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The Annals of Penicuik
Chapter V - Ecclesiastical History


George Chalmers, in his well known Caledonia records a fact that the parish church of Penicuik during the eighteenth century bore the name of St. Kentigern. This statement has been repeated by other writers, but the probability is, that they may have taken their information from Chalmers himself and not from original documents. Had they, and he from whom they quote, been more particular in their search, they would not have found, either in parish or presbytery records, any evidence that for hundreds of years past the church ever bore this name. It is not impossible, however, that at a very early period some primitive religious building may have been dedicated to that worthy Culdee preacher, under his more endearing title of St. Mungo. The spring of water in the manse garden is known to this day as St. Mungo's Well; and as the names of places are little liable to change, this fact shows it to be probable that he visited this neighbourhood, and that his loving disciples may have connected his name also with the little building erected by them for public worship.

If a church did exist in Penicuik in these early times, it is not at all likely that there would be a permanent or resident clergyman. It was not, indeed, until a much later period that parishes were laid out and ecclesiastical duties statedly performed throughout Scotland. The first notice that I have been able to find of the existence of a church establishment in Penicuik, shows that in the twelfth century it was an independent rectory, rated at 20 merks, the advowson belonging to the lord of the manor. At this time, the suppression of the missionary system and primitive worship of the Culdees had been completed, and the ecclesiastical system of the Scottish Church assimilated to that of England, which again was closely formed after the model of Rome.

Prior to the Reformation the Penicuik Rectory appears to have been a living of some value. This great event, however, shook the whole fabric of the Scottish Church, and introduced great changes in its organisation and in the stipends of its clergy. Not a few of the nobles seized upon its lands and revenues in the vicinity of their respective castles. Many of the Itoniish bishops and abbots also, when they began to see that their possessions were likely to go out of their hands, granted, with the sanction of the Pope, perpetual leases of them to their relatives or powerful friends. The rector of Penicuik at this period was a Mr. William Pennyeuke, a far-seeing worldly ecclesiastic, who would not let such an opportunity as this pass by. I find that, on 7th August 1565, he granted charter of the kirk lands of Pennycook and Ravensneuk to his relative, William Pennycook, son of John Pennycook of that Ilk. Eleven years afterwards, William Penny-cook disposed of these kirk lands to his brother, Gilbert, who in the year 1590 parted with them to Robert Yuill, residenter in Pennycook. The location of these lands is not known, but undoubtedly at some subsequent period they again came into the possession of the Lairds of Penicuik. The ultimate general settlewent, by which two-tithes of the ecclesiastical revenues were continued to the Popish clergy, or 'auld possessors,' as they were called, and the remaining third conferred upon the Crown, with the understanding that out of it the Protestant ministers should receive a suitable maintenance, proved highly unsatisfactory. Even the thirds were not, in many instances, devoted to the purposes intended, and it required repeated Acts of Parliament to enforce what had been granted. Even so late as the year 16022, the Protestant clergymen complained to the King, 'that by importune suiting a great part of their third's were disposed in pension, to the great hindernient of the present provision of ministers.' An arrangement of this kind appears to have existed in Penicuik parish. The rector, as we have seen, had already disposed of the temporalities of the benefice, and, not content with that, had also laid his covetous hand upon the thirds from which his Protestant successor was to be supported. In the Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland there has been preserved the following extract: 13th Oct. 1383.—The members of the chapter of Halirudibus [Holvrood] are charged by letters of horning not to subscrive the pension made to the parson of Penvcuke, his wife and son for their lvfetimes, against the act which prevents the disposal of all pensions, factories, and whatsoever dispositions of the benefice or any part thereof, without the consent of the General Assembly- and that the disponers thereof Salle incurre the penaltie containit in the act of (late 11th July 1580, and for the particular observation thereof, Mr. Andrew Blackltall, in name of the chapter of Haliridbus, is charged not to subscrive the gift of pension given to the parson of Penycuke by the said Abbot, under the pain containit in the said act.'By the kindness of Dr. Dickson I was permitted to examine, in the Register House, the manuscript account of the Collector-General in the year 1580, of the thirds of benefices, and I find that the Penicuik Rectory showed at that period the sum of £30, 14s. 6d.; but as this was in Scots money, the value of it in the coin of to-day would only be £7, 13s. 6d. On this meagre allowance, therefore, the first Protestant clergyman in our parish would require, for a time at least, to support himself and his household. Of course the relative purchasing value of that sum has to be considered. A very little money went a long way in those times, and he might be passing rich on what would bulk very small to us in these modern days, when it seems necessary to procure for ourselves in greater plenty the conveniences and luxuries of life. Although after this time the income of the parish minister appears gradually to have improved, it continued up to a very recent (late to be an exceedingly poor one. In the year 1618 a very interesting statement regarding the poverty of the living and the means taken to amend it, is contained in a 'Minute of Presbytery, which I give verbatim. It is as follows:-'The old Kirk of Penyetuke is a laik patronage, now at the presentation of the Countess of Eglintowne. The parishin thus constitutet is exceeding spacious and vast, being six miles long, four miles broad, and about fourteen miles in circuit. 'The church incommodiouslie situat, being the eistmost house of all the said paroch. In the winter a part of the people are withholden from it by high and inaccessable mountaines; another part by manic waters, whereof two are oft impassable either to foot or Horse. Communicants betwixt 300 and 400. The present pro-Vision, 720 merks. All means were assayed to better it upon the 21st day of July 1647. An decreat of augmentation wes obtainet, which addet to ye former stipend 230 merks, which in the whole made up 950 merks. Afterwards, sentence of localitie was 1pronouneed to the contentment of all parties, and decreat of localitie extracted; the cluilk decreat was recalled by moyen of Sir John Gibson, after he had taken on his proportinall share of the said augmentation, and obtained a long prorogation of his takes, though the parishin be so vast, Iputing an minister to extraordinary great paines in visiting families and sick persons. Yet the church has no grass at all, either naig or cow's, quilk is an great discouragement to the minister, and impediment to the work of God there."

The minute further states that the Kirk of Penicuik, as it is now constituted, is composed of three Kirks—Penicuik, St. Katherine of the Hoppes, and St. Marie's Kirk in Mount Lothian. The two last mentioned were kirks of Holyrood House. According to the best authorities, Mount Lothian, which previously existed as a separate parish, was annexed to Penicuik in the year 1635. An account of the church, which originally stood in a field to the east of the farm-house occupied by Mr. Grainger, will he found in another chapter.

The Chapel of St. Catherine's, according to trustworthy authorities, belonged, previous to the Reformation, to the abbey Of Holyrood, and was afterwards annexed to the bishopric of Edinburgh. This arrangement was also set aside in 1635, When the parish was added to that of Penicuik. According to Father Hay, in his memorials of the Roslin family, the chapel was built by Sir William St. Clair in the fourteenth century, in gratitude for the saint's supposed interference in his favour at the famous hunt on the Pentland Hills, when he staked his head on the speed of his two clogs, Help and Hold. I fear, however, that this interesting statement regarding its foundation cannot, for want of more satisfactory evidence, be accepted as fact. The ruins of the chapel and burying-ground are now covered by the waters of Glencorse reservoir, and are seldom visible to the searching gaze of the student of antiquities. From memoranda made in 1828, by the late Andrew Kerr, architect, it appears that the chapel was about 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. The walls were built of the local stone in rubble-work, and the area of the burying-ground extended to fully a quarter of an acre. Two centuries and a half must now have elapsed since any worshippers trod the aisles of this ancient and sequestered pile, or since their voices blended in the stated services of praise and prayer, and about 150 years have passed since any of the parishioners were laid to rest in the little graveyard surrounding it.

The Minute of Presbytery, previously quoted, points out the insufficiency of the stipend paid to the minister of Penicuik at that time, also the steps taken to amend that state of matters. The fact that the income from all sources only reached the sum of £40, 10s., showed that their action in this direction was not unreasonable. It is satisfactory to find that twenty-eight years afterwards it had increased to £54, 12s. 9d. The heritors of those days, however, were apparently not consumed by their zeal for ordinances, nor by their desire to attend to the material comfort of their clergyman; for at a special meeting of Presbytery, called by warrant of the bishop of the diocese, to consider the church amenities of Penicuik, it was reported that both church and manse, as well as the office-houses, were in a most ruinous condition. As a result of this convocation of the brethren, orders were at once given that this disgraceful state of matters was to he remedied; and accordingly, George Bell, mason in Penicuik, James Anderson, Wright, Penicuik, David Tait, Wright at Mosshouses, and Edward Thomason, Thatcher in Penicuik, were deeply sworn that they should, according to the best of their knowledge, disclose what was needful to be repaired, and what money the repairs would require.

In the year 1743 a very interesting memorandum, relating to the allocation of church seats, was prepared by Sir John Clerk and sent to the Kirk-session. It gives some valuable information as to the old church buildings. In this document he says that the property of the church of Penicuik, as of all others hotly in Scotland and England, belongs to patron and heritor of Parish, and every one has a right to claim share of the area according to the extent of their several interests in the parish. He tells how, at considerable expense to himself, he had in the year 1733 built an aisle in the church, which had proved too small for the worshippers. This is not surprising when we consider that the whole length of the church at that time, according to his own measurement, was only 64 feet in length within the walls and 16 feet in breadth. Sir .John claims two-thirds of this as his own share, and proceeds to object to Mr. Forbes of Newhall and his successor, Mr. Fisher, taking up too much room. In further advocation of his rights he tells them that the whole steeple was built by him at considerable charge, and it was from the church only he could have access to it; besides this, the bell was itself a present from his grand-uncle made to the church of Penicuik, and duly recorded in the Session minutes. I have not seen the minute alluding to this fact, but the date upon the bell is 1680, and it bears the inscription that it was gifted in that year. Sir John in his letter goes on to relate that the under part of the steeple had hitherto served as a prison for rogues and thieves, until they should be otherwise disposed of by the civil magistrate. He. further directs James Fairbairn, the session-clerk, to put the document amongst the records of the Session in futurum rei memoriam. These statements, of course, all relate to the old church, now used as the burying-places of the Penicuik and Newhall families. It is difficult for us of to-day to realise that a church so small could serve a parish so large. The fact, how

ever, that its whole population in 1755 only numbered 890 souls will be sufficient explanation of the apparent anomaly. From that date, however, the number of parishioners steadily increased; indeed, within the next forty years they were exactly doubled. The old church finally proved too small, and on Wednesday, the 15th August 1770, the foundation of the present kirk of Penicuik was laid in the schoolmaster's yard, and the building fully completed in the following year. At a heritors' meeting, held on November 30, 1770, it was resolved, that in view of the fact that the area of the old kirk would now be vacant, 16 feet of it at the east end be given to Sir .James Clerk, as an addition to his burying-ground, and 16 feet at the west end to Mr. Hay of Newhalll for a similar purpose. Not a few, therefore, of those who worshipped in it, and who, like modern church-goers, may, in the warm summer time, have succumbed to the drowsy god while listening to the firstly, secondly, and thirdly of the preacher, now 'sleep their long sleep within its walls'. The old grey building still exists in excellent preservation. Many a generation has looked upon its divided walls and its Romanesque tower, and strangers have come and gone and wondered what its history has been, and generations yet to come will gaze on it while they walk amongst the moss-grown stones which surround it in God's acre, and realise with Schiller

"That Time consecrates:
And what is grey with age becomes religious."

Although a more commodious building was now provided for the worshippers, the old manse, with its thatched roof and its tumbledown walls, was still considered good enough accommodation for .Mr. M'Courty, the venerable incumbent. Shortly after his death, however, a better spirit seems to have come over the heritors, and in the year 1805 tl^et• set about remedying this state of matters, and finally accepted the estimate of Andrew Ritchie, in Peebles, to build a new manse for the sum of £655, 10s. This substantial edifice still remains, and with recent alterations and improvements continue to be a very comfortable and commodious home for the Rev. Robert Thomson, its present occupant. After time close of the Napoleonic wars, time development of time haler manufacturing industry caused a rapid increase in the population of Penicuik parish, and, had it not been for the number of Dissenter; attending the United Presbyterian Churches at Howgate and Bridgend, the accommodation in the new parish church would have been quite insufficient. Even as matters stood, it became absolutely necessary in time year 1837 to face enlargement; accordingly, an addition was made to provide for 300 sittings, at a cost of £600. £400 of this money was raised by subscription, and the remaining 200 borrowed and ultimately laid up from the proceeds of pew-rents.

On the 18th May 1843, there occurred the ever memorable Disruption of the Church of Scotland, and in Penicuik, as elsewhere, many of the most zealous and high-toned Christian people left for conscience sake the Church of their fathers, and formed themselves into a congregation of the Free Protesting Church of Scotland. For many years after this event, the accommodation in the various churches proved sufficient for the growing requirements of the district, but about time year 1876, the Shotts Iron Company having opened pits in the immediate neighbourhood for the output of iron ore, a rapid increase of population took place in the parish of Penicuik. As a result of this, a further enlargement was made of the Established Church in the year 1880, and it was very much owing to the activity and zeal of the Rev. W. M. Imrie that at the same time much was done to add to the amenities of time building. The church as it now stands is described in the Ordnance Gazetteer as 'a plain edifice, with a tetrastyle Doric portico, a clock, and a stone cross, and sufficiently commodious for the worshippers attending it.' About the end of last century the cross narrowly escaped destruction, as many of the over-zealous parishioners took violent objection to it, owing to its imagined Roman Catholic significance. The clock was erected from the proceeds of a subscription initiated by Mr. .John Cowan of Beeslack and others, in the year 1840. It was handed over to the custody of the Session on 1st November 1844. I have before me now the names of those who, at the cost of £63, 5s. 2d., provided this useful village time-keeper. Strange to say, with few exceptions, the survivors of those who contributed, and the descendants of the others still amongst us, are nearly all now members of Dissenting congregations. The only other matter worthy of chronicle in connection with the Established Church buildings is the introduction of the organ. This took place in the year 1887, during the short incumbency of the Rev. Peter Dow. The instrument itself cost £250, and the fitting up £111, 12s. Id. A large proportion of this amount was raised by members of the congregation, and the remainder by generous friends outside. The church living is now a valuable one, very much owing to the recent feuing of the glebe lands at high rates. It is augmented by a grant from the Exchequer given in aid of small livings. The minister also receives an allowance in lieu of the grass sacrificed by the glebe feus. The total stipend exceeds £300 per annum, With the addition of the manse. The number of communicants at present on the roll is about 1100. Nearly all of them reside within a reasonable distance from the church. Very different this from the condition of things in the early part of the century, when over twenty heads of families were members who lived on the other side of the Pentland Hills.

I cannot close this chapter on the estate of the Parish Kirk without an allusion to the Churchyard. Up to comparatively recent times the area of it was much smaller than at present. Within living memory the boundary wall, built in 1677, ran quite near the old church, while a hedge skirted the present road to Kirkhill. The entrance to the churchyard was by a road past the east side of the church, now covered by the session-house. Two enlargements of it have taken place within the time indicated, but the rapid increase of population, combined with a desire to have popular control of the ground, resulted in the laying out by the Parochial Board of the Penicuik Cemetery, which was declared it part of the burying-ground of the parish of Penicuik by Sheriff Rutherfurd on 8th May 1884. The cost of its formation was £1106, 5s. 7d., and the sexton's house  £255, 15s. The old churchyard eras, of course, under the complete control of the heritors, and, on leaving the Parish, survivors of families who had relations buried in it had no further claim upon the ground. In the new cemetery opportunity is given to all to purchase the inalienable right of sepulchre, and this has already been taken advantage of to a considerable extent. It must be conceded, however, that few if any cases of harshness in dealing with the allocation of lairs by either heritors or Session have ever been known in Penicuik. The spirit displayed by the Kirk-session in the year 1655 seems to have passed down to their successors in authority ever since. A minute of July 29th of that year records that the Session, I considering that the ground in the churchyard may be broken for graves to the prejudice of old inhabitants of the parish who have their friends lying together therein, do therefore ordain that no ground be broken by any without it be sighted by two of the most aged of the elders or inhabitants of the parish, that contention may be avoided which may arise therefrom. In the churchyard there stands to this day the old hearse-house, built in the year 1800. The ancient vehicle which it once contained was made in the year 1761.

The old watch-house in the churchyard will also be remembered by many of the inhabitants. In the times when body-lifting was so common, to provide subjects for dissection, it was erected at a cost of £20 by a number of the inhabitants. A Watching Committee was formed, and each had the right to watch at night after any of their relatives had been buried. Two guns, with suitable ammunition, were provided, and the watch was usually kept by two persons. There is no record, so far as I know, of any resurrectionists visiting our churchyard to carry out their dismal work. The only tragedy, indeed, which occurred was the shooting of a pig by Henry Dewar, whose excited imagination, when lie heard it moving about the tombs, led him to believe that a nocturnal body-snatcher had at last made his appearance. This watching was discontinued about the year 1840. In connection with the matter it may be interesting to my readers to learn that Burke, of infamous memory, lived for a considerable time in Penicuik. He lodged with Lucky Millar in the High Street, and worked as a labourer at the mill-lade which was being cut between Lowmill and Esk Mills.

It will have an interest for many to learn that John Jackson and his wife, the originals of the carrier and his wife in Dr. John Brown's Rab and his Friends, are buried in Penicuik churchyard.

A great improvement has of late years taken place in the appearance of the churchyard. Twenty years ago it was covered by a mass of rank grass and nettles, and presented a most neglected appearance, while sheep often grazed amidst the tombs. But now the scene is changed: each one seems to vie with his or her neighbour in keeping their sacred spot in God's acre as trim and neat as possible, while immortelles, and flowers, and shrubs in many cases adorn the smoothly cropped turf.


Great difficulties lie in the way of any parish historian obtaining the names of the Pre-Reformation clergymen. In the case of Penicuik, I have only been able to find seven, and these all culled from different sources, and obtained after very considerable research.

The first of them was Walter Edgar, who, along with Hugh de Penicok, lord of the manor, swore fealty to Edward I. at Berwick in 1296. In consequence of this submission he obtained precept to the Sheriff' of Edinburgh, for the restoration of his rights and privileges, of which he had apparently been deprived. The next was Ricardus de Suthorpe. He was presented to the rectory by King Edward II. in the year 1319. A long hiatus here occurs; for the next parish clergyman whose name I have found, is that of John Wvnton, who was appointed 16th May 1448. He was succeeded by Mr. Alexander Vaus, and he again, on 4th June 1472 by John Quitelaw, clerk of the diocese of St. Andrews. The latter gentleman was presented to the Iiving by Sir John Penycuke, the patron thereof. Long after him came Sir Archibald Itoh esoun, who continued rector up to the year 1556, when Mr.William Penycuke, a relative of the patron, was appointed to the living. This gentleman was the last Roman Catholic clergyman who occupied the position of Rector of Penicuik. He appears to have been a man of means and substance, for on two separate occasions I find that he is accepted as cantioner for large sums, that certain parties would not commune with Earl Bothwell. He continued for seven years after the Reformation in apparently undisturbed possession of his office, and resided in Penicuik until the close of the sixteenth century. Iii another chapter will be found an account of how he endeavoured to make arrangements with his ecclesiastical superiors at Holyrood for a pension for himself and family, and the efforts made by the General Assembly to set his plans aside. In the Register of the Privy Council there is a notice of the reverend gentleman's son, which does not reflect very creditably on the family training in the manse. It is a complaint by a certain Captain William Rig, that on a particular Sunday in the year 1608, while he was returning from the preaching in the town of LeitIh to his own residence in Edinburgh, James Pennycuke, son of the late William Pennycuke, parson of Pennycuke, Alexander Pennycuke, sometime of that ilk, Mr. Henry Sinclair, natural son of the late [blank in original] Sincler of Rosling, and others, armed with swords, daggers, and gauntlets, fiercely assaulted him between Leith and Edinburgh, wounded him on (livers parts of his body, and reft from him his purse, cloak, and sword. None of the defenders appeared to answer to the charge except Mr. Henry Sincler, and the rest were denounced as rebels.

Thanks to Mr. Scott's Fasti Ecclesice Scoticance there is no difficulty in tracing the post-Reformation clergymen in any of the parishes of Scotland. Mr. William Barbour was the first Protestant minister in Penicuik. In addition to his duties here he had Mount Lothian also in charge. He left this parish in 1580, and was appointed to that of Pentland. He subsequently became minister of Newton; but on 8th August 1587, being convicted of riot in the kirk, and slander, two of the brethren were appointed to see his desk removed by authority of Gilbert Hay of Monkton, bailie of the bounds. He in consequence demitted his charge.

Gilbert Tailzeour, his successor in Penicuik, appears to have eked out his uncertain stipend by school-teaching; and on being accused by the Presbytery of Dalkeith of frequently absenting himself from his own flock, he excused himself on account of his scholastic duties, pleading that he could not otherwise have his sustentation honestly. In the year 1586 he had to stand his trial for drunkenness, and was finally transferred to Bathgate in the year 1588. He was succeeded by Mr. Andrew Forrester, who had also the church of Glencorse in charge. He only remained about a year in Penicuik. The next appointment was made in 1590. The clergyman's name was William Gilbraitlh. His career was a most unfortunate one. He was nine years in our parish, and his ministry could hardly have been of an edifying kind. In the year 1605, after he had left Penicuik, he was convicted before the Lords of Council and Session for perjury, and sentenced to be taken to the market-cross of Edinburgh, and there to stand for the space of an hour with a paper upon his ]lead, containing in great letters the words—'Mansworne, perjured, infamous,' and to he banished from Britain for ever; and should lie be found again within the bounds of the kingdom, that lie was to be executed to the death without further doom.

This man, whose history was so disgraceful, was succeeded in 1599 by Mr. James French, A.M., a distinguished student. lie Was one of those who adhered to the protestation of 27th June 1617, on behalf of the liberties of the Kirk. This action was rendered necessary owing to the contest that had arisen between the Kin, and the Church, and which ended in the temporary overthrow of the Presbyterian constitution and discipline. In the year 1616 Episcopal authority was indeed firmly established, although the modes of worship followed in the churches continued nearly the same as formerly. fling James vi., however, desired that the Scottish Church should be in all respects the same as that in England, and proclamation was made at the cross of Edinburgh, commanding people to prepare for the observance of Easter and other days set apart by the English Church, under pain of being denounced as rebels and despisers of his Majesty's authority. Many of the Most faithful and pious ministers refused to obey, and the reverend incumbent of our own parish appears to have been in silent sympathy with their attitude. Mr. French died in the year 1699, aged fifty-six, and was succeeded by Mr. John Sinclair, A.M., who up to the time of his graduation was porter or janitor in the University of Edinburgh. After a short ministry of seven years lie died at the early age of thirty-four. His successor was Mr. Patrick Sibbald. This gentleman was ordained 25th April 1637. At that time the number of communicants was between 200 and 300, but eleven years afterwards they are quoted in a minute of Presbytery as nearly 400. His labours, therefore, appear to have had a good result in increasing the membership of the congregation. They do not seem, however, to have been very generous in contributing to his comfort, for he complains to the Presbytery that they did not think his Gospel-preaching worth a horse and two cows grass, and that for three whole years he had received nothing to provide maintenance for his wife and family. Mr. Sibbald died in 1653. He was succeeded by the Rev. Patrick Robertson, A.M., who held the living for only two years, and his place was filled in 1656 by William Dalgarno, A.M. During the incumbency of this gentleman, the persecution of Presbyterians was very severe, and this notwithstanding the fact that when Charles II. was restored to his dominions, the ministers of Scotland, with the majority of their people, were hearty in his interests. In the roll of ministers who in 1663 were conformists to Prelacy, there appear the names of eight ministers in the Dalkeith Presbytery. Six of them were non-conformists, and were accordingly turned out of their respective parishes. Mr. Dalgarno was one of the majority, and continued in Penicuik until 1663, when he was translated to the parish of Kirkmahoe in Dunifriesshire. It is worth recording that while the minister appeared not in any way to sympathise with his oppressed bretlhren, one of his elders, John Lowrie at Logan house, Was fined £360 for the part he took in rendering them assistance. Mr. Dalgarno was succeeded in the the year 1664 by Mr. William Hamilton, A.M. It was during Mr. Hamilton's incumbency that the battle of Mullion Green was fought, almost within sight of the manse windows. Few traces can be found of any sympathisers with the cause of the Covenanters in Penicuik parish. Local tradition strongly affirms that several of those firing from the battle were killed by the inhabitants in the neighbourhood of the Coats farm. Crookshank in his History of the State and Sufferings of the Church of Scotland indeed affirms that the natives were cruel to the fleeing army of the Covenanters, many of whom they killed. In connection with this matter all interesting entry occurs in the list of disbursements in the Session Minutes. It is there recorded that a few clays after the battle John Brown, the bellman, was paid the sum of three shillings and four-pence for digging Westlandmen's graves. It is more than likely, I fear, that these were some of the unfortunates who perished in the flight. In the fugitive roll, published May 5th, 1684, containing the names of those who had themselves been in the risings, or who had been guilty of alleged reset of persons who had been there, there is mention made of William Steel, sometime collier at Newhall, Penicuik, and John Wallace, gardener at Rosehill. These indeed are the only names, so far as I know, that in any way connect our parish with the cause of religious liberty. Mr. Hamilton, the minister, although he was not in apparent sympathy with the Covenanters, nevertheless refused to sign the Test Oath which King Charles tried to force upon all persons in public trust in the state, the church, or the army, and he was in consequence deprived of his charge. A letter was at this time addressed by the Lords of Privy Council to all patrons, requiring they» to fill up within twenty days the vacancies thus created. Sir John Clerk accordingly presented Mr. James Mercer, A.M., to the living, and his induction took place in the month of May 1682. The Penicuik people appear to have resented the treatment of their former minister, for at an election of elders none of those appointed would accept office, and letters of horning were taken out against them, although, on the advice of the Bishop, the execution of these was indefinitely postponed. Matters came to a ]lead a few years afterwards, for on 26th May 1689, when the reverend gentleman attempted to enter the churchyard on his way to church, lie was violently interrupted by the rabble and forced back. Realising apparently that discretion was the better part of valour, Mr. Mercer voluntarily pemitted his charge immediately afterwards. Great political changes had meanwhile been taking place, and the Revolution which drove the Stuarts from the throne brought rest and peace to the Scottish Church. An Act of Parliament, passed on April 25th, 1690, restored the Presbyterian form of church-government, and by it all those ministers who had been thrust from their charges, or banished for not conforming to prelacy, were forthwith to have free access to their churches, and without any new call thereto were allowed at once to execute the duties of the ministry in their old parishes. The first of the unbroken line of Presbyterian ministers who have occupied the position in Penicuik was a young man named James Farmer, who was ready to be licensed by his presbytery when the vacancy occurred. He was ordained on 12th February 1690, and after a short ministry died in Edinburgh on 25th November 1693 after a short two months' illness. his successor, Mr. William M'George, A.M., is the first clergyman whose name is at all familiar to Hi parishioners of to-day, for his tombstone in the churchyard has been visited by most of them ; on it are the words, `Here lies the Rev. William M`George, who having; served his Lord and Master faithfully i» the discharge of his duty for the space of fifty years, departed this life 6th March 1743, greatly lamented by all good men.' It is said of him that in his latter years he frequently walked about all the night through, and when remonstrated with by his friends regarding it, he always replied, that it was his duty to be awake to watch over his people who were asleep. Mr. M'George was succeeded by Mr. Ebenezer Brown, who was ordained on 19th November 1746, and died 4th October 1759. Mr. John Goldie, A.M., son of Mr. Goldie, tenant of the Firth, was next minister; before completing his studies he was a teacher in Heriot's Hospitals His ordination took place 15th .July 1760, and after it residence of eleven years in Penicutik he was called to the parish of Temple. He was succeeded by Mr. Thonms M`Courty, formerly minister of Dolphinton, who was inducted 16th January 1772, and died 28th December 1803, in the 85th year of his age and 45th of his ministry. Two appointments of assistant and successor to him were made in the later years of his life. 'The first on 2d July 1798 was that of Mr. David Ritchie, a distinguished student of St. Andrews. This gentleman demitted on the 2nd day of October of the following year on his presentation by the Town Council of Edinburgh to be assistant in St. Andrew's Church. He ultimately became a professor in the University of Edinburgh. Mr. Thomas Colston was afterwards appointed, and his ordination took place on 12th March 1799. This worthy is remembered by not a few of the older inhabitants, and many stories regarding him still linger in the parish. In height he was middle-sized and of spare build. He constantly chewed tobacco, and had a habit of twinkling his eyes. He was a man of undoubted ability, and when he thoroughly prepared his discourses they were of a high order. Even when quite unprepared, as he frequently was, for his pulpit work, he often in speaking attained to heights of eloquence. On one of these occasions the late Mr. Jackson of Planetree Shade accompanied him into the manse after service and complimented him upon the eloquence of his discourse, remarking, at the same time, how much trouble and research the preparation of it must have caused him. 'Trouble, sir,' Mr. Colston replied, and thumping with his fist the Bible which lay on his study-table. 'There lies the Bible, I haven't opened it for three months;' a rather sad confession, my readers will suppose, for a man whose duty it was to inculcate upon his hearers the duty of the reading as well as listening to the preaching of the Word. Mr. Colston was one of the most conceited of men. On the occasion of his supper parties in the manse his old servant, Ann Hopper, was usually called in to give her toast. It invariably was 'Here's to the star of the Dalkeith presbytery, and that's yersel', Mr. Colston.' The story of the blacking of his face in the house of a prominent citizen is well known. One of the younger members of the household, knowing the minister's susceptibility to flattery, 'began to praise the beautiful formation of his features, passing at the same time his finger along the minister's brow, cheeks, and nose, while describing the perfect outline of each. As it had been previously dipped in a black adhesive substance the effect of the reverend victim's appearance upon the astonished passers-by, when on his way to the manse, may be more easily imagined than described. It is not surprising to hear that Mr. Colston never forgave this unwise and cruel practical joke. He had an inveterate jealousy of and even dislike to Dissenters, and often used to give pennies to the children on the street to cry `Pawkv Pate ' to his reverend brother at Bridgend. Mr. William Sharp and others still amongst us assure inc that in the days of their youth they have often been the recipients of his benefactions for their share in this performance. On a certain occasion several members of Mr. Cowrie's session vent to hear Mr. Colston preach; as they sat together he got his eyes upon them, and immediately introduced into his sermon a rather far-fetched allusion to the Scribes and Pharisees for their particular benefit. Who, he asked, were the Scribes and Pharisees? Seceders, Jewish Seceders, a bad class in every age. For a considerable time before his death, instead of preaching sermons he just gave references, stringing text after text together with considerable readiness. On very stormy days it was his conscious custom to dismiss the congregation without holding service, repeating to them the exhortation that 'mercy was better than sacrifice'. One of his last commands was that on his death he should he buried at the garden late opening into the churchyard, and that on his tombstone there be engraved the words, ' Here Iies the rare T. C.'

During Mr. Colston's incumbency what used to be known as tent-preaching was common in the district. At the time of Communion in Penicuik there was no service field in the neighbouring parishes, the clergyman and people all coming to unite in the holy ordinance. A similar assistance was of course rendered to them when the Sacrament of the Supper was observed in their churches. In those times the Public-Houses were open on Sundays, and drink obtainable, and many of the light-hearted and profane were sad to relate, too often in the habit of indulging in levity and excess, making it a time for the enjoyment of material rather than spiritual feasting. The Iate Mr. Torrence frequently mentioned the fact that the custom was stopped, so far as GIencorse was concerned, because of the unseemly conduct resulting, upon one occasion, from the quantity of whisky sold and consumed within the walls of the church during the hours of divine service.

Mr. Colston died 12th March 1829, and was buried in Penicuik churchyard. He was succeeded by the Rev. William Scott Moncrieff, son of Mr. W. Scott Moncrieff of Fossaway; the date of his ordination was 4th February 1830. I have in my possession the copy of the call which was presented to him, signed by thirty-five heritors, office-bearers, and members. It bears many well-known names, such as James M'Lean of Braidwood, James Manson, John Disher of Cornbank, John Lawson, portioner, John Robertson, Thomas Muir, session-clerk, and Charles Cowan, all now dead and gone. Mr. Scott Moncrieif was a cultured and gentlemanly man, and highly esteemed by all sections of the community. During his incumbency, Dr. Chalmers, who was resident in the district during the summer months of 1829 and 1834, frequently assisted him in the services of the sanctuary. It is said, indeed, that one of that great divine's first pulpit appearances was made in Penicuik, he being a regular visitor at the house of Mr. Alexander Cowan of Valleyfield as far back as the year 1810. Upon the occasion referred to, a worthy citizen named Lachlan Finlayson, a great critic in his way, was so dissatisfied with the sermon that he rose and walked out of church, muttering audibly as lie passed the pulpit, 'You're mista'en your trade, my mannie, you're mista'en your trade.' I believe his critic lived to realise how far astray he had been in his diagnosis of the doctor's abilities as a preacher.

Mr. Scott Moncriefl demitted his charge on account of ill-health on 18th October 1853, and died in Edinburgh 18th February 1857. His place was filled by Mr. John M'Alister Thomson, A.M. This much-esteemed clergyman found the sphere uncongenial, and he only remained about two years in the charge. His of his people. Much was hoped for from his ministry, but all too soon the (land of death struck him down on the very threshold of his career. Few events in our village life have of late years caused so intense a feeling of regret amongst all classes as Mr. Dow's premature decease. The handsome memorial stone erected in the churchyard at a cost exceeding fifty pounds will testify to succeeding generations how precious was his memory in the hearts of his attached people.

In May 1888 Mr. Robert Thomson, M.A., B.D., the present much-esteemed minister, was ordained to the vacant charge. This gentleman had on two previous occasions succeeded. Mr. Dow in temporary assistantships, first at Boarhills, then at St. Giles, Edinburgh, and now for the third time, under sadder circumstances, he took his place in Penicuik.


The oldest of these is the United Presbyterian congregation at Howgate. This little hamlet, situated about 11 miles to the south-east of Penicuik village, was at one time a place of much greater importance than it is now. Prior to the formation of the present main road from Edinburgh to Peebles, a great part of the traffic between the metropolis and the south passed through it. The Carlisle and Dumfries coaches of themselves caused no little stir as their scarlet-coated drivers pulled up daily at the little inn for refreshment for man and beast. This hostelry is mentioned by Lockhart in the fifth chapter of his Life of Scott. While on a fishing expedition to West Loch, along with George Abercromby, afterwards Lord Abercromby, William Clerk of Penicuik, and his friend Irving, they spent the night there with Margaret Dods, the landlady. When St. Ronan's Well was published, Clerk, meeting Scott in the street, observed, 'That is an odd name you have given the lady of the inn, surely I have heard it somewhere before.' Scott smiled, and as he passed on said, 'Don't you remember HIowgate? Upon the occasion of this visit the genial novelist and his friends were induced by William Clerk to visit Penicuik House. The flattering hospitality and intelligent conversation of Sir John Clerk and his lady prod need such an impression on Sir Walter that lie was thereafter a frequent and honoured guest.

The church at Howgate originated in the year 1747, when the breach took place between the Burghers and Anti-Burghers. At that time the nearest Secession Church to the good people of that persuasion in our neighbourhood was at West Linton. When the split took place, Mr. Mair, the minister, and the majority of his people adhered to the Burgher Synod. Not a few of the members from this parish favoured the Anti-Burgher views. They accordingly withdrew, and along with others from Dalkeith formed the congregation of Howgate. It continued, however, for long afterwards to be mentioned in the Presbytery Minutes as the congregation of Linton. The first place of meeting was at Halls, but Howgate was finally fixed upon as the place most central to the majority of the people, and a church was built there in the year 1751, with accommodation for 390 sitters. The congregation worshipped in this edifice for over a hundred years, when a new church was built at a cost of £750. It provided sittings for 408 people, and was opened on the 9th of November 1856. The debt incurred in its construction was finally cleared off on 8th February 1865.

Not a few families in Penicuik still continue with praiseworthy zeal to attend the ministrations at Howgate, and help to sustain the high average rate of contributions for church and missionary purposes which so distinguish that congregation. Notwithstanding the faithful service and ability of the present incumbent, the Rev. David Thomas, the membership inclines to decrease. This is in a great measure owing to the grouping of small farms into large holdings, and the consequent depopulation of the district.

The first minister of the congregation was the Rev. Andrew Bunyan, ordained November 26, 1754. He died 22d February 1795, in the seventy-first year of his age and forty-first of his ministry.

Its second minister, the Rev. William M'Ewen, was ordained 31st May 1796, and died February 1827, in the fifty-eighth year of his age and thirty-first of his ministry.

Its third minister, the Rev. David Duncan, from Midcalder, was ordained 3d January 1828, and died 26th June 1866, in the sixty-second year of his age and thirty-ninth of his ministry. Mr. Duncan was the first of the Howgate ministers known to the majority of the present generation. He was an able and public-spirited man, and always to the front in any movement for the social and intellectual improvement of the neighbourhood. A volume of his sermons, with a memoir, was published after his death, the perusal of which will afford evidence of his worth as a man and his great power as a preacher. He was author of several works: The Pattern of Prayer, Dissertations on the Evidences of Christianity, The Law of Moses, etc.

The present highly-respected minister is the Rev. David Thomas, MA. He was ordained 19th February 1867, and continues to labour With much acceptance to an attached congregation.

A pleasing feature in connection with Howgate Church is the number of young men who have from time to time bone from it to enter upon study for the ministry. I have before me a list of names approaching twenty, many of whom attained to prominence in the church. Not the least eminent are some of those who, in our own time, have passed through their college career with distinction, and are now ministers of important congregations; of these I need only mention the names of the Rev. Robert Laurie of James's Church, Dundee, Rev. William Duncan of MaryhilI, Glasgow, and the Rev. James W. Dalgleish, Newmilns.


This congregation originated in the year 1782 with members of the Burgher Church of west Linton resident in and around PenicuIk. In the interesting account of that church by its present minister, the Rev. James kinloch, it is stated that at the period indicated there were in connection with it upwards of 100 examinable persons from Penicuik district. After much serious consideration these good people finally resolved to have a place of meeting for themselves, and thus save the long walk of eight miles every Sabbath-clay. Their first services were held in summer-time down on the flat ground beside the present railway station, and in a barn at Eskmills in the winter season. These initial efforts to obtain a site for a church were for some time unsuccessful. In connection with this it is related how a deputation of their number waited upon the proprietor at Penicuik House to ask for sufficient ground on which to erect a place of worship. The Baronet sternly refused, and afterwards, when in conversation with worthy Andrew Tait of Lowrie's Den, an old and trusted servant, he related the circumstance, asking him at the same time what kind of people these Seceders were?' I am ane o them mysel', and nearly all your servants that are worth onything are the same,' replied the decent man. The Baronet thereupon sent for the deputation to return and arrange terms with him for a site, but they had already entered into negotiations with Mr. Inglis of Redhall, and finally fixed with him, for the piece of ground at Bridgend, upon which their church and manse were built. The first minister of the congregation was the Rev. Patrick Comrie, A.M. This worthy man was ordained 1st June 1784, and died on 22d September 1840, in the eighty-ninth year of his age and the fifty-seventh of his ministry. He is buried in Penicuik churchyard, and the inscription on the tombstone erected to his memory by the congregation shows how much respected and beloved he had been by them. Mr. Comrie was a great humorist, and many stories are told of him which indicate his readiness of wit and discernment of character. At an election of elders upon one occasion at Bridgend he was asked his opinion as to the suitableness of a certain Mr. Thomas Wilkie for that office. His interrogator at the same time remarked that the gentleman alluded to had a saintly wife and God-fearing family. Mr. Comrie's reply was, 'If his saintly wife and God-fearing family could be made elders I would not wag my tongue against them, but Mr. Wilkie himself is a curly wurly conglomerate of good and evil, every Sunday in the kirk listening to the sermon and singing psalms like a perfect saint, while on the week-days he is at the markets and fairs lying and cheating like the biggest swindler. No, no, he might do well enough for a stoop in the Anti-Burgher kirk, but he will never do as a pillar of beauty as a Burgher elder. One Sabbath evening Mr. Comrie preached the same sermon at Dalmore that he had given them in his own church in the forenoon. At the close of the meeting one of his people named Saunders, who had attended both diets, remarked to him, 'If I had kent that it was to be cauld trail het again, I wouldna hae been here.' 'Ah! Saunders, Saunders,' answered Mr. Comrie, `you are wrong again, man. It had never time to get cold.' His kindly assurance to the another of the tongue-tacked lassie is also very good: 'My good woman,' he said, `don't distress yourself about the bairnie's tongue, it will come all right, for experience teaches that it's not within the plan of Providence to tie any soman's tongue. his quaint conceit comes out in the following story. having been asked to preach in Bristo Church, Edinburgh, he happened to meet a member of it, an acquaintance of his own, while walking on the Saturday afternoon in the city. '['ire latter expressed aloud the gratification with which he looked forward to hearing him. 'Wlhist man, whist, speak lower,' said Mr. Comrie in great anxiety, ' I dinna want a crowd.'

He was fond of the fiddle, and always ready to play any one a tune. His good nature in this respect enabled his reverend brother at Glencorse rather unfairly to score against him upon one occasion. They were both at a dinner-party at the In ;lines' of Aucl^endinny house, and a charity ball, which was to be held at Greenlaw Barracks, being under discussion, the Misses Inglis denounced dancing in every shape and form, Mr. Comrie joined very heartily with them in their denunciations, but was put to shame by Mr. Torrence telling them that at a party in his father's manse a few' nights before Mr. Comrie played the fiddle most of the night, while the young folks danced.

When age unfitted him for public duty the financial circumstances of the congregation only permitted of a small retiring allowance, and the Session at the same time intimated to hint that they would like his successor to get the manse. 'No, no,' replied Mr. Comrie, 'nothing of the kind, quite time enough to skin an old horse after it is dead.' His hearty humour made him indeed a great favourite with all. Even at death the ruling passion was so strong within him that he could not resist the exercise of it. During the last few moments of his life, when his nurse was seeking to place a hot application to his feet, and not seeing the outline of them very readily in the darkness of the chamber, she asked him where they were. `At the end of my legs as usual, I suppose,' replied the dying man.

Mr. Comrie's colleague and successor was the Rev. Thomas Gird-Wood, who was ordained 28th June 1831. He proved a worthy man and faithful pastor, and his memory is still green in the hearts of many who enjoyed the benefit of his ministry. He died on 19th June 1861, in the fifty-seventh year of his age and the thirtieth of his ministry. Like his predecessor, he is buried in Penicuik churchyard, a small granite stone marking his last resting-place.

His son, Rev. William Girdwood, was ordained his successor on 18th February 1862. After a short but faithful ministry he was translated to a congregation in Perth, on 31st January 1865, but soon left it for the mission field in Kaffraria.

Mr. Girdwood was succeeded by the Rev. John M'Kerrow, B.A., son of the late Dr. M'Kerrow of Bridge of Teith, the distinguished historian of the Secession Church. Mr. M'Kerrow was ordained 19th September 1865, and has now laboured faithfully amongst an attached people for twenty-five years. His semi-jubilee was celebrated on 10th November 1890, and handsome gifts were presented to him by the congregation on that occasion. Shortly after Mr. M'Kerrow had entered upon his work at Bridgend the growth of the congregation and the inconvenience of the church to the majority of the members caused them to look about for a new site. This was ultimately fixed, and a new church erected thereon at the north end of the village of Penicuik. This commodious edifice was opened by the Rev. Dr. Cairns in July 1867. A comfortable manse was also erected beside the church, the total cost of both buildings amounting to £2700. The money obtained by the sale of the old church and manse was devoted to partial payment of this sum, and the balance was borrowed. The proceeds of an annual collection were devoted to the liquidation of this indebtedness, but it was not until the year 1882 that the congregation was finally free of the incubus. This happy result was accomplished through the medium of a most successful bazaar field in the Drill Hall in the summer of that year. All classes of the community and members of every denomination generously aided the congregation in providing work for sale, and these contributions ultimately realised the handsome sum of £700 00 sterling.


The Free Church congregation in Penicuik was formed in 1813 by those who adhered to the Disruption testimony of the Headship of Christ over His own church, even unto separation from the state. There might be no doubt, among that number sonic who had imperfect views of the great principles which were involved in the controversy. It is possible even that others may have acted from selfish and interested motives, but there is reason for satisfaction and pride that there were so many in Penicuik ready to sever ties long and fondly cherished, and leave a Church hallowed with memories of the past, all for conscience sake. The Rev. W. Scott Moncrieff', minister of the parish, sympathised up to the last with the non-intrusion party; indeed many believed that he would cast in his lot with the seceders, but he finally saw it to be his duty to decide otherwise. The names, however, of five of his elders appeared in the protest by the Presbytery of Dalkeith against the subversion of the constitution of the Church of Scotland by the civil power, and these men subsequently gave evidence of their sincerity in this matter by casting in their lot with the Free Church. At the first meeting of Mr. Scott Moncrieff"s Session after the Disruption only two elders were present. These were Mr. John Wilson, farmer of Eastfield (grandfather of the writer), and Mr. Orrock, cashier at Esk Mills. The reverend gentleman sorrowfully referred to the fact that Messrs. Charles Cowan, Robert Mason, Henry It. Madden, M.D., Robert Kilpatrick, and Robert Keary, had gone from them, and to the consequent need, in view of the approaching communion, to have new office-bearers elected. The above-mentioned gentlemen were all subsequently appointed by the Free Presbytery of Dalkeith to constitute the Session of the Free Church in Penicuik. The first meetings of the new congregation, the spiritual oversight of which was thus given them, were held in the Gardeners Hall, and there they continued until the erection of a permanent place of worship. The circumstances connected with the obtaining a site for their church are pretty fully detailed in the Annals of the Disruption, but as many of my readers may not possess a copy of that work, I herewith give a verbatim extract from it:-

'At Penicuik the ground belonged to Sir George Clerk, who held an important post under Government. He had taken an active part in the ten years' conflict, but after the Disruption the spirit he displayed was widely different from that of Lord Aberdeen. On being applied to, he not only refused a site, but, when the people had bought for themselves an eligible piece of ground, he interposed, as superior of the Barony, to claim the right of pre-emption, and so effectually shut them out. At a subsequent period, when they had purchased a cottage and proposed to enlarge it into a manse, he again successfully interfered to prevent them adding to the comfort of their pastor. 'These efforts, however, to put down the obnoxious Free Church were not successful. A respectable old woman, named Helen Wilson, had died, leaving a cottage and a garden, and these were put up to public auction. The purchaser was Charles Cowan, Esq., M.P., who made a present of the garden and site to the Free Church. The ground was field in lease for Sir George's estate, but as 400 years of the lease had still to run, it was fortunately a good way out of reach. As the little garden, however, was triangular in shape, the church had necessarily to be somewhat similar in form. It was opened in the month of October. The pulpit was placed behind, near the apex of the triangle, and the seating was necessarily disposed in the segments of a circle, the area of the church being somewhat in the form of a fan. The front is about 100 feet in length, and, considering; the awkward state of the ;round, the effect of the whole is pleasing.'

Subsequently, Sir George Clerk gave ground beside the church for a manse, and a commodious building was erected thereon.

In the year 1862, when the increase of the congregation necessitated the provision of a larger building, Sir George gave further evidence of a more enlightened policy by granting a site on the West side of time Peebles road, whereon a handsome Gothic Church Was erected at a cost of £2050, capable of seating comfortably as many- as 700 worshippers.

The old church in West Street has since been let by the Deacons' Court as a place for public meetings. It is, indeed, the only available hall with seats, in the village, suitable for lectures and concerts, as well as for municipal and political gatherings. The first minister of the Free Church in Penicuik was the Rev. Andrew Mackenzie. He was ordained 24th August 1843, but after eleven years of active service failing health necessitated his asking the Presbytery for the appointment of a helper and successor. This was granted, and the Rev. Hugh A. Stewart, a son of Major Ludovic Stewart of Pitovack, ultimately proved the choice of the congregation. This much-esteemed clergyman was accordingly ordained to the collegiate charge in the year 1854. During his residence in Penicuik Mr. Stewart's life and preaching proved a great influence for good in the parish. In the summer of 1886, feeling himself in failing health, he applied to be relieved from the active oversight of the congregation, and in the month of December of the same year the Rev. Samuel Rutherford Crockett was unanimously called by the congregation to be his colleague and successor. The number of communicants on the roll of the church at present exceeds 430. In connection with the congregation there is also a Fellowship Association with a membership of about sixty, and a large Sabbath-school; weekly Prayer-meetings and Bible-classes are conducted by Mr. Crockett, who has also under his immediate charge a successful mission at Fieldsend.


Previous to the year 1860 members of the Episcopal Communion resident in Penicuik had no nearer place of worship than one or other of the churches in Edinburgh.

At the time indicated, however, a chaplain was stationed at Glencorse Barracks, and his services were made available to those in the vicinity; but on the restoration of Rosslyn Chapel in 1862 these were invited to form part of the congregation worshipping there. Beyond occasional meetings in the private chapel fitted up in the upper story of Penicuik House, regular services were not commenced in time village until time year 1878. A congregation was then formed, and the increase in its numbers warranted the erection in 1882 of a neat and substantial church at the west end of the village. The first clergyman placed in charge was the Rev. John Hammond, and upon his removal after a short incumbency his place was filled by the Rev. Charles A. Erington, B.A., under whose active ministry the church has greatly prospered.

In 1887 day-schools were started, and already over two hundred scholars are in daily attendance under the supervision of Mr. Elrington, and a sufficient staff' of teachers.


Since the development of the mining industry in our neighbourhood, the Roman Catholic communion has very considerably increased in numbers. Fifty years ago there were, according to the report of the parish minister of the time, only eighteen Catholics in the parish. Now a large congregation meets regularly in the chapel which was built in 1883 to accommodate their ever-increasing membership.

Prior to the erection of this place of worship Roman Catholics resident in Penicuik were put to the inconvenience of attending the ministrations of clergymen in Edinburgh or Dalkeith. They have now an organised congregation, a resident priest, and a well-equipped clay-school. The mission-station at Rosewell is also in charge of the Penicuik incumbent. Very much owing to the indefatigable energy of the Rev. Joseph M'Anna, who for some years was stationed in this parish, a comfortable church has also been erected at that place.


Since the closing years of last century, when the brothers Robert and James Alexander Haldane preached to admiring and appreciative audiences in the open air in West Street, there have been from time to time earnest and God-fearing men labouring in season and out of season in Penicuik, outside the churches, who, according to their lights, have striven to teach and preach the Gospel; but not until the present day have these agencies been at all numerous.

In recent years a small congregation of Methodists has been formed, the members of which earnestly and unobtrusively carry on their good work. The Plymouth Brethren are also represented, and though few in numbers are zealous and active in their religious teaching. The most numerous and apparently successful body outside the churches is the Salvation Army. About two years ago a mission was planted in Penicuik and placed in charge of regular officers. Upwards of fifty recruits have joined, many of them being formerly in active connection with the Presbyterian churches. They have barracks in Band Street, and hold meetings almost daily, either outside or in-doors. Their frequent processions on Sabbath-day and week-day are rendered imposing by the carrying aloft of banners and the accompaniment of instrumental music.

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