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The History of Sanquhar
Chapter XI.—Ecclesiastical

AFTER the Reformation, Knox and the ecclesiastical authorities of the new Church set themselves to check the loose morals of the people, and the more decent observance of the Sabbath was a point on which they strenuously insisted. Sunday-marketing was then general throughout Scotland. It will be observed that, in the charter of this burgh, liberty is given to hold one of the weekly markets on the Sabbath day. Work of various kinds was engaged in on the holy da}’. It was also the day of the week frequently chosen for the celebration of marriages and the merry-makings connected therewith, and for the ordinary recreations and amusements of the people. In Aberdeen, it was common, in 1609, for tailors, bakers, and shoemakers to work till eight or nine every Sunday morning “as gif it were ane ouk day.” Dancing round the Maypole on the first Sunday in May was widely practised, and was very popular among the young people. An amusing instance of the kind is given in Chambers’ Domestic Annals:—“James Somerville of Drum was a scholar, about 1608, at the village school at Dalserf, in Lanarkshire. There being at that time few or no merchants in this petty village to furnish necessaries for the scholars’ sports, this drouth resolved to furnish himself elsewhere, that so he may appear with the bravest. In order to this, by break of day, he rises and goes to Hamilton, and there bestows all the money that for a long time he had gotten

from his friends upon ribbons of divers colours, a new hat, and gloves. But in nothing he bestowed his money more liberally than upon gunpowder, a great quantity of which he buys for his own use, and to supply the wants of his comrades. Thus furnished with these commodities, but with ane empty purse, he returns to Dalserf (having travelled that Sabbath morning about eight miles), puts on his clothes and new hat, flying with ribbons of all colours; in this equipage, his little fusee upon his shoulder, he marches to the churchyard, where the Maypole was set up, and the solemnity of that day was to be kept. There first at the football he equalled any that played ; but for handling of his piece, in charging and discharging, he was so ready that he far surpassed all his fellow-scholars, and became a teacher of that art to them before the thirteenth year of his own age. The day’s sport being over, he had the applause of all the spectators, the kindness of his condisciples, and the favour of the whole of the inhabitants of that little village.”

The demands of the Church were for a complete abstinence from work and marketing, as well as from amusements, and a regular attendance on the sermons. The Church had the co-operation of the municipal authorities in their efforts to reform the manners of the people, but the struggle was a hard one. So wedded were the populace to their ancient customs that their rulers had to be content in many instances with partial restriction without insisting on total prohibition. Some of the ordinances of the time are very curious and interesting. Thus—The Town Council of Aberdeen, in 1598, ordained that “nae mercat either of fish or flesh shall be on the Sabbath day in time of sermon. A certain Kirk-Session required that “ the mill be stayit from grinding on the Sabbath day, at least by eight in the morning.” In 1594 the Presbytery of Glasgow is found forbidding one to play his pipes on Sunday “from the sun-rising till the sun going-to.” Breach of the Sunday regulations was punished by fines, graded according to the social status of the offenders.

An elder or deacon of the church in being absent from the preachings incurred a penalty of “twa shillings—for other honest persons, sixpence.” These penalties were increased at a later period, when the scale was raised to 13s 4d for a householder or his wife and 6*s 8d for a craftsman failing to attend church, and “in case any merchand or burgess of guild be found within his merchand booth after the ringing of the third bell to the sermon to pay 6s 8d.” The people were placed under strict surveillance, the office-bearers of the church acting as a sort of ecclesiastical police. In Perth, in 1582, it was ordained that “an elder of every quarter shall pass through the same every Sunday in time of preaching before noon, their time about, and note them that are found in taverns, baxter’s booths, or on the gaits, and delate them to the assembly, that every one of them may be poinded for twenty shillings, according to the Act of Parliament.”

It appears, moreover, that the Sabbath was reckoned differently then than it is now. It was held to commence at sunset on Saturday, and to terminate on Sunday at sunset, or at six o’clock; but the present system seems to have begun to be observed in 1635, in which year the Presbytery of Glasgow ordered “that the Sabbath be from twelve on the Saturday night to twelve on the Sunday night.” Not only was church attendance on the Sabbath obligatory, but, in 1600, the General Assembly ordained that “on Thursday ilk ouk (every week) the masters of households, their wives, bairns, and servants should compeir, ilk ane within their awn parish kirk, to their awn minister, to be instructit by them in the grunds of religion and heads of catechism, and to give, as they should be demanded, ane proof and trial of their profiting in the said heads.” But, sad to say, notwithstanding all these arrangements for the instruction and godly upbringing of the people, the General Assembly felt constrained in the following year (1601) to appoint “ a general humiliation for the sins of the land and contempt of the gospel, to be kept the two last Sabbaths of June, and all the week intervening.” All students of history, however, know that never in any age has compulsion had much effect in promoting public virtue or personal godliness. The practice of catechising by the clergy, but under different conditions— that is, private catechising of the people, by families in their own houses—was long continued, and it is only within the recollection of the present generation that it was abandoned. The Shorter Catechism was the favourite subject of examination, and many a good story is told of the concern that was caused by the announcement of a “diet of pastoral visitation,” and the preparations that were made against the awful day. The catechism was diligently conned during the intervening period by the family or families who were to undergo this test of their theological knowledge. To master the whole of this compendium of Christian doctrine was no easy task, but the minister usually began with the first question with the person who sat next him, the questions in their order being taken by the persons as they sat in a circle. The members of a family, then, having arranged how they should sit, could calculate which of the questions it would fall to each in turn to answer till the whole had been gone over. And this plan was oftentimes adopted, and came off successfully if no change in the composition of the circle occurred; but if any one failed at the last moment to take his or her place, the results were disastrous.

While, as we have said, the people clung to the liberty or licence to which they had been accustomed, and were slow to submit to the restraints which Knox and his colleagues sought to put upon them, there came a time when a different spirit prevailed among the religious portion of the nation. The Puritans in England were in the ascendancy during the Commonwealth period, and a strong reaction was experienced in that country from the laxity in morals, both public and private, that had prevailed during the time of the Stuarts. The movement was from one extreme to another, and while it cannot be gainsaid that Puritanism embraced the moral worth of the English people—the men who were the very salt of the nation in a corrupt age—the Puritans, by the undue strictness and severity which they imposed upon the masses of the population, did much to destroy the hold which they had obtained. They laid upon the people burdens which they were not able to bear, and thus prepared the way for the Restoration which afterwards took place. In Scotland they had their counterpart in the Presbyterians. Between the two there was naturally the closest sympathy, and so, throughout Scotland, the same system of strictness of morals and of religious observance was established, among the more earnest section of the people represented by the Covenanters. The two suffered together under the returned Stuarts down to' the Revolution, but, though subjected to persecution, and, in many instances, to exile, they succeeded in maintaining their position, and, on the final expulsion of the Stuarts, continued to be held in high esteem, both for their steadfastness to principle and for their moral worth. The stern Calvinism of their creed accounted for the strictness of their views in matters of practice as well as of doctrine. The observance of the Sabbath was safeguarded with the severest restrictions; the ordinances of religion were regarded with feelings of reverence approaching to superstition, and especially the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The Sacrament

The observance of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper has always been regarded by the Church in Scotland as the greatest of her religious ordinances. She has surrounded it with a sanctity beyond all the other offices of the Christian faith, and that upon no apparent scriptural authority. Its importance in the eyes of the Church was marked by the infrequency of its celebration, only once in the half-year; then, the idea was accentuated by the stringent conditions imposed upon the individual members. The communicant had to undergo a severe ordeal before he was allowed, for the first time, to take his place at the table. It was only after strict catechising and solemn personal dealing. And, last of all, a practice was observed immediately before the administration, known as the “fencing of the tables,” consisting of an address, in which not only the more flagrant transgressors, but all who had been guilty of one or other of a long catalogue of minor moral offences, were “debarred” from taking part in this most solemn, this positively terrible ordinance. The address, however, ended with a few sentences of “encouragement,” designed to re-assure the timid mind, but many a conscientious soul must, notwithstanding, have been left in a condition of sore perplexity and bewilderment as to whether he should regard himself as a worthy partaker, or whether he did not run the risk of bringing down upon himself the dreadful judgment of Heaven for an impious act. All this has been much modified, in recent times, in the more enlightened parts of the country, but in the Highlands, to this day, the practice is kept up in all its rigidity, the result being that, among a people peculiarly susceptible of religious feeling, and peculiarly conscientious in all religious observances, this ordinance, presented to their mind in such a dread form, is regarded with an awe amounting to superstition, and the number of adults who venture to assume this badge of the membership of the church is comparatively few. “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life,” so says Scripture, but truly no straiter or narrower than that which, at one time in all parts of Scotland, and even yet in her northern parts, led to the enjoyment of this gracious ordinance of the Lord’s appointing. To impress upon the minds of the people still further, if that were possible, the solemnity of the occasion, there was a series of preaching days, beginning on the preceding Thursday with what was termed a day of “solemn fasting and humiliation.” On this day, all work was suspended just as on a Sabbath, and divine service was conducted, It is not more than two or three years since a shock of pious horror was sent through the church-going portion of our community by the first instance of a farmer in the parish harvesting on the Fast Day. This institution is, however, rapidly dying out. It has been abolished in all the principal towns, and even in some country parishes, where it had come to be observed rather as a holiday than a fast, even by respectable church people. The ecclesiastical authorities were compelled to recognise that the force of public opinion was opposed to its continuance, and they wisely resolved to formally abandon it rather than to see it degenerate into a sham. Its value as a day of rest has, however, been happily preserved, for the municipal authorities have in most cases arranged that a general holiday should take its place. It is plain that before long the Fast Day will have passed away throughout the greater part of the country. A. still further preparation for the coming Sabbath was made on the Saturday, when divine service was again conducted, though business was not suspended as on the Thursday, and the attendance at church was confined to the more devout worshippers. Then, the dispensation of the Sacrament was followed on the Monday by what was called a “Thanksgiving Service.” This had its origin at the Kirk o’ Shotts—a famous place in our religious history—where, ou one occasion, a service was held on the Monday after the Sacrament for thanksgiving. It resulted in so remarkable a spiritual awakening that it was looked upon as a signal mark of the Divine approval, and thenceforward the practice became general throughout Scotland. These elaborate arrangements obtained till about twenty years ago, when a disposition was shewn on the part of the people to have them curtailed to a more simple and sensible form. The Monday service was the first to give way. It was followed not many years after by the Saturday service; and now, as we have seen, the Fast Day is following. When that occurs, this holy ordinance will have been divested of much that tended to foster that pious, superstitious feeling with which the people had been trained to regard it, and it will take rank only as one, but a very precious one, of the various forms of divine worship.

The manner of the observance of the Sacrament itself falls now to be described. When the congregation had assembled on the Sabbath, it was at once apparent that it was no ordinary occasion. The young people either sat aside or in the gallery, whence they looked with awe-struck wonder at a celebration which they were too young, many of them, to comprehend, far less to participate in. The manner of the celebration in Presbyterian Scotland has always been severely plain. The table in front of the pulpit is draped with a spotlessly white cloth, and bears the simple elements to be used in the Sacrament. That is all. The elders, a grave and reverend circle, sit around, while the countenances of the whole—ministers, elders, and people alike—shew that their spiritual nature is moved to its profoundest depths. It is a comely, moving sight. The observance is none the less touching for its simplicity, and it leaves an impression on the thoughtful mind not easily effaced. It cannot be doubted that for the thousands of Scotchmen and Scotchwomen who have emigrated from their old homes in the quiet rural parts of their native land to all quarters of the globe, there are no associations of their early days the recollection of which will so deeply move them as that of the Sacrament Sabbath. The usual preliminary service was followed by what was called the “action sermon,” a discourse prepared with special care, and having a close relation to the day’s observance. This was followed by the“ fencing of the tables,” to which reference has already been made, after which the minister descended from the pulpit, and the high and sacred feast proceeded. It was the custom for the members to come up in relays, each section constituting what was termed a “ table.” In most congregations there were three, while in the larger parishes there were six or seven ; there are, indeed, ancient communion tokens which prove that the number in certain cases reached ten or twelve. There was no occasion on the score of accommodation for this great multiplication of tables, but even where the whole congregation could have sat down simultaneously, so rooted was the custom, that had there not been several tables, it would have been felt that the ordinance had been observed with unbecoming brevity. With the good people of that age, the very length of time spent over it was a measure of the importance and sacredness which it assumed in their minds. A distinctive feature of the occasion, indeed, arose out of the multiplication of the tables, and that was the singing during the intervals, when the occupants of one table made way for their successors. The Psalm associated with this part of the service was the 103rd, sung to the tune “Coleshill,” and long after the ancient Scottish custom of the precentor reading the line before singing had ceased, it was continued on the occasion of the half-yearly sacrament. While the strains of this grand old tune filled the sacred building, the communicants filed in and out along the isles in as orderly a manner as was possible. Keeping step to the solemn cadence, they walked with softened tread, lest they should disturb the stillness that reigned profound.

As each table had its introductory exhortation and parting admonition, the whole followed by another sermon of an hour’s length or more, it can be readily understood why the service occupied a good many hours, extending, as it often did, till twilight had set in. It was impossible that the minister could, single-handed, undertake the whole day’s work, embracing, as it did, two sermons of portentous length, and an array of exhortations and addresses in addition, and, therefore, he had to engage the assistance of brethren. An allowance for Sacramental expenses is therefore a part of the settlement of a minister in most of the churches. The manner of celebration, while doubtless designed to increase its solemnity, gave rise to customs which led in process of time to those scandalous scenes which became so rampant in Burns’ day, and inspired that stinging satire “The Holy Fair,” which roused the ire of the ecclesiastical party, and made his name a synonym in clerical circles for the Evil one himself. What follows will serve to shew to what, if any, extent it was an exaggerated picture, and whether in writing it Burns did not do a high service in the interests of true godliness; not to speak of public decency.

The elaborate services, as above sketched, prevented what would have proved a great and desirable reform—the simultaneous observance of the Sacrament over a wide area, if not over the whole country. It required a group of ministers to get through the work of one parish, and hence a simultaneous observance of the ordinance was impossible. Certain ministers acquired a great reputation for their Sacramental addresses ; their services were much sought after; and this probably had much to do with the custom which sprang up of flocks of people gathering to the Sacrament from neighbouring parishes. As certain preachers acquired a great reputation for their addresses, so certain parishes acquired a similar reputation for their Sacraments. Sanquhar and Kirkconnel were instances of such parishes. Stationed on the borders of Burns’ county, the ministers of Sanquhar and Kirkconnel could command, in addition to the talent of their copresbyters, the services of great preachers “ frae the west,” whose fame still lingers among the older people of the district.

The first and natural result of these periodical gatherings of preachers of ability and power was to attract the people of neighbouring parishes. The crowds which at first were drawn consisted of respectable church-going people, whose only motive was to hear some man of note, quite a natural feeling at any time, and especially so in an age when, owing to the difficulty and expense of travelling, an interchange of pulpits was not common unless between near neighbours, and congregations seldom heard any but the familiar voice of their own minister. Besides, it must be admitted that, in so far at least as the outward observance of religious ordinances was concerned, the last generation was more earnest and devout than this. The tendency of a large influx of strangers was not towards that quiet which so well becomes all religious worship, and especially the celebration of this Sacrament ; their presence in the church was disquieting, and in truth they came in such numbers that their accommodation within the building became an impossibility. Provision was therefore made outside. A canopy, called a “tent,” was erected in the churchyard, in which the great bulk of the country kirks are situated. This was meant for the protection of the preacher from sun or storm, whence he addressed the crowds which gathered round him, and which sat on and among the gravestones. No sooner had one preacher finished, than his place was taken by another from the group within the church, and so the supply was kept up, the people thus being afforded the opportunity of hearing the whole of them in succession. To an ambitious preacher this was a capital opportunity for the display of his gifts, while the people were supplied with ample food for criticism, if they were critically inclined, which the majority of Scotchmen have always been in the matter of preaching. The Church did not foresee to what fearful abuses this system would lead. A dangerous element existed in the open public-houses, which swarmed in every country town and village, open then on a Sabbath as on a week-day. This danger was not so great so long as the crowds continued to be composed of the regular church-going class, but, when their numbers came to be augmented, as they subsequently were, by hosts of people who were by no means “gospel-greedy,” but simply came for a day’s outing and excitement, the evil effects were speedily seen. Godless scapegraces many of them were, who could sit unmoved under the most rousing address, listen with the most apathetic indifference to the judgments of heaven being pronounced with a vehemence and in terms fitted to terrify the stoutest and most callous heart, and at the end, walk away deliberately to the nearest village tavern to profane the day and the occasion by drinking and debauchery. Scenes were enacted which are almost incredible to the present generation, but they have been described by eye and ear-witnesses whose trustworthiness cannot be questioned.

In one parish, where a roadside public-house was situated in close proximity to the church, on the Sacrament day there was a constant stream of traffic in and out this place. A roaring trade was done, the ringing of the bells by the many customers keeping up a running accompaniment to the tent-preacher’s discourse. Drinking was not confined to what might be called needful refreshment. The extent to which it was carried may be gathered from the case of a drouthy burgess of Sanquhar who, at a Kirkconnel Sacrament, after being well refreshed, coiled himself up under the shelter of the tent and fell fast asleep. There he lay for a time perfectly still, but all of a sudden the preacher had the flow of his oratory interrupted by an exhibition of a very different character, for the sleeper, far away in his dreams, began the singing of “Dark Lochnagar.” He only, however, reached the end of the first line—“Away ye gay landscapes, ye gardens of roses,” when a neighbour stuffed a handkerchief into his mouth, and thus brought to an end his musical performance. Again, it was no uncommon occurrence for these reckless characters, in their journey homewards, to organise foot-races among themselves. Casting their coats, which were brought on by friends, they footed it with all the speed which, in their befuddled condition, they could muster, the goal being of course the next wayside public-house.

There was a curious custom at one time at Wanlockhead Lead Mines. Under the general manager there were various foremen, or “maisters,” as they were called. These maisters, then, were allowed 5s each to “haud the Sanquhar Sacrament.” To shew how this allowance was spent, and what they meant by “hauding” the Sacrament, it is related that one evening after the Sacrament services were over, they hired the inn’s chaise, in which they drove away homewards, singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the top of their voices.    .

Stories like these might be multiplied, but it is unnecessary. They might have been allowed to pass into oblivion, but they point some useful lessons; and illustrating, as they do, one aspect of the prevailing customs and morals of a bygone age, they cannot be omitted if a faithful chronicle is sought after. One cannot help wondering why the ecclesiastical authorities did not interfere and put an end to these scandalous customs. There can be no doubt that the open-air tent-preachings were at once the occasion and excuse for these great promiscuous gatherings. Why, then, when they saw that the observance of this holy Sacrament was being disfigured, and the interests of true religion were suffering fatal injury by the open and shameless immorality by which it was accompanied, why did they not strike their tents and retire within the church? Strange to say, they tolerated this extraordinary state of matters for many years, and it was only before the advance of more enlightened ideas that these scandalous scenes were swept away.

In the fifteenth century, the Rectory of Sanquhar was constituted a prebend of the Cathedral Church of Glasgow, with the consent of the patron, whose right of the patronage and of the prebend was continued, and the benefice was usually conferred on a younger son of his family. Thus, Ninian Crichton was parson of Sanquhar in 1494, and William Crichton was rector during the reign of James V. In Bagimot’s roll, as it stood in James V.’s reign, the rectory of Sanquhar, then still a prebend of the Chapter of Glasgow, was taxed at £10. After the Reformation, the patronage of San char Church continued with Lord Sanchar till 1680, when it was sold, with the barony of Sanquhar, to Sir William Douglas of Drumlanrig.

In Scott’s “Fasti Ecclesise Scotticanae,” we are furnished with a list of the ministers of the parish of Sanquhar from the earliest date ascertainable down to the death of the Rev. Thos. Montgomery :—

1574.—John Foullartoun, trans. from Kirkconnel, having also Kirkconnel and Kirkbride in charge with je- li of stipend, was a member of the Assemblies, Aug., 1575, and April, 1576, continued in 1579, and returned to Kirkconnel about 1580. (Reg. Assig., Wodrow Miscell., Booke of the Kirk.)

1594.—Robert Hunter, A.M., was laureated at the Univ. of Edinburgh, 12 Aug., 1592, and on the Excrcise there, 6th Aug. 1594, pres, by James VI., 16th Dec. following, and to the Vicarage Pensionary of Kirkbride, 1st Feb., 1602; was a member of Assembly same year, and also in that of 1610. (Reg. Laur. Univ. Edin. Pres, (cant.), and Assig. Edin. Presb. Reg., Booke of the Kirk ; Morrison’s Digest, and Dee., x.)

1607.—John Blaket. Nothing further is known of him.—(Aberdeen Presb. Reg.)

1617.—William Livingstoun, A.M., was laureated at the Univ. of Edinburgh, 30 July, 1601; he was “lytit,” for the vacant place of the Kirk in Edinburgh, 8th Dec., 1618., continued 11th Dec., 1622, when he entered burges and guild brother of that city, in right of Barbara, a daughter of John Logane, burges of that city, whom he had marr., 6th May, 1617. A son, William, was served heir, 7th May, 1645. (Reg. Laur. Edin. Univ., Edin. Counc. and Guild, and Canongate Reg. (Marr.) Inq. Ret. Gen., 3054.)

1633. —John M‘Millane, A.M., acquired his degree at the Univ. of Edinburgh, 22nd July, 1615. He gave xx. li. towards building the Library in the Univ. of Glasgow, and continued 2nd August, 1638. (Reg. Laur. Edin. Univ. ; Mun. Univ. of Glasgow, iii. Peebles Presb. Reg.)

1639.—George Johnstoune, trans. from Linton, Peeblesshire, adm. after 7th March; trans. to Kirkwall, 15th June, 1642. (Commiss. to Ass., 1638; Peebles Presb. Reg.; Orkney Patronage Proccss).

1650.—Adam Sinclair, A.M., trans. from Morton, adm. before 25th Jan., 1650. (Wodrow makes him at Morton, and one of the deprived in 1662, which must be a mistake for this par.) He died 25th July, 1673, aged about 71. [Kirk. Pap. Test. Reg. (Dumf.) and Edin. Reg. (Bur.)]

1685.—Patrick Inglis, A.M., trans. from Annan before 12th Feb., 1686, ousted by the people in 1689. [(Test. Reg. (Dumf.) M.S. Acc. of Min.,1689.]

1693.—Thomas Shiells, trans. from Kirkbride, called in Sept. 1691, adm. 2nd Aug. 1693; died 8tli Feb., 1708, in his 78th year and 53rd min. [Presb. and Syn. Reg. Tombst.]

1713.—Mungo Gibsone, trans. from Abbotrule, called in Nov., and adm. in Dec.; died between 17th Dec., 1735, and 4th Feb., 1736, in 38th min. He had two sons, George and William, and a daugh., Janet. [Presb. and Test. Reg.] (Dumf.)

[A volume of MS. sermons, chiefly Sacramental, by Mr Gibson, is in the possession of Mr J. R. Wilson. They are written iu a quaint, beautiful hand, which it would puzzle an expert to decipher, far less to copy].

1738.—John Sandilands, licen. by the Presb. of Biggar, 30th August, 1733, called 29th Dec., 1737, and ord. 27th April thereafter ; died (in consequence of a fall from his horse) 29th Aug., 1741, in 4th min. [Presb., and Test. Reg (Dumf.), Scott’s Mag. III.]

1743.—John Irving, trans. from Wamphray, called 17th Feb., and adm. 9th June; died 14th Sept., 1752, in 20th min. His books brought £43 lsh. 4½ sterl. He marr. Helen Irvine, who died 25th Oct., 1769. [Presb. Reg., &c.]

1753.—William Cunninghame, A.M., trans. from Durrisdeer, pres, by Charles, Duke of Queensberry and Dover, in Feb., and adm. 29th May; died 25th Aug., 1768, in 32nd inin. He was clever and accomplished, and pleasing and elegant in his manners beyond most of his day, so that Catherine, Duchess of Queensberry, made him, when in his former charge, her daily companion, which led to his being termed “the Duchess’s walking-staff.’’ He marr. in 1745 Helen Sinclair, who died 15th Jan., 1785. [Presb. Reg., Carlyle’s Autob., &c.]

1769.—John Thomson, licen. by the Presb. 1st April, 1767 ; pres, by Charles, Duke of Queensberry and Dover, 9th Oct., 1768, and ord. 7th Sept. following; trans. to Markinch, 2nd March, 1785. [Pres, and Syn. Reg.]

1785.—William Rauken, licen. by the Pres, of Kirkcudbright, 7th Oct., 1778; pres, by William, Duke of Queensberry, in Aug., and ord. 22nd Sept., 1785 ; died 7th Oct., 1820, in his 70th year and 36th min. He marr., 8th Deer., 1788, Margaret Barker, who died 25th March, 1837, and had Thomas, Solicitor, Supreme Courts, Edin., and Margaret, who marr. Lieut. David M‘Adam, of the Royal Marines. Publication—Account of the parish. (Sinclair’s St. Acc. VI.) [Pres., Syn. and Test Reg. (Dumf.), Tombst., &c.]

1821. -Thomas Montgomery, pres, by the Tutors of Walter Francis, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, in Feb., and ord. 5th June; he got a new church built in 1827, and died 3rd June, 1S61, in 40th min. He marr., 24th Oct., 1826, Mary Brown, who died 21st April, 1843, aged 50. Publication—Account of the Parish (New St. Acc. IV.) [Presb. Reg., &c.]

1845.—John Inglis, ordained Assistant and Successor to Mr Montgomery 28th January, 1845. Came to the possession of the benefice 3d June, 1861 ; died 20th September, 1881.

1876.— James M‘Donald Inglis, ordained Assistant and Successor to Mr John Inglis, 24th Feb., 1876. Translated to Peiminghame Parish, New-ton-Stewart, 13th April, 1880.

1881.—Archibald Edmiston Dewar, ordained assistant and successor to Mr John Inglis, 1st Feb., 1881. Came to full possession of the benefice, 20th Sept., 1881 ; died,in Australia, 6th June, 1883.

1883.—James Richmond Wood, ordained at Fairlie, 30th Dec., 1880; translated 6th Nov., 1883.

The Manse

Part of the present farm-house of Blackaddie was the old Manse of Sanquhar. It was built in 1755, and was roofed with heather. It was subsequently slated, and, until the erection of the present Ulzieside farm-house, was, with the exception of Elioek, the only slated house in the parish. About thirty years ago, some alterations were made on the kitchen of the old manse, where there was a jamb-lintel inscribed in Latin, and the character of the Black Letter is considered one of the very best types in existence. This stone is now built into one of the farm-offices. Translated, the inscription reads—“Mr William Crichton, Rector of Sanquhar, son of William Crichton of Ardoch.” There follow several abbreviations, and it has been suggested that if the whole were carefully cleaned the full inscription might be deciphered, and that it would be found that these abbreviations testify that the Manse was built by the Rector. In the Chapter on the Crichtons, it is explained that minor branches of the family owned small estates in the neighbourhood. Of these Ardoch was one. It is situated in the parish of Durisdeer, and was sold to the Douglas family by William Crichton in 1507. In the old manse Andrew Thomson, who became the famous Rev. Dr Andrew Thomson, of St. George’s, Edinburgh, was born in 1779.

The new manse is a handsome structure, situated in the heart of the rich land of the valley, with a glebe of 21 acres attached, which is let at a rent of £63 per annum. The Minister’s stipend in 1755 was £91, and in 1798, £150. It now consists of 25 chalders, one half meal and the other half barley, equal, at current fiars’ prices, to about £320. The last augmentation was granted in 1884.

The Church

It is impossible to determine the age of the old church, which was demolished in 1827, when the present edifice was erected. Symson in his “Large Description of Galloway,” published in 1684, describes it as a “considerable and large fab-rick, consisting of a spacious church and a stately quire, where are the tombs of the Lord Crichtons of Sanquhar, wrought in free stone, and before them some Lords of the name of Ross.” Further, Chalmers, in “Caledonia,” says that “the Church of Sanquhar is remarkable for its antiquity, size, and disproportion, yet neither record nor tradition states when it was erected. From some sculptured stones which remain in its walls, it is supposed to be very ancient. It was undoubtedly the Parish Church before the Reformation, as the ancient choir is still entire, though the church is in a most ruinous condition.” It contained several altars, one of which was dedicated to “The Haly Blude” (Privy Seal, Reg. VIII. p. 114). Sir John Logan, the vicar of Colvin, granted certain lands and rents within the burgh of Dumfries for the support of a chaplain to celebrate divine service at the altar “Sacri cruoris dominum in Sancher Church.” This was confirmed by the King in 1529. The old church was smaller than its successor, but was very substantially built, the walls being about five feet thick. The recesses of the windows were occupied by stone-cists, which contained recumbent figures carved in stone. The place, however, had been cleared of both altars and images long before it was taken down, probably at the time of the Reformation, when so great a zeal was shewn by the Protestant party in removing all traces of the Roman Catholic worship. One of these images is preserved at Friars’ Carse, and bears the title of “ The Bishop of Sanquhar,” representing as it does an ecclesiastic of high degree, arrayed in full canonicals. There was a loft at the east end of the Church, facing the pulpit, which was reached by an outside stair. The Crichtons had their seat here, and latterly the Eliock family had the exclusive right to it.

On the top of the wall of the Church, at the north-east corner, there grew a rowan-tree of considerable size, the stem being as thick as a man’s arm. It might be supposed that this tree had sprung from a chance seed, which, dropped mayhap by a passing bird, had been nurtured by the earthy matter gathered about the eaves, but the traditional belief among the common people was, that it was purposely planted to scare away the witches. This theory receives some support from the fact that rowan-tree was considered to possess a charm of this kind. In illustration of this superstitious belief, the story is still told that the milk of the minister’s (the Rev. Mr Ranken) cow having been bewitched so that it would not churn, the minister sent his serving-man, William M'Latchie, with a sprig of rowan, with directions to fasten it over the door of a witch who resided in Crawick Mill, a neighbouring hamlet. It is just possible, therefore, that in this instance tradition may correctly account for the existence of this rowan-tree in so odd a situation.

The present Church was opened in 1828, and contains sittings for 9t>0. It is a handsome structure with a square tower.

South U.P. Church

In the latter part of the seventeenth century, the Rev. John Hepburn, minister of Urr, and an earnest preacher of Evangelical doctrine, moved by the religious destitution of the south-west of Scotland, was accustomed to preach far beyond the bounds of his own parish. Many adhered to his ministrations, and, on his death, a number of them joined the “M'Millanites or Mountain Men,” as they were called, but the greater portion kept themselves clear of any ecclesiastical connection till the rise of the Secession, ten years afterwards, when they joined themselves to the Associate Presbytery. The Praying Society of the Sanquhar district met at Ulzie-side. By this gathering, application for the supply of regular ordinances was made to the Associate Synod. Ralph Erskine visited and preached in the locality. When it had been resolved to erect a place of worship, the town of Sanquhar was chosen as most central ; but supply of sermon continued to be given at other places, and this led to the formation of the congregations at Thornhill and Moniaive. The first church was built in 1742, the present in 1841, with sittings for 500.

1st Minister.—Thomas Ballantyne, called to Leslie and Sanquhar. Ordained 2'2d September, 1742. Died 28th February, 1744, iu the 30th year of his age, and 2d of his ministry.

2d Minister.—John Goodlet. Ordained 22d March, 1749. Died 1775 in the 26th year of his ministry. Author of “Vindication of the Associate Synod.”

3d Minister.—Andrew Thomson, from Howgate, called to Hamilton and Sanquhar. Ordained 22d August, 1776. Died 2d September, 1S15, in the 40th year of his ministry.    -

4th Minister.—James Reid, from Newmilns. Called to Newmilus, Errol, Crieff, Moniaive, Lockerbic, aud Sanquhar. Ordained 10th January, 1816. Died 9th February, 1849, in the 69th year of his age, and 34th of his ministry.

5th Minister.—David M. Croom, from Perth. Ordained as colleague to Mr Reid 10th January, 1838. Called to Broughton Place, Edinburgh, 1841, and Regent Place, Glasgow, but declined both calls. Translated to Portsburgh, Edinburgh, 29th June, 1S52. Was elected Moderator of the Synod in the year 1878.    Author of “Harmony and state of Doctrine in the Secession Synod.” He died in Edinburgh, 9th September, 1882. The congregation next called Mr Taylor, now Dr Taylor of Broadway Tabernacle, New York, who preferred Kilmaurs, and then Mr Hill, who preferred Scone.

6th Minister.—Forbes-Hunter-Blair Ross, from Glasgow. Called also to Swalwell. Ordained 10th January, 1854 ; laid aside on account of ill-health. Died 21st February, 1860. Iu 1857 the congregation called Mr T. Miller, who preferred Perth (Wilson Church).

7th Minister.—Matthew Crawford, from Glasgow. Called to Alva, Lanark, Haddington, Springburn, and Sanquhar. Ordained 26th January, 1858. Called to Pollokshaws 1861, Lothian Road, Edinburgh, 1864, Bradford 1865, blit he declined these calls. Translated to Duke Street, Glasgow, 18th March, 1869.

8th Minister.—John Sellar, from Keith. Called to Barrow, Leith, Stirling (Viewfield), and Sanquhar. Ordained 26th April, 1870. Translated to Portobello in 1878.

9th Minister.—Matthew Dickie, M.A., from Irvine. Called to Paisley, Birkenhead, Freuchy, Banchory, and Sanquhar. Ordained 28th October, 1879.

The annual income of this congregation is a little over £300. The Minister’s stipend is £203, together with a small glebe, but in 1886 he received an important addition to his income by an endowment amounting to the sum of £4180, which was bequeathed by the late John Wysilaski, of Australia, a native of Sanquhar, the interest of which he directed to be paid to the minister of the South Church over and above the stipend which he received from the congregation. Membership, 206.

North U.P. Church

This congregation was formed by persons connected with the Associate (Burgher) Synod, who had come to reside in the district. Supply of sermon was afforded them by the Presbytery of Annan and Carlisle, 1815. Church built in 1818. New church built on another site in 1830; sittings, 500. The congregation first called a Mr Tnglis, who had another call at the same time from Stockbridge, in Berwickshire. According to the rules of the Church, the Synod assigned Mr Inglis to the latter charge.

1st Minister. — Robert Simpson, D.D., from Bristo Street, Edinburgh. Called to Dunse and Sanquhar. The Synod gave the preference in this ease to Sanquhar. Ordained 16th May, 1820. Received the degree of D.D. from Princeton, U.S., 1853. Died 8th July, 1867, in the 72nd year of his age and 48th of his ministry. Author of “The Traditions of the Covenanters,” 3 vols.; “Martyrland,” “The Times of Claverhouse or Sketches of the Persecution,” “Life of James Reuwick,” “The Minister and his Hearer,” “The Two Shepherds,” “Cleanings among the Mountains,” “A Voice from the Desert,” “Memorials of Pious Persons lately deceased,” “The History of Sanquhar,” &c.

2nd Minister.—James Hay Scott, from Melrose. Called to Leeds, Biggar, Sauquhar, and Wolverhampton. Ordained 2nd June, 1868.

The annual income of the congregation is about £233. The Minister’s stipend is £200; membership, 193.

Free Church

During the conflict that ended in the Disruption in May, 1843, the cause of the Evangelicals was warmly espoused in this quarter. The Rev. Thomas Montgomery, then minister of the parish, at first adhered to the protesting party, but his wife, who had been the mainspring of her husband’s enthusiasm in the cause, having died in the spring of that year, the minister faltered in his course, shewed signs of wavering, and, finally, when the day of decision arrived, he, like many others, lacked the courage to make the sacrifice involved, and retained his comfortable stipend and manse, but at a large sacrifice of public respect. A number of the parishioners who had, like their minister, declared their sympathy with the protesters, followed his example, and stayed in. There had been a good deal of feeling displayed between the parties, and this feeling was greatly embittered by what the seceders regarded as the traitorous conduct of the minister and those who changed front with him. The whole society of the parish was convulsed ; members of the same household were ready to rend each other in augry strife, and it was long before the asperity caused by this bitter controversy was smoothed, and the formerly existing friendly relations were resumed. Notwithstanding the defection of the minister and his followers, the secession was a large and important one, and left the Established congregation but a shadow of its former self. The Communion Roll of the Free Church at first numbered about 450 members. Till a church could be built, they were afforded accommodation for worship in the South U.P. Church, the Free Church congregation assembling in the afternoon. The troubles that were encountered in connection with the building of the church will be found narrated in the municipal chapter. These were, however, overcome, and the church was finished and occupied before the close of the year 1844. This was followed by a manse, which was erected in 1849. The top of the old cross of Sanquhar is placed on the apex of the roof of the church porch.

The first minister was the Rev. William Logan, who, at the time of the Disruption, was minister of a quoad sacra charge in the parish of Lcsmahagow. He was first ordained by the Original Secession Church at Lesmahagow in 1820. In 1838 he joined the Established Church along with the main body of the “Auld Liciit.” His congregation went with him. He came out with the Free Church iu 1843, and was, in the latter end of that year, called to Sanquhar. He died 2nd February, 1S63, in the 65th year of his age, and 43rd of his ministry.

2nd Minister.—Stevenson Smith, from Glasgow. Ordained September, 1863. Resigned his charge in 1883. Died in Edinburgh in 1884.

3rd Minister.—John Fleming, from Edinburgh. Ordained September, 1884. The average income of the congregation is £197. The minister receives £160 ont of the Snstentatiou Fund. Membership, 211.

Evangelical Union Church

This Church had its origin in a secession, in 1863, of several office-bearers and members of the North U.P. congregation on a matter of doctrine. They first constituted themselves as a separate congregation for Divine worship in a large room in Queensberry Square, and as a considerable number, of whom were many who had been non-church goers, adhered to them, steps were taken for the erection of a church and for obtaining a settled ministry. In 1864 the church was built. It is a brick erection, with sittings for 300, and has a session-house attached, which contains a library presented to the congregation by Mr Thomas Hyslop, Leadhills, by whom additions to it have been made from time to time since.

1st Minister.—George Gladstone, ordained January, 1865. Translated to Govan, July, 1S71. Now colleague and successor to Dr James Morrison, of Dundas Street Church, Glasgow, who was the founder of this denomination.

2nd Minister.—George Bell, M.A., ordained October, 1S71. Translated to Falkirk, Nov., 1S74. Now minister of E.U. Church, Hamilton.

3rd Minister.—George Blair, ordained Oct., 1876 resigned Feb., 1877. He subsequently joined the Established Church, and is now minister of a quoad sacra charge at Quarter, near Hamilton.

4th Minister.—Oliver Dryer, ordained Oct., 1878 Translated to Airdrie, July, 1883.

5th Minister.—George Davies. Was ordained to the ministry in 1883. He was minister at Newcastleton, whence he was translated to Sanquhar in Oct., 1S86, when he was admitted by the E.U. conference as a minister of that body. He was translated in Dec., 1889, to the Baptist Church at Red hill, Surrey.    '

6th Minister.—John E. Christie, ordained April, 1890.


A small body of Anabaptists met for worship for many years in a chapel which they built, but they received no fresh accession of numbers, and through deaths and removals they gradually diminished to a mere handful of worshippers. Last year, owing to the death of the elder, who conducted the service, their weekly meetings were abandoned, and the chapel was sold and converted into a dwelling-house.

Mission Hall

A Mission is conducted in a Hall at Corseknowe by certain members of the various Christian congregations, by whom numerous meetings are held both on Sabbath and weekdays. In addition to the ministrations of the brethren, the Gospel is frequently preached both on the streets and in the Mission Hall by itinerant evangelists.

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