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STRATHKINNES (Now Extinct). Strathkinnes is a village in the parish of St Andrews, Fifeshire, 3 miles west of the city of that name, and 5 east of Ceres.
A number of the inhabitants of this place and neighbourhood, finding it inconvenient to travel to the parish church, which was distant 4 miles, and no other place of worship being nearer, applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Dysart, 1799. Church built the same year; sittings, 240.
ist Minister.—GEORGE BUCHANAN. Ordained 1800. Resigned 1809. Cut off from the connection 1817. Emigrated to Canada 1822. Became minister of a congregation in Beckwith, and died there 1835.
2d Minister.—WILLIAM BOAG, previously of Castle-Douglas. Admitted to Strathkinnes 181. Translated to Dunning 1816.
After Mr Boag's translation the congregation became extinct. The place of worship then passed into the hands of the Wesleyans, who occupied it about five years. It was then purchased by a congregation connected with the Original Associate (Burgher) Synod. This congregation joined the Established Church, along with the majority of the congregations in the Synod to which it belonged, in 1839, and withdrew at “the Disruption" in 1843, and is now in connection with the Free Church.
LATHONES. The church and manse to which the name of Lathones is applied, occupy a solitary spot on the turnpike road from Largo to St Andrews, about 6 miles from each. The property belonging to the congregation is in the parish of Cameron, near a point where it is joined by the parishes of St Andrews, Denino, Carnbee, and Ceres.
Six praying societies in the parishes of Cameron, St Andrews, Denino, Carnbee, Ceres, and Kilconquhar, formed an association for prayer and mutual edification, under the title of “the Correspondence of the East of Fife.” They met once a month by their representatives, in the house of Mr Robert Leslie, farmer, Radernie, about a mile from Lathones, as central to them all; the societies to which they severally belonged meeting weekly for similar purposes in their several localities. In 1730 this association consisted of 24 members; and its minutes, which we have seen, date back fifty years previously. This association formally acceded in a body to the Associate Presbytery in 1733. Several circumstances provocative of dissent taking place in the district soon after this accession, assisted in rapidly increasing the association. Among these, were the settlement of Mr Vilant—the patron's nominee-in opposition to Mr Pitcairn—the object of the people's choice—as minister of Kingsbarns, 1739; the settlement of Mr Scott, in like manner, in opposition to Mr Loudon, as minister of Ceres, 1740; and the settlement of Mr Pitcairn as minister of Carnbee, after calls had been set aside by the Church Courts to Mr Nairne and Mr Storrar. A circumstance which probably told more in favour of the Seceders than all these together, was the ejectment of Mr John Dot from his situation as parochial schoolmaster of Cameron, by the Ecclesiastical authorities, for attending the ministrations of some of the founders of the Secession, when preaching in the neighbourhood. Supply of sermon was afforded by the Associate Presbytery to "the Correspondence of the East of Fife" at different places in the district. For those in and about Ceres the place of meeting for public worship was at Drumcarrow Crags, in the vicinity of Magus Moor, rendered famous by the murder of Archbishop Sharpe ; for the benefit of those in and about St Andrews, at Balone-den, a retired spot about two miles from the city; and for the benefit of those in Carnbee, Kilconquhar, and Kingsbarns, at Hannington, in the King's Moor. The excitement produced by the opposition shown to Mr Loudon's call to be minister of Ceres in 1738, so increased the Seceders there, as to give them a preponderating influence over the others, and that place became accordingly the seat of the congregation, previously known as “the Correspondence of the East of Fife," the designation of which was now changed into “ the Associate Congregation of Ceres.” Sermon was, however, still given at the other places occasionally till 1744, when a church, built on a site granted by Mr James Chambers, in the village of Ceres, became the permanent place of meeting, Mr Campbell having been ordained minister of the congregation two years before. Had controversy and division been avoided by the Secession, a place of worship for its adherents at Radernie, or its neighbourhood, must soon have become a matter of necessity, from the numbers residing there : had there been preachers to supply it, it would probably have arisen at the very outset of the Secession. But the Breach in 1747, divided the Seceders in this locality, as throughout the country. The larger proportion of them adhered to the Associate (Burgher) Synod, and helped to form the congregation of St Andrews, which originated at the Breach. In 1787, an attempt was made to form a congregation in the place, and with this view supply of sermon was obtained from the Associate -(Burgher) Presbytery of Perth. Mrs Mason, proprietrix of one of the farms of Radernie, herself a member of the Established Church, granted the people the use of her barn as a place of meeting, for which generous act she was denied church privileges by her minister, Mr Muir—a punishment which he inflicted upon all the members of his congregation who were known to give the least countenance to the Seceders, and which had ultimately the effect of hindering the success of the cause. None of the Seceders themselves could afford the accommodation required ; and after two years the attempt was abandoned. It was renewed again, about ten years after, with every probability of success; when the Old Light Controversy arose, and divided and dispersed the promoters of the movement. A desire was often manifested by them to attempt the organising of a congregation a third time; but little encouragement was afforded them to make it till 1820, when the union of the two great branches of the Secession was effected. The parties now prepared to move belonged to what before the Union had been the General Associate (Antiburgher) congregation of Ceres, and the Associate (Burgher) congregations of St Andrews and Kilconquhar. But the congregation of Kilconquhar, being very small, the persons connected with it, resident about Radernie, felt a delicacy in joining the movement (notwithstanding some of them had to travel 6 miles to their place of worship), till after the death of their minister, Mr Dick, which took place in December 1823, when they joined the others in a petition to the United Associate Presbytery of Cupar for supply of sermon, which was granted, May 1824 A site being afforded them for this purpose, at Lathones, they entered spiritedly upon the work of building a church, and had the house roofed in before winter. The expense incurred, the risks run, the sacrifices made, and the labour bestowed, by one of the promoters of this cause in its infancy, are almost incredible. Besides taking the pecuniary responsibilities of the congregation upon himself, along with others, he often paid a considerable portion, and even sometimes the whole, of the
interest resulting from these, out of his own pocket. He more than once sold the cattle out of his stalls to meet the liabilities incurred by the erection of the buildings necessary for the congregational purposes. He left the charge of a small farm he occupied in the neighbourhood to others, in order to labour at joiner-work, which he had learned in his youth, for behoof of the cause; and not only did this himself for several months, but paid another man for doing the same. The first minister, too, did much for the congregation in a pecuniary way-enhancing the value of its property by a fifth of its original cost from his own funds. A church, containing 250 sittings, was no sooner erected, however, than a determined opposition was commenced against it by certain persons in the neighbourhood, provoked, perhaps, in part, by "the Voluntary Controversy,” which was then at its height. To this opposition the Debt Liquidation Committee of the United Secession Church make special reference in their first report: “Every one,” say they, “knows the grievous and disgraceful persecutions to which they have been, for a series of years, subjected. Individuals among them have been expelled from their employment, and others threatened with expulsion, for their conscientious attachment to their principles and the ministers of their choice. An extension chapel, besides, has been erected at their door, apparently to effect their extinction. All these attempts, however, have failed, and have seryed only to cover their enemy with disappointment and shame.”
ist Minister.—DAVID MʻRAE, A.M., from the Independent Congregation of Sauchieburn, Kincardineshire, of which his father was minister. Ordained 6th March 1827. Translated to Oban, 25th April 1838. .
2d Minister.–ARCHIBALD HENDERSON, from Bridge of Teith. Ordained 17th March 1840.
PITLESSIE. Pitlessie is a village in the parish of Cults, Fifeshire, 4 miles south of Cupar, and 21 north-east of Kettle.
The United College of St Andrews have been patrons of the parish of Cults for several centuries. A vacancy having occurred in this charge in 1835, a number of the parishioners petitioned the Senatus to furnish them with a leet of candidates, from which they might make choice of a minister, which was refused, and the vacancy was filled up by a relative of one of the professors being appointed to it. This absolute exercise of patronage, at a time when the country was greatly agitated by “The Voluntary Controversy," and when other patrons were very generally accommodating themselves so far to the wishes of the people, exasperated the petitioners, and they forthwith applied to the United Associate Presbytery of Cupar to be taken under their inspection as a forming congregation, which was granted. They met in a hall in the village till they removed to a place of worship they had erected for themselves, containing 275 sittings.
ist Minister.—JOHN LAWSON, from West Linton. Called to Campbelton (Argyleshire), Maybole, and Pitlessie. Ordained 23d February 1836. Resigned on account of ill health, ist March 1847. Died 1st June 1852. Author of a small volume entitled “Excursions through my Paradise.
2d Minister.--ANDREW WooD SMITH, previously of Cambuslang. Inducted 29th September 1847.
PRESBYTERY OF DUMFRIES. The General Associate (Antiburgher) Synod formed a “Presbytery of Sanquhar" in 1755, which was allowed to change its name into that of Dumfries, the more frequent place of meeting, in 1788. At the union of the two great branches of the Secession in 1820, this Presbytery underwent considerable modification by disjunction of congregations previously connected with it, and by the addition of congregations not previously connected with it.
The Synod of Relief formed a Presbytery of Dumfries, by a division of the Presbytery of Glasgow, in 1797. These two Presbyteries of Dumfries were united in 1847, with certain necessary modifications.
DUMFRIES. Dumfries is the county town of Dumfriesshire, 72 miles south of Edinburgh, and 74 south-east of Glasgow.
LOREBURN STREET. The river Nith separates the parish of Dumfries from that of Troqueer. The two towns of Maxwelton and Dumfries are connected by two bridges across the river. The church of Troqueer having become vacant in 1733, the Crown, as patron, presented Mr James Pursell to the charge. The Presbytery refused to sustain the presentation, and ordered “a call to be moderated indefinitely;” that is, they gave the people a liberty to make choice of a minister. In the exercise of this liberty, which they regarded as a right belonging to them, without the Presbytery's permission, they gave a call to Mr James Ritchie, probationer, which the Presbytery sustained. The agent for the Crown protested against the Presbytery's finding, and appealed to the Synod of Dumfries. The Synod approved of the Presbytery's conduct; but the General Assembly, 1734, before which the case came by protest and appeal, reversed the decisions of both inferior courts, ordered Mr Pursell's ordination to be proceeded with according to the rules of the Church, and appointed a committee to converse with the parties. This mandate being given at the very time the Assembly was professing to remove the grievances complained of by the Seceders, among which the absolute exercise of patronage held a chief place, was so glaringly inconsistent with their professions, that “The Four Brethren " regarded it as a proof of insincerity, and declined their overtures. The Presbytery of Dumfries refused to execute the Assembly's injunction. Mr Pursell, however, was at length ordained by a committee appointed by the Assembly for the purpose. Even then, the Presbytery refused to recognise him as a member; and it was not till 1736 that his name was put upon the roll, and only then in consequence of a threatening mandate put forth by the Assembly. The people in the meanwhile were in a high state of excitement, and the church of Troqueer was in a great measure deserted. The Assembly's injunction, requiring Mr Pursell's name to be placed on the roll, required the Presbytery also “to do their endeavours to bring the people to submit to Mr Pursell's ministry, and use them with all tenderness, and the Assembly declare that the whole matter should rest there.” The people had previously petitioned the Assembly for the benefit of Gospel ordinances in other
places, and the Presbytery had been permitted to do in the matter as they saw fit, and had granted the liberty desired. The greater portion of them connected themselves with the other parochial churches in the neighbourhood, but a goodly number of them began to attend upon the seceding ministers then visiting Nithsdale, and ultimately connected themselves with them.
The Seceders in Annandale formed a congregation in 1743, with its seat in Lockerbie. Thither those sympathising with them, in and about Dumfries, travelled for ordinances—a distance of 12, and, to some of them, 15 miles. The Breach hindered their being organised into a congregation. Those of them adhering to the General Associate (Antiburgher) Synod continued to travel to Lockerbie till the year 1757, when they petitioned the Presbytery of Sanquhar to afford them supply of sermon at Dumfries, which was granted. First church built, 1760; second built, 1829, costing upwards of £900; sittings, 577.
ist Minister.—THOMAS HERBERTSON. Called to Kilwinning and Dumfries. Ordained 29th September 1761. Died 6th August 1762, in the 35th year of his age, and in the eleventh month of his ministry.
2d Minister.-WILLIAM INGLIS, from Leslie (First). Ordained 12th March 1765. Died 10th May 1826, in the 85th year of his age, and 62d of his ministry.
In 1807 the congregation called Mr Bruce, afterwards of South Shields, who declined the call on account of ill health.
3d Minister.— JAMES CLYDE, from Perth (North). Ordained as colleague to Mr Inglis 1810. Died 7th March 1851, in the 76th year of his age, and 41st of his ministry.
In 1836 the congregation called Mr Burgess, who preferred Urr.
4th Minister.—DAVID LAWSON Scott, from Dalreoch. Called to Newtyle, Cumbernauld, and Dumfries. Ordained as colleague to Mr Clyde, 29th May 1838.
5th Minister.—GEORGE RAE, M.A., from Edinburgh (Newington). Ordained as colleague to Mr Scott, 4th June 1872.
TOWNHEAD. This congregation originated in the dislike felt by a number of persons resident in the locality to the law of patronage, as then administered, and the lax discipline permitted at the time in the Church of Scotland, but without reference to any particular instance of either. The principle prompting their procedure was embodied in a Latin motto inscribed on the front of their place of worship in Queensberry Street—" Christo et ecclesiae liberatae"- which, rendered into English, means, " Dedicated to Christ and a freed Church.” In compliance with a petition subscribed by above twenty persons, the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow appointed the Rev. Mr Kirkwood of Strathaven to preach in Dumfries on the first and second Sabbaths of October 1788, and the parties taking interest in the movement were soon after organised as a congregation. Church built 1788; sittings, 812. A new church in Townhead was opened in December 1868, with sittings for 500, and costing £1950.
Before obtaining a fixed pastor, the congregation called Mr Kirkwood, who preferred remaining in Strathaven.
Ist Minister.—John Lawson, previously of Spittal. Admitted 18th March 1790. Resigned 19th May 1808. Inducted in Dundee, 6th June 1811.
2d Minister.—ANDREW FYFE, previously of Biggar. Admitted to Dumfries