THE REV. IAN ADAIR MUIRHEAD, M.A., B.D.
The members of The Scottish
Church History Society will be saddened in the loss of Ian Muirhead, a
distinguished and learned minister and historian who died suddenly at the
General Assembly on 21 May 1983. He had been Vice-President and then
President of the Society from 1977 until 1980.
He contributed several papers to the Society including “The
Revival as a Dimension of Scottish Church History” and “The
Problems of Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Scotland” and took part
most helpfully in discussion at the meetings out of his considerable
understanding of historical movements and his ripe judgment. He also
contributed to other journals, The East Lothian Transactions, The Expository
Times, The Innes Review and The Scottish Journal of Theology. He had much
more to offer and the Society looked forward to hearing a paper he had
promised for the coming session.
Mr Muirhead was a son of the manse and earned First-class Honours in Mental
Philosophy in his M.A. at Glasgow University and distinction in
Ecclesiastical History in his B.D. After an Assistantship at Springburn he
was inducted to Forfar St James’ in 1940 and did war service with the Church
of Scotland Huts and Canteens. In 1940, he was translated to Brandon Church,
Motherwell and then in 1964 was appointed Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History
at the University of Glasgow, in which capacity he influenced large numbers
of students for the ministry; in the history staff seminars in the
university he won the respect of his secular colleagues for the breadth of
his historical interests, extending from medieval to modern times, and the
wry humour he brought to the debate, spiced with a clarity and objectivity
not always to be found in intellectual circles. He retired from his Senior
Lectureship in 1979 and was appointed to the linked charge of Brairdaff and
Monymusk in Aberdeenshire.
His friendly and approachable manner, together with a real interest and
concern for people, meant that he was greatly respected and admired by his
students and by the members of his congregations alike, and his knowledge of
the church of his fathers was profound. Several times in his life he had to
struggle against ill-health and he struggled courageously. At his funeral
service, the minister spoke of his modesty and kindliness and laid stress on
his insight and understanding, all qualities which have endeared him to
those who knew him. Sympathy is extended to his widow and his three sons in
the loss of one most dear.