, M.A., son of the Rev. 
Francis Muir, Junction Road, Leith. Ordained, I5th August 1877, and 
loosed, 23rd March 1886, on accepting a call to Slateford. Mr Muir left the 
property much better than he found it. Mainly through him the old manse 
was replaced at the expense of ^1000, of which only ^250 came from the 
Manse Fund. There was also a sum of ,200 over for the building of a new 

Fifth Minister. JOHN MILLER, M.A., from Carluke. Ordained, 22nd 
March 1888. Loosed, 5th April 1892, on accepting a call to the English 
Presbyterian church, Belford, Northumberland. There Mr Miller still 
labours, and under him the congregation has much improved both numeri 
cally and financially, 

Sixth Minister. R. E. GILBERT, from Crossgates. Ordained, 27th 
September 1892. A new church, seated for 250, was opened on Sabbath, 
8th December 1897, by the Rev. John Young, Home Mission Secretary. 
The cost was a little over .800, and the debt was entirely wiped off 
before the Union by subscriptions, monthly collections, and a grant of ^300 
from the Mission Board. The membership in December 1899 was 87, and 
the stipend from the people ,70, with the manse. But Grange has still 
ground of its own to cultivate, there being no Established or Free church 
nearer than four miles, and no U.P. church nearer than eight miles. 


THIS branch of Mr Cowie s original congregation was long in obtaining a 
minister. The church, supposed to have been built in 1772, was a thatched 
house of very limited capacity. The contract for mason work was ,8, ios. ; 
for carpenter work, .4 ; for quarrying, dressing the stones, setting up the 
scaffolding, and putting on the slates, ^10, 2s. Mr Troup, the Antiburgher 
minister of Elgin and Moyness, is believed to have preached at Cabrach so 
early as 1760, when he applied the text, " Like a crane or a swallow so did 
I chatter," to the spiritual condition of Scotland in those times of defection. 
This tradition may be safely relied on, the material being so memorable. 
From this time onwards sermon was kept up at intervals in that neighbour 
hood by Antiburgher ministers, and in particular by Mr Brown of Craigdam. 
The first preacher they called was Mr Isaac Ketchen, but he had no 


clearness to accept. Nairn congregation brought out a call in his favour 
soon after, to which the Presbytery gave effect. 

First Minister. JAMES WYLIE, from Muckart. Ordained over the 
congregation of Cabrach and Auchindoir, 8th November 1780. In the very 
beginning of Mr Wylie s ministry disaster came. A petition from Cabrach 
was laid before the Synod in August 1781, setting forth that their manse had 
been burned, and that their minister had sustained serious loss besides. The 
Synod enjoined a collection from the several congregations, the amount to 
be divided between minister and people as might seem best. What the out 
come was is nowhere given ; we only know that Perth (North) sent them 
^6, half to Mr Wylie and half to the congregation. But a worse calamity 
was at hand, which led to Mr Wylie s deposition on I2th December 1781. 
In June 1784 he applied to be restored to office, and the application was 
referred to the Synod, but it never came up, and after this all trace of him 
is lost. 

In 1783 Mr Robert Laing was called to Cabrach, and also to Shiels. 
Aberdeen Presbytery gave Cabrach the preference, sympathising, perhaps, 
with what that congregation had come through, but Mr Laing refused sub 
mission to their decision. The Presbytery had held back from granting 
sermon to Cabrach some time before, because the people " had not a house 
in which the preachers could lodge with safety at that season of the year." 
Calls to Mr Laing, meanwhile, came out from Pathstruie and Dundee, but the 
Synod in May 1784 upheld Cabrach in opposition to these new competitors. 
Mr Laing, however, continued obstinate, and pleaded before the Presbytery 
the incapacity of the people to support a minister, but he was told in reply that 
his aversion turned too much on worldly considerations. The case dragged 
on for another year, and then the Synod, finding that Cabrach people had 
cooled in their attachment to Mr Laing, put the call aside and allowed him 
to be settled at Duns. 

Second Minister. DAVID WADDELL, from the parish of Auchterderran, 
and the congregation of Leslie (West). Ordained, 1 5th August 1786. The 
call was signed by 31 men, and Mr Waddell was prevailed on with difficulty 
to accept. His labours were to be divided between Cabrach, Mortlach, and 
Auchindoir. his residence to be at Cabrach, and the other two places to 
"afford at their own expense quarters for himself and his horse." In 1797 
the first church, so cheaply got up, was displaced by another at the cost of 
^60. Mr Waddell, it is said, laboured with much acceptance among his 
people for a dozen years, and then dissensions arose which necessitated his 
resignation. In the end of 1799 the Haldanes were conducting evangelistic 
work in that region, and a number of Cabrach congregation, including 
several elders, went to hear them. Backed by part of his session, Mr 
Waddell attempted to make this offence matter of discipline, and the con 
gregation went to ruin among his hands. In April 1800 he petitioned the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen to loose him from his charge. The people " had 
forsaken their principles," and those of the congregation who adhered to 
their minister were able to give him little or nothing. The Synod on I5th 
April loosed Mr Waddell from his charge, assigning as the reason " the 
mournful situation of affairs in that congregation." He was now a minister 
at large, but before the end of the year he was admitted to Shiels. 

Cabrach now passed from the position of a regular congregation, though 
sermon was never entirely discontinued, and in this state matters moved on 
for over sixty years, the name sometimes appearing in the almanac list and 
sometimes not. There being no valid title-deeds, the church was reckoned 
the property of the landlord, the Duke of Richmond. Occupancy was shared 
between the representatives of the two old conflicting parties in the church 


the Seceders and the Independents in proportions varying at different 
times. The original Seceders even came forward with intermittent supplies 
in 1827, which were continued for two years, and on one occasion, as seems 
well attested, three preachers turned up at Cabrach, each of them prepared 
to occupy the pulpit on the following Sabbath. In 1836 the Secession cause 
in Cabrach came near the verge of extinction. The Presbytery wished a 
definite arrangement with regard to the place of worship, which the Inde 
pendents claimed for alternate Sabbaths, though by this time they had 
nearly died out. A deputation who visited the place reported that the people 
agreed to take supply three Sabbaths each month, leaving the remainder to 
the Independents ; but they were divided among themselves, and it was 
not desirable to expend much of the Church s money upon the station. It 
was agreed to keep up partial supply through the summer and then with 
draw appointments from Cabrach altogether. But still the lamp burned faintly 
on, and in 1839 reviving came through the visit of a certain probationer. 

A few months after receiving licence Mr James Morison was sent within 
the bounds of Elgin Presbytery, and was to proceed to Cabrach for the first 
two Sabbaths of August. On his way north, and after reaching his destina 
tion, he read with deep interest Finney s " Lectures on Revivals," of which 
he wrote home : " I have reaped more benefit from the book than from all 
other human compositions put together." Next Sabbath evening, preaching 
in a barn, he put aside his carefully-prepared discourse, and spoke from the 
heart to the heart, and from this time "James Morison, forgetting in his 
enthusiasm that he was a probationer, became to a great extent an evangelist." 
Interest was stirred, and his return for another fortnight in September 
widened and deepened the previous impression. " The church," he wrote, 
" was filled last Sabbath to overflowing -it has not been so full for many 
years." A sermon he preached on missions brought a collection of about ^4, 
which was larger by one-half than any collection ever made in Cabrach 
before. On revisiting the place after some years he wrote : " Here I am in 
much-loved, much-to-be-remembered Cabrach, the place of my second birth." 
It was at least the place where he got new impulses and a fresh baptism 
from above. 

But Cabrach did not yet emerge into the position of a regular station 
even. In 1842 the people were receiving supply on alternate Sabbaths, and 
there was an attendance of about 100. They shared fully in the benefit of 
the M Phail Bequest, a legacy of ^1000, the interest of which went for 
evangelistic work in Banffshire. A local committee in charge of these opera 
tions in the summer of 1845 reported as follows: "Several things render 
Cabrach interesting to those engaged in Secession Missions. The Secession 
manse, tenanted at one time by a succession of Secession ministers (there 
were only two), now standing in ruins ; its chapel now old and unoccupied ; 
the full and attentive audiences which are still to be seen when the place is 
visited by our missionaries ; its district library, Sabbath schools, and prayer- 
meetings, all giving evidence of former and better days." After Banff became 
the seat of a Presbytery, in 1852, there was more attention given to the wants 
and the peculiarities of this outlying district, and on Sabbath, nth November 
1855, the communion was dispensed at Altoun of Cabrach after an interval 
of two generations. On the previous week 14 persons residing in Glass and 
Cabrach were examined for admission to Church fellowship, and they were 
formally received on the Fast Day. Mr Miller of Keith officiated on Sabbath, 
and, though the communicants must have been a mere handful, he reported 
that the attendance was good, and great interest manifested. On I4th April 
1863 the congregation was reorganised, but for other ten years there was 
little progress made. Then in September 1874 the building of a new church, 


seated for 200, was commenced. " Almost every man in the parish subscribed 
to the funds for its erection," and Dr Gordon states that 150 was secured 
in this way, while friends in Huntly contributed ,40, and a native of Cabrach, 
a teacher in Glasgow, raised ,115. A grant of ,100 was received from the 
Extension. Fund, and altogether the outlay of ,700 was successfully met. A 
house was built about the same time, " the most handsome in the valley," 
at the moderate cost of ^500, for which the Board allowed ,225, leaving the 
people and their friends to make up the other ^275. The Synod in 1874 
allowed the Presbytery of Banff to proceed towards a settlement, if the 
people engaged for ^60 of stipend, which would be augmented by supplement 
to 150. In the following year the congregation called Mr James Landreth, 
afterwards of Brechin, but he was not prepared to settle down at Cabrach, 
even for a time. 

Third Minister. ALEXANDER WITHER, formerly of Westray, and under 
that heading the earlier part of his ministry will be traced. Inducted, I4th 
December 1875. At the close of next year there was a membership of 40, 
and the stipend from all sources was .190, with the manse. Some time 
afterwards Mr Wither was invited by the Mission Board to remove to Kaf- 
fraria, but he remained in Cabrach till 1892, when, rinding himself unable for 
regular work, he proposed to resign his charge. The matter was delayed, 
and pulpit supply arranged for, but on 2Oth September 1893 the demission 
was accepted. Mr Wither now acts as chaplain to the Edinburgh Fever 
Hospital, and is an elder in Gilmore Place Church. 

Fourth Minister. GEORGE TULLOCH, from Moyness. Ordained, nth 
December 1894. The membership at the close of 1899 was 43, and the 
stipend from congregational funds .40, with the manse. That large parish, 
10 miles in length by 8? in breadth, has two churches, the Established for 
Upper Cabrach and the" U.P. for Lower Cabrach, with a distance of three 
miles between. Though ordinances require to be kept up, not much is to 
be looked for where the population does not average more than three families 
to the square mile. 


THE first notice of supply being sent to Keith is in November 1772, when 
Mr Cowie requested the Presbytery to appoint a certain probationer to preach 
some Sabbaths to his people in that quarter. Keith is eleven miles from 
Huntly, and he explained that he could not be so often there as was necessary, 
having so many other places to attend to. The application was repeated on 
3 ist March 1773, and ten days after this Mr Campbell, minister of Botriphnie, 
a neighbouring parish, died, to whose evangelical preaching and death-bed 
advice Keith church is understood to have been largely indebted for its 
existence. At the division of Mr Cowie s territories into three Grange and 
Keith, as we have seen already, though eight miles apart, went to form one 
congregation, of which the Rev. Andrew Young became the minister. In 
the last week of 1777 five elders were ordained, and in 1780 the first church, 
seated for 450, was built at a cost, it was calculated, of ,160. On I4th 
December 1785 Keith was disjoined from Grange, the minister deciding to 
remain in the latter place. His delicate constitution, which sometimes un 
fitted him for public work, made the lighter sphere desirable, and he also 
assigned as a reason for his preference that Keith would have more attractions 
than Grange for a young man. 

First Minister. JAMES BUNYAN, son of the Rev. Andrew Bunyan of 
Howgate. Ordained, 26th September 1787. There was want of harmony at 


the outset, the call, signed by 27 men, being confronted by a petition from an 
elder and 5 male members, to which 32 women adhered, asking that it be 
not sustained. They alleged that, owing to Mr Bunyan s manner of speech, 
nearly one-third of the congregation could not understand him. However, 
after some more hearings, unanimity was arrived at. The stipend at first 
was ,40 and a free house, but in 1812 it was up to 76. 

In the last years of the century the commotion which ruined Cabrach, 
and turned the strength of Huntly into another channel, told seriously upon 
Keith. In 1796 the Synod virtually forbade co-operation with ministers of 
other churches in the work of sending missionaries to the heathen, and the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen proved itself the headquarters of conservatism on 
this and kindred questions. In April 1798 a memorial from 46 elders and 
male members of Keith congregation was laid before the Presbytery, 
complaining of some actings of the session on strait-laced lines. They 
reckoned it their duty, they said, to do much more in the missionary cause 
and in Sabbath-school work than they had hitherto done, and they prayed 
the reverend court to take measures to preserve them from opposition at 
the hands of their brethren. The Presbytery found the complaint ground 
less, and referred the paper to the Synod. There the decision come to was 
much as before : Sabbath schools were inconsistent with Secession prin 
ciples, if addresses were delivered in them "tending to encroach on the 
work of the ministry," if full-grown persons were permitted to be present, 
and if hymns of human composition were sung. 

Instead of troubling the Church courts further, the complainers broke 
away to Independency about the time Mr Cowie of Huntly, the standard- 
bearer of the party, had his connection severed with the Antiburgher Synod. 
This was the beginning of what became the Burgher church in Keith, the 
history of which is to follow. In this way the Secession cause in that place 
figured before the community as a house divided against itself. The feelings 
engendered between the rival congregations found expression in 1820, when 
Mr Bunyan s session " were unanimously of opinion that complete adherence 
to the union (with the Burghers) was not safe in the present state of matters." 
They would wait till the New Testimony appeared, and in the meantime 
Church members were left to follow their own light as to communion with 
the united body. Had the congregation been nearer headquarters it would 
probably have been either rent in twain at this time or drawn into connection 
with the Protestors. When the draft of the proposed Testimony was laid 
before the session, they complained that the binding obligation of the 
covenants upon posterity was not acknowledged, nor the present seasonable- 
ness of renewing the bond asserted. They also went back to their old battle 
ground about missionary societies intruding upon sacred offices. But in a 
few years the harmony of Mr Bunyan s ministry was otherwise disturbed, and 
his resignation, under partial constraint, was accepted, I3th February 1828. 
He died on ist June thereafter, in the seventy-first year of his age and forty- 
first of his ministry. His tombstone bears that he was "an able and faith 
ful preacher of the gospel, and having through life been zealous in his duties, 
bearing affliction with patience, he resigned his spirit into the hands of his 
Redeemer with confidence." 

Second Minister. JOHN MORRISON, from Glasgow (now Sydney Place). 
Ordained, I2th May 1829, and remained in Keith ten years. The stipend 
promised was ^80, with manse, garden, and sacramental expenses. The 
most noteworthy event in his experience during that period was a charge 
of heresy brought against him by one of his elders. The case occupied the 
Presbytery two days, and came to nothing. In 1837 the membership was 
140, having increased about 50 in five years. Of the families fifteen came 


from more than five miles. A debt of ^136 rested on church and manse. But 
with two congregations in a struggling state, and weakening each other, 
Keith was not a comfortable place for a minister to labour in, and on gth 
April 1839 Mr Morrison, who had been accepted by the Mission Board for 
service in Canada, was loosed from his charge. On 5th March 1840 he 
became minister of Madrid, in the State of New York, but near the Canadian 
border: membership 200, stipend 500 dollars, with 50 dollars for a house. In 
1877 we find him in the pastorate of Waddington, from which he retired, 
3ist December 1882. He died, 25th March 1883. A son of his is now Bishop 
of Duluth, State of Minnesota. 

After a vacancy of more than two years this congregation (the other had 
now broken up) called Mr Adam Lind Simpson, who, when the time for 
decision came, requested a week or two longer to consider. At that same 
meeting a moderation was appointed to Forres, and the call having come 
out in Mr Simpson s favour, Keith was declined. They next made choice of 
Mr John Callander, but he went to Craigdam instead. 

Third Minister. ROBERT GRAHAM, from Kinross (West). Ordained, 
i6th May 1843. Ir > ^45 the debt of ,218 was cleared off, the Board giving 
"penny for penny." On 6th April 1847 Mr Graham intimated to the Pres 
bytery that " after long and mature consideration he had come to the de 
termination to demit, and leave the communion of the Secession." On the 
previous Sabbath he took his session by surprise when he told them between 
services that this was his last Sabbath among them. A paper from the 
congregation bore that he had assigned doctrinal errors in the Secession 
Church as his reason for resigning, and they requested that his demission 
be accepted instanter, which was done, and the connection dissolved. He 
was received into the Established Church by the General Assembly in May of 
that year, and it was urged in his favour that he had been in receipt of a large 
stipend at Keith, and could have no worldly object in view by the change, 
said stipend having been 70 and a manse, with sacramental expenses. 
Mr Graham now ministered for a time in Chapelshade, Dundee, but in 1848 
he was presented to the parish of Abernyte by the Crown, and ten years later 
he succeeded Dr Caird in Errol by virtue of a presentation from the local 
patron. He had the degree of LL.D. conferred on him by the University 
of St Andrews in 1867. He died, 24th January 1900, in the eighty-second 
year of his age and fifty-seventh of his ministry. 

During this vacancy the congregation issued a call to Mr Alexander 
Walker, but the signatures were so far short, and the want of cordiality so 
marked, that the Presbytery instructed the clerk to state the circumstances 
to Mr Walker. Fortunately, Newcastle came in, and acceptance was de 
clined. Of Mr Walker more will be given when we reach Crail congrega 
tion. The next they called was Mr Peter Whyte,* who preferred Wooler. 

Fourth Minister. ALEXANDER MILLER, M.A., previously of South 
Ronaldshay. Inducted, 25th January 1849. Under Mr Miller the con 
gregation began to emerge from its difficulties, but after a ministry of 
seven years he resigned, "having been elected without solicitation on his 
part to be superintendent of the Edinburgh City Mission. The connection 
was dissolved, 15111 March 1856. Mr Miller remained in this situation till 
the end of 1 869, when he became the occupant of what had been his father s 
pulpit in Huntly. 

* Mr Whyte was from Dalreoch. Having declined North Middleton as well as 
Keith, he was ordained at Wooler (now Towerhill) on isth November 1848 Died 
nth April 1879, m the sixty-sixth year of his age and thirty-first of his ministry. 
His widow, a daughter of the Rev. James Smith of Dunning survived till nth 
September 1899. J 


Fifth Minister. JAMES FORRESTER, from Ferry-Port-on-Craig. Or 
dained, 3rd December 1857. Under the new minister there was marked 
progress in numbers and in general prosperity. In 1865 the old manse 
was replaced at an expense of ^615 ,525 being raised by the people and 
,90 paid by the Board. But Mr Forrester s course was comparatively brief. 
He died at Grantown, 24th August 1866, in the thirty-second year of his 
age and ninth of his ministry. Mr Forrester was a son-in-law of the Rev. 
David Marshall, Lochee, and his son, the Rev. D. M. Forrester, is now 
minister of Wellfield, Springburn. 

A vacancy of three years followed, during which three unsuccessful calls 
were issued. The first was accepted, and trials for ordination sustained, 
but illness and death intervened. The preacher was Mr James Urquhart 
Blackwood, from Glasgow (Renfield Street), who had been previously 
called to Portadown, Ireland. He died, 3ist May 1868, in his thirty-fourth 
year. The membership of Keith at this time was close upon 200, and the 
stipend offered was ^150, or nearly one-third more than Mr Forrester had 
to begin with. The next they called was Mr James S. Scotland, now of 
Newport, but he declined. Then came a divided call to Mr Thomas 
Finlayson Henderson, son of the Rev. Archibald Henderson, Lathones, 
and a nephew of Dr Finlayson, Rose Street, Edinburgh, but from want of 
unanimity it was not sustained. Mr Henderson is now engaged at literary 
work in London. 

Sixth Minister. WILLIAM NAIRN, M.A., from Glasgow (Greyfriars), 
but a native of Irvine. Ordained, 3ist August 1869, and accepted 
Hutchesontown, Glasgow, i5th May 1873. Six months after this Mi- 
William Paterson was called to Keith, but he declined, and is now minister 
of Windsor Place, Portobello. 

Seventh Minister. W. H. MACFARLANE, from Dennistoun, Glasgow. 
Ordained, I5th October 1874. Mr Macfarlane has written a very full, 
carefully-got-up, and eminently readable history of Keith congregation, 
entitled " Twixt the Land and the Moss." To this little volume the writer 
of the present sketch has been much indebted for material. At the close 
of 1899 Keith had a membership of 119, and the stipend from the people 
was ^120, with the manse. 


ON 6th December 1803 a petition for sermon from some people in and 
about Keith was laid before the Burgher Presbytery of Perth, and submitted 
to the Synod on the following day. The Rev. Ebenezer Brown, who had 
been lately preaching in Keith, and the Rev. Fullarton Paterson of New 
Deer, having given an account of the petitioners and their circumstances, 
it was agreed to recommend them to the Presbytery for as much supply as 
possible. We have here the outcome of the commotion which the case of 
Mr Cowie of Huntly occasioned in the old congregation at Keith, when a 
party who sympathised with his antagonism to Antiburgher strictness 
withdrew from connection with the Secession. They built a church in 
1801 with sittings for 500, and had a preacher from the Independents set 
over them. But dispeace having arisen between him and them he left 
soon after, and as they had four elders among them who on the Congrega- 
tipnalist system found their occupation gone, they inclined in the direction 
of Presbyterianism again. The appearing of the Rev. Ebenezer Brown 
in their pulpit at this opportune time was the very thing to fix their 
wavering purpose. So application was made for admission to fellowship 



with the Burghers, and this led to the setting-up of a Burgher congregation 
at Keith. In the following year the four who had been elders under 
Mr Bunyan were chosen to form the session of the rival erection. 

First Minister. ROBERT MOFFAT, from Kelso (First). Ordained, 
oth April 1806, on a call signed by 29 members and 25 adherents, and the 
stipend was to be ^70. Shortly after giving him licence Coldstream 
Presbytery entered in their minutes that for months Mr Moffat had not 
fulfilled his appointments, but had disappeared tokens, here, of a tendency 
on Mr Moffat s part to self-willed ways, which came out similarly when he 
was under call to Keith. But, whatever was the reason, his ministry ended 
in turmoil, with a tragic element superadded. On 2gth October 1816 
his resignation was accepted, and next Sabbath evening he preached a 
farewell sermon to a crowded audience, when he declaimed fiercely against 
his people. One of the elders ventured to interrupt him, and under the 
excitement which this scene occasioned the poor man committed suicide 
that night. It was another stroke sustained by the Secession cause at 

The sermon preached on that occasion was published, and in a long 
appendix Mr Moffat goes into a full recital of his ministerial experiences. 
He mentions the danger of granting moderations to churches where undue 
reliance has to be placed upon one or two leading men. The calculation 
is that by the new minister s "superior powers, or by his transcendent 
eloquence, his church will be filled to overflowing in a few weeks, or 
months at the most. The event has only not to correspond with the too 
sanguine expectations, and the game is up." At Keith Mr Moffat no doubt 
met with peculiar difficulties, the Secession having little hold in that part 
of the country, and there being no other Burgher church near. Under 
the pressure of circumstances he had opened classes for the higher branches 
of education, work in which he seems to have been very successful. But 
the people, he says, grumbled, and instead of being paid twice a year 
he had little sums brought in to him at twenty or thirty different times. 
But the narrative was written in a vindictive spirit, and specially to be 
condemned was his heartless reference to "the poor unfortunate." 

Mr Moffat s after course was fitful. In 1818 the Synod made him 
a grant of ^10, which might be raised to ,20, if thought necessary. He was 
also employed for a short time as a preacher. He afterwards conducted 
an academy at Whitby, and ministered at one period to a congregation in 
Newcastle. In 1832 he lost his standing, and was placed under a sentence 
of suspension for six months by Kelso Presbytery, but he seems never to 
have applied for restoration. In 1841 Glasgow Presbytery made inquiry 
at the Rev. Henry Renton of Kelso about a Mr Moffat who had ^come 
whhin their bounds, and was professing himself a minister of the United 
Secession Church. He died near Alnwick on 23rd November 1853. Mr 
Moffat is entered as the author of a poem in two volumes, entitled " The 
Glories of Messiah." 

Second Minister. ANDREW KENNEDY, a native of Leadhills, but from 
Sanquhar (North). Ordained, loth December 1817. The call was signed 
by 50 members, and the stipend promised was ^80, with manse and garden. 
When the First congregation fell vacant in 1828 a committee of Presbytery 
met with the members to advise union ; but feeling was adverse, and the 
vote went against attempting negotiations, while Mr Kennedy s congregation 
declared unanimously that union was most desirable. The Presbytery found 
that the membership of each congregation was about 100 ; that hostile feeling 
came between, which was likely to increase unless union was effected ; and 
that the one congregation could only prosper at the expense of the other. 


The case was referred to the Synod, where the decision ran as follows : 
" The Synod cannot, in the circumstances of the First congregation, advise 
the Presbytery to delay granting a moderation." This led, as we have seen 
already, to the Rev. John Morrison s ten years ministry at Keith, and when 
he left in 1839 things were in the same situation as before. Union being 
found impracticable unless both pulpits were vacated, the end could only be 
gained through Mr Kennedy also retiring, and perhaps not even then. But 
he kept by his trying post for other two years, and then the Strathbogic case 
told upon the ecclesiastical arrangements of the town. 

The parish minister was one of the seven whom the Assembly of 1840 
deposed for ordaining the presentee at Marnock, but, like the others, he 
obtained an interdict from the Court of Session, and kept possession of his 
pulpit. Those of his people who sided with the Evangelicals thereupon with 
drew from his ministry. A place of worship being required, they negotiated 
with Mr Kennedy s people for the purchase of their church, and when the 
bargain was on the point of being struck he tabled his resignation. The 
Presbytery met to decide on the case a fortnight afterwards, but by this time 
the building was disposed of. On roth May 1841 the demission was accepted, 
and Mr Kennedy certified for mission work in Lower Canada. The con 
gregation now broke up, two elders and a sprinkling of the members finding 
their way back to the old nest, but the greater number adhered to their 
former pews, and amalgamated ultimately with the Free Church. The 
building is now demolished. Mr Kennedy ministered in Canada to a con 
gregation in La Chute for seven years, and then became agent to the 
Publication Board at Philadelphia. He died at London, Ontario, igth May 
1882, aged ninety-three. When in Keith he did good work in the vanguard 
of the total abstinence movement, and was also diligent and successful in 
Sabbath-school work. 


THIS congregation owed its origin to the doctrines propounded from the 
pulpit of the parish church. A single extract from a catechism published 
by the Rev. Andrew Skene, who was translated from Keith to Banff in 1762, 
will suffice for our present purpose : " Is it difficult to practise what God 
requires of us in the New Testament? Far from it, if we begin in time, and 
before we have contracted bad habits." As for Jesus Christ, His superiority 
to Old Testament prophets consisted in "the perfection of His example, the 
purity of His precepts, and the importance of the motives by which He 
enforced them." This was too much for even the atmosphere of Banff, and 
accordingly hundreds withdrew from his ministry, and acceded to the 
Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh, but for want of written documents we 
cannot be particular as to dates. However, in the Edinburgh Advertiser 
for 2gth September 1775 the following notice occurs : "A few days ago the 
Rev. Alexander Burgess was settled minister of the Church of Relief at 
Banff." Mr Burgess, it turns out, was a licentiate of the Established Church, 
and though he and his people were nominally connected with the Relief 
body, certain entries in the " Annals of Banff" indicate that their place of 
worship was looked on very much as a Chapel of Ease. Accordingly, at 
Mr Skene s death in 1792 many of them returned to the Established Church. 
But Mr Burgess held on for other three and a half years, and then, in 
November 1795, tne congregation complained to the Relief Presbytery of 
Perth that their minister had deserted his charge. We learn, further, from 
the records of the Established Presbytery of Banff, that next May he 


" applied to be again received into the Church, and was admitted." Obtain 
ing no promotion at home, he is understood to have emigrated to America. 

Second Minister. JOHN M DERMID, a native of the parish of Kilbrandon 
and Kilchattan. Having received licence from the Relief Presbytery of 
Perth, Mr M Dermid was ordained at Banff, I4th April 1796. Of him, the 
Haldanes, in the journal of their Evangelistic Tour through the North, 
testified that "his people were blessed with a zealous and faithful minister," 
and in the Missionary Magazine for 1798 it is stated that, besides instituting 
a Sabbath school, he preached every Wednesday in one or other of the 
villages within twelve or fifteen miles of Banff. John Murker also, who 
credited Mr Burgess with " little energy," characterised his successor as " a 
man of might." Thus did Mr M Dermid purchase for himself a good degree, 
and, after occupying that distant outpost with advantage for six years, he 
was invited to Canal Street, Paisley, to succeed the Rev. Patrick Hutchison, 
the recognised standard-bearer of the Relief, and on 4th May 1802 he was 
loosed from his charge. In 1798 Mr M Dermid put the number of those 
under his pastoral care at 400, of whom about 330 were " examinable 
persons," and 40 were from other parishes. 

Third Minister. JOHN LAIDLAW, from Kelso (East). Of Mr Laidlaw s 
antecedents we know from a Memoir of Thomas Pringle, the Teviotdale 
poet, that in his youth he kept a side school at Morebattle, and was con 
sidered " an excellent teacher." But while thus employed he was, for some 
sinister purpose, confronted with an old legal enactment, which forbade any 
person to officiate as a schoolmaster who had not taken the Oaths to 
Government. A first conviction for this offence was to bring six months 
imprisonment, and a further conviction before the Justiciary or Circuit Court 
was to be followed by transportation for life. But Mr Laidlaw had scruples 
of conscience about the Abjuration Oath, or about swearing these oaths at 
all, and the school had to be closed. 

On becoming a Relief preacher he was sent to supply at Banff by 
request, and his ordination followed on 25th August 1802, the stipend 
promised being ,90. But the Relief cause had sprung up in Banff owing to 
press of circumstances, and when the emergency was over, because it had no 
depth of earth, it forthwith began to wither away. At Mr Skene s death in 
1792 many of them, it is stated, returned to the parish church ; and of his 
successor, Mr Abercrombie Gordon, a preacher of a mildly evangelical type, 
it is recorded that "his gentle and generous nature, joined to the amenity of 
his manners, endeared him to all with whom he was connected." Mr Laidlaw 
was unable to breast the adverse current as his predecessor had done, and to 
aggravate his difficulties some people in Banff got sermon from the Anti- 
burghers in 1804. He now put himself in the way of a change, and, receiving 
a call to Dunning, he was loosed from his charge on I7th September 1805. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM GILMOUR, from Anderston, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 3rd March 1806, at Perth, owing to the remoteness of Banff. The 
stipend was down now to ^80. To simplify matters and set him free for 
immediate acceptance of a call to Wooler, which was on its way, Mr Gilmour s 
resignation was accepted, 8th July 1808. The congregation and the property 
now passed quietly out of the hands of the Relief, and, as the result of the 
Haldanes visit eleven years before, those who adhered to the building got 
sermon from the Congregationalists. Their first minister in their new 
connection emigrated to America in 1827. He was succeeded in 1833 by 
the Rev. John Murker, who continued in the pastorate amidst abundant 
labours till his death in 1879. Seven years after this the congregation 
was dissolved. 

The church in Wooler, to which Mr Gilmour was inducted on 8th August 


1808, had come over from the Northumberland Class to the Relief a year 
before. Their place of worship, with 1000 sittings, was built in 1778, and 
they promised a stipend of .120. Mr Gilmour died, 2nd May 1835, in the 
seventy-fourth year of his age and thirtieth of his ministry. 


ON gth July 1821 several persons in and about Banff petitioned Aberdeen 
Presbytery for sermon, and Mr Primrose of Grange, the nearest minister, 
was appointed to preach there on the fourth Sabbath of July and encourage 
them. In Imlach s " History of Banff" it is explained that a dispute had 
arisen in the Congregational church, and that the chief deacon and about 40 
of the members were arrayed against the minister. This was the party that 
formed the nucleus of the Secession church in Banff. At a meeting of 
Presbytery on i6th July 1822 it was reported that a congregation had been 
organised and five elders chosen. Four weeks after this a moderation was 
applied for, ^100 of stipend being promised. The call, signed by all the 
members, 30 in number, and by 84 hearers, was addressed to Mr David 
Carmichael, whose fortune it was to inflict deadly harm on the young con 
gregation of Burghead. A church was in course of election, with sittings for 
490, the ultimate cost being put down at ^800. On 2gth July 1823, 12 com 
municants and 50 adherents were disjoined from Grange that they might 
connect themselves with Banff. The call to Mr Carmichael hung in 
suspense for over a year, and was finally laid aside, a majority, as was 
calculated, having after a two months trial of his gifts and qualities become 
decidedly averse to the settlement being proceeded with. 

First Minister. WILLIAM PATERSON, from Ayr (now Darlington 
Place). Ordained, 2Oth April 1826. Within three years Mr Paterson 
resigned his charge. He stated that after all he had done in the way of 
raising money to assist in paying the debt on the place of worship, which 
amounted to ^730, his ministry had not been sufficiently successful in 
increasing the congregation. If their income were to be kept up evening 
sermon was indispensable, which his health would not admit of. He at the 
same time testified that his people had treated him well, and had fulfilled 
their obligations to him. Adhering to his purpose, he was loosed from his 
charge, i7th March 1829. After this he went to America, and Dr George 
Brown condenses all else into the fateful words, " Character lost." 

Second Minister. ROBERT BLACKWOOD, from Alloa (now Townhead). 
The signatures to this call showed much better than before, there being 84 
members and 125 adherents. Mr Blackwood had accepted a call to Sanday, 
and delivered part of his trials for ordination, but, instead of awaiting the 
decision of Synod, Sanday people withdrew from the contest, and Mr 
Blackwood was ordained at Banff, 2Oth July 1830. In 1837 there were 140 
communicants, two-fifths of them from other parishes, Gamrie in particular. 
Eleven families came from farther than four miles. The stipend was ^100 in 
all, and the income averaged ^150, of which fully the larger part came from 
extraordinary collections. Most of the sittings brought not more than 33. a 
year, the entire yield being ,23. In 1840 the debt of ,550 was reduced to 
^150, with the aid of ^150 from the Board, and with further assistance the 
burden was entirely removed in 1845. But by this time there was a change 
of ministry impending. On 26th August 1845 Mr Blackwood intimated to 
the Presbytery by letter that he had resolved to resign connection with the 
Secession and join the Free Church. The representatives of the congrega 
tion testified to his faithful work among them, and the connection was 


dissolved amidst sincere regrets. Mr Blackwood was admitted by the Free 
Church Assembly in 1846, and became minister of Union Free Church, 
Aberdeen. Resigned in bad health, 1856, and died, 2oth February 1858, in 
the sixty-second year of his age and twenty-eighth of his ministry. 

After a vacancy of a year Banff people called Mr John Buick, who 
preferred Muirton. The stipend promised at this time was ^100, with $ 
for sacramental expenses. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM INGLIS, from Fala, who was also under call 
to Huntly. He at first declined both places, but at the earnest request of 
Banff congregation he reconsidered their claims, and accepted. Ordained, 
23rd December 1847. At a Presbyterial visitation in 1854 it was found that 
there were only 33 male members, and that of these only 7 were independent 
of manual labour. In the following year Mr Inglis resigned, giving as his 
reasons the want of ministerial success, the inadequacy of his stipend to 
meet prospective liabilities, and his conviction that the people could not 
reasonably be called on to increase the amount. With much grief the 
congregation acquiesced in his decision, and on 27th March 1855 the con 
nection was dissolved. Mr Inglis now returned to the preachers list, and 
in the beginning of 1856 he was called to Shiels, but decided to leave for 
Canada, where he was inducted soon after into a charge at Westminister 
in that colony. He was for seven years pastor of Erskine Church, 
Woodstock, and was afterwards prominent as a journalist, and has been 
styled "one of the ablest writers in the Dominion." He died at Toronto, 
1 4th September 1900, in his eightieth year. 

Fourth Minister. THOMAS H. BAXTER, from Alloa (Townhead). 
Ordained, I4th August 1856. Had a divided call two years before from 
Whitby, which was not prosecuted. A year later he was invited to 
Houghton-le-Spring, but declined. In the course of his ministry at Banff 
Mr Baxter gave himself largely to evangelistic work, but this did not 
preclude discontent from showing itself among his people. On igth June 
1866 his demission was accepted, the congregation having agreed to state 
that, while regretting the severance, they could offer no objection to the step 
which their minister had taken. Mr Baxter then acted as a probationer for 
some time, and was also engaged as an evangelist. He died at Musselburgh, 
nth February 1872, in the forty-eighth year of his age and sixteenth of his 

At this juncture the continued existence of the congregation was prob 
lematic. They intimated, when the vacancy occurred, that they could 
undertake no responsibility with regard to the maintaining of gospel 
ordinances, and though they were perfectly willing to do their utmost they 
would bind themselves to no particular sum. A committee of Presbytery 
met with them, and reported a membership of 85 and an attendance of about 
55. The Mission Board, however, were of opinion that the extinction of 
Banff congregation would be injurious to the United Presbyterian cause in 
the north. Steps were accordingly taken to secure another minister, though 
a stipend of ^40 was all the people could undertake to raise. The first 
preacher they called was Mr James Picken, who drew back from the 
difficulties of the situation, and settled down in another line of life.* A 
pause followed for about a year, and then a call to Banff was accepted by 
Mr Thomas Kirk, but Brechin (Maisondieu Lane) supervened, and the 
acceptance was withdrawn. 

* Mr Picken was from Dr Lindsay s church, Glasgow, and before taking licence 
he was for some time editor of the Fife Herald. After declining Banff he betook 
himself to journalism in Liverpool. 


Fifth Minister. JOHN N. RUSSELL, B.A., from Hamilton (now Avon 
Street). Ordained, 22nd April 1868. There was a membership at this time 
of 91. The old manse had been sold as unsuitable, soon after Mr Baxter 
resigned, and in 1871 another was built at a cost of .673, of which the 
Board paid ^320. On Qth April 1874 Mr Russell resigned, with the view 
of emigrating to New Zealand. After ministering to a congregation at 
Caversham in that colony for five and a half years he returned home owing 
to ill-health, and had his name placed on the probationer list in May 1881. 
He is now minister of the West Free Church, Port-Glasgow. Towards the 
end of 1874 the congregation issued an unsuccessful call to the Rev. J. M. 
Cruickshank, formerly of Westray. The Synod in the following May agreed 
to allow Banff a grant of ^90 for three years to smooth the way for them 
obtaining a fixed pastor again. 

Sixth Minister. ADAM B. ROGERSON, from Burray in Orkney, where 
he had been minister for ten years. Inducted, gth November 1875, the 
stipend from the people to be ,60, with the manse. In 1879 the old church 
was sold for ^260, and on i6th May 1880 the present church, with 275 
sittings, was opened free of debt by Dr Scott, the Home Mission Secretary. 
The entire cost was ^1800, of which ,325 was paid by the Board, while the 
people and their friends, with the aid of a bazaar, made up the sum required. 
The membership at the close of 1899 was 83, and the stipend from the 
people 70, with the manse. 


THIS is a village in the parish of Marnock, so renowned in Intrusion times. 
It lies nine miles south-west of Banff, and the parish church is distant three 
and a half miles. We find from a minute of Grange session that on 23rd July 
1792 they received a petition from certain residenters in Marnock for some 
Sabbaths sermon, and it was agreed to give them a day betwixt that and 
next meeting. Dr Gordon states further that Mr Primrose preached there 
six Sabbaths about that time, when the roof was off the parish church, and 
that this was the beginning of the Secession in Marnock. An advance was 
made in April 1826, when it was intimated to Stewartfield Presbytery that 
a preacher had lately conducted services at Foggieloan, "a place of con 
siderable extent in the parish of Marnock," where evangelical preaching was 
much needed. From this time a station was kept up, but it was not till 
February 1839 that the people had sermon every Sabbath. At one time the 
preacher supplying at Foggieloan (another name for Aberchirder), preached 
part of the day at Blackballs, a village four or five miles to the north-west, 
where Mr Primrose had been accustomed to hold services. At last the cause 
at Aberchirder took definite shape, and on 26th October 1841 Mr Black wood 
of Banff reported that after examination certain parties had been formed into 
a congregation, and elders chosen. The membership was given soon after 
as 30 and the attendance 1 10, the population of the village being 800. Two 
years before this the church was built, with sittings for 350 ; the cost was 
^270, of which the people raised ,100, and the Mission Board granted ,120. 
The ^50 of debt which remained was cancelled before 1845 by the aid of 
,30 from the Liquidation Fund. 

First Mi?iister. PETER LANDRETH, from Greenlaw, who, "after long 
and painful indecision, resolved to accept." The call was signed by 38 
members and 44 adherents, and the people were to give .40 from their own 
resources. The ordination took place, I3th August 1844, but Mr Landreth s 
ministry was not of long duration. With remarkable gifts of a literary kind 


he felt that his life work was to lie in another line of activity. In June 1847 
he resigned his charge, and on 4th August his demission was accepted. He 
then became editor of the Fife Herald, to which he gave a standing much 
above the average of provincial newspapers. He at the same time enriched 
Hogg s Instructor, M PhaiPs Magazine, and other periodicals, with the 
productions of his pen. Of these articles a selection was published in 1861, 
entitled " Studies and Sketches in Modern Literature." This was followed 
in 1869 by his "Life of Dr Adam Thomson," his father-in-law, a massive 
volume, including graphic sketches of the Doctor s contemporaries and his time. 
Of slighter build every way is his " Divinity Hall of the U.P. Church," which 
appeared in 1876. Three of Mr Landreth s sons are or were in the ministry 
James, for a number of years in Maisondieu Lane, Brechin, and now in the 
Established Church, Logie-Pert ; Adam Thomson, who was ordained in 1880 
over the English Presbyterian Church, Wark, Northumberland, but had to 
retire owing to broken health in 1885, and was admitted to the Established 
Church by the Assembly in 1893 ; and Peter, minister of the West Parish 
Church, Perth. Mr Landreth himself now resides with his son at Logie-Pert 
in a far advanced age. (Mr Landreth died, 27th July 1901, in his eighty-first 

In the end of 1847 Aberchirder called Mr W. F. Swan, but he accepted 
Comrie instead. Then after waiting over a year they invited Mr Andrew 
Morton, ultimately Dr Morton of St James Place, Edinburgh, to settle down 
among them, but he declined. The next call was addressed to Mr John 
Brash, but he also declined. The Presbytery earnestly recommended him 
to reconsider the matter, but without effect, though it is doubtful whether 
Aberchirder was not a more promising field than Wamphray, which fell to 
his lot. 

Second Minister. ROBERT PATERSON, formerly of Greenloaning, 
Sunderland (Smyrna Chapel), and Midmar. Mr Paterson proceeded 
circumspectly towards acceptance. He wished to know whether, in the 
event of the congregation prospering, they would increase his stipend ; 
whether any arrangement had been made to provide him with a house and 
garden ; and whether they would drive his coals. A decision being at last 
arrived at, he was inducted, loth September 1849. In course of time the 
wheels dragged heavily, and in 1858 the Presbytery got intimation that, 
in consequence of dissatisfaction, two elders and 18 members had left, though 
on visiting the congregation " they were glad to learn that the attachment of 
the people to their minister remained unchanged." Mr Paterson demitted 
his charge, 25th May 1869: the membership at this time was 45, and the 
stipend from the people ^45, which the supplement raised to 90. He 
died at Duns, 27th August 1880, in the eighty-first year of his age and fifty- 
second of his ministerial life. 

There was now a vacancy of two and a half years, during which three un 
successful calls were issued, though the outlook was brightening, there hav 
ing been a considerable addition to the membership after Mr Paterson left. 
The first preacher fixed on was Mr G. F. Steven,* who declined. Then they 
also called, without effect, Mr R. A. Watson, now Dr Watson of Dundee, and 
then Mr Charles M Ewing, now of Tollcross, Glasgow. 

Third Minister. JOHN M RAITH, from Head Street, Beith. Ordained, 

* Mr Steven was from the Leckie Memorial Church, Peebles. After this he went 
to Canada, where he ministered for a time to the congregation of St Anne s, Hamilton. 
Having returned to this country he joined the Established Church, and in 1876 he 
was appointed to the office, which he still holds, of chaplain to the Royal Forces 
at Netley and Winchester. 


29th November 1871. On gth June 1893 the church was reopened, free of 
debt, after undergoing changes at a cost of ,500, which have almost made it 
a new building. During the present ministry there has been a considerable 
building up in another way, the membership being now close upon 100, and 
the stipend contributed by the people ,70. 


THIS church originated in 1829. On 6th June of that year it was reported to 
the Presbytery of Stewartfield that a legacy had been left in favour of the 
Secession Church by a person in Gamrie parish, to which Gardenstown 
belongs. This was followed up on 3rd October by a petition for sermon 
once a fortnight, to be kept up for a year, and expressing confidence that the 
collections and subscriptions would go far to defray the expenses. It was 
found, however, before the year was half out that without assistance it 
would be impossible for them to support the gospel. But aid was obtained, 
and matters went on in a feeble way year after year. In 1841 the Mission 
Board reported that a small, neat church had been built, free of debt, and 
that sermon was kept up on alternate Sabbaths. As for the legacy, it 
turned out to be for behoof of a school, and did not admit of being applied 
to Church purposes. In 1843, 26 persons in Pennan, a fishing village in 
Aberdour parish, four miles to the east, applied to have sermon in connection 
with Gardenstown and the services of a preacher between the two places. 
In course of time a location was felt to be essential if there was to be 
progress made. 

First Minister. JOHN MUNRO, from College Street, Edinburgh. The 
first arrangement was that he should officiate as a missionary at Garden 
stown for six months at least. To qualify him the better for work there he 
obtained ordination, 3oth December 1847, the services being conducted at 
Banff, and not at Gardenstown. He was now empowered to administer 
baptism and examine applicants for admission to Church fellowship. In 
this state matters continued till Wednesday, 8th July 1848, when a congrega 
tion was formed with a communion roll of 40. In June 1850 a moderation 
was applied for, with the promise of ,40 from the congregation and a 
dwelling-house. As a foregone conclusion, the call, signed by 54 members 
and 70 adherents, came out for Mr Munro, and he was inducted, ist October 
of that year. Prior to this 7 of their number had been ordained to the elder 
ship, and a church seated for 200 was in course of erection, work in which 
the people were aided by a grant of ^150 from the Home Mission Board, be 
sides collections from sister congregations within the Presbytery. In October 
1853 there was a membership of 85, and the attendance was about 200. On 
1 4th January 1862 Mr Munro was loosed from his charge at his own request. 
At the height of the revival movement, some time before, discontent had 
arisen in the congregation, and estrangement from the minister, who on his 
part had grievances to complain of, relating to stipend and other things. 
After engaging in probationer work for three years he was inducted to 

Before the close of the year Mr Andrew Alston was called to Garden 
stown, but he declined the call, and was ordained three months afterwards at 
Newmilns. Another moderation was obtained in July 1863, the sum named 
being raised from ^50 to ^70, besides 10 for expenses. They were also to 
avail themselves of the Manse Scheme as soon as practicable, a promise 
which resulted in the building of a manse a few years later at a cost of ^600 
.320 of which was raised by the people, and ,280 came from the Board. 


Second Minister. JOHN GlLMOUR, from East Kilbride. The first call 
seemed much divided, Mr Gilmour having 30 votes against 27 for Mr R. S. 
Bruce, now of Wishaw, and it was declined. Another followed with entire 
unanimity, and Mr Gilmour was ordained, 5th May 1864. Translated to 
Burnbank, Hamilton, I3th April 1880. There was a membership now of 
229, and the stipend from the congregational funds was .114, ios., besides 
the manse. 

Third Minister. JOHN F. BLAIR, son of Dr Blair, Galashiels (West). 
Ordained, I2th October 1881. Translated to John Street, Glasgow, 7th June 
1887. After a vacancy of a year and a half Gardenstown called Mr Adam 
Shaw, who was ordained at Leven in the following month, and a year later they 
called Mr J. Brand Scott, who was ordained over Saltcoats (West) half-a- 
year afterwards. 

Fourth Minister. TIMOTHY W. STIRLING, from Bonhill, brother of the 
Rev. John W. Stirling, Buchanan, Kaffraria, and the Rev. George Stirling, 
Kilwinning. Ordained, 2gth January 1891. Translated to Overnewton, 
Glasgow, 26th February 1895. 

Fifth Minister. ALEXANDER T. OGILVIE, from Leslie (Trinity). Ordained, 
loth October 1895. The old church having outlived its usefulness, another 
built on the same site was opened in June 1899 with accommodation for con 
siderably over 400. The cost was ^1500, of which ^500 has still to be paid, 
but it is hoped that the debt will be cleared off ere long by means of a 
bazaar. The membership at the close of 1899 was 232, and the stipend from 
the people ,130, with the manse. 


ON 6th April 1858 a memorial from seven persons resident in Buckie was 
laid before the Presbytery of Banff, setting forth the religious destitution of 
the place from lack of real gospel preaching. The document was looked 
on with favour, but there was little done meanwhile. It was otherwise when, 
on 2ist June 1859, a petition for sermon was presented from 134 heads of 
families. This was the outcome of a serious rent in the Free Church con 
gregation, which neither Presbytery, Synod, nor Assembly had been able 
to avert, and the result was scarcely to be regretted, Buckie having a popula 
tion of over 2000, with at least an equal number within convenient reach. 
On 20th September 47 persons, duly attested, were formed into a congrega 
tion. In a few weeks three elders were ordained, and at the first communion 
80 took part in the observance. But, prior to their full organisation, a hall, 
formerly a Roman Catholic chapel, was purchased for ^450, and having been 
fitted up as a place of worship, it was opened, 5th July 1859. 

First Minister. WILLIAM BARRAS, from London Road, Glasgow. 
Ordained, loth May 1860. The stipend the people undertook was ^70, 
which, it was calculated, would be raised to -loo by the supplementing 
fund. Buckie at this time experienced the effects of a great revival, by 
which the new-formed congregation was largely benefited. Mr Barras 
having entered deeply and successfully into the kind of work required, he 
was invited by the Mission Board to undertake the superintendence of the 
Tontine Mission Station, Glasgow, and with this view he was loosed from 
his charge, i;th November 1863. The membership during these three and 
a half years had risen from under 90 to 249, and the stipend from ^70 to 
100, with ^20 from the Augmentation Fund. 

In October 1864 Mr Hugh Macfarlane, afterwards of Oban, was called to 


succeed Mr Barras, and in June 1865 Mr John Brown, now in Kinclaven, 
but neither of the two chose to accept. 

Second Minister. GEORGE G. GREEN, M.A., from Craigdam. Ordained, 
nth January 1866. Soon afterwards a manse was built at a cost of ^1033, 
of which the congregation raised ,683, and the Board granted .350. This 
was followed by the opening of a new church, with 50x3 sittings, on I4th 
December 1870 by Dr George Johnstone, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, the 
Presbytery being present. It cost ,1000, and the last of the debt was ex 
tinguished in 1882, the Liquidation Board having allowed a grant of ,275. 
On 5th November 1878 Mr Green was translated to Cranstonhill, Glasgow. 
Then came an unsuccessful call to Mr W. S. Dickie, now of Trinity Church, 

Third Minister. JOHN COOK, from Tayport. Ordained, 24th September 
1879. There was a membership now of 280. On 26th November 1895 Mr 
Cook accepted a call to Cumberland Street, Glasgow, the third minister who 
had removed from Buckie congregation to the great city of the west. At 
the moderation in June following the two candidates had 41 votes each, and 
the election failed. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM MORTON, B.D., from Carluke. Ordained, 
1 6th December 1896. The membership rose within the next three years 
from 224 to 246, but it is still 100 lower than it was in 1875. The stipend 
from the people is ^130, with the manse. 


THIS congregation was originally conjoined with Portknockie, both being 
fishing villages on the Banffshire coast, distant from each other about one 
and a half miles. On gth October 1860 it was reported to the Presbytery of 
the bounds that sermon had been regularly kept up at both places for some 
time. Revival influences were telling for good, and the people were in the 
mood for hearing the gospel. On 5th March 1861 the adherents of the two 
stations were formed into the united congregation of Portknockie and 
Findochty, there being 13 members at Portknockie, with an attendance of 250, 
and 3 members at Findochty, with an attendance of 1 50. Before the close 
of the year a site was obtained for a church at Portknockie, the estimated 
expense being ,300. At this stage the members at Findochty declined to 
meet in concert with their brethren in Portknockie for the conducting of 
business. Both parties were told that there would have to be joint action 
between them in all matters strictly congregational, and Findochty people 
were to have a place of worship in their own village. When built it cost ^500, 
and had 400 sittings. Another difficulty emerged when elders were to be 
ordained. Of the five who came forward on the day appointed three refused 
to answer the questions of the formula, so that only as many were admitted 
to office as formed a quorum. 

First Minister. WILLIAM BIRRELL, from Leslie (West). Mr Birrell 
had been located among the people for about a year. The ordination took 
place at Findochty on 4th March 1862, and from first to last he seemed to 
enter with much ardour into revival work. Unhappily, he had to be deposed 
for confessed immorality, 4th September 1866. He afterwards studied 
medicine, took his diploma, and practised for some time near the scene of 
his former labours. He died at Knayton, Yorkshire, 7th February 1875, 
aged thirty-seven. 

Disaster to both branches of the congregation followed from the break 
down on the part of their minister. Within two months of his deposition the 


people petitioned to have him restored to his former place, and the Presbytery 
offered to transmit their paper to the Synod, but there the matter ended. 
Supply was kept up at the two villages, and in 1868 a location was suggested, 
bdt the people were hard to satisfy, their opinion of at least one probationer 
being that "he was not in sympathy with the work." From inability to pay 
/200 of debt, or even the interest on it, the property at Portknockie was 
disposed of to the Free Church in March 1869 for about .180. Findochty, 
however, held on as before, and in 1877 Mr James M Douall, an evangelist, 
was located there. Next, there was an attempt to have him regularly ordained, 
but this arrangement was not sanctioned by the Synod. The session at this 
time took up a strong position. A member of Presbytery had been appointed 
to observe the communion at Findochty on a particular Sabbath, but he was 
kept back by a letter from the three elders, intimating that unless Mr 
M Douall was allowed to do that work himself some of them would withdraw 
from connection with the church. The evangelist remained at his post till 
the beginning of 1886, after which it was found desirable that Findochty 
should have a fixed minister. This had been attempted in 1 868, when the 
original congregation was still entire, Mr William Watson, afterwards of 
Kirkcudbright, having been called, but without effect. 

Second Minister. JOHN WESLEY M KEE, from Alloa (West). Ordained, 
i gth December 1887. The present membership is not over 50, whereas that 
of the Free church at Portknockie, where a minister was settled twenty-two 
years ago, is 120. The people at Findochty contribute ,65, ros. of stipend. 


ON 22nd January 1864, 82 persons residing in or about Portsoy petitioned 
Banff Presbytery for supply of ordinances. It was moved and seconded to 
decline the application, as the petitioners represented a dissatisfied minority 
of the Free Church congregation, but it carried to grant sermon and recom 
mend the case to the Mission Board. On 8th March a committee of Presby 
tery reported, after visiting Portsoy, that the petitioners had drawn up a 
declaration of their reasons for seceding from the Free Church ; that 40 new 
names had been added, and it was believed more would accede as soon as it 
was seen that a congregation would be formed. On igth April the station 
was congregated with a membership of 142, and on ist August six elders were 
ordained. Early in 1865 the congregation called Mr William James, who 
declined the call, and was settled soon afterwards at Leeds.* 

First Minister. NATHANAfiL FORSYTH M DOUGALL, from Buccleuch 
Street, Dumfries, who was also called to Stornoway and Archieston. Ordained, 
2 ist September 1865. A month after this the congregation set about the 
erecting of a church, with sittings for 350. It was completed in the following 
year at a cost of ^830. The people undertook from the first to raise ^105 
of stipend from their own resources. Mr M Dougall was translated to Eccle- 
fechan on igth November 1867. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM SIMMERS, M.A., called from Lumsden, where 
he had ministered four years, and inducted, nth March 1868. The stipend 
from the people was ,105, with ^15 of supplement, and ^10 for house rent. 

* Mr James was from Campsie. When a preacher he was called to Smethwick, 
as well as to Portsoy and Leeds. Ordained, 3 ist May 1865. Died, 2nd April 1867, 
in the thirty-fourth year of his age and second of his ministry. The Presbytery of 
Newcastle, to whom his death was announced that day by telegram, put on record 
their esteem for their departed brother, "their great grief at his early and sudden 
removal, and their deep sympathy with his widow and his congregation." 


A manse was built next year at a cost of ^600, of which the Board allowed 
one-half. The membership at the close of 1899 was 165 and the stipend 
from the people ,120, with the manse. 

So much for this young congregation ; but the Dissenting cause in Portsoy 
had an earlier history. In the beginning of 1782 Mr Cowie of Huntly, as 
already stated, was dealt with by his Presbytery for going to hear a Relief 
minister one Sabbath afternoon. Light is cast on the circumstances from 
the fact that a petition was brought before Glasgow Relief Presbytery in 
August of that year from "the forming congregation of Huntly and Portsoy." 
It had been going on before this, and they now asked for the continuance 
among them of Mr Smillie, afterwards of Cupar. But ere long Portsoy 
appears in a new connection. To the Antiburgher Synod it was reported, in 
September 1784, that the Rev. Laurence Reid, who had left Pathstruie under 
a cloud, was taking charge of " what is called the Relief congregation in Port 
soy," and in the following April they deposed him for deserting his profession. 
In or about 1792 he removed from Portsoy to Findhorn, where he preached 
to a quasi-Relief congregation for a course of years. In 1793 he applied for 
admission to the Relief Synod, but was rejected. He afterwards figures in 
David Gellatly s hands as a member of the Old Relief Presbytery, which had 
its centre at Colinsburgh, and it is found from the treasurer s books that he 
assisted there in August 1797, but probably the connection, owing to distance, 
was little more than nominal. His death is given in the Caledonian Mercury 
for loth August 1808, where he is described as minister of the Relief con 
gregation at Findhorn. The church was afterwards turned into a Chapel of 
Ease, but it was built on a foundation of sand, and it fell in 1843. As for 
Portsoy, some of the people there, about the time of Mr Reid s removal, 
applied through Grange session to the Antiburgher Presbytery of Aberdeen 
for supply of sermon, which was granted them, apparently, about once a 
month. Then in 1793 ^ r Primrose signified at one of their meetings that 
an application had been made to his session from Portsoy to have a part of 
his labours. Next year an arrangement was come to that he should preach 
there every third Sabbath, and three commissioners, representing Seceders 
and others in that place, engaged to pay one-third of his stipend, and they 
also agreed that " he and his horse should be maintained when there," the 
places being eight or nine miles apart. This system went on for eight years, 
though not without difficulty, owing to the people of Portsoy falling into 
arrears with their quota of the stipend, which was only ^40 in all. The 
winding-up came in July 1802, when a complaint was brought before Grange 
session that four members of the congregation residing at Portsoy had in a 
clandestine way sold the place of worship there. It appears from the old 
title-deeds that this transaction took place on i6th February 1802, and that 
the property was disposed of for ^60. It passed at this time into the hands 
of the Established Church, and, when superseded in 1815 by another, it was 
turned by the minister into a barn. Such was the fate of the " Red " or " Reid 
Kirk " at Portsoy in the last stage of its existence. 


THE Congregational chapel at Cullen was offered to the Presbytery of Banff 
in October 1881, and on their recommendation it was bought by the Mission 
Board for ,300, with the view of forming a U.P. congregation. The station 
was opened on the last Sabbath of June 1882, and Mr Porteous, probationer, 
was engaged to carry on the work required. After he had laboured with suc 
cess six or seven months the adherents petitioned to be congregated, which 


was done on gth February 1883, with a membership of 26. The population 
of Cullen was, and is, about 2000, and Banff Presbytery stepped into the 
place vacated by the Independents. 

First Minister. ANDREW M. PORTEOUS, B.D., from Buccleuch Street, 
Dalkeith. He was also called to Strathhaven (West), but decided to abide 
at Cullen, where he was ordained on 27th June 1883. Though the con 
gregational funds yielded only ,50 of stipend, the call promised well, being 
supported by members and their friends to the number of 205. A manse 
was built in 1885, the estimated cost being ^680, of which the Board paid 
.230. Mr Porteous having laid the foundation left another to build thereon, 
and on igth June 1889 demitted his charge, having devoted himself to 
missionary labour at Old Calabar. He gave his reason as follows : "Any 
person here who likes can hear the gospel, but in Africa there are millions 
who have not a chance." The station he occupied out there was Ikotana, 
"sixty miles from a white man." Feeling fever on him he set out for Ikorofiong, 
where he found himself among friendly hands ; but all was nearly over. He 
died, 26th January 1892, in the thirty-fifth year of his age and ninth of his 

Second Minister. WILLIAM H. STONEBRIDGE, M.A., from Claremont 
Church, Glasgow. Ordained, I3th November 1889. In Cullen the young cause 
has been overshadowed all along by a vigorous Free Church congregation, 
with three times the strength both in numbers and in resources. At the 
close of 1899 the U.P. church showed a membership of 80 and a stipend 
from the people of .63, with the manse. 


THIS congregation might be left out of account, as it never got beyond the 
formative stage, and three years took in the compass of its existence. In 
July 1862 there is reference in the Presbytery minutes to evangelistic 
services having been begun at Turriff, and on 3rd September a special 
meeting was called, to take into consideration a petition from 31 individuals 
m that place for sermon. It was visited soon afterwards by the Home Sec 
retary and was allowed a grant of ,20 to assist in maintaining ordinances. 
On 3rd November 1863 those adhering to the station petitioned to be 
congregated, and the proposal was sent down to the neighbouring sessions 
1 he returns bore that Aberchirder saw no necessity for starting a congrega 
tion at I urrift, but Banff and Gardenstown were favourable to the erection 
and on the i;th of that month 27 persons who had been found qualified for 
membership were constituted into a congregation. Next year, in Tulv it 
was arranged to have a single elder ordained. In July 1865 the cause at 
iurntf was thought to be in a critical position, and requiring the interposition 
of a committee. In March 1866 the minister who was in charge of the con 
gregations interests reported that he had secured the services of a suitable 
>reacner to be located m the place, but owing to the divided state of the 
membership he did not feel warranted in going forward. On 2 4 th Tulv the 
committee on Turriff was discharged, and the name appears no more in the 
records of Banff Presbytery. In the light of subsequent events this may not 
je a matter of regret as there was a strong Free Church congregation in 
the town, and the population only about 2000. 




THIS congregation in its origin links itself with Kinmundy and the pro 
prietor there. The summer of 1741 may be taken as our starting-point, 
the time when Mr and Mrs Ferguson entered into fellowship with the 
Seceders when on a visit to Burntisland. This was followed by an accession 
to the Associate Presbytery of 30 persons in Old Deer, the parish to which 
Kinmundy belongs, accompanied by a petition " for some visits to that dark 
corner." The Presbytery received them under their inspection, but there 
was nothing further done till winter was over. On 6th April 1742 an appli 
cation came from Buchan for an ordained minister to preach and baptise 
children, and it was agreed to give the people more than they asked for. In 
June there were preachers provided for Mr Moncrieffs pulpit, and in July 
it was arranged that he and Mr Mair of Orwell " supply Kinmundy while they 
continue in that country, being designed to go to Peterhead Well for their 
health." This fixes the time when the first Seceder sermon was heard in 
Buchan. Next summer one of their young men was appointed to preach at 
Kinmundy on his way to Moray, and, as Mr Moncrieff was absent from his 
own pulpit four successive Sabbaths that season, there is reason to surmise 
that he was back to Peterhead and its neighbourhood again. Additional 
accessions followed in February 1744, and preaching was kept up at intervals, 
the cause evidently making progress. It was at Craigdam, however, sixteen 
miles south-west of Kinmundy, that the Secession in Aberdeenshire was to 
find its first habitation, though the reason can scarcely be that it was found 
impracticable to obtain a site in the neighbourhood of Old Deer. The fact 
that the laird of Kinmundy was a devoted supporter of the Secession 
negatives that supposition. 

In July 1769 the praying societies of Clola, Whitehill, and New Deer 
gave in a petition to the session of Craigdam craving a disjunction. They 
wished to be constituted into a separate congregation, and this was agreed 
to in the following month. During the seventeen years they were under 
Mr Brown s ministry they may have enjoyed week-day services in their own 
locality ever and again, but to what extent they shared in his Sabbath labours 
cannot be ascertained. We know that two years after his ordination he com 
plained to the Presbytery that some of his people were insisting on him 
preaching in more places on Sabbath than the Presbytery had agreed to before 
his ordination. The result was that the original resolution was adhered to, 
and the people received notice to that effect. But with sixteen miles inter 
vening it was much to be desired that Clola should become a second centre. 
First Minister. WILLIAM MITCHELL, a native of Old Deer. Ordained, 
I4th November 1770. The rival candidate on the election day was Mr George 
Cowie, afterwards of Huntly. At this time the members numbered about 
loo, with four elders constituting the session. The increase during the next 
four years was as follows: in 1771 there were 25 added; in 1772, 54; in 
! 773> 34 ; an d m J 774? 5 1 - The tree had manifestly found root in prepared 
soil. The old church, with sittings for 400, is said not to have been built till 
1784, though one is tempted to surmise a much earlier date. It is found, at 
least, that Perth session in 1772 granted 8 to Clola, a gift which naturally 
suggests building operations. What the stipend was at first is not given, 
but in 1812 it was ^80 and a house. The congregation also afforded the 
minister a piece of waste land, which he enclosed, and which served him for 


a garden. Gradually the bounds of Clola congregation were circumscribed 
by the uprise of congregations at Whitehall, Peterhead, and Auchmacoy (now 
illon). In 1820 its strength was much further reduced by the refusal of 
Mr Mitchell to take part in the Union between Burghers and Antiburghers. 
Owing to age and distance he was absent from the meetings of Synod when 
the Basis was agreed on ; but his objections to the Union were insuperable 
and a disruption followed, which will be more fully dwelt on when we come 
to StewartfieldT Mr Mitchell died, i6th April 1832, in the eighty-fifth year 
of his age and sixty-second of his ministry. For some years before his death 
he^ was entirely disqualified for ministerial work, and the Rev. Thomas 
M Crie became the acting minister, on whose removal to succeed his father 
in Edinburgh, his brother, the Rev. George M Crie, was ordained as his 
successor. The present minister is the Rev. W. M. Sutherland, B D who 
was ordained in 1879, and some time afterwards became son-in-law to 
Dr William Reid of Lothian Road, Edinburgh. 


FROM the very first there was friction between Whitehill and Clola places 
A 1 / L- f S apart thou S h for seven years they formed one united congregation 

r Mitchell, when under call, had difficulties about agreeing to preach at 
the two places on alternate Sabbaths, and the commissioners from Whitehill 
were backward to consent to the ordination upon any other terms They 
pleaded that "the greater number of acccders were with them," and the 

;sbytery recommended them to study what would be most for the 
advancement of the Lord s work in that corner." Before a year passed 
the case came before the Presbytery in an acute form, some petitioning for 
a disjunction, while 17 persons urged the Presbytery to deal with Mr Mitchell 
to give them as much supply as he gives Clola, and, if he refuses, let them be 
erected into a separate congregation. On 2oth August 1771 the Presbytery 
dismissed the affair with two recommendations the one to Mr Mitchell to 
V if- Whitenill ser mon as often as Clola, if it be in his power ; the other to 
Whitehill people to endeavour to bury their prejudices, and to accommodate 
Mr Mitchell with a proper house for public worship. It appears from this 

vm b Dr M Kelvie firSt ChUrCh ^ ^ buiU S Carly 77 the date 

In this state matters continued for other six years, Mr Mitchell preachin 

as a rule every third Sabbath at Whitehill. But one winter the people there 

On T S rZA SUPP t y thr0 v, h H 16 , Presb y ter y a t the request of Clola session. 
On 1 9 th August 1777 Whitehill people were disjoined at their own request 
M m T Clola > and erected into a separate congregation. Within a year 

of P^ S m ^ had ^ en P reviousl y ca "ed to the collegiate charge 
of Perth (North), was invited to Whitehill, but the Synod, adhering to a 
former decision, appointed him to Kirriemuir. 

First Minister. WILLIAM BARLAS, from the parish of Fowlis and the 
congregation of Perth (North). Ordained, 26th August 1779. In April 1781 
Mr Barlas was called to Belmont Street, Aberdeen, but the Pi-Lbvtery 

nfhful J :0nSlderati0 ! 1 f the matter on account of Mr Barlas bad state 
of health, and ,n the end they dismissed the call. For other sixteen years 

DonlT T^ pr S P erousl > . at Whitehill, the minister being exceptionally 
popular. Then came a trial case, which ended in a sentence of deposition 

KTvot^ M C l yn ? d T 5th Se P tember 797 "without oneTon ra 
ctoiy \oice. Mr Barlas has sometimes been represented as a much- 
injured man, but there was enough confessed by himself to justify all that 


followed. He now emigrated to New York, where for two years he occupied 
himself teaching classics, then he commenced business as a bookseller. In 
1804 a letter was read in the Synod from an American minister, who was 
apprehensive that Mr Barlas might apply to be restored to office, and he 
was answered by an extract of the minutes and the sentence. Mr Barlas 
died of cancer, yth January 1817, an ailment which, it is said, was making 
its appearance in his face before he left Scotland. A volume of his sermons, 
with Memoir prefixed, including a voluminous correspondence he had with the 
Rev. John Newton before the disaster came, was published after his death. 

Second Minister. JOHN BUNYAN, son of the Rev. Andrew Bunyan, 
Howgate, and brother of the Rev. James Bunyan of Keith. He received 
ordination on 7th December 1796, that he might dispense sealing ordinances 
in remote places, such as Orkney. This was after he had itinerated as a 
preacher for about a dozen years. Inducted to Whitehill, i8th December 
1798, when he had reached the ripe age of forty-seven. The call was 
unanimous, and the stipend was to be ^50 and a house. In 1812 it was ^10 
higher, with a small farm, for which the congregation paid ^10. Mr Bunyan 
by his prudent, dignified demeanour is understood to have been well adapted 
for the place, though, so far as popular gifts were concerned, he was a con 
trast to his predecessor. The large audiences which gathered round 
Mr Barlas were gone, and the membership is said, though this is doubtful, 
to have been reduced to less than half its former dimensions. At the Union 
of 1820 there was also the loss of from 1 6 to 20 members, 2 of these being 
elders. Dissatisfied with the Basis of Union, they withdrew, and joined the 
Protestors at Clola. Mr Bunyan died, 2Oth December 1821, in the seventieth 
year of his age, having newly completed his twenty-third year at Whitehill. 

After a vacancy of a few months the congregation called Mr James 
Gilfillan, but the call was withdrawn, as they \vere unwilling, they explained, 
"to engage in a competition with other congregations from whom he had 
received, or was about to receive, calls." 

Third Minister. ADAM LlND, from Craigdam. A younger brother of 
his, John Lind, died of consumption, 24th September 1819, in the first year 
of his theological course, and the Rev. Adam Lind, D.D., of Elgin, was his 
nephew. Ordained, 7th August 1823. Mr Lind was no mere youth when he 
entered on his studies, and he was now in his fortieth year. The stipend 
was ,90, and on applying for a moderation it was intimated that they were 
to build a new meeting-house in the place which might appear to their 
minister and themselves most suitable. A manse would also be forthcoming". 
When the site for the new erection came to be chosen the people decided 
to remain where they were, much to the minister s regret, who believed that 
sound policy dictated their removal to the thriving village of New Pitsligo, 
two miles off. The church was built in 1826 ; cost about -500 ; sittings 450. 
On 4th March 1862 it was intimated to the Presbytery that Mr Lind was no 
longer able for the whole of his official duties, and a supply of preachers was 
needed. But the end was nearer than had been supposed, as he only sur 
vived other two months. He died, 3rd May 1862, in the seventy-ninth year 
of his age and thirty-ninth of his ministry. A Memoir of Mr Lind, consisting 
chiefly of a very racy and interesting autobiography, was published by his 
nephew, the Rev. Dr Lind, some time after his death. 

The manse was now in a ruinous state, and the question whether to re 
build it on the same site revived the question of removing to New Pitsligo, 
as it was widely felt that, unless some change of centre were effected, the 
congregation was bound to decline. While matters were in a state of un 
certainty a call emerged to Mr John A. Murray, but he had a majority of 
only two over Mr Charles C. Squair, who afterwards was ordained over the 


neighbouring congregation of New Deer. Mr Murray saw meet to decline 
the call, and became minister at Burntisland. Later on, and while the locus 
of the church was still an open question, they called Mr Alexander M Donald, 
now of Lochmaben, but with the same result. At last the Presbytery held a 
meeting with the congregation, and after hearing both sides they decided in 
favour of remaining at Whitehill. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN PATERSON, from Galston, who had previously 
declined Kinkell. Ordained, 7th June 1864. During the ministry of thirty- 
five years which succeeded, minister and people had to experience the effects 
of the decision come to in the beginning of Mr Lind s time, to keep by their 
old position. For the congregation there was steady decrease year by year, 
owing to decline in the rural population and the gradual dropping away of 
families from the extremities. Hence the membership, which amounted to 
250 in 1837, was down to a third of that number in 1894, and union with the 
Free church at New Pitsligo was becoming all but imperative. That con 
gregation being vacant in 1897, the session on 23rd October wished Whitehill 
session to consider the propriety of entering on negotiations for amalgama 
tion, and the proposal was received in a friendly spirit. The congregations 
then met under the sanction of their respective Presbyteries, and the elders 
and managers on both sides were left to adjust the terms. On 7th December 
the agreement come to was laid before Banff Presbytery. It was substanti 
ally as follows : The united congregation was to worship in New Pitsligo 
Free church, and to be under the inspection of the Free Church Presbytery 
of Deer, Mr Paterson to be senior minister, and a junior colleague to be 
called when the union was completed. The two sets of elders were to form 
the session, and the deacons and managers the deacons court. Mr Paterson 
was to continue in the manse at Whitehill, the united congregation to be 
responsible for the ground-rent of ^5, and his retiring allowance was to 
come from the Augmentation and Sustentation Funds, the amount in each 
case to be left to the recommendation of the Advisory Committee. White- 
hill people being averse to have their minister entirely set aside while some 
measure of strength remained, wished the word " retiring " erased, and sug 
gested that Mr Paterson should have such a share of the work as might be 
agreed on between him and the young minister. These modifications were 
accepted by all parties, with this addition, that the arrangement between the 
two ministers should have the concurrence of the Presbytery. 

The union was consummated in the Free church, New Pitsligo, on 25th 
January 1898, when the two Presbyteries, after meeting separately, coalesced, 
and public worship was conducted by Dr Hutchison of Bonnington, Moder 
ator of the U.P. Synod. At the close the name of Whitehill congregation 
was dropped from the roll of Banff Presbytery, and the minister was trans 
ferred to the Free Presbytery of Deer. On the following Sabbath the 

him the day was far spent. He died, I7th June 1899, in the sixty-seventh 
year of his age and thirty-sixth of his ministry. The membership of New 
Pitsligo had been a little over 100 before the union, but their income was 
inferior to that of Whitehill. At the close of 1898 the united congregation 
returned a membership of 165, and the contributions to the Sustentation 
Fund were nearly doubled. 



ON loth June 1788 a petition from Peterhead for a Sabbath s supply of 
sermon from Mr Mitchell of Clola was brought before Aberdeen Presbytery 
by a reference from the session of that congregation. The applicants were 
within Clola bounds, though not in the Antiburgher communion, and it was 
agreed to advise Mr Mitchell to preach a day at Peterhead, as was desired. 
But now that a beginning was made petitions for sermon were brought 
forward time after time from the same quarter, and partially granted. Then 
on I4th June 1790 certain members of Clola congregation, residing in the 
parishes of St Fergus and Peterhead, craved to be disjoined and erected 
into a distinct congregation. Commissioners having been heard, and also 
Mr Mitchell and his elder, it carried to grant the petition, the understanding 
being that the place of worship was to be in the town of Peterhead, and that 
Seceders in the two parishes just named, and in part of the parishes of 
Cruden and Longside, were to be included. A fortnight afterwards a nomina 
tion of elders was to be proceeded with in the two quarters of Peterhead and 
St Fergus ; but, instead of going forward, the people in the latter parish 
delayed, waiting for the concurrence of some members of Clola who resided 
among them, and had taken no part in the disjunction. The Presbytery 
clerk was instructed to intimate to these persons that they were to consider 
themselves as belonging to Peterhead church. It is a specimen of the 
hard and fast lines which used to be drawn between the territories of 
neighbouring congregations. But if there was difficulty in connection with 
the election of elders there were greater difficulties when a minister came to 
be chosen. On 5th July 1792 they called Mr Thomas Smith, a preacher 
from Urr, who had been appointed by the Synod to America some years 
before, but remained at home. Illness now intervened, and the Presbytery, 
with the congregation s concurrence, laid the call aside. On recovering he 
resumed work as a probationer, but, not obtaining a settlement, he emigrated 
to the United States in 1800, and in 1811 he was installed "as the first and 
only pastor of the Associate congregation in the town of Huntingdon, 
Pennsylvania/ The relation lasted till his death in 1825. 

The second call, issued on 2nd April 1793, was equally unproductive, and 
more tantalising. It was addressed to Mr James Clark, but he declared 
positively he could not accept. There was now a twelvemonth s delay, and 
then, with the fear of censure from the Synod before him, he told the 
Presbytery that he had got over his difficulties, but they must allow him four 
months to attend to some concerns of his own. Six months passed, and 
when he appeared it was to inform them that he did not mean to give in his 
trials, and was not to submit to ordination. He pleaded in his own defence 
" incompetency of support," and the inability of the people to give even what 
they promised, together with the aversion of some members towards himself. 
The prospects at Peterhead, it must be owned, were not very encouraging, 
the call being signed by only 19 male members, and the stipend to be ^50, 
with a house. Further dealings there were, and much vacillation, but the 
Synod wound up the case with a rebuke, and that same year Mr Clark was 
ordained at Dalreoch. 

first Minister. THOMAS MlLNE, from Chalmers Street, Dunfermline. 
Ordained, I4th July 1796; but hopes of success were blasted by disputes 
which sprung up almost at once in the congregation, and the disruption to 
which they led in 1799. There must surely have been some crossgrained 
element at the centre, for things went from bad to worse. At last aversion 
to the minister became so pronounced that, in October 1815, the Synod 
recommended Mr Milne to resign. " It would neither," they said, "be for 


his comfort nor for the interests of religion that he should remain." The 
connection was severed on I2th December of that year. Mr Milne took 
appointments as a preacher for some time, and then lived privately in 
Dunfermline. The last notice, save one, that we have of him is of date 4th 
December 1832, when he acceded to the Original Burgher Synod. The 
close is given in the register of Dunfermline parish : he died of palsy, 1 5th 
January 1835, aged seventy-one; and another authority says, "after long 

Up till the Union of 1820 the congregation kept up separate existence, 
and in May 1819 they even applied for a moderation. They were to raise 
^50 of stipend, and they hoped the Synod would give them 20 for three or 
four years, and in March 1820 the application was renewed ; but the 
Presbytery, considering their embarrassed situation, and also that Mr Milne 
was demanding immediate payment of arrears, with the threat that, unless 
this was forthcoming, the kirk, over which he held a bond of security, would 
be put up for sale, refused to grant the petition. Meanwhile, as is stated in 
the Annals of Peterhead, "the interest arising from a legacy by John 
Robertson kept the church in repair, and with the assistance of seat rents, 
and collections made at the door, enabled them to pay an occasional preacher." 
The rest will come in more fitly under the next heading. 


ON 30th December 1799 a petition for sermon was presented to the Burgher 
Presbytery of Perth by 43 persons in Peterhead. This was the outcome of 
disputes in the Antiburgher congregation, and the direction the application 
took had been partly suggested by a visit of the Rev. Ebenezer Brown of 
Inverkeithing to Peterhead, when on an evangelistic tour in the north the 
previous summer. The petition was granted, and with this begins the history 
of the Burgher church in Peterhead, which was finally to absorb the other. 
Their place of worship, with 500 sittings, was built next year at a cost of 
from ^600 to 700. 

First Minister. ROBERT CAMPBELL, from Tarbolton. Ordained, 27th 
May 1802. Under his pastoral care, and by reason of his pulpit gifts, the con 
gregation grew and prospered. In April 1821, the wall of partition between 
Burghers and Antiburghers being now broken down, the little company of 
Antiburghers meeting in Windmill Street requested the Presbytery to send 
one of their number to preach at Peterhead, and hold a meeting of the con 
gregation, as they proposed to merge themselves, upon certain conditions, 
with the other Secession congregation in the place. They also wished the 
Synod s advice as to what steps they should take in order to secure certain 
mortified property from passing out of their hands when they ceased to main 
tain a separate existence. So far as appears, the body of the people had 
already placed themselves under Mr Campbell s ministry, though it required 
other two years to get over formal difficulties. On 8th April 1823 the two 
congregations of Peterhead laid before the Presbytery the measures they had 
taken with a view to union, and prayed to have it accomplished. Directions 
were given to have it carried into effect with all convenient speed, due 
intimation to be made from the pulpit by Mr Campbell. The church in 
Windmill Street was taken possession of by the Independents. 

On 2nd March 1852 commissioners from Peterhead stated to the Presby 
tery that they were taking steps to provide their aged minister with a 
colleague, but Mr Campbell died, 28th May 1852, in the seventy-seventh year 
of his age, having completed the fiftieth year of his ministry the day before. 


Pcterhead congregation during this vacancy called two preachers who 
have since attained distinction Mr R. S. Drummond, who was some time 
afterwards ordained in Carlisle, and Mr Walter Morrison, who preferred 
Ayr (Cathcart Street). In the latter case there was a peculiarity deserving 
of notice. When the call to Mr Morrison was laid before the Presbytery it 
was acknowledged that he had not preached two Sabbaths, as the rules 
required, having been kept back by the storm which rendered travelling 
impracticable. To make up for this shortcoming he had preached again on 
the Monday evening, and had also conducted the prayer-meeting on 
Wednesday. In the circumstances the Presbytery sustained the call, which, 
however, was declined at next meeting. 

Second Minister. JAMES FRAME, from Crossford. Ordained, 4th January 
1854, after declining Zion Chapel, Newcastle. The call was signed by 140 
members, and the stipend was ,125, with a manse. A new church, with 
sittings for 750, and built at a cost of ^1400, was opened on i6th May 1858. 
Mr Frame was translated to Perth (York Place) on 2nd July 1861. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM GALLETLY, from Perth (East). Ordained, 
ist January 1862. There had been progress made during the preceding eight 
years, as the stipend was up from ,125 to ^140, and the signatures were 168 
instead of 140. Mr Galletly was invited in 1868 to Charlotte Street, 
Aberdeen, but he remained in Peterhead till 22nd December 1869, when he 
was loosed from his charge, having accepted the superintendence of the 
Edinburgh City Mission. In 1872 he was inducted into Tillicoultry. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN DlCKSON, from Dalkeith (East). Called also 
to Colinsburgh. Ordained, gth November 1870. In 1875 Mr Dickson 
received a divided call from Bridge Street, Musselburgh, which the Presby 
tery of Edinburgh did not sustain. On 3rd July 1878 he accepted a call to 
the East Free Church, Coatbridge, under the Mutual Eligibility Act. The 
congregation had formerly belonged to the Reformed Presbyterian Synod. 
In 1882 Mr Dickson was translated to St Ninians Free Church, Leith, where 
he is still minister. In 1894 he published a book of antiquarian research, 
"The Ruined Castles of Mid-Lothian." 

In the following year Mr W. S. Dickie was called to Peterhead, but he 
accepted Sanquhar (South). 

Fifth Minister. JOHN KEMP BRUCE, from Glasgow (Parliamentary 
Road), a nephew of Dr William Bruce, Edinburgh. Ordained, I5th January 
1880. Membership 200, exactly what it was in 1837. Owing to delicate 
health in his family Mr Bruce had to remove to a warmer climate, and his 
resignation was accepted, 7th April 1891. On I4th October of that year he 
was inducted into Shoalhaven, N.S. Wales. In 1900 he was minister of 
Wahrounga, Presbytery of Sydney. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN WYLLIE, from Kilmarnock (King Street), a 
brother of the Rev. Robert H. Wyllie, Hawkhill, Dundee. Ordained, loth 
July 1891. By some fatality the history of the old Antiburgher congregation 
of Peterhead was now to repeat itself. The call, though described as 
harmonious, was in reality favoured by no very great majority, and it was 
brought up against one of the leading men who acted in its prosecution 
before the Presbytery that he spoke against having it sustained. Differences 
soon after arose in the session, and it may be that the rectifying of abuses 
was gone into in a wrong way. In June 1896 the affairs of Peterhead con 
gregation were taken up by the Presbytery of Buchan, and while the 
proceedings went on statements were made and papers read which were 
only fitted to work mischief. The Synod in May 1897 appointed a commis 
sion to visit Peterhead, but they found that the families who had left could 
not be brought back, and as those who adhered to the congregation ex- 


pressed their attachment to Mr Wyllie as their minister the Synod was 
recommended to take no further action in the matter. But meanwhile the 
membership, which stood at 169 in 1892, was decreasing, and at the close of 
1899 it numbered 114. But the property bequeathed to the Antiburgher 
congregation a century before now carried great value. Mr Campbell spoke 
of it in 1837 as "a small mortification," but in 1897 it was yielding ^170 a 
year. Hence the stipend continued at .210, with the manse. 


THE minister of this parish in 1733, when the Secession began, was the Rev. 
George Mair, a brother of the Rev. Thomas Mair of Orwell. Dr M Kelvie 
ascribes the uprise of Seceders among his parishioners to offence which he 
gave them by not casting in his lot with the four brethren ; but in this, as in 
other cases, the explanation is baseless. Mr Mair of New Deer died, I3th 
April 1 736, and so slow was the rate at which letters travelled in those days 
that his brother at Orwell entered in his diary on the 22nd : "Tidings of my 
brother George s dangerous illness," and then : "Afflicting tidings of George s 
death/ But at this time the case of the four brethren was still in mid-water, 
and it was not till 1737 that even Ralph Erskine and Thomas Mair gave in 
their accessions to the Associate Presbytery. 

In New Deer parish Whitehill, as we have already seen, became an 
Antiburgher centre at an early time, but owing partly to friction in that 
church certain parties applied for sermon to the Burgher Presbytery of 
Perth on I5th May 1805, and on the first Tuesday of May 1806 they were 
constituted into a congregation. It appears, also, from the Presbytery 
records that the church, with sittings for nearly 400, was opened by Mr 
Glass of Aberdeen on gth November 1806. The Synod at its meeting two 
months before had granted 20 to aid with the building, on condition that, 
if the place of worship were turned to any other purpose, the money should 
be repaid. The total cost was about ,275, and the church was entered with 
^120 of debt. In February 1807 a member of Presbytery reported that 
three elders had been elected, and 26 additions made to the membership by 
examination. The first preacher the congregation called was Mr Robert 
M Laurin, but the Synod preferred Coldin gham, a far larger congregation. 
They next called Mr Thomas Trotter, but New Deer was outvoted in favour 
of Johnshaven. 

First Minister. FuLLARTON PATERSON, from Biggar (North). On 
this occasion the Synod felt that the time to favour New Deer had come, 
and they gave it the advantage over Queensferry. Mr Paterson was 
ordained, 3Oth August 1809. The stipend was to be ,50, with a house, and 
the people were also to provide him with fuel for his family. The congrega 
tion in those days, and till long afterwards, was better known by the name of 
Artamford. In 1837 the minister reported a membership of 120, with nearly 
200 sittings let, the rates being 45., 2s., and is. per annum, and the property 
was free of debt. About two-fifths of the families came from the parishes of 
Old Deer, Methlic, Montquhitter, and New Pitsligo. On 7th June 1853 the 
congregation sent up to the Presbytery notice that their pastor had been 
visited with severe affliction, and on the i8th of that month he died, in the 
seventy-eighth year of his age and forty-fourth of his ministry. 

A break of over three years followed, interspersed with unanswered calls. 
The first was given to Mr James M. Erskine, but it was post horam, as his 
ordination was already appointed to Burghead. In 1854 they called Mr 
George M Queen, who was already on the point of accepting Milngavie, and 


then Mr James Harrower, who remained on the preachers list, and after two 
years obtained Eyemouth. In 1855 they fixed on Mr John M. Wilson, who 
also declined, and was ordained at Hexham in 1857. The stipend arrange 
ments at this time were ^65 from the people, with a supplement of ^25, 
making altogether ^90, besides the manse. After so many declinatures the 
Home Board wished to know the distances members would have to travel to 
other United Presbyterian churches, supposing the congregation were to be 
dissolved. The Presbytery at this very time received another petition for a 
moderation, the stipend promised from their own funds being ,70. This in 
crease was reported to the Mission Board, with the additional information that 
the membership had decreased very little during the vacancy, that the people 
were anxious to go on, and that the district was sufficiently populous to 
give hopes of success to an acceptable pastor. It was next stated that if the 
congregation ceased to exist 41 members would have to travel from five to 
seven miles on Sabbath, and 32 from four to five, if they were to remain 
connected with the denomination ; but with Whitehill within three and a half 
miles it is hard to see how this could be. However, the Board now intimated 
that they would take no further steps in the above direction. 

Second Minister. JOHN ALEXANDER, M.A., from Kilmarnock (Princes 
Street). Ordained, 4th November 1856. Mr Alexander, who had been long 
in a partially disabled state, resigned his charge, loth January 1865. He 
then removed first to Dollar and then to Partick, where he died, nth 
August 1871, in the forty-third year of his age. 

Third Minister. CHARLES G. SQUAIR, from Nairn, brother of the Rev. 
John Squair, Wigtown. Had been called at intervals to Burray, Dubbieside, 
and Boveedy. Ordained at New Deer, loth August 1865. At the close of 
the year the members were returned at 134, and the stipend was ^75 from 
the congregation and ^45 of supplement, with the manse. In 1867 a new 
manse was built at a cost of ^585, of which the Board paid ^285. The 
church was rebuilt in 1876 at a further cost of ,1400. The membership at 
the close of 1899 was 80, and the stipend from the people ^70, which 
illustrates how hard it is for our thinly-planted congregations to hold their 
own in Aberdeenshire. 


HERE the name Culsalmond takes us back to 1775, when, on the dividing of 
Mr Cowie s charge into three, Huntly and Culsalmond were to remain under 
his care as one united congregation. The two places were nine miles apart, 
but Culsalmond obtained a slight share of his labours for a period of years. 
The Seceders, however, in that and the neighbouring parish of Forgue are 
represented in the Old Statistical History as few in number. But on 23rd 
October 1798 the Burgher Presbytery of Perth received a petition from 
Culsalmond for sermon, signed by 72 persons, and on I5th December 1801 
32 of their number requested the Presbytery to take regular steps for their 
admission to the membership of the Secession. This was followed in 
October 1802 by the election of four elders. In 1805 a church was built at 
Bogfounton, a spot of ground near the junction of the two parishes, but on 
the Forgue side, so that this name came in to supplant that of Culsalmond. 
The chapel, we learn, had galleries, accommodated about 400, and was 
erected by voluntary subscription. Being about seven miles from the parish 
church of Forgue, and two or three from that of Culsalmond, it had a large 
stretch of territory to itself. 

First and only Minister. WALTER GRAHAME, from Lanark. Ordained, 


loth April 1806. The call was signed by only 32 members, and, as it was a 
Burgher church, we may assume that females were included. The stipend 
was to be ,65, with house and garden, but, though now fully organised, 
prosperity was denied, and in September 1815 the Synod granted the 
congregation ^10 to aid them in their difficulties. The membership at this 
time numbered 20 men and 32 women. On 28th August 1816 Mr Grahame 
resigned his charge, and soon afterwards removed within the bounds of 
Dunfermline Presbytery, but was not regularly employed as a preacher. 
About the year 1820 he opened a school at Forgue, and resumed pastoral 
duties among his old people. In February 1825, in answer to the Synod s 
request for information about the nature of his connection with the church 
there, Mr Grahame explained to the Presbytery that the congregation being 
unable to support preachers, and unwilling to be without the gospel, offered 
to hand over to him the collections and seat rents if he would preach to 
them on Sabbath, and dispense the Lord s Supper, while he remained as a 
teacher in the place. This he had continued to do since then, no other situation 
having opened up for him and his family, and though there was no pastoral 
link between them such as once subsisted he considered himself bound to be 
faithful to his trust. With this simple account the Synod was satisfied, and 
at their meeting in September they granted Mr Grahame a donation of 
^10. On ist June 1830 he intimated to the Presbytery that he had left 
Forgue, and resigned the congregation into their hands. He died at 
Aberdeen, I5th February 1836, and in April following his widow received a 
grant of , 10 from the Synod "owing to her peculiar circumstances." She 
belonged to a family in Portmoak parish, and died, 28th December 1856, 
aged seventy-nine. Mr Grahame, from all that appears, made the best of 
his trying situation. 

Forgue received partial supply of sermon for a dozen years after Mr 
Grahame finally withdrew. In 1837 they had preachers on alternate 
Sabbaths, who conducted service among them in the forenoon, and went in 
the evening to preach in the parish of Insch, four miles distant. In 1842 
the membership was only 1 5, though the attendance was frequently as high 
as 200. In the mission report for the previous year it was stated that 
Forgue had not been in so prosperous a condition for many years, that there 
were between 300 and 400 people waiting on the means of grace, and about 
1 20 young persons attending classes. The missionary, it was explained, 
seemed peculiarly suited to the people ; but it is to be inferred that a change 
of agent came, and in the course of two years the station was abandoned, 
and the congregation passed out of existence. In the almanac list of 
churches in Stewartfield Presbytery Forgue appeared for the last time in 


THIS congregation originated on 2ist June 1821 in a petition to the 
Presbytery of Aberdeen for sermon, but supply had to be delayed owing to 
want of preachers. All that was gained was the appointment of Mr 
Robertson of Craigdam to preach at Savoch the first Sabbath he had it in 
his power. Little more was done till September 1823, when supply was 
granted for two Sabbaths, and afterwards ever and again. For a time 
Savoch was treated as a station under the Itinerancy Fund, but on I5th 
March 1824 the people wished to have sermon on alternate Sabbaths at 
their own expense. In this state matters continued till April 1828, when it 
was agreed at a public meeting to petition the Presbytery to have them 


congregated. On i7th June it was intimated that u persons had applied 
to be received into Church fellowship, and a member of Presbytery was 
appointed to give further opportunities for parties to come forward, and on 
Tuesday after the fourth Sabbath of June he was to congregate them. 
Within the next five months other 20 were admitted, and arrangements made 
for having three elders ordained. It was needful before this to set about 
providing themselves with a regular place of worship, and for their aid and 
encouragement the Presbytery recommended collections to be made by the 
congregations within their bounds. The building was finished that year at 
a cost of ^350 ; sittings fully 300 ; and ,210 was expended two years after 
wards on a manse. 

First Minister. DAVID CAW, from Methven. Ordained, 28th December 
1830. But before this stage was reached danger was threatened through 
misunderstandings which had arisen in the congregation, and the Presbytery 
was asked to intervene. The end appears to have been gained, though not 
perhaps till injury was done to the young cause. When the moderation was 
applied for ^70 was promised for stipend, ^5 for expenses, with one-fourth 
of an acre of land gifted to the congregation by the Earl of Aberdeen. The 
call was signed by 70 members and 34 adherents. On 29th May 1832 Mr 
Caw resigned, stating that, though the congregation was prospering, he felt 
it to be his duty to go and preach in America. On 26th June it was found 
that he adhered inflexibly to his purpose, and the Presbytery, though highly 
disapproving of the step he had taken, loosed him from his charge. Mr Caw 
became minister at Broadalbin, Canada West, and removed in 1846 to Paris, 
in the same province. On 4th October 1864, when driving out to visit some 
members of his congregation, his horse having taken fright, he was thrown 
from his gig, and died in a few hours. He was in the sixty-seventh year of 
his age and thirty-fourth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. JOHN HUNTER, from Jedburgh (Blackfriars). 
Ordained, nth July 1833. The stipend was, as from the first, ^75, with 
house, garden, and a small glebe. The call was signed by 81 members. 
At this time there was a debt of ,170 on the property, but it was cleared 
off in 1840, with the aid of 70 from the Liquidation Fund. In 1837 there 
were 140 on the communion roll, of whom about two-thirds were from the 
parishes of Old Deer, Ellon, Tarves, Methlic, and Fyvie, and only one-third 
from New Deer, towards the southern boundary of which parish Savoch is 
situated. At the time the congregation was formed there was no Established 
church nearer than six miles, but in 1834 a Chapel of Ease was built in the 
village. Mr Hunter died, 3rd June 1865, in the sixty-second year of his age 
and thirty-second of his ministry. Mrs Hunter was a daughter of the Rev. 
John Clapperton of;Johnstone, and a niece of the Rev. Dr Nicol of Jedburgh 
Mr Hunter s minister in his student days. Their son, the Rev. James Pi. S. 
Hunter, was ordained over Strathaven (West) two years after his father s 
death, and is now minister at Stornoway. 

Third Minister. GEORGE BLAIR, from Leslie (West). Ordained, 4th 
April 1866. Accepted a call to Oatlands, Glasgow, iith June 1878. Three 
months after this the congregation called Mr George Smart, who declined, 
and was soon afterwards settled in Denny. 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT PATERSON, M.A., from Galston. Ordained, 
3rd September 1879. The present membership, though the population has 
been steadily declining, is little under 150, and the stipend from the people 
is ^no, with the manse. 



THIS congregation originated in the refusal of Mr Mitchell of Clola to enter 
into the Union between the Burghers and Antiburghers in 1820. On nth 
September 1821 a majority of the session and a considerable number of 
members applied to Aberdeen Presbytery for advice as to securing the 
property, and also asked supply of sermon. Before proceeding further the 
Presbytery appointed two of their number to converse with Mr Mitchell, 
but they found that after a calm discussion with him on the subject his 
scruples were unremoved, and his objections to joining with the United 
Presbytery insuperable. Sermon was then granted to the petitioners, but 
only once in two or three weeks, as they had no suitable place of worship. 
In March 1822 they reported to the Presbytery that they would have to hold 
their services in the fields during summer, as their attempts to procure the 
use of the church on alternate Sabbaths had failed. The relative strength 
of the two parties in the congregation had been tested, the result being that 
1 10 members, including two elders, signed a document formally adhering 
to the minister, while 72, including six elders, gave in a written declaration 
of their separation from the congregation as constituted in opposition to 
the Union. Thoughts of securing Clola church being abandoned, the 
minority determined to make the village of Crichie, otherwise Stewartfield, 
their centre, and there they proceeded to build a church, which, along with 
the manse, cost between ^600 and 700. 

First Minister. DAVID ALLISON, from Paisley (Abbey Close). Ordained, 
8th July 1823. Mr Allison had been previously called to Grimsby Street, 
Arbroath (now Princes Street), and was about to be ordained when the call 
to Stewartfield was brought out, and also another to Anstruther. The three 
were referred to the Synod, and, though Arbroath had the best claim, 
Stewartfield carried by an absolute majority, and contrary to the wishes of 
the preacher. The stipend promised was ^80, with a free house and garden. 
Some difficulty arose on Mr Allison s part in connection with the rent of the 
glebe, and he held back for a little, but the matter was "most amicably 
settled." Of him and his people Mr Lind of Whitehill wrote in his journal after 
Mr Allison s death : " He was a pious, devoted, Christian minister, faithful 
to the talents given him ; of a poor, nervous constitution, but a respectable 
preacher. The congregation of Stewartfield prospered under his ministry, 
and increased from 90 to 230. He got a fine nucleus of old Seceders who 
came off from Clola. His preaching was chiefly of the consolatory kind. It 
edified the godly, and the godly grew under it." The congregation prospered 
in numbers beyond what Mr Lind has given. In 1837 the communicants 
amounted to 285 ; whereas Clola, which had been much in the majority when 
the severance took place, had under 140. 

In October 1857 Mr Allison intimated to the Presbytery that in con 
sequence of continued affliction he was unable to discharge the duties of 
the pastorate, and wished to retire. On ist December the congregation, 
with expressions of deep sympathy, brought up a proposal of ,30 as a 
retiring allowance, and Mr Allison stated that he was to give up the manse 
and the small croft as soon as a colleague was obtained. He cheerfully 
acquiesced in the proposed arrangement, which was forthwith sanctioned 
by the Presbytery. He died, 7th July 1858, in the fifty-ninth year of his 
age and thirty-fifth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. JAMES HENRY, from Whitehill. Ordained, i6th 
December 1858. Resigned, loth October 1876, being constrained to 
emigrate to a warmer climate owing to the state of his wife s health. Soon 
afterwards Mr James W. Hay, now of John Street, Montrose, was called 


to Stevvartfield, but declined. Mr Henry had meanwhile set out for the 
other side of the world. In due time he was inducted to Albury, N.S. Wales, 
where he has since been, but his name now appears on the list of aged and 
infirm ministers. 

Third Minister. HUGH GLEN, from Duke Street, Glasgow (now 
Cathedral Square). Ordained, I3th February 1878. The call in this case 
was perfectly unanimous, and was signed by 143 members, and it was 
accepted in preference to two others from Ardersier and Sunderland 
(Smyrna). The people offered a stipend of .140, besides incidental 
expenses. However, in common with other congregations, Stewartfield 
came under the depressing influences so widely felt in Buchan Presbytery, 
arising from the decline of population and the existence of other churches 
comparatively near. In this way the membership was gradually lessened, 
till at the close of 1896 it was returned at 112, and the stipend from the 
people had been reduced by degrees from .140 to ^90. In April of the 
ensuing year Mr Glen tendered his resignation to the Presbytery, with 
the view of being entered minister-emeritus. He had found it necessary 
two years before to withdraw almost entirely from pulpit work, and the 
assistance of a preacher was required, for whose salary he contributed 
,34, the Board allowing ,50 ; but now he deemed it better to stand aside 
altogether, medical opinion being clear as to pain and injury to his eyesight 
from the nervous strain of preaching. When the matter was brought 
before the congregation they were not of one mind as to the shape which 
a retiring allowance should take, but at a subsequent meeting the dis 
cussion took a new form entirely. The Free Church congregation of Old 
Deer was really in the village of Stewartfield, and though it had a 
membership a third larger than their own it also had suffered in the 
general decline. It was accordingly agreed to suggest to the Presbytery 
that a union might be effected between the two congregations. With this 
design communication should be opened with the Free Presbytery of Old 
Deer, and meanwhile the acceptance of Mr Glen s resignation should be 
delayed. The whole proposal met with the Presbytery s approval, on the 
understanding that all the interests involved would be duly conserved, 
and a committee was appointed to confer with any similar committee that 
might be appointed by the Free Church Presbytery of the bounds. 

On 3rd August 1897 certain articles drafted by the joint committee as a 
basis of union were laid before the Presbytery for consideration. These 
were that the united congregation should meet in the Free church, and 
should be United Presbyterian, with Mr Glen as senior colleague, and the 
Rev. J. M. Skinner of the Free Church to be the acting minister, the 
elders from both sides to form the united session, and the U.P. managers 
and F.C. deacons the court of management. The Presbytery stipulated 
that Mr Glen s allowance be not less than ^50, and it was to be obtained 
from the central funds of the U.P. Church, instead of being a charge on 
the united congregation. On 6th September it was reported that the 
basis of union had been unanimously approved of at a joint meeting, 
first of the office-bearers and then of the congregations, that the Advisory 
Committee, the Sustentation Fund Committee, and the Augmentation Board 
were all satisfied. On Thursday, I4th October, the Presbytery of Buchan 
met in the U.P. Church, Stewartfield. The Free Church Presbytery 
was associated, and the minute they had previously framed was read, 
bearing that the Presbyterial connection of the congregation and minister of 
Old Deer with their court now ceased, that the severance was not altogether 
without pain, but they trusted the time was not distant when the two 
churches would become one. Principal Rainy then preached from Romans 


xii. 4, and the Rev. John Young, M.A., the Home Mission Secretary 
of the U.P. Church, took part in the devotional exercises. The right hand 
of fellowship was given to Mr Skinner, and his name was entered on the 
roll of the U.P. Presbytery of Buchan. As representing the two denomina 
tions, Dr George Smith of the Free Church was also present, and Dr 
William Blair of the U.P. Church, Dunblane, who was to conduct special 
services on the following Sabbath. At the close of 1899 the united 
congregation had a membership of 240, and contributed ,137, ics. of 


THE first mention of Rosehearty in the Antiburgher records is on 23rd 
October 1776, when in answer to a petition for sermon a preacher was ap 
pointed to supply in that fishing village on the fourth Sabbath of November. 
But the tradition of a much earlier connection with Craigdam, thirty miles off, 
with the Sabbath journeys, and the " Praying Knowe " at Artamford, midway 
between, is too firmly rooted to be set aside. When Clola congregation 
was formed in 1766 it brought the place of worship eight miles nearer, and 
in 1770, when Whitehill was organised, the distance was reduced to twelve 
miles. About the year 1787 we find from the old Presbytery records that 
sermon for Rosehearty began to be ever and again applied for, and in the 
Old Statistical History it is stated a few years later that there were twenty 
Seceders in Pitsligo, the parish to which Rosehearty belongs. Their little 
place of worship was erected in 1787-8, though it was not fully fitted up till 
1791. The Rev. W. P. Ogilvie, the present minister, in his historical sketch 
of the congregation has stated, amidst much valuable information, that the 
joiner s account amounted to ,60, and the entire expense to considerably 
more than ^100. Though services may have now been kept up more 
frequently there was no regular congregation formed for other thirty years. 
But on 1 3th September 1821 sermon was granted to Rosehearty about once 
a month, except during the fishing season, when there was usually supply 
every Sabbath. In August 1826 the people petitioned for preachers once a 
fortnight, and they wished to have them as often after October as they might 
find themselves able to pay for them. Thus the cause advanced step by 
step, till it developed into fully organised existence. 

First Minister. ROBERT JOHNSTON, from Dunfermline (Chalmers 
Street). Ordained, 22nd April 1828, on a call signed by 26 members and 
44 adherents. The stipend was to be ,80 in all ^65 from the people and 
^15 from the Synod and, ,".s a representative elder was appointed on the 
ordination day, a session must have been already constituted. The people 
seem to have thought there was to be progress now, as they resolved before 
the end of the year to execute repairs on the building and put in galleries. 
The Presbytery promised their aid if they were furnished with evidence that 
the outlay was necessary, what the expense would be, and how much was 
subscribed among themselves. The cost was put in reply at ,145, and the 
case was recommended to the liberality of friends, and specially to the 
liberality of the congregation itself. When the work was completed there 
were sittings for 350, but trying times were already drawing on In 
February 1830 a committee of Presbytery was sent by request to Rose- 
hearty for the purpose of restoring peace, and though they succeeded in 
a way we have here the beginning of the end. Affairs got altogether out 
of joint, and on I3th March 1832 Mr Johnston, who had held on too long, 
was loosed from his charge. It was his intention when he demitted to go 
to America, but he lingered on in this country, though his name was never 


allowed a place on the probationer list. He died in Jamaica in January 
1853, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. His eldest daughter was the wife 
of the Rev. Hugh Goldie, missionary there at that time, and afterwards in 
Old Calabar. His son, the Rev. A. R. Johnston, was minister first in Dun- 
tocher and then in Letham. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM BALFOUR, from Castle Street, Jedburgh 
(now extinct). Ordained, i6th April 1835. The call was signed by 50 
members, but under Mr Balfour s ministry there was to be gradual im 
provement. In 1840, though the membership was composed exclusively of 
working people 72 in number most of them engaged in fishing, they set 
about having their debt of ,160 cleared off. This was a burden that had 
come down from 1829, when the church was renovated, and now they had 
the promise of ^60 from the Board if they could raise the other ^ico. The 
terms were accepted, and the end was gained in 1845. Four years after this 
there were 108 communicants, and the stipend was ^75, which supplement 
raised to ,90. A manse had also been built several years before at the 
slight cost of ,260, of which the debt was cleared in 1853, with the assistance 
of ^100 from the Synod. On I7th September 1878 Mr Balfour retired, 
severe illness having wholly unfitted him for ministerial duty. In addi 
tion to his annuity from the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund he was to 
have ^10 from the people, with the occupancy of the manse, and was to 
retain the status of senior minister. The congregation was prepared to 
proceed with an election, the stipend promised to the colleague being ^80. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM DICKIE, M.A., from Paisley (St James 
Church). Ordained, I4th November 1878, and loosed from Rosehearty, 
1 4th December 1880, on accepting a call to Wilson Church, Perth. During 
the brief vacancy which followed the congregation called Mr William Muil, 
who preferred Auchterarder (North). The senior minister who had vacated 
the manse in 1879, an d removed to Paisley, died, 4th February 1881, in the 
seventy-fifth year of his age and forty-sixth of his ministry. Mr Balfour 
was a brother-in-law of Dr Paterson of Kirkwall and the Rev. John Paterson 
of Rattray. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM P. OGILVIE, M.A., son of the Rev. Duncan 
Ogilvie, D.D., Falkirk. Ordained, 6th July 1881, and before the year was 
out the people were exerting themselves to provide funds for a new church. 
Though the membership was only 120 they had already raised ^400. The 
foundation stone was laid on 6th July 1882 by John Gilmour, Esq., Helens- 
burgh, a generous contributor, and the church, with 415 sittings, was opened 
on loth October 1883 by Dr James Brown of Paisley. The collections that 
day and on the following Sabbath came close on ,140. The building cost 
,1550, and it was entered with a debt of only ^310, which a grant of ^100 
from the Board enabled the congregation to extinguish in 1885. A new 
manse was completed in 1897 free of debt, the estimated cost having been 
not over ^800, and the Board having allowed a grant of ^250. The 
membership at the close of 1899 was 124, the stipend from the people ^100, 
with the manse. 


IN connection with Home Mission operations in the Presbytery of Stewart- 
field a station was opened in this "poor, straggling village" in June 1831. A 
month later it was announced that a preacher had been sent to New Leeds, 
in connection with a place in the parish of Lonmay, where he officiated on 
Sabbath evenings. The first request of the people was for sermon once a 


fortnight, and for a time all was in a shapeless state, there being no collec 
tions even. However, a church, with sittings for 200, was opened in 1832, 
" extremely low-roofed, and thatched with heather." The place continued to 
be wrought as a station from year to year, but on i6th April 1843 a congrega 
tion was formed, with a membership of 38. The attendance had suffered 
much from the erection of an extension church in the district five years 

First Minister. WILLIAM FISHER, from Perth (North). A location 
being deemed desirable, Mr Fisher was applied for in January 1844, the 
people having previously had a trial of his gifts. On i8th May he accepted 
the invitation, and on 2ist November of that year he was ordained as a mis 
sionary, with authority to preside in the session and perform other ministerial 
functions. On 27th May 1845 he received a regular call to be minister of 
New Leeds, and his induction took place on i8th June. The stipend had of 
necessity to be largely supplemented, as the members were few, and they 
could promise only ,40 and a cottage. Mr Fisher, however, was able to 
report in 1851 that they had increased during these six years from 40 to 90. 
Steps were taken two years after this to provide a larger church, and also a 
manse superior to the comfortless, three-roomed dwelling in which Mr Fisher 
had hitherto been domiciled. This was accomplished at a cost of ^750, most 
of which was raised by the minister, aided by a graphic narrative of his work 
and its drawbacks which he contributed to the Missionary Record. But 
untoward fortunes followed, and in 1867 the membership was down to 59, 
and the stipend from the people was only ,35. At this stage Mr Fisher, 
owing to disabling illness and the discouragements of the situation, demitted 
his charge, and the demission was accepted, 24th March 1868. He was now 
entered as an annuitant on the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund, and re 
moved to Perth, where he died, i4th January 1870, in the seventieth year of 
his age and twenty-sixth of his ministry. The Rev. Robert Fisher of Dubbie- 
side was a brother of Mr Fisher s. New Leeds was now wrought for some 
years as a preaching station, though sealing ordinances were regularly ad 

Second Minister. THOMAS F. WHILLAS, B.D., from Edinburgh (now 
Gilmore Place). Ordained, 26th June 1873. Mr Whillas had been engaged 
two successive seasons at New Leeds when a student, and now the people 
invited him to settle permanently among them, the call being signed by 
54 members. The closer relation lasted for nearly six years, and then on 
1 8th March 1879 he accepted a call to a new church at Motherwell (now 

The congregation then made three abortive attempts to obtain a minister. 
They first called Mr John Cooper, afterwards of Townhead, Dumfries, but 
owing to want of harmony in this little society the call was dropped. They 
were now in the mood for dividing, and at next moderation 10 voted for Mr 
David Gray, afterwards of Burra Isles, and 14 for Mr Adam Baillie, now of 
Errol, and again the call came to nothing. They next went in cordially for 
the Rev. James Jack, formerly of Grimsby, but he accepted Duns (West). 

Third Minister. JAMES H. BEATT, from St James Place, Edinburgh. 
Ordained, 27th October 1880. Demitted, ist May 1883, and emigrated to 
Canada. He is now minister of Rockburn and Gore, Presbytery of Montreal. 

Fourth Minister JAMES S. BUTCHART, translated from Burra Isles, 
Shetland, where he had been minister for six years, and inducted, 9th January 
1884. The membership at the close of 1899 was 95, and the stipend from 
the people ^60, with the manse. 



IN August 1862 evangelistic services were conducted at Fraserburgh, that 
being the season of the herring fishing, and in November a petition from 12 
persons craved a continuance of preaching, with the view of having a con 
gregation formed. On 7th July 1863 Mr Balfour of Rosehearty stated that 
his session had granted disjunctions to the members of his congregation from 
about Fraserburgh, and would offer no opposition to the proposed formation. 
They seem to have been 1 1 in number, one of them being Mr David Hay, 
an elder of Mr Balfour s, who took the lead in the movement from the first. 
These, along with other 8 persons, were formed into a congregation on 28th 
July. For long it was a question whether the work should be continued, the 
Mission Board often, and the Presbytery sometimes, being doubtful of ultimate 
success. Locations were attempted, but they seldom came to much, and the 
increase was so very slow that in February 1870, when the first elders, two in 
number, were chosen, one of them being Mr David Hay, the members only 
amounted to 36. But in October of that year Mr John Smith, now Dr Smith 
of Broughton Place, Edinburgh, then a fourth-year student, accepted an en 
gagement as missionary at Fraserburgh, and in April following the people 
began to move for the erection of a permanent place of worship. Up till 
then they had met first in a hall, and afterwards in an old academy. After 
considerable delay the end was gained, and the church was opened, 23rd June 
1875, the cost being from ^800 to ,900, of which ,150 came from the Build 
ing Fund, and ,320 was raised by subscription. They were in readiness 
now for something decisive. Already a call, brought out with much cordiality 
to Mr William Steedman, had been declined in competition with Eaglesham. 

First Minister. JOHN SMITH, M.A., who had already done good work 
at Fraserburgh, and for the last two years had been settled at Burghead. 
Inducted, I3th October 1875. The stipend from the people was ^70, which 
it was calculated would be raised by supplement and surplus to ,170. The 
communion roll had not as yet much to show, and the call was signed by 
only 33 members ; but the field was large, and there were special opportunities 
for good-doing at the fishing season. Mr Smith remained at Fraserburgh 
nearly three years, and then on 4th June 1878 he accepted a call to Wallace 
Green, Berwick. A manse had been completed the year before at a cost of 
^980, the Board allowing ^300. There was now a membership of 88. 

On proceeding to have the vacancy filled up the congregation was in a 
position to offer ^80 and a manse, instead of ,70 in all, as before. They 
first called Mr John Scott, who declined, and is now in Biggar (Gillespie 
Church). The second call was given by a majority of only one, 17 having 
voted for the Rev. W. B. Melville of Burray, and 16 for the Rev. James 
Milligan of Houghton-le-Spring. The Presbytery was saved discussion on 
the question of sustaining, as the congregation on the preceding Sabbath 
unanimously agreed, owing to the state of feeling among them, to allow the 
call to drop, an example worthy of imitation. This procedure prepared the 
way for perfect unanimity and a speedy settlement. 

Second Minister. JAMES K. SCOTT, B.D., from Cumnock. Ordained, 
24th September 1879. The membership at the close of 1899 was 166, the 
stipend from the people ^i 10, with the manse, and the contributions for 
missionary and benevolent purposes for the year were the highest in Buchan 



THIS is a village of 300 or 400 inhabitants in the parish of Old Deer, with no 
church nearer at that time than two miles. The station originated in 1880, 
in the Students Recess Scheme, Fetterangus being the only place available 
for that kind of work within the bounds of Buchan Presbytery. After 
arrangements were made for a beginning it came to be understood that the 
Free Church intended appointing a missionary to labour in the same district, 
but at next meeting it was ascertained that the above intention was departed 
from. The appointment of Mr Joseph Rorke, a first-year student, followed 
in April 1880, and he commenced work forthwith, and on petition from the 
people he returned the following summer. On gth November 1882 a new 
church was opened free of debt, and at this time there was a membership of 
about 50. Mr John Lennox, now of Head Street, Beith, a licentiate of the 
Church, followed, and when he left towards the close of 1884 there were 75 
names on the communion roll. The station was congregated, 22nd April 1 883. 
First Minister. DAVID CONOCHIE, from Airth. Ordained, 24th August 
1893, after having laboured at Fetterangus nearly two years. Between 1884 
and 1891 the congregation under successive locations had rather lost ground, 
there having been within that period 33 removals and only 19 accessions. 
But under Mr Conochie there was progress, and at his ordination the 
members numbered 78. Since then, though the population has been on the 
decrease, and though the Established Church has opened a station in the 
village, the membership has come up to 100, and the stipend, exclusive of 
,20 in lieu of a manse, is ,162 jo of this being contributed by the people. 



IN August 1737 the parish of Ceres fell vacant, and in due time a numerously- 
signed call was addressed to a probationer named John Loudon. He had, 
however, preached once for Mr Wilson of Perth and once for Mr Mair of 
Orwell, from which the Assembly of 1 740 inferred that " he had a squint eye 
to the Seceder brethren," and they ordered the Presbytery to ordain the 
minority s man, Mr Thomas Scott, which was done on nth September 1740. 
But a number of the parishioners had already given in their accession to the 
Associate Presbytery, and on Sabbath, igth August, Mr William Hutton 
preached to them, and next day he and Mr Moncrieff of Abernethy observed 
a fast among them. Thus was the standard of the Secession planted at 
Ceres, and to that village the gathering of the people throughout the east 
of Fife was to be. 

First Minister. WILLIAM CAMPBELL, of whose family connections 
nothing is known. He comes into view for the first time in 1739 as a student 
of divinity under Mr Wilson, when he was allowed ^6 from the fund raised 
to assist young men who were preparing for the ministry. On I3th January 
1742 the congregation of the "East of Fife" met at Ceres for a moderation. 
Before the proceedings began voters were asked to come in front of the tent. 
The roll of those in accession was read, and those who were present answered 
to their names. For Mr Campbell all the elders voted, and most of the con 
gregation. Mr Nairn, who presided, now intimated that he would repair to 
a certain house in the village to inspect the subscribing. All signed, it is 


added, except such as were obliged to go home. Mr Campbell was ordained, 
ist September 1742. The services must have been conducted in the open 
air, as a place of worship was not yet erected. A stone in the old building 
bore the date 1744, and in November of that year the session lent the 
managers 10 "to help to carry on the erection of a place of worship." 
How ways and means were found there is little to indicate beyond the 
mention of public collections once a month. The church had accommoda 
tion for nearly 1000 persons, and the congregation is said to have drawn its 
membership from thirty-two parishes. From their own records I am able to 
count up within one or two of that number. 

Ceres was one of the first Secession congregations which took up the 
work of covenanting. In arranging for this observance the session found 
that several of their members residing in St Andrews and Cupar had sworn 
the Burgess Oath, and it was agreed that they should not be allowed to enter 
the bond. Ten days afterwards Mr Moncrieff, with whom Mr Campbell was 
in close alliance, represented to the Synod that this oath demanded consider- 
tion. Such was the origin of the controversy which after two and a half 
years of heated discussion rent the Secession asunder. But, apart from this, 
the work of covenanting did not conduce to the peace of Ceres congregation. 
Four of the elders held back, and had to be dealt with for dereliction of duty. 
Two of them got over their difficulties, but the other two were doubtful about 
a paragraph in the Acknowledgment of Sins in which the Cambuslang Re 
vival was lamented as "an awful work upon the bodies and the souls of men." 
Mr Moncrieff, who happened to be on the ground, was called in to give the 
session his assistance, and, after he had spoken at some length, one of the 
two professed himself very much satisfied, but the other said his doubts and 
scruples were not removed, and it carried to lay him aside from the exercise 
of his office. 

But it was not till the rupture of the Synod in April 1 747 that the bond of 
peace was completely broken. Seven elders ultimately withdrew, and there 
must have been a marked thinning out by members leaving, some to form 
the Burgher congregation of St Andrews, and others to strengthen that of 
Auchtermuchty. But even after this exodus was over the controversy entailed 
confusion and trouble. For example, the elder who was their representative 
at the Synod when the breach took place, and went with the Antiburghers, 
ceased after a time to attend meetings of session, and absented himself from 
public ordinances. The case was referred to the Presbytery, and they 
deposed the offender from office and suspended him from Church privileges. 
It had a painful ending. " Caught in the thicket of affliction," he sent up a 
paper to the Presbytery confessing his faults, and promising to cleave to the 
good cause should he be restored to his wonted health. The sentence of 
suspension was removed, and on Sabbath his paper to the Presbytery and 
their decision thereanent were read from Ceres pulpit. Next day David 
Donaldson died. About the same time other two elders were laid aside 
from office for similar reasons, and lost to the congregation. If it was in 
Ceres that the germs of the Burgess Oath Controversy were nurtured, Ceres 
had to reap the fruits in a harvest of bitterness. 

Mr Campbell died on i8th October 1752, in the forty-ninth year of his 
age and eleventh of his ministry. This shows that like others of the first 
Secession preachers he had reached middle age before he was ordained. 
His last illness must have been brief, for he was present at a meeting of 
Presbytery only fifteen days before his death. Two publications bear his 
name, the one a pamphlet, entitled " Vindication of the Judicial Act and 
Testimony"; the other headed "Seven Sermons by that Eminent, Painful, 
and Laborious Servant of Jesus Christ, the late Rev. William Campbell, 


preached before, at, and after the Celebration of the Lord s Supper, 2ist 
August 1743." They are all on the text: "Christ also hath suffered for 
sins," etc., and were published from "his own manuscript" the year after 
his death. 

Second Minister. ADAM FOOTE, from Muckart. Ordained, 25th October 
1756, after a vacancy of four years. One of these summers they had only two 
Sabbaths supplied out of twelve. The stipend is nowhere given, but when 
about to obtain another minister the session lent the managers 4 or ,5 to 
aid in building a manse. Mr Foote presided at a meeting of session on 
29th November 1761, and the pulpit was vacant the next two Sabbaths. On 
Saturday, igth December, he died, in the twenty-ninth year of his age and 
sixth of his ministry. The Scots Magazine gives fever as the fatal ailment. 
Next day there was another silent Sabbath, but in the silence they must 
have heard a voice. On Sabbath week Mr Dempster of Leslie preached to 
them, and improved the event. 

Third Minister. THOMAS BENNET, from Milnathort. The session 
having given in Mr Bennet s name, some of the members proposed the 
Rev. Richard Jerment of Peebles, but he only received 14 votes. Mr Bennet s 
call was signed by 180 (male) members, and the Synod by an absolute 
majority preferred it to two others from Dumbarrow and Pathstruie, and on 
22nd December 1762 he was ordained. The congregation of Ceres, though 
still large, was now getting narrowed in. When Mr Campbell died the 
praying societies in Anstruther and St Monans applied for, and obtained, 
sermon for themselves, and this cut off the parishes in the east of Fife. In 
1771 the families from Leven and other parishes to the south were disjoined, 
and ultimately formed the congregation of Dubbieside. 

Some gleanings from the session records of this period and earlier may 
be introduced here. Prominence might be given to the firmness with which 
members were dealt with for the offence of "promiscuous hearing," but there 
is greater pleasure in noting how the elders stimulated each other to sacred 
duty by questions like this : " Do you keep up the worship of God in your 
families, morning and evening, by singing His praise, reading a portion of 
His word, and calling upon His name ?" This belongs to an order of things 
that has passed away. Even the rigid supervision which the session kept 
over the walk and conversation of the members fitted the social life of the 
times, and wrought for good. Take a case which occurred in the early years 
of Mr Bennet s ministry. When the roll was gone over in view of the 
communion it was reported that two of the members were at variance with 
each other. Having been forewarned, they were called in and heard at some 
length, and then told to withdraw. When readmitted they were admonished 
to forgive each other, seeing they had both been faulty, and after much deal 
ing with them they joined hands, and engaged to bury their mutual animosi 
ties. They were then exhorted by the moderator to live henceforth as 
became brothers in Christ, and dismissed. " Blessed are the peacemakers, 
for they shall be called the children of God." 

A curious case may now be adduced to show how the session set itself to 
stamp out the embers of superstition from among the people under their 
charge. A member of apparently good social standing had money taken out 
of his chest, and suspected one of his servants. Hearing of a woman in 
Dundee who professed insight into such matters he consulted her as to the 
culprit. The oracle did not commit herself, but told him that if she saw the 
suspected person she might be able to divulge the secret. Following up 
the clue, he sent two of his servants across to Dundee, one of them the sup 
posed thief, but nothing satisfactory emerged. He then betook himself 
to St Andrews, where "a seventh son" was said to have the discernment 


needed, but here also the result was nil. The party when brought before 
the session expressed sorrow for the double attempt at divination, and the 
offence was " to be purged by a rebuke before the congregation next Sabbath 
evening." Taking society as it was in those days, we are safe to say that 
discipline of this kind was fitted to have a salutary effect. 

Mr Bennet died, 3rd October 1793, m the sixty-first year of his age and 
thirty-first of his ministry. He had a daughter married to the Rev. Frederick 
M Farlane of Montrose, and his younger brother, the Rev. William Bennet, 
was long Antiburgher minister at Forres. In 1781 Mr Bennet published a 
volume of discourses on the forty-fifth Psalm, which may still be read with 
advantage. But five years prior to this he was the author of an anonymous 
pamphlet, entitled " Terms of Communion agreed upon by the Scots 
Methodists," meaning the Presbytery of Relief. This proved the beginning 
of a paper war, keen and not very dignified, between the champions of the 
two denominations which in the course of seventy years were to form the 
United Presbyterian Church. Mr Bennet having set the ball a-rolling left 
the battle-ground to others, and mingled in the strife no more. We have a 
remarkable commentary on Mr Bennet s pamphlet in the fact that after his 
death nearly one-half of his congregation went over to the " Scots Methodists," 
as he called them. 

When Mr Bennet died Ceres congregation sustained the most serious 
encroachment on its boundaries it had yet met with. Cupar, two and a half 
miles off, was now with the sanction of the Presbytery to become the seat of 
an Antiburgher congregation, cutting off supplies not only from the county 
town but from Monimail and other parishes farther west. This successive 
hemming in on every side was a serious matter for a congregation which had 
all along required to draw its membership from wide distances. At this very 
time the Old Statistical History put down the Antiburgher families in 
Ceres parish at 86, and those of the Established church at six times that 
number. To fit the old building for the altered state of things, it was now 
much reduced in size, and also entirely renovated, so that in a session minute 
of 1797 it is designated "the new church." But worse than losses by dis 
junction was the disruption which supervened during this vacancy, and led 
to the formation of a Relief church in Ceres. Enough to state for the present 
that a preacher named Moses Robertson was the choice of the majority, and 
the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy was to meet at Ceres for his ordination on 2oth 
May 1795, "which meeting," as we read in the old session book, "never took 
place, because Mr Robertson s ordination was stopped." This was by direc 
tions of Synod, a report affecting his character for sobriety requiring to be 
investigated. He then renounced the Synod s authority, and took a large 
following with him, but the full particulars belong to the history of Ceres, 

In its weakened state the congregation went in unanimously for Mr John 
Jameson, and the Synod in May 1797 preferred their call to another from 
Methven with more than double the signatures. Mr Jameson delivered 
part of his trials ; but after this, being fixed on becoming colleague to 
his uncle at Methven, he wrote Kirkcaldy Presbytery that he was resolved 
not to implement the Synod s decision. At next Synod the petition 
from Ceres bore that they were wishful to have Mr Jameson settled 
among them, provided he came willingly and cheerfully. After further 
dealing with him the call was laid aside, and the honoured name of John 
Jameson came to be linked with Methven, and not with Ceres. The next 
call addressed to Mr Andrew Aedie came in at the eleventh hour, and 
Forfar was preferred. 

Fourth Minister. PETER TAYLOR, from Cairneyhill. The signatures 


were higher than before, but even 112 contrasted sadly with the 180 in 
Mr Bennet s case. Mr Taylor was ordained, 2Oth March 1799. In the 
early part of his ministry the congregation kept faithful to the spirit of 
former days. The Christian Magazine tells of a large gathering at Ceres on 
ist August 1 8 10, when 98 entered into the bond. This was the thirteenth 
time the duty had been gone about in that place, and the total number 
amounted to 1280. In this work Ceres was in the van at the first, and in 
1749 the session intimated from the pulpit that such as neglected so neces 
sary a duty might find themselves excluded from sealing ordinances. How 
ever, neither Synod nor Presbytery nor session ever succeeded in making 
covenanting a term of communion. On this and other matters, such as the 
use of Paraphrases, Mr Taylor was conservative, though he became less so 
as life advanced. Of his characteristics George Brunton wrote as follows : 
" He not only succeeded in strengthening an originally defective memory, 
and in storing it with a rich selection from the old authors, but he continued 
to add to it all that was valuable in the current literature of the day, till it 
became a treasury of things new and old." It was in lecturing that his gifts 
and acquirements had fullest scope. It is matter of regret that we cannot 
speak of Mr Taylor s ministry having ended in peace. On i8th July 1843 ne 
came forward to the Presbytery with the resignation of his charge. Dis 
affection and dissension, he said, had got in among his people, and a few 
of them had gone into Cupar on the previous Sabbath, thereby deserting his 
ministry. The congregation expressed by petition their strong attachment 
to their minister, and their confidence that he would continue among them, 
but Mr Taylor was fixed in his determination, and on the 25th his demission 
was accepted. Had he not been possessed of independent means by his 
wife, he might not have retired so early or so abruptly. He now removed 
to Edinburgh, where he joined Dean Street Church, under Dr Davidson. 
He died, 3oth March 1846, aged seventy-two, and a tombstone in Warriston 
Cemetery marks where he is buried. 

Fifth Minister. WILLIAM BARLAS YOUNG, a son of the Rev. Alexander 
Young of Logiealmond, and a grand-nephew of the Rev. William Barlas, 
once of Whitehill. Ordained, igth February 1845, the young minister s 
father addressing him on his duties, and presiding at the soiree in the 
evening. The stipend was to be ^90, with manse and garden, and the 
call was signed by 184 members. On 4th November 1856 Mr Young 
demitted his charge owing to ill-health, after being partially laid aside for 
nearly two years. The step was taken under medical advice, and, with 
earnest prayer that the Comforter might be with him in the hour of trial, 
the bond between him and his " warmly-attached people " was dissolved. 
He died in his father s manse at Logiealmond, 2gth September 1857, in the 
thirty-sixth year of his age and the thirteenth after his ordination. A minute 
of session testifies to his excellences in an artless way : " His discourses 
bore the marks of careful preparation, and were always evangelical, and he 
was particularly clear and correct in his language and pronunciation. He 
was gentlemanly in his deportment and affectionate in his disposition. He 
was beloved by his people, and the congregation enjoyed peace and pros 
perity under his ministry." 

Taught a lesson by Mr Taylor s resignation the congregation had at that 
time resolved solemnly and publicly to lay aside all differences that existed 
among them, and during Mr Young s ministry harmony prevailed. But in 
choosing a successor peace was for a time disturbed. Some were strongly 
bent on having Mr William R. Barrie, and their eagerness may have gone to 
defeat its purpose. It was carried by a small majority to apply for a modera 
tion, which in their divided state the Presbytery refused to grant. After a 


delay of five months Mr Alexander Doctor* was put forward as the rival 
candidate, and had the cast of the balance in his favour. The membership 
was 210, but only 84 signed the call. The parties came to terms, the 
agreement being to let the call drop, lay both candidates aside, and begin 
anew. Within three months they cordially united on Mr Henry Miller, from 
Glasgow (John Street), no fewer than 181 members signing his call, but it 
was declined. Mr Miller comes up again under Wigtown. 

Sixth Minister. ROBERT ANDERSON, from Kilbarchan. Harmoniously 
chosen, he was ordained, 28th July 1858. In the seventh year of his 
ministry the old manse was replaced by a modern erection, of which the cost 
was to be ^700, but it came up to ^1000. The Board kept by the original 
offer of ,350, and the people with the aid of friends had to face a like sum 
and the additional ,300 besides. The population was now declining rapidly, 
and the place becoming much too strait for the two congregations, and on 
nth February 1873 Mr Anderson accepted a call to Milnathort. Some 
attempts at union with the East church having failed, the people were given 
to understand that they must not look for aid to the Augmentation Fund, 
and to furnish the minimum stipend of ^157, ios. from their own resources 
was a bold undertaking, with prosperity upon the ebb all round. Still, on 
this footing they called Mr John W. Pringle, who declined, and a year 
afterwards accepted the collegiate charge of Jeclburgh (High Street). 

Seventh Minister. GILBERT M. HAIR, from Longridge. Called previ 
ously to Lumsden, Aberdeenshire. Ordained, 8th July 1874. On I4th 
June 1877 the new church in St Andrew s Road, seated for 300, was opened 
by Professor Cairns. The cost, besides free cartage from neighbouring 
farmers, and aid in similar ways, was about ^1500. By the contributions 
of the people themselves, the exertions of the minister, and the proceeds of a 
bazaar, all in nearly equal proportions, along with ^200 collected on the 
opening day, and a grant of ^150 from the Ferguson Bequest Fund, the 
congregation was privileged to enter the new building free of debt. What 
remains of its further history will come in under the heading of " The 
United Church." 


THIS congregation sprung from the attachment of a large party in the old 
Antiburgher church at Ceres to Mr Moses Robertson, a preacher belonging 
to Buchlyvie. When the provincial Synod of Glasgow was entering Mr 
Robertson on trials for licence, it was found that he was not enjoying Church 
privileges on account of reports prejudicial to his character. After inquiries 
by Stirling Presbytery Mr Robertson admitted that he had a strong social 
propensity, and this had sometimes led him to sit too long in drinking 
companies. Furthermore, though he had not a custom of drinking drams in 
the morning, as was alleged, he sometimes asked one at that time of day 
"for his stomach s sake." Neither was he in the habit of saying God bless 
you, though it would seem that this or kindred expressions had sometimes 
escaped his lips on great occasions. But here was a more specific admission : 
" He had received a challenge from a gentleman with whom he had travelled 
from Edinburgh to Whitburn ; they alighted, got each a sword, and thrust at 
each other for some time." The Presbytery s report was brought up at the 

* Mr Doctor was from Lochee. After years of energetic mission work in con 
nection with Union Street Church he was licensed by Greenock Presbytery on 7th 
March 1876 for Tasmania. lie has long ministered to the congregation of Bothwell 
and Greenfronds, in the Presbytery of Hobart. 


Synod in May 1791, and the case was sent back to Stirling Presbytery, before 
whom Mr Robertson promised to be more on his guard for the future, and 
the whole affair was wound up with a rebuke, and an exhortation to " soul 
exercise." At their meeting next year the Synod recommended the Presbytery 
of Glasgow to take this gentleman on trials, but also instructed them to 
proceed leisurely, "and to watch over his conduct in the meantime." In 
November 1792 Mr Moses Robertson got licence to preach the everlasting 
gospel, and was sent forth as a candidate for an Antiburgher pulpit. Two 
years afterwards he carried Ceres by a great majority. 

His trials being sustained, his ordination was fixed for 2oth May 1795 > 
but proceedings were arrested by a fama " of Mr Robertson having been so 
much the worse of drink on Friday, 26th April last, as repeatedly to fall from 
his horse, particularly in the street of Cupar, Fife." A meeting of Synod 
intervening, their advice was asked by the Presbytery, and Mr Robertson 
having denied the charge, investigation was enjoined, and orders given not 
to proceed with the ordination meanwhile. The Presbytery along with some 
correspondents met at Cupar on I3th May, and adjourned for three months, 
an enormous time to leave the matter hanging in mid-air. The next meeting 
was at Ceres on igth August, when witnesses for the prosecution and defence 
were examined upon oath, and the whole case referred to the provincial 
Synod of Fife. The finding they arrived at on ist September was that 
intoxication had not been proved, but, as Mr Robertson had been too 
frequently engaged in drinking spirituous liquors that day, they should 
proceed to deal with him. Against this sentence Mr Robertson protested 
to the General Synod, and the case was hung up for eight months. The 
General Synod dismissed the protest as groundless, whereupon Mr Robertson 
pronounced their conduct tyrannical, and declined their authority. He was 
then deprived of his licence, and excluded from the fellowship of the Church. 
Meanwhile his friends in Ceres kept by him, and the congregation was rent 
in twain. 

B 5l y nd this we have onl y some hints in the old session records to guide 

us. Within a year or two several who had gone off at this time sought 

readmission to the Antiburgher Church. One woman is described as having 

given encouragement to Mr Robertson s ministrations, and of two elders who 

returned one had attempted to deprive them of the place of worship for 

behoof of Mr Robertson, which implies that his party reckoned themselves 

he majority. How long he remained at Ceres, or why he left, is nowhere 

Heated but by-and-by sermon was obtained from the Relief Presbytery of 

Uysart. Mr Moses Robertson now passes out of sight, and neither tradition 

nor written record has enabled us to lift the curtain from his after history 

First Minister. FORREST FREW. Ordained, 8th December 1798. The 

lurch, with sittings for 560, appears to have been finished before this Mr 

rew was from Burntisland, and got licence from the Established Church, 

but in the beginning of 1798 he applied to the Relief Presbytery of Dysart 

for admission as a probationer. This step is stated in the Christian Journal 

n i f ,1 aV been ,P rom P ted b Y aversion to the law of patronage. In the 

Journal of the Rev. Alexander Paterson of Dundee we have a reference to 

communion work at Ceres in the summer of 1805. Assisting his friend, Mr 

,e preached twice on Thursday, twice on Saturday, exhorted at five 

* on Sabbath, took the evening service, and preached twice on Monday. 

It would seem from this that Mr Paterson had been the only assistant. If 

: system differed widely from what prevailed in the Antiburgher con- 

P?r?h H SU f T/ 2 7th July I8 7 Mr F rew accepted \ call to 

rth, and was loosed from Ceres, after labouring there eight and a half 

years. It would not be all comfort for him, where altar was set up against 


altar, and where in village life there was embittered feeling through memories 
of recent strife and disruption. 

Second Minister. ARCHIBALD GUMMING, translated from Newlands, 
Peeblesshire. Mr Gumming is said to have been the minority s candidate 
when Mr Frew was called, and he was now unanimously chosen as his 
successor. The stipend was ^100, with taxes paid, but no manse. Mr 
Gumming was inducted, 2oth January 1808. The circumstances in which 
he was called were of hopeful import, but his " exceedingly reserved dis 
position " may have kept him from gaining the affections of his people, and 
after he had gone on for twenty years disputes arose, the stipend fell behind, 
and in 1829 the Synod recommended the Presbytery to make an earnest 
effort to effect an adjustment, as without this the very existence of the con 
gregation was imperilled. Mr Gumming offered to accept ,50 a year instead 
of the ,100 originally promised. He was also willing to cancel the bond 
for stipend, and let a large part of the arrears go, but compromise proved 
impossible. The Synod in 1830 found that Mr Gumming was at one with 
the commissioners in this, that his usefulness in Ceres was at an end. They 
decided that he should receive ^95 in lieu of all claims, the people to give 
^75, and ,20 to be paid from the Synod Fund, while the congregations in 
the Presbytery made up other ^12, ios., which came altogether to within 
,17, ios. of his own figure. On ist June 1830 Mr Cumming s demission 
was accepted. He was now midway between sixty and seventy, and yet 
after three years of probationership he was inducted into Golinsburgh. The 
difference between him and his people in Ceres arose from what they con 
sidered an ill-advised marriage in advanced life, but the fact that another 
door of usefulness opened for him so near as Colinsburgh at this late hour 
shows that he had not lost his standing either as a minister or as a man. 

Third Minister. DANIEL KERR, M.A., from Kilbarchan. Ordained, 
1 7th April 1833, on a second call. When the first came out he appeared 
before the Presbytery, and " in a modest and Christian spirit declined 
accepting." In a few weeks Mr Kerr was again their unanimous choice. 
The stipend was to be ,70, which compared ill with the ,100 they under 
took two dozen years before, but there was now a house and garden. 
There were only 60 names appended to the call, but in four years the 
New Statistical History put the Relief families in Ceres at eighty or ninety, 
making them equal to those of the Secession. During Mr Kerr s ministry 
trade was prosperous, and the congregation was much improved, but on 3rd 
March 1840 he accepted a call to Duns (South). 

Fourth Minister. DAVID ANDERSON, son of the Rev. John Anderson, 
Kilsyth, and step-brother to Dr William Anderson of Glasgow. Ordained, 
1 2th August 1840. The stipend was now ,90, with manse and garden, and 
the call had 238 signatures. At the union of 1847 Mr Anderson held back 
for a time, and his people kept unitedly by him. He had the feeling that 
the Relief principle of free communion got scanty justice in the Basis of 
Union, but his hesitancy was got over, and much to the gratification of his 
brethren, one of whom had assisted at his communion shortly before as 
though nothing intervened, he appeared at a meeting of Cupar Presbytery 
on 23rd November following, and intimated that he and his congregation 
were now prepared to give in their cordial adherence to the United Church, 
The rising tide of liberality was to do more for the principle of free 
communion than any tinkering of an article in the Basis of Union could 
have done. " Conscientious convictions " are all on the one side now, and 
what remains is only a question of practical administration. 

From this time there is nothing special to record till attempts were made 
to effect a union between the two congregations. These will form a fit 
introduction to the history of the United Church, Ceres. 



THE first movement towards union began among the people themselves. 
On loth September 1872 the elder from the East church informed the 
Presbytery that a committee had been appointed on each side to confer 
together, and that appearances were hopeful. The population of the parish 
had come down between 300 and 400 within ten years, and this of itself 
dictated amalgamation. While negotiations were going on the West church 
fell vacant through the Rev. Robert Anderson accepting a call to Milnathort. 
The Home Board now, along with deputies from the Presbytery, took the 
matter in hand, but they reported in December that they found themselves 
baffled, " though they did not seek to define the causes of failure or dis 
tribute the blame." Had the vacant congregation been prepared to unite 
with the other under the sole pastorate of the Rev. David Anderson all else 
would have been of easy adjustment, but in Ceres, with its deep-seated 
aversions, this was not to be looked for. It is too much, on the other hand, 
to expect a minister whose vigour is unimpaired to withdraw from his life-work, 
even for the sake of union. It may be no fault of his that there are rival 
congregations in the place, and it is wrong that he should be sacrificed, even 
in the interests of the Augmentation Fund. 

Since 1868 the Ceres churches had both been supplemented, the West 
by 20 and the East by ^30, but now to make good their claim to have a 
minister of their own the West church undertook to give the minimum 
stipend of ^157, IDS. from their own funds. The sum they had been paying 
before was ,130, and the membership had decreased in five years from 242 
to 214. But on this new footing a call was issued and a settlement effected. 
We go forward other ten years now, and gauge the situation anew. At the 
close of 1883 the membership of St Andrew s Road (formerly the West) was 
144, and instead of the old minimum they could not promise more than ^120. 
Meanwhile the East church, which was cast on its own resources by a 
decision of Synod in 1874, had suffered in the same way, though not to the 
same extent, and in 1881 they had been obliged to reduce the stipend from 
,13010 110. The Presbytery thought the present a fit time to ascertain 
the feelings of the respective congregations as to union, but Mr Anderson 
looked with disfavour on the raising of the question anew, and there was 
nothing further done ; only, the matter was handed over indirectly to the 
Augmentation Committee by a request for supplement to St Andrew s Road 

On 6th April 1885 -a. pro re nata meeting of Cupar Presbytery was held, 
at which Dr Scott, the Home Mission Secretary, intimated that the way for 
union at Ceres had been all but cleared. There was rapid progress now, 
and details having been arranged, the Presbytery on igth May declared the 
two congregations to be henceforth one. Next Sabbath they met in the 
East church, when the services were conducted by Professor Calderwood 
and the Rev. David Anderson, the senior colleague, and on Sabbath week 
they met in St Andrew s Road Church, when Dr Scott and the junior 
colleague, the Rev. Gilbert M. Hair, preached. There had been some 
difficulty as to the place of worship, and for the first three months the united 
congregation met in the East church, which was nearly a century old, but 
had been recently remodelled and renovated. The other was comparatively 
new, and after it had been tested for a like period it was agreed unanimously 
to settle down there. But whatever may have been the reason, whether 
heavy removals from the district or leakage through defective coalescence, 
the membership came down 40 next year. Each minister was to receive 
^100 from the people, but now ,92 had to be named instead. On nth 


August 1890 Mr Anderson completed the fiftieth year of his ministry, and 
the event was marked by a jubilee gathering in the hall, formerly the Relief 
church, in which he ministered forty-five years. In the vigour of a scarcely 
worn old age he went back to the time when Ceres was in prosperity, " the 
sound of the shuttle being heard from every door, and the population fully 
double what it is now." 

On 5th July 1892 Mr Anderson sent in to the Presbytery the resignation 
of his charge, and on the 25th it was accepted, and his name placed on the 
emeritus list. Since the union the decline in numbers had continued, and 
that year it reached its maximum, the numbers being reduced from 194 to 
135. Misunderstandings had arisen, and a large number of the East congre 
gation had left, many of them going over to the Established Church. The 
thinning out by one family after another leaving the place is still going on, 
and the congregation, which had a membership of 130 six years ago, is now 
under 100, and the people pay a stipend of ,85. 


WHEN the Burgher Synod met in April 1748, a year after the Breach, a 
paper was laid before them signed by 64 persons who had been members of 
Mr Moncrieffs congregation at Abernethy, or of Mr Mair s at Orwell, 
praying to be taken under their inspection. The design was to make 
Auchtermuchty the meeting point for the families who had drawn away from 
their own ministers at Leslie and Ceres, as well as at Abernethy and Orwell. 
Sermon was obtained on 23rd June 1748, and this dates the origin of the 
Burgher congregation of Auchtermuchty. Their first church was built in 
1750, and they next proceeded to call a minister. The first they fixed on 
was the Rev. David Telfer, Bridge-of-Teith, but the Synod in April 1751 
refused to translate. They succeeded in their next attempt, though this was 
scarcely matter for congratulation. But to get at the rise of the Secession in 
Auchtermuchty we have to go back other ten years. On i6th May 1738 a 
praying society in that parish acceded to the Associate Presbytery, and three 
elders followed in October 1739. There was much dissatisfaction with the 
minister of the Established church at this time. In a representation to the 
General Assembly in 1740 he stated that all his elders, to the number of 
eleven, "had deserted his session on an event that happened in September 
1737." The reference was to the reading of the Porteous Act, which the 
clergy of the Established Church were ordered under heavy penalties to do 
before sermon on the first Sabbath of every month for a whole year. Many 
refused, but Mr Maxton of Auchtermuchty yielded compliance, which was 
deemed Sabbath profanation, and also a surrender of the Church s independ 
ence. The minister afterwards tried to make peace with his session by 
owning he did wrong, but the evil was too far gone to be repaired. From 
this time forth the Secession had strong footing, not only in Auchtermuchty, 
but in the neighbouring parishes of Strathmiglo and Collessie. Its adherents 
attended at Abernethy till the Breach, and then a large proportion took the 
Burgher side, and got a church of their own nearer home. 

First Minister. PATRICK MATTHEW, who had been ordained at 
Midholm ten years before, but, as narrated elsewhere, a change had become 
imperative. Accordingly, in the early part of 1751 the Presbytery of Perth 
and Dunfermline wrote him to supply some Sabbaths \vithin their bounds. 
This brought him a call to Auchtermuchty, and the Synod as a matter of 
course pronounced for the translation. His induction took place, 5th May 
1752. There was a regular session before this, and it is interesting to trace 


from their own records the districts from which members were drawn. Be 
sides three elders who had left Mr Moncrieff s ministry there were two from 
Creich, who had been members of Ceres session. There was another from 
Kettle, and a fourth was Henry Shoolbred, from Falkland, who had held 
office under John Erskine of Leslie. He was the ancestor of our well-known 
missionary in India, the late Dr Williamson Shoolbred. About a year after 
Mr Matthew s induction an election of additional elders was proceeded with, 
and when this was over they numbered seventeen in all. 

In the session minutes there are some stray entries which bring out the 
manners of the time. Thus, in view of the Synod s meeting in May 1755, the 
session took into account that it was dangerous for a young man to cross the 
Firth of Forth owing to the press for sailors, and instead of David Smith, 
Junr., they appointed his father to be their representative elder. The 
following may be taken as a curiosity : On a certain Sabbath morning a 
weaver with his wife and apprentice were going on with their ordinary 
avocations, " till some people passing by on their way to church heard them 
at their work, and went in and stopped them." The man and his apprentice 
appeared before the Session, and explained that they set to work under the 
impression that it was Saturday. They were rebuked on the spot, and 
exhorted to be watchful in time coming, the rebuke to be intimated to the 
congregation. In Thomas Mair s Diary there is a similar case recorded. 

Of Mr Matthew s gifts as a preacher there is no memorial left. On 6th 
April 1767 he met with his session for the last time. Whether there were 
foul whisperings abroad already we know not, but within a fortnight he was 
before his Presbytery for a track of immorality. All was so clear that much 
of the evidence might have been spared. Mr Matthew was deposed, 5th 
May of that year. It is said that he went to America, but, as is usual in 
such cases, there is nothing known of his subsequent life. Had the calamity 
come a dozen years earlier, it might have done the congregation irreparable 
damage. It was well for their interests that they were now to have a man of 
high Christian character and blameless life set over them. 

Second Minister. JOHN FRASER, M.A., a native of Inverness, who seceded 
from the Established Church when a divinity student. Having got licence on 
6th October 1767, he was appointed to supply at Auchtermuchty on the third 
and fourth Sabbaths of that month. Though Gaelic was his native tongue 
this does not seem to have impaired his acceptability, as the call he forth 
with received was quite harmonious, and he was ordained on 7th July 1768. 
The session consisted at this time of eleven members, and their districts took 
in a wide range. There was one for Edenshead, another for the west hills of 
Abernethy, another for Kettle and the south side of Collessie, a fourth for 
Freuchie, and a fifth for Newburgh. Mr Eraser s stipend, so late as 1784, 
was only ^44 a year, and the Presbytery found it needful to stir the people 
up to greater liberality. 

Mr Fraser was the author of the representation which occasioned the 
outbreak of the Old and New Light Controversy in the Burgher Synod. 
He believed there was urgent need to relax the terms of the formula with 
regard to the magistrate s power in religion, and the binding obligation of 
the covenants, though for himself he had no difficulty on these matters. 
What he specially wished to guard against was the want of entire harmony 
between profession and principle. Hence he pleaded to have the standards 
modified into consistency on these points with the sentiments of ministers, 
elders, probationers, and students. That Mr Fraser should be unsparingly 
blamed in the bitter pamphlets which followed on the Old Light side was to 
be expected, but he suffered from a quarter nearer home. In 1797, when the 
strife was becoming fierce, a paper was given in to the session from 17 


members of his own congregation, in which they declared their strict 
adherence to every article in the Confession of Faith. The matter was more 
offensively put in a subsequent paper from other 10 members, who declared 
against the slightest deviation from the principles of the Church of Scotland, 
and added that "in case there be any alteration, they count themselves not 
bound to support any that adopt any other principles." But Mr Fraser was 
not the man to retaliate, and the storm appears to have blown past without 
doing further harm. 

On 20th April 1814 Mr Fraser s resignation was accepted, the congrega 
tion engaging to give him a retiring allowance of ,44 a year. He seems 
also to have retained possession of the manse, and the Synod granted him 
an annuity of 20 from its own funds. He died, i8th December 1818, in 
the seventy-fourth year of his age and the fifty-first of his ministry. Mr 
Fraser married Magdalene Erskine, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Henry 
Erskine, Falkirk. Three of their sons studied for the ministry Henry, who 
was ordained at Saltcoats ; Donald, best known as Dr Fraser of Kennoway ; 
and William, who was first in Crail and then in Alloa (West). Of their 
daughters, one was the wife of the Rev. James Gardiner, Newtonards, 
Ireland, and the mother of the Rev. John Henry Gardiner of Whithorn ; 
and another was the mother of the Rev. John Skinner of Partick. 

In the end of 1814 the congregation called Mr George Donaldson, a 
preacher in large request at the time, but Dundee (School Wynd) carried. 
They next called Mr Andrew Scott, but he was appointed to Cambusnethan. 

Third Minister. ARCHIBALD BAIRD, from Greyfriars, Glasgow. Ap 
pointed to Auchtermuchty in preference to Dunbar and Dunblane, and 
ordained, igth August 1817. The services were conducted "in a com 
modious and pleasant spot to the north-west of the town, long used on sacra 
mental occasions, and where Mr Fraser was ordained (on a midsummer 
day forty-nine years before). The audience was supposed to exceed 2000." 
The Rev. George Donaldson, the object of their former choice, preached, 
and this would heighten the interest. The stipend, which was ^100, with 
the manse, seems to have been raised to ,150 after Mr Fraser s death, but 
the gearing was out of order, and had been so for a lengthened period. In 
1820 the managers complained to the session that nearly one-fourth of the 
congregation habitually neglected to do anything for the support of the 
gospel. The same evil cropped up eighteen years before, and had been 
dealt with as failure to perform "a plain and necessary duty." About this 
time there was also much irritation to minister and session in connection 
with a prominent elder and his family. But a call to Mr Baird from the 
recently-organised congregation of St James Street, Paisley, now intervened, 
with larger promise every way, and on I4th September 1825 the Synod 
decided by a majority in favour of translation. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN TAYLOR, M.D., from Stow. He was not the 
first Secession preacher who passed through a medical training, but never 
till now had these letters of weighty import adorned the outfit of a candidate 
for a vacant Secession pulpit. The Synod having appointed " Dr Taylor" 
to Auchtermuchty in preference to Lockerbie, he was ordained, I5th August 
1827. His discourses in those days were remarkable for the amount of 
material they contained, clearly arranged and vigorously reasoned out. 
" Without any oratory," wrote one, " save a manner which in any other man 
would have been only tolerable, but with him it was agreeable because it was 
natural without any eloquence save an earnestness which was sufficient to 
awaken and sustain the sympathy of his audience and without any art 
save the judgment to select an important subject, and the tact of leading 
his hearers to see and feel his own interest in it he became one of the most 


interesting" preachers of the day." Dr Taylor dealt too exclusively with the 
intellect to be broadly popular, but the congregation prospered under his 
ministry, the membership at one period approximating to 500. A new 
church, with sittings for 600, was opened on Sabbath, 4th January 1846, and 
through the exertions of the people and their friends only a slight debt 

But the time for Dr Taylor s transference to another sphere was now 
approaching. In 1851 the Rev. William Proudfoot, who had acted as 
theological tutor for the Church in Canada, died, and the Home Synod 
was asked to recommend some outstanding minister to be their Professor 
of Theology. In 1852 the Mission Board reported to the Synod that they 
had nominated the Rev. Dr Taylor of Auchtermuchty to the above office, and 
that the nomination had been cordially approved of by the Canadian Synod. 
Accordingly, on Tuesday, i8th May, the relation between him and his con 
gregation was dissolved, and on the following Sabbath he preached to them 
from the text : " Finally, brethren, farewell." In Canada the duties of the 
Chair were uncomfortably light for some years. Thus, in Session 1855 there 
was only one student of the fourth year in attendance, two of the third, three 
of the second, and four of the first. When the appointment was made 
Dr Taylor was directed to reside in Toronto, and the holding of a pastoral 
charge was left to be directed by circumstances. Owing to differences in 
the church at Toronto the way was opened up for the originating of a 
second congregation, of which Dr Taylor became the minister before a single 
year had passed. The salary guaranteed by the Synod was ,250, but from 
this sum the stipend received from the congregation was faithfully deducted 
year by year. At the Union with the Free Church in 1861 Dr Taylor re 
signed both the professorship and the pastorate and returned to Scotland. 
In 1863 he was inducted to Busby. 

Fourth Minister. GEORGE BARLAS, from Perth (North). On the 
father s side Mr Barlas was a nephew of the Rev. George Barlas, Maygate 
Church, Dunfermline, and on the mother s side he was the grandson of Dr 
George Jerment of London, and a descendant of Moncrieff of Culfargie, one of 
the Fathers of the Secession. When a preacher, Mr Barlas was the object 
of a contested call from Stranraer (Bridge Street) which came before the 
Synod in May 1853, and was sustained. Kettle was also going forward in 
his favour, but amidst much hostility. All was put right by a harmonious 
call from Auchtermuchty (East), where he was ordained, I2th October 1853. 
At first there was warm attachment to the young minister, but in a few 
years a counter current set in. Discontent was brought to a point in March 
1858 by the entire session of seven members relinquishing office, and by the 
case being plunged into the Presbytery. In the church there were two 
parties of nearly equal strength, but, though complications ensued which 
taxed the wisdom of Cupar Presbytery, the result from the first was scarcely 
doubtful. The party opposed to the minister held the purse strings, and on 
1 4th September Mr Barlas resigned. When the question of acquiescence 
was brought before a congregational meeting his friends moved for non- 
acceptance, and found themselves slightly in the majority. At the next 
meeting of Presbytery, on 28th September 1858, though commissioners pled 
for his continuance, Mr Barlas adhered to his purpose, and the resignation 
was accepted, and care taken to see that his pecuniary claims were fully 
met. Nearly three years after he was inducted into Millhill, Musselburgh. 

At the first meeting of the interim session at Auchtermuchty there was 
a general rush for disjunction certificates, of which a considerable number 
were given in to the North church, but many were lost to the denomination, 
and some, it is to be feared, were lost in a worse sense. Clearly, the best 


thing for the congregation was to get the pulpit efficiently filled with as little 
loss of time as possible. In May 1859 they called Mr James H. Scott, 
whose father had been called to the same congregation forty-two years 
before, but both father and son preferred Cambusnethan. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN F. M SWAINE, from Bridge-of-Allan. Ordained, 
4th July 1860, having previously declined Killaig in Ireland. The money 
arrangements were much as before. The stipend was to be ^130, with manse 
and garden, so that there was no coming down from the platform of self- 
support, or from what his predecessor had. It was in numbers that the 
shortcoming lay, for while the call to Mr Barlas was signed by 234 members 
that to Mr M Swaine carried only 138 names, and the circumstances of the 
town were such that instead of increase there was bound to be decline. 
Hand-loom weaving, which had been the staple trade of the place, was 
ruined, and the population was rapidly going back. The three congregations 
in Auchtermuchty all experienced the process of thinning out year by year, but 
it was the West church under Mr Wise on which the pressure told most 
severely, and it was from it as a centre that negotiations for union with the 
East church were carried on. The narrative will be resumed under the 
heading, " The South Church." 


THE Secession got gradual footing in Auchtermuchty at an early period, 
but the Relief began in a large exodus from the Establishment later on. In 
1734 the parish had been favourably dealt with, when the General Assembly, 
in a reforming mood, rescinded the ordination of an obnoxious presentee, 
and turned him adrift, so that he had to content himself with a settlement in 
Shetland. But now the pendulum swung to the other side. One of the 
principal heritors, Moncrieff of Readie, presented the Rev. Thomas Mutter, 
Leswalt, to the charge, but his right to the patronage was in dispute. On 
this ground the Presbytery and Synod refused to sustain the presentation, 
but by orders of the General Assembly Mr Mutter was ordained, 28th 
September 1762. The result was a large accession to the recently-con 
stituted Presbytery of Relief. It appears from one of his notebooks that Mr 
Gillespie of Dunfermline preached and baptised at Auchtermuchty on i7th 
November 1762. He also officiated "at the tent," apparently on a com 
munion Sabbath, 26th June 1763. The church, with 500 sittings, was built 
that season. As for Mr Mutter, who was over fifty at the time, he was 
transferred to Dumfries in three years, and died there in 1793. 

First Minister. THOMAS SCOTT, previously minister of a Presbyterian 
church in Hexham, where he was ordained, 24th November 1756, by the 
Northumberland Class. In 1761 he was invited to Colinsburgh, but he 
declined u on account of his inability for such a great charge." W T e infer 
that, like his brother, the Rev. James Scott of Jedburgh, he was a native of 
Wilton parish, near Hawick, and had been a licentiate of the Established 
Church. From a manuscript sermon of Mr Gillespie s we learn the exact 
date of his induction at Auchtermuchty. Preaching there on a Fast Day, 
loth August 1763, he began with the words : " To-morrow one is to be admitted 
as your pastor." Old members of the congregation were proud to tell that 
of Relief congregations theirs was the fifth in order of seniority, Blairlogie 
having been the fourth. The Relief at the beginning, and long afterwards, 
had a much larger hold of the parish than either of the Secession branches. 
In 1793 the Old Statistical History gave the numbers, not including children, 
as follows : Relief, 284 ; Burghers, 189 ; Antiburghers, 93 ; which is almost 


exactly in the ratio, 3, 2, and i, and the frequency with which Mr Scott s 
name appears in the parish register for baptisms shows that in him the 
parochial incumbent had his chief competitor. On gth April 1786 the last 
entry of a baptism by Mr Scott occurs, and this may be taken as an approxi 
mation to the close of his ministry. At the Synod in May 1787 money 
matters came up for adjustment between him and his late congregation. 
There seems to have been a legal bond for stipend, which was in arrears, and 
the Synod decided that the congregation pay Mr Scott ,75 in three instal 
ments, in satisfaction of all his claims. The circumstances in which the 
pastoral relation was dissolved gave the parish minister occasion to tell the 
public, in his account of Auchtermuchty for the Statistical History, that "the 
Relievers lately turned off an inoffensive old man who had preached to them 
for over twenty years." He then generalises on the demerits of Dissent in 
the following terms : " These divisions are among the greatest judgments 
that can befall a place. They are a judgment temporally, as they take away 
the substance of families to support ministers, and they often prevent the just 
claims of others from being paid. They are a judgment spiritually, as they 
extinguish the spirit of love and charity." Sir John Sinclair s history of the 
several parishes in Scotland gave valuable results, but the work was left 
generally in the hands of the Established clergy, and it is disfigured ever and 
again by reflections through which the editor should have drawn his pen. 
Mr Scott s tombstone in the Canongate Churchyard states that he died, I7th 
February 1792, aged sixty-nine. His widow, who at the time of their marriage 
was the widow of the Rev. John Warden, first Relief minister of Blairlogie, 
died at Edinburgh in 1810, in her eighty-fifth year, and was buried beside 
her husband. 

Second Minister. JAMES BONNAR, from the Antiburgher congregation 
of Buchlyvie, but he was never a divinity student in that connection. Having 
become a licentiate of the Relief Church, he was called to Falkirk not long- 
afterwards, but the call was so divided that the Synod in 1786 set it aside. 
Ordained at Auchtermuchty in 1788. The precise day cannot be ascertained, 
but it seems to have been in April of that year. Though Mr Bonnar at this 
time was not much under forty, his ministry lasted nearly sixty years. He 
was born while Thomas Gillespie was still a minister of the Established 
Church, and he died when the Relief denomination was about to be merged 
in the United Presbyterian Church. After he had laboured in Auchtermuchty 
forty-seven years, and was midway between eighty and ninety, his people 
asked the Presbytery to aid them in arranging for an assistant, as their 
minister s "advanced age rendered such a step desirable." He had survived 
his fitness for regular work, and may not have been aware of it. Terms were 
come to, the agreement being that Mr Bonnar should give up ,35 of his 
stipend, and retain ^45, with the manse. The people on their part were to 
raise another ^35, making the junior minister s income ,70 in all. This was 
in August 1835, but it was nearly two years before they applied for a modera 
tion, which even then was delayed owing to divisions among them. In June 
1837 they called Mr James Hamilton, who was settled soon afterwards in 
Largo, but though the call was sustained it was not concurred in. The con 
gregation hesitated about committing themselves to the .70, and wished to 
begin with ^65, but the hindrance was got over. The signatures, however, 
only amounted to 107, which showed want of harmony or want of heartiness, 
and Mr Hamilton declined to accept. But within six months all came right, 
and they went in unitedly and cordially for another. 

Third Minister. JOHN WISE, from Collessie parish, but brought up 
under Mr Bonnar. Ordained, 6th February 1838. On the following Sabbath 
he was introduced by his old minister, who took for his text : " He that 


winneth souls is wise" On retiring, Mr Bonnar was exempted from ministerial 
duty, but he used to occupy the pulpit when Mr Wise was engaged elsewhere. 
Thinking, perhaps, that his services were too often required, he once, as I 
had from a sure source, referred to his colleague in prayer as " Thy young 
servant who officiates occasionally in this place." These touches help us to 
understand what his friend and biographer meant when he said that to some 
he might at times appear defective in veneration. But failure of memory 
and bodily infirmities gradually unfitted him for taking any part in public 
work, and he died, nth February 1847, in the ninety-seventh year of his age 
and fifty-ninth of his ministry. The congregation had now the consolatory 
reflection that during these nine years they had done their duty towards their 
aged pastor up to the measure of their ability, yea, and beyond it. At Mr 
Bonnar s death Mr Wise s stipend was raised to ,90, with possession of the 
manse, but trying times were before him and his people, though for a course 
of years the pressure was slight. In 1868 the congregation was placed on 
the supplemented list, the first of the three in Auchtermuchty that came 
beneath the point of self-support. In the preceding year the stipend, which 
had never been over ,95, was raised to ,120 by the congregation, and 
there was an addition of ^30 from the Board. But Auchtermuchty was now 
going rapidly back in population, having declined by 750 in twenty years. 
Between 1868 and 1873 tne membership of the West U.P. Church suffered 
in precisely the same proportion, the communion roll being reduced from 
212 to 170, and, as there was no prospect of trade reviving, the decline was 
sure to go on. This brings us to the movement for union with the East 
congregation, and the formation of what is now known as the South Church, 


ON 2Oth February 1782 three commissioners appeared before Abernethy 
session, one from Auchtermuchty, one from Strathmiglo, and one from 
Collessie. They presented a petition from their constituents, asking the 
session to concur with them in an application to the Presbytery of Perth 
for authority to build a church with the view of being formed into a separate 
congregation. For forty years the Antiburgher families from that wide 
district had travelled across the heights to Abernethy, a distance of from 
four to seven miles, and often over bad roads. They wished now, like 
their Burgher brethren, to have a meeting-house of their own at Auchter 
muchty. The proposal if carried out would cut off a large wing from 
Abernethy, but opposition from that quarter, and on that ground, was over 
come, and the place of worship was built in the following year. The 
congregation must have been formed prior to 4th July 1783, as two members 
were disjoined from Ceres at that date and annexed to Auchtermuchty. 
The first they called was Mr James Biggar, ultimately of Urr, but, as he 
had only preached one Sabbath, the Synod in May 1784 set the call aside. 
This defect having been supplied, the people called him a second time, 
but the Synod at their next meeting appointed him to Newtonards in 

First Minister. JAMES BROWNING, from Kilwinning. Called also to 
Arbroath (now Princes Street), but the Synod decided for Auchtermuchty, 
assigning as a reason the disappointment the congregation met with at 
last meeting. The call was signed by 79 (male) members. Ordained, 
1 7th August 1785, and a number of additional accessions followed from 
Abernethy congregation. Mr Browning s theological course had been 


very slim and fragmentary. Though enrolled six successive sessions at 
Alloa, he attended only no days in all, the reason generally recorded for 
the brevity of his stay being : " Obliged to return to his school." Hence 
he was two years longer in being taken on trials for licence. His was 
an extreme case, but students in those days seldom took an entire session 
of eleven or twelve weeks. 

In 1825 steps were taken to provide Mr Browning with a colleague. 
The stipend named for the junior minister was 70, with house rent and 
sacramental expenses, and on his succeeding to the full charge it was to 
be ,90. A call which proved successful was brought out, but Mr Browning 
did not survive to get the benefit. He died, 2Qth October 1825, in the 
seventy-seventh year of his age and forty-first of his ministry. He left behind 
him four volumes of discourses, of which the first two were published in 
1793, the third in 1800, and the fourth a few years before his death. 
They have more of polished diction than was common in Secession pulpits 
a century ago. Mr Browning married a granddaughter of the Rev 
Andrew Arrot of Dunnichen, and a sister of the Rev. Andrew Arrot 
who was for some years Antiburgher minister at Wick. His son the 
<ev. David C Browning, was for twenty years minister in Newcastle 
Blacket Street), but he died in the communion of the Church of 

< Second Minister. JAMES FORSYTH, son of the Rev. Robert Forsyth 
Craigend. The Synod by a majority of seven preferred the call from 
Auchtermuchty to another from Tillicoultry. Ordained on i8th April 
20 Along with the stipend of ^90 and sacramental expenses there 
would now be the occupancy of the manse. The strength of the con 
gregation can scarcely be calculated from the 140 names appended to the 
call as it was not uncommon at that time for females in what had been 
Antiburgher congregations to refrain alike from voting and from signing 
Forsyth remained in Auchtermuchty fifteen years, and then on oth 
November 1841 he accepted a call to Craigend, to be his father s colleague 
and successor. The stipend there was less than he was now receiving 
but family affection, and perhaps the wish for quiet comforts among the 
friends of his early days, prevailed. 

Third Minister. THOMAS STEVENSON, from Kilmarnock (Clerk s Lane) 
which the great majority had recently left the Secession Church under 
their minister, the Rev. James Morison. Mr Stevenson s father was a 
leading man in the little party which adhered to the Synod. Called unani 
mously to Auchtermuchty. Had been carried at Forres some time before 
by a slight majority, and the call was allowed to drop. A third 
ollowed from Nairn, but Auchtermuchty was preferred. The ordination 
took place, i 4 th June 1842. The services were conducted in the open 
nrn,n n \ T "*? * large audience > delightful weather, and a lovely 

: from the scene of meeting gave unusual interest and solemnity 
to the proceedings." On the following Sabbath Mr Stevenson was intro- 

SlkirV % ^ G Y hlS maternal unde > the Rev. William Steele, 

.irk At this time appearances were favourable, the call having been 

signed by 201 members, and the population of the parish befn " on the 

On r Sh e T and m r th ^ double What & was when the congregation began 
w ih sht&S? 1^ th ^ ld th atch-roofed church gave Jlac* to anotherj 
ittings for 400, and a new manse was built some years before the 
zeal and liberality of the people on both occasions being consp cuous But 
m Auchtermuchty Mr Stevenson may have felt the disadvantage of being 
set over a congregation which held a secondary place in thf town the 
East church in those days overshadowing the other two Acco d ngly 


on 22nd April 1856, he resigned, with the intention of proceeding to Canada, 
and, commissioners from the congregation being present, the demission 
was accepted. Stagnation of trade was now beginning to tell on Auchter- 
muchty, and Mr Stevenson left in time to escape the growing evil. 

In Canada Mr Stevenson was minister at Stratford till 1860, and he then 
succeeded Mr Gibson, formerly of Erechin, at Owen Sound. Having re 
turned to this country in 1869, his name was placed on the list of probationers 
by the Synod, where it remained for two years ; but a minister beyond middle 
life has little chance of carrying a vacancy over younger men. For a con 
siderable time he acted as travelling secretary for the French Evangelisation 
Society of the Canadian Church, and ultimately was available for pulpit 
supply. In 1886 he was received as an annuitant on the Aged and Infirm 
Ministers Fund, his absence of thirteen years in Canada having left his 
rights of admission unimpaired. On the morning of I7th October 1895 
he was seized with apoplexy, and died that evening, aged seventy-eight. 
About the beginning of his ministry Mr Stevenson published a pamphlet, 
entitled "An Exposition of Biblical Doctrine on Christ s Priesthood and 
Suretyship in Opposition to Modern Errors," the errors with which he had 
been in contact at Kilmarnock. Mr Stevenson was the oldest of four brothers 
who studied for the ministry, the others being Andrew, who, after obtaining 
licence and the degree of M.D., was set apart for work in Jamaica, where he 
died, I4th April 1848 ; James, now of North Leith; and Hugh, of Melrose. 

Fourth Minister. DAVID SIDEY, from Pitcairn, the congregation of 
which his brother-in-law, the Rev. Robert Nelson, was minister. Having 
declined a call to Muckart, Mr Sidey was ordained, 5th August 1857. 
Though the call was unanimous, the signatures were only 123, being 87 
fewer than Mr Stevenson s had, but the stipend was the same, 100, 
with the manse and garden. In the following year the membership was 
considerably increased by accessions from the East church, when Mr Barlas 
left. On 2 ist November 1865 Mr Sidey accepted a call to West Calder. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN MORISON, from Falkirk (now Graham s Road). 
Ordained, 6th March 1867. His call was signed by 192 members, which 
implies a goodly building-up under his predecessor. The stipend was ^140, 
and next year it was raised to ^150, at which figure it still remains, exclusive 
of supplement and surplus. For a course of years the communion roll kept 
well up, in the face of an adverse tide, but since 1881 there has been steady 
decrease with the decline of population. The membership is now slightly over 
100 ; but besides the stipend arrangement, liberal for their numbers, they con 
tribute yearly for missionary and benevolent purposes some ^30, so that they 
return to the central funds more than they receive. 


THE union between these two congregations was consummated on 23rd 
April 1873. Cupar Presbytery met that day at Auchtermuchty, when a 
suitable sermon was preached by Dr M Ewen of Claremont Church, 
Glasgow. Then the moderator, the Rev. Hugh Barr of Kettle, to whose 
tact and kindliness the negotiations owed so much, declared " the East 
and the West congregations to be formally and legally one." Next Sabbath 
special services were conducted by Dr Logan Aikman in the East church, 
which, as the newer and better building, was to be the place of worship. The 
West church, which had done service for 1 10 years, was soon afterwards 
cleared away, and the manse, which had been renovated shortly before, under 


the Synod s scheme, was disposed of to Mr Wise at a very moderate price, 
and thus became the property of his widow and family after his death. 

A union among the churches in Auchtermuchty had become a matter of 
immediate urgency, but in such cases pressure from without is apt not only 
to fail but to leave matters worse than before. There was danger, therefore, 
in making the attempt, but Cupar Presbytery took the initiative, and guided 
the movement through all its stages. In September 1872, at the suggestion 
of the Augmentation Board, they appointed a committee to inquire into 
the state of the West church, which was seen from the statistical returns to 
have suffered a reduction of 15 during the preceding year, and the at 
tendance was given at 100. At their first meeting with the committee those 
present, with one exception, were favourable to union with the East church, 
and at the second meeting a paper was produced to that effect, signed by 
about three-fourths of the members, and the others were willing to fall in with 
the majority. When the feelings of the East congregation came to be tested, 
155 approved of the proposal for union, and 34 "did not see how it could 
be carried out." Progress at this stage was greatly helped by the high 
esteem in which Mr Wise was held for transparency of character, and peace 
ful, straightforward ways. It came to this, that, on the evening of 24th 
March 1873, the basis of union, drawn up with care and skill, was un 
animously adopted by the East church, and on 8th April commissioners 
were present from both congregations to lay before the Presbytery the 
decision arrived at. 

It was probably in connection with stipend adjustments that a minority 
of the East congregation saw difficulties. While they were self-supporting 
the other congregation was much beneath that level, and were the two 
ministers to be paid alike ? The answer by the Presbytery s committee was 
that, of the ^220 which the funds of the united congregation were expected 
to yield for stipend, the junior minister should receive ,150, and the senior 
only ^50. Then, to keep up the balance, a sum of ^410 was raised from 
outside sources, largely through Mr Barr s exertions, and this was made over 
to Mr Wise, and the two were to share equally in whatever supplement was 
going. But, skilfully as these delicate matters were dealt with, the union 
brought less advantage to the general cause than was looked for. When the 
negotiations were going on, the names on the two communion rolls were over 
350, but two years afterwards the return for the united church gave only 
242. There are apt to be serious losses in the emptying from vessel to 

On nth January 1876 Mr M Swaine was loosed from his charge, having 
accepted a call to Brisbane, Queensland, the congregation of which the Rev. 
Matthew M Gavin had previously been minister. He is now retired from 
active service there, but retains the status of senior pastor of St Paul s. 
When on a visit to this country in 1896 he received the degree of D.D. from 
Glasgow University. Mr M Swaine s removal while Mr Wise was able for 
full work might have raised the question whether the charge was still to be 
collegiate, but such a contingency had been provided for at the time of the 
union. Mr Wise was over threescore, and the agreement come to was "that 
the charge should be collegiate during the lifetime of the senior minister." 
Hence Auchtermuchty, South, was placed at once on the list of vacancies. 

Presenf Minister. JAMES BELL, B.D., from Springburn, Glasgow. Had 
been previously called to Lumsden and Ardersier. Ordained as colleague 
and successor to Mr Wise, igth January 1877. The number signing the call 
was the same as in Mr M Swaine s case, and yet the union had intervened. 
The total membership was 239, and the stipend from the people ^150, as 
before. Mr Wise appeared in the pulpit for the last time on the first Sabbath 


of July 1879, but his strength gave way before the service was finished. He 
died, 2nd October, in the sixty-ninth year of his age and forty-second of his 
ministry. He was buried in Collessie, beside the dust of his fathers. The 
stipend from the people is still i 50, though the membership has come down to 
between 140 and 150 ; but over against this decrease we must emphasise the 
fact that the population of the parish declined nearly one-third between 1871 
and 1891, or suffered a reduction of close upon 1000. It is now little more 
than half of what it was forty years ago. 


THIS takes us back to the beginnings of the Secession in the east of Fife. 
On 2 1st December 1737 the Associate Presbytery received an accession from 
" some societies in St Andrews and the adjacent parishes," and Messrs Mon- 
crieff and Nairn conducted week-day services on 23rd March 1738 at a place 
two and a half miles south-west of the town. After this there is mention of occa 
sional sermon at such places as Kingsmuir, Drumcarra Craigs, and Nydie, but 
ministers and preachers seem invariably to have kept at a respectful distance 
from the town itself. Sabbath supplies being limited, those in accession 
walked frequently to Abernethy, twenty-two miles distant. Here comes in 
the story of the night journey with lanterns. The author of the " Social 
Life of Scotland in the Nineteenth Century "has improved on this descrip 
tion by representing them as setting out for home on communion Sabbath 
evenings at the close of the services, and passing along the streets of St 
Andrews in the morning, "amidst the jeers of reprobate students." He ought 
to have known that those who went such a distance were certain to remain 
over for the services on Monday, "the last day of the feast." Besides this, 
Abernethy communion was in June, when the students were dispersed. 

From 1741 the Seceders in St Andrews and the eastern extremity of Fife 
formed a branch of Ceres congregation, but at the breach of 1747, when Mr 
Campbell took the Antiburgher side, seven of his elders went in for more liberal 
measures, and of these two were from Kingsbarns, one from Kilrenny, and one, 
who died soon after, was from St Andrews. On Thursday, i6th June 1748, 
Mr Johnston, the Burgher minister of Dundee, preached at Ceres, but in a 
few months St Andrews became the Burgher centre of the bounds. In the 
beginning of 1750 St Andrews congregation had five elders ordained, making 
apparently eight in all. Among these was Henry Thomson, a merchant in the 
town, and an unwavering supporter of the Secession. He had been chosen 
to the eldership in Ceres years before, but a curious question was raised, 
which stopped procedure. It was alleged that on congregational fast days 
he allowed his shop to be kept open, and his goods sold. Then it came out 
that, though he did not engage in business himself on such occasions, he 
allowed "some of them who are not of our communion to do so." The 
motion was made : Delay till the above practice be inquired into. " Some 
were stiff against this," but the proposal carried by the minister s casting 
vote. One of the elders from St Andrews parish seems never to have taken 
his seat in the session again, and two others protested in favour of Henry, 
who was greatly respected. This affair may have helped to sway the great 
majority in that quarter to the Burgher side, when the separation came. In 
1749 the St Andrews Seceders took possession of their first place of worship. 
Among some old papers there is a receipt : " For knocking down two parti 
tions and making two windows, converting cottage into meeting-house." 

First Minister. JAMES BENNET, from Kinross (West). Ordained, igth 
August 1752, when, besides the special work of the day, there were three 
discourses preached, the opening one from the text, " As for this sect, it is 


everywhere spoken against." Some particulars relating to Mr Bennet s 
ministry would have been welcome, but time has washed every vestige 
away. We know, however, that he was in his forty-fifth year when ordained, 
and that the late beginning was followed by an early ending. He presided 
at a meeting of session on 2nd May 1757, and the Presbytery minutes of 
1 7th May bear that "it had pleased the Lord to call him hence." That he 
was laid in the old burying-place at St Andrews, near the graves of Samuel 
Rutherford and Thomas Haliburton, is well attested. He was in the fiftieth 
year of his age and fifth of his ministry. Mr Bennet was proprietor of the 
lands of Gairney Bridge. Particulars bearing on his son John are given 
under Lynturk. 

During the vacancy of over six years which followed, one half of the 
Sabbaths were blank. This was all the worse to bear, the nearest Burgher 
congregation being Dundee, which was twelve miles distant, with the Tay 
to cross. In 1761 they attempted to obtain Mr John Low, probationer, for 
their minister, and he was even entered on trials for ordination. " Notwith 
standing that the call from St Andrews was first on the field, the Synod saw 
meet to prefer the call from Biggar, by which means this congregation lay 
desolate for some considerable time, being sadly discouraged by their dis 
appointment." Thus it is written complainingly in the records of St Andrews 

Second Minister. DAVID SMITH, from Auchtermuchty (East). The 
money arrangements were on a very humble scale. Old receipts show that 
the stipend was only ,30, with i, IDS., and later on, ,2, for the rent of the 
minister s house. They also paid i, 6s. 8d. annually for their extemporised 
place of worship. We infer from the description, " David Smith, jun., in 
Creich," that he was a son of David Smith, an elder in that parish, who left 
Ceres session at the Breach, and joined Auchtermuchty, and the son, when 
a theological student, was precentor and session clerk to that congregation. 
He was ordained at St Andrews, igth October 1763. Four years after this 
a petition came in to the Burgher Synod from Nova Scotia "for a fuller 
dispensation of gospel ordinances," and in 1769 Mr Smith was appointed to 
proceed on a mission to that colony, but it was not till igth March 1771 that, 
in the face of their earnest desire for his continuance among them, the relation 
between him and his people was dissolved. That summer he was settled at 
Londonderry, Nova Scotia, where he remained till his death, 25th March 
1795. Though only in his sixty-third year he was "worn out in a service in 
which he had exerted himself above many, and often out of measure." Dr 
M Gregor of Pictou describes Mr Smith as wanting in amiability, and says 
that, though a man of learning and penetration, his untoward disposition had 
alienated a great part of his congregation from him. 

In May 1774 sister congregations were recommended by the Synod to aid 
St Andrews people in the erection of another place of worship, and the second 
church, situated in " the Burgher Close," was taken possession of some time 
afterwards. During these years sermon was kept up in an intermittent way, 
twenty-two Sabbaths, for example, in 1 778 being unprovided for in the Presby 
tery s distribution of supply. It was not till 1784 that measures were taken to 
secure a fixed ministry again. They now saw their way to offer a stipend of 
,40, and they promised a house besides. The first they called was Mr James 
Forrester, but the Synod gave Bathgate (Livery Street) the preference. The 
next was Mr John Auchincloss, but Liff intervened, and the Synod sent him 
thither. On the third occasion the ordination day was fixed, but at this 
point the minister-elect, Mr James Blyth, afterwards of Fala, intimated that 
he would not advance another step. Indeed, he would rather have his licence 
taken from him than submit to be ordained at St Andrews. At next meeting 


commissioners asked the Presbytery to go on, but if Mr Blyth was still 
opposed they were empowered to withdraw the call. The case went to the 
Synod, where penitence was expressed and rebuke administered, but these 
things were of no service to St Andrews. 

Third Minister. GEORGE WILLIAMSON, who had been minister in 
Hawick (East Bank) for nine years, but had to resign owing to disaffection 
among his people. After acting for six years as a probationer he was in 
ducted to St Andrews, 24th November 1789. The call was signed by only 
33 male, and 29 female, members, and everything was gone about in a half 
hearted way. The stipend was now to be ^50 a year, and the membership 
seems to have been about 100. In the beginning of Mr Williamson s 
ministry the congregation sustained a severe loss in the death of Henry 
Thomson, of whom a minister, who lodged in his house when a probationer, 
testified : " I think I never saw a layman of more venerable appearance and 
more holy deportment." He saw them through their weary vacancy of eighteen 
years, and then departed in peace, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. 

The circumstances in which Mr Williamson s ministry at St Andrews 
came to a close were unique. The quarter s stipend which fell due in the 
summer of 1794 was alleged by the treasurer to have been paid to Mr 
Williamson, and Mr Williamson maintained that he never received it. This 
led to a representation from part of the congregation to the Presbytery, that 
a difference had arisen between them and their minister, and they craved to 
have the relation between him and them dissolved. A counter petition from 
four others was found by the Presbytery to amount to a libel on the treasurer. 
The case having been referred to the Synod in May 1795, several ministers 
were appointed to correspond with the Presbytery, the object being recon 
ciliation. At a meeting in Auchtermuchty parties were heard at some length, 
but no accommodation of their differences was found possible. At this stage 
a paper, purporting to be terms of agreement arrived at the year before, was 
laid on the table by a member of Presbytery. In that document Mr William 
son declared his belief that the treasurer was an honest man, and " that he 
had acted honestly in the matter in dispute/ He also wrote out and signed 
a paper, granting that he had received the quarter s stipend in question, and 
discharging the same. Then the two took each other by the hand, with 
expressions of mutual forgiveness. All this had been gone through in the 
presence of several ministers who interested themselves in the affair. But 
Mr Williamson, after giving the above receipt, began to speak to his con 
gregation about casting himself on their generosity for payment of the missing 
quarter s stipend, and this made matters worse than ever. The Presbytery 
found that in putting in such a claim he was guilty of impropriety, and they 
then decided to dismiss the whole affair, recommending the parties to live at 
peace. But Mr Williamson, gauging the situation, announced that his con 
tinuance in St Andrews would not answer the ends of edification, and demitted 
his charge. At next meeting, on 4th August 1795, th e congregation responded 
by petitioning the Presbytery " instantly to loose the relation," and the de 
mission was accepted. Mr Williamson returned to preacher life again. In 
this position he had his difficulties, and the Synod in September 1798 made 
him a grant of ^10 to aid him "in his present distress." On I2th November 
1799 he acceded to the Original Burgher Presbytery, and in that connection 
he remained to the end. He died at Kirkcaldy, 26th November 1817, in the 
seventy-sixth year of his age and forty-fourth of his ministry. He had 
laboured under palsy upwards of thirteen years. 

It is but justice to Mr Williamson s memory to mention that, with regard 
to the original question in dispute, the impression deepened in St Andrews 
as time passed that he was right after all. It was more likely in itself that 


the treasurer of the congregation should hold back the money, and then 
allege that he paid it, than that the minister, after being paid, should affirm 
that he never received it. It is also conceivable that Mr Williamson, in his 
anxiety to have matters made up, went beyond what conscience warranted, 
when he wrote down that he believed the treasurer to have acted honestly in 
this matter. If so, he cut the ground from under his own feet, brought his 
integrity into question, and paid the penalty in due time. But other things 
tempt the conclusion that discretion was not an outstanding feature in Mi- 
Williamson s character. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN RAE, from Stirling (now Erskine Church). 
Ordained, 29th August 1797. The numbers signing the call were short of 
the maximum reached during the former vacancy, being only 72. The 
stipend was to be ^60, and an addition of 4 was afterwards made for 
sacramental expenses. Under Mr Rae s ministry the finances improved, but 
on 5th September 1805 he was loosed from his charge by the Synod, and 
translated to Miles Lane, London, where he was promised a stipend of 
^200. Here he remained four years, his resignation being accepted on 5th 
September 1809. The congregation found themselves in a reduced state, 
and differences had arisen between minister and people which could not be 
got over. He afterwards emigrated to New Providence in the Bahamas, 
and in 1814 a memorial was presented to the General Assembly from the 
minister and managers of the Presbyterian meeting-house in that island, 
praying to be taken into connection with the Church of Scotland, and they 
were assured of brotherly regard in return. We only know further that a 
successor to Mr Rae arrived at New Providence in 1817, and that he himself 
died at Stirling, of decline, as the parish register states, on 26th February 
1821, aged forty-nine. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN JOHNSTON, son of the Rev. John Johnston of 
Ecclefechan. Ordained, 2ist November 1809, after a vacancy of four years, 
during which an unsuccessful call was issued to Mr Alexander Campbell, 
who became minister of Irvine. To Mr Johnston Thomas Carlyle paid the 
following tribute long afterwards : " To me he was a benefactor, my first 
good instructor in the Latin language ; his father was my father s venerated 
minister, and still lives in my memory as one of the most venerable and 
Christian men I ever knew." At St Andrews there was steady progress now. 
From answers to certain queries by the Presbytery in 1823 we learn that 
there were about 80 members when Mr Johnston was ordained, and there 
were now 160. The stipend was much as before ; but in 1819 they built a 
manse for their minister, the first they ever had. Of ordinary hearers, not in 
communion, they had usually about 140 in attendance, though of these not 
over 20 had sittings. But on I5th September 1825 the Synod agreed un 
animously to transport Mr Johnston to Eglinton Street, Glasgow, "owing 
to the peculiar circumstances of St Andrews congregation." Besides con 
tracting debt in building the manse, they were in course of erecting a new 
church in a better situation. This was an argument for Mr Johnston s con 
tinuance ; but the Synod, looking at the matter in another light, transferred 
him from the humble meeting-house in the Burgher Close, St Andrews, to 
the stately building in Eglinton Street, Glasgow, with sittings for 1200, and 
newly erected at a cost of ,4000.* 


himself. But Dr Hanna tells plainly that it was Mr Lothian of the Independent 
Church on whose ministry Mrs Chalmers and part of her family frequently attended, 
when, amidst the chill air of Moderatism, she was like to turn a Dissenter. 


J 75 

Sixth Minister. EBENEZER HALLEY, from Kinross (West), where, like 
his younger brother, Dr Halley of Dumbarton, he was brought up under the 
ministry of Dr Hay. The Synod having preferred St Andrews to Partick 
(Dowanhill), the ordination took place, 9th August 1826. The church in 
North Street, with sittings for 440, and built at a cost of ,940, was opened 
on 4th October. The people were to give the minister ,115 of stipend, 
with the use of the manse as soon as required. Mr Halley was exceptionally 
popular, and in less than a twelvemonth he was called to Kirkgate, 
Leith. The Synod decided against the translation ; but this only prompted 
a second call, and on i6th May 1828 the transportation carried by a great 

Seventh Minister. THOMAS AITKEN, from Falkirk (now Erskine Church) 
Prior to this they called Mr Robert Wilson, ultimately Dr Wilson of 
Greenock, but in opposition to his own expressed desire he was appointed 
to Kendal. Mr Aitken was ordained, 2nd June 1829, and the stipend named 
was j^ioo, with the manse, and 10 for sacramental expenses. In a lengthy 
paper given in to the Presbytery in 1831 we have interesting particulars as 
to the workings of the Secession in St Andrews. In answer to a question 
as to the deportment of members it was stated that " in situations of trust, 
and as domestics in families, Seceders are very generally preferred." With 
regard to family worship, it was believed that the duty was faithfully performed 
in many houses, morning and evening ; and in other cases, where the situa 
tion in life interfered with its observance twice a day, it was regularly 
attended to at night. As for Sabbath attendance, though many of the 
families came from four or five miles they were seldom absent. " It is by 
no means uncommon," they add, "for members of the Established church to 
hear with us the whole year round, and observe the sacrament at the annual 
communion in the Established church." Then, to reward the Presbytery s 
concern for their highest good, they told them "that it would tend to 
advance the interests of religion throughout the bounds, if the Presbytery 
under whose inspection Providence has placed them would always be mind 
ful to exhibit at their meetings the hallowed influence of that religion they 
teach, and be at peace among themselves." 

On nth July 1838 Mr Aitken made a statement to the Presbytery, read 
certain documents, and tendered the demission of his charge. Towards the 
close of the preceding year the communicants were given at 233, and 
though the debt amounted to .450 the interest was nearly covered by rent 
received for the ground flat of the manse, and there was nothing to forecast 
what was coming. But now a wish had been expressed, Mr Aitken said, for 
his resignation, and in these circumstances he declined to go on. On 24th 
July a committee reported that there was no prospect of reconciliation, and 
as Mr Aitken earnestly urged the dissolving of the connection, and as the con 
gregation considered that his continuance among them would neither be for 
his comfort nor their good, the resignation was accepted. Attested as a 
faithful and devoted minister, Mr Aitken now emigrated to America, where 
he connected himself with the Old School Presbyterians, and in December 
1839 it was announced in the Edinburgh newspapers that he had been in 
ducted to a ministerial charge in Genesse, State of New York. In 1880 he 
was entered as retired minister of a congregation at Sparta in the same 
State. He died there, nth March 1884, in the eighty-fifth year of his age 
and fifty-fifth of his ministry. 

The dispute which ripened so rapidly into separation originated in a 
spirit of discontent which had been intensified by Mr Aitken s want of tact 
in his advocacy of the temperance cause. The funds were going back, and 
the congregation was coming face to face with money difficulties again. At 


a congregational meeting, when the question of ways and means was under con 
sideration, two of their number were commissioned to make the minister aware 
that if he had another sphere of labour at his command, as was reported, it 
might be better both for him and them that he should accept. He went to 
the pulpit next Sabbath, broke down, and never entered it again. On the 
day when the case was issued, a paper signed by 125 members and 58 
adherents was laid before the Presbytery, testifying to Mr Aitken s talents, 
zeal, and usefulness, and also expressing " their disapprobation of the steps 
taken in giving instructions to the deputation." Some damage was sustained 
at this time by withdrawals, which may partially account for the next call, 
though unanimous, carrying only 121 names. The stipend, however, was the 
same as before, 110 and a manse. From this time the history of St 
Andrews congregation admits of being rapidly gone over. 

Eighth Minister. JAMES TAYLOR, M.A., from Greenlaw. Ordained, 
22nd May 1839. Under him activity revived, and a spirit of hopefulness 
was infused into the church ; but on 4th February 1846 he accepted a call 
to be colleague to Dr Heugh of Regent Place, Glasgow. Some articles of 
his in the United Secession Magazine, written shortly before in a clear, 
prompt, business-like style, had drawn attention to him as a man of cultured 
mind, who had the pen of a ready writer. After the translation was effected, 
certain members of Regent Place Church sent through ^120 to St Andrews 
congregation to assist them in extinguishing their debt. 

Ninth Minister. JOHN KIDD, from Alloa (West). Ordained, 3rd 
November 1846. The young minister had a high-wrought style of composi 
tion and delivery, and within a year and a half he was called to Bread Street, 
Edinburgh, but did not accept. In October 1854 it came out that a serious 
charge was established against him, and that he had been snared by the 
action of his own pen. On the following Sabbath a stranger entered the 
pulpit, and gave out the paraphrase : " O God of Bethel, by whose hand Thy 
people still are fed." On 22nd November the Presbytery of Cupar, by a 
majority, pronounced for deposition, and though Mr Kidd appealed to the 
Synod he did not remain to prosecute the appeal. In March 1855 he landed 
at New York, and was admitted to ministerial standing in the United Pres 
byterian Church by the Presbytery of Michigan. He ministered first to 
a congregation in Milwaukie, Wisconsin, for two and a half years ; and 
after that he held several New School Presbyterian charges in succession 
m Illinois. He died, 22nd March 1876, in the sixtieth year of his age and 
thirtieth of his ministry. 

St Andrews congregation had a vacancy now of two and a half years. The 
membership was about 260, and the stip end was to be ,140, inclusive of 
house rent, and ^5 in name of expenses. They first called the Rev. A. C. 
Rutherford, but though the call was technically unanimous it was signed by 
not more than half the members, and Mr Rutherford preferred Buckhaven. 
The next call was addressed to Mr George Wade. St Andrews was his first 
vacancy, and the signatures rose from 130 to 189. But for Mr Wade Falkirk 
(West) was in store, and St Andrews was declined. This disappointment 
was followed forthwith by a call to Mr David Duff, the impression being 
that between him and St Andrews there were special affinities. However, 
with Helensburgh in sure prospect, the offer was set aside. 

Tenth Minister. JAMES BLACK, from Urr, where he had been ordained 
three years before. Inducted, 26th May 1857. There was now a steady 
building-up, till the place of worship in North Street became too strait for 
the congregation. This led to the erection of the present church at a cost of 
3300, with sittings for 700. It was opened on Wednesday, isth November 
1865, by Dr Cairns of Berwick. In the early part of Mr Black s ministry the 


congregation also purchased a substantial manse. Thus all round there was 
encouragement, but on yth January 1868 Mr Black accepted the collegiate 
charge of Wellington Street, Glasgow. He was scarcely gone when the 
Senatus of St Andrews University conferred upon him the degree of D.D. 

Eleventh Minister. JAMES GRIERSON SCOTT, who had been eight years in 
Church Street, Berwick. The call was signed by 230 members, and the 
stipend was up to ^250, with the manse. Mr Scott was inducted, 5th August 
1868. In 1872 he declined an invitation to Queen Street, Edinburgh (now 
Eyre Place), but on i8th April 1873 he accepted Renfield Street, Glasgow, 
as successor to Dr James Taylor. On making this change Mr Scott resigned 
the editorship of the U.P. Magazine, which he had held for several years. 

Again there was a vacancy of two and a half years, during which the 
congregation called Mr Daniel M Lean, who accepted Townhead, Alloa ; 
and Mr Armstrong Black, who accepted Waterbeck. 

Twelfth Minister. JAMES M OwAN, M.A., who had retired from the 
pastorate of the North Church, Perth, but whose gifts, it was calculated, 
might be available for a less onerous field of labour. This prompted a 
unanimous call to St Andrews, where he was inducted, 3rd November 1875. 
On 3oth March 1880 Mr M Owan s resignation, on the ground of ill-health, 
was accepted, the congregation acquiescing with expressions of regret. He 
then removed with his family to Edinburgh, where he now resides. 

Thirteenth Minister. JAMES KIDD, B.D., from Lansdowne, Glasgow, 
brother of the Rev. Thomas Kidd, Moniaive. Ordained, 24th November 
1880. A stipend of ,300 had been undertaken when the congregation 
called Mr M Owan, but there was a coming back now to the normal standard 
of ,250. On 24th July 1888 Mr Kidd accepted a call to Erskine Church, 
Glasgow. It was the fifth time within sixty-three years that the great city 
had drawn upon St Andrews for the filling up of its vacant pulpits. 

Fourteenth Minister. ANDREW D. SLOAN, B.Sc., from Rose Street, 
Edinburgh. Ordained, 2oth December 1888. The membership, which was 
but slightly over 300 at that time, was 445 at the close of 1899, thanks in 
some measure to the growth and prosperity of the town, and the stipend was 
^250, with the manse, while the contributions for missionary and benevolent 
purposes were over ^100. 


ON 24th September 1761 Mr William Gib was ordained parish minister of 
Kilmany in the face of strong opposition. The Presbytery of Cupar had 
refused to proceed with the settlement on the ground that there was " no 
such call as the laws of the Church do require." But the Senatus of St 
Andrews College appealed to the General Assembly, which ordered their 
rights as patrons to be enforced. This led to a petition for sermon to the 
Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline on gth March 1762, and a 
formal accession was given in on 4th May. The old church, with sittings for 
370, which stood for nearly a century by the wayside in unassuming garb, 
was built that year in the hamlet of Rathillet, a little to the west of the 
parish church. On I2th July a session was constituted, consisting of two 
members, John Kilgour and Andrew White, representatives of the two 
sections that made up the congregation. The former had been an elder in 
the parish church, but took the lead in opposing the settlement of Mr Gib ; the 
other was originally an elder in Ceres congregation, but after the Breach 
his name appears as a member of the Burgher session of Auchtermuchty. 
This involved a Sabbath day s journey of eight or ten miles ; but now, by the 


disruption in his own parish, he was to have religious ordinances quite at 
hand. So would it be with the sprinkling of families in the neighbouring 
parishes, such as Creich and Flisk, and amalgamation with these thorough 
going seceders would give stability to the new cause at Rathillet. 

First Minister. GEORGE THOMSON, from Leslie (West). Had been an 
Antiburgher student at Abernethy, but at the time of Thomas Mair s sever 
ance from the Antiburgher Synod he was teaching a school in connection 
with Milnathort congregation, and, as was common in such cases, combined 
the functions of schoolmaster and precentor. By his adherence to Mr Mair 
Mr Thomson s theological course was arrested, but in 1761 he was admitted 
to the Burgher Hall at Glasgow by recommendation of Mr Swanston of 
Kinross. Having given attendance for two sessions he got licence, was 
called to Rathillet, and ordained, 22nd February 1764. The stipend under 
taken was not more than ,28 or ^29, but in country districts gifts from 
farmers and small proprietors made up so far for deficiency in hard cash. 
After going on for a few years at Rathillet, better prospects opened for 
Mr Thomson. Like himself, Orwell congregation had gone over to the 
Burghers after Mr Mair s death, and they were now bent on having him for 
Mr Mair s successor. He would, they considered, take up their late minister s 
mantle, and in his preaching would give prominence to the Atonement in 
its universal aspect. It was a point, this, on which his orthodoxy was care 
fully tested by the Presbytery before he got licence, but none the less he 
bore the impress of Mr Mair s teaching to the close of his life. Three 
times Mr Thomson was called to Milnathort ; but on the first occasion the 
call was set aside by the Presbytery for special reasons, and on the other two 
by the Synod for want of unanimity, but the full particulars belong to the 
history of Orwell congregation. 

Meanwhile matters had not improved with Mr Thomson at Rathillet. 
According to Ur George Brown there was dissatisfaction with his doctrinal 
views, and still more, perhaps, with what they looked on as an imprudent 
marriage. A parochial visitation followed, when Mr Thomson preached a 
discourse of which the Presbytery expressed approval, and he and his people 
got words of encouragement. On 2nd April 1776 Mr Thomson demitted his 
charge, and in so doing he reflected on the Presbytery for having fixed him 
down at Rathillet, " when another congregation was making repeated efforts 
to obtain him for their minister." The people were quite agreeable for the 
separation, and the connection was forthwith dissolved. Mr Thomson now 
returned to the probationer list, but his fortunes there and afterwards are 
held in reserve, till we reach Milnathort. 

Second Minister. JAMES JOHNSTON, from Greyfriars, Glasgow. Ordained, 
23rd May 1781, after a vacancy of five years. Mr Johnston was examined 
for admission to the Hall in 1773, but though satisfied with his scholarship 
the Presbytery of Glasgow only allowed him to enter as a hearer, as he was 
only fifteen. For a like reason his theological course was prolonged, and yet 
at his ordination he was little beyond his minority. The stipend named was 
^44, and "a mansion-house." The Presbytery in 1784 urged an increase, as 
the congregation had improved considerably, but it was not till about the 
year 1808, according to Dr George Brown, that systematic plans were 
adopted at Rathillet for raising the necessary funds, and at that time there 
was a big addition made to the minister s income. The congregation under 
Mr Johnston was in a state of harmony and good feeling all through. He 
died on 6th November 1812, in the fifty-fourth year of his age and thirty- 
second of his ministry. On Thursday of the week before the parish minister 
of Kilmany, the Rev. Thomas Chalmers, wrote as follows : " Poor Mr 
Johnston of Rathillet is dying. I saw him to-day for the first time. Mrs 


Johnston was much overpowered. He, poor man, is so low that I am not 
sure if he recognised me. His son James from Glasgow was in the room ; 
and what with the deep affliction of the wife and son, and the moving 
spectacle before me, I never was so melted into a sense of the vanity of all 
that is human." One of Mr Johnston s sons, the Rev John Jamieson 
Johnston, was long Secession minister in Newburgh. 

Dr George Brown, who taught a school in the neighbourhood when a 
student, has given some interesting reminiscences of Mr Johnston as a man 
and as a minister. His public services were protracted to an extent almost 
beyond parallel, even in early Secession times. " His lecture or exposition 
in the forenoon was within a few minutes of two hours in length, and his 
sermon in the afternoon, delivered after a short interval, and in the winter 
season without any interval at all, was never less than one and a half hours." 
He mentions in addition the prefacing of the Psalm for half-an-hour, and a 
prayer of equal length. We can well believe that the excessive length of the 
services was a drawback on the attendance of the congregation, as well as 
on its increase. The only sermon of Mr Johnston s that appeared in print, 
so far as we know, was one preached in 1796 before the Dundee Missionary 
Society on the text : " Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." 

Third Minister. JOHN TINDAL, M.A., an Original Burgher student who, 
after attending the Divinity Hall of that body for two sessions, went over to 
the New Light Burghers, and joined Shuttle Street Church, Glasgow. Called 
to Cambusnethan, but owing to want of harmony the call was laid aside. 
He was also the minority s candidate in Kilmarnock (Portland Road), an 
important congregation, and was even put up against Air Robert Balmer at 
Berwick. Then came Rathillet, with unanimity in its favour. The stipend 
was to be ^100, with house and garden, and 10 for sacramental expenses, 
if at all able. Ordained, 2Oth April 1814. The number of hearers in the 
early part of Mr Tindal s ministry Dr Brown placed at 300, of whom about 
240 were members. After a period of failing health Mr Tindal died, I5th 
September 1836, in the fifty-fifth year of his age and twenty-third of his 
ministry. It has been said that, "when disease was breaking up his con 
stitution, the taste of the scholar gave way to the feelings of the man, and by 
giving more scope to the impulse of the moment he preached with more 
power than he had ever exercised in the days of his strength." 

Fotirth Minister. JAMES BORWICK, from Kirkwall. Ordained, nth 
October 1837, the stipend being ^109, with manse and garden. The call 
was signed by 147, or two dozen fewer than in 1814. On Sabbath, I2th 
August 1860, a new church, seated for about 300, was opened by Dr Robson 
of Glasgow. The movement was suggested by a liberal-minded supporter 
of the congregation, whose name deserves to be recorded James Miller, 
Esq., of Kinnear. The original building had by this time served its day, and 
he undertook to bear half the expense of the present erection, which was 
estimated at ,900, exclusive of cartage. Thus encouraged, the people went 
heartily into the proposal, and the church was opened free of debt. Eleven 
years before this the old manse had been displaced by another, the cost 
being largely met at the time, and some years earlier a debt of ^150 resting 
on the old property was cleared off by their own exertions. Thus the con 
gregation was all the better prepared to encounter the strain of adverse 
times, besides being closely united by respect for their minister. 

In the summer of 1882 Mr Berwick required sick supply for three 
months ; but the evil lay too deep to be got over by temporary rest, and on 
1 3th February 1883 he resigned his charge, retaining his seat in Presbytery 
and Synod. He then retiredSvith his family to Newport-on-Tay, where he 
died, nth February 1884, in the seventy-first year of his age and forty- 


seventh of his ministry. The funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. 
John Clark, Abernethy, who, like Ur George Jeffrey of Glasgow, had been a 
very intimate friend of his from student days onwards. Mr Borwick had 
also a wide circle of clerical relationships. Not to speak of his cousin, the 
Rev. William Borwick of Bell Street Church, Dundee, Mrs Borwick was a 
sister of the Rev. George Jerment M Kenzie, Carnoustie. Of their family 
one daughter was married to the Rev. John B. Ritchie of Aberdeen (Charlotte 
Street) ; another to the Rev. Frederick Johnston of Tannaclice Established 
Church ; and a third to the Rev. Robert Wylie of Rathillet. 

Fifth Minister. ROBERT WYLIE, from Leith (Bonnington). Ordained, 
loth January 1884. There was not entire unanimity in the selection, and for 
some reason alienation of feeling set in, and this again led to disputes about 
certain rights, and the result was litigation in the Court of Session, with a 
train of heavy expenses. By means of a bazaar the money balance was 
restored, but Mr Wylie saw reason to withdraw from the situation, and he 
was loosed from his charge, i3th September 1887. In 1889 his name was 
placed on the probationer list, and he was admitted soon after to Canonbury, 
London, in connection with the Presbyterian Church of England. In 1897 
he left with his family for New Zealand, and was inducted to Onehunga in 
Auckland Presbytery, before the close of the year. 

Sixth Minister. EDWARD MARR, M.A. from Craigdam, Aberdeenshire. 
Ordained, 5th April 1888. It is to be regretted that the congregation is little 
more than the skeleton of what it used to be. In the case of Rathillet the 
period of marked decline dates about forty years back. The five parishes 
from which the bulk of the families were drawn, Kilmany, Flisk, Creich, 
Balmerino, and Logie, have an aggregate population now of little over 2000, 
and worse than the absolute decrease has been the thinning-out of the class 
which formed the strength and staple of dissenting congregations. Of 
Rathillet the membership at the close of 1899 was 74, and the stipend paid 
by the people ,72, los. The two Free churches in the locality are but 
slightly larger, Flisk and Creich, Logie and Gauldry. It suggests the need 
for new adjustments. W r e stop short at this point by remarking that Mr 
Marr was under call to Loughborough Road, Kirkcaldy, when the recent 
Union took place. 


THIS congregation s earliest landmark is W 7 hitsunday 1770, when ground was 
bought at the Westport for the building of a church, and from this time 
"divine worship was regularly performed." In Cupar there was ample room 
for a good beginning, as, apart from the Established church, there was 
only an Episcopal chapel in the town. The Burgher Presbytery of Perth 
was petitioned for sermon five years before, but the fear of weakening the 
young congregation of Rathillet, four miles to the north, kept them from 
responding. Under pressure they allowed the applicants sermon six times 
in 1768, and then all reference to Cupar disappears from their minutes. 
Two years later the Relief came in to supply what was wanting. Their 
meeting-house was built on a humble scale, thatch-roofed, and no gallery, 
nor room for one without raising the walls. Some years afterwards there is 
mention of 21 members having subscribed $ each to aid in paying the 
expense of the erection. 

First Minister. LAURENCE BONNAR, from Auchtermuchty (East). As 
a student he passed through the Burgher Hall, but when about to be 
entered on trials for licence he did not appear. The Presbytery understood 


he was "personally indisposed" but the indisposition was chronic, and of 
another kind. Residing within easy reach of Abernethy he seems to have 
come under the influence of Alexander Pirie, who was striking out against 
the obligation of the Covenants, and Secession principles in general. When 
Pirie was under process for heresy before the Burgher Presbytery, Laurence 
Bonnar, student, was one of the witnesses brought forward to prove what he 
said in a particular discourse, but his evidence did nothing to help the 
prosecution. When we next meet with Mr Bonnar he is minister of the 
Relief Church in Cupar. He must have been ordained there not later than 
1772, as the old tokens bear that date on the one side, and the letters L. B. 
on the other. The yearly income of the congregation at this time was only 
about 60. After Mr Bonnar had been ten years in Cupar differences arose 
between him and his people. In the minutes of Synod for 1782 there is 
reference to "complaining elders," and all we know further is that the con 
gregation was preached vacant on i5th July of that year, and that at the 
following Martinmas Mr Bonnar was paid 20 for arrears of stipend. He 
afterwards resided on a property of his own above Edenshead, but, so far as 
I can gather, he attended Strathmiglo parish church. The last notice of 
him is taken from the Scots Magazine: "25th January 1824. Died at his 
house, Gateside, Laurence Bonnar, Esq., of Ballingray, Fifeshire." The 
parish register shows that he was in his seventy-ninth year. The Rev. 
Francis Christie of Kilmaurs was a grand-nephew of Mr Bonnar by the 
mother s side. 

Second Minister. ALEXANDER SMKLLIE, from Dovehill, Glasgow. But 
in tracing his connection with Cupar we have only broken footprints to go 
by. In the managers books there is a charge on 8th April 1783 for 
expenses at Mr Smellie s acceptance of the call, and on 27th May he was a 
member of Synod. His ordination must have been between these dates. 
At this point documents of every kind fail us, but Dr M Kelvie has stated 
that Mr Smellie became depressed in mind, and left suddenly, after a 
ministry of nine months. There is no indication that he ever returned to 
preacher life, and his name is henceforth lost sight of. 

Third Minister. NEIL DOUGLAS, M.A., a native of Glendarvel in 
Argyleshire, which accounts for his possession of the Gaelic tongue. Got 
licence from the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow in August 1783. Two years 
after this he was sent through to supply two Sabbaths at Cupar, and he was 
ordained there probably before the end of 1785. These are points on which, 
owing to the dearth of material, Dr M Kelvie has gone a good way aside. 
Mr Douglas made his first appearance as an author in 1788, by publishing 
a volume of sermons, the profits of which were to aid in roofing the church 
with slates and in making other improvements. He was quite orthodox 
as yet, and the discourses are more artistic in style, and less conventional, 
than was common in those days. Dr Struthers has credited Mr Douglas 
with genius, but in the specimens of his poetry appended to the sermons 
there is not much to bear out this testimony. Let one specimen from the 
bottom of the scale speak for itself : 

" On yonder couch a brother lies, 
The fatal hour at hand, 
Nor is like from that couch to rise, 
For life hath reached its strand." 

But the specific design of the publication was gained, the " profits arising 
from the sale of books published for the benefit of the meeting" amounting 
to ^26. 


In the year 1792 Mr Douglas go-ahead tendency showed itself in the 
proposal to have the communion observed more frequently, and week-day 
services dispensed with, except when the town fasts happened. But he was 
too far in advance of his times to get a single elder to support him. In other 
respects discomfort arose. The stipend was ,70, but when Mr Douglas was 
ordained the people agreed to give him ^5 additional for expenses, and a 
horse if they could afford it. On receiving his first year s salary he claimed 
the horse and the allowance, but, inability being pleaded, he dropped his claim. 
Now, however, he was in course of receiving a call to Dundee, and it was 
believed that unless full payment were made he would remove. Efforts were 
to be put forth to raise the sum required, but in December 1792 the Rev. 
Neil Douglas cordially accepted a call to West Port, Dundee, and was 
loosed from Westport, Cupar. In his new charge we shall meet him at a 
further stage of development. It was in Cupar that he married his first 
wife, a daughter of the proprietor of Stair, and a cousin of Lord Melville, 
a relationship which is understood to have done something for him when 
his Radical principles brought him into trouble with the powers that be. 

The congregation now called Mr John Anderson, but he preferred Kilsyth. 
Stimulated, perhaps, by competition they named ^100, which was to include 
all charges except sacramental expenses and keeping the horses of the 
assistants. They next called the Rev. David Fergus of Auchterarder, but 
he wrote that he could give them no encouragement, and the movement took 
end. The right man now came into view, and the first under whom they 
enjoyed real prosperity. 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT WALKER, a Burgher student from Biggar 
(now Moat Park). His antecedents in this respect resembled those of their 
first minister, Laurence Bonnar. In May 1793 the Burgher Presbytery of 
Edinburgh entered him on trials for licence, but on 3rd June he neither 
appeared nor was there any communication from him. On 2oth August he 
was introduced to the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh as a candidate for 
licence, which he obtained on 25th February 1794. On 2nd June thereafter 
he became the unanimous choice of Cupar congregation. Ordained, 9th 
October, and introduced to his charge on the following Sabbath by Mr 
Struthers of Edinburgh. In the managers books there is a charge for 
" candle at the evening service," when, no doubt, the pulpit orator of College 
Street would have a crowded audience, and yet the collection only amounted 
to eight shillings. The days when church plates were to overflow with silver 
and gold on such occasions had not yet arrived. The year after Mr Walker s 
ordination it was found necessary to put up a gallery, and to accomplish this 
the walls had to be raised. While the work was going on, the congregation 
Avorshipped ten Sabbaths in the open air, and when it was finished there was 
accommodation for about 700. The sittings alone, it was calculated, should 
yield ,126 a year, which would suffice to pay the stipend and the interest on 
borrowed money without encroaching on church-door collections at all. 

In 1806 it was agreed to give Mr Walker, in addition to his original 
stipend, a house and garden and the piece of ground before the door. 
" The price of living," they said, " is much more than at the time of his 
settlement." But within ten days he was called to Campbell Street, Glasgow, 
with a legal bond for ,200 a year, a circumstance which may account for 
that opportune display of liberality. The issue was doubtful, but both on this 
occasion and in the end of 1807, when he was called to Bridgeton, Glasgow, 
Mr Walker decided to abide by Cupar. He died, I7th November 1827, in 
the sixtieth year of his age and thirty-fourth of his ministry. By his own 
wish he was buried underneath where the communion table stood, and a 
tablet to his memory is built into one of the walls of the present church. 


A friend who was brought up under Mr Walker s ministry described his 
preaching as remarkable, not for oratorical power, but for clearness of outline, 
and for the care he took to impress his divisions upon the memory of his 
hearers. With this description a Synod sermon he preached harmonises. 
The text is : "Let no man despise thee," and his divisions are (i) Let no 
man despise thee on account of ignorance ; (2) Let no man despise thee 
on account of immorality ; (3) Let no man despise thee on account of negli 
gence ; (4) Let no man despise thee on account of imprudence." 

Fifth Minister. WILLIAM BURNET, from Bridgeton, Glasgow. Or 
dained, 4th March 1829. At the moderation the majority was slight, and 
the party who failed to carry their man withdrew, and formed Provost Wynd 
Church. The feeling of the Presbytery would be that a congregation of 
800 members could afford to divide. The stipend promised was ^100, with 
manse and glebe. Seven years after this the communicants are given as 
upwards of 500, and the debt, which amounted to ^550 twenty years before, 
was now under ,100. At the division most of the distant families must 
have kept by the old walls, for while the Westport congregation had 26 
from over four miles, that of Provost Wynd had only 3. The present church, 
with sittings for 700, was opened, gth December 1849. It stands on the old 
site, but the name was changed from the " Westport " to " Boston Church." 
Whatever the cost may have been there is no trace of debt requiring to be 
cleared off by aid from denominational funds. It was to be hoped now that 
with this work accomplished, and Provost Wynd Church at an end, the old 
congregation would have growing prosperity, but within two years a dis 
integrating process began. Some lectures on Popery which Mr Burnet was 
giving on Sabbath evenings proved distasteful to most of his elders, and 
they had also listened to the complaints of members against the minister, 
and had brought them up in the session. The Presbytery found the alleged 
grounds of dissatisfaction "trivial, exaggerated, or imaginary," and all 
parties were exhorted to study the things that make for peace. But even 
apostolic injunctions are little heeded when the spirit of concord is at an end. 
Seven elders left, and the congregation sustained harm from which it did not 
recover for at least one generation. 

In 1855 the stipend was only ^100, with ^20 of supplement, and by this 
time there was no manse. In 1863 the membership was 130, and the 
minister was only receiving ^70 from the people and ^30 from the 
Augmentation Fund. It was a comment on what dispeace in a church will 
come to. The Relief cause in Cupar was strong enough thirty-five years 
before to form two good congregations, but of these the one had disappeared, 
and the other was reduced to a fraction of its former strength. It is gratify 
ing to record that, towards the close of Mr Burnet s ministry, things began 
to improve, and when the vacancy occurred there were nearly 200 names 
on the communion roll. He died, igth March 1866, in the sixty-eighth 
year of his age and thirty-eighth of his ministry. In the records of the 
congregation it is stated that "his last work, the work in which he contracted 
the illness which resulted in his death, was the raising of subscriptions to aid 
the congregation in the erecting of a manse which, however, he did not live 
to occupy," and the Presbytery minute makes mention of his upright, straight 
forward character, and his labours among the poor and the afflicted. 

Sixth Minister. ALEXANDER HAY, M.A., who had been seven years in 
Leitholm. Inducted harmoniously on 26th September 1866. He was to 
receive ^120 of stipend and ^20 for house rent till the manse was finished. 
It was ready for occupancy in the following year, free of debt, the Manse 
Board having granted ,300, and the people, aided by the efforts of their late 
minister, and in other ways, having raised .525. Within four years Mr Hay s 


state of health compelled him to demit his charge, and to remove to a milder 
climate. His resignation was accepted, 1 4th June 1870. Queensland was his 
destination, and after ministering in South Brisbane for a few years he was 
inducted to Rockhampton, Australia, in September 1876, where he still 
labours. Mr Hay received the degree of D.U. from St Andrews University 

Seventh Minister. JAMES ALLISON, originally from East Kilbride. 
When a preacher, Mr Allison, after setting aside calls from Newburgh 
(Second) and Wolverhampton, undertook the task of keeping up Oxendon 
Church, London, and was ordained there, 2Oth February 1866. But, as has 
been said, to bring back the people who had clung to the building for the 
sake of Dr Archer was impossible, and to make bad worse, dissension got 
in among the remaining members, and on I3th December 1869 Mr Allison 
resigned. Two quarters on the preachers list sufficed to furnish him with 
a choice between Hull and Cupar-Fife. He accepted the latter, and was 
inducted, 8th November 1870. The stipend of Boston Church was now 
^150, with the manse. Here Mr Allison remained till 25th December 1877, 
when he accepted a call to Alexandria, Dumbartonshire. The congregation 
was now in a position to name ,200 as the stipend, along with the manse. 

Eighth Minister. THOMAS M CLELLAND FLEMING, M.A., son of the 
Rev. James Fleming, Whithorn. Ordained, I7th July 1878. After thirteen 
years of active service Mr Fleming s voice began to fail, and supply from the 
Presbytery was needed. There was now the gradual narrowing-in, and on 
ist March 1892 all parties had to acquiesce in the severance of the pastoral 
tie. Mr Fleming went to Australia in hopes of recovery, but it was to find 
a grave. He died at Melbourne, 22nd April 1895, in the forty-third year 
of his age and seventeenth of his ministry. 

Ninth Minister. JOSEPH H. LECKIE, son of Dr Leckie, Ibrox, Glasgow. 
Ordained, 8th September 1892. The membership is now between 310 and 
320, and the stipend is ^200, as before, with the manse. Thus has Boston 
Church, Cupar, surmounted its days of adversity. 


THE Antiburgher families in Cupar formed a part of Ceres congregation till 
the death of the Rev. Thomas Bennet in October 1 793. Then, without delay, 
a number of Cupar people applied to the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy for " some 
Sabbath days in winter," but it was well understood that they had an ulterior 
object in view. The session complained of having been "contemptuously 
overlooked" in this case, but they resolved to stand aside, believing, they 
said, that opposition would probably tend to make the parties " more forward 
and furious in pushing their scheme." They did not, however, keep by this 
attitude of sullen neutrality, but on nth May 1794 they decided to send up a 
representation to the Presbytery "regarding the disjunction from Cupar." 
This narrative makes manifest that the severance was very far from being, 
as Dr M Kelvie supposed, "with the concurrence of all parties." In like 
manner, what has been said about praying societies in Cupar acceding to 
the Associate Presbytery at an early period is borne out by nothing in the 
minutes, in which the name occurs only once, and in conjunction with St 
Andrews. Monimail was the headquarters of the Secession in that quarter 
at first, five elders from the parish church there being received to office in 
the East of Fife congregation, the proviso being that " such persons only 
be admitted members of this session as have a conversation becoming the 
Gospel of Christ, and make conscience of keeping up the worship of God in 


their families morning and evening." But at no time was there recognition 
of Cupar as the centre of a forming congregation, or of sermon being kept 
up there, till 1794. 

Tradition is clear that the station at Cupar was opened by the Rev. James 
Browning of Auchtermuchty. This cannot have been later than May 1 794. 
and in 1 796 the place of worship at Burnside was taken possession of. The 
cost is put as high as ^noo, but it is hardly conceivable how that could be, 
as the building was very plain, and galleries were not put in till 1 830. 

First Mi?iister. JOHN ROBSON, a native of Sprouston parish, but brought 
up near Kelso. Mr Robson has been entered from Morebattle congregation, 
but it was only when engaged as a tutor in that locality that he attended 
there. At Cupar moderation 29 voted for Mr Robson, and 5 for Mr David 
Hogg, afterwards of Rothesay. These figures may be taken as coming 
within a very few units of the entire male membership. Ordained, I4th 
December 1796, and within a few months several families within the Cupar 
bounds, who had kept on by Ceres, were added to the new congregation. 
Mr Robson s stipend at first was ^70. That same year one of the parish 
ministers had only about " 1000 pounds Scots," or .83, 6s. 8d. sterling. For 
the first twenty years of his ministry Mr Robson preached three times each 
Sabbath. " So regular," says George Brunton, " were some of his evening 
adherents in their attendance that they held sittings in his place of worship." 
But Mr Robson s labours were not to be prolonged into an advanced old age. 
At the forenoon service on the second Sabbath of July 1828 he was unable 
to complete the opening exercises, and, on being supported from the pulpit, 
" he expressed a wish that the people should remain together, and unite in 
devotional exercises." Two Sabbaths intervened, and on Friday, ist August, 
he died, in the sixty-fourth year of his age and thirty-second of his ministry. 

A discourse of his, entitled " Salvation through Christ superior to Primeval 
Happiness," appeared in the second of two volumes of sermons by Anti- 
burgher ministers published in 1820. Mrs Robson was a sister of the Rev. 
Simon Sommerville, Antiburgner minister of Elgin (Moss Street), and their 
only daughter who reached womanhood was the wife of the Rev. James 
Paterson of Auchtergaven, where she died a few months before her father. 
Their second son, John, after attending the Divinity Hall three sessions, 
turned aside to another profession, and was now a mathematical teacher in 
Greenock ; but his father s death, and other breaches in the old home circle, 
are understood to have determined him to resume his theological studies, a 
resolution from which Lasswade, and Wellington Street, Glasgow, were to 
reap lasting benefit. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM ROBERTSON, from Haddington (West), and 
latterly from Potterrow, Edinburgh. The call was supported by 107 members, 
and opposed by 55. The Presbytery set aside the plea that a majority had 
been obtained by improper means, and sustained the call, a decision which 
was affirmed in the Synod by the Moderator s casting vote. Both motions 
expressed strong disapprobation of the attempts which had been made to 
injure one of the candidates, the Rev. Andrew Young, formerly of Lochmaben. 
It appears that a report about want of integrity in money matters had reached 
Cupar in the midst of the turmoil, and had been turned to electioneering 
purposes. The Presbytery found from documents read that Mr Young s 
character was not only placed above suspicion, but " most amply and honour 
ably justified," and six months afterwards he was inducted into Lanark. By 
directions of Synod the slanderers of Mr Young were to be dealt with, but 
in the end there was the narrowing-in to a single culprit, and he suffered 
nothing more serious than an admonition from the Chair. Mr Robertson 
was ordained, 8th December 1829. 


In March 1832 a paper from Cupar was given in to the Presbytery 
on a matter which, it was announced, deeply concerned the peace and 
prosperity of the congregation. At next meeting Mr Robertson gave an 
account of the difference which had arisen between him and his people, 
and tendered his resignation ; and along with this there was a petition from 
the congregation, adopted, it is said, by a majority of one, that the resigna 
tion be accepted. At next meeting a petition was presented from 86 
members praying that the connection be continued. But the case was 
simplified through Mr Robertson having made up his mind to go abroad. 
The session and congregation having expressed readiness to raise ^50 for 
his behoof, and as much more as possible, the Presbytery, though not 
without dissents being entered, received the resignation. This was on 
i6th May 1832. 

The severance of one bond opened the way for the formation of another, 
and three weeks after becoming a free man the Rev. William Robertson was 
married at Perth, by the Rev. David Young of the North Church, to a young 
woman belonging, we presume, to that congregation. The bride had been 
his servant in Cupar, and it was the prospective relationship which stirred 
the above commotion. But Mr Robertson was not to be turned from his 
purpose ; only, he decided to seek comfort and a field of labour elsewhere. 
Still, there was force in the entry which Mr Richardson of P reuchie got 
inserted in the minutes after all was over that, in his opinion, " there was 
no reason, real or pretended, why Mr Robertson should be separated from 
his charge." The newly-married couple reached Montreal on Wednesday, 
29th August, and next Sabbath he preached to a number of Scottish people 
in that town, and was requested to remain among them for the organising 
of a congregation. With this view a list of about 50 names was made up, 
and an equal number expected. For other two Sabbaths he ministered to 
them with great acceptance, but on the following Saturday morning, 22nd 
September, he felt a little sick. It was cholera, which was doing fearful 
work in Montreal at the time, and he died that evening. When the tidings 
reached Cupar it is not too much to imagine that, in some cases, along with 
grief, there would be self-accusings. Mr Robertson s widow returned to this 
country, and the Synod in April 1834 granted her ^10, adding, "She is 
the mother of a posthumous child." 

Three calls were issued by Cupar congregation during this vacancy. 
The stipend named at first was ^uo in all, but after the first disappoint 
ment it was raised to ^120. The first they called was Mr William France, 
who was appointed colleague to Dr Ferrier of Paisley. The second was the 
Rev. James R. M Gavin, who was appointed to Tay Square, Dundee. Aware 
that the power was passing from their hands, the Synod was chary now 
about crossing the wishes of preachers, and in both cases the decision was 
come to without a vote. 

Third Minister. JOHN RANKINE, from Falkirk (now Erskine Church). 
On 27th May 1834, when the Presbytery met for the ordination, notice came 
from Glasgow Presbytery of a call to Mr Rankine from Campbeltown (now 
extinct), but he declared his adherence to Cupar, and the services went on. 
In 1837 Mr Rankine reported 260 communicants. Of members and ad 
herents from other parishes there were only 54, or scarcely more than one- 
third of the number claimed by Mr Burnet s church. Galleries had been 
erected in 1830 at a cost of 250, and the debt was about 300. The 
stipend still remained at ,120, but successive augmentations followed, and 
in 1859 a manse was secured at a cost of nearly ,700. In 1844 the Original 
Burgher congregation, which had a membership of 240 in 1837, broke up, 
and the Relief Church, Provost Wynd, also disappeared in 1849. These 


changes may have contributed indirectly to the growth of Burnside congre 
gation. It happened, also, that in 1852 it received considerable additions 
from Boston Church. Of seven elders who took a leading part in the dis 
putes there, all, I believe, became connected with Burnside, and three of 
them held seats in the session. Soon after this the congregation suffered 
a severe loss by the death of Mr George Brunton, who had been identified 
with its interests since Mr Robson s days. Though holding but a humble 
position in society he was a man of large mental calibre ; his heart was in 
the right place ; his interest in Burnside Church and its minister was 
unswerving ; and his influence for good was felt throughout the community. 
A year after his death a volume of his " Selected Remains," literary and 
biblical, was published under the editorship of his minister, with a lifelike 
memoir from the pen of the Rev. Peter Landreth. 

On Sabbath, i6th December 1866, the present church, with sittings for 
650, was opened by Dr Robson of Glasgow, and the name changed from 
Burnside to Bonnygate. The cost was above ^3000, but in six years the 
debt was extinguished. In March 1878, when Mr Rankine was in his 
seventieth year, he expressed the wish to have the burden lightened by the 
appointment of a colleague. Arrangements were aided by the liberality of 
one of the members, James Miller, Esq. of Kinnear, who gifted ,500 to the 
congregation to purchase an annuity for behoof of the minister. On this 
footing Mr Rankine was to have ^200, with manse and garden, so long as he 
continued to discharge the duties of senior pastor. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN PATRICK MITCHELL, from Wellington Street, 
Glasgow, a grandson of Dr John Mitchell. Ordained, 3ist October 1878 ; 
stipend ,200, with ^40 for house rent. The relation lasted till 28th July 
1885, when Mr Mitchell accepted a call to Eyre Place, Edinburgh. In 
1884 Mr Rankine, on completing his fifty years ministry, withdrew from 
regular service, and it was arranged that he should have a retiring allow 
ance of ,150 from the congregation, with the manse. At the jubilee cele 
bration he was also presented with ^600 from his people and other friends. 

Fifth Minister. ARCHIBALD B. CAPE, M.A., from Kinross (West). 
Ordained, 26th May 1886. Mr Rankine survived five and a half years, and 
was able to occupy the pulpit occasionally till near the end. He died, 
2 ist November 1891, in the eighty-fourth year of his age and fifty-eighth 
of his ministry. Two of his sons-in-law are ministers of the U.P. Church 
the Rev. William Smith, Bonhill, and the Rev. David H. Lawrence, 
Broughty- Ferry. The membership of Bonnygate Church at the close of 
1899 was 290, and the stipend .220, with the manse. 


THREE months after Mr Walker s death the Westport congregation 
petitioned the Presbytery for a further hearing of Messrs William Burnet 
and Thomas King to make them eligible. It was around these two 
candidates that the contention arose which led on to separation. Mr King 
was under call to Newlands, and when he arrived in Cupar to occupy the 
pulpit on the first Sabbath of April he let it be known that next Wednesday 
he would have either to accept or reject the foresaid call. A congregational 
meeting at the close of the afternoon service was deemed a necessity, that 
he might learn before leaving what his prospects were in Cupar. The 
meeting proved a scene of disorder; "hissing and cries of shame were 
heard, which expressions of disapprobation were understood to be directed 
against the friends of Mr King." So flagrant was the scandal that the 


Presbytery had to inquire into the affair, and their verdict was one of strong 
disapproval, such procedure being pronounced "unconstitutional, indecorous, 
.and inconsistent with the sanctity of the Sabbath." On Wednesday Mr 
King appeared before Edinburgh Presbytery, and, having accepted the 
call to Nevvlands, was ordained within a fortnight. 

But though Mr King was thus far withdrawn from the field his sup 
porters did not lose sight of him, and they attempted without delay to 
have a congregational meeting called, but the elders and managers, the 
greater part of whom favoured Mr Burnet, decided that rather than tolerate 
this they would lock the church doors. There was now a pause of six 
months, and then came a petition for a moderation, but in the interim let 
them have an additional hearing of Mr William Burnet and the Rev. 
Thomas King. A wiser course would have been to lay both candidates 
aside, but wisdom s still, small voice was unheard in the general commotion. 
On 1 5th December 1828 the moderation took place, and the vote stood 
thus for Mr Burnet 269, for Mr King 263. Next day, when the Presbytery 
met to receive the report, the minority had commissioners up to ask that 
.the call be not sustained, and, if it is, that they be allowed supply of sermon 
for themselves. It was the way in the Relief to sustain a call wherever 
there was a clear majority, and this being unanimously done the petition 
for sermon was all that remained to be considered. The commissioners 
on both sides were conversed with at next meeting, on 2Oth January 1829, 
but reconciliation was found to be hopeless, and a petition signed by 275 
members for an immediate disjunction was granted. Next Sabbath Mr 
Pettigrew of Dysart preached to the newly formed congregation " in the 
place provided." A new church, a comely erection with sittings for 650, 
was opened by Mr Pettigrew on the fourth Sabbath of April 1830. The cost 
was ^1000. 

First Minister. THOMAS KING, called on 2ist July 1830, a year and a 
half after his defeat at the former election. During that period no preacher 
or minister had come between him and his admirers in Cupar, and he was 
now the unanimous choice of Provost Wynd Church. Inducted, 2oth 
October, the Rev. William Burnet preaching on the occasion. There are 
several indications that the better class families had gone in generally for 
Mr King. Hence, in 1837, while Mr King reported that the majority of his 
congregation belonged to the working classes, Mr Burnet s account bore 
that he had no others. In like manner, while Mr Burnet had only ^100 of 
stipend, with manse and garden, Mr King had ^130 in all. The member 
ship of Provost Wynd was now 380, and the average income between ,210 
and ^220 a year. The debt on the building by this time was reduced to 
.400. Mr King died on 2ist April 1841, in the fortieth year of his age and 
thirteenth of his ministry. The Presbytery, having met after his interment, 
put on record their sympathy with the congregation, " thus early deprived 
of their loved and lamented pastor." 

In March 1842 the congregation gave a unanimous and hearty call to 
JMr William Ramage, but "after serious and mature deliberation" he 
intimated his non-acceptance. This declinature may have had a depressing 
effect, as the stipend was now reduced from ,120 to .100, and though the 
next call was unanimous the signatures were down from 252 to 175. 

Second Minister. JAMES DRUMMOND, a native of Largo, but brought up 
in Leven, where he succeeded his father as a teacher. He had Largo in 
his option, with ,90 and a manse, but a large minority voted for another 
candidate, and it was well that Cupar got the preference. Ordained, 25th 
January 1843, when he had reached the mature age of thirty-seven. The 
family to which he belonged sent two younger sons also into the ministry 


David, of the Relief church, Largs, and William, U.P. minister of White- 
haven. 1 Mr Drummond when a preacher had the support of a large party 
in Irvine church, but, though another had the majority on the moderation 
day, the call had to be laid aside owing to utter want of harmony, and when 
the confusion was over, and a considerable number had left, Mr Urummond 
became the unanimous choice of the congregation. This call was accepted 
on 2oth February 1844, and Provost Wynd, Cupar, was again vacant. 

Third Minister. ROBERT GEMMELL, from Irvine (Relief). Ordained, 
25th September 1844. The call was signed by 246 members, and the 
stipend was up 40 - tokens of ground having been gained under his 
predecessor. But for Mr Gemmell another door opened early. Within a 
year and a half he was invited to Temple Lane, Dundee, and was loosed 
from Provost Wynd on loth March 1846. Though there were drawbacks 
in Cupar, Mr Gemmell s brief sojourn there was probably the smoothest 
part of his ministerial life. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN CRAIG, D.D., from Newlands, where he 
succeeded Mr King fourteen years before. Inducted, 3oth September 1846. 
Dr Craig was rather beyond middle life now, but a book which he published 
in 1845 on " The Apostleship and Apostolical Succession" brought him into 
notice, and secured him the degree of D.D. from St Andrews University. 
" The treatise," said the U.P. Magazine, " has inspired us with high respect 
for the author as a Scripture expositor, an accomplished theologian, and a 
chaste and forcible writer." With his honours fresh about him he under 
took the pastorate of Provost Wynd Church, but no sooner had he entered 
on his new field of labour than he began to figure as the out-and-out up 
holder of the anti-union flag of 1847, and as such he is best remembered. 
His contention from first to last was that "Free Communion" was not 
recognised in the Basis of Union. At an early stage in the negotiations it 
was ascertained that this was a point on which the two denominations were 
substantially at one, and that both were satisfied with what the Westminster 
Confession lays down on the subject that saints by profession are bound, as 
opportunity offers, to maintain an holy fellowship and communion with each 
other, and with all who in every place call upon the name of the Lord. 
But at their meeting in October 1846, when the final adjustments were made, 
the Relief Synod wished an article inserted in the Basis, securing to those 
ministers who believed the Westminster Confession to sanction the admission 
of members from other denominations to occasional communion the right 
to act on their conscientious convictions. 

At the meeting of the Relief Synod in May 1847 Dr Craig dissented from 
the resolution to consummate the Union with the Secession Church, and on 
Sabbath, 6th June, he told his people that by the Basis of Union "a wall 
high as heaven had been raised between the U.P. Church and every other 
Church on the face of the earth." The principle of Free Communion, the 
distinguishing characteristic of the Relief Church, he also maintained, had 
been completely merged in October 1846 by what he called "the suicidal 
decree of her extinction." At the congregational meeting which followed, 
at the close of the afternoon service, a proposal was made to join the United 
Church, but, as this would have obliged them to leave their minister behind, 
it was agreed to continue in their separate capacity. On i2th March 1848 

1 Mr William Drummond was ordained at Whitehaven, I3th April 1852, having 
declined a call to Hexham two years before. Demission accepted, nth July 1865. 
Was three years on the probationer list. Settled down in Leven, where he was 
available for pulpit supply, and where he died, I4th April 1879, in the sixty-fourth 
year of his age. 


Dr Craig intimated from the pulpit that he had made up his mind to apply 
for admission to the Established Church, and on Monday night the con 
gregation met to discuss the situation. Prior to this the communion roll 
had been pruned, and, according to the newspaper report, town officers were 
stationed at the door to keep excluded members outside. Inside there was a 
scene of confusion, and one of the members read from an article by Dr Craig 
in the Relief Magazine two years before, in which he characterised the 
alliance between Church and State as something he could not away with 
savouring too strongly to his nostrils of " the mother of abominations." In 
the end 39 voted to join the Establishment, and 35 voted not. Next day 
Dr Craig s application to be admitted to the Established Church came before 
the Presbytery of Cupar along with a petition of like import from the 
session and congregation. To test the Doctor s gifts he had to deliver a 
discourse before them, which was received "with the most unqualified 
approbation." His petition was to be transmitted to the General Assembly, 
and members of Presbytery were to support it " in the strongest possible 
manner." Indeed, so overdone was the welcome that an unsympathetic 
observer quoted over it the text : " There was a great famine in Samaria, 
and behold, an ass s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver." 

In the document laid before the Assembly it was stated that the applicant 
"had been minister of the sole Relief congregation in the country," and that 
he cordially approved of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Estab 
lished Church. A member of Presbytery also informed the court that 
Provost Wynd Church " included two landed proprietors and some of the 
most respectable merchants in Cupar." However, Principal Lee of Edinburgh 
University made serious objections to the petition being granted. As he 
belonged originally to the Secession congregation of Stow, and studied at 
the Burgher Hall, he could, better than most, estimate what the transition 
involved. He said that in their former connection neither the applicant nor 
his people held doctrines consistent with the Confession of P^aith on the 
subject of the magistrate s power. More than this, Dr Craig had gone in for 
F ree Communion, a doctrine " which had been strongly protested against, 
and never recognised, in the Church of Scotland." The case was remitted 
to the Presbytery of Cupar to be brought up anew at next Assembly, should 
they see cause. 

Meanwhile there had been a large break-up in Provost Wynd Church 
and the party opposed to Union with the Establishment asked advice from 
the UP. Presbytery. On Sabbath week after the meeting at which it was 
carried by a small majority to go with Dr Craig, Mr Gorrie of Kettle 
preached in the Academy Rooms, when there was an audience of about 200. 
But it was vain to attempt a second Relief congregation in Cupar, and while 
a few of the families joined Mr Burnet s congregation the greater part were 
At the General Assembly of 1849 Dr Craig was received without 
rther demur, but it was on the understanding that the congregation should 
be dissolved, and on 2nd July of that year it closed its existence with stately 
formality. The members were "henceforth to be one, and indivisible, with 
the Church of Scotland," and being " the last and sole Relief Church in 
existence they made over the whole funds and belongings of the denomina 
tion to the Established Church," Dr Craig and others being vested with 
power to sue and defend. The terms of the trust deed were that it required 
our-nfths of the members to alienate the property from the Relief, but, when 
the church in Provost Wynd was sold to the Baptists, the proceeds were 
swallowed up in clearing off debt and meeting other liabilities. Such was 
the end of the second Relief church in Cupar-Fife with its brief history of 
twenty years. 


Dr Craig was now a minister at large, and in that capacity he officiated 
for some years in the Town Church, St Andrews, as assistant to Dr Haldane. 
After that he was employed for a time in Westray, Orkney, and in 1866 his 
name appears in the clerical list as missionary in Lunna, Shetland. In 1869, 
after twenty years of hope deferred, he was presented by the Crown to the 
parish of Sandwick in Shetland. At first he was only assistant and suc 
cessor, but in 1871, when over threescore and ten, he obtained the benefice, 
the value of which is set down at present as ^130 a year. He died in the 
manse there, 7th October 1893, in the ninety-fourth year of his age and sixty- 
second of his ministrv. 


ANTI BURGHER families in Leuchars and the adjacent parishes were orig 
inally included in Ceres congregation, but from an early period there were 
workings in the direction of a severance. In December 1760 Mr Foote, 
the minister of Ceres, spoke to his elders about a wish the people in Forgan 
parish had expressed that he should preach there some Sabbaths in winter, 
their distance from the place of worship being eight or ten miles. The 
proposal was pronounced impracticable, as " it would be depriving many of 
public ordinances for the sake of a very few." That year Mr James Burn, 
an evangelical preacher of high name, became minister of Forgan, and he 
states in the Statistical History that some of the Antiburghers joined the 
Establishment at that time, "but, when the new mode of singing without 
reading the line was introduced, they withdrew, and carried two or three 
individuals along with them." In 1775 a second request for sermon came 
before Ceres session from Forgan, and the minister was to apply to the 
Presbytery for some supply to that corner. Such is to be looked on as the 
beginning of the movement which led to the formation of an Antiburgher 
congregation at Balmullo, a village midway between Cupar and Tayport. 

The date of the congregation s origin cannot be ascertained with exact 
ness, but an aged inhabitant of Strathkinnes, who kept by the Old Light 
cause at Balmullo to the end, and preferred it above his chief joy, used to 
tell that he remembered men and horses being engaged driving stones for 
the erection of the church in 1778. A manse was built some time afterwards, 
and to this a glebe was attached. The manse is still occupied, but it is 
many years since only a foot or two of the church walls, which gave accommo 
dation to 300, remained to tell of what had been. When the people came to 
choose a minister they were few in number, the Antiburghers in Leuchars 
parish, according to the Old Statistical History, numbering only 22 
adults. There would be, in addition to these, the representatives of the old 
contingent from Forgan, and a few from other parishes. The call to their 
first minister was signed by no more than 20 members, which may be 
taken as nearly exhausting the male element in the congregation. But 
before reaching this stage they called Mr James Clark, afterwards of 
Dalreoch, whom no amount of dealing on the part of Kirkcaldy Presbytery 
or Perth Synod could induce to accept. Other three years passed before 
the end was gained. 

First Minister. JAMES METHVEN, from Edinburgh (now Nicolson 
Street), who was also called to Montrose, but the Synod favoured Balmullo. 
The ordination followed on 22nd August 1797, and an inbreak on the 
services, which were conducted in the open air, made the occasion memor 
able. While public worship was going on a company of armed men came 
marching up with fixed bayonets, and surrounded the assembly. The 


people were in alarm, but the mystery was explained by-and-by. It was 
a time when the Militia Act was causing disturbance, and this was a troop 
of soldiers sent out to apprehend two farm servants who had been ring 
leaders in a riot at Leuchars. Having ascertained that the men they 
wanted were at Balmullo ordination, they made for the ground with the 
appearance of hostile intentions, but, the purpose of the intrusion being 
announced, the culprits quietly surrendered, and the work of the day 
went on. 

Mr Methven, though brought up under Adam Gib s ministry, swerved 
so far from Antiburgher strictness when a student as to allow himself to be 
married by a minister of the Established Church, and, what was worse, he 
kept the newly-formed relationship a secret. The double blunder brought 
him under the censure of the Presbytery, and the question of his readmis- 
sion to the Hall was referred to the Synod, but the matter was allowed to 
drop. In April 1800 the state of Balmullo congregation was brought before 
the Synod by Kirkcaldy Presbytery. All was in confusion, and four of the 
elders "had deserted the exercise of their office." As for Mr Methven, 
though the Synod did not justify him throughout, they were satisfied that he 
had upheld the rules of Church order, but at the meeting of Synod in Sep 
tember it was reported that his demission of his charge had been accepted. 
After itinerating as a preacher for two years he was inducted into 

Balmullo congregation had been out of harmony with Kirkcaldy Presby 
tery almost from the beginning. Ten years before this they complained to 
the Provincial Synod of Perth that they were denied their due share of 
preachers. The Synod after hearing parties were of opinion that the 
Presbytery had not paid due attention to Balmullo, "particularly in not 
granting them a session for a long time after they were erected into a 
congregation." The people were at the same time warned not to harbour 
prejudices against the Presbytery or any member of it. They may have 
suspected sinister influences from Ceres, and these things may have pre 
pared the way for Balmullo throwing off its allegiance to Kirkcaldy Presby 
tery fifteen years later, and casting in its lot with the Constitutionalists, from 
whom we find them receiving sermon in 1808. 

In this connection the congregation remained vacant for nearly twenty 
years, but on igth July 1826 Mr James Beattie from Arbroath was ordained 
at Balmullo, where he remained till after the Union with the Free Church in 
1852. The membership, which was about 70 in 1843, went by a large 
majority with their minister into the Union, but a few of their number kept 
by the old banner, and retained the property. Mr Beattie then removed to 
Cupar, reserving his status as a member of Presbytery, and his adherents 
divided themselves among the Free churches of Leuchars, Logie, and 
Dairsie. He died, 8th January 1887, in his ninety-first year. The property 
of Balmullo, when the little company of Old Lights died out, was sold, and 
the proceeds brought about ^300 to the funds of the Original Secession 
Synod. Of Mr Beattie s family the older son, James, formerly of Pitcairn- 
green, is now minister of the Presbyterian Church, Queenscliff, Australia, 
and David is minister of Monimail Free Church, Fifeshire. 


ON 1 4th May 1778 Mr Peter Barclay was ordained as minister of Kettle 
parish. His was a Crown presentation, but the appointment was ascribed 
to the influence of a principal heritor, in whose family he had been tutor. 


The feeling of the people was that their interests had been disregarded, 
and, from the fear that their aversion to the settlement might take lawless 
shape on the ordination day, a company of dragoons is said to have been 
stationed within reach in view of contingencies. All passed quietly on, 
however, and the Rev. Peter Barclay, D.D., after holding the charge for 
sixty-four years, died, I3th December 1841, aged ninety-two. Through the 
exercise of patronage on his behalf he was able to tell in the Old Statistical 
History that there were in Kettle parish towards the end of last century 587 
" Separatists " above eight years of age. A large disruption having been 
the result, Mr Nicolson, Relief minister at Pittenweem, preached at Kettle, 
and opened the station there, as tradition clearly attests, but the precise 
Sabbath is matter of assumption. The building of a church with 500 
sittings went on with spirit, and was completed at a cost of not quite ,500. 
First Minister. JOHN IONG, M.A., who resigned Kilmaronock in 1779, 
where he had been for two years, and since then had acted as a probationer. 
His name reappears on the Roll of Synod in May 1781, and he was preach 
ing as a probationer the previous February. This is the nearest we can come 
to the date of his induction at Kettle. In 1793 a manse was built for him at 
a cost of about ^220, and the money charges appear to have been met by 
the people all along from their own resources. Mr King, as his tombstone 
bears, died in May 1803, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. The last years 
of his life were darkened by domestic sorrow. In the managers books there 
is a collection entered in 1799 to pay for sending John King, their minister s 
son, to Montrose Asylum. The sum was made up to ^6, 6s., and year by 
year ,5 were applied to his maintenance. After the father s death it rose 
to over 12, and the last payment, marked 7th January 1812, reads : "To 
Mr John King s board and funeral expenses, .16, 75. gd." His brother 
Alexander was ordained over the Relief Church, Dalkeith, shortly after 
John s removal to Montrose, but he was visited with the same malady, and 
in 1803 he had to be sent to the same place of confinement. Recovery 
was looked for, but, though he survived thirty-eight years, it never came. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM FAMILTON, who, after having been some 
years in Newlands, was inducted to the Postern Relief Church, Newcastle, 
on 4th August 1802. The congregation there had come over from con 
nection with the Established Church a little time before, but Newcastle was 
a place where the Relief interest never flourished. When the call from 
Kettle came out Mr Familton was ready for a change, and when the case 
was disposed of in Edinburgh Presbytery no commissioner appeared from 
Newcastle, and no communication was received from the congregation, 
which dropped forthwith from the list of Relief churches. Inducted, i8th 
January 1804. The stipend was to be ^85, but in addition to the sum for 
which he had security the congregation made him an annual payment of 
^15. In connection with this latter sum Mr Familton applied to the Presby 
tery for advice in August 1819. It comes out that owing to decline in numbers 
and in funds the managers were withholding what they regarded as a free gift, 
and he claimed as a legal right. No amicable accommodation being arrived 
at, the next thing was a strongly-expressed petition from Kettle congregation 
to have their connection with Mr Familton dissolved. He had alienated 
their affections from him, they said, "by his eager pursuit after secular 
emoluments." The paper was dismissed by the Presbytery, and the people, 
by their own account, branded with combining to run down their minister. 
But the reply was that " no such combination would prosper if the minister 
did not first stumble, and split upon a rock." The congregation in their 
reasons of protest and appeal to the Synod complained that the Presbytery 
were giving countenance to the dispersion of the meeting. They also spoke 


as if there had been gradual decline a good way back, but that at Martinmas 
last the evil " arrived at its acme" and a disruption was the consequence. The 
Synod decided that Mr Familton should receive ^200 in full of all his claims, 
and on nth May 1820 he was relieved from his charge. After this he re 
sided about Edinburgh, and was receiving appointments as a preacher in 
December 1822. It is said that he ultimately removed to America, and was 
drowned when bathing in a lake. The records of the Relief Widows Fund 
indicate that he died in 1825. 

Third Minister. DANIEL GORRIE, who acceded to the Relief at the 
close of his theological course, and got licence from the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh. He was born at Condiecleuch, a farm in Glenalmond district. 
This was the name of a place where the Associate Presbytery held one of 
their early meetings, but it is scarcely conceivable that that could be in 
the remote region of Logiealmond. Ordained, 5th December 1821. The 
stipend promised was the ^100 which his predecessor had received in his 
better days, with manse and garden. Under Mr Gorrie all was peace, and 
in one of his last discourses he testified that during his thirty years of 
service there had not been one discordant sound among them. On their 
last Sabbath in the old church he preached a pensive discourse from the 
words : " The earthly house of this tabernacle," full of tender memories, 
and suitable in a twofold way. Another Sabbath, and his work was done. 
Deadly illness came, and after lingering for several weeks he died, 3ist 
March 1852, in the fifty-third year of his age and thirty-first of his ministry. 
Mr Gorrie, as I recall him a few years before his death, was a stately man, 
with hair whitened beyond his age, and with a good amount of the figurative 
in his pulpit style. His youngest son, of the same name, when a theological 
student, wrote a prize essay on the Sabbath, displaying remarkable power 
of versification. After becoming a preacher he published a volume of 
" Orations and Lectures on Sacred Themes." Not obtaining a call he 
turned to literature, and died in London, i6th September 1893, in his sixty- 
third year. Another son of Kettle manse was Sir John Gorrie, who, after 
holding Government offices in other British colonies, was ultimately Chief- 
Justice of Trinidad and Tobago. He died at Exeter on his way back to 
London in broken health, 4th August 1892, in his sixty-fourth year. 

The new church, which cost nearly ^1850, and accommodates 700, was 
opened on Sabbath, gth January 1853. This graceful erection may have 
done much to keep the people together during the troubles which had already 
set in. It had been carried by a majority several weeks before to apply for a 
moderation, but against this resolution a protest was taken. The Presbytery 
decided for delay, and after an interval of five months a committee reported 
that it had been agreed to solicit a hearing of two or three preachers, that 
a moderation should follow, and that all parties should acquiesce in the 
choice of the majority. The moderation took place on yth June 1853, and 
Mr George Barlas, whom the majority had in view from the first, was 
carried over Mr John Maclaren, afterwards of City Road, Glasgow. But 
out of a membership of 430 only 184 signed the call. Mr Barlas had 
already decided to accept Auchtermuchty (East), and Kettle was left to 
begin anew. Another one-sided call followed to Mr James Imrie, but it was 
allowed to drop, as he intimated to them that he had given the preference 
to Bridge Street, Musselburgh. 

In Mr Beveridge s " History of Kettle Church" a minute of a congrega 
tional meeting held the year before Mr Gorrie s death is given, of rare 
quality. Instead of being favoured with the services of the rising hopes of 
the church in their minister s absence they had for several years been 
"supplied with very aged men, almost incapable for duty, or by one who, 


from other engagements (the Synod librarian probably), cannot commit his 
sermons, but only reads a paper, whether of his own or another s production." 
To meet the exigencies of the case they resolved as follows : " We authorise 
the managers that, should any such be pawned on us, they should shut the 
door against them, and instruct the treasurer to allow no pay for their services." 
There was strength of will at the helm of affairs in those days, and, though 
the above was only a sky rocket, it evinced the possibility of headstrong 
work should differences arise about the choice of a minister. 

Third Minister. HUGH BARR, from Kilbarchan, on whom the two 
antagonistic parties united, and through whose prudence and devotedness 
to duty harmony was restored to the congregation. The stipend was raised 
at this time from .120 to ^150, besides ^10. for expenses. Ordained, 27th 
September 1854. Mr Barr s ministry lasted into its twentieth year, and then 
closed after a brief but severe illness. He had taken absorbing interest 
in certain negotiations for the union of the two congregations in Ceres, and 
all the more so that, rightly or wrongly, he believed there was ungenerous 
treatment going on. A long sederunt in the cold church after exposure to 
drenching rain, it is feared, lodged the germs of disease deep among the 
springs of life. On Sabbath, 28th October 1873, he assisted at the com 
munion in Lothian Road Church, Edinburgh, and preached in the evening 
on " The Path of the Just," a sermon which has a place in his memorial 
volume. In a few days the ailment developed itself in an acute form, and 
on Friday week, Qth November, he died, in the forty-ninth year of his age. 
A volume of his discourses, and also some specimens of his poetical tastes, 
with memoir by the Rev. Thomas Dunlop, then of Bristo Street, Edinburgh, 
was published in 1875. 

Fotirth Minister. WILLIAM TEES, from Glasgow (London Road). 
Ordained, gth July 1874. In 1879 the old manse, which had done service 
for eighty-five years, was taken down, and another built on the same site 
at a cost of 1440, the undertaking being accomplished apart from the 
Manse Building Scheme. In March 1884 Mr Tees had a call presented to 
him from Trinity Church, Rochdale, which "he was not prepared to accept" ; 
but the offer was renewed under better auspices within two months, and on 
2oth May he was loosed from his charge. Owing to the state of his health 
Mr Tees removed from Rochdale to South Africa in 1889, an d since then 
he has been minister of a Presbyterian Church in Durban, Natal. 

Fifth Minister. JAMES B. NICHOLSON, M.A., from Leven. Ordained, 
i8th February 1885. Declined John Street, Glasgow, in 1887, but accepted 
Hutchesontown on 29th January 1889. Kettle congregation now called 
Mr John Addie, but Wilson Church, Perth, followed, and got the pre 

Sixth Minister. ARTHUR SIMMONS, M.A., from Dairy, Ayrshire. 
Ordained, 24th October 1889. The membership is now about 325, and the 
stipend .225, with the manse and garden. A quoad sacra church organised 
some twenty years ago at Ladybank, half a mile distant, which has now 300 
communicants, must have encroached seriously on the sources of increase 
at Kettle. 


THIS parish fell vacant in June 1780, and in August Mr Thomas Stewart 
was presented to the charge by J. H. Balfour, Esq., of Leys and Randerston. 
But the Laird of Pitcairly was bent on securing the living for a Mr Jeffrey, 
who had been tutor in his family, and under his influence the Town Council 


of Newburgh, which also claimed the patronage, issued a counter presenta 
tion in Mr Jeffrey s favour. After four years of litigation the Court of Session 
decided in Balfour s favour, and in May 1785 the General Assembly ap 
pointed the Presbytery to proceed to Mr Stewart s settlement with all 
convenient speed. The ordination was carried through on ist September, 
with soldiers within reach by way of precaution. As the counterpart, six 
men from about Newburgh were tried at the Circuit Court, Perth, in May 
1785, for "violent riot and tumult on the Lord s Day." It appears that when 
a neighbouring minister was on his way to preach, and intimate the modera 
tion, he was met by a crowd of people, who obstructed and maltreated him. 
The stroke came heavy on three of the ringleaders. Pitcairly s foreman 
was transported to the plantations for seven years ; a Newburgh weaver was 
banished from Scotland for the same period ; and one of Pitcairly s tenants 
got six months imprisonment, and had to pay a fine of 500 merks. 

On i8th July 1785 an application came from Newburgh to the Burgher 
Presbytery of Perth for supply of sermon, and a probationer was appointed 
to preach there on the last Sabbath of the month. Thus a beginning was 
made among material drawn from the Established Church, but strengthen 
ing came through the accession of Burgher families in the place belonging 
to the East Church, Auchtermuchty. These, with an elder at their head, 
obtained disjunctions from their own session in March 1786, and a fortnight 
later a paper of adherence to the new cause at Newburgh was given in to 
the Presbytery with 93 signatures. The church appears to have been 
already taken possession of, and in June a moderation was applied for. The 
Secession had got footing in this parish at an early period, and now it passed 
into organised existence. On 22nd July 1740 an accession was given in to 
the Associate Presbytery from Newburgh and Abdie. The parish minister, 
the Rev. Robert Laing, who survived till 1749, though he kept by the 
Established Church, was an evangelical preacher and an upholder of 
popular rights, and his ecclesiastical bearings may have led to fuller de 
velopments. It is certain that Abernethy congregation, two and a half miles 
off, drew a considerable number of members from Newburgh almost from the 

First Minister. DAVID HEPBURN, from Perth (Wilson Church). The 
stipend promised was only ,50, with ^5 for house rent, and yet when the call 
came up it had 228 names appended. But with most of them the system of 
contributing for the support of the gospel was a new thing, and they had also 
to meet the expenses of building a church. Mr Hepburn was ordained, 7th 
November 1786. A year and a half before this he had been on the point of 
breaking away from the Burgher connection. " He could not see that what 
was said in our Confession of Faith about the magistrate s power in Church 
matters was consistent with the spiritual nature of Christ s New Testament 
Kingdom " ; neither did he find that " the Presbyterian form of Church 
government was founded on the Word of God." The Synod, to whom his 
letter was referred, recommended the Presbytery to deal with him, and at an 
early meeting Mr Hepburn avowed that his sentiments were much changed 
since he wrote that letter, and he was freer now to subscribe the questions of 
the Formula than when he got licence. 

In September 1817 the Synod allowed the congregation ,12, 125. to 
enable them to provide pulpit supply, Mr Hepburn being unable to preach. 
It was the end drawing on, though he was only in the sixtieth year of his age 
and thirty-first of his ministry. He died, 3rd January 1818, but his name 
urvives among us in his great-grandson, the Rev. David Hepburn Lawrence, 
of Queen Street Church, Broughty-Ferry. In a memoir of Mr Hepburn in 
the Christian Repository it is stated that Mr Stewart, whose settlement led 


to the formation of Newburgh Secession Church, came to be much respected 
by all classes of his parishioners. But the additional statement in Scott s 
Fasti that at Mr Hepburn s death the people applied to him for advice about 
the choice of a successor may be set down as sheer absurdity. The first 
they fixed on at this time was Mr Alex. Waugh, son of the Rev. Ur Waugh, 
London, and they went in for him with great heartiness, no fewer than 275 
members signing his call. But calls followed from Hamilton (now Avon 
Place), Lochwinnoch, and Girvan, and last of all from Miles Lane, London, 
to which, in keeping with the fitness of things, he was unanimously appointed 
by the Synod. He died, 2nd August 1824, in the thirtieth year of his age and 
fifth of his ministry. A volume of his discourses and communion addresses, 
with memoir by his father, was published the year after his death. 

Second Minister. JOHN J. JOHNSTON, son of the Rev. James Johnston, 
Rathillet. Ordained, iith April 1821. The call was signed by 172 members, 
and the stipend was to be ^120, including expenses and house rent. It is 
understood that the congregation was strengthened at this time by a number 
of Antiburgher families breaking off from Abernethy, as the result of the 
recent union, and joining Newburgh. In 1836 the meeting-house was en 
larged* and improved at an expense of nearly ,300. Had coming events 
been foreseen the former accommodation would have been thought ample 
enough. First of all, the congregation suffered through Mr Johnston being 
unable to officiate, and several times when Sabbath came there was no one 
to take his place. After a rest of three months this was put so far to rights, 
but towards the end of 1840 a crisis came, which was not to be got over. It 
originated in a request by the Chartist Association of Newburgh to have the 
use of the church for a political meeting, to which the managers, by a majority 
of two, agreed. But an outcry was raised against granting the place of 
worship for any such purpose, and the question was laid before a congrega 
tional meeting, when it carried, by a majority of three, to undo what the 
managers had done. Resignations followed, the preses, whose motion on 
the other side was defeated, taking the lead. The ill-judged affair led to the 
formation of a Relief Church in Newburgh. We read now in the treasurer s 
books of deficiencies in the ordinary income, the seat rents, which had 
averaged ,100 a year, coming down to ,63. Mr Johnston s difficulties closed 
with his death on 2gth December 1848, in the fifty-second year of his age 
and twenty-eighth of his ministry. He married a daughter of his predecessor, 
and one of their daughters was the wife, and afterwards the widow, of the 
Rev. Archibald Russell, Newburgh (Second), and New Zealand. 

Third Minister. JOHN YOUNG, a son of the Rev. Alexander Young, 
Logiealmond. Mr Young entered the Hall along with his brother William, 
afterwards of Ceres, but, though some years older, he fell behind, and was 
much later in being settled. After two years of preacher life he declined 
West Linton, and after other two years he declined Huntly. When his fifth 
year had ended Largo and Newburgh called him on the same day, and the 
latter became his choice. Ordained, 26th December 1849. The call was 
signed by 205 members and 115 adherents, and the stipend was to be ,110, 
with manse and garden. The debt of ,677 had been reduced in 1845 to 
,350, with the aid of ,77 from the Liquidation Board. But with a rival 
church on the other side of the street, and the population on the decline, it 
was not to be supposed that the congregation would continue self-supporting. 
In 1868 a supplement of ^30 was required to make the stipend ^150. In 
1882 the membership was 178, and the people gave ,127, ios., and the Board 
,32, ios. There was also the manse and a share of the surplus. Mr Young 
died, 8th June 1883, in the sixty-sixth year of his age and thirty-fourth of his 


Fourth Minister. ALEXANDER C. HENDERSON, B.D., from Erskine 
Church, Glasgow. Ordained, i6th April 1884. In the seventh year of Mr 
Henderson s ministry the funds of the congregation afforded ,137, IDS., 
though the membership was lower than when he went. But in the course of 
another year prospects of a bulkier kind opened out before him. On gth 
February 1892 he intimated to the Presbytery the demission of his charge, 
that he might become assistant to the Rev. David M Rae of the Gilfillan 
Memorial Church, Dundee. At a meeting on the preceding evening the 
congregation resolved to acquiesce, and the Presbytery, after a committee 
had conferred with him to no purpose, accepted his resignation, and declared 
him to be " no longer in connection with this Church." After occupying his 
new sphere of labour for two years he emigrated to Australia in a state of 
ripeness to take the pastoral oversight of a Unitarian church in Melbourne. 
Other two years passed, and, having returned home, he held the post of 
lecturer under the M Quaker Trust till the beginning of 1900, in the service 
of the same liberal cause. Then from January to June of that year he was 
minister of Clerk s Lane Church, Kilmarnock, which, under his predecessor, 
the Rev. James Forrest, had sunk to the same level. Next October he was 
received into the membership of the Church of Scotland at Partick, with a 
view, we may believe, to a more intimate relationship. 

Fifth Minister. JOHN D. BROWN, from Montrose (John Street). 
Ordained, 22nd September 1892. The congregation for two years was 
rather on the increase, but after an interval of over fifty years it was again 
to be the scene of disaster. On i3th October 1894 a pro re nata meeting 
of Presbytery was held in connection with the resignation of four elders 
the entire session except one. The ordination of others had been fixed 
for Sabbath first, but assessors were needed if the service was to go on. 
This matter was easily arranged, but after a pause of eight weeks 108 
members petitioned the Presbytery to inquire into the circumstances of 
the congregation, while 70 expressed full confidence in their minister. 
Meetings followed with the elders who had resigned, with the session, and 
with the congregation, and we gather from certain side references that a 
temperance sermon preached by Mr Brown had given serious offence to 
a large section of his people. It happened, also, that the Presbytery were 
at sixes and sevens on the merits of the case, but the majority did not 
see that there was warrant for advising resignation. But angry feeling 
was stirred, and by the end of next year the communion roll came down 
from 179 to 121, there being 32 accessions and 90 removals. The 
membership at the close of 1899 was 113, and the stipend from the people 



ON i gth January 1841 the dissentients in Newburgh Secession Church 
were received by the Relief Presbytery of Perth as a forming congregation, 
and on Sabbath week they had sermon in the town hall from the Rev. 
William Lindsay of Perth. The Secession Presbytery saw reason now 
to appoint a committee to visit Newburgh, but it was too late. Had 
they stepped in earlier it might have been different, but when a paper 
of grievances was laid on their table first of all they dismissed it on the 
plea that it was not transmitted by the session. Thus the quarrel was 
allowed to run its course, and it ended in the formation of a rival church. 
On 25th April two members of the Relief Presbytery met with the separating 
party, and constituted them into a congregation, with a membership of 


102. At next meeting they wished a gratis Sabbath from each of the 
members, and before the end of the year they were seeking aid from the 
Home Mission Fund, as "they were getting embarrassed in their pecuniary 
circumstances," but the Presbytery advised them, instead, "to continue 
their praiseworthy exertions." 

First Minister. ALEXANDER WATSON, who had been in Dron for 
three years without the prospect of making headway. Inducted, i8th May 
1842, on a stipend of 70. The thought of the people may have been 
that with novelty in their favour, and the flag of out-and-out liberalism 
above their heads, they only required a minister of attractive pulpit gifts 
to gather in additions from all sides, and put the mother church into the 
second place, or, mayhap, swamp it altogether. But, unfortunately, before 
Mr Watson had been three years in Newburgh he had to bring before 
the Presbytery a report which had got into circulation, fitted to injure his 
ministerial standing. He had been through at Kettle one day with a 
brother minister, and had not been sufficiently careful to avoid the appear 
ance of evil. There may not have been much wrong, but there was enough 
to cost him his slender hold of Newburgh, and on I5th April 1845 Mr 
Watson resigned, and, with the acquiescence of the congregation, was 
loosed from his charge. The Presbytery, which had rested in reproof 
and admonition, now expressed grief at parting with him, and furnished 
him with ample testimonials. He was to set out immediately for America, 
but instead of this he remained in Scotland, and applied to the General 
Assembly in 1846 for admission to the Established Church. The Com 
mission was empowered to receive him at their August meeting, if his 
certificates of character were satisfactory. On 2ist January 1847 he was 
inducted into the quoad sacra church, Auldfield, Eastwood parish, where 
he died of cholera, 24th January 1849. 

Second Minister. ARCHIBALD RUSSELL, from Falkirk (West). Or 
dained, 3rd February 1847. Mr Russell when a divinity student was 
the author of a prize essay on the Sabbath, and raised expectations which 
he never quite fulfilled, though he did faithful work at Newburgh. Being 
a man of literary tastes he made his influence felt, specially among young 
men, by week-night lectures, and in similar ways. But the congregation 
was far down when he went, there being only 56 members at the close 
of 1848, and the stipend was ,80 in all, ,40 of which came from the 
Synod Fund the first year, ,30 the second, and ,20 the third. In 1850 
the congregation removed from the town hall to their new church, with 
400 sittings, built very much through the exertions of their young minister. 
As time passed there was as much increase as could be looked for, the 
membership rising to 118 in 1859, though the amount of stipend paid by 
the people was never above ,85, and the sum total ^110. After struggling 
with the drawbacks of his situation for seventeen years, during the last 
six of which he was Presbytery clerk, Mr Russell resolved, amidst growing 
family burdens, to seek a less circumscribed field of labour. On I2th April 
1864 he was loosed from Newburgh, and at the Synod a few weeks later 
old friends bade him adieu on his way for New Zealand. After ministering 
for a few years at Blenheim, Marlborough, he died, 2nd June 1868, in 
the forty-ninth year of his age, leaving a widow and a young family, the 
youngest only three weeks old. 

An effort was now made by the Presbytery and the Home Mission Board 
to effect a union with the old congregation, but the people declared firmly 
and unanimously against any such proposal. They would give ,85, they 
said, and this, with ^25 from the Board, would make up ^uo, a stipend 
which they considered entitled them to have a minister of their own. The 


first they turned to was Mr James Allison, now minister-emeritus of 
Alexandria, but he waited on till a sphere opened for him in the heart of 
mighty London. 

Third Minister. JAMES H. CAMERON, from Muirton. The call was 
signed by 92 members and 62 adherents, and the ordination took place on 
ist August 1865. Next year the people raised their part of the stipend .10, 
and at the end of three years there was a membership of 155. The stipend 
from the people was now .100, which the supplement raised first to ,150 
and then to ,160. At this point the tide turned, and on 3ist October 1871 
Mr Cameron s resignation was tabled and accepted, the congregation 
yielding to the inevitable, though with much regret. Mr Cameron had 
received an appointment from the Colonial Committee of the Free Church 
to Lawrence, Otago, whence, after labouring for a number of years, he was 
translated to another charge at Waiareka. From this he withdrew in 1891, 
with the view of returning to Scotland. Being fully certified by the 
Presbytery of Dunedin " to the brethren in the home country," he was 
received back into the U.P. Church by the Synod of 1892, and now resides 
in Perth in full ministerial status. 

Again attempts were made to effect a union at Newburgh, and that year 
the Synod resolved that in such cases, if union efforts fail, neither moderation 
nor supplement shall be granted without the special sanction of the Supreme 
Court. This resolution was now brought to the front, and the result was 
that, on loth December 1872, Perth Presbytery received notice that Newburgh 
(Second) wished no further supply of preachers. The e\-;~i.\ nation was that, 
finding their hopes of continued support reduced to a minimum, and their 
existence as a distinct society discouraged, the people had resolved to try 
their fortunes elsewhere. There was talk in the Presbytery about the title- 
deeds of the property, but all that followed was the removal of the name 
from the roll of churches under their inspection. The Mission Committee had 
previously expressed their sense of " the ungrateful return which the con 
gregation had made for the kindness and assistance rendered to them 
during a long course of years." 

It was to the Evangelical Union that Newburgh (Second) now betook 
itself with all its belongings. In that connection they had four ministers 
between 1874 and 1892. Then the name appears in the Church list as 
vacant, and in that state it is entered five successive years, but in 1897 they 
had a minister once more, and they now form part of the widened-out 
Congregational Union. It is like a return to days long gone by, when the 
Rev. Alexander Pirie presided over a little society of Independents at 
Newburgh. Two years ago they had another young man ordained over 
them, and thus the effects of a dispute about granting the use of the United 
Secession meeting-house for a political or Chartist meeting remain fresh as 
ever. The majority carried matters with a high hand, and the minority 
acted as if they had been robbed of their Christian privileges. 


THE Associate Presbytery received accessions from praying societies in 
Falkland, the parish to which Freuchie belongs, so early as 1738, and in 
common with the Seceders in the parishes of Leslie, Markinch, and 
King-lassie, they found their centre in the town of Leslie, and obtained Mi- 
John Erskine for their minister. At the Breach a section withdrew from 
his ministry, and joined the Burgher congregation at Auchtermuchty, which 
obtained a large hold of that district. At a later time, as we find from the 


session minutes, they had one elder in Freuchie, another in Falkland, 
and a third in the parish of Kettle material here for the formation of a 
Burgher church in that locality in due time. Accordingly, on i6th December 
1794, a petition was presented to the Burgher Presbytery of Perth from 
sixteen persons in and about Freuchie, " setting forth the great need they 
have of the gospel," and requesting supply of sermon. The applicants were 
probably outsiders, the system generally adopted being to put such into the 
front, the Seceders about the place helping on the movement from behind 
the curtain. On 6th February 1795 notice of "cheerful concurrence" was 
received from Auchtermuchty, and the meeting-house was finished in the 
end of 1796 at a cost of under ^200. A little before this 22 members 
of Auchtermuchty congregation received disjunctions, that they might 
connect themselves with Freuchie. A number to the east and south must 
have come from the Burgher congregation in Leslie, four miles off, and 
there were also a few from Kennoway church. As the first call was 
signed by 98 members the entire number must have been considerably 
over 100. 

First Minister. JOHN RICHARDSON, from Biggar (North). Freuchie 
being preferred to Newbigging by the Synod, he was ordained, 251!! July 
1798. The stipend offered was ,60, with ^5 for house rent and ^5 for 
communion expenses. The Presbytery were of opinion that this " was not 
a competency," but the people insisted that it was as much as their funds 
warranted. After considerable delay the commissioners hoped that the 
congregation would give other ^5, and the moderation was granted. In 
1804 a manse was built at a cost of ,160 or ^170, and in the following year 
the stipend was raised to ^90. This step may have been prompted by a 
call which Mr Richardson received to Crossgates, where the stipend was 
^80, with house and garden, and the prospect of an early increase to ^100. 
He wavered for a time, but at last elected to remain at Freuchie, and the 
Presbytery decided accordingly. The stipend remained at ,90 till after Mi- 
Richardson s ministry closed. But, over against this, let it be remembered 
that the parish minister of Falkland had only ^73, and a glebe, in the last 
decade of the century. The funds of Freuchie congregation were greatly 
kept down by the failure of members to pay for their sittings, an evil for 
which the slender earnings of the people furnish an excuse. The Old 
Statistical History gives 337 tradesmen in the parish, of whom 231 were 
engaged in the weaving of a coarse kind of linen. The total income of 
husband and wife that is, of the weaver and the winder was calculated at 
55. gd. a week, or ^15 a year, and the average wage of other tradesmen was 
lower still. This left little margin for religious purposes. 

Mr Richardson died, i8th January 1837, in the seventy-first year of his 
age and thirty-ninth of his ministry. He presided that evening at a soiree, 
the first which had ever been held in his church. He had the feeling that 
such a gathering was a secularising of a sacred edifice, and not for some 
time did he consent to act as chairman. However, he enjoyed the meeting, 
received a cordial vote of thanks, spoke his farewell, and set out for the 
manse. On his way home he was struck down with paralysis, and died 
within half-an-hour. A daughter of Mr Richardson s in her widowhood 
became Dr John Taylor s second wife, after his return from Canada. His 
youngest son, Alexander, entered the Secession Hall in 1838, but did not 
prosecute his theological studies, and afterwards joined the Established 
Church. In the Union negotiations of 1863-73 he took unfriendly interest, 
and published several booklets under the name of " Free Lance," containing 
a large amount of miscellaneous information, not always very reliable. He 
died in London, ist August 1878, aged fifty-seven. 


Second Minister. JOHN GRAY, from Bridge -of- Teith. They had 
previously called Mr John Russell, but "he preferred Hexham to Rousay, 
Freuchie to Hexham, and, finally, Buchlyvie to Freuchie." Mr Gray was 
ordained, iyth January 1838. The stipend, as before, was .90, with manse 
and garden, and the membership was over 250, of whom 74 were from 
the parishes of Kettle, Collessie, and Markinch. In 1845 the debt of ^242 
which rested on the building was reduced to ,50 by the aid of ,75 from 
the Liquidation Board. In 1852 one of the elders made the offer of ^15 if 
the congregation would make up the other ^35, and thus, after so long a 
time, Freuchie congregation got rid of all its burdens. On ist November 
1868 a new church, seated for 520, was opened, the cost being ,1600, of 
which all, except ^460, was already paid, and this was reduced to ^300 in 
1871. As a stimulus to further effort Mr William Foote, Glasgow, a native 
of Cupar, agreed to give 7$ if the people would raise double that sum. 
This was done, and by the proceeds of a bazaar in 1875 tne residue was can 
celled, the church painted, and other improvements made. Care was taken 
to keep the old building from passing into the hands of the Established 
Church, and " Free Lance " gives the following account of how the matter 
ended: " As the village has nearly doubled its population since 1832, and 
as the parish church is about two miles distant, some friends of the Establish 
ment offered to buy the old building for a place of worship, but the offer was 
obstinately refused. Within the last three months (this was written in 1870) 
a lady in the neighbourhood died, bequeathing a sum of money adequate 
to the erection of a handsome church for the adherents of the Church of 
Scotland. 1 So the deserted edifice was secularised. 

In 1879 a colleague was required, and Mr Matthew Dickie, M.A., was 
called, but he preferred Sanquhar (South). Mr Gray was to have ^50 of 
retiring allowance, and was to retain the manse and garden. The colleague 
was to have ,125 from the congregation, and this, it was expected, would 
be made up to ,200 by supplement and surplus, besides 20 for a house. 

Third Minister- JOHN POLLOCK, who was originally from Free St 
James , Glasgow, but joined the U.P. Church when a student. Ordained as 
colleague to Mr Gray, 7th January 1880. The membership at this time was 
247, of whom 228 signed the call. There was now a stirring up of activity, 
and in the second and third years of Mr Pollock s ministry the income 
averaged ,370. On 3rd February 1885 he accepted a call to Merchiston, 

Fourth Minister. JAMES MlLROY, from Kirkcudbright, who had been 
called to South Ronaldshay at an earlier stage of his probationership, and to 
Blairlogie a few weeks before Freuchie came in. Ordained, 6th January 1886. 
To make way for his new colleague Mr Gray removed at this time from the 
manse, and went to reside in Cupar, where he died, loth December 1887, in 
the seventy-seventh year of his age and the fiftieth of his ministry. The 
congregation now passed into the self-supporting state, the stipend being 
raised to ^200, with the manse, and .12, 125. for expenses. On 24th April 
1894 Mr Milroy, like his predecessor, was transferred to Edinburgh, having 
received a call to the Pleasance Church. During his ministry at Freuchie 
an addition was made to the manse, at a cost of 200, which was entirely 
defrayed within a very few years. 

Fifth Minister. GEORGE LOWE, B.D., from Bridge Street, Musselburgh. 
Ordained, 5th December 1894. The membership at the close of 1899 was 
263, and the stipend ,200, with the manse. 



ON 6th December 1791 a number of persons in and about Kilconquhar craved 
supply of sermon from the Burgher Presbytery of Perth owing to their 
distance from any congregation of their own communion, and the station 
was opened on the third Sabbath of that month. On 8th October 1794 
38 persons were recognised as a congregation, and five of their 
number were soon after ordained to the eldership. Next year the church 
was built. Colinsburgh, which is about a mile to the north, had been a 
stronghold of the Relief, but the congregation there was now in a broken 
state, and under deep decline. Still, the " sectaries," young and old, within 
the parish were given in the Old Statistical History as 700 strong in 1793. 

First Minister. JAMES DICK, from Perth (Wilson Church). Ordained 
on i6th March 1796, and next day Mr John Paton was ordained at 
Colinsburgh, as successor to the Rev. James Cowan of the Old Relief Church 
there. Mr Dick s call was signed by 53 members and 54 adherents. 
The stipend was ^65, with a house, and ^5 for a horse, the defraying, of 
family expenses at communion times being left to the discretion of the 
office-bearers. From a memoir of Mr Dick we learn that the congregation 
seldom had a membership of more than 120. One interesting feature about 
it was the number of eminent Burgher ministers, such as Professors Balmer 
and Brown, who had been under Mr Dick s ministry in student days, there 
being two side schools within the bounds, the one in Kilconquhar, the 
other in Elie. Mr Dick died, 22nd December 1823, in the fifty-fourth year 
of his age and twenty-eighth of his ministry. 

Second Minister. GEORGE KENNEDY, from Sanquhar (North), but a 
native of Leadhills. Ordained, igth October 1825. The people could not 
promise more than ,70 of stipend, with ^5 for sacramental expenses, but 
the Presbytery told them to provide a house besides. For some time before 
Mr Dick s death they had been in receipt of ^10 annually from the Synod 
Fund, having been weakened, as they stated, by the removal of some 
important families. In 1837 there was a membership of 99. The stipend 
was ,70, but some years before this a manse had been built, and to aid 
them in the work they were allowed ,20 from the Synod Fund. As they 
had no debt in 1837 the effort must have been successfully surmounted. In 
1846 they applied to the Home Board for assistance, but the Presbytery in 
transmitting the petition notified that they did not concur with the petitioners 
in the opinion that " seat rents are at variance with the voluntary principle." 
They also entertained serious doubts as to the expediency of the new de 
parture. In September 1853 Mr Kennedy announced to Cupar Presbytery 
that he intended to resign his charge, explaining that the utmost cordiality 
had existed between him and his people all along, and that, though the bond 
were dissolved, he would still seek to promote their welfare. After half a 
year s delay, from circumstances which remain to be narrated, the Presbytery 
on 28th March 1854 accepted his resignation, while expressing their apprecia 
tion of his character and their sense of the sacrifices he had made by 
remaining so long in that sphere of labour. Arrangements were made to 
preach the pulpit vacant, but in reality the close was reached. For a few 
years Kilconquhar remained on the Presbytery and Synod Roll, with 
Mr Henderson of Lathones as moderator of session, but otherwise the 
whole machinery was at a stand. On 4th May 1858 the congregation was 
formally dissolved by deed of Cupar Presbytery, and Mr Henderson in 
structed to give certificates to members who might apply for them. Trustees 
for the retention of the property had been previously appointed, partly by 


the congregation and partly by the Presbytery, and the old church still 
stands a marked object in the village of Barnyards. 

To account for some unpleasantness which marked the winding-up at 
Kilconquhar, we go back to the Union of 1847. Colinsburgh congregation 
was vacant at that time. They had recently taken possession of their new 
church, and under Mr Dickie s brief ministry the cause began to revive. 
An attempt was now made by a Synodical Committee to effect a union with 
Kilconquhar, the two churches being within a mile of each other. The 
simple course would have been to invite Mr Kennedy to the occupancy of 
the vacant pulpit at Colinsburgh and his people to take their places in the 
thinly-tenanted pews ; but an arrangement on this footing was found to be 
impracticable, and the negotiations deepened the feeling of estrangement 
between the two congregations. A moderation, which had been held back 
for the time, was now granted to Colinsburgh, with the promise of ,20 a 
year for supplement, while Kilconquhar was left outside. When Mr 
Kennedy intimated his resignation the Presbytery of Cupar strongly recom 
mended the Mission Board to receive Kilconquhar into the list of supple 
mented churches, but the application was refused on the plea that it would 
be improper to aid two small congregations so near each other. They 
would, however, allow them 20 for the current year, but with the distinct 
intimation that "unless the circumstances of the congregation be greatly 
improved by the close of that period, further aid would not be afforded 
them." On this return being received Mr Kennedy pressed the acceptance 
of his resignation, and Kilconquhar people declined to take the ,20 on the 
terms specified. A committee was then appointed to confer with them, but 
the convener got notice that they were not prepared to receive the visit. An 
occasional service on Sabbath evenings by a neighbouring minister, or by 
their own minister, is understood to have been all that was ever attempted 
after this in the old place of worship at Barnyards. The treatment received 
from the Supplementing Board, when contrasted with the support given to 
Colinsburgh, was fitted to- impress the people with a sense of wrong. 

In 1856 Mr Kennedy removed from Kilconquhar to Edinburgh, where 
he connected himself with Bristo Church, and was elected to the eldership. 
During this period he visited Canada oftener than once, his elder brother, 
the Rev. Andrew Kennedy, formerly of Keith, having been for many years 
one of our ministers in that colony. He died at Edinburgh, loth April 
1863, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. Mr Henderson of Lathones improved 
the event by preaching a sermon in Barnyards church, from the text : 
" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." In outlining the character of 
the departed he made special mention of his transparent integrity, his large- 
hearted generosity, his urbanity to all, but especially to the poor, " his piety 
so unobtrusive yet so consistent, so earnest and yet so free from everything 
repulsive." Such was the estimate formed of Mr Kennedy by one who had 
been long his nearest co-presbyter, and who never sought either to bepraise 
the dead or to flatter the living. 

Mr Kennedy came early out in the line of unsectarian action. On a 
communion Saturday in 1829 he went up to worship in the Relief church at 
Colinsburgh, and consented to preach on Sabbath evening, as Mr Marshall, 
the minister, was unable to take his part in the service. The elder from 
Ferry-Port-on-Craig, backed by his minister, complained of this to the 
Presbytery, and Mr Forsyth of Auchtermuchty, who was conservative in his 
leanings, took pen in hand on the subject, and some warm correspondence 
followed in the columns of the Theological Magazine. Ultimately the 
complaining elder was to be satisfied if it were entered in the minutes " that 
it is unconstitutional for ministers to exchange pulpits at uncanonical hours 


with ministers of other denominations," but the majority of the Presbytery 
deemed it inexpedient to pronounce on the principle which this proposal 
involved. In the course of the discussion union with the Relief church was 
suggested, it was a forecast of coming events. 


IN the absence of Presbytery and congregational records no definite account 
can be given of this congregation s origin. We only know that the place of 
worship, with 300 sittings, was built in 1801 at a cost of .160 or .170. The 
village is three miles west of St Andrews, and, the nearest church being 
distant an hour s walk, the erection was probably a matter of convenience 
more than of principle. 

First Minister. GEORGE BUCHANAN, described in the minutes of the 
Relief Synod for 1797 as "a student of divinity who thoroughly understands 
the Gaelic language." Licensed by Perth Presbytery, and employed two 
seasons in the Highland Mission to Argyleshire. With the view of being 
ordained at Strathkinnes he was certified to Dysart Presbytery on I2th April 
1800. In July 1808 he demitted his charge, but, the congregation having 
promised to be more regular in paying up his stipend, he agreed to remain. 
On 1 8th May 1809 he resigned a second time. After parties had been 
heard, the Presbytery blamed the people for having proved undutiful to 
their minister, but it carried to accept the resignation and grant an ample 
certificate of ministerial and moral character. Mr Buchanan now acted as a 
preacher for a number of years, but in 1816 a sphere of labour opened for 
him at Kirkcaldy. \Vhen Thomas Nairn left the Associate Presbytery, and 
joined John M Millan, a few of his people built a place of worship for him in 
Linktovvn. For forty-four years this straggling remnant had for their 
minister Mr James Kirkcaldy. In 1816 they were vacant, and Mr Buchanan 
was without a church, and in some way the parties were brought together. 
The Cameronian Presbytery found that Kirkcaldy congregation had been 
admitting "a number of vagrant preachers to their pulpit," and had also 
subscribed a call to one of these preachers without their concurrence. This 
was the Rev. George Buchanan, who, without ecclesiastical recognition, 
became minister of this little society of Cameronians. For renouncing their 
authority the Relief Presbytery of Dysart cut him off from their connection, 
and when he applied for readmission in 1819 they found it inexpedient to 
receive him. 

He is now lost sight of till the spring of 1822, when we meet him on 
the wing for America. An application had come from Beckwith in Upper 
Canada to some members of Edinburgh Secession Presbytery for a mis 
sionary who could preach both in Gaelic and English, and they had made 
choice of Mr Buchanan. His testimonials were highly satisfactory, and as 
he possessed medical skill, this with the gift of the two languages was fitted 
to make him a triple blessing to his countrymen in the far West. The 
difficulty lay in providing the passage-money and an adequate outfit for him 
and his family, twelve in all, but this was in course of being got over. Mi- 
Buchanan settled down in Beckwith, where " the people received him and 
his numerous family with joy, built him a house, and did all in their power 
to render him comfortable." He died there in 1835. A relative of Mr 
Buchanan s remembers hearing a letter from Canada read, stating that he 
passed away after a severe illness of ten months. His son, David P. 
Buchanan, was a catechist in Jamaica under the Secession Synod, but he 
died at Port Maria, 3rd March 1842, when on trials for licence. 


Second Minister. WILLIAM BOAG, who had been loosed from Castle- 
Douglas some time before. Having preached in Strathkinnes four successive 
Sabbaths he became the people s choice, and was inducted, i7th October 
1811. In less than three years the elders and managers came to the 
Presbytery for pecuniary aid to enable them to pay up their deficiencies 
to Mr Boag, and they were recommended to raise the seat rents in 
proportion to the congregation s necessities. Had the people been in 
structed to exercise the grace of liberality each first day of the week, as 
the Lord had prospered them, the advice might have been more effective, 
but in those days church-door collections were of little account in the 
financial life of Secession and Relief churches. On 8th February 1816 
Mr Boag accepted a call to Dunning (Relief), and furnished the congregation 
with an outlet into non-existence. Their first minister had been so ill- 
advised as to remind them from the pulpit, on more occasions than one, 
that, if they failed in meeting their money engagements, he had the legal 
bond to fall back on. The threat may have given rise to uneasy appre 
hensions, and prepared the way for the winding-up. The Presbytery on 
dissolving Mr Boag s connection with Strathkinnes made some arrange 
ments for supply to the vacant pulpit, and with this the name disappears 
from the records. The building was occupied for a time by the Wesleyan 
Methodists, but they never got naturalised in the village, their regular 
adherents consisting chiefly of old soldiers who walked out from St 

In 1818 ground was broken at Strathkinnes by the Original Burgher 
Presbytery of Perth in answer to a petition from 12 persons in St 
Andrews and its neighbourhood, but it was not till 1823 that a congregation 
was organised. The building was then purchased for ^90 by eight 
individuals, and on 24th July 1827 Mr Ralph Robb, an Original Burgher 
preacher from Alloa, was ordained. Of the old Relief congregation, some 
would keep by the old pews ; a few joined the Burgher congregation at 
St Andrews ; and others would likely find their way back to the parish 
church. Mr Robb with his people joined the Establishment in 1839, and 
left with the Evangelicals in 1843. He emigrated to Canada soon after, 
and the congregation is now the Free Church congregation of Strathkinnes. 


LATHONES is a hamlet midway between St Andrews and Largo, which 
are twelve miles apart. It is in the parish of Cameron, but near the 
boundaries of Carnbee and Kilconquhar. That was a district which 
supplied adherents to the Secession from an early period. A Carnbee 
elder was admitted to a seat in the session of the East of Fife at their 
second meeting, and the schoolmaster in Cameron was put out of his 
office for acceding to the Associate Presbytery. The cause was helped 
by an unacceptable settlement in Carnbee parish in the year 1742. But 
it was at Radernie that the first attempt was made to form a congregation. 
This was in May 1789, and supply was kept up there, year after year, on 
something like alternate Sabbaths. The meeting-place was a barn, which 
stood long by the wayside some six miles from St Andrews. On 26th 
January 1790 the people were congregated, and those of their number who 
were in membership with St Andrews obtained disjunctions five days 
afterwards. Other three years passed without further progress, and then 
a preaching station was opened at Kilconquhar, four miles to the south, 
and for a time the two places had supply divided between them. The 


outcome was that the cause at Radernie was abandoned for more than a 
generation, the members being left to join the Burgher congregations of 
St Andrews or Kilconquhar, as convenience might dictate. 

It was not till after the Union of 1820 that the Secession cause began 
to assume visibility in this locality again. On 23rd March 1824 a petition 
for supply of sermon was presented to the Secession Presbytery of Cupar 
from Largo ward, a village a little way south from Lathones. It was 
subscribed by 70 persons, and Mr Scott of Leslie was appointed to open 
the station, but not till the third Sabbath of May. In July it was reported 
that the people had secured a site, and were raising funds to build a place 
of worship. The work went rapidly on, and the meeting-house is said to 
have been roofed in before winter. It is a plain church, with sittings for 
250, and behind it are the manse and garden in the midst of a clump of 
stately trees. The congregating took place on Monday, 25th March 1825, 
when two of the Presbytery conversed with applicants for admission to 
Church fellowship, and received seven certificates from St Andrews. 
Kilconquhar session had previously intimated to the Presbytery that they 
would offer no opposition to the erection at Lathones, " though they felt 
much at the thought of losing a twelfth part of their small number." This 
would give nine or ten members, and we may calculate that there were 
at least as many from Ceres. There was also one very respectable family 
from the Relief church, Pittenweem. Such was the nucleus of Lathones 
congregation, but we may believe that at least one-half of the original 
membership came in from the Established Church. 

In October 1825 there was a meeting of the congregation for the choice 
of a minister, but the preacher they had in view was now under call to 
London, and they agreed to proceed no further. This was Mr James Gray, 
from Peebles (East), who was ordained over Albion Chapel, London, on 
24th January 1826, but died on 4th May 1828. As a preacher he is said 
to have been energetic even to violence, and to have done himself material 
harm by unnecessary exertion. Had he begun in Lathones, with its little 
church and peaceful surroundings, he might have had longer days. A 
volume of Mr Gray s sermons, with a memoir by Dr M Kelvie, then 
a probationer, was published after his death. 

First Minister. DAVID M RAE, M.A., from Saughieburn, Kincardine- 
shire, where his father had been minister of an Independent church. The 
call was signed by 29 members and 26 adherents, and, though the building 
of a church and manse had brought them into difficulties, they promised a 
stipend of ^80, with house and garden. On 6th March 1827 the ordination 
was gone through in memorable circumstances. Mr Forsyth of Auchter- 
muchty was to preach, and Mr Johnston of Leslie to preside, but owing to 
a heavy snowstorm neither of them appeared. After an hour s delay as 
many members of Presbytery got forward as made a quorum. Mr Halley 
of St Andrews, who had compassed the journey of six miles on horseback, 
was fixed on to preach, and Mr Kennedy of Kilconquhar to ordain and give 
the addresses, while the third minister present, Mr Thorn of Anstruther, acted 
as Presbytery clerk. But difficulties of another kind had to be faced. The 
increase in number was slow, and increase in liberality may have been 
slower still, a grace in which a section of the people would require training. 
Aid was needed from the Synod in 1831, and rendered at different times, 
as the funds allowed. To make matters worse, an Extension Chapel was 
erected at the neighbouring village of Largoward in 1835. On 5th February 
1838 Mr M Rae accepted a call to Oban, but, says the Synod s report for 
the following year : "Though their minister was, in the providence of God, 
removed to another sphere, not one of them has left the society." 


Second Minister. ARCHIBALD HENDERSON, from Bridge- of- Teith. 
Ordained, i7th March 1840. The callers were now 67 instead of 29, but 
the stipend promised was .10 less than they originally undertook, when 
perhaps they were over sanguine. During the vacancy an effort was put 
forth to have the debt of ,6350 reduced. The Liquidation Board offered 
^150 over against ^100, but the people did not think they could raise any 
part of the sum required, their ability being taxed to meet the ordinary ex 
penditure. A deputation met with them, and suggested a division into 
shares, with payment by instalments. There was no response, but at last 
one of the members engaged to give ^20 if the others would co-operate. 
The strongest opposer subscribed ^5, and before they parted half the sum they 
required was down upon paper. This, with the proportionate ,75 from the 
Board, reduced the debt by ,125, and a few years later through their o\vn 
exertions they were left with only ,100 to trouble them. Largo ward was 
in course of time promoted to the rank of a quoad sacra parish, but Lathones 
succeeded in holding its own, and in 1848 there were 114 names on the com 
munion roll. This year the stipend was supplemented ^20, making it ,90 
in all, with the manse. The preacher in charge of the adjoining chapel had 
at first only ^75, "raised by subscription from among the heritors and 
neighbouring ministers." 

During forty-eight years Mr Henderson kept the even tenor of his way, the 
congregation gradually improving and becoming well compacted. In 1875 
the membership was nearing 140. About this time the manse was greatly 
improved at a cost of ,320, of which the people raised ,130. In the spring 
of 1888 Mr Henderson required sick supply from the Presbytery by reason 
of failing strength. In September of that year the writer went over and 
took Lathones pulpit for a day, and did a slight service to an old and much- 
valued friend. Intimation was made at the close that their own minister 
intended to resume work, so far, on the following Sabbath. But a brief 
attempt sufficed to test inability, and on i6th October Mr Henderson retired 
to make way for another. At a farewell meeting in the church on i7th 
April 1889 he was presented with a gift of ,360, contributed as a mark of 
respect by his own congregation, members of Cupar Presbytery, and other 
friends. He then removed to the neighbourhood of Kilmalcolm, but the 
twilight was to be brief. He died, 8th September 1890, in the eighty-second 
year of his age and fifty-first of his ministry, and was buried in Cameron 
Churchyard, where his wife, a sister of Dr Finlayson, of Rose Street, Edin 
burgh, had been laid nearly thirty years before. 

Third Minister. ALEXANDER HORNE, from Leven. Ordained, 22nd 
May 1889. The membership is now between i6oand 170, and of the stipend 
the people pay ^100 from their own resources. 


THE parish of Cults, to which Pitlessie belongs, fell vacant in November 
1833 by the translation of the Rev. John Cook to Haddington. Without 
waiting to see what would emerge the upholders of popular rights, to the 
number of 102, petitioned the Secession Presbytery of Cupar for sermon. 
This was on 2ist January 1834, and the application was cordially granted. 
At next meeting one of the members, who had preached at Pitlessie in the 
interim, reported that the people were about to take measures for the building 
of a place of worship. The Presbytery had previously kept up Sabbath 
evening services, but there was now a fuller development. In August 
1835 the communion was observed, six elders having been ordained on the 


Fast Day the week before. A month later a moderation was applied for, 
with the promise of ^70 for stipend, with house rent. 

First Minister. JOHN LAWSON, from West Linton, a nephew of Professor 
Lawson of Selkirk. Mr Lawson had been called to Campbeltown (now 
extinct) and Maybole, and had even accepted the latter place, but drew back. 
Here, now, was a quiet sphere for him, if conscious inability to bear up under 
a heavy burden entered into his calculations. Ordained, 23rd February 1836. 
The call was signed by 51 members and 33 adherents. Care had been taken 
by the Presbytery to keep the communion roll from being loosely made up, 
the applicants for admission, most of whom were from the Established 
Church, being subjected to examination. This circumstance, to say nothing 
of money demands, may have told unfavourably on the numerical strength 
of the new cause. But more than this, Patronage had in the interval done 
its best for the parish of Cults. The Senatus of St Andrews University 
presented Mr Thomas J. Crawford to the benefice. He was the son of a 
former Professor, and his licence was hastened that he might be put into the 
vacant place. The Senatus looked on Cults as one of their own preserves ; 
but Dr George Cook, in vindicating their hurried action on this occasion 
before the Commissioners on Patronage, represented the presentee as "a 
man of splendid talents, who will do honour to the Church, or any society." 
Cults in his case was only a stepping-stone to higher things, and he was ulti 
mately known as the Rev. Ur Crawford, Professor of Divinity in Edinburgh 
University, and the author of a masterly work on "The Fatherhood of God." 
The appointment may have drawn a good many back to the parish church. 

In the summer of 1841 Mr Lawson required sympathy and assistance, 
but he held on till May 1846, when, despairing of timeous recovery, he felt 
compelled to resign. It was at this crisis that he published a little volume, 
entitled " Excursions through my Paradise," consisting of verses and reflections 
composed "during a somewhat protracted illness, when he often wended his 
way from the narrow confinement and the gloom of a chamber of affliction 
into the unlimited regions of thought." The congregation, by a petition with 
141 names, urged delay, in the hope that he would soon be able to resume 
his labours. This led to a pause, but on 5th March 1847 the resignation 
was accepted, and the hope expressed by the Presbytery that Mr Lawson 
would yet be restored to public usefulness. For his few remaining years he 
was allowed ,20 by the Synod, and in April 1852 the Presbytery of Cupar 
recommended a continuance of the grant. This was agreed to, but Mr 
Lawson died at Selkirk on ist June thereafter. 

Second Minister. ANDREW W. SMITH, who had been ordained at Cam- 
buslang in 1844, but resigned in two years owing to no fault of his. Inducted 
to Pitlessie, 29th September 1847. The call was signed by 91 members, and 
the stipend was to be ,70 in all. This sum was to be raised to ^90 by the 
Home Board, and under the workings of the Augmentation Scheme the 
totality rose by successive stages till in 1869 it reached ^140, one-half from 
the congregation and the other half from the Central Fund. In a few years 
more there was a further addition of ^30 from the Surplus Fund, and ^10 in 
name of house rent. But meanwhile the membership, which reached 150 in 
1849, had come down to little over 100, and the population of Cults parish, 
and specially of Pitlessie village, had declined in like proportion. In 1865 it 
was arranged that the old building, which had a cheerless look, should be 
superseded by another of more attractive aspect, and on a better site. The 
new church was opened on the Synod Sabbath in May 1866 by Dr George 
Jeffrey of Glasgow, to whom the function and the honour fitly belonged. 
He and his brother Robert had been intimate with Mr Smith in their early 
days, and when he required to draw on the liberality of the west, knowing 



the merits of the case and the unobtrusive excellence of the man, they 
befriended him with an amount of warm-hearted energy which deserves this 
passing commemoration. Owing largely to them, the church, built at a 
cheap time and on an economical scale, was opened free of debt. The cost 
was not over ,800, and it is seated for 400. 

On nth September 1888 Mr Smith retired from the active duties of the 
ministry, and passed into the emeritus position. Pitlessie was then wrought 
as a preaching station under a succession of students or probationers, but 
at the Synod in 1899 the people petitioned to be restored to the position of 
a regularly-equipped congregation. As the membership was only 60, and 
all the stipend they could raise was ^50, there was hesitancy about agreeing, 
but the motion to grant was carried. 

Third Minister. JOHN CARMICHAEL, who had been ordained over Duns 
(West) in 1885, but resigned in 1895 to make way for union. Inducted to 
Pitlessie, 8th August 1899, where he had been located three and a half years. 
The entire stipend arranged for is ,130, but there may be participation in 
the surplus besides. Mr Smith removed to Edinburgh in 1892. (He died, 
25th August 1902, aged eighty-nine.) 


THIS village is situated at the mouth of the Eden, four miles west of St 
Andrews, on the Cupar road. It had a population of 320 in 1881, which 
came up other 200 within the next ten years, and there was no church nearer 
than Leuchars or Strathkinnes, about two miles off. Early in 1882 the Rev. 
James Kidd of St Andrews called the attention of Cupar Presbytery to Guard- 
bridge as a place suitable for home mission work. On the second Sabbath 
of September a hall, built with the assistance of ^125 from the Home Mission 
Board, was opened free of debt, and the services of Mr James M Nee. 
preacher, secured. On I3th November 1883 the station, which had been 
affiliated for a twelvemonth with St Andrews church, was congregated in 
answer to a petition from 57 members and 45 ordinary hearers. 

First Minister. JAMES M NEE, from Sydney Place, Glasgow, who had 
been previously called to Blairhill, Coatbridge, but was unwilling to leave 
Guardbridge. Ordained, 3ist January 1884, and a session of three elders 
had been previously constituted. The stipend undertaken by the people was 
70, but at the close of the year they made it ^80. In 1886 it was ^85, and 
in 1890, when the membership reached 102, it was ^90, so that there was 
progress in keeping with the capabilities of the place. In the last-named 
year the minister received ^200 in all. On i6th March 1892 Mr M Nee, 
believing, perhaps, that his work at Guardbridge was done he had laid 
the foundation, and would leave another to build thereon was loosed from 
his charge, having accepted an appointment to go out as a missionary to 
Jamaica. On arriving there he acted for a time as locum tenens at Lucea, 
and then entered on the full pastorate. That is still his field of labour. 

Second Minister. JOHN E. DOBSON, who had resigned Nelson Street, 
Aberdeen, five years before, and was now on the probationer list. Inducted, 
26th July 1892. The membership at the close of 1899 was 9 T > an d the stipend 
from the people ,90, which the supplement raises to fully double that sum. 



THIS congregation is transferred from the Presbytery of Stirling, and it 
heads the Dumbarton list on the ground of seniority. Holm of Balfron was 
the mother church of the Secession in Strathendrick, and it sprung from an 
obnoxious settlement in Balfron parish, which took place two years before 
the Associate Presbytery was in existence. The charge fell vacant in 1729, 
and three candidates were on the field Messrs William Buchanan, David 
Brown, and George Sinclair each of whom had a party in his support, 
headed by certain heritors. Before an election could be carried through a 
presentation in favour of the last named was handed in from the patron, the 
Earl of Kinnoul, and, whatever Mr Sinclair may have been before, this was 
likely to make him the least acceptable of the three. At the General 
Assembly of 1730 no appearance was made on behalf of Mr Brown, who 
seems to have been the popular candidate, and the claims of the other two 
were left very much in the hands of the Presbytery. They decided in favour 
of Mr Buchanan, on the ground that he had the larger number of heritors, 
elders, and heads of families on his side ; but the case went before the 
Commission in September, which sustained Mr Sinclair s call, and ordered 
his ordination to be proceeded with. The Presbytery unanimously refused 
to obtemper the sentence " in regard the great majority of the heritors, the 
whole eldership, and the whole heads of families except thirteen were against 
the settlement." But a " Riding Committee" had been appointed to expedite 
proceedings, and by them the presentee s trials were sustained, and the edict 
ordered to be served. On the morning of the ordination day three members 
of the committee, with another minister, and a single member of Dumbarton 
Presbytery, met at the kirk of Balfron, when some heritors and elders 
objected to the settlement, and tabled specific charges against Mr Sinclair. 
The day was occupied with the examination of witnesses, and at six in the 
evening the service began under the protection of a company of soldiers, 
very few of the parishioners remaining. At next Assembly the Commission 
was blamed for going on in the face of Presbytery and Synod, but the 
ordination was allowed to carry validity. The feeling which these pro 
ceedings stirred in other parishes may be brought out by a quotation from 
Wodrow s Analecta : " Mr Sinclair of Balfron was invited to the Sacrament 
by Mr Edmistoun of Cardross, and preached on the Fast Day. When he 
came up most of the people went away and left the place. He was to have 
assisted the whole time, but next day the elders came in a body to Mr 
Edmistoun and told him that if Mr Sinclair were employed on that occasion 
they would by no means serve at the tables. Upon which he thought it 
advisable voluntarily to withdraw and go home." 

On 1 2th July 1773 tne Praying Societies in Balfron presented a paper to 
the Associate Presbytery, stating their clamant circumstances, and, in reply 
to a petition for a Fast, Messrs Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine preached to 
them on I2th October, and after sermon held session with seven or eight 
elders. A year later they were bent on calling Mr John Hunter, the only 
Secession licentiate as yet, but the drag was put on, that Morebattle might 
get the benefit. At last, in the end of April 1740, a moderation was granted 
them, which issued in a call to Mr David Smyton, but the people of 
Kilmaurs pressed forward, craving delay till they could get abreast. In the 
end the latter call was preferred. The year before this a church was built 


at " The Holm," a retired spot three miles to the east of Balfron village, 
and four and a half south of Buchlyvie, from which it drew a large branch 
of its membership. 

First Minister. JOHN CLELAND, who had been a schoolmaster in 
Cambuskenneth, and acceded to the Associate Presbytery in March 1739. 
Having obtained licence in 1741 he was called to Annandale, but pleaded 
that the congregation there was too far scattered for his strength, and, as 
he was now beyond middle life, the Presbytery did not insist on his accep 
tance. Balfron followed, where he was ordained, 8th June 1742. At the 
Breach of 1747 he went to the Antiburgher side, and took the JDulk of his 
people with him. In 1752 the congregation divided Buchlyvie people 
having built a church for themselves and on ist May of that year Mr 
Cleland was transferred by his own choice to that new centre, and " The 
Holm " was preached vacant. On I7th June they gave a unanimous call to 
Mr William Brown, afterwards of Craigdam, but without effect. 

Second Minister. JAMES MITCHELL, of whose family connection we 
have ascertained nothing. Ordained, 2ist August 1753. Of Mr Mitchell 
we read : " He was a man of patriarchal dignity and engaging manners, 
esteemed by the old, revered by the young, and beloved by all. Under his 
attractive care and fostering ministrations religion flourished exceedingly, 
and the congregation increased greatly." We know, besides, that he was one 
of the ministers appointed by the Synod to preach as a candidate in the 
North Church, Perth. In 1783 the stipend was ,50 a year, and Mr Mitchell 
had been obliged to take a new tack of the house and ground in his own 
name. He died, i6th November 1786, in the sixty-second year of his age 
and thirty-fourth of his ministry. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM PULLER, from Moneydie parish and Methven 
congregation. Ordained, 29th November 1787. In the third year of Mr 
Puller s ministry the second church was built, with accommodation for 500. 
The expense seems to have been met by the people at the time, and instead 
of a money feu the superior held a right to eight sittings in the church. Of 
the minister himself we have some interesting notices in the Life and Letters 
of Dr Heugh. After a communion at Balfron he wrote : "We had a most 
elaborate sermon by Mr Puller, and truly an excellent one." Then he gives 
it as his opinion that, if his friend had only a little more skill in using his 
materials, and some briskness in his delivery, he would be one of the first 
stars in their little sky. Another testifies that he was a man of profound 
piety, kind affections, and retiring habits, and that " some of his discourses 
will be long remembered by those who could estimate their excellence, for 
depth of research as well as accuracy and originality of view." On Sabbath, 
loth February 1811, he had to abridge his pulpit services, and on his way 
home, accompanied by one of his elders, he dropped down dead. " I have 
never felt so deeply affected," wrote Dr Heugh, "with the death of one who 
was not related to me by blood." He was in the fiftieth year of his age and 
twenty-fourth of his ministry. 

Fourth -Minister. JAMES THOMSON, who had been loosed from the 
Antiburgher Church, Bo ness, in April 1812. The call to Holm of Balfron 
was signed by 62 (male) members and 28 adherents, and the induction 
took place on loth September of the same year. The total number of 
Antiburghers in Balfron parish was returned in 1792 at 459, but the con 
gregation suffered before the close of Mr Puller s ministry by a number of 
families going over to the Constitutional Presbytery, though the cause never 
came to much. In 1837 the communicants numbered nearly 200, of whom 
about one-third were from the parishes of Killearn and Fintry. The stipend 
at this time was ,100, but the minister stated that he received valuable 


presents in addition from his people, and had his fuel driven free. He had 
neither manse nor glebe, but he rented twelve acres of ground, and occupied 
the house connected with this little farm, paying the rent out of his own 
pocket, the farmers tilling it for him, so that it was wrought at little expense. 
It was an arrangement which occasioned trouble to Mr Puller thirty years 
before. The ground he had at first, as we read in the Christian Magazine, 
was too small for the expense incurred in labouring it, and, though he would 
have been content to be quit of it altogether, he had to retain it to secure the 
house, which belonged not to the congregation but to the proprietor. Hence, 
by the advice of the managers, he got an enlargement of his farm, so as to 
employ a man and a pair of horses. Some malcontents among his people 
thereupon charged him before the Presbytery with depriving other families 
of their farms, but the charges were shown to be baseless by the testimony 
of their own witnesses, and the accusers were found censurable. It was 
probably the bitterness engendered by this case that prompted an application 
soon after to the Constitutional Presbytery for sermon, more than "dissatis 
faction with the Testimony adopted by the General Synod." 

In 1851 Mr Thomson had the degree of D.D. conferred upon him by the 
University of Glasgow, along with his nephew, the Rev. Andrew Thomson 
of Broughton Place, Edinburgh. In June 1857, when he was about to enter 
on his eightieth year, Dr Thomson brought his increasing infirmities and 
the state of his congregation under the notice of the Presbytery. A visit of 
inquiry brought out that Holm of Balfron had still a membership of 140, 
that it had always been self-supporting, and that the aged minister was 
desirous that the congregation should be kept up. The Mission Board 
hesitated about committing themselves to a permanent supplement, 
especially as a considerable number of the members, it was calculated, would 
drop away at the close of Dr Thomson s ministry, and not more than 77 
were expected to continue. Still, the people were in good spirits, and instead 
of contemplating a break up they set about raising money among themselves 
with the view of removing their place of worship to a better situation. In 
1859 they called Mr George Barclay, who, after balancing between the two 
for a little, accepted Dunscore. 

Fifth Minister. ROBERT MUIR, M.A., from Ayr (Darlington Place). 
The stipend of the colleague was to be 80 in all from the congregation, and 
Dr Thomson was to have ,15 in money, ^10 in agricultural labour, and 6 
from a bequest, with an additional ^20 from the Mission Board. A new 
church, with 300 sittings, was opened on Sabbath, I5th January 1860, by 
Dr Thomson. A manse was also built under the same roof. The total 
cost of .1400 exceeded the estimate a good way, and left the people, not 
withstanding their abounding liberality, under a debt of ^370. Mr Muir 
was ordained on ist May 1860, and that evening Dr Thomson s jubilee was 
celebrated, two years behind its time, and he was presented with a gift of 142 
sovereigns. Mr Muir accepted a call to Hawick (Allars), 7th June 1864, and 
on 1 3th November Dr Thomson died, in the eighty-seventh year of his age 
and fifty-seventh of his ministry. A tribute to his memory appeared in the 
U.P. Magazine from the graceful pen of Dr Edmond, who had been baptised 
and brought up in the congregation. 

After a pause of a year Holm congregation called Mr John M Kerrow, who 
accepted, but Penicuik came in, and the acceptance was withdrawn. With 
the aid of ,20 from the Supplementing Fund the stipend was now to be 
.110, along with the manse, and the membership was exactly 100. To 
reduce the debt of ^370 the Manse Committee allowed a grant of ^150. 

Sixth Minister. CHARLES COOPER, M.A., from Midmar. Ordained 
on 23rd January 1866. Demitted his charge, 3rd November 1868, on 


accepting an academical appointment to India. In 1898 Mr Cooper 
obtained the degree of LL.D. from Aberdeen University, when it was stated 
that for thirty years he had been in the service of the Free Church, and was 
now Principal of the Christian College, Madras, and Professor of Mental and 
Moral Science. 

Seventh Minister. JAMES PATON, from Partick (Newton Place). The 
Mission Board was beginning to urge union with Balfron, but Mr Paton 
was ordained, 2ist December 1869, and for ten years he held the fort. The 
stipend from the people was now 20 lower than before, and when his 
resignation was accepted, on 2ist October 1879, the communion roll was 
reduced to 60. Mr Paton emigrated to New South Wales, where he has 
ministered for many years at Petersham in the Presbytery of Sydney. 

All was in ripeness now for union with Balfron. The reduction in 
membership which Holm congregation experienced is not to be wondered at, 
when we consider that the population of the parish had declined nearly a 
third during the last thirty years. The terms of union reported to Dum 
barton Presbytery on 24th February 1880 were as follows : The name to be 
Balfron and Holm U.P. Church ; the existing sessions and managers to 
form the united session and board of management ; public worship to be 
conducted in Holm church at least once a month, and the communion to be 
observed there once a year, and other services as suits the convenience of 
the minister. But for the consummation of the union it was necessary that 
the Synod should transfer Holm congregation from the Presbytery of Stirling 
to the Presbytery of Dumbarton, and this was done at the meeting in May. 
On loth August Dumbarton Presbytery declared the union formally com 
pleted, and one of the ministers was to preach in the two churches on the 
following Sabbath, and intimate the same. 


THIS village rose into importance about the year 1792, and on 8th January 
1793 a respectable number of the inhabitants petitioned the Relief Presbytery 
of Glasgow for sermon, which was begun on the third Sabbath of March. 
The congregation was for six months under the care of the Rev. William 
Wright, formerly of Ford, who was to receive ,20 in return. The church 
was built in 1793, with sittings for 320, and the Rev. Robert Paterson of 
Largo was called soon after, but preferred to remain where he was. 

First Minister JAMES LoGAX, M.A., from Anderston, Glasgow. Or 
dained, 8th March 1798, on a unanimous call. The stipend was to be 70, 
with carriage of twelve carts of coal from Baldernock, or a like distance, and 
after two years he was to have other \o fora dwelling-house, and sacra 
mental expenses. In Mr Logan Balfron congregation was favoured with a 
good beginning, but he was loosed on ist November 1803 on accepting a 
call to St Ninians. 

Second Minister. DECISION LAING, who had been seven years in 
Wamphray. Inducted, igth July 1804. Prior to this he published a dis 
course on missions, the only one by which he is known, entitled " Zion 
Travailing." Mr Laing required sick supply in the beginning of July 1830, 
and died at Glasgow on the 3Oth of that month in the thirty-fourth year of 
his ministry. The congregation then called Mr James Hamilton, a preacher 
whom it was difficult to get hold of, and equally difficult to retain, as Largo 
people experienced. At the first meeting of Presbytery he wished time to 
consider, and at next meeting he refused to accept. 

Third Minister. HUGH BROWN, from Hutchesontown, Glasgow. 


Ordained, 23rd August 1832. Five years afterwards there were 200 com 
municants, a considerable number of them from Killearn parish, and a few 
from Fintry, Kippen, and Kilmadock. The stipend was 75, with a house 
and garden and a park of about an acre. Of the families seventeen came 
from over four miles. A volume of Mr Brown s sermons, published after 
his death, shows him to have been a man of more than average pulpit gifts ; 
but there was a spoiler at work, which led to his suspension, sine die, on 5th 
December 1854. In the memorial notice of his life, prefixed to the above 
volume, this fact is stated without any attempt at concealment. The appetite 
for stimulants, liquid and solid, is brought up as the weak point in his char 
acter, proving the occasion of grief and trouble both to himself and others. 
It appears that on leaving Balfron he resided some years in Glasgow, but 
in 1 86 1 he emigrated to America. Two years after this he was inducted into 
Greensboro , Alabama, where he remained till 1867. He then settled down in 
Dekorra and Caledonia for eight years. The writer adds : "It is a pleasure 
to be able to say that the later experiences of his life were most unexception 
able, and that his individual and public pledges were honoured." He died, 
1 5th May 1876, in the seventieth year of his age and forty-fourth of his 

Fourth Minister. JAMES ROBERTSON, from Crieff (South). Called also 
to Drymen and Eyemouth, and ordained at Balfron, 3oth December 1856. 
The stipend was now ^80 from the people, with manse and garden as before. 
Called almost simultaneously to Dundee (James Church), and Edinburgh, 
Bread Street (now Viewforth). Accepted the latter, and was loosed, 28th 
February 1866. The first the congregation now called was Mr James 
Mather, who preferred the young congregation of Langbank. During Mr 
Robertson s ministry the debt on the church was liquidated, and a new 
manse built at a cost of ^1000. The congregation also raised their part of 
the stipend ^20. 

Fifth Minister. THOMAS DUNLOP, from Kilmarnock (Portland Road), 
a brother of the Rev. James Dunlop, Kilmaronock. Ordained, 23rd July 1867, 
and loosed, 2nd May 1871, on accepting a call to Bristo Church, Edinburgh, 
to be colleague to Dr Peddie. 

Sixth Minister. JAMES LINDSAY, M.A., from Dundee (Tay Square). 
Ordained, I7th October 1871. At the close of 1879, when the negotiations 
for union with Holm church were going on, Balfron had a membership of 
144, and Holm a membership of 60. The united congregation raised the 
stipend at once from ,125 to ^150, and, as showing how thoroughly the 
union was gone into, it may be added that the return for 1880 gave 200 
names on the communion roll. A new church, with sittings for 380, was 
opened on Sabbath, 7th May 1882, by Dr Edmond of London. The cost 
was ^2300, and the building was almost free of debt a liberal member 
having given ,1000. The stipend had been previously raised to ,200 
through the generosity of a Wellington Church elder, who had come from 
Glasgow to Balfron, and was giving a yearly donation of ,50. At this figure 
it still continues, and at the close of 1899 there was a membership of 202. 
Thus in the face of a still declining population the united congregation 
keeps its ground. 


IN the Old Statistical History it is stated that in 1792 there were only 
nine persons of the Burgher persuasion in Balfron, but at Whitsunday 1793 
about 200 work-people were imported to the village for the print work and 


the bleach-field, raising the population to nearly 1200, and that most of 
the new-comers were either Burghers or Relievers. It is added that the few 
families of Burghers in the place before this had adhered to the Established 
Church, but now each of the two parties set up a tent for themselves, and 
"had ever since been contending with much animosity for the honour of 
making proselytes." This was the parish minister s version of the affair. 
On turning to their own records we find the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow 
granted sermon to Balfron in January 1793, an d the Burgher Presbytery 
followed on I4th June of the same year. In the latter case supply was kept 
up about two Sabbaths each month for some years. On the first Sabbath of 
September 1797 three elders were ordained and one inducted, and, as an 
after-thought, an equal number of deacons were superadded. 

First Minister. JOHN COOPER, from Aberdeen (Nether Kirkgate). 
Ordained as minister of Balfron and Fintry, 4th June 1799. A stipend of 
^60 was to be attempted, with a free house, and a promised advance of ^10 
as soon as possible. The call was signed by 48 members and 44 adherents, 
and the minister was to preach every third Sabbath at Fintry, five miles off. 
The church was built in 1800, with 250 sittings, and the cost was given in to 
the Presbytery as ,240, of which the people raised ,78, which with a dona 
tion of ^20 from the Synod left a debt of ,142 on the building. In 1802 
burdens began to press, and the Presbytery found that the stipend was 
^33 in arrears. Fintry people had honourably fulfilled their obligations, 
though they had only forty-two seats let, 23 of their number not paying. 
Still, though two dissenting congregations were more than sufficient to 
occupy the ground, and one of them was among the straits, that did not 
prevent an accession from Balfron to the Original Burgher Presbytery of 
Glasgow in October 1804, and the setting up of a new cause. But, though 
sermon was granted them about once a month, this congregation, never got 
fully organised, and in 1816 the name dropped from the Almanac list. On 
the other hand, some people in Balfron, dissatisfied with the New Testimony, 
applied for sermon in 1808 to the Constitutional Presbytery, or Original 
Antiburghers, and they were to be conversed with, and "a report brought up 
as to the prospect of steadiness." At next meeting Mr M Crie of Edinburgh 
expressed his belief that the petitioners were resolved to adhere to the Old 
Light cause, and supply went on from this additional source for nearly 
twenty years. Thus in Balfron, including the Holm, five classes of dis 
senters struggled with each other for a foothold. The Original Burghers, as 
we have seen, were the first to succumb, and two others were to follow, 
though not till after a lengthened period. 

Mr Cooper died, i3th September 1821, in the fifty-ninth year of his age 
and twenty-third of his ministry. The congregation, which had required 
drafts of ,10 from the Synod Fund again and again, were now to be satis 
fied with preachers every second Sabbath, till arrears of stipend were made 
up to the ministers widow. The propriety of attempting a union with the 
Holm church, two miles distant, was pressed upon them by the Presby 
tery. The members, it was found, were reduced to 78, and of these 10 
in the neighbourhood of Buchlyvie, and 9 in the neighbourhood of Fintry, 
were not likely to continue. There was at the same time a debt on the 
property of ^145, but in the face of these considerations the people were 
almost unanimously in favour of continuing as a distinct congregation. In 
this state the machinery moved slowly on till April 1829, when a protest by 
a minority of Glasgow Presbytery came up to the Synod against a deed of 
the majority granting a moderation to Balfron. The Synod without any 
discussion sustained the protest, on the ground of inadequate stipend and 
the fact of there being another Secession congregation in the neighbourhood. 


In October the congregation sent in a remonstrance to the Presbytery 
against the Synod s deed, and renewed their request for a moderation. As 
this could not be granted, notice was given at next meeting, on 3rd 
November, that the congregation had resolved to renounce connection with 
the United Secession Church, and make application to another body for 
sermon. The Presbytery expressed regret that a congregation which had 
profited so much by the liberality of the Church should have acted so un 
gratefully, but the irrevocable step was already taken. That same day a 
petition to be received under their inspection was presented from Balfron to 
the Original Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow, and admission followed without 
difficulty. A party, however, claiming the rights of the congregation ad 
hered to their old connection, and retained the property, necessitating the 
disruptionists to build another place of worship. Though this was more 
than enough to crush their feeble energies, the Old Light party brought out 
an unsuccessful call, signed by 30 members and 5 adherents, in February 
1831, promising 60 of stipend, with sacramental expenses. Unity had soon 
after to be inculcated, and the last notice in the Original Burgher records 
occurs in 1835, and bears on the willingness of certain parties to take over 
the church at a valuation. It was turned, in the first instance, into a 

The little party which adhered to the United Synod held on, and in 1831 
they represented to the Presbytery that, though they had not applied for 
sermon for some time, they still considered themselves a congregation, and 
wished supply when they were able to pay for it. Matters continued in this 
state till August 1835, when the Presbytery sanctioned union with Holm of 
Balfron. Mr Thomson, the minister of Holm, represented in 1837 that the 
united congregation had two places of worship, and that he conducted a 
service on the evening of every fourth Sabbath in Balfron, and also preached 
there six days in the year, leaving his own pulpit vacant. Thus did the 
little remnant of the Burgher congregation at Balfron retain some traces of 
what had been in its better days. 


AN appeal by certain heritors and heads of families in Kilmaronock came up 
to the General Assembly in 1770 against a deed of the Presbytery of Dum 
barton, sustaining a call to the patron s nominee, Mr James Addie, but the 
Presbytery s decision was confirmed by a majority of ninety-nine to twenty- 
two. In October the case was brought before the Synod of Glasgow and 
Ayr in an altered form. Mr Addie s other trial discourses had been passed ; 
but an exercise on James i. 29, " Pure religion and undefiled," etc., was 
rejected on the ground that it wanted the Evangelical element, and that it 
seemed to rest our acceptance with God on the merits of a charitable and 
holy life. The meeting was held at Irvine, where the presentee read the 
discourse to a crowded audience, and also gave reasons for handling the 
subject as he did. The Synod sustained the exercise by thirty-five to twenty- 
three, and ordered the edict to be served on the following Sabbath. Against 
this decision appeals were taken, and when the Presbytery met they decided 
to sist procedure till next Assembly. When the case came anew before the 
Supreme Court it was decided that unless the parishioners raised other 
objections the settlement should go on, and accordingly Mr Addie was 
ordained, 24th July 1771. At next Assembly a complaint came up against 
the Presbytery for proceeding with the ordination in the face of a libel 
tabled against the presentee, but, the parties not appearing, it was declared 
to be fallen from. 


About this time, or perhaps earlier, the people of Kilmaronock almost in a 
body placed themselves under the inspection of the Relief Presbytery of 
Glasgow. The first church, with 450 sittings, was erected in 1772, but at 
this time, and for years afterwards, the Presbytery had scarcely a single 
probationer at command, and Kilmaronock had to be content with an occa 
sional Sabbath from members of Presbytery. This may account for no 
moderation being applied for till April 1775, and also for the first call being 
addressed to an ordained minister, the Rev. Robert Paterson of Largo. 
Twelve months of slow movement followed, and then the call was declined. 

First Minister. JOHN KING, a licentiate of Dalkeith Established Presby 
tery, who had been parish teacher at Lasswade, and of whom we learn from 
a newspaper notice that that Presbytery in April 1775 declared his licence 
null and void because he had gone over to the Relief. Mr King no sooner 
came within the bounds as a preacher than he was fixed on by Kilmaronock 
congregation, and he was ordained, 26th March 1777. He was also author 
ised to constitute 5 of their number, who had been elders in the Established 
Church, into a session. Some differences about money matters having arisen 
between minister and people, the Presbytery held a meeting at Kilmaronock 
in April 1779, w i tn tne view of having harmony restored. It ended with the 
congregation declaring their willingness to allow Mr King ^3 at each com 
munion, and to pay his stipend punctually four times a year. But this had 
slight effect in smoothing down matters, and at a meeting in Edinburgh on 
25th May Mr King demitted his charge. Commissioners being forward, 
the case was referred to the Synod, which on the 27th declared the connec 
tion dissolved. Accounts were ultimately squared to the satisfaction of all 
parties, and after being a minister at large for nearly two years Mr King 
was inducted into Kettle. 

In the continued dearth of preachers Kilmaronock congregation now 
crossed the English border, and invited the Rev. James Sommerville of 
Ravenstonedale to become their minister. This was the congregation from 
which Colinsburgh had brought the Rev. Thomas Colier, one of the founders 
of the Relief Presbytery, twenty years before. Mr Sommerville presented 
his credentials to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow, and after preaching 
before them he had the call sustained and put into his hands. He wished 
a little time to consider, but month after month passed, and no explicit answer 
to the question of acceptance was returned. The patience of the Presbytery 
being at last exhausted, they declared the call null and void, and Mr 
Sommerville was forbidden to preach within their bounds till he should make 
satisfaction for his conduct. The Relief denomination was much beholden 
to Dissenting churches in the north of England for the filling up of their 
vacancies in those days, and in this connection we may linger briefly over 
Mr Sommerville s character and history. He was a native of the Merse, 
and a licentiate of Lauder Established Presbytery, and was ordained at 
Ravenstonedale, 27th September 1775. On 2ist March 1784, a year after 
letting Kilmaronock go, he preached his farewell sermon to his congregation 
from Paul s words : " And now, brethren, I commend you to God and the 
word of His grace," etc. " It was a mournful day," says his biographer, " to 
him, and to many who esteemed him highly for his work s sake." He then 
removed to Brampton in Northumberland, where he laboured till his death, 
on 8th July 1808, in his sixty-fifth year. The Evangelical Magazine in an 
appreciative notice describes him as "a plain, bold, animated preacher." 
Such was the man whom Kilmaronock seemed at one time on the point of 

Second Minister. ARCHIBALD MURDOCH, from the parish of Lecropt 
and the congregation of St Ninians. After the call was out a bond was 


signed by 100 of the congregation, 5 of them women, in which the parties 
engaged to pay their equal proportion of the minister s salary unless they 
removed more than five miles away, and they gave as a reason the 
mournful and distressed condition to which that part of the country was 
reduced through want of the due administration of the gospel. Mr Murdoch 
was ordained, loth March 1784. A glebe of twenty-four acres had been 
bought in the early part of Mr King s ministry at the cost of ^135, and he 
was to possess this along with a manse and office-houses in addition to the 
stipend. There followed a long period of unobtrusive labour for the minister, 
and of solid prosperity for the congregation. The extent of Mr Murdoch s 
territories in the earlier part of his ministry is brought out at an election of 
elders, when two were required for the district around the church, two for 
Bonhill, one for Drymen, and one for the district beyond the Endrick. In 
1839 the parish incumbent reported that he had 60 families under his 
charge, while 100 belonged to the Relief, or attended Dissenting churches 
outside the bounds. Mr Murdoch died, I7th March 1839, in the eightieth 
year of his age, and had completed the fifty-fifth of his ministry a few days 
before. The midnight hour was striking, and his last words were : " I will 
sleep now." Mr Murdoch s nearest co-presbyter, the Rev. John R. Swan 
of Bonhill, was also his son-in-law. 

Third Minister. JAMES MONTEITH, from Blairlogie, but a native of 
Tillicoultry, and baptised in the parish church. Ordained, i8th November 
1840. The stipend was to be .90, with house and garden, or, if he preferred 
it, .70, with house, garden, and glebe. Mr Monteith died, ist December 
1843, m hi 3 father s house at Tillicoultry, in the thirty-first year of his age 
and fourth of his ministry, after an illness of twenty months duration. A 
new manse had been built for the young minister the year after his ordination 
at a cost of ,220, the greater part of which was raised at the time. There 
was now a debt on the property of about ,300. 

At a moderation which took place in July 1844 the votes were much 
divided, there being 76 for Mr William Miller, 69 for Mr Russell, afterwards 
of Newburgh, and 26 for Mr Milligan, who joined the Established Church. 
There being no second vote allowed in the Relief, Mr Miller was declared 
duly elected, but the call was signed by only 102 members out of a total of 
297. By an anomalous arrangement four commissioners appeared as repre 
sentatives of the congregation, two of whom were in favour of going forward, 
and two against. After some discussion in the Presbytery Mr Miller ap 
peared in court, and craved them to proceed no further, as he was resolved 
not to accept. The call was accordingly laid aside, with the addendum that 
none of the three candidates were to be eligible at next election. At the 
General Assembly of 1845 Mr Miller was admitted into the Established 
Church, and ultimately went to Canada. He was a brother of the Rev. 
James A. Miller, Clackmannan. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM MORTON, from Old Kilpatrick. Ordained, 
2/th May 1845. Some members of Presbytery were much dissatisfied with 
the stipend offered. It was ,90, with house and garden, and 6 for expenses, 
or a park of equal value if he preferred it. The managers, it was complained, 
had let the glebe, and, after deducting the rent it brought, the stipend they 
gave was only ^73. Mr Morton died, I5th May 1850, in the thirty-sixth 
year of his age and fifth of his ministry. His tombstone bears that he was 
"a sound and able theologian, an amiable man, and a lucid, earnest, and 
edifying preacher." Mr David Russell was chosen as Mr Morton s successor, 
but Dunfermline (St Margaret s) was preferred. 

Fifth Minister. JAMES DUNLOP, from Kilmarnock (Portland Road). 
The call was signed by 206 members and 22 adherents, and Mr Dunlop was 


ordained, 6th January 1852. The stipend was to be ^100, with two parks 
valued at ^8, besides the manse and travelling expenses. Next year the 
present church was erected on the old site, with sittings for 400, the cost 
being ,720, of which ,500, including the sum received for old material, was 
raised by the people at the time. In 1872 the manse was enlarged, the 
people contributing nearly ,300, and receiving ,100 from the Board. In 1883 
the entire debt of over ,500 was cleared away by means of a bazaar, leaving 
nearly as much over to be applied towards lessening yearly burdens and 
meeting such requirements as might arise from repairs on the property. The 
glebe advantages the funds some ,40 a year, without counting five acres 
possessed by the minister. With a rural population slowly declining, the 
membership is much reduced from what it was fifty years ago, but in 1899 
it numbered about 160, and the stipend from the people was ^129, zos. in 


ON 26th August 1765 a petition, signed by ten heads of families and others 
in the parish of Old Kilpatrick, for sermon two Sabbaths by way of experi 
ment was presented to the Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow. In the paper 
they set forth their mournful condition from want of the gospel in its purity, 
and wished to have matters ripened for further supply, but owing, apparently, 
to the dearth of preachers there were no appointments made. After a break 
of eleven years a similar petition came up from Old and New Kilpatrick, 
which was answered by Mr Henderson of Glasgow being appointed to preach 
to the applicants on the second Sabbath of October 1776. On i8th March of 
the following year a request for sermon was backed by the accession of 
200 people, who were at once received under the Presbytery s inspection. 
But so early as August 1740 a commissioner from Glasgow had petitioned, 
" in name of their correspondents in Kilpatrick," for the observance of a Fast, 
and in November following week-day services were conducted among them 
by Mr Mair of Orwell on his way back from the ordination of Mr Smyton at 
Kilmaurs. The parish minister at that time was Mr Yeats, an Englishman, 
who was ordained in 1738, and deposed in 1744 for profaning the Sabbath, 
and other offences. The low moral standing of this man may partly account 
for the early uprise of adherents to the Associate Presbytery in Old Kil 
patrick, but they were too few to be congregated, and they had to place 
themselves under Mr Fisher s ministry in Glasgow, ten miles off. Though 
not numerous, their accession to the new cause a generation later would help 
to give it stability. The church, which served the congregation all on, was 
built in 1781, with sittings for 500. 

The first call was addressed to Mr William Taylor, whom Glasgow 
Presbytery appointed to Renton. His own preference was for Kilpatrick, 
but he did not give it expression. The stipend promised at this time was 
^56, with a glebe worth ^5, and a house. In their next call the people were 
very unfortunate. Mr James Osborne, who had newly got licence from 
Glasgow Presbytery, was so acceptable that he supplanted another for 
whom a moderation had been obtained, and became the congregation s 
unanimous choice. But when on trials for ordination he had two of his 
exercises rejected, and another discourse had been similarly dealt with at an 
earlier stage. Two of the Presbytery even disapproved of giving him licence 
at all, assigning as the reason that " they are convinced he is not possessed 
of abilities for the ministry." Mr Osborne now requested to be released from 
the call to Kilpatrick, and the commissioners were afraid that after what had 


happened "anything else would not be very agreeable." Directions were 
given to bring the matter before a congregational meeting, when a majority 
declared in favour of allowing the call to drop, which, at Mr Osborne s 
reiterated desire, the Presbytery agreed to. He remained on the probationer 
list till September 1791, when the Synod decided to give him no more ap 
pointments. At next meeting they were informed that he had been in great 
affliction as well as poverty, and Glasgow session were allowed to draw on 
the Synod Fund for his relief. We have the authority of Dr George Brown 
for saying that he settled down as a teacher in Glasgow. 

First Minister. ARCHIBALD WOOD, from Kirkintilloch. Ordained, 
28th August 1787, and died of fever on 29th December following, in the 
twenty-eighth year of his age. The congregation within three months called 
the Rev. George Hill of Cumbernauld, but the translation was not sanc 
tioned by the Presbytery. The call was signed by 115 members and 
294 adherents. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM WATSON, translated from Largs, and in 
ducted, 1 8th March 1789. When the question of the magistrate s power 
came on for discussion in the Burgher Synod, and throughout the Church, 
Mr Watson and his session took the Old Light side, deprecating interference 
with the Formula. Immediately after the rupture he sent in his declinature 
to the Presbytery, and next day, 2nd October 1799, he took part in the 
formation of the Original Burgher Presbytery. The majority of the con 
gregation adhered to their minister, but a number withdrew, and an 
application of theirs for an interdict to keep the other party from meanwhile 
letting the seats came before the Court of Session soon after, but was with 
drawn on the following week, with ten guineas of expenses. The case was 
then taken by Mr Watson and his adherents into the Inner House, and 
while matters were in this state he was called to E. Campbell Street, Glasgow, 
a congregation of about 800 members. The translation was agreed to by 
the Presbytery on a second call, and Kilpatrick became vacant, 23rd Feb 
ruary 1802. He died on roth March 181 1, in the fifty-fourth year of his age 
and the twenty-ninth of his ministry. Two of Mr Watson s daughters were 
married to Original Burgher ministers the Rev. Alexander Turnbull, his 
successor, and the Rev. Finlay Stewart of Pollokshaws. 

Third Minister. JAMES GARDINER, from Biggar (now Moat Park). 
After attending three sessions at Selkirk he joined the Old Light congrega 
tion of Shotts, and was received by the Original Burgher Presbytery of 
Glasgow as a student of divinity in August 1801. Ordained at Kilpatrick, 
23rd November 1802, having been appointed to that place in preference to 
Carluke. When the Synod to which he belonged began to negotiate for 
union with the Church of Scotland, Kilpatrick session sent up a petition 
against the proposal, in which they were understood "sweepingly to con 
demn all State Endowments for the support of true religion," a principle 
which the Presbytery declared to be utterly opposed to the standards of the 
Original Burgher Synod. We have insight into the state of the congregation 
at the time these negotiations were going on. The communicants numbered 
250, of whom nearly two-fifths resided in the parish of New Kilpatrick. The 
stipend was ,89, with a glebe of five or six acres, besides manse and garden, 
and there was a debt of .560 upon the property. Of the families under the 
minister s care nearly fifty were over two miles from the place of worship, and 
a few came from beyond six miles. Altogether, the report the minister gave 
in to the Commissioners on Religious Instruction was not over-coloured. 
The half-isolated state of the congregation almost necessitated decline, but 
they were by-and-by to get out into larger bounds. At the consummation of 
the Union with the Established Church in 1839 minister and people stood 


aloof, and on i4th July 1840 they applied to Glasgow Presbytery for admis 
sion to the United Associate Synod, and were cordially welcomed. The 
resolution of which this was the outcome had been adopted almost unani 
mously at a congregational meeting. In September 1848 a moderation was 
applied for in order to provide Mr Gardiner with a colleague. 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT MITCHELL, from Kirkintilloch. Called to 
Drymen shortly before, but declined, and was ordained at Craigs, Kilpatrick, 
30th January 1849. The old minister was to retain the manse, garden, and 
glebe, to which the Synod added an annuity of ^20, and Mr Mitchell was to 
have ^95 while the collegiate relation lasted. Mr Gardiner, who was never 
again able to appear either in the pulpit or the pew, vacated the manse, and 
removed to Glasgow in December of that year, where he died, 28th October 
1851, in the seventy-sixth year of his age and forty-ninth of his ministry. 
A year before this Mr Mitchell was invited to Bridge-of-Allan, but owing to 
want of harmony he wrote the Presbytery at once, forbidding them to go any 
further. Kilpatrick thus became the scene of his life work, and the con 
gregation kept up well till towards the close, when trade came to a stand with 
results that were inevitable. Mr Mitchell had been suffering from inbreaks 
on his health for some time, and he died, 6th January 1869, in the forty-ninth 
year of his age and twentieth of his ministry. Union, after a severance of 
almost seventy years, was now felt by both parties to be imperative. From 
this point the history of the congregation merges in that of " Craigs and 


THIS congregation consisted at first of a large party in Craigs church, who 
withdrew from attendance on Mr Watson s ministry, when he took part in 
the formation of the Old Light Presbytery. This was on 2nd October 1799, 
and on Saturday, roth December, Mr Hall of Rose Street, Edinburgh, met 
with the dissentients, and agreed to preach to them next day. They 
worshipped at first in the loft of a meal-mill in Duntocher, and after that 
they built a small church on the other side of the road from Craigs, which 
was turned at last into a dwelling-house. The civil action for possession 
of the property did not take full form till 1809. In their papers and plead 
ings both parties claimed to have a majority of trustees and managers, which 
implies that the congregation was not very unequally divided. The " New 
Lights," who were the pursuers, urged that, according to the decision of the 
Court of Session in the Perth Case in 1805, the property ought to be adjudged 
to them, the other party having forfeited their rights by breaking away from 
the Synod. It appeared, however, that in the title-deeds of Kilpatrick church 
there was no mention of subjection to any ecclesiastical judicatory. The 
trustees were merely bound to hold the subjects for behoof of the con 
tributors, and hence inquiry would have to be made as to which side had 
the majority. Such was the Interlocutor upheld by three judges against two, 
the minority, including the Lord President, being of opinion that the Perth 
Case ought to rule, and that hence judgment ought to go in favour of 
the " New Lights." The pursuers would fain have appealed to the House of 
Lords, but the expenses were already more than enough to overtax their 

For a quarter of a century the New Light congregation of Kilpatrick was 
supplied as a vacancy by Glasgow Presbytery, and it is surprising that in 
this state the congregation not only survived but actually prospered. In 
1824 they built a church in Duntocher, with 600 sittings, at a cost of nearly 


^1200. The litigation over the old property was not yet decided, but in 
1829 the Old Light party handed over ^200 to the pursuers in satisfaction 
of their claims. It is stated that this sum was only an eighth part of what 
the process before the law courts had cost them, but we cannot make out 
how that burden was ever borne. Duntocher congregation, four years 
before this consummation was reached, was one of six vacancies which 
called Mr William Nicol, but the Synod gave Jedburgh the preference by 
an absolute majority. 

First Minister. HUGH CRICHTON, from Cumnock. Ordained, I7th 
January 1826. The call was signed by 139 members and 86 adherents, and 
the stipend was to be ,150, with expenses. There was steady progress now, 
and a gradual surmounting of difficulties. In 1837 there were 400 com 
municants, and the debt was reduced to ,300. About a score of families 
came from East Kilpatrick, and twelve were from beyond four miles. At 
the same time the congregation was raising between ^60 and ^70 a year 
for mission purposes at home and abroad. But Mr Crichton was now on 
the eve of being removed to a more important sphere of labour. Being 
appointed to moderate in a call for one to be colleague to the Rev. Dr 
Stewart of Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, he was himself elected unanimously, 
and on I3th March 1838 he was loosed from Duntocher. In his new 
charge the work devolved almost entirely upon him from the first, and he 
became sole pastor in October 1840 by the death of his colleague. In 1842 
Glasgow University conferred on him the degree of D.D., and in less than 
eight years after his induction Mr William Graham, from Abbey Close, 
Paisley, was ordained as his colleague. Dr Crichton died, I4th January 
1871, in the seventy-fourth year of his age and forty-fifth of his ministry. 
Duntocher congregation, after losing their first minister, called Mr William 
Marshall, who accepted Kirkgate, Leith. 

Second Minister. ANDREW R. JOHNSTON, son of the Rev. Robert 
Johnston, formerly of Rosehearty. Ordained, 2nd May 1839. During the 
ten years of Mr Johnston s ministry in Duntocher the former level of 
prosperity was not maintained, and in March 1849 ne gave in his demission. 
The stipend was in arrears, and when a committee of Presbytery met with 
the congregation two motions were made, each of them expressing apprecia 
tion of their minister s labours, but the one proposing that his resignation 
be refused, and the other in favour of offering no opposition to its accept 
ance. The voting gave 38 on each side. At the Presbytery on loth April 
Mr Johnston adhered to his resignation, and the tie was severed. He now 
returned to the preachers list. It was while supplying the vacant pulpit 
of Kinross (West), in this capacity, that he set about mastering the key to 
Dr Hay s system of shorthand. Thus with care and labour were the dis 
courses deciphered which appear in the volume of the Doctor s "Sermons 
and Addresses." In June 1850 Mr Johnston was inducted into Letham. 

Third Minister. JAMES HENDERSON, from Tollcross. Ordained, 26th 
March 1850, having declined Drymen. The call was signed by 182 members 
and 46 adherents, but the stipend was reduced from .150 to ,120. The 
claims of Australia having been pressed upon him, Mr Henderson was 
loosed on I4th December 1858, with the view of leaving for that colony. 
He arrived in Victoria when the Union with the Free Church was about to 
be consummated, and he made common cause with Messrs Ramsay and 
Hamilton, who refused to take part, alleging that voluntaryism was set aside 
by the Basis of Union. In this little connection he was inducted to Geelong, 
but in May 1886 he asked the counsel of his brethren regarding a crisis in 
his congregation, and they solved the matter by severing the pastoral tie. 
In March following he wrote from South Australia, wishing to be transferred 


thither. He soon afterwards settled down in Port Adelaide, where he was 
minister of St Andrew s Church in 1880. The charge was vacant at the 
close of the following year. 

During this vacancy Duntocher congregation called Mr James M Owan, 
who accepted Bannockburn, and they made inquiries at Arbroath Presbytery 
about Mr John Pettigrew, whose gifts of oratory must have captivated some 
of them. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN STARK, from Glasgow (now St. Vincent Street). 
Ordained, iyth April 1860. The membership was 194, and the stipend 
^120, as before, and no manse. Next year ,200 of debt was liquidated, 
no doubt under an impulse derived from their minister. We pass on now 
to 1869, when a union was effected with the mother congregation of Craigs, 
Old Kilpatrick. 


THE death of Mr Mitchell of Craigs was announced to Glasgow Presby 
tery on 1 2th January 1869, and at their next meeting, on gth February, the 
congregation of Craigs requested the appointment of a committee to advise 
with them in their peculiar circumstances. The trade of the district was in 
a languid state, and the membership much reduced from what it had been 
seven years before. The neighbouring congregation of Duntocher had 
suffered similarly, though not, perhaps, to the same extent, and union was 
felt by both parties to be most desirable. On I3th April the committee 
reported that coalescence had been unanimously agreed to on both sides, 
that the united congregation was to meet in the two churches alternately, 
under the ministry of Mr Stark, the present elders and managers to form 
the joint session and board of management, and Craigs congregation had 
stipulated that the widow and family of their late minister should have the 
occupancy, or the value, of the manse for ten years. On these terms the 
union was declared to be completed, intimation to this effect to be made 
from Craigs pulpit in the forenoon of the fourth Sabbath, and from Duntocher 
pulpit in the afternoon. The membership of the united congregation at this 
time was 197, Duntocher furnishing 126, and Craigs 71. The total number 
was only three more than Mr Stark had at the time of his ordination. Of 
the eleven elders seven were from Duntocher session and four from Craigs. 
Ten years after this the names on the communion roll were returned at 171, 
and the stipend from the people was ^150, with the manse. 

Services were kept up in the churches of Craigs and Duntocher till 
September 1874, but by this time important changes were in the wind. The 
manse was to be improved or replaced at the moderate figure of .800, of 
which the Board undertook to pay a third, but, somehow, extravagance grew 
with the debt it fed on, and in the end the congregation reported a total 
expenditure of ^3852. The Board kept by their original offer, leaving other 
parties to conduct operations on their own responsibility. The property at 
Craigs was disposed of, the church, which still stands with its outside appear 
ance unchanged, being converted into dwelling-houses. The proceeds 
amounted to ,891, but this goodly sum, like a great deal else, disappeared 
in the witches cauldron. Mr Stark appears to have done wonders in the 
way of collecting money, but he had a steep ascent to climb, with a heavy, 
self-imposed burden on his back. For him the end came suddenly, on the 
afternoon of i8th October 1889, when "a severe spasm of the heart carried 
him off in a few minutes." He was in the sixty-second year of his age and 
thirtieth of his ministry. He left ,500 to help with the reduction of the debt. 


The congregation had a membership now of fully 200, but it was weighted 
almost beyond recovery. In addition to the money laid out on the manse 
and its surroundings, the church had been renovated in 1884, and this, with 
other improvements which followed, cost ^2614. The wonder is that the 
debt had been reduced in the interim to not more than ,3000. But clearly 
aid was needed in view of a moderation. In April 1890 a call was addressed 
to Mr James Macmillan, who accepted Nairn. The stipend was to be ,150, 
with the manse, and a committee was appointed by the Presbytery to aid the 
congregation in the reducing of their debt. 

Second Minister. ALEXANDER WHYTE, B.D., B.Sc., from Busby. 
Ordained, I5th July 1890. Next year the managers reported to the Home 
Mission Board that their debt of ,3000 had been reduced to little more than 
half that sum during the past eighteen months. In the summer of 1893 Mr 
Whyte was ailing, and occupied the station of Algiers for three months of 
the following winter. On 26th June 1894 he accepted a call to Kelvinside, 
Glasgow, the congregation regretting to lose their minister so soon. 

Third Minister. JAMES R. CAMERON, M.A., son of the Rev. Robert 
Cameron, Cambridge Street, Glasgow. Ordained, igth February 1895. 
The stipend was to be ^150, and the manse, exclusive of a grant from the 
Ferguson Bequest. The membership at this time was 194, the same as at 
Mr Stark s ordination thirty-five years before. On loth May 1898 Mr 
Cameron accepted a call to Kilcreggan. 

Fourth Minister. JOHN M CALLUM ROBERTSON, M.A., from Queens- 
ferry. Ordained, 9th November 1898. The membership at the close of 
1899 was 175, and the stipend was continued at ^150, with the manse. The 
burdensome heritage of debt was now reduced to ^1000, with the prospect 
of it being cleared away in the course of a very few years. 


THE first petition for sermon from this place to the Burgher Presbytery of 
Glasgow was on 4th February 1783, and it purported to be from some people 
about Levenside. Afterwards Cordale was entered instead, and then Bridge 
of Bonhill. It is not till 1792 that Renton comes up, the name given ten 
years before to this newly-formed village, in honour of a daughter-in-law of 
Mrs Smollett, the proprietrix. It had now risen to prosperity through the 
print works introduced into the Vale of Leven. Their own parish church 
was at Cardross, three miles distant, and now, after receiving sermon 
for some time, 39 persons gave in their accession to the Presbytery on 
i6th March 1784. They wished, also, to know whether they could expect a 
moderation, though they had only a tack of their place of worship for fifteen 
years, a point on which the Presbytery told them to keep their minds easy. 
They now secured a site, and proceeded with the erection of a church to 
accommodate 500. The next point was gained in August of that year by 
the ordination of four elders. At the same service they elected Mr Robert 
Hall for their minister, promising him ^55, but another call followed from 
Eaglesham, and Mr Hall had no clearness to accept of either. The Presby 
tery appointed him to Bonhill, as they called it, and the case went to the 
Synod, but without effect. The congregation then asked to have their call 
returned, which was done, and, while expressing disapproval of Mr Hall s 
conduct, they allowed him to go without formal censure. This was the well- 
known Robert Hall of Kelso. 

First Minister. WILLIAM TAYLOR, from Falkirk (now Erskine Church). 
Another call was brought up at the same time to Mr Taylor, from Old Kil- 


patrick, but the Synod appointed him to Levenside, where he was ordained, 
3rd January 1786. The service was held in a drying-shed in the midst of a 
snowstorm, but he wrote very soon after : " We expect to have sermon in 
our new church on the second Sabbath of next month." For ten years 
vigorous work was carried on, and solid progress made, but at the end of 
that period Mr Taylor got absorbed in controversy on the subject of the 
magistrate s power. Some years before this he published an anonymous 
pamphlet, entitled " Liberty without Licentiousness," in which he advocated 
New Light views in a strong form. But now he threw himself in fiery 
earnest into the other side, and in his pamphlet, "The Effectual Remedy," 
he urged drastic measures to be taken with the advocates of change. Though 
he was the last of the Old Light party to break away it was not that he 
halted between two opinions. His son explains that it was love for peace 
and harmony that detained him, but he might rather have said it was un 
willingness to quit the heated atmosphere of strife and debate. At last, on 
3rd September 1800, he read his declinature to the Synod, and on the i6th he 
united with the Original Burghers. The bulk of his congregation, including 
seven elders and three deacons, went with him. 

It was to be expected that all would go on smoothly with Mr Taylor now, 
but, though among like-minded associates, he kept up the controversial 
spirit, and before long his brethren inserted the following testimony to his 
idiosyncrasies in their minutes : "The members of the court are determined 
that they will not put themselves to the trouble and expense of coming to 
the meetings of Presbytery to have their time consumed, and their minds 
grieved and disgusted, as they have been since the protestor came among 
them." None the less, Mr Taylor s gifts as a preacher came to be earnestly 
coveted in important Old Light vacancies, and within four years he was 
called three times to Edinburgh, once to Aberdeen, and thrice to Perth, but 
the Presbytery persistently refused to translate. However, when a fourth 
call came out from Perth they yielded, and on 7th May 1805 he was set free 
for troubled work in that congregation, where we meet with him again. A 
few of his former people in Renton, headed by at least one elder, got occa 
sional sermon from the New Light Presbytery of Glasgow for a couple of 
years, but it had to be discontinued. The congregation itself obtained a 
second minister, Mr John M Kinlay, in 1806, the call being subscribed by 
266 members and 102 adherents. When the great majority of the Original 
Burgher Synod united with the Church of Scotland in 1839 Mr M Kinlay 
remained with the minority, and when they amalgamated with the Original 
Secession Synod in 1842 he and his congregation stood alone for a few 
months, but in 1843 they joined the Reformed Presbyterians. This new 
connection is said to have brought in some families of that persuasion who 
resided in or about the Vale of Leven. Mr M Kinlay died, i;th November 
1856, in the seventy-fifth year of his age and fifty-first of his ministry. In 
1876 the congregation went with the Reformed Presbyterian Synod into 
union with the Free Church, and it is now known by the old name of Leven 


THIS was opened as a preaching station on Sabbath, I5th April 1883. 
Dumbarton Presbytery had intimated some months before in answer to 
inquiries from headquarters that Renton was one of two places in which 
they intended to commence evangelistic work with a view to Church Exten 
sion. The station was forthwith put under the care of a student, who was 


just finishing his theological course, and who was not long in proving him 
self the right man in the right place. Worship was kept up at first in a 
hall, but this was exchanged in a short time for a wooden building pro 
vided by the Home Mission Board. On 9th October a petition for continued 
supply, and the obtaining of sealing ordinances in connection with some 
neighbouring congregation, was presented to the Presbytery, signed by 161 
persons, 74 of these being Church members. But by this time two conflicting 
currents of opinion had emerged in relation to the entire movement. It was 
contended, on the one hand, that in the village of Renton, with a population 
of not more than 5000, there were already four Presbyterian churches, three 
of them belonging to the Free Church, and that to form a fifth would be 
inexpedient and certain to provoke unfriendly feeling. It is not surprising 
that, confronted with this view of the case, the Home Board pressed the 
question : " Is there real need for a U.P. congregation in Renton ?" 

It happened that on the merits of this question Dumbarton Presbytery 
was divided, though a majority were in favour of going on. They explained 
that one of the Free churches was Gaelic, and had but a slender hold of the 
community, and that Renton had a large non-church-going population. But 
the best argument in their favour was the success which had attended the 
Presbytery s evangelistic operations in the place, and, though the contest in 
a side form found its way to the Synod, barriers were surmounted, and on 
1 3th April 1886 a petition from 165 members and 65 adherents to be con 
gregated was agreed to. 

First Minister. DAVID SUTHERLAND, from Penicuik. Ordained, 24th 
May 1887. It was he who undertook the work at first, and, having laid the 
foundation with zeal and energy, he was now to see the building advance 
under his hands. The stipend promised from the people at first was ,80, 
but they were to grow in resources, and by the end of that year they 
numbered 250. They took possession of a church of their own on ist 
November 1891. The building had been occupied by the Established 
Church, but the congregation vacated it, owing to the walls giving way, and 
then disposed of it to the new-comers for ^400. The renovation required 
raised the entire expenditure to ^1050, for which the Board allowed ^150, 
all else being made up by the people, or rather by the exertions of the 
minister. Mr Sutherland resigned, and was loosed from his charge, 26th 
December 1893, the reason he assigned being that he wished to be free to 
undertake pioneer work in some other locality. A door opened before long 
at Straiton and Loanhead, where he still labours. 

Second Minister. ARCHIBALD MARR, from West Calder. Ordained, ist 
May 1894. As was to be expected, there was a marked shrinking up in 
membership when the minister left under whom the congregation had been 
gathered, and another took his place, to work probably on altered lines. 
The consequence is that at the close of 1899 there were only 197 names on 
the communion roll, but, on the other hand, the stipend from the people had 
risen from ^80 to ,100. 


ON 25th June 1792 a respectable body of people in the parishes of 
Dumbarton, Cardross, and Bonhill appeared by commissioners before the 
Relief Presbytery of Glasgow, craving to be received as a forming congrega 
tion. The petition was granted, and Mr Murdoch of Kilmaronock was ap 
pointed to preach to them on Sabbath week. The Rev. Alexander MacAulay 
of Strathblane, the nominee of the Crown, had been inducted into Cardross 


parish on I2th May 1791. Delay had been occasioned by a competing 
presentation issued by a local magnate, Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, in 
favour of a more acceptable candidate, which led to litigation in which the 
rights of the Crown prevailed. Thus the way was prepared for the formation 
of what was originally known as the Relief congregation of Cardross. The 
church begun in 1792 was within the bounds of that parish, though not out 
side what was spoken of as the village of Dumbarton. With the erection 
there was slow progress made, owing to the stagnation of trade, but it 
appears from the congregational records that it was nearly finished, with 
roofing, doors, and windows, at New Year 1794, and services had been 
twice conducted within its walls. It accommodated 900 people, and cost 
^uoo, most of that sum consisting of borrowed money. 

First Minister. DANIEL M NAUGHT, from Southend, Kintyre. Or 
dained, ist January 1795. He had been introduced for licence to Glasgow 
Presbytery six months before by Mr Bell of Dovehill, and it appears from 
some references in a pamphlet by Neil Douglas that he had been a 
carpenter in Campbeltown before going to college. The people received him 
with " the utmost satisfaction," and having popular gifts he was not long in 
seeing the big church well filled. But prosperity thus far did not remove 
the pressure of debt, or keep the congregation out of financial difficulties, 
and on 2nd March 1802 MrM Naught accepted a call to Riccarton, now 
Kilmarnock (King Street). During his ministry, and till long afterwards, 
the meetings of session and managers were held regularly at Renton, which 
indicates that the congregation drew its strength from the Vale of Leven. 
This agrees with the testimony of the Old Statistical History that it con 
sisted chiefly of people employed about the print works. 

Second Minister. JAMES GRIMMOND, translated from Coupar-Angus, 
where he had laboured for over twelve years. Inducted in the face of 
objections on 2oth January 1803. Some members of Presbytery alleged 
that their brethren in Perth had acted irregularly in loosing Mr Grimmond 
from his former charge in the absence of clerical commissioners from 
Glasgow, and so keenly did they feel on the matter that they carried the 
case to the Synod, where the induction was ratified, and Perth Presbytery 
found censurable. The non-appearance of representatives from Glasgow 
Presbytery would have been a poor reason for not disposing of the call, 
but the Relief Synod was not given to the slighting of little technicalities. 
Mr Grimmond s stipend was to be ^100, with manse, garden, and communion 
expenses, but the people in addition to other burdens had a debt of ^600 to 
struggle with, and in 1813 the managers, disheartened by difficulties, with 
drew from office with one consent. In a disabled state the congregation 
held on till November 1819, when they represented to the Presbytery their 
need for pecuniary aid, which led to an examination into the state of their 
affairs. After other two years they found it necessary to ask for the dis 
solution of the pastoral bond, undertaking to allow Mr Grimmond ,30 a 
year, with the ominous proviso, "while we exist as a Christian society." It 
was as if they looked on a break up as a near possibility, but to meet the 
objections of the Presbytery the expression was expunged. Mr Grimmond 
accepted the terms, and the Presbytery, finding that he was unable to dis 
charge the duties of the pastoral office, loosed him from his charge on i6th 
November 1821. In addition to the allowance from the congregation he 
afterwards received ^15 a year from the Synod. Mr Grimmond removed to 
Renton, where he died suddenly, 26th October 1825, in the seventieth year 
of his age and thirty-sixth of his ministerial life. 

Third Minister. JOHN M FARLANE, from Kilbarchan. The congrega 
tion was to undertake a stipend of ^100, with \ for each communion, and 


the manse, which Mr Grimmond gave up very reluctantly. Ordained, 22nd 
October 1822. Under the young minister there was a speedy inflow of 
prosperity, as was shown by an addition of .30 to the stipend. But on ist 
February 1831 Mr M Farlane accepted a call to Hamilton (Auchingramont), 
where he had disruption to face at the outset, and more serious troubles 
later on. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES BOYD, from Paisley (Canal Street). Ordained 
27th December 1831. The stipend was now reduced from the former figure 
to ^110, with the manse and garden. Within six years a call enforced by 
weighty considerations was addressed to Mr Boyd from Campbeltown, which 
he accepted on 4th September 1837. 

Fifth Minister. WYVILLE S. THOMSON, son of the Rev. Thomas 
Thomson of St James Place, Edinburgh. Ordained, 22nd May 1838. The 
attendance some time after was put down at 600, and the stipend at ,125, 
with a house. A new church, with 800 sittings, was opened on Sabbath, 
3oth December 1860. The cost was ^2150, and in 1865 a new manse was 
added at a cost of ^946, of which ^200 came from the Board. In a few 
years the whole property was free of debt. In 1873 Mr Thomson manifested 
tokens of failing health, and a meeting of the congregation was about to be 
held to arrange, with his entire concurrence, for a colleague, but he was 
already close to the descending curtain. Next Sabbath he was seized with 
paralysis in the pulpit, and, asking the people to excuse him, he sat down. 
Unconsciousness followed, and he died on Tuesday evening, loth June 1873, 
in the sixty-first year of his age and the thirty-sixth of his ministry. Mr 
Thomson was a son-in-law of the Rev. David Lindsay of Clackmannan, and 
his son, of the same name with himself, was minister at Ford. 

Sixth Minister. WALTER DUNCAN, M.A., son of the Rev. Walter 
Duncan, Parliamentary Road, Glasgow (now Bath Street). Ordained, loth 
February 1874, after declining calls to Coupar-Angus and Stranraer (West). 
The stipend was raised to .300 before the ordination, besides the manse, 
and the membership was 267. At the moderation the voting lay between 
Mr Duncan and Mr James Orr, now Professor Orr, D.D. On 5th August 
1879 M r Duncan accepted a call to Junction Road, Leith, and was loosed 
from Bridgend, leaving a membership of 402 behind him. 

Seventh Minister. WILLIAM WATSON, M.A., from Partick (Newton 
Place). Ordained, 24th February 1880, the stipend to be ,320, with the 
manse. The present church, with sittings for 1000, was opened by Dr 
Brown of Paisley on the evening of Thursday, 23rd February 1888. The 
entire cost was ^6500, and the collections that evening and next Sabbath 
reached ^1200, so that the hope of opening the new building free of debt 
was very nearly realised. The old church close by was to be utilised for 
congregational purposes. In 1889 Mr Watson declined Grange Road, 
Edinburgh, but on I4th April 1891 he accepted a call to succeed Dr 
Alexander MacLeod in Trinity Church, Birkenhead, where, though the 
membership is not oppressively large, there is a stipend of ,900. Bridgend 
had now 520 names on the communion roll. 

Eighth Minister. JAMES G. GOOLD, M.A., son of the Rev. Marshall 
N. Goold, Dumfries. Ordained, I2th January 1892. After being five years 
in Bridgend Mr Goold declined Bridge-of-Allan, and that year his stipend 
was raised to ^350. In December 1898 he declined St Nicholas Church, 
Aberdeen, and he soon afterwards intercepted another call from Bristo, 
Edinburgh. But a second time the claims of Liverpool prevailed at 
Bridgend, and on 7th November 1899 M f Goold accepted a call to Egremont, 
to be colleague to Dr James Muir. 

Ninth Minister. JAMES G. BURNS, B.D., from Larkhall. Ordained, 


2ist March 1900. The stipend was now made .320, with the manse, and 
the membership was 621. 


THE Secession cause got footing in Dumbarton so early as November 
1739, when several from that parish acceded to the Associate Presbytery, 
but there is no trace in the old records of either Sabbath or week-day 
services having been appointed to any part of Leven Vale. The name is not 
met with again till 1761, when the Antiburgher session of Balfron petitioned 
Glasgow Presbytery for occasional sermon at Dumbarton, a corner of that 
congregation, "in respect of their great distance," which was little under 
twenty miles, and as there was "some appearance of a gathering there." 
In 1764, the time at which the extant minutes of that Presbytery begin, 
Dumbarton and Cardross were getting supply on rare occasions, and in 1767 
the little group of Antiburghers in these parishes petitioned to be annexed 
to Paisley. The disjunction was agreed to, the minister of Balfron having 
written to say that the transference would be "for the interests of religion 
in that corner." This involved a walk of about half the former distance, 
with the Clyde to cross. The coalescence took effect, and we find that 
three years afterwards an elder was chosen by Paisley congregation for the 
district of Dumbarton. Whether, with a Burgher congregation at Renton, 
and a Relief congregation at Bridgend, the Antiburgher cause in this place 
managed to outlive the century we cannot say, but, if so, it must have been 
reduced to a few decaying embers. 

Now, guided for the most part by a historical sketch of High Street 
Church, carefully drawn up from original sources by Andrew Paul, Esq., 
we can advance with -confidence. In the spring of 1819 sermon was begun 
in a schoolroom at Renton by the Rev. William Bruce (see Bathgate, Anti 
burgher) at the request of some members of the denomination residing in 
the district. The Burgher congregation in that village had gone with the 
Old Lights, and there was no other Secession church within convenient reach. 
In November 1820 the meeting-place was changed to Dumbarton, Mr Bruce 
still favouring them with his services, but, as he superintended an academy 
during the week, this could not be done with strict regularity. On the 
fourth Sabbath of October 1821 supply began to be provided by Glasgow- 
Presbytery, but it was not till 23rd January 1827 that the adherents were 
formed into a congregation. They numbered 74, of whom 68 were certified 
from other congregations, and a paper in support of the step now taken was 
also given in from 42 persons not of our communion. In a few months the 
Rev. William Bruce and another were inducted to the eldership, and a third 
was ordained. In October of the same year a call was addressed to Mr 
Walter Duncan, but after his trials should have been finished, and the 
ordination day fixed, a competing call came in from Duke Street, Glasgow, 
which the Synod preferred. A church had been built the year before, with 
sittings for nearly 500, at a cost of ^1600. The congregation in its early 
stages owed very much to Patrick Mitchell, Esq., the proprietor of Milton 
print works, brother of Dr Mitchell, Glasgow, and "an ardent reformer and 
devoted voluntary." 

First Minister. ANDREW SOMMERVILLE, from Milnathort. Ordained, 
gth November 1830. The call was signed by 144 members and 41 adherents, 
and the stipend was to be at least .130. The debt on the property at this 
time was ^880, but it was reduced to little over ,700 within three years, 
and to ^500 in 1840. At Mr Sommerville s first communion there were 24 


accessions, and in 1837 there were 229 names on the communion roll, of 
whom scarcely more than one-third were parishioners. The congregation 
drew its membership largely from the print works in the Vale of Leven, and 
of 310 in attendance above twelve years of age Mr Sommerville calculated 
that 99 were from Cardross parish (including Renton), 93 from Bonhill 
(including Alexandria), and 34 from Old Kilpatrick. In 1845 the church 
became vacant through the minister being chosen by the Synod for Mission 
Secretary. The proposal to have a salaried agent had been long talked of, 
and now the scheme was carried into effect. In the cause of missions Mr 
Sommerville was known to take deep interest, and as a forecast of what 
awaited him his first sermon as an ordained minister was from the text : 
" Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." In 1840 
he also published a discourse, entitled. "The Conversion of the World the 
grand Enterprise committed to the Church." Accordingly, when the day of 
election came, Mr Sommerville was carried over the Rev. James Robertson 
of Portsburgh, Edinburgh, by 90 against 86. On I2th August he intimated 
his acceptance to Glasgow Presbytery, and, the congregation regretfully 
acquiescing, the pastoral tie was dissolved. 

The year before leaving Dumbarton Mr Sommerville wrote a substantial 
Memoir of Dr Jamieson of Edinburgh, under whose ministry he sat when a 
student. It was prefixed to the Doctor s work on "The Holy Spirit." He 
had also entered with much earnestness into the question of social reform, 
pleading specially for the abolition of the Corn Laws, his own early experiences 
enlisting his sympathies on the side of the working classes. In 1855 he 
received the degree of D.D., from Princeton College, New Jersey. In his new 
situation as Mission Secretary his salary at first was ^250 and a house, but 
in 1858, when the Home and Foreign departments were separated, the 
salary of each was fixed at ,400. This rise in the working expenditure led 
to some murmuring throughout the Church, and at next Synod a letter was 
read from Dr Sommerville, expressing his wish to abide by the old terms, 
but the Synod refused to depart from its former decision. Dr Sommerville 
carried on his work with unwearied devotedness till 1868, when under the 
pressure of years he felt constrained to resign. The Synod fixed his retiring 
allowance at ,250, a sum which he firmly and earnestly asked them to 
reduce to .120, as that was the utmost he could accept ; but they kept by 
the sum they had named, the result being that at least ^100 a year found its 
way back to the Church Funds. In 1874 L) r Sommerville published his 
" Lectures on Missions and Evangelism," which had been delivered to our 
theological students on several successive sessions. He died at Dollar on 
1 5th September 1877, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. His auto 
biography, set in a graceful framework by Professor Graham of the English 
Presbyterian Church, was published in 1880, a deeply interesting volume, 
especially in its graphic disclosures of the hardships through which he and 
his kindred passed in his early days. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM M. HALLEY, translated from Markinch, 
where he had laboured eleven years. Inducted, 25th March 1847. The call 
was signed by 133 members and 65 adherents, and the stipend was ^130, 
including allowance for house rent ; but in 1852 the ^500 of debt which 
still rested on the property when Mr Halley came was cleared away, and 
the stipend rose in a few years to ^170. Better than this, in 1858 a motion 
to ask a grant from the Ferguson Fund was rejected at a congregational 
meeting, and the stipend fixed at ^200 from their own resources. In 1865 a 
manse was acquired at the price of .950, of which .200 came from the 
Manse Board, and in 1873 the present church, built on the former site at 
a cost of ^2700, was opened, with sittings for nearly 600. By subscriptions 


and the opening collections the debt was reduced to ^500, and next year it 
was entirely extinguished, and the stipend raised to ^300. In 1878 Mr 
Halley received the degree of D.D. from Union University, New York. In 
other two years his health, which had failed him more than once already, 
completely broke down, and a colleague was found after a time to be 

Third Minister. JOHN JARDINE, M.A., from Castle-Douglas. Ordained, 
22nd November 1881, having previously declined a call to Stromness. On 
Tuesday, 3rd April 1885, Dr Halley s jubilee was celebrated, when, amidst 
addresses of congratulation, he was presented with a cheque for ,1000 from 
the congregation and other friends. Dr Halley had divided the work with 
his colleague until now, but at a meeting of Presbytery that month his 
proposal to withdraw from active service was sanctioned, his retiring allow 
ance to be ,100 a year, with the manse. There was a membership now of 
470. In the beginning of next year the young minister caught smallpox, 
when visiting at the local hospital, and the disease came rapidly to a fatal 
issue. He conducted his class on the first Sabbath of January 1886, and 
died on Friday, the 8th, in the thirty-first year of his age and fifth of his 

Fourth Minister. HUGH MORTON, from Eglinton Street, Glasgow. 
Ordained as Dr Halley s second colleague, 23rd November 1886. When 
Mr Morton was a schoolboy of twelve his brother James, a divinity student, 
died, and on his death-bed he expressed the wish and the hope that Hugh 
would study for the ministry. In due time, and under a sense of inner 
preparedness, the end was gained ; but his course was to be brief, as he died, 
30th January 1888, in the thirty-fourth year of his age and the fourteenth 
month of his ministry. Thus did Dr Halley see one colleague after another 
cut down, while he himself was spared. In the mode of their removal the 
two were unlike. The one died in his full strength ; the other after wearing 
illness and gradual decline. The congregation now called an ordained 
minister of thirteen years experience the Rev. William Steedman of Eagles- 
ham but he set aside the tempting offer, and remained in his rural charge. 

Fifth Minister. ADAM S. MATHESON, who had been loosed from Clare- 
mont Church, Glasgow, five months before. Inducted, 27th November 
1888. Two years after this Mr Matheson published an able and suggestive 
book, entitled "The Gospel and Modern Substitutes." On 6th March 1893 
he became sole pastor by the death of Dr Halley, in the seventy-ninth year 
of his age and fifty-eighth of his ministry. The membership of the congre 
gation at the close of 1899 was 537, and the stipend .300 with the manse. 


ON 5th November 1793 tne Relief Presbytery of Glasgow received a petition 
for sermon from a respectable body of people in Old Kilpatrick, and Mr 
Dun of East Campbell Street, Glasgow, was appointed to preach to them on 
" Sabbath week." At a meeting on New Year s Day they were taken under 
the Presbytery s inspection, and recognised as a forming congregation. 
Their own records explain the origin of the movement. The parish having 
fallen vacant on igth May 1793 by tne death of the aged minister, a number 
of the inhabitants took steps to prevent an intrusion. This possibility was 
foreseen and, believing that "ministers thrust into pulpits by patronage 
failed, as a rule, to preach the gospel in its purity," they resolved, if better 
could not be, to betake themselves for sermon to the Relief Presbytery. By- 
and-by a preacher was presented whom the people had neither seen nor 


heard, and, the presentation being accepted, the above application was made, 
and an old granary secured as a temporary meeting-place. The vacancy in 
the parish church was filled up by the ordination of Mr William Macartney, 
the patron s nominee, on loth April 1794. The Relief church, with sittings 
for 580, was opened towards the close of 1795. The cost was .527, besides 
the gratis labour of the members. Of this sum ,200 was lent by 18 of the 
members, apparently on the proprietor system, and a session of five elders 
was formed. The congregation had already called the Rev. William Thomson 
of Beith, afterwards of Hutchesontown, Glasgow, but he declined. 

First Minister. JAMES SMITH, who had been loosed from East Kilbride 
a twelvemonth before. Inducted, 28th April 1796. The stipend was to be 
^80 and ^2, I os. at each communion, with a house, or ^7, IDS. a year if that 
were preferred. In 1799 a manse was built, which cost ,279. In 1808 the 
stipend was raised to ^120, perhaps in view of coming events. If so, the 
object was not gained, as Mr Smith on 6th September of that year accepted 
a call to College Street, Edinburgh, and was loosed from Kilpatrick. 

Second Minister. JOHN WATT, who had been ordained at Blairlogie 
fourteen years before, and in the interval had twice refused to remove to 
Glasgow. He now accepted a quieter place and was inducted to Kilpatrick, 
3oth March 1809. In this sphere of labour Mr Watt appears to have been 
abundant in pastoral labours, in which his ministrations to the sick were 
aided by his medical skill. In September 1832 the Presbytery sanctioned 
the arrangements of the congregation to provide Mr Watt with a colleague. 

Third Minister. JAMES RUSSELL, from Strathaven. Ordained, 2Oth 
February 1834. At the moderation 179 voted for Mr Russell, and 152 for 
Mr Tudhope, afterwards of Annan, but the minority came largely forward 
and signed the call, making it virtually unanimous. In 1837 the congregation 
had a membership of nearly 400. Mr Russell s stipend was ^95, with house 
and garden, and the senior colleague, who shared in the work, received ^50. 
There was a debt of ^475 resting on the property. Mr \Vatt died, ist 
September 1840, after a protracted illness, involving acute suffering, in the 
seventieth year of his age and forty-sixth of his ministry. While yet a 
divinity student Mr Russell wrote a pamphlet on the Organ Controversy, in 
which he joined issue with his minister, the Rev. William Anderson of 
Glasgow, who championed the proposed innovation both by speech and pen. 
He was far from happy in another anonymous pamphlet : " Irenicum 
Ecclesiasticum," published in 1836, when the Voluntary Controversy was at 
its height. He pleaded for union between the Established and Dissenting 
Churches of our land on the basis of State support, but to accomplish this 
he argued, that the independence of the Church should be secured ; the King s 
commissioner cease to dissolve and call the General Assembly ; the law of 
patronage be abolished ; and clergymen be made to depend partly on the 
freewill offerings of the people. Ezekiel s prediction about the tribe of Judah 
and the ten tribes of Israel becoming one stick in Jehovah s hand he believed 
bore on the nation of Britain, and was to have its fulfilment in ten or fifteen 
years, the Established churches being represented by Judah and the Dis 
senting churches by Ephraim or the ten tribes. This paradoxical production 
was dealt with at great length, and with little ceremony, in the Relief Magazine 
at the time. In 1866 a colleague was required, Mr Russell, whose health 
had never been robust, finding himself unable to go on with the whole work. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES LAMB, from Perth (North). Ordained, 5th 
February 1867, having declined a call to Bishop-Auckland a considerable 
time before. The stipend was meanwhile to be ^100, with ^10 for house 
rent, the senior minister to have ,30, which was afterwards raised to ,50, 
and to retain the manse. Mr Russell seldom appeared in the pulpit after 


this. He died, 4th October 1876, in the seventy-fifth year of his age and the 
forty-third of his ministry. At the close of 1899 Old Kilpatrick had a mem 
bership of 162, and the stipend from the people was ,140, with the manse, 
which had been renovated and enlarged after Mr Russell s death, at a cost 
of over ^600. 


THE Holm of Balfron in the early days of the Secession drew families from 
all down the Vale of Leven, but in 1767 those in the parishes of Dumbarton 
and Cardross were disjoined and annexed to Paisley (Oakshaw Street). In 
1772 the Antiburghers in Kilmaronock parish represented to Glasgow Pres 
bytery the inconvenience their distance from Balfron entailed. They had, 
therefore, erected a meeting-house for themselves, and had some prospect of 
gathering a congregation. A year before this a violent settlement in that 
parish had given the Relief cause a strong beginning, and may have tempted 
the Seceders to expect reinforcements from the same source. The Presbytery, 
however, considered them too weak to sustain a fixed ministry, but agreed to 
grant them occasional supply as a remote branch of Balfron congregation. 
In this state matters continued for nearly half-a-century, sermon being kept 
up at Kilmaronock every third or fourth Sabbath. But on 3rd March 1818 
appointments began to be shifted, and by the end of the year it is entered 
that the place of meeting was now changed from Duncroine, near Kilmaronock, 
to Drymen, and the people were recommended to petition the Presbytery to 
be congregated. Elders were chosen soon after, and from this time sermon 
was continued with almost unbroken regularity. A church, with sittings for 
280, was built in the following year at a cost of ,370. Mr J. Guthrie Smith 
in his " Strathendrick" has stated that the pulpit and internal fittings were 
brought from an old Cameronian chapel in Kilmaronock, of which no trace 
remained. The author had not mastered the distinction between the 
Cameronians and the Antiburghers. 

First Minister. JOHN BLAIR, son of the Rev. John Blair, Colmonell. Or 
dained, 1 6th July 1822. The call was signed by 32 members and 24 adherents, 
and the stipend was to be ^80 and a free house. In 1840 there were about 
a hundred names on the communion roll ; but the church had been repaired 
at an expense of 170, and the debt had accumulated to ,622. A strong- 
effort was now made to have this burden removed, and, aided by two suc 
cessive grants of ^100, the end was gained within two years. Still, assist 
ance was required from the Synod Fund, and on I4th March 1848 Mr Blair 
demitted his charge. He had changed his views, he said, as to the practical 
workings of Voluntaryism in small congregations and thinly-peopled dis 
tricts. The resignation was accepted in an ungracious way, and at next 
Assembly he was received without any demur into the Established Church. 
In the following year he became minister of the quoad sacra church, Fisher- 
ton, near Ayr, where he died, 2oth October 1872, in the seventy-eighth year 
of his age and fifty-first of his ministry. 

During this vacancy at Drymen the congregation called Mr Robert 
Mitchell, who declined, and that same day had another call sustained to 
Craigs, Old Kilpatrick, which he accepted. A second was addressed to Mr 
John Kechie, afterwards of Earlston (West), and a third to Mr James 
Henderson, afterwards of Duntocher, but both without success. 

Second Minister. PETER MERCER, who had retired from Mainsriddell 
after ministering there for two and a half years. Inducted, 24th December 
1850. The stipend was to be ^60 from the people, with ^25 of supplement, 


and the manse. Mr Mercer was loosed from Drymen on I2th December 
1854, with the view of proceeding to Australia. Fort Adelaide became his 
destination, where, in the following July, he took the place of the Rev. Ralph 
Drummond, who had gone out from Crail sixteen years before. Mr Mercer 
continued in that situation till 1861, and we also read of him labouring for a 
considerable time in the " bush " and " travelling over a district as large as all 
Scotland south of the Grampians." We next find him in Victoria, where he 
gave his services to several churches in rapid succession. In 1863 he was 
appointed to train the students in Greek, Hebrew, and Critical Exposition, 
but passed within a twelvemonth to take charge of a congregation in New 
South Wales. Having returned to Melbourne he was elected Secretary to 
the Home Mission Committee, besides performing other functions, and in 
1875 he ceased preaching, "in consequence of engagements at the Theo 
logical Hall," where he had been appointed interim successor to the Rev. 
Peter Brown, as Professor of Exegetical Theology. Next year he published 
a Catechism of Hebrew Grammar, and in 1878 he obtained the degree of 
D.D. from St Andrews University. But somehow Ur Mercer never seems 
to have been quite a fixture in office, and owing to some changes in profes 
sorial arrangements he withdrew in 1883, to the regret of his brethren, both 
from connection with the Theological Hall and from his place in the courts 
of the Church. His eldest daughter became the wife of Sir M. H. Davis, 
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria. (Dr Mercer s death was 
announced in October 1902.) 

During the ensuing vacancy of nearly three years Drymen congregation 
called Mr Peter Whyte, afterwards of Denny, who declined, and Mr James 
Robertson, who preferred Balfron. The people were to contribute ,75 
of stipend, and ^30 of supplement was expected, and there was also the 

Third Minister. ANDREW WILSON, M.A., from Limekilns. Ordained, 
6th October 1857. The membership at the close of 1899 was 69, and the 
stipend from the people ,90, with the manse. Mr Wilson s son, the Rev. 
Adam Wilson, is minister at Bridge-of-Weir. 


ON ist February 1831 two commissioners from a number of people in Bon- 
hill and neighbourhood gave in a petition to the Relief Presbytery of Paisley 
to be received as a forming congregation. They had built a house for public 
worship, and at their request Mr Murdoch of Kilmaronock was appointed to 
open it on the fourth Sabbath of that month. Among the petitioners there 
were several from his congregation, and others from Briclgend, Dumbarton, 
but the great majority were from the Established Church. The church is a 
commodious building, with sittings at first for 670, and the cause made a 
hopeful beginning. Trouble, however, arose with the election of a minister 
in January 1832. The final vote gave Mr Alexander M Coll 167 and Mr 
Archibald Tudhope, who originally stood first, 159. The Presbytery sus 
tained the call, and it was accepted, but there was no approach to acquies 
cence on the part of the minority. So far from this they resolved to set up 
for themselves over in Alexandria, and in April petitioned the Presbytery to 
that effect. As was to be be expected, such a proposal met with opposition 
from Bonhill, and, to end the matter, Mr M Coll at next meeting, after parties 
were heard, rose and "gave up with the call." The Presbytery in the cir 
cumstances welcomed the declinature as the only way to allay the ferment 
that had arisen, and expressed approval of his manly and self-denying con- 


duct. They also declared that to prevent a renewal of the contest neither of 
the candidates should be brought forward a second time. Mr Tudhope s 
friends presented him soon after with a gold watch in testimony of their 
appreciation of his gifts as a preacher, and of his honourable conduct during 
the late election. He was ordained two years afterwards at Annan, and Mr 
M Coll got Bankhill, Berwick, somewhat later. 

First Minister. JOHN R. SWAN, from Paisley (Thread Street). Though 
there was not perfect unanimity at the moderation there was a great majority 
for Mr Swan, and he was ordained, 25th April 1833. Authority was given 
at the close of the service to take steps for the election and ordination of 
elders, and the communion roll, we may believe, was not yet made up. The 
stipend was to be ^115, with expenses, and it was afterwards raised to ^128. 
The number of adults in Bonhill parish connected with the Relief was given 
at 254 in 1840. In August 1861 Mr Swan was laid aside by severe indis 
position, and soon after the Presbytery was asked to sanction the calling of 
a colleague. The design was to pay Mr Swan ^70 a year, to which the 
allowance of at least ^50 from the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund would 
be added, the junior minister to have ^120. On this footing a call to Mr 
Robert Hall, now of Ualmarnock Road, Glasgow, was brought out with 
much enthusiasm, the signatures amounting to 291 out of a membership of 
305 ; but a declinature came without reason assigned, and, believing that Mr 
Swan had come between them and the object of their choice, the people resolved 
that they would make no further attempt to obtain another minister until he 
should resign. They also carried by a large majority to make his retiring 
allowance ^40 a year instead of 70. Attempts to effect a reconciliation 
failed, and on the Presbytery not seeing their way to acquiesce in the re 
solutions arrived at eight of the nine elders gave in their resignation. Mr 
Swan was meanwhile pressing to be loosed from his charge, and on 23rd 
September 1862 this was agreed to amidst expressions of sympathy from his 
brethren. He soon after withdrew from Bonhill, and died, 3Oth June 1865, 
in the sixty-third year of his age and thirty-third of his ministerial life. Mr 
Swan was a son-in-law of his near neighbour, the Rev. Archibald Murdoch 
of Kilmaronock. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM SMITH, from Cupar (now Bonnygate), the 
congregation of the Rev. John Rankine, whose son-in-law he became. Or 
dained, 24th March 1863. The stipend while Mr Swan lived continued as 
had been previously arranged for, but a grant from the Ferguson Fund 
raised it to ^150, and after three years a manse was built at the cost of 
^1000, of which slightly more than one-third came from the Manse Board. 
Though churches have sprung up around since then the population has also 
increased, and this congregation has far more than held its own. At the 
Union there was a membership of over 400, and the stipend was ,270, with 
the manse. 


THIS large high-class congregation dates its origin no further back than 
1843, the year of the Disruption. The Original Burghers had taken pos 
session of the ground twenty years before a little denomination which had 
its strength in the west. They built a church, with 700 sittings, in 1824, 
at the cost of ^1000, and in 1827 they obtained Mr John Anderson for 
their minister a man of very attractive pulpit gifts, who also acquired dis 
tinction as an author. The population of Helensburgh at this time was 
only about 1000, and this congregation absorbed the larger proportion of 


the Seceding element in the place. But in 1839 Mr Anderson and his 
people went with the majority of the Original Burgher Synod into the 
Established Church, which must have raised a barrier between them and 
new arrivals from United Secession congregations. Accordingly, on I4th 
March 1843 application was made to the United Presbytery of Glasgow 
for preachers to be sent to Helensburgh, but only on alternate Sabbaths, and 
it was stated that they had kept up public worship in the town hall for 
some time. On gth April of the following year 40 members, after being 
conversed with, were formed into a congregation. The place of meeting 
having become too strait for them, a new church was opened by Dr Heugh 
of Glasgow on 22nd June 1845, with 450 sittings, the cost being about ^800. 

First Minister. ALEXANDER MACEWEN, M.A., son of the Rev. William 
MacEwen of Howgate, and a nephew of John Henderson, Esq., of Park. Or 
dained, 2nd September 1845. With Helensburgh it was still the day of small 
things, the call being signed by only 52 members and 21 adherents, and the 
stipend ^100, with expenses. In 1849 a manse was built at a cost of between 
^600 and ,700, and two years later a gallery, with 150 sittings, was erected 
at an additional outlay of ^300. About this time Mr MacEwen contributed 
to the Scottish Christian Journal sketches of several German professors 
at whose feet he had sat, such as Tholuck and Neander, which we still re 
call with lively interest. In the eleventh year of his ministry he was trans 
lated to Glasgow, having accepted a call to Claremont Church on 3rd June 

Second Minister. DAVID DUFF, M.A., from Greenock (Sir Michael 
Street). Called first to St Andrews, the calculation being that the preacher 
and the old university town would fit each other, but Ayr (now Darlington 
Place) and Helensburgh followed, of which the last was preferred. Or 
dained, 1 6th December 1856. At the moderation the other candidate was 
Mr Peter Davidson. It was evangelistic fervour set over against cultured 
intellect. The stipend was now ^200, with expenses, and a manse and 
grounds valued at ^50 a year. Mr Duff was for several years Rector of 
Greenock Academy before taking licence, and in 1872 he got the degree 
of LL.D. from Glasgow University in recognition of his scholarly attain 
ments. At the Synod in 1876 he was transferred from the pulpit at Helens 
burgh to the Chair of Church History in the Theological Hall at Edinburgh. 
In this new position he received the degree of D.D. from the University of 
Edinburgh in 1887, a city in which he did valuable public service for a course 
of years as Chairman of the School Board. He died, ist September 1890, in 
the sixty-seventh year of his age, the thirty-fourth of his ministry, and the 
fifteenth of his professorship. A volume of Dr Duffs Lectures on the 
History of the Christian Church during the first centuries was published in 
1891 under the editorship of his son David, who had turned aside from 
probationer life to the educational profession. 

Third Minister. ALEXANDER HISLOP, M.A., from Greenhead., Glasgow, 
where he had been colleague to the Rev. John Edwards for two and a half 
years. Inducted, loth April 1877. The membership at the close of 1879 
was returned at 583, and the stipend at ,600, with a manse valued at ^,"80 
a year, while the total income reached the stately figure of ,3000. But in 
Mr Hislop Helensburgh was to furnish a second professor to the denomina 
tion. He was elected to the Chair of Practical Training by the Synod on 
5th May 1892, and in 1894 he received the degree of D.D. from Glasgow 

Fourth Minister. ADAM C. WELCH, B.D., from Waterbeck, where he 
had been ordained in November 1887. Inducted to Helensburgh, 2ist 
December 1892. Called in 1897 to Belhaven to be colleague to Dr Drum- 


mond, but declined. At the close of 1899 the congregation had a member 
ship of 707, and the stipend was ,600, as before. 


THIS congregation owed its origin to a tumult in Bonhill Relief church. A 
contest had arisen over the assumed right of the managers to grant the use 
of the meeting-house for outside purposes without being exposed to a veto 
from minister or session. Resistance to this claim was headed by the 
minister, and straightway rebellion arose, so much so that on 6th December 
1841 a petition signed by 164 members and adherents was laid before the 
Relief Presbytery of Paisley, to be granted sermon as a forming congrega 
tion. At next meeting papers were read, one from Bonhill session, ex 
plaining the principle on which they had acted, and another from the 
congregation, attesting the ability and usefulness of their minister, points 
scarcely in the line of dispute. The decision unanimously arrived at was 
to reject the prayer of the applicants, recommending at the same time con 
ciliation to both parties, but doing nothing special to secure it. There was a 
breaking away now from the Relief, and the resolve was formed to set up for 
themselves. It was fortunate that at this critical time there was acceptable 
supply for them within easy reach in the person of the Rev. Andrew Broom. 
With him terms were arranged, and within two months he entered on 
regular work at Alexandria. On 3oth May 1842 a brief paragraph appeared 
in the Caledonian Mercury to the following effect : " The Independent 
Presbyterian congregation of Alexandria have given a unanimous call to 
the Rev. Andrew Broom, late of North Sunderland, to be their minister. 
In all probability the Vale of Leven will be the field of Mr Broom s future 
labours, where he at present resides, and where his talents and piety are 
much appreciated." 

When a probationer Mr Broom was called to Hamilton (Blackswell) and 
to Newcastle (afterwards Barras Bridge), to Sunderland (afterwards Smyrna 
Chapel), and to North Sunderland. Having accepted the last of these he 
was ordained, 9th April 1834, and next Sabbath, in the absence of his 
minister, the Rev. David Laurie of Abernethy, he introduced himself by 
preaching from the text : " I have a message from God unto thee." " Both 
sermons," said the Magazine, "were delivered in a popular and eloquent 
style, and from the nature and richness of the discourses, together with the 
solemn and affectionate manner in which they were addressed to an attentive 
audience, they could not fail to make deep impressions." It was a good 
beginning; but in Mr Broom there was a want of "prudent, cautious self- 
control," and this wrought him harm. In 1838 an Episcopal minister in 
the place brought certain letters his clerical brother had written him under 
the notice of the Presbytery. Finding that in a slight matter of dispute 
he had used undignified language his brethren exhorted him " to give no 
offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed." His protest against 
this sentence the Synod sustained, and the victory was his, had he but known 
how to use it. A complaint was now brought up against minister and session 
from certain parties in North Sunderland Church, and the case was remitted 
to the Presbytery of Berwick and Coldstream, but before they had time 
to enter on the merits Mr Broom wrote declaring himself out of connection 
with the United Associate Synod. On igth June 1838 the Presbytery met 
at North Sunderland to inquire into the state of the congregation ; but 
access to the meeting-house was denied them, and Mr Broom, who had 
gone out of the way, intimated to them by letter that they had no power 


over him or his congregation. Suspension followed, and the church was 
declared vacant. 

The congregation now divided, 83 communicants adhering to the Synod, 
and Mr Broom retaining possession of the pulpit. But the very day on 
which suspension was pronounced he and his congregation applied to the 
Relief Presbytery of Kelso for admission to their communion, and the papers 
were referred to the Synod in August, who dismissed the application. For 
the next three years Mr Broom s name appeared on the list of the North- 
West Northumberland Presbytery in connection with the Church of 
Scotland. But litigation was going on between the two parties in the 
congregation for possession of the property, and in December 1840 the 
following notice occurs: "The Court of Chancery gave judgment in the 
suit of the Rev. Andrew Broom and the Trustees of North Sunderland 
congregation. He and his adherents having left the Secession form no part 
of the congregation contemplated by the trust-deed." The building had 
now to be vacated, and next year Mr Broom s place is blank in the list of 
Northumberland Presbytery, and the congregation which had kept by him 
vacant, a state from which it passed into the non-existent. This was the 
man whom the Independent Presbyterian congregation of Alexandria now 
got for their minister. 

It does not seem that there was any formal recognition of Mr Broom s 
entrance on his new charge ; only, at the annual meeting of Alexandria con 
gregation on 8th March 1843 he declared his acceptance of a call which they 
had presented to him, and which they now confirmed by a unanimous vote. 
The next step was the erection of a church, and this was accomplished at a 
cost of ^320, of which more than one-half was met with borrowed money. 
The stipend arranged for was ^80. After the connection had lasted two years 
feeling stirred the people towards union with some denomination, and feeling 
inclined Mr Broom to seek admission into the Established Church. At this 
juncture a meeting of the membership was held, when 23 voted to retain 
Mr Broom, and 28 to dispense with his services. Instead of making formal 
application to be received at the ensuing General Assembly Mr Broom 
removed to Newcastle, where he found a church in want of a minister. A 
relationship was formed, akin to what had been at Alexandria, and it lasted 
till 1862, when he withdrew, and the people resumed connection with the 
Established Church. This was Caledonian Chapel, and one of Mr Broom s 
successors states that he occasionally appeared in his old pulpit, and aided 
also in communion work. He died, ist March 1882, in the eighty-second 
year of his age and forty-eighth of his ministerial life. 

The Independent Presbyterian congregation of Alexandria was now out 
upon the open sea, but under the guidance of the Rev. Andrew Sommerville, 
Dumbarton, they made for an available harbour. On loth June 1845 tne 
Secession Presbytery of Glasgow received a petition from upwards of 170 
persons "worshipping in Bridge Street Chapel" for supply of sermon. They 
stated that they had a church capable of containing 400 persons, and with a 
debt of only ^150. The petition was granted, and at a subsequent meeting 
133 persons were recognised as the Secession congregation of Alexandria. 
In a few months a moderation was applied for, the stipend promised being 
i 10 in all. 

First Minister. ALEXANDER WALLACE, from Paisley (Oakshaw Street). 
Ordained, 25th February 1846, after declining calls to Avonbridge, Busby, 
and Langholm (North). A new church, with sittings for 800, was opened on 
Sabbath, i8th April 1847, when the collections amounted to fully ^100. 
Under the ministry of Mr Wallace the congregation got the tide triumphantly 
in its favour, and though his stay extended only to three years it gave them 


a bright beginning. On 6th March 1849 Mr Wallace accepted a call to 
Bradford, Yorkshire, where he condensed valuable work into a yet shorter 
period. Let special mention be made of his Sabbath services for the 
operative classes, of which we have the outcome in the most widely useful of 
all his books, " The Bible and the Working Classes." But trouble came, 
as will be sketched later on, and an invitation to transfer his gifts to the 
Potterrow, Edinburgh, was accepted, 22nd July 1851. Before obtaining a 
successor to Mr Wallace, Alexandria issued two unsuccessful calls, the one 
to Mr Andrew Morton, who accepted Greenock (Sir Michael Street), and 
the other to the Rev. Robert T. Jeffrey, M.D., who remained in Denny. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM SPROTT, from Stranraer (Bridge Street). 
Ordained, 22nd October 1850. The stipend was to be ,142 in all, and 
the membership was 258. The first translating call Mr Sprott received was 
in 1859 from Kilmalcolm, which he declined, but another of greater weight 
from Pollokshaws was accepted, 3rd September 1861. Next April a call to 
Mr Joseph Corbett was brought up to the Presbytery from Alexandria, 
signed by 390 members, along with another from Kilcreggan, signed by 20 
members, and Mr Corbett preferred the latter. 

Third Minister. WILLIAM JOHNSTON, from Leslie (now Trinity), where 
he had been minister for ten years, and where he was beloved both for his 
own and for his father s sake. Inducted, I7th March 1863. The member 
ship was now put at 400, and the stipend was to be ^190. At the close of 
1865 a manse was bought for ^875, and the debt cleared off in the course of 
a twelvemonth. The ultimate cost was ^950, of which the Board paid ,200. 
Mr Johnston laboured on for nine years, but the Vale of Leven told upon his 
health, and induced him to try the effects of a few months sojourn in 
Canada. Finding himself still unable to resume full work he intimated his 
resignation from the other side, which was accepted, I5th October 1872. 
On returning to Scotland Mr Johnston took charge of Cobbinshaw station 
for a time, and after that was located at Wamphray for several years. This 
proving too much for his declining strength, he retired in 1893, and since 
then has resided in London. In 1889 Mr Johnston published a finely-toned 
little volume, entitled " Light from Peniel," a quiet memento of his gifts and 

Fourth Minister. JAMES DRUMMOND, from Alva. Like their first 
minister, Mr Drummond had other three calls London (Oxendon), Douglas, 
and Ardrossan, but again Alexandria got the preference. Ordained, 6th 
May 1873. At the moderation nearly a third of the votes went to Mr 
Archibald B. Cameron, now Dr Cameron of College Street, Edinburgh. In 
1875 Mr Drummond declined Pollok Street, Glasgow, but on loth April 
1877 he accepted Ryehill, Dundee. 

Fifth Minister. JAMES ALLISON, from Boston Church, Cupar, into 
which he had been inducted seven years before. Admitted to Alexandria, 
8th January 1878. There was a membership now of 444, and the stipend 
was ^275, with the manse. Increase had been favoured by the growth of 
the town, the population having nearly doubled itself since the congregation 
began. In view of the jubilee celebration in 1892 Mr Allison drew up 
" Reminiscences " of the congregation s fortunes during these fifty years, 
and to this comprehensive outline of facts the present sketch has been much 
indebted. One attractive feature brought out was that instead of being 
"selfishly confined" the people were raising annually not less than ^160 a 
year for missionary and benevolent purposes. On i6th February 1897 
Mr Allison retired into the emeritus position, owing mainly to failure of eye 
sight. Instead of an annual allowance the congregation were to give him a 
slump sum, which came to much less than might have been expected, and 


he was admitted to the benefits of the Aged and Infirm Ministers Fund. 
He then removed to Ayr, where he cast in his lot with the forming congre 
gation of Trinity, and became a member of the original session. His son, 
the Rev. D. J. Allison, is minister of Galston. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN MANSIE, M.A., from Aberdeen (St Nicholas )- 
Ordained, 28th September 1897. The membership at the close of 1899 was 
566, and the stipend .275, with the manse. 


ON loth February 1874 the Presbytery of Glasgow arranged to have a 
preaching station opened in the Dalmuir district on as early a day as 
possible, and the name was changed soon after to that of Clydebank Union 
Mission Station. The site first fixed on was about midway between the two 
places, but the sessions of Duntocher and Kilpatrick having suggested to 
remove nearer Clydebank, this was agreed to. On 8th September a con 
gregation was formed on petition from 65 members of our own or of other 
churches, and 39 hearers. On 8th April 1876 the memorial stone of a new 
church was laid, the estimated cost being ,2800. 

First Minister. ANDREW H. M GREGOR, from Cumbernauld. Ordained, 
1 7th August 1876. The call was signed by 72 members and 35 adherents, 
and the people undertook i 10 of stipend, which was made up to ,200 in all. 
In the end of 1879 there was a membership of 200, but owing to other 
demands the people were only raising ^10 more for stipend than at first. 
The population, however, which was about 1000 at the opening of the 
station, increased rapidly through the prosperity of the shipbuilding trade, 
so that in 1884 the church required enlargement, and the congregational 
funds afforded a stipend of ^300, with ^50 for house rent. Mr M Gregor 
died, 2oth January 1892, after a period of broken health, and in the Pres 
bytery minutes we find a tribute paid to his " unobtrusive Christian character 
and devotion to the service of Christ." He was in the forty-second year of 
his age and the sixteenth of his ministry. At his death the congregation had 
a communion roll of 600. 

Second Minister. COLIN M. NlCOL, who had been four years in 
Banchory. Inducted, gth August 1892, the stipend to be ^305, including 
everything. In the following year the church was required for railway 
purposes, and a new erection had to be arranged for on a site in the immediate 
neighbourhood. It was opened, with 1000 sittings, on 8th October 1895 by 
Dr MacEwen of Claremont Church, Glasgow, Lord Overtoun giving the 
opening address. The entire cost was ^8750, but, ^5500 being got for the 
old building and ,1050 raised at the opening, the debt was computed at not 
more than ^2000. This was reduced to ,300 by the proceeds of a bazaar 
held in 1900, a few weeks before the Union, and, the site having been pur 
chased, the property may be described as unburdened. The stipend is now 
^355, and there is a membership of 724. 


AT the close of 1882 Clydebank was one of the places in which Dumbarton 
Presbytery considered there was room for Church Extension, but nothing 
definite was done in that direction for several years. It was not till the 
summer of 1888, when the congregation already established there took up 
the matter, that an active beginning was made. Mission operations were 



now begun under their superintendence at Radnor Park, described as a new 
township between Dalmuir and Clydebank, with a population of 1500, of 
whom not more than one-third had any Church connection. For several 
years the work was carried on in a kitchen, but in 1889 a hall was opened, 
with accommodation for 270. There was a Sabbath evening attendance of 
over loo, and a Sabbath school of 120, and from what they saw Clydebank 
session looked on Radnor Park as a most hopeful field. Dumbarton Presby 
tery entered heartily into the movement, and agreed to have a probationer 
located there with a salary of ^100 a year, the Board granting 50 to meet 
initial expenses. On nth March 1890 Radnor Park was recognised as a 
regular preaching station, sealing ordinances to be enjoyed through Clyde- 
bank session. On i4th October 104 members and 75 adherents had their 
petition granted to be formed into a congregation. 

First Minister. WILLIAM O. BROWN, from Kent Road, Glasgow, who 
had been in charge of the station from the beginning. Ordained, 2gth 
January 1891, the call being signed by 102 members and 53 adherents. The 
stipend from the people was to be ^80 in all to begin with, the minister to 
receive ^55 of supplement, with ^20 for house rent, and his share of the 
surplus. The hall in which they worshipped, with the ^150 of debt which 
it carried, was now made over to the congregation by the session and 
managers of Clydebank. A new church, with sittings for 600, was opened 
by Dr Oliver, Moderator of Synod, on i6th March 1895, of which the cost 
was ^2425. The debt was only about ^100 in addition to ^500 from the 
Loan Fund. At the close of 1899 there was a membership of 244, and the 
stipend was ^120 from the people, ,30 from the Ferguson Bequest, and 10 
of Supplement, which a half share of the surplus and the allowance for house 
rent raised to ^193 in all. 


ON 6th June 1896 the Presbytery of Dumbarton sanctioned the formation of 
a new congregation at Clydebank, hired The Dining Hall at Yoker, a little way 
to the east, for the commencing of evangelistic operations, and engaged one 
of their own licentiates, Mr George Stirling, for a year at a salary of ^100. 
The ministers and sessions of Clydebank and Radnor Park had previously 
agreed to form a committee of management, and the Board had made a 
grant of ^50 for initial expenses. The attendance at first was about 50, and 
at the communion, under the supervision of Clydebank session, in the 
following December, the members were only 22, of whom 13 had been ad 
mitted by certificate and 9 by examination. Though the hall at Yoker was 
not central enough, the work was carried on there for two and a half years, 
and in arranging to build in a better position financial difficulties arose. 
The Presbytery fixed the cost of the new hall at .1800, but the Board could 
not promise more than ^500, and wished the plans reduced to ,1400. To 
this change the Presbytery refused to agree, and stated that unless they were 
sure of ;8oo from the Central Fund they would have to consider whether the 
station could be continued. An adjustment was come to, the Board consenting 
to allow ^800, provided the Presbytery undertook to raise ^600 for the same 
object. The condition was accepted, and ,530 came in from the several 
congregations within the bounds, Helensburgh, as usual, taking the lead, and 
contributing more than all the others put together. A friend, who did not 
wish his name to be known, made up what was wanting of the sum required, 
so that the Home Board and the Presbytery of Dumbarton relieved Bank 
Street to the extent of ,1400 between them. Orders were now given to 
proceed with the erection, and on 7th February 1899 a congregation of 79 


members and 35 adherents was formed. Next month the provisional session 
was superseded by the ordination of 4 elders. Mr Stirling had now laboured 
diligently in this field for nearly three years, and the rules forbade a renewal 
of the engagement at the end of that period. This opens up a new chapter 
in the history of the congregation. 

First Minister. WILLIAM A. THOMSON, from Pleasance, Edinburgh. 
After hearing a number of probationers the congregation unanimously selected 
Mr Thomson to take Mr Stirling s place, and remain for at least six months. 
The hall for which so much had been done was opened on the first Sabbath 
of December 1899 by Professor Hislop, with sittings for 350. It is situated 
a mile to the east of the mother church, while that of Radnor Park is three- 
quarters of a mile to the north. A moderation was then applied for, and 
Mr Thomson s ordination followed on 3Oth January 1900. There was a 
membership now of 115, and the stipend from the people was to be ^75, 
besides what might be got from the Ferguson Bequest. The Home Board 
on their part were to grant a supplement of ^110 for the first year, ^90 for 
the second, and ^70 for the third. It was found when all was over that the 
hall had cost ,2062, and that a debt remained of ^500 to the Henderson 
Loan Fund, and also .106 borrowed from a private party. This latter sum 
the Presbytery hoped would be met by the congregation before the end of 
the year. Such was the position of Bank Street congregation at the time of 
the recent Union. The three churches in or near Clydebank must have 
told largely for good on that new and important centre of population. 



THIS congregation links itself in its origin with the name of John Hepburn, 
whose personal history will come in under Urr. He was the head of a large 
party of Old Dissenters, whose strength lay in Nithsdale, and who at his 
death in 1723 were left as sheep without a shepherd. In contending for the 
renewing of the national covenants, and in testifying against manifold 
corruptions in Church and State, he occupied similar ground to that taken 
up by the Associate Presbytery, and hence he has been looked back on as 
"The morning star of the Secession." His followers kept together after his 
death, and were known as " The Praying Societies of the South and West." 
In 1730 a deputation of their number waited on Thomas Boston, and after 
they left he wrote : " I found them to be men having a sense of religion 
upon their spirits, much affected with their circumstances as destitute of a 
minister, endowed with a good measure of Christian charity and love, and of 
a very different temper from Mr M Millan s followers." They wished 
fellowship in sealing ordinances with Boston and his two friends, Wilson of 
Maxton and Davidson of Galashiels, but Boston could not in conscience 
approve of their separation, and no terms were arrived at. " So we parted," 
he said, " on the morrow after, but with much affection and much heaviness 
on both sides." It was different when a letter of 4th March 1736, in name of 
several of these societies, craving sympathy in their desolate condition, was 
read to the Associate Presbytery. It was followed by a representation 
and petition for sermon dated at Ulzieside on 5th January 1737. This was 
near Sanquhar, which came to be fixed on as the seat of the first Secession 
congregation in Dumfriesshire, though for some years there was sermon at 
various places throughout the bounds. 


First Minister. THOMAS BALLANTYNE, of whose early history there is 
nothing known. Ordained, 22nd September 1742. After the call came out 
a commissioner from Leslie wished the sustaining delayed, as the people 
there were intent on securing Mr Ballantyne for their minister, but instead 
of complying the Presbytery ended the matter by appointing him to 
Sanquhar. It has been stated that the first church, with 450 sittings, was 
built in 1742, but a stone on its front bore the date 1745. Ori his ordination 
day Mr Ballantyne, though designated minister of the Associate congrega 
tion of Nithsdale, declared himself unable to preach at more places of 
worship than one, and the Presbytery recommended accordingly. He may 
not have been in robust health, and he died, 28th February 1744, in the 
thirtieth year of his age and second of his ministry. The lines on his tomb 
stone bear the impress of Ralph Erskine s hand : 

" This sacred herald, whose sweet mouth spread gospel truth abroad, 
Like Timothy was but a youth, and yet a man of God." 

At the Breach three years after this the congregation was still vacant, 
and a petition in their name, which came before the Antiburgher Presbytery 
of Edinburgh on the 8th July 1747, makes manifest which side they took. It 
ran thus : " They cannot, in consistency with the word of God and the 
testimony they formerly espoused, make any further application to the 
Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow." It was natural that John Hepburn s 
followers and their descendants should take rigid ground, and for their con 
firmation Adam Gib was appointed to preach to them on the last Wednesday 
of that month. 

Second Minister. JOHN GOODLET, a licentiate of Edinburgh Presbytery. 
Called also to the united congregation of Kilbride and Lesmahagow, but 
Sanquhar was unanimously preferred. Ordained, 22nd March 1749. Died, 
2nd February 1775, in the twenty-sixth year of his ministry. Mr Goodlet 
published a sermon preached at the ordination of Mr Jamieson of Glasgow 
in 1753, entitled "The Vanity of Dreams exposed," a very judicious perform 
ance, though not much in keeping with the special work of the day. He 
was also the author of a pamphlet in defence of the Antiburghers against 
the Burghers and the Cameronians. 

Third Minister. ANDREW THOMSON, from Howgate. Ordained, 22nd 
August 1776. The Synod preferred this call to another from Hamilton. 
Died, 27th September 1815, in the seventy-second year of his age and 
fortieth of his ministry. Mr Thomson was the father of the Rev. James 
Thomson, Holm of Balfron, and the grandfather of Dr Andrew Thomson, 
Broughton Place, Edinburgh. Dr Edmond has described Mr Thomson as 
"an excellent preacher, with a singularly powerful and melodious voice." 
He married a sister of the Rev. Patrick Comrie of Penicuik. 

Fourth Minister. JAMES REID, from Newmilns. Ordained, loth January 
1816. Mr Reid had been called at intervals to Newmilns, Errol, Crieff, and 
Moniaive, but he was hard to satisfy. The Synod having appointed him to 
be ordained at Moniaive, he refused to obey, and while matters were in this 
state he was about to be called to Lockerbie, but by the Presbytery s advice 
the moderation was not proceeded with. In the end he was allowed to 
accept Sanquhar, where he laboured long and to appearance successfully. In 
April 1836 Mr Reid, though several years under sixty, tendered his demission, 
a step which the Presbytery deprecated, preferring to see the charge made 
collegiate. The congregation wished delay, and required constant supply 
meanwhile. Then they agreed that Mr Reid should continue senior 
minister, retaining the manse, garden, and field, with an allowance of .20 a 


year, and sacramental expenses, an arrangement with which he expressed 
cheerful acquiescence. The stipend of the colleague was to be ^100, includ 
ing everything. 

Fifth Minister. DAVID M. GROOM, from Perth (South). Ordained, loth 
January 1838. The call was signed by 185 members and 16 adherents. 
Mr Croom, who was exceptionally popular, had calls in 1841 to Broughton 
Place, Edinburgh, and to Regent Place, Glasgow, but he remained in 
Sanquhar, and that year the present church, with sittings for 500, was built. 
Mr Reid died at Lanark, 9th February 1849, in the sixty-ninth year of his 
age and thirty-fourth of his ministry. Mr Croom was loosed from his 
charge on accepting a call to Portsburgh, Edinburgh, i8th May 1852. At 
the time of the Atonement Controversy he published a pamphlet on the 
" New View" side, entitled " Harmony and State of Doctrine in the Secession 
Church," characterised by the vigorous directness of his spoken address. 

In the early part of the following year the congregation called Mr W. M. 
Taylor, afterwards Dr Taylor of New York, but he gave the preference to 
Kilmaurs, assigning as a reason the want of a liberal spirit at Sanquhar 
the stipend promised being only ,no, to which were added a manse and 
garden, with glebe, and travelling as well as sacramental expenses. They 
next called Mr James Hill, who accepted Scone. The stipend was then 
raised to .130, and in 1857 to ^150. 

Sixth Minister. FORBES K. Ross, from Stranraer (Bellevilla), a brother 
of the Rev. William Ross, Embleton, Northumberland. The only rival call 
in this case was from Swalwell, a place of little account. Mr Ross was 
ordained, loth January 1854, but within three years he was laid aside from 
all ministerial work owing to mental disease. The pastoral relation was 
dissolved, 5th November 1856, the congregation agreeing to give him ^60 
either at once or in three yearly payments of ^20. He died in Morningside 
Asylum, 2ist February 1860, in the thirty-first year of his age. 

In 1857 Mr Thomas Miller was called to Sanquhar (South), but he pre 
ferred Wilson Church, Perth. 

Seventh Minister. MATTHEW CRAWFORD, from Kilbarchan, who had 
been previously called to Alva, Lanark (Bloomgate), Haddington (East), and 
Springburn. Ordained, 26th January 1858. Invitations to remove to other 
spheres were declined Pollokshaws in 1861, and Bradford, and Lothian 
Road, Edinburgh, in 1865 but on 2nd February 1869 he accepted Duke 
Street, Glasgow (now Cathedral Square). 

Eighth Minister. JOHN SELLAR, from Keith, who, like his predecessor, 
was in large request when a probationer, having been called to Barrow-in- 
Furness, Leith (St Andrew s Place), and Stirling (View-field). Ordained, 26th 
April 1870. Loosed, 3rd December 1878, on accepting a call to the newly- 
formed congregation of Regent Street, Portobello. 

Ninth Minister. MATTHEW DICKIE, M.A., from Kilwinning, a nephew 
of the Rev. Andrew Dickie, Aberdeen, and the Rev. Matthew Dickie, Bristol. 
In this case also there had been a number of openings besides, these 
being Freuchie, Banchory, Birkenhead (Grange Road), and Paisley (Oakshaw 
Street). Ordained, 28th October 1879. Seven years after this the congre 
gation received an important addition to its resources by an endowment of 
over ^4000 the bequest of an Australian gentleman, a native of Sanquhar. 
He directed that the interest should go to the minister over and above the 
stipend paid by the people, which was ,200 with the manse. At the close 
of 1899 the membership was 159. 



IN April 1815 the Burgher Synod allowed Lanark Presbytery ,10 for the 
conducting of evangelistic services in the counties of Lanark and Dumfries. 
In this way the Rev. John Brown of Biggar preached a Sabbath at Sanquhar 
that summer, and his father, the Rev. John Brown of Whitburn, also preached 
at Leadhills. To these circumstances the origin of this congregation is to be 
ascribed. On I7th October 1815 Mr Glen of Annan stated to the Presbytery 
of Dumfries that he had officiated at Sanquhar on a particular Sabbath, and 
found that continuance of sermon was anxiously desired. With this the 
process began which ended in the formation of Sanquhar, North. Strangely 
enough, a seemingly antagonistic movement was entered on about the same 
time. On I4th November of that year a petition with 100 names was 
presented to the Relief Presbytery of Dumfries to be recognised as a forming 
congregation. Accordingly, Mr Paterson of Wamphray preached in San 
quhar on the fourth Sabbath of that month, and along with another member 
of Presbytery met with the applicants next day. In a few weeks managers 
were chosen, and measures adopted for the erection of a place of worship. 
Thus far it looked as if the Relievers had been shooting ahead of the 
Burghers, and getting prior possession of any open ground there was. But 
a sudden collapse came. Appointments were made for three Sabbaths in 
July and August 1816, but the people declined supply for these days, and the 
name occurs no more in the records of Dumfries Relief Presbytery. The 
services of unacceptable preachers may have led to the enterprise being 
abandoned. But the Burghers held on, and that year they were congregated 
with a membership of 48, absorbing, probably, a fair proportion of the rival 
party. In 1818 their first church was built at a cost of ,354. In the follow 
ing year they called Mr David M. Inglis, but the Synod appointed him to 
Stockbridge, Berwickshire. 

First Minister. ROBERT SIMPSON, from Edinburgh (Bristo), but brought 
up in the Established Church, and joined the Secession when a student. In 
April 1820 the call from Sanquhar, which had lain over for nine months, 
came before the Synod along with another from Duns (West). The young 
congregation was now to be preferred, though it had the signatures of 
only 90 members to show in contrast with 542, and though Mr Simpson 
expressed by letter his sentiments in favour of Duns. The Synod pronounced 
for Sanquhar, and he was ordained there, i6th May 1820. From the report 
given in by Mr Simpson to the Commissioners on Religious Instruction 
sixteen years afterwards it appears that he had not much reason to regret 
the decision. The population had grown considerably during that period, 
and the communicants numbered 240. More accommodation having been 
required, a gallery, with accommodation for 200, had been erected in 1833, 
making 500 sittings in all. The minister s stipend was ,106, including 
expenses, and a manse had been built for him in 1826 at an outlay of almost 
/30o. The two Secession congregations had each about 90 persons, old 
and young, from the parish of Kirkconnel at this time, and nearly half that 
number from the parish of Durrisdeer. Mr Simpson had sixteen families 
from beyond six miles. In 1848, when the church had been newly painted, 
decorated, and freed from debt, disaster came. Cracks in the plaster were 
followed by a rent in one of the walls. Coal workings had sealed the doom 
of the house in which their fathers worshipped, and another, with 550 sittings, 
was built next year at a cost of over ,800, the burden of which had to be 
borne by the congregation. As Mr Simpson s ministry advanced he became 
widely known for his writings on the struggles of covenanting times. It 


may be enough to specify his " Traditions of the Covenanters," which ap 
peared in two volumes, the first in 1843 and the second in 1846, and there 
are four or five others in the same line, and all inspired by the same spirit. 
The author received the degree of D.D., from Princeton College, New Jersey, 
in 1853. Dr Simpson took no part in the Atonement Controversy, but that 
did not prevent several of the elders and members of the North Church 
taking the lead in the setting up of an E.U. church in Sanquhar in 1863. 
The Rev. James Ross states that the originators "were opposed to the 
Calvinism preached by the ministers." Inquiry brings out that Dr Simpson 
exchanged one Sabbath with the Free Church minister, who took for his 
subject Ezekiel s Valley of Dry Bones. In his discourse the preacher may 
not have gone beyond the Calvinism of the Apostle Paul when he wrote of 
men being " dead in trespasses and sins," but what he said was too much for 
some of his hearers, who rose and left. The building of a church, with 300 
sittings, followed, and the Rev. George Gladstone was their first minister. 
After he went to Glasgow they had four others within sixteen years, with one 
or two big intervals between. Dr Simpson died, 8th July 1867, in the seventy- 
sixth year of his age and forty-eighth of his ministry. Next year a granite 
obelisk, costing about ,100, was erected to his memory, and stands in front 
of the church. 

Second Minister. JAMES HAY SCOTT, from Melrose. Called also to 
Leeds, Wolverhampton, and Biggar (Moat Park). Ordained at Sanquhar, 
2nd June 1868. The manse had been renovated and enlarged shortly before 
this at an outlay of ^450, of which the Board paid one-third. The popu 
lation of the parish, which in 1851 was over 4000, is now about 2300, and the 
two U.P. congregations have suffered in proportion. The South, which had 
fully 320 communicants in 1836, is now a unit under half that number, and the 
North gives 154 instead of 240, while the Free church, with 450 in 1843, nas 
decreased to 200. Mr Scott s stipend from the people in 1899 was ,130, 
with the manse. In February 1898 Mr Scott was gazetted as acting Chaplain 
to the Queen s Own Scottish Borderers, an honour which befits an ecclesi 
astical descendant of John Hepburn, and links itself with the Sanquhar of 
a former day. 


JOHN HEPBURN, already referred to under Sanquhar (South), entered on his 
ministry at Urr in 1680, and continued as circumstances would allow during 
the eight troubled years which followed. He had been privately ordained 
over a Presbyterian congregation in London at an earlier time. After the 
Revolution Settlement Urr became his stated field of labour. In 1693 he 
gave in a paper of grievances to the Synod of Dumfries, and for his freedom 
in condemning the backslidings of the Church, and for preaching and 
baptising beyond his own parish, he was suspended from office in 1696, a 
sentence which he disregarded. He was afterwards banished for three years 
from Urr, but in 1699 he was allowed to return. In 1705 he was deposed 
from the ministry by the Commission for refusing to take the Oath of 
Allegiance to Queen Anne, but the sentence was removed in 1707. His 
people kept by him all through, and no minister was thrust into his place. 
He died on 23rd March 1723, being about seventy-four years of age. In the 
spirit of the first Seceders he set himself to stem the defections of the times, 
but Wodrow says that towards the end of his course he pleaded for unity and 
peace. His son, of the same name, became minister of Torryburn in 1717, 
and fraternised with the judicatories of the Church as his father never did. 
He was translated to New Greyfriars, Edinburgh, in 1723. But others of 


Mr Hepburn s descendants were identified with the Secession. A grandson 
of his, the Rev. William M George, was the first minister of the Antiburgher 
church, Midcalder, and a granddaughter, Emelia M George, was Adam Gib s 
second wife. 

A large proportion of Urr people acceded early to the Associate Presby 
tery. Supply of sermon they shared with other societies in Nithsdale from 
1 738, and three years afterwards they were recognised as a regular congrega 
tion. In 1743 their first church was built, and in 1745 they called Mr John 
Swanston to be their minister. Presbytery and Synod did what they could 
for them, but Mr Swanston was resolute against accepting. He was under 
call to Stitchell, his native place, at the time, but his attitude towards Urr 
does not seem to have been prompted by a wish to settle down among home 
scenes. The case kept pending till after the breach of 1747, when con 
gregation and preacher parted asunder, Urr adhering to the Antiburghers 
and Mr Swanston to the Burghers. 

First Minister. JOHN MILLIGAN, from Sanquhar (South). Ordained, 
1 6th September 1748. In his time the congregation must have drawn 
largely from other parishes, as the Old Statistical History towards the close 
of his ministry makes the number of Seceding families in Urr only about 
thirty. We have the compiler s testimony to Mr Milligan, that he was " a 
gentleman, equally venerable as a minister, and respectable as a citizen." 
In November 1794 constant supply was needed, Mr Milligan being "frail 
and unfit to perform ministerial functions as formerly." He died, 26th 
January 1795, m the forty-seventh year of his ministry, and "aged about 
eighty." He left two sons-in-law members of the Antiburgher Synod the 
Rev. Robert Colville, Lauder, and the Rev. Robert Forsyth, Craigend. 

During the vacancy which followed dissension arose about the new 
church which there was a proposal to build. The first had been superseded 
in 1760, and now a third was required. But difficulties were got over, and 
the work gone through in 1798 at a cost of ,400. Before this the pulpit 
was filled anew. 

Second Minister. JAMES BiGGAR, a native of Urr, who had been 
ordained at Newtonards in preference to Wigtown and Auchtermuchty 
(North), 1 3th April 1785, much against his will. He resigned, and was 
loosed from his charge, I5th June 1797. Having returned to Scotland he was 
forthwith invited to minister among his own people, and his induction to Urr 
took place on I7th August. The stipend at first is not given, but in 1806 
the congregation was prepared " to allow ^80, to pay the house and horse 
tax, with manse, office-houses, and garden." Mr Biggar s ministry ended 
in painful circumstances. In 1813 a woman who had been his servant 
eleven years before set about blackmailing him by threats of ruining his 
character. The Presbytery, judging from the papers read, pronounced the 
charge " a groundless and malignant calumny," but, finding that his assailant, 
a woman of notoriously bad character, had received money from him at 
different times, they subjected him to admonition for imprudence, and hoped 
they were thus ending the case. But commotion arose among his people, 
and the session of Lockerbie struck in, declaring it would not be for edifica 
tion to have Mr Biggar assisting at their approaching communion. He 
now expressed to the Presbytery his willingness to resign owing to the state 
of feeling in his own and neighbouring congregations. On aoth July 1814 
two papers came up from Urr, the one from four elders, wishing Mr Biggar 
retained among them, and the other from two elders and twenty members, 
declaring themselves aggrieved by the way in which their pastor had acted. 
The majority of the Presbytery were of opinion that it would be better for 
him to resign, but he wished time for consideration. 


At next meeting Mr Biggar read a paper, the purport of which was that 
he found himself obliged to hold by his pulpit, at least for the time. He 
further alleged that a combination against him, originating in prejudice and 
malice, "was backed and supported by some members of court." On 7th 
November two elders, friendly to Mr Biggar, admitted that, as near as they 
could judge from the seat-letting, 108 members were attending church, and 
167 absenting themselves. The Presbytery were unanimously of opinion 
now that it was expedient to counsel resignation, and the clerk was to write 
Mr Biggar to that effect, but for other six months he preached on to those 
who were willing to hear him. In April 1815 the case came before the 
Synod, and the decision arrived at was altogether in favour of the accused. 
Nothing, they said, had appeared in the papers to affect his pastoral relation 
to Urr. The woman was utterly unworthy of credit, and her allegations were 
even self-contradictory, and it was the duty of the congregation to submit to 
his ministry. All well thus far, but it did not go very far. On I5th June 
it was suggested that Mr Biggar might demit, on condition of having all 
arrears of stipend paid up to him, and the interest of ,400 of mortified 
money settled on him for life. With this proposal he expressed his satisfac 
tion, and the matter being brought before the congregation they unani 
mously agreed to the terms laid down. The pastoral tie was accordingly 
dissolved on 2nd August 1815. Mr Biggar died on 4th November 1820, "at 
his house near Haugh of Urr," in the seventy-third year of his age and 
thirty-sixth of his ministry. The above particulars have been given on 
account of what followed, and the lesson it teaches. The accuser, I have 
been assured, confessed on her death-bed that the charge was a sheer 
fabrication, but the bitter fruits had been reaped, and the injured party was 
gone beyond recall. 

Third Minister. JAMES BLYTH, from Abernethy. Ordained, 2nd Sep 
tember 1817. During his four years of preacher life Mr Blyth had note 
worthy experiences. First he was called to Kinkell, but the call to settle 
down there came to nothing. Rothesay followed, but his mind was unbend 
ingly fixed against accepting, and after months of converse with him the 
Presbytery allowed him to take his own way. In 1816 Moniaive came for 
ward, and the same scene was enacted again, the congregation ending the 
matter by applying for another moderation. Stranger still, Mr Blyth was 
twice laid under suspension by different Presbyteries, though in neither case 
was there more than friction with his ecclesiastical superiors. Thus, when 
the call from Urr was brought before Dumfries Presbytery, he got notice to 
attend next meeting, that he might intimate his acceptance, but he neither 
obeyed nor sent an apology. Not till he had been three times written to did 
he appear. Asked if he had received the several summonses sent him by 
the clerk, he said he had received three letters, " and also made several 
quibbling remarks respecting the nature of a summons." Asked further why 
he did not answer the first letter, "his reply was that he considered such a 
question unworthy to be put, or to receive any answer." He had done 
nothing, he said, warranting the Presbytery to interrogate him as if he were 
a culprit and evil-doer. Finding they could get nothing from Mr Blyth but 
abusive, insolent language, they were unanimously of opinion that it was 
vain to deal with him further. The question was now put whether to refer 
the case to the Synod or suspend him on the spot, and the latter proposal 
carried. The case, however, came before the Synod in May 1817, when the 
offence was slurred over, and Mr Blyth was allowed to accept the call from 
Urr. It is remarkable that something similar happened with Mr Blyth in 
Stirling Presbytery two or three years before, when for self-willed behaviour 
he was precluded from the exercise of his licence. 


The 6th of February 1823 was Mr Blyth s marriage-day, and this was for 
him the beginning of sorrows. In 1830 Urr congregation found themselves 
unable to pay the full stipend, which was 100 guineas, with manse, garden, 
the payment of taxes, and the annual rate for the Widows Fund. By-and- 
by an evil which lay deep down in family life came formally before the 
Presbytery. It was reported that Mr Blyth had expelled Mrs Blyth from his 
manse, the dark catalogue of her offences being "habitual drunkenness, 
habitual lying, violence to his person and property, and threatening to poison 
him." After investigation the Presbytery found that on the whole Mr Blyth 
was exonerated from blame in effecting a separation from his wife " even in 
the painful way he had recourse to." But this decision neither repaired the 
minister s shattered health nor restored him to public usefulness. In August 
1831 Urr congregation was suffering through Mr Blyth s illness and his 
absence from his flock. A year later he was still ailing. He had removed 
to Perth before this, and on 4th February 1833 his resignation was accepted. 
What provision was made for him by his people is not stated, but they were 
to do what they could, alike for their own honour and Christian feeling, and 
for his comfort. In 1835 Mr Blyth was stationed for some time at Balfour 
station, within the bounds of Perth Presbytery, where, as the mission report 
bears, he was highly acceptable. We only know further that he heired his 
father, a joiner in Abernethy, in 1841, and Dr M Kelvie states that he died 
at Perth in 1844, in the sixtieth year of his age. 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM PULLAR, from Barrhead, a brother of the 
Rev. James Pullar, Glenluce. Ordained, loth July 1834. Had been pre 
viously called to Carliol Street, Newcastle (afterwards Barras Bridge). Dis 
comfort having speedily arisen, Mr Pullar resigned, 2nd November 1835, and 
was loosed from his charge on the i8th of that month. He demitted, 
according to the Minutes of Presbytery, on the ground of general dissatisfac 
tion with his ministry, and the dissolving of the connection was "anxiously 
and equally desired by both parties." In 1845 ^ r Pullar applied to the 
Established Church Assembly for admission, but was refused. During five 
of the years which had intervened his name is found on the United Secession 
list of probationers. He died at Edinburgh, 3rd April 1871, in the seventy- 
seventh year of his age. 

The congregation now called Mr James R. Dalrymple, who declined, and 
became minister of Thornliebank. 

Fifth Minister. WILLIAM BURGESS, M.A., from Annan, a nephew of 
the Rev. Dr John Stewart of Liverpool and the Rev. David Stewart of Stir 
ling. Called also to Dumfries (Loreburn Street). Ordained, 24th November 
1836. Accepted a call to Eglinton Street, Glasgow, i3th April 1842. At 
the time of Mr Burgess ordination the communicants were about 230, and 
the stipend promised was ^90, with manse and garden. The debt on the 
property was only ,68. 

Sixth Minister. DAVID WILSON BAYNE, from Balbeggie. Ordained, 
4th April 1843. When the call was announced in the public prints 
Mr Bayne was described as Master of the Burgh Academy at Forfar. The 
stipend was to be ^90, with house, garden, and sacramental expenses. 
After Mr Bayne had been nine years in Urr rumours affecting his character 
for sobriety, and otherwise, were brought before Dumfries Presbytery by 
himself with a request for investigation. The case was taken up, and in 
quiry went on amidst confusion and dust. A meeting was held in Un 
church on 3rd August 1852, when five members of the congregation were 
dealt with for having circulated reports prejudicial to their minister s good 
name. It was a futile attempt to cork up infected air. When the case was 
going on some of Mr Bayne s old fellow-students befriended him to the 


utmost of their power, Dr James Taylor, in particular, appearing on the 
scene, all eagerness, no doubt, to get at the facts and see justice done. 
With difficulty a sentence of suspension was arrived at, and after conflicting 
verdicts had been pronounced the case was referred to the Synod. On 5th 
May 1853 a Synodical Committee in conjunction with Dumfries Presbytery 
subjected Mr Bayne to rebuke for " sinful imprudence " on a particular night, 
removed the sentence of suspension, and accepted his demission of his 
charge. Without stating all this in the report given in to the Synod, they 
recommended that his name should be placed on the list of probationers 
whenever he should apply for it. 

When Mr Bayne was in location at Kinkell, two and a half years after 
this, Perth Presbytery had to take up some scandalous reports of misconduct 
on his part very similar to those which went before. The accused had a 
resolute defender in the Rev. William Marshall of Coupar-Angus, but it 
was a desperate attempt to confuse moral issues in the face of the clearest 
light. The Presbytery s verdict being hostile to Mr Bayne, both he and 
his clerical advocate appealed to the Synod, who found the charge of 
intemperance and lewdness proved in the main, and the Presbytery of 
Perth on 3rd June 1856 declared him cut off from the office of the ministry 
and from the communion of the U.P. Church. " Mr William Marshall 
craved to have it marked that his views of Mr Bayne s case being unchanged 
he has taken no part in the censure thereby inflicted." Mr Bayne was served 
heir to his father, a farmer in Collace parish, three months after this. He had 
now removed to Newcastle, where he died among stranger hands, 3 1 st July 1875, 
in the seventy-first year of his age. A friend writes me : " Though not person 
ally acquainted with him, I have a distinct recollection of seeing him going 
about, reminding me of Bewick s picture, Waiting for Death. " 

Urr congregation during this vacancy called Mr James Hill, who pre 
ferred Scone. 

Seventh Minister. JAMES BLACK, from Duns (West). Ordained, loth 
October 1854. The stipend was to be ^105, with manse, garden, and other 
premises. Mr Black accepted a call to St Andrews, 6th May 1857. 

Eiglith Minister. JOHN CLARK, from Kincardine-on-Forth. Got licence 
in the Free Church, but applied in March 1858 to Edinburgh Presbytery to 
be received as a probationer into the U.P. Church. "The letter expressed 
the dissatisfaction of the applicant with the manner in which the claims 
and privileges of preachers are treated in the body with which he has been 
connected." On the same ground another Free Church probationer had 
made a like transition the year before. The complaint was that, apart from 
clerical recommendations, a preacher had very rarely a chance of being 
heard in a Free Church vacancy. Edinburgh Presbytery on receiving de 
cided testimony to Mr Clark s natural abilities, Christian deportment, and 
acceptability as a preacher, recommended his application to the Synod, by 
whom it was granted, and within five months he received a unanimous call 
to Urr. Ordained, 23rd December 1858. The communion roll had recently 
sustained a reduction by the loss of the families from about Dalbeattie, who 
had gone to form a new congregation there, but the stipend was kept as 
before. In 1865 the manse was rebuilt, at a cost of ^650, of which the 
people raised ^405, and the Board granted ,245. Mr Clark died, 26th 
August 1886, after a painful and lingering illness, in the fifty-eighth year of 
his age and twenty-eig hth of his ministry. His son, the Rev. James G. 
Clark, is minister at Gatehouse. 

Ninth Minister. WILLIAM STORRAR, from Bethelfield, Kirkcaldy. 
Ordained, I5th February 1887. The membership was 127, but the popula 
tion was on the steady decline. Mr Storrar s last winter was spent at the 


Canary Islands, from which he returned home to die. The end came on 
20th April 1896, in the thirty-fourth year of his age and tenth of his ministry. 
A discourse of his on " Christian Abstinence " was published by the Scottish 
Temperance League. 

7*enth Minister. DAVID B. ALEXANDER, B.D., from Partick (Newton 
Place). Ordained, 22nd September 1896. At the close of 1899 the member 
ship was 108, and the stipend from the people was ,80, with the manse. 


THE origin of the earliest Secession congregation in Dumfries is traced back 
indirectly to an obnoxious settlement in the parish of Troqueer, which comes 
close in to the provincial town. Mr James Purcell was presented by the 
Crown to the vacant charge in September 1732, but the entire session and 
a great part of the parishioners favoured Mr James Ritchie, who had been 
assistant for four years to the former incumbent. The Presbytery intervened 
on behalf of popular rights, but Mr Purcell was ordained by a " Riding- 
Committee" on igth April 1734, under the authority of the Commission. 
The General Assembly met a few weeks afterwards, and was in the reform 
ing mood, but the presentee was already in full possession of the benefice, 
and the people were in a state of dispersion. Some of their number, it is 
understood, ultimately connected themselves with the congregation of 
Lockerbie, where sermon was obtained from the Associate Presbytery in 


The name of Dumfries is found nowhere in the old Secession records till 
after the breach of 1747, and it was the Burghers who appeared first on the 
ground. A few families had left the Antiburgher congregation of San- 
quhar at that time, and applied for sympathy and sermon to the other 
party. This led the Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow to send occasional 
supply to Sanquhar and Dumfries from the beginning of 1753 till 1756, when 
these places were handed over to the care of Edinburgh Presbytery, and 
were to come in for sermon when preachers were sent to Ecclefechan. But 
the Antiburgher cause now came to the front, and some time between 1757 
and 1760 Loreburn congregation was formed, the first church having been 
built, it is understood, in the latter of those years. The Burgher cause in 
Dumfries now passed out of notice for half-a-century. 

First Minister. THOMAS HERBERTSON, of whose antecedents we know 
nothing. Called also to Kilwinning, but appointed by the Synod to Dumfries, 
where he was ordained, 29th September 1761. The call was signed by 28 
(male) members and 27 adherents. Closeburn, twelve miles to the north, was 
now joined to Dumfries, the minister to preach there every third Sabbath. 
Mr Herbertson died, 6th August 1762, in the thirty-fifth year of his age and 
first of his ministry. 

Second Minister. WILLIAM INGLIS, from Leslie (West), a congregation 
in which the family name figured from the first. Ordained, I2th March 
1765. In July of next year two societies about Dalton petitioned Lockerbie 
session for a disjunction, that they might be annexed to Dumfries. The case 
came before the Presbytery, and the request is certain to have been granted. 
In 1806 Mr Inglis had a stipend of ^uo, with a dwelling-house, and in 1807 
the congregation petitioned for a constant supply of young men. This issued 
in a unanimous call to Mr William Bruce, whom the Synod appointed to 
Bathgate, where we shall meet him again. The uprise of a Burgher congre 
gation in Dumfries may have hastened the movement for a colleague. 

Third Minister. JAMES CLYDE, from Perth (North). Ordained, 2ist 


June 1810. "The helper "was to have ^100, with the expectation of other 
10 when a house should be needed, and the income of the senior minister 
was not to be reduced. Next year Mr Clyde married a daughter of Mr 
Inglis, and thus the dangers incident to a collegiate charge were minimised. 
The senior colleague took one of the three Sabbath services till 1823, but 
after that date he withdrew from all pulpit work, except at communion times. 
He died, loth May 1826, in the eighty-fifth year of his age and sixty-second of 
his ministry. His son, the Rev. James Inglis, was minister of Midholm. The 
tradition that the poet Burns frequently attended Loreburn Street Church 
when residing in Dumfries, and gave as the reason that Mr Inglis preached 
what he believed, and practised what he preached, is confirmed from so 
many sides that we may venture to take it as substantially correct. 

In 1829 a new church, with sittings for 577, was built at a cost of ^900. 
Mr Clyde subscribed nearly a half-year s stipend for this purpose, and had 
reason to regret that the example of liberality which he set was not better 
followed by his people, so that the erection entailed a heavy burden of debt. 
In 1836 he had a membership of 309, of whom nearly one half were 
from other parishes, Troqueer taking the lead, followed by Torthorwald, 
Terregles, Kirkmahoe, Holywood, and several others. About twenty-four 
families came from beyond four miles. The stipend was ^120, with house 
and garden. That year a colleague was resolved on, but the congregation 
was twice disappointed first, through Mr William Burgess accepting Urr, 
and second, through Mr Robert Wardrop, whose health had compelled him 
to decline Tay Square, Dundee, three years before, finding himself still 
unable to undertake a pastoral charge. 

Fourth Minister. DAVID L. SCOTT, from Dalreoch. Called also to 
Newtyle and to Cumbernauld. Ordained, 29th May 1838. Mr Clyde was 
to have ^70 a year, with the manse, and his colleague ^100. It proved too 
much, and in the early part of 1844 Mr Scott resigned, pleading imperative 
necessity owing to the state of the funds. At next meeting the congregation 
intimated that they would offer no opposition, as they were unable to support 
two ministers. Mr Clyde thereupon expressed his willingness to submit to 
any reduction of salary which might be found necessary, and in the end 
it was agreed that he should have ^20 a year, with the manse as before. 
He now left the work of the congregation in the hands of Mr Scott, 
who withdrew his demission, only Mr Clyde reserved the right as senior 
minister to preside at each alternate communion. He died, 7th March 1851, 
in the seventy-fifth year of his age and forty-first of his ministry. From a 
shaded, but well-put, biographical notice of Mr Clyde which appeared in the 
U.P. Magazine we learn that he had all along to struggle with the dis 
advantages of a blunted memory, the effect of a fever through which he 
passed in boyhood. This was a serious matter in days when there was no 
tolerance for the manuscript, or even for notes, in the Secession pulpit. 
Mr Clyde s son, Dr James Clyde, got licence in 1843, but after a year of 
probationer life he turned to educational work, in which he reached dis 
tinction. In 1856 he was appointed teacher of modern languages in Dollar 
Academy, and next year he received the degree of LL.D. from Glasgow 
University. In 1861 he was elected to a classical mastership in Edinburgh 
Academy, where he remained till age came on. He still resides in 

Fifth Minister. GEORGE RAE, M.A., from Blackfriars, Jedburgh. Or 
dained as colleague to Mr Scott, 4th June 1872. The call was signed by 
205 members and 26 adherents. The stipend was to be ^195, with a manse, 
the senior minister to have ,70. On igth April 1880 Mr Rae accepted a 
call to succeed the Rev. David M Rae at Gourock. 


Sixth Minister. GEORGE W. URE, from Cumbernauld. Ordained, I7th 
March 1881. The stipend was to be ,200, with ^30 for a manse and ex 
penses, and the membership was 285. Mr Scott died, 2nd April 1883, in 
the seventy-sixth year of his age and forty-fifth of his ministry. His co- 
presbyters made mention in their records of his " keen intellectual penetration, 
his clear and forcible expression, and his thorough consecration to his 
Master s service." At the close of 1899 Loreburn Street Church had a 
membership of 323, and Mr Ure s stipend, which had been raised from ^230 
to ,280 at his colleague s death, was now ^300. The manse had been 
disposed of 25 years before. 


SERMON was appointed to Dumfries by the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow 
in October 1787 for the first time. This was in answer to a petition from 
a numerous body of people craving supply. Next year a church was built, 
with accommodation for 800, on its front the inscription : " Christo et 
ecclesiae liberte dicata" Dedicated to Christ and an emancipated Church. 
In January 1789 they called Mr Kirkwood, who had opened the station 
fifteen months before, but he was not prepared to leave Strathaven. 

First Minister. JOHN LAWSON, originally a licentiate of the Church 
of Scotland, who had been ordained at Spittal in 1781. The congregation 
was described as " Protestant Dissenting," but in 1784 minister and people 
were received into connection with the Relief. Mr Lawson was inducted 
to Dumfries on i8th March 1790. His stipend was to be ^80, but if he 
preached on Sabbath evenings he would receive other 10 for house rent. 
Several of the members had been formerly in the eldership, so that a session 
was formed at once. But though all looked fair at the beginning the re 
lation came prematurely, and in notable circumstances, to an end. In 
March 1807 the Presbytery of Dumfries was called to deal with intertangled 
differences arising from the minister having persisted in wearing a pulpit 
gown when conducting divine service. A committee of inquiry found that 
both parties had discovered too much heat of spirit. They advised the 
minister to lay aside "the cloak" and acknowledge faults of temper, but 
he was not prepared for this. The case being referred to the Synod, that 
court expressed regret that such an unhappy division and so much animosity 
should have arisen from a very trifling circumstance. But Mr Lawson, they 
held, had acted imprudently in attempting to prevent the managers and 
congregation from holding a meeting in the church, and also in having ex 
pressed himself with too much heat on several occasions. Then they turned 
and dealt out blame to the opposition party with equal fulness. In February 
1808 there was a further development by the appearing of commissioners 
before the Presbytery, requesting a moderation for a colleague and successor 
to Mr Lawson, as owing to infirm health he was unable to discharge the 
duties of his office. A letter was also read from Mr Lawson intimating 
that he intended to resign as soon as the call was accepted, the managers 
having promised him ^60 a year so long as he was unprovided with another 

Second Minister. ANDREW FYFE, translated from Biggar (South), where 
he had been ordained less than a year before. Inducted, igth May 1808, 
and Mr Lawson s demission was accepted at the close of the service. The 
people promised well, the stipend named being ^180, with ^2, IDS. for each 
communion, besides the allowance of ^60 to the former minister. The call 
was signed by 14 elders and managers and by 36 communicants, the names 


of prominent members sufficing under the Relief system, who were understood 
to become responsible for the emoluments. Mr Lawson was for three years 
a minister at large. In November 1809 he was appointed to preach at 
Riccarton, Kilmarnock, for six months, where he did good work, and in 1811 
he got uncomfortably settled at Dundee. 

For a number of years Mr Fyfe s stipend, by his own account, kept at 
^120, and there was also a manse, but the congregation was in a state of 
decline, and for some years prior to 1835 all that remained for him, after 
satisfying necessary demands, was ,60 or ^70. Then the Presbytery of 
Dumfries reported to the Synod " that the congregation of Dumfries, with 
the consent of Mr Fyfe, are receiving regular supply of sermon from pro 
bationers," and Dr Struthers explains that their plan was to have a helper 
and successor to carry on, with talent and ability, the dispensation of religious 
ordinances. The communion roll was down now to 217, but instead of going 
on for a colleague minister and people were about to turn into altered lines 
entirely. On 7th July 1835 a deputation of their number opened negotiations 
with the Established Presbytery of Dumfries, and at a meeting of the con 
gregation on the 22nd of that month 97 voted in favour of a union with the 
Church of Scotland and 7 to remain with the Relief. On 7th August Mr 
Fyfe preached before the Established Presbytery, and was admitted into 
ministerial communion. For a time the large party which went with him 
kept the representatives of the Relief Presbytery outside the pulpit by means 
of an interdict, but the church titles were against them. The meeting-house 
was tied down to connection with the Relief in all time coming, and this con 
dition could not be changed except by the voice and consent of at least four- 
fifths of the congregation. But 89 out of 217 adhered to their old connection, 
so that the proportion required was not forthcoming. The Sheriff pro 
nounced accordingly, and nothing remained for Mr Fyfe but to deliver up the 
keys to the rightful owners. 

After this he acted as assistant to one of the parish ministers, but funds, 
to the amount of ^2500, were raised for the purpose of providing him with a 
quoad sacra church. The building was not opened till November 1839, and 
by this time it was decided that the charge should be collegiate and that 
Mr Fyfe should not officiate except at the evening service, his income to 
consist of the money then collected, together with ^30 a year. According!} , 
on gth April 1840, when Mr Fyfe was inducted into St Mary s, a young man 
was ordained to be the regular minister. Still, Mr Fyfe had a seat in the 
Church courts, where he sided with the evangelical party, and he was also 
a member of the convocation, and subscribed both sets of resolutions, com 
mitting himself to the Disruption movement. However, he drew back when 
the crisis came, and soon afterwards left Dumfries, with an annual allowance 
from the congregation. He finally had charge of a Chapel of Ease at Strath- 
kinnes, near St Andrews, where he died, I2th April 1854, in his sixty-ninth 

Third Minister. WILLIAM ADAM, from Anderston, Glasgow. Ordained, 
22nd August 1837. The congregation was now in a reduced state, with 
,500 of debt resting on the property, but much interest was taken in their 
affairs by the Relief denomination. The stipend was large for their numbers, 
being ^80, with 2 for each communion, and a manse. But on I3th March 
1838 Mr Adam tendered his resignation. He had lost all hopes, he said, of 
doing good in Dumfries, and believed that the interests of the Relief Church 
there would be promoted by the induction of another minister. The con 
gregation testified their high appreciation of his labours, but complained 
that he had not tested his ability to get on by visiting those who were 
friendly to the Relief cause. On 3rd April the Presbytery loosed him from 


his charge, and gave him a certificate for America, where he was inducted 
into Chamberburg, Pennsylvania, on 2nd May 1840, with a salary of 800 
dollars. He was afterwards minister in Penn s Valley, but retired in 1845. 
His voice failed him many years before his death, and he became a book 
seller in Washington, confining himself very much to literature of a religious 
kind. He was never married, but boarded with a private family. He died, 
28th July 1883, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. My informant adds : 
" He was buried at Richmond, where a brother resided, who is now buried 
beside him." 

Fourth Minister. WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, from Kilbarchan. Ordained, 
3rd March 1840. The congregation had previously called Mr Matthew 
R. Battersby, who accepted Hamilton (Auchingramont). The stipend was 
to be ^80, with a manse, and 2 for each communion. On iSth February 
1845 the secular affairs of the congregation had to be submitted to the 
Presbytery, and Mr Blackwood at the same time gave in his demission, 
which was accepted on 8th April. At the General Assembly in June he 
applied for admission to the Established Church. He was recommended to 
lay his case before the Presbytery within whose bounds his ministry had 
been exercised, that they might transmit it to next Assembly if they saw 
cause, but it came up no more. He was employed as temporary supply at 
Catrine and elsewhere after this in connection with the Establishment, but 
was never fully recognised. He ultimately attempted to support himself as 
a teacher in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, but he was sorely weighted 
in the life-struggle. His right arm and fingers were almost powerless, and a 
malformation of the right limb impeded his walking powers. He died, it is 
believed, about twenty years ago. " Poor fellow," says one who knew him 
well, "he had a dash of cleverness and wit about him, and could write a 
good sermon, but, alas ! very erratic and unsteady." 

In July 1845 a unanimous call from Dumfries congregation to Mr John 
Logan Aikman was brought up to the Presbytery, and accepted on the spot. 
A month s delay would have saved trouble and awkwardness. At next 
meeting Mr Aikman, instead of appearing to give in his trials, had a letter 
forward returning the call. He had also written the elders and managers 
to free him from becoming their pastor, that he might accept a charge in 
Edinburgh. This was St James Place, and the call was forthcoming in two 
days. The Presbytery of Dumfries showed their disappointment by summon 
ing Mr Aikman to come forward and answer for his conduct, but when they 
met three weeks afterwards Dumfries congregation intimated that they would 
not receive him for their minister. This suited all parties, only Mr Aikman 
had to listen to some words of admonition from the chair. But all was not 
over yet. Against the decision of Edinburgh Presbytery to concur in the 
call from St James Place, Mr Craig of Newlands gave in reasons of dissent 
so offensively expressed that the majority of the members voted against 
receiving them. This led to a protest, and at two meetings of Synod the 
question was argued at great length, but in the end the Presbytery s decision 
was confirmed. The case, it was believed, left bitterness behind it, and helped 
to explain Dr Craig s ill-tempered stand against the Union of the following 

Fifth Minister. JOHN HOGG, from Hawick (Allars). Ordained, 8th 
January 1846. The congregation was to receive for the first year ,40, for 
the second ,30, and for the third ,25, from the Home Mission Fund, and 
thus they undertook ,80 of stipend, with a manse, and 4 for contingencies. 
To reduce the debt a grant of ,140 was also allowed from the Liquidation 
Fund. A course of prosperity was now hoped for to compensate for the 
disappointments and vexations of the past. But not yet was there to be 


permanence, as Mr Hogg resigned, and his resignation was accepted, 3rd 
December 1850. Having removed to Canada he was inducted to Hamilton, 
Ontario, on i3th August 1851, and was translated to Detroit in 1859. He 
withdrew from the U.P. Church soon after, and in 1861 he was officiating in 
Guelph to a congregation in connection with the Church of Scotland. The 
closing announcement is that Dr John Hogg of St Andrew s Church in 
that town died, 3rd March 1877. He had obtained the degree of D.D. six 
years before. 

Sixth Minister. JOHN TORRANCE, from Hamilton (Auchingramont). 
Ordained, 2Oth November 1851, and, in contrast with the three which had 
gone before, his ministry lasted within a few weeks of thirty years. In 1858 
the church in Queensberry Street, which had long done service, was reno 
vated at a cost of ^250, and in 1867 it was disposed of for a wool store. 
The present church in Townhead was opened in 1869, and a manse was 
bought a year or two before for ^810, of which the Board paid ,300. The 
strain must have been great, but Mr Torrance lived to see the property free 
of debt. We can understand, none the less, what reason the co-presbyter who 
preached Mr Torrance s funeral sermon had to emphasise the burdens he 
had to face and overcome. In 1879 a colleague was required, Mr Torrance 
to retain the status of senior minister, but requiring to be relieved of all 
pulpit and pastoral duty. 

Seventh Minister. JOHN COOPER, from Rothiemay Free Church, but 
studied at the U.P. Hall. Had been previously called to New Leeds, but the 
call was allowed to drop. Ordained, 7th October 1880. Mr Torrance was 
to have ^50 a year, with the manse, and Mr Cooper ^100 from the congrega 
tional funds. Mr Torrance died, 8th October 1881, in the sixty-fourth year 
of his age and thirtieth of his ministry, and Mr Cooper followed, on 2ist 
March 1884, in the forty-first year of his age and fourth of his ministry. 

Eighth Minister. ALEXANDER SMITH, who had been ordained over a 
small congregation at Darenth, near London, in 1882. Mrs Cooper being a 
sister of Mr Smith s, he was brought into close contact with the vacant 
congregation of Townhead, and within three months he was called to be 
Mr Cooper s successor. The induction followed on I4th August 1884. 
Mr Smith demitted, and was loosed from his charge, 7th February 1893, 
with the view of proceeding to Australia. In the year of the Union he was 
minister of St Mary s and Rupertswood, Presbytery of Hawkesbury, New 
South Wales. The Rev. James Smith, F.C., Tarland, was his brother. 

Ninth Minister. DAVID MACKIE, M.A., from Stewarton, a brother of 
the Rev. James Mackie of Both well. Ordained, 27th July 1893. Called to 
Bell Street, Dundee, in March 1900, but declined the call. At the close of 
1899 the membership was 326, being a single degree ahead of the other two, 
and the stipend was ^210, with the manse. 


THE formation of a Burgher church in Dumfries is what the dissensions in 
the Relief church over the wearing of the pulpit gown ended in. On i6th 
April 1807 the Relief Presbytery had this troublesome affair before them, 
but the restoration of harmony was not now to be looked for. That same 
day Mr Henderson of Havvick reported to the Burgher Presbytery of Selkirk 
that he had preached in Dumfries on the previous Sabbath at the request of 
Mr Johnston of Ecclefechan. A petition was now tabled from some people 
there for sermon, which was granted, and on 29th September it was intimated 


that five ciders were elected, two of whom had held office in the Relief church. 
A third was John Bell, the former preses of that congregation, who had come 
into unseemly collision with Mr Lawson, his minister, at a Sabbath service 
when things were at the worst. The entire number who left was put down 
at 100. The church, with 640 sittings, was built in 1809, and until it was 
ready worship was conducted in a hall. The first call was addressed to the 
Rev. George Lawson of Galashiels, but at a meeting of Presbytery three 
weeks afterwards it was known that another call had come out to Mr Lawson 
from Bolton, and nothing could be done till the approaching meeting of 
Synod. In the end Bolton carried, and Dumfries did not obtain the man 
whose gifts as a preacher were all but certain to have secured success to the 
new cause. The stipend promised was ^100, with ^10 for a house, and a 
competent allowance was expected for sacramental expenses. 

First Minister. WALTER DUNLOP, from Newcastleton, where he had 
been ordained six years before. The translation was agreed to at the Synod 
by a great majority, and Mr Dunlop was inducted, 24th May 1810. The 
call was signed by 157 members, and there was now a steady inflow of 
prosperity. In 1836 there were 580 communicants, a number almost exactly 
equal to those of Loreburn Street and the Relief put together. Of the 
367 families 38 came from four to nine miles. Mr Dunlop had 279 persons 
under his care in Troqueer parish, young and old, whilst Mr Clyde had only 
75. He resigned, 4th November 1845, a d died, 4th November 1846, in the 
seventy-second year of his age and forty-third of his ministry. Mr Dunlop s 
name has been too much linked with quaint, humorous stories, many of them, 
it may be believed, apocryphal. A writer in the denominational magazine 
many years ago credited Mr Dunlop with the gift of repartee or knacky 
remark, but alleged that two of his brethren were blamed for concocting 
ludicrous anecdotes and sending them afloat under Mr Dunlop s name. 
The congregation in the early part of this vacancy called Mr William Cowan, 
but Buckhaven followed, and was preferred. 

Second Minister. MARSHALL N. GOOLD, from London Road, Glasgow, 
though like his kinsman, Dr Goold of Edinburgh, he was of Cameronian 
blood. Ordained, igth November 1846. In 1861 Dumfries experienced a 
widespread revival of religion, in which Mr Goold exerted himself even 
beyond his strength, and during what might be called this " Year of Grace " 
more than 100 members were added to the church. The other dissenting 
ministers took part in the work more or less, and their congregations shared 
in the benefit, that of Mr Torrance, in particular, having its membership 
increased that year from 169 to 200. On I7th May 1863 the present church 
in Buccleuch Street, erected on the old site, was opened, with 700 sittings, 
the cost being about ^2000. In 1883 Mr Goold s health became much 
impaired, and regular assistance was required. This led to arrangements 
being made for the election of a colleague, the senior minister to have ^130, 
with the manse, and the junior ^200. 

Third Minister. JOHN CAIRNS, M.A., son of the Rev. David Cairns, 
Stitchell. Mr Cairns had been assistant to Mr Goold for a considerable 
time, and while thus engaged he was called to Linlithgow (East), but after 
he had intimated his acceptance Buccleuch Street people set about retaining 
him, and prevailed. He was ordained, i6th October 1884. For about a 
year Mr Goold took one of the Sabbath services, but paralysis intervened, 
and his public work was over. He died, ist November 1895, in the seventy- 
eighth year of his age and forty-ninth of his ministry. He left two sons 
members of the U.P. Synod the Rev. John Goold, Elgin Street, Glasgow, 
and the Rev. James G. Goold, Bridgend, Dumbarton ; and also two sons-in- 
law the Rev. Robert Gray, Canongate, Edinburgh, and the Rev. Colin M. 


Gibb, Morebattle. The congregation at the close of 1899 had a membership 
of 315, and the stipend was ,300, with the manse. 


THE Seceders in Glencairn, the parish to which Moniaive belongs, and in 
the wide district around, had their headquarters originally in the village of 
Closeburn, two and a half miles to the south-east of Thornhill, and eleven 
and a half north of Dumfries. The first notice of sermon there is for 
the second and third Sabbaths of August 1756, and it was by appointment 
of Dumfries (Antiburgher) Presbytery. On 2ist January 1761 a coalescence 
was agreed on between the societies of Dumfries and those of Closeburn, the 
terms being that Mr Herbertson, their minister, should preach every third 
Sabbath at Closeburn, and that the people there should pay one-third of the 
stipend. This continued during his brief ministry, but after Mr Inglis came 
a change was insisted on by the people of Dumfries. They complained that 
the blank Sabbaths they had interfered with their prosperity, and they were 
bent on having the minister s labours to themselves. It further appears from 
a paper laid before the Presbytery that the Closeburn branch of the con 
gregation consisted of 28 members and 1 1 adherents, and their contributions 
for the half-year amounted only to 4. They wished to go on as before, but 
on 8th July 1765 the disjunction was carried. From that time sermon was 
kept up at Closeburn or Glencairn as circumstances allowed. On i6th 
October 1776 the Presbytery sanctioned a union between the two places, 
which were eight miles apart "Thornhill alias Closeburn " and " Moniaive 
alias Glencairn." Moniaive, as the more numerous community, was to have 
three Sabbaths of the minister s labours out of every four during eight months 
of the year, and during the other four months, which were to be " in the 
winter and part of the neighbouring seasons," they were to have him to 
themselves. It was also stipulated "that this union shall subsist so long 
only as shall be found necessary, or be judged for edification by the 

The next thing was the organising of the united congregation, though 
the name of Moniaive generally sufficed. On igth November 1776 the 
Presbytery met there, and set apart three of the members to the eldership, 
one of whom had held office in the Established church. At the same 
meeting a moderation was granted, and when the day came Mr Alexander 
Pringle was unanimously chosen. However, Mr Pringle was away now 
among other vacancies, though the Presbytery of Dumfries would fain have 
kept him within their own bounds, and the next notice was that he had 
received a harmonious call to Perth (North). The call from Moniaive, with 
its 44 names, could hardly prevail over another with twelve times that 
number, and the Synod decided accordingly. 

First Minister. JAMES PATTISON, from Colmonell, who was also called 
to his native congregation, but the Synod appointed him to the united 
congregation of Moniaive and Thornhill. Ordained, 3Oth July 1778. How 
long the original arrangement between the two places lasted we know not, 
but in 1794, as we find from the Old Statistical History, Mr Pattison, who 
was still residing at Moniaive, preached every alternate Sabbath at Thornhill. 
This went on till 1804, and then the coalescence, which had lasted forty-three 
years, was brought to an end with the unanimous approval of the Presbytery. 
The severance was opposed by the people of Moniaive, but Mr Pattison 
seems to have favoured it, and he now removed to Thornhill, the relation 


between him and that section of his congregation remaining intact, while 
Moniaive was declared vacant. 

Second Minister. JAMES FRANCE, son of the Rev. John F ranee, Buch- 
lyvie, and brother of the Rev. John France, afterwards of Kirriemuir (West). 
Ordained, 22nd August 1805, the services being conducted in the open air. 
Mr France died, loth September 1813, in the fortieth year of his age and 
the ninth of his ministry. He had preached at Sanquhar on the preceding- 
Sabbath, but on returning home a nervous fever set in, and he died on Friday 
night, leaving a widow and four children, " the oldest only in his sixth year, 
and the youngest three months old." One of the four became the Rev. William 
France of Oakshaw Street, Paisley. The case stirred much sympathy, and 
a sum of ^250 was raised for the benefit of the widow and family, ,200 of 
it from other congregations in the Presbytery, Dumfries heading the list 
with ^50. 

There was now to be difficulty experienced, and time lost, in the filling 
up of the vacant pulpit. In the end of 1814 Mr William Rattray was chosen, 
but the Synod appointed him to Selkirk (extinct). The stipend was to be 
^80, with house and garden and payment of taxes. The minister was also 
to have five acres of land, or ^15 instead, if he so inclined. The next 
preacher fixed on was Mr James Reid, but, as has been stated under Sanquhar 
(South), he refused to submit, and got his own way in the end. It was 
almost similar on the next occasion, when Mr James Blyth not only declined 
to be ordained at Moniaive, but charged the Presbytery with unfairness in 
the meting out of his appointments. Here, again, there was failure, and Urr 
became Mr Blyth s sphere of labour. 

Third Minister. JAMES M GEOCH, from Wigtown. The stipend was to 
be ^100, with house, garden, office-houses, and payment into the Widows 
Fund. Mr M Geoch when a preacher made a narrow escape from getting 
himself into trouble through an inopportune display of liberality. The 
Antiburgher Presbytery of Aberdeen wrote the Synod in April 1817 for 
supply of preachers, but warned them not to send Mr M Geoch, as Peterhead 
was their only vacancy, and he had given great offence to that congregation 
by going openly one Sabbath evening to hear an Independent minister 
preach. They would have dealt with him for the offence, but he had gone 
outside their bounds. The Synod did not turn this piece of information to 
account, and Mr M Geoch was ordained at Moniaive on 26th August 
following. In 1834 a new church, with sittings for 478, was built on the 
same site as the former, which had served since the end of the century. The 
cost seems to have been entirely met without Synodical aid, and in a few 
years the people were contributing to assist weak congregations in liquidating 
their debt, besides raising ^25 a year for missionary and benevolent pur 
poses. Mr M Geoch died, 8th August 1848, in the fifty-ninth year of his 
age and thirty-first of his ministry. In a brief notice which appeared in the 
Dumfries Coicrier at the time he was described as a man of rare sagacity, 
well-balanced intellect, and extensive information ; and as a preacher lucid, 
scriptural, and instructive. "Such men," it was added, "are blessings to 
society while they live, and in their excellent example leave to survivors a 
precious inheritance." 

Fourth Minister. ROBERT BORWICK, from Kirkwall, a brother of the 
Rev. William Berwick, Dundee. Ordained, 26th June 1849. The stipend 
was to be ,100, with 6 for expenses, a manse, and payment of taxes and 
the premium to the Widows Fund. But alienation of feeling somehow came 
between the minister and a number of his people, including some of the 
better-class families, and in 1857 the case came before the Synod. The 
decision come to was that nothing had been advanced requiring the sever- 


ance of Mr Berwick s connection with the congregation. But at this time 
the communion roll, which numbered 208 at Air Berwick s ordination, was 
reduced to 155. An attempt was also made to have a rival congregation 
formed in the place, but this design was thwarted. Though the majority of 
the members kept loyal to their minister, with their diminished strength they 
found themselves unable to make up the stipend promised, and in this 
altered form the affairs of Moniaive congregation came before the Synod in 
1863. Mr Berwick now intimated that, "in consequence of the existence of 
serious hindrances to his comfort and ministerial success," he had resolved to 
resign his charge on certain conditions. The wished-for adjustments having 
been made, the demission was accepted on 24th June, his co-presbyters 
expressing " high regard for him as an earnest and zealous minister of the 
gospel." Mr Berwick then devoted himself to teaching, and became master 
of a boarding-school near Liverpool. He is now living at Kirkwall in the 
retirement of age. 

Fifth Minister. --ALEXANDER W. DONALDSON, B.A., from Perth (North). 
Though two candidates were proposed the call was described as most 
cordial, but, as marking what the congregation had suffered through broken 
harmony, the members signing were down from 164 to 118. The stipend, 
however, was nearly 20 higher than before. Mr Donaldson was ordained, 
25th October 1864, and was loosed, 5th July 1870, on accepting a call to 
Strathaven (East). After this Moniaive was one of seven congregations that 
went in for Mr John Boyd, who selected Skelmorlie. 

Sixth Minister. THOMAS KIDD, M.A., from Lansdowne, Glasgow, 
brother of the Rev. Dr Kidd, Erskine Church, Glasgow. Ordained, 3ist 
October 1871. At the close of 1899 there was a membership of 132, and the 
stipend from the people was ^160, with the manse. Within the last twenty 
years the population of the parish has decreased nearly a seventh, and in 
the village, with less than 700 inhabitants, there are both a Free and a U.P. 


LET the successive steps in the severance of Thornhill from Moniaive be 
now given more minutely. On ist August 1803 the session of the united 
congregation handed over to the Presbytery a paper signed by 30 male 
members from about Thornhill, craving a disjunction from their brethren in 
Moniaive. The elders were divided as to what should be done, the Moniaive 
section wishing to let the matter rest, while those belonging to Thornhill 
desired the movement to go forward. After long reasoning the Presbytery 
agreed to let the case lie over for nearly three months. Counter petitions 
were then given in, one from Moniaive in opposition to the disjunction, and 
the other from Thornhill insisting for it, and also craving " that the whole 
labours of their minister might be confined to them." At two successive 
meetings the matter was delayed, all the more so that Thornhill people did 
not wish the severance to take effect till close on Whitsunday, but on 27th 
February 1804, commissioners from both sides being fully heard, the question 
was put Grant the petition from Thornhill or Not? when it carried unani 
mously, Grant, and the deed was done. The minister must have acquiesced 
in the transference, but the Presbytery recommended him to go on at 
Moniaive until Whitsunday, when he would be removing to the manse at 
Thornhill, where a church had been built twenty years before. Mr Pattison s 
stipend under the new conditions was ,70 and a manse, with taxes paid and 
six and a half acres of land. He died, 28th July 1816, in the sixty-third year 
of his age and the thirty-eighth of his ministry. It was Sabbath, and a 


friend wrote that evening : " Mr Pattison died this forenoon about 9 or 10, 
after a sore-tossed night." 

Second Minister. WILLIAM ROGERSON,