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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter LVII


ECCLESIASTICAL: THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CONGREGATION; THE EPISCOPALIANS; THE WESLEYAN METHODISTS; THE SECESSION; THE RELIEF; THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIANS; THE INDEPENDENTS; THE BAPTISTS; THE EVANGELICAL UNIONISTS; THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC-MOVEMENT FOR A THIRD PLACE OF WORSHIP, ST. MARY'S-THE DISRUPTION AND ITS RESULTS: FOR-MATION OF FREE CHURCH CONGREGATIONS IN DUMFRIES AND MAXWELLTOWN.

BEFORE the close of the sixteenth century Dumfries was thoroughly Protestant, the Reformation having been radical and complete. This result was effected chiefly by the great body of the inhabitants renouncing Roman Catholicism, and in some degree by the rigorous proscription to which all who adhered to that faith were liable. It is reported that old St. Michael's Parish Church was the last place throughout Scotland in which mass was celebrated before the Presbyterian Establishment was set up; and before it was "said or sung" again in the Burgh, many generations passed away. During that long interval, such few Romanists as resided in the Parish could only take part in public worship by attending, with some risk to themselves, at the chapels of Terregles and Kirkconnell; and on more than one occasion the priests who officiated at the latter place were seized and sent off to be examined by the Privy Council, on charges of acting illegally by prosecuting their calling and endeavouring to proselytize. Two hundred years after the Reformation, there were only thirty-eight Roman Catholics in the entire Parish of Dumfries. [Dr. Burnside's MS. History.] These were ministered to by Mr. Pepper; but the body remained without a place of worship till 1811, when a commodious chapel, dedicated to St. Andrew, was built by subscription, to which the Terregles and Kirkconnell families liberally contributed, as also the clergyman of the congregation, Mr. William Reid. It cost, site included, about 2,G00 ; and since its erection large sums have been expended on internal furnishings and ornamentation. When Mr. Reid died, in 1845, at the advanced age of seventy-eight, he was succeeded by Mr. Henry Small, who had previously acted as his assistant for several years. On the death of Mr. Small, in 1857, Mr. John Strain of Dalbeattie became his successor. In 1858, Mr. Strain was appointed President of Blair's College, near Aberdeen; and in 1864, was elected Bishop of Abila and Vicar-Apostolic of the Eastern District. Mr. Patrick Macmanus, who had formerly officiated as curate to Mr. Small, was transferred, in 1858, from Murthly Castle to Dumfries, where he still continues to officiate. A schoolhouse with a fine ornamental tower-the latter designed by the Honourable Marmaduke C. Maxwell of Terregles-was built contiguous to the chapel in 1843. Fifteen years afterwards the chapel acquired a still more imposing accompaniment, in the shape of a tall, handsome spire. The lower part is Norman or Romanesque, tinged with Byzantine, and from a design by Mr. John H. Bell, architect; while the upper portion, or spire, which is Early English, and is remarkable for its airy lightness as well as elegance, was designed by Mr. Alexander Fraser, architect. The number of Roman Catholics in Dumfries, Maxwelltown, and surrounding district, which has been greatly swelled by immigrants from the sister island, is estimated at 2,640.

Episcopalianism was not quite rooted out of the Burgh by the Revolution settlement; though the Presbyterian clergy there, as elsewhere, strove hard to get it extirpated from the country. On the 27th of April, 1703, the Presbytery of Dumfries instructed Mr. Veitch "to oppose and protest against" any proposal that might be made in the Commission of Assembly for granting a single grain of toleration to " Black Prelacy," from which they had suffered so much. [Presbytery Records.] About ten years afterwards, however, an Act of Parliament was passed permitting all Episcopal clergymen who should take the oath abjuring the cause of the exiled Stuarts, to use the Church of England service in Scotland. In virtue of this just enactment, the Episcopalians of the Burgh began soon to exercise their own mode of worship openly; though it was not till 1756 that they were in circumstances to build a chapel. A scheme for erecting a suitable fabric was laid before a meeting of "the Episcopal Society in Dumfries," held on the 22nd of March, 1754, the preamble stating that the society had "long laboured under the very disagreeable necessity of having religious worship in a place very unfit and uncommodious." The proposal in effect was, that a chapel should be built, at a cost (including site) of 250, to accommodate from 150 to 200 persons-100 of the sum to be raised by subscription, the rest to be borrowed; that the minister's stipend should be restricted to 50, "paid out of the profits of the chappell;" that the interest of the borrowed money should be discharged yearly; that 10 should be taken from the remaining surplus every year, with which to form a sinking fund to liquidate the debt; and lastly, after these deductions, that the sum of 8 6s. 8d. a year should be allotted for a clerk. This scheme, on being read over to the meeting, was signed by all present, numbering twenty-seven, in token of approval; and a committee-consisting of Mr. Richard Jameson, minister; Mr. Charles Stewart of Shambelly, the head of an ancient family long settled in Kirkcudbrightshire; Mr. William Carruthers, merchant in Dumfries; and Mr. John Story, writer there-was named to carry it into effect. In due time the chapel was built on a site [At present occupied as a garden by Mr. John A. Smyth, solicitor.] in Lochmaben-gate; but though Sir William Grierson of Rockhall furnished building materials without charge, in the shape of 10,000 bricks, and Sir John Douglas of Kelhead supplied twenty cart-loads of lime on the same free terms, and though others of the neighbouring - gentry gave liberal subscriptions, the committee found that the expenditure exceeded the fund at their disposal by more than 200. [Among the accounts given in to the Committee was one of 3 5s. 1d. from "Painter M`Ghie," as he was familiarly called-the Jacobite whose false alarm in 1745 sent Prince Charlie in hot haste out of the Burgh.] From the wealthy lord of Staffold Hall money had to be borrowed, the interest of which was not paid; and Mr. Lowthian having assigned the bond to his nephew, Mr. Ross, merchant in Dumfries, that gentleman would have raised diligence upon it, had not Mr. John Bushby (with whose name all readers of Burns are familiar) come to the rescue by lifting the bond-which, however, Mr. Stewart had ultimately to discharge. By pecuniary difficulties such as these, the infant congregation was nearly extinguished: but it struggled through, and survived them all; and now, when matured, it is one of the wealthiest in the Burgh. The papers relating to its early history show that the revival and reorganization of Episcopalianism in Dumfries were mainly due to the exertions of Mr. Charles Stewart of Shambelly. [The Shambelly branch of the Stewarts has been settled in that estate for many hundred years. Captain William Stewart of Shambelly, a gallant officer who served under Sir Robert Rich in Flanders, died in July, 1745, of wounds received in action; and at his death the property devolved upon his brothergerman, Charles Stewart, whose services to the Episcopalian body are recorded in the text. Charles Stewart was a devoted Jacobite. He occupied as his town residence the large house in Nith Place which forms part of the premises that belong to the Mechanics' Institute, and was among the first of the Dumfriesians to welcome his royal namesake when he entered the Burgh in 1745. The grandson of Charles, Mr. William Stewart, succeeded to the estate in 1844, and is the present head of the family.] The chapel in Lochmaben-gate was a plain building, octagonal in form, with a pavilion roof. A much larger and handsomer place of worship in Buccleuch Street has been occupied by the congregation since about 1820; and the foundation stone of what promises to be a very imposing Episcopal church, was laid on the 1st of August, 1867, at Dunbar Terrace, by Mr. Gilchrist Clark of Speddoch (acting for Colonel M'Murdo, the lay representative of the congregation), in presence of the bishop of the diocese, the clergyman of the congregation, and many of its members. The design-supplied by Mr. W. Slater and Mr. R. H. Carpenter, Regent Street, London-is of the First-pointed Gothic, and includes a tower and spire 120 feet high. Sittings will be provided (a hundred of them free) for 450 worshippers. Dr. Babington, his son Mr. Charles Babington, Mr. Farquhar, and Mr. Short, have been successively ministers of this congregation; and the present clergyman is Mr. Archibald M'Ewen, M.A., who succeeded Mr. Short in 1846. From 600 to 700 souls are connected with the congregation, the communicants numbering about 170. During the incumbency of Mr. Babington, the congregation, originally connected with the Anglican Establishment, was received into full communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Betwixt 1780 -and 1790, Dumfries was repeatedly visited by the apostle of Methodism, John Wesley. He originated a "society" or congregation in the Burgh, which seems at first to have been superintended by a Mr. Dall. There are several entries in Wesley's journal by which the footprints of the great divine may be traced in the town, and his impressions of it can be obtained. Proceeding from Carlisle on the 13th of October, 17 88, he says:- "To-day we went on through lovely roads to Dumfries. Indeed, all the roads are wonderfully mended since I last travelled this way. Dumfries is beautifully situated, both as to wood and water, and gently rising hills; &c.; and is, I think, the neatest, as well as the most civilized, town that I have seen in the kingdom. Robert Dall soon found me out. He has behaved exceedingly well, and done much good here; but he is a bold man. He has begun building a preaching-house larger than any in Scotland, except those in Glasgow and Edinburgh' In the evening I preached abroad in a convenient street on one side of the town. Rich and poor attended from every quarter, of whatever denomination; and every one seemed to hear for life. Surely, the Scots are the best hearers in Europe!" [Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., vol. iv., p. 400.] Next day Mr. Wesley preached in the unfinished meeting-house situated in Queen Street; and again in the evening, when, he says, the congregation was nearly double, and, if possible, more attentive. " One or two gentlemen, so called," he says, "laughed at first; but they quickly disappeared, and all were still while I explained the worship of God in spirit and in truth. Two of the clergy [probably Dr. Burnside and Dr. Mutter] followed me to my lodging, and gave me a pressing invitation to their houses. Several others, it seems, intended to do the same; but having a long journey before me, I left Dumfries earlier in the morning than they expected." [Ibid., p. 401.] Subjoined are other entries, all, like the preceding one, highly complimentary to the Dumfriesians. "June 31st, 1790.-We set out at two [from Glasgow], and came to Moffat soon after three in the afternoon. Taking fresh horses, we reached Dumfries between six and seven, and found the congregation waiting: so, after a few minutes, I preached on Mark iii. 35. Tuesday, June 1st. - Mr. Mather had a good congregation at five. In the day I conversed with many of the  822 people: a candid, humane, well-behaved people; unlike most that I have found in Scotland. In the evening the house was filled; and truly God preached to their hearts. Surely God will have a considerable people here." [Journal, vol. iv., p. 466.] Methodism did thrive in Dumfries for a considerable period after being initiated there by its founder. It was in its most flourishing condition, perhaps, from 1800 to 1825, including a period (1821-3) when the Rev. Hodgson Casson, an eccentric humourist and good preacher, had charge of the society. Since the latter year, owing greatly to the removal by death of some of the leading Wesleyan families-the Bailiefs, Hinchsliffes, and others-its membership has been much reduced. As one sign of progress, however, it may be mentioned that the chapel in Buccleuch Street, which the Episcopalians will vacate when their new chapel is erected, has been purchased for the Wesleyans.

There was no organized body of Dissenters from the Established Church in Dumfries till towards the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1733, just as Ebenezer Erskine and his seven colleagues found themselves under the necessity of separating from the Establishment, the Rev. James Purcell was presented by the Crown to the Church of Troqueer, much against the wish of the parishioners. They opposed his settlement over them, were supported by the Presbytery of Dumfries, and, on appeal, also by the Synod; but when the case was carried to the General Assembly, in 1734, that court reversed the previous decisions, and ordered Mr. Purcell's ordination to be proceeded with; which injunction the Presbytery refused to execute, and in consequence he was ordained by a committee of the Assembly appointed for that purpose. This high-handed act almost emptied the Church of Troqueer. Many of the people connected themselves with other parochial churches; others flocked to hear the seceding preachers, then opportunely visiting the district, and eventually became the nucleus of a dissenting congregation. They travelled for many years for ordinances to Lockerbie, till, in 1759, on being organized at Dumfries by the Associate Synod of Sanquhar, they obtained a minister of their own, Mr. Thomas Herbertson, ordained over them in September, 1761. The newly-formed congregation enjoyed his services for only eleven months. In 1764 they addressed a call to Mr. William Inglis, a native of Leslie, in Fifeshire; who, having accepted it, was ordained early in the following year. While Robert Burns resided in the Burgh, he was a seat-holder in Mr. Inglis's church, and often sat under his ministry; and when the poet was asked, in a taunting tone, why he did so, his reply was characteristic, and highly complimentary to the preacher. "I go," said Burns, "to hear Mr. Inglis because he preaches what lie believes, and practises what he preaches."  [Statement made by the Rev. D. L. Scott, at a soiree held on the evening of the 23rd of December, 1861, to commemorate the centenary of the congregation.] On the 22nd of June, 1810, Mr. James Clyde, probationer, Perth, was ordained colleague and successor to Mr. Inglis. The latter dying in 1826, the entire pastoral duties devolved on Mr. Clyde till 1838; when he received Mr. David L. Scott of Dalravel, Perthshire, as his assistant and successor. Mr. Clyde died on the 7th of March, 1851, in the seventy-fifth year of his age and the forty-first of his ministry; and his successor, Mr. Scott, is the present pastor of the congregation. Their first place of worship was built about 1760, in Loreburn Street: their present one, a handsome Gothic church, was erected on the same site in 1829. Number of communicants on the roll, 305.

Another body of seceders from the Established Church, the Relief, took root in the Burgh in 1788, planted there by the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow. Mr. John Lawson was the first pastor of the congregation, he having been ordained about a year after its formation. On resigning his charge, in 1807, he was succeeded in the following year by Mr. Andrew Fyfe, who, with a large number of the congregation, as is elsewhere stated, joined the Established Church in 1835. The next minister was Mr. William Adam, ordained in 1837. He remained only a short period in the charge; Mr. William Blackwood succeeding him in the spring of 1840, and continuing his oversight of the congregation till 1845. Mr. John Hog;, ordained in the following January, demitted in 1850; and soon afterwards a call was given to the present minister, Mr. John Torrance, whose ordination took place on the 20th of November,  1851. The church built in 1788 bore the following inscription: -" Christo et Ecclesiae Liberatae Dicata." It was reconstructed internally in the autumn of 1858, at a cost of about 250. In 1867 the building was purchased for a wool store by Messrs. T. & R. Carlyle, Waterbeck; and a very handsome church, with spire, in the Pointed Gothic style, from a design by Mr. Barbour, is being erected for the congregation near the corner where Townhead Street joins with the Lovers' Walk. It will be seated for 460 persons. Number of communicants, 200.

About fifty years after the Secession Church had obtained a solid footing in Dumfries, a second congregation was formed in the town under singular circumstances. Mr. John Lawson of the Relief, having received the present of a gown or cassock, and intimated his intention of wearing it when preaching, not a few of his hearers were dissatisfied. They looked upon the gown as worse than uncalled for; they considered it an unseemly innovation on the old simple clerical attire, and as savouring in some degree of that prelatical system which they had learned from their fathers, and with such good reason, to detest. They remonstrated with their minister against his wearing the obnoxious garment, without success; and rather than seem to sanction its use, they, in number about a hundred, left his church, and formed themselves into a separate body, assembling in a meeting-house erected on the "Burghers' Brae," Buccleuch Street. The new congregation succeeded in obtaining an able pastor, Mr. Walter Dunlop, a native of Haddingtonshire, whom they called in February, 1809, when he was officiating in Liddesdale. He was soon after inducted into his Dumfries charge, and continued to occupy it with success for the remainder of his life. Mr. Dunlop was in many respects a remarkable man. He was a good preacher, and eventually became as noted in the neighbourhood for his conversational humour as for his pulpit oratory. The latter, though what would now be deemed old-fashioned and rustic, was highly effective. The manner of it was warm, earnest, and impressive; the matter, rich, "sappy," and soundly evangelical. So active and irrepressible was his perception of the ridiculous, and so fond was he of repartee, or of putting down any assumption, or of "shooting folly as it flies," that he was sometimes blamed for indulging in sallies that were out of keeping with his sacred calling. But if in this respect he was not beyond criticism, it is due to his memory to say, that he was devotedly attentive at the couch of suffering and the bed of death. His natural temperament might lead him to the house of mirth, but it never caused him to neglect his visits to the house of mourning. Mr. Dunlop, when at his best, had a portly, "sonsie" presence, which accorded well with his reputation as a humourist. In 1845, when failing with increasing years, the congregation elected as his colleague and successor the Rev. Marshall N. Goold. Mr. Dunlop, however, died on the 4th of November, 1846, in the seventy-second year of his age and the forty-second of his ministry, a few months before the ordination of Mr. Goold, who has since then continued to be the sole minister of the congregation. An imposing and tasteful new church, according to a Gothic design furnished by Mr. Alexander Crombie, architect, Dumfries, was erected by the congregation on the site of their original place of worship in Buccleuch Street. It was opened on the 17th of May, 1863; and is highly ornamental to that fashionable part of the town. Its entire cost was about 2,000. There are nearly 400 names on the communion roll.

The district which gave Renwick to the Cameronians has always abounded with them since the date of their origin. Early in the eighteenth century the village of Quarrelwood, Kirkmahoe, was one of the main centres of the body in Scotland, and it eventually became its chief seat in Dumfriesshire. In 1743, the Quarrelwood pastor, Mr. John Curtis, took part with three other ministers in constituting the Reformed Presbyterian Church, as the denomination came to be called. The region assigned to the little ecclesiastical capital, Quarrelwood, was a very extensive one, bounded by the Esk on the east, the Urr on the west, by a line from New Galloway to Moffat on the north, and by the Solway on the south. It stretched over between thirty and forty parishes, so that the officiating pastor must have undergone immense toil in ministering to the far-scattered families of his flock, at a time when there were few roads and scarcely a wheeled carriage in the County. Mr. James Thomson, ordained in 1796, was the second minister; and in his day a new church and manse were erected at Quarrelwood, and the congregation multiplied extensively. In course of time it became the nursing-mother of new settlements, there being now seven Reformed Presbyterian congregations in the district, all tracing their origin to the little sanctuary at Quarrelwood. It was not till 1826 that a few members of the body began to hold meetings in Dumfries. Increasing in number, they took the George Inn ball-room, and next the Old Assembly Rooms, as temporary places of worship; and having obtained the services of a regular pastor-Mr. James Brown, ordained in November, 1831-they erected their present commodious church in Irving Street, which was opened in May of the following year. On Mr. John Jeffray, the minister of the Quarrelwood congregation, proceeding to America, its members, with one accord, connected themselves with the Dumfries congregation. Mr. Brown's ministry lasted little more than two years. During the cholera epidemic of 1832 he overtasked his strength in visiting the sick, and died young, of consumption, in May, 1834, He was succeeded by Mr. John M'Dermid, ordained in October, 1835, who, after ministering acceptably to the congregation for nearly twenty years, accepted a call to the third Glasgow congregation. Mr. Alexander Macleod Symington, B.A., son of the distinguished Professor William Symington, was ordained as Mr. M'Dermid's successor on the 12th of June, 1856; and he continued to officiate as minister of the congregation till 1867, when he accepted a call from the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Birkenhead. The Dumfries congregation possesses several interesting relics connecting it with Quarrelwood and the fathers of the Church. These are a set of communion utensils, consisting of two large oval plates, four flagons, four cups, all of pewter, with the words engraved on each, " Belonging to the Old Covenanted Presbyterian Dissenters in Scotland, 1745;" also numerous tokens of sheet lead, square shape, initialed " G. M. [General Meeting], 1745," on one side, and " L. S." (Lord's Supper) on the other. [Some of these particulars are taken from a statement made by Mr. James Halliday at an annual meeting of the congregation, on the 23rd of February, 1865.] In 1866 the interior of the church was reconstructed, and a spacious hall was added, which is used as a school-room and for congregational meetings. The number of communicants is about 300.

To the labours and liberality of the brothers Haldane is traceable the first formation in the Burgh of an Independent or Congregational church. The elder of the two, James A. Haldane, carried out a series of preaching tours through Scotland, commencing in 1797; and afterwards the younger, Robert, joined in the work. They repeatedly visited Dumfries, where, as was their wont, they held numerous field-meetings, which were addressed by James Haldane, who was a Boanerges in preaching power. Sometimes Mr. Charles Simeon, of King's College, Cambridge, and Mr. Rowland Hill, were associated with the Haldanes in their itinerating home mission. The General Assembly-at that time pervaded by a chilling "moderatism" -sought to check the evangelizing enterprise by issuing a "pastoral admonition," in which they warned the people to beware of strange preachers, and debarred Episcopalians or other strangers from occupying the pulpits of the Established Church. This edict caused the Messrs. Haldane to secede from the Establishment, and to adopt the Congregational form of ecclesiastical government. Mr. Robert Haldane, at an expense of 30,000, erected or purchased places of worship in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth, Dumfries, and other towns, in which they might have unrestricted liberty to preach. The chapel thus originated in Dumfries was lost to the Independent body by the brothers who had built it becoming Baptists. In 1814 it was purchased by the County for a Court-house; and after being refronted, was opened as such by the Lords of Justiciary in the spring of 1816. In 1866 it was bought by the Burgh for a Town Hall, at a cost of 1,120. About 1810, the Dumfries Independents, then worshipping in a small chapel in Irish Street, gave a call to Mr. John Dunn of Berwick-onTweed, under whose ministry they increased greatly in number. He was a man of almost apostolic fervour; and his name, for a series of years, was associated with many philanthropic movements in the town and district. Soon after the death of Mr. Dunn, in 1820, Mr. Thomas Young became pastor of the church; and on his removal to Garliestown, in 1833, lie was succeeded by the present minister, Mr. Robert Machray, M.A. A new Inde-pendent chapel, erected in Irving Street, after a neat Italian design, was opened on the 6th of September, 1835; and it was enlarged so as to furnish 650 sittings, in 1862. In 1842 Mr. Machray resigned his charge, that he might proceed to London; and in 1854 he returned, on invitation, to his former pastorate-the duties of which, in the interval, were successively discharged by Mr. James Cameron, now of Colchester ; Mr. James Mann, now of Birkenhead; and Mr. Thomas Pullar, who went to Hamilton, and eventually to Canada. Number of church members, 130.

A small body of Baptists has existed for a long time in the Burgh, but without any stated pastor. The members meet in the chapel in Irish Street (formerly occupied by the Independents) for worship and mutual exhortation.

How much, in matters municipal and social, the Burgh has been influenced by the Irvings, we have frequently shown; and we have now to point out, in a line or two, how one of the greatest of the name, if not "the noblest Roman of them all," set his mark upon its ecclesiastical polity. After Edward Irvingborn at Annan, the capital of the district in which his race was cradled-was cast out from the Scottish Church, in 1833, he visited Dumfries, and originated a congregation, holding his peculiar views regarding apostolic gifts, the personal reign of Christ, and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. After the lapse of several years, its members were scattered; but about eleven years ago the congregation was reconstructed, and, as far as circumstances would then permit, the ritual of the Catholic Apostolic Church was introduced, that being the name taken by the denomination which Mr. Irving originated. The Irish Street chapel was for a while occupied by the body; but they now possess a small building specially designed for their 'peculiar service, which was erected at a cost of about 1,000, in Queen Street, and opened on the 12th of March, 1865. The style is Norman Gothic, its chief feature a front elevation with tower and pinnacle fifty-eight feet high. The office-bearers of the congregation are of various grades, the chief being Mr. Robert Craig and Mr. Thomas Graham, ministers.

Early in January, 1862, a branch of the Evangelical Union Church was formed in Dumfries, chiefly by members of other denominations who had been led to adopt Arminian views of the Atonement. They meet in the Market Hall, not yet having acquired a chapel of their own. Mr. John Dunlop, ordained 3rd November, 1863, was the first pastor of the church; and he having resigned his charge, was succeeded by the present minister, Mr. James Maconachie, whose induction took place on the 9th of April, 1865. The church is Congregational in its form of government: membership fully one hundred, with a considerable body of adherents.

A movement for a third place of worship in connection with the Established Church was commenced in 1835, under the following circumstances. Mr. Andrew Fyfe, minister of the Relief church, and a large majority of his congregation, presented a petition in that year to the ecclesiastical courts, praying to be admitted within the pale of the Establishment. This prayer was acceded to; but when the petitioners sought to carry away with them the church and manse from the Relief body, the minority who remained in it successfully resisted the attempt by the aid of the civil courts, and Mr. Fyfe and his adherents were left without a place to worship in. That they might not remain long in such a predicament, a subscription was entered into, and so zealously promoted by Major Adair, Captain M'Dowall, Mr. John Anderson, bookseller, and other gentlemen, that in the course of a few months a fund of 2,520 was obtained, and a fine commanding site for the new ecclesiastical edifice was secured-none other than the celebrated eminence on which Bruce's brother-in-law, Sir Christopher Seton, was executed by command of Edward I., and on which the patriot's widow afterwards erected a chapel dedicated to his memory. On this hallowed mount, granted by the Crown for the purpose, the foundation stone of the building was laid, with masonic honours, on the 24th of May, 1837; and, under the name of St. Mary's Church, it was first opened for public worship on Sabbath the 17th of November, 1839. Being Gothic in its architecture, it is in keeping with the historical associations of the place, and is altogether a very elegant church. The architect of the building was Mr. John Henderson of Edinburgh; its cost, 2,400. Additions by purchase were made to the ground for the formation of a cemetery, which is already mournfully studded with the memorials of a populous race that lie slumbering beneath its turf; one of its earliest tenants having been the first pastor of St. Mary's, Mr. Peter Thomson of Kincardine, Perthshire, who, after a brief but bright ministerial career of nine months, died of fever caught in the course of one of his pastoral visits. Mr. Fyfe and some of his friends were rather dissatisfied with the arrangement, which, instead of making him the minister of St. Mary's, appointed him as Mr. Thomson's colleague, with an annual stipend of only 30, and the privilege of preaching in the evenings, and getting the collections then taken by way of supplement. Mr. John R. Mackenzie of Inverness was ordained as successor to Mr. Thomson, in the summer of 1841; and under his ministry the congregation, already large, increased considerably. For the year ending Martinmas, 1841, the rent for sittings, every one of which was taken, amounted to 200 17s.; the collections to 93; the minister's stipend being fixed at 180. When the Disruption occurred, in May, 1843, Mr. Mackenzie, with the great majority of his people, joined the Free Church. For upwards of two years afterwards no new minister was settled in St. Mary's, its pulpit being supplied fortnightly by the Presbytery. As might have been supposed, the attendance was miserably thin, and the revenue much reduced. For the half year ending November, 1844, the seat rents and collections amounted to less than 39; eventually the sittings were not let at all, and for the next six months, ending in May, 1845, the proceeds of the ladle and the plate were but 9 2s. 1d. The congregation reached a zero-point when, one forenoon whilst the air was congenially cold, they adjourned for service to the vestry, in which there was room enough and to spare after they had all assembled.

The fortunes of the congregation revived soon after Dr. Freeland, formerly of Airdrie, became their minister, in July, 1845; as a proof of which the seat rents rose to 146 11s. for the year ending November, 1846, and the collections to 96. Dr. Freeland having been translated to the church and parish of Balmaghie early in 1847, he was succeeded by Mr. David Brown, now of St. Enoch's Church, Glasgow. The next minister of St. Mary's was Mr. James Stewart; and he having become settled at Wilton, Mr. John Mein Austin, formerly of Johnstone, succeeded him, in May, 1852. Mr. Austin's pastorate was signalized by the endowment of St. Mary's, and its erection into a regular parish church. This was effected in 1853, at an expense of 3,590, about 1,200 of which was obtained by subscription, 800 from the General Assembly's Endowment Committee, while the rest was borrowed on the personal security of the trustees of the church; the principal expenditure having been on the purchase of feu duties, which yield 137 12s. 9d. a year. Mr. Austin became parish minister of St. Mungo in the beginning of 1861; and during his last year in St. Mary's the seat rents yielded 121; the collections, 78 7s. His successor, Mr. William B. Turnbull, formerly of Edinburgh, was ordained in May, 1862. Mr. Turnbull finding that the debt, which amounted to 1,550, was a disheartening incubus on both minister and people, resolved, if possible, to get rid of it. By a sale of grave plots, and from other sources, it was reduced to 1,200; by means of a subscription it was further diminished to little more than 400; and by a crowning device, that of a bazaar, held towards the close of 1863, the entire remaining liabilities were swept away, and a small balance was left in the hands of the treasurer. For the year ending November, 1864, the seat rents yielded 148; the collections 100 2s.; and the whole revenue of the church amounted to 383 8s. The stipend has ranged from 180-the sum paid to Mr. Mackenzieto 200 and to 320 5s.; the latter amount having been received by Mr. Turnbull during the second year of his incumbency. Mr. Turnbull accepted the presentation to Townhead Church, Glasgow, in 1866, and was succeeded by the present minister, Mr. James Mackie, formerly of Partick, Glasgow. The names on the communion roll number about 480. [Many of these details are taken from a statement drawn up for the congregation by one of its members, Mr. William Milligan, solicitor.]

Dumfries took a fair share in the great "ten years' conflict" which ended in the disruption of the National Church on the 18th of May, 1843. A few weeks before that date, the local Presbytery was rent by the withdrawal from it of many members, because the majority, acting according to the prescribed policy of the moderates, persisted in excluding the names of quoad sacra ministers from its roll. Those who retired formed themselves into a Constitutional or Protesting Presbytery; and when the Free Church of Scotland was formed, congregations actuated by the same principles as the Presbytery were organized in nearly every parish of the district. The members and adherents of St. Mary's congregation who joined Mr. Mackenzie in quitting the Establishment, together with not a few from St. Michael's and the New Church, worshipped as a Free Church congregation for nearly a year in the Old Assembly Rooms, varied by occasional open-air diets in the summer months. Their first communion was dispensed in the Castle Gardens, George Street, on the 27th of August, 1843, in presence of about 3,000 persons, and under circumstances which resembled in some respects the great hill-side sacramental assemblages of the olden time. The services throughout were highly impressive, acquiring a tone of subdued enthusiasm, as well as of solemnity, from the character of the conditions with which they were associated. On the preceding day, the foundation stone of a church for the congregation was laid in George Street by the Rev. Dr. Candlish; on the 14th of April, 1844, it was opened for divine service; and the sacrament of the supper was dispensed in it on the following Sabbath, to upwards of 600 communicants. The building is plain, but neat, externally; internally, it is elegant and commodious, affording sitting room for 1,000 persons. The cost, including site, was about 1,400. A manse adjoining the church was built in 1846. In March, 1847, Mr. (now Dr.) Mackenzie accepted a call from the Broad Street congregation, Birmingham, in connection with the English Presbyterian Church, and was succeeded by Mr. James Julius Wood, M.A., formerly of New Greyfriars', Edinburgh, who was inducted on the 8th of June, 1848. In 1856 he received the degree of D.D. from the University of Glasgow; and in 1857 Dr. Wood had the honour of being elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland. This congregation, over which he still ministers, has all along been one of the largest and most flourishing in the town. Number of communicants, fully 600.

On the opposite bank of the Nith, the results of the Disruption were not less decisive. During the church-extension movement begun by Dr. Chalmers, a chapel of ease was erected in Maxwelltown, of which Mr. James Begg, now Dr. Begg of Edinburgh, was the first minister. Built in 1829, it was destroyed by fire on the evening of Rood-fair Wednesday, 1842, and next year a new chapel was erected in its stead; the congregation-a large one from the first-continuing to prosper under the ministry of Mr. Ranken. So many of its members and adherents withdrew to constitute a Free Church congregation, that the chapel was nearly emptied, even though its minister thought fit to continue in the Established Church.[The Maxwelltown congregation in connection with the Established Church is under the ministry of Mr. William Graham, ordained in 1863.] At first they met for worship in the stackyard at Nithside, the proprietor of which estate, Mr. Philip Forsyth, was a stanch member of the Free Church, and did much to promote its principles, as well as to secure the success of the Maxwelltown congregation. On the 28th of August, 1843, the foundation stone of a church for the congregation was laid by him at Laurieknowe; and so active were the contractors, that it was opened for worship on the 19th of November following. On the 2nd of October the congregation gave a unanimous call to Mr. William Brown Clark, minister at Half-Morton, who eventually accepted the same, and was inducted on the 5th of April, 1844. In February, 1853, Mr. Clark resigned his charge, in order to accept the pastorate of a Presbyterian congregation in Quebec. His successor, Mr. David Purves, formerly of Aberdour, Fifeshire, the present minister, to whom a unanimous call was given, was inducted on the 6th of October, 1813. The church being a plain, unpretentious building, the congregation resolved, in 1865, to erect a very handsome new church, with spire, from a Gothic design by Mr. Barbour, which was founded on the 6th of July, that year, Mr. Murray Dunlop of Corsock, M.P., performing the ceremony; and it was occupied by them for the first time on the 15th of November, 1866, Dr. Begg conducting the opening services. The church cost, with site, about 2,200; of which sum Mr. William Milligan of Westpark contributed 300. Present number of communicants, about 500.

In 1864 there rose up at the foot of High Street, Dumfries, a beautiful Territorial Church, which is at once the product and memento of an extraordinary religious awakening that took place in the town during the spring of 1861. Some of those who experienced the influence of that revival, resolved to put forth a special effort, in order to give permanence to its results, and extend a similar influence to such as were still living in the habitual neglect of religious ordinances. The scheme met with a large measure of success. A congregation was formed under the care of Mr. Robert Milligan, now of Wolflee ; and Mr. Gilbert Laurie, after ministering to them for two years, was ordained as their pastor in September, 1866-the Free Church Assembly having previously sanctioned the charge. The Territorial Church, built for the congregation through the liberality of Mr. Milligan of Westpark; Mr. George Henderson of Nunholm, and other friends, was opened for service on the 1st of January, 1865. It cost, with site, about 1,800: it supplies accommodation for 500 sitters; and there is provision for the erection of galleries, if needed, to hold 250 more. The average attendance is upwards of 400; number of communicants, about 200. Connected with the church there is a spacious hall, in which a flourishing school is held, attended by about 200 children, chiefly of the poorer classes.

As showing, in a single sentence, the progress of Dumfries ecclesiastically considered, it may be mentioned that, a hundred and forty years ago, there was only one congregation in the Burgh; and that at present there are no fewer than sixteen congregations, only two of which are State-endowed, the rest maintaining ordinances and defraying all other expenses on the voluntary principle.


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