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History of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick
Cults Free Church

During the memorable Disruption year Mr. Thomson of Banchory, and other influential laymen, aided occasionally by clergymen from Aberdeen, held services in the open air and farm buildings, in various parts of Cults. Although the parish minister, Dr. Morison, with his assistant and successor, Dr. Paul, held fast to the Establishment, a good many parishioners on the north side of the river threw in their lot with the dissenting party. It being found necessary to have a Free Church erected in Cults, Mr. Shirra Gibb, proprietor of the estate, was approached with the view of obtaining a site, which he granted on reasonable terms. The spot selected was a piece of waste ground near the centre of the district, and about three-hundred yards north of the turnpike road. No time was lost over the construction of the building, and the Church was formally opened for divine service early in 1844 by the Rev. \V. G. Blaikie, D.D., now professor of Apologetical Theology in the New College, Edinburgh.

For several years thereafter probationers discharged the ministerial duties, under the moderatorship and supervision of the Reverend David F. Arthur of Banchory-Devenick. Some of these licentiates have since taken prominent positions, notably Mr. Macpherson, who is now minister of a Scotch Presbyterian church in Liverpool. As, however, the congregation at Cults gradually increased, it became imperative that a regular ordained minister should be appointed to the charge.

The Presbytery of the bounds readily assented to the change, and the choice of the congregation fell upon the Reverend William Anderson, whose father was minister of the parish of Kippen, in Stirlingshire, at the Disruption, but then resigned his charge, rand joined the Free Church party. Mr. Anderson received his education at the Edinburgh Academy, and at the Glasgow University, from the latter of which he went to the New College, Edinburgh, where he attended the Divinity course. He was ordained at Cults in the spring of 1861, and, shortly after, a manse (it has since been enlarged), adjoining the church, was erected for him. He proved a model clergyman and was highly esteemed by the inhabitants of the district, irrespective of denomination. After eighteen years of active duty, and when he expected to be able to overtake the ministerial work with less strain upon himself, he was unfortunately laid aside through failing health. Acting on medical advice, and accompanied by his wife, who was a daughter of the late Mr. George Leslie, shipowner, he proceeded to Bath, in the hope of regaining his wonted strength. His illness, however, increased, and he died there on 5th April, 1879. His remains were brought north and interred in the churchyard adjoining the Free Church of Banchory-Devenick, where a handsome granite monument has been erected to his memory. It bears the following inscription:—

In memory of Tiie Reverend William Anderson,

of the Free Church, Cults, who died 5th April, 1879,
Lord Jesus Christ.


Along with a Tablet in the Church at Cults By iiis Congregation and friends. The tablet in the Church, which is of white marble, is thus inscribed:—

In memory of Reverend William Anderson,
First minister of Cults.
Born 31ST October, 1833.
Ordained i6th April, 1861.
Died 8th April, 1879.
Be thou faithful unto death and
—Revelation, ii. 10.

The Reverend Charles Adamson Salmond, son of Mr. Salmond, an Arbroath manufacturer, was, out of a number of candidates, elected to the vacant charge. His ordination took place in the Church, on 21st August, 1879. For several years previously the Church had been found too small for the requirements of the district, and as Mr. Salmond was an excellent preacher and organizer of Church work generally, the congregation continued to increase. He set himself to the work of enlarging the church and also of providing an adjoining hall. When these alterations were completed he considered himself free to close with a call he had received from the congregation of Free St. Matthew’s, Glasgow. The Presbytery, having heard the respective pleas of parties, refused to sanction the translation so soon after ordination; but this judgment was reversed on an appeal to the Synod. Mr. Salmond was accordingly inducted at Free St. Matthew’s, on May 12th, 18S1.

The Reverend Robert William Barbour, son of the late Mr. George Freeland Barbour of Bonskeid, Perthshire, was unanimously appointed successor, and his ordination took place at Cults, on 13th October, 1881. Mr. Barbour, who was married to a daughter of Sir Robert N. Fowler, M.P., ex-lord mayor of London, was possessed of large means, which enabled him to do many philanthropic acts. He not only took the keenest possible interest in the congregation, but the cause of temperance, and the furtherance of the education of the working people of the district, by evening classes and otherwise, had his close attention. In 1886, owing to the unsatisfactory state of his health, he resigned the charge, to the regret of the inhabitants of Cults, to whom he and his wife had endeared themselves.

The Reverend Hugh Morrison, of the Irish Presbyterian Church, who held a charge at Cumber, near Londonderry, was unanimously appointed Mr. Barbour’s successor. His induction took place at Cults, on 6th July, 1887. Mr. Morrison had a distinguished college career, and, as a preacher, is eloquent and earnest. He is very popular with his congregation, now numbering close on 300 communicants.

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