Scottish Episcopal Church History
The one in which the Church grows, becomes more democratic, and its character is formed by the Oxford Movement
A Moment in the Century : Persecution and an Argument are over
What is usually known as the Synod of Laurencekirk is more properly described as a series of convocations. They were summoned by the Bishop of Aberdeen, John Skinner, soon after he became Primus, and he made it clear at the first of the gatherings in 1789 that the meeting could not be called a Synod as there was no Canonical authority for a meeting which involved not just the bishops but also all the clergy and, for the first time ever, lay delegates from each congregation.
These were important meetings which sought to find ways out of two dilemmas. The Episcopal Church was still under the restrictions of the Penal Laws and an increasing number of people were opting to worship in the legal Qualified Chapels, which did not recognise the authority of the Episcopal Church.
The three meetings of the Convocation of Laurencekirk between 1789 and 1804 were ultimately successful in solving both problems. The first had begun when the Penal Laws, imposed after the failure of the Jacobite Risings, started to bite. Some clergy were prepared to take the oath of allegiance to King George and, having been ordained by an English, Welsh or Irish bishop, were thus "qualified" to minister in (what became known as) "Qualified Congregations". Other clergy were either not willing to take the oath or, even if they were willing, had been ordained by a Scottish bishop, which meant that they could not do so. The 1748 Act said that any priest ordained by a Bishop of the Scottish Church could no longer have his Orders registered and could not conduct public worship - or even private prayers for his own family if more than four others were present.
For many lay Episcopalians the appeal of the legal Qualified Chapels was obvious at a time when there were penalties for worshipping at an Episcopalian service. In some parts of the country the Qualified Chapels were strong while in others they failed completely. In Cruden Bay when Alexander Keith died in 1763, after nearly fifty years as schoolmaster and priest in Cruden, the Earl of Erroll built a Qualified Chapel but, rather than go there, the folk in Cruden walked the twelve miles to Ellon or the eight to Longside each Sunday depending on where the service was being held. In Ellon itself a Qualified Chapel lasted just four years.
But the split was there. The hope of a way out of the difficulties caused by the Penal Laws and the division in the Church came with the election of John Skinner as Co-adjutor Bishop of Aberdeen in 1782. The Bishop of Aberdeen and Primus, Robert Kilgour, was an old man now, but one who retained personal memories of when the bishops had deferred to the Stuart kings in exile. There were three exiled kings whom the bishops recognised - James VII, who fled from London in 1688; James VIII, and Charles III, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and there was one whom they did not. He was Bonnie Prince Charlie's younger brother, Henry IX of England and I of Scotland (or Henry II if Mary-Queen of Scots second husband, Henry, Earl of Darnley, is regarded as a king-consort). Henry was perhaps the best of all the Stuarts but - at least in the eyes of the Scottish bishops - he had the disadvantage of being a Cardinal bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. And so, at the death of Charles III in 1788, Bishop Kilgour accepted that it was the end of the road for the Stuart kings in Scotland and resigned as Primus, having given up the See of Aberdeen two years earlier. The way was clear for those who wished to make a new beginning.
When John Skinner became Primus in 1788 he immediately began to work for a settlement of the two problems with beset the Church. At an Episcopal Synod in Aberdeen on April 24th 1788 the bishops agreed that as from May 25th that year prayers would be said for King George III and the Royal Family. The first Convocation of Laurencekirk in 1789 deputed Bishops Skinner, Abernethy-Drummond and Strachan to travel to London to ask for a repeal of the Penal Laws. The first attempt passed in the House of Commons but not in the House of Lords. A three year campaign in Scotland and London led to the passing of the Relief Act on June 15th 1792. The Penal Laws were , essentially, gone - although a few remnants of them lingered for longer.
There was still, however, the question of the Qualified congregations.They were ministered to by priests, many of whom were Scots who had been ordained by English, Welsh or Irish bishops. They were not, however, subject to the authority of any of these bishops and, especially, they did not recognise the authority of the Scottish bishops. At the maximum there were twenty-nine Qualified congregations, and by the time the penal laws were repealed twenty-four of them remained. Bishop Skinner had early success in persuading some of the Qualified congregations in Aberdeen diocese to unite with the Episcopal Church - Banff in 1792 and Cruden in 1801 were the first, and priests from both places were at the Convocation of Laurencekirk in 1804, at which the principal business was acceptance of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as a public Confession of Faith. The acceptance brought the Scottish Church into line with both the Qualified Congregations and the Church of England.
Who made the decision in 1804? John Skinner, obviously, and three other bishops. They were Andrew Macfarlane of Ross, Jonathan Watson of Dunkeld, and Alexander Jolly of Moray. Two bishops were not present – John Strachan of Brechin, who was too infirm to come, and William Abernethy-Drummond of Edinburgh, for whose absence no explanation is known. There were also thirty-eight priests and two deacons present as well as lay delegates - a total of eight-four people in all. Nearly all the clergy of the Church came, excepting those who were too ill or too old to travel.
Why at Laurencekirk? It was a convenient place. Most of the clergy lived north of the Tay, and Laurencekirk, amid the rolling countryside of the Mearns, provided a good meeting place, with, from 1792, the added advantage of having a bishop living in the village. At that time it was normal for bishops also to be parish priests and in Laurencekirk the incumbent from 1791 was Jonathan Watson, who became Bishop of Dunkeld in 1792.
How he came to be in Laurencekirk is in itself quite a story. Laurencekirk had grown from a tiny hamlet to a substantial village in the years that Lord Gardenston, a judge in Edinburgh, had been the laird. He was a Presbyterian but he was very pleased that the first Convocation of Laurencekirk in 1789 was being held in his village. He asked the Presbyterian Minister for help in accommodating those who would come. The Minister declined, saying that he had little time for Episcopalians. The Laird then told him that if that was the case the Minister would be seeing much more of them. The Laird said he would build and endow a church and also a house for the priest - and he did.
Bishop Skinner achieved what he set out to do at the Laurencekirk meetings. The Penal Laws were repealed and there was no longer a need for the Qualified Chapels to exist separately from the Episcopal Church. Less than a month after the Laurencekirk meeting in 1804 Daniel Sandford, incumbent of the Charlotte Street Qualified Chapel in Edinburgh brought his large congregation into the Episcopal Church and, a sign that the rift was over, he was elected as Bishop of Edinburgh in 1806. However, it took until 1920 until the last of the Qualified Chapels - at Montrose - came in.
The Chronological Story of the 19th Century
1804 Under the leadership of the Primus, John Skinner, the Convocation of Laurencekirk begins a process which brings together the former “Non-Juring” and “Qualified” strands of the Church. (At the time of the meeting there were more than twenty Qualified congregations and by 1813 thirteen of them had become part of the Episcopal Church. The process continued until 1920 when the last of the Qualified Chapels joined the Episcopal Church).
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are also accepted at the Laurencekirk Synod, beginning a rapprochement with the Church of England, a process which culminated in 1864 with the removal of the last barrier, allowing priests ordained by Scottish bishops to hold office within the Church of England.
1807 King Henry I and IX dies and is buried in Saint Peter’s in Rome. He had been a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church for sixty years. Under the terms of his Will (which he signs with the royal initial R (for Rex) after his name) he leaves the crown jewels which James VII and II had taken with him into exile in France to the future King George IV and names his own successor in his claim to the throne as his cousin and nearest relative, Charles Emmanuel IV, former King of Sardinia. Following the death of his wife, Charles Emmanuel had abdicated aKing of Sardinia in favour of his brother Victor Emmanuel, although retaining the personal title of king. He lived in Rome and Frascati. He made no public claim to the British Crown and in 1815, at the age of sixty-four, took simple vows in the Society of Jesus and lived the rest of his life in the Jesuit novitiate in Rome.
1809 The Synod of Bishops meets in Aberdeen and agrees six Canons.
1810 A Theological College for the Episcopal Church is founded. Miss Kathrein Panton of Fraserburgh, a member of the saintly Bishop Alexander Jolly's congregation in Fraserburgh, endows the College and appoints Fraserburgh born James Walker as Pantonian Professor (a title still in use in today's Theological Institute). He held the appointment until his death in 1841. He was also Bishop of Edinburgh from 1830 and Primus from 1837. The College has no students in its first years and, when some appear, James Walker teaches them in his own home. His successor as Pantonian Professor and Bishop of Edinburgh is Charles Terrot. He is also Primus from 1857 to 1862. He teaches his students at 8 Hill Street, Edinburgh, and then in Saint Andrew's Hall in the High Street.
When Trinity College, Glenalmond, opens in 1847 the College transfers to Perthshire and became the Senior Department of Glenalmond. Bishop Terrot remains Pantonian Professor unil 1863. He resigns as Primus in 1862 and dies, still Bishop of Edinburgh, in 1872. Four years later the bishops decide that training should again be centred in Edinburgh, although for the next four years the College has no fixed home. In 1880 a house at 9 Rosebery Crescent is rented and in 1891 Coates Hall purchased. The College is replaced by the dispersed Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1994 (known as The Scottish Episcopal Institute from 2014) and Coates Hall is now home to Saint Mary's Music School and the Choir School of Saint Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh.
1811 A General Synod meets with two Houses – one of bishops and the other of deans and representative clergy. The principal business is the revision of the 1743 and 1809 Canons, which had been agreed by the bishops alone. The Scottish Communion Office becomes the primary authorised Liturgy and the English one (used in the Qualified Chapels) secondary but permitted. There is also a recommendation that the surplice replace the black gown as appropriate wear for clergy at services because white is “the proper sacerdotal vestment” used by both the Jewish and Christian priests and “seems to be a much more appropriate dress for ministers of the Prince of Peace than black”. There are twenty-six Canons in the 1811 Code.
1814 Hanover becomes a kingdom in its own right and George III becomes also King of Hanover.
1816 John Skinner, the Primus and Bishop of Aberdeen, dies in office, aged seventy-two. He had been a bishop in Aberdeen for thirty-four years and Primus for twenty-eight. He is succeeded as Primus by George Gleig, incumbent of Stirling since 1797, Co-adjutor Bishop of Brechin from 1808 to 1810 and Bishop of Brechin since 1810. He makes a visitation to the Brechin diocese every three years (but in his final ten years is not able to go at all). He is a prolific writer and an editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
1820 Matthew Luscombe, a priest in Paris, is consecrated as a bishop by the Primus, George Gleig, and two other Scottish bishops, to serve British Anglicans living in France. Following the consecration of Samuel Seabury, as the first bishop in the United States thirty-four years earlier, it is a further step in the establishment of a worldwide Anglican Communion.
1820 George III dies and is succeeded by his son, George IV. He has already ruled as Prince Regent during the nine years of his father’s illness.
1828 and 1829 A General Synod meets at Laurencekirk and agrees changes to the Code of Canons – a new title page names the Church as The Protestant Episcopal Church in Scotland. The word "Protestant" is removed ten years later.
1829 The Parliament at Westminster passes the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which removes the penal laws as applied to Roman Catholics.
1833 The Oxford Movement begins in England with the aim of restoring the High Church ideals of the seventeenth century. It appeals to many in Scotland as the Episcopal Church holds a high view of sacramental doctrine, although its practice has been ascetic and simple. There is now a gradual introduction of greater ritual, reflected in both worship and the architecture of new church buildings.
1830 George IV dies and is succeeded by his younger brother, William IV.
1830 Episcopal vacancies provide an opportunity to re-organise dioceses. Glasgow and Galloway is separated from Edinburgh to form a new diocese; Moray is joined with Ross and Fife added to Dunkeld and Dunblane (it is eventually called the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane).
1837 George Gleig resigns as Primus, aged eight-three, after twenty-one years in the role. He continues as incumbent of Stirling and Bishop of Brechin. The new Primus is James Walker. He was born in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and had been Bishop of Edinburgh since 1830, having resigned as incumbent of Saint Peter’s, Edinburgh, on his consecration. A diligent bishop he visits all the congregations in the diocese.
1837 William IV dies and is succeeded as monarch by his niece, Victoria. However, the direct link between the British and Hanoverian thrones ends as succession laws in Hanover preclude a woman from the throne. Victoria's uncle, the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, becomes King of Hanover. (The final king, George V of Hanover, is deposed in 1866 when the kingdom was annexed by Prussia. He dies in 1878 and is buried in Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor.
1838 A General Synod meets and revises the Code of Canons – the word “Protestant” is removed from the title page; formal recognition of the role of co-adjutor bishops is given; the surplice replaces the black gown as the mandatory and “proper sacerdotal vestment” and the Scottish Episcopal Church Society is founded to provide a fund for aged and infirm clergy, grants for congregations in difficulty, assistance for ordinands and Episcopalian school teachers and for the creation of diocesan libraries.
1840 The former Primus, George Gleig, dies in Stirling, where he had been incumbent for forty-three years. He had been Co-adjutor and then Bishop of Brechin for twenty-nine years.
1840 A Bill is passed by both Houses of Parliament which removes a restriction on any priest ordained by a Scottish bishop from officiating in English parish churches.
1841 The Primus, James Walker, dies in Edinburgh, aged seventy. He has been Bishop of Edinburgh for eleven years and Primus for four.
His successor as Primus is William Skinner, Bishop of Aberdeen since 1816 and son of the former Primus, John Skinner. William Skinner is a graduate of both Marischal College, Aberdeen and Wadham College, Oxford. Like many others in this period, in order to avoid the remaining penalty of the penal laws, he sought ordination outwith Scotland. He was ordained by the Bishop of St Asaph in 1802 and served as his father’s assistant in Saint Andrew’s Chapel, which had been built next to the original meeting house in Longacre, Aberdeen. He succeeded his father, both as incumbent and as Bishop of Aberdeen, in 1816. The following year the Longacre congregation moved to a new church in King Street (which is now Saint Andrew’s Cathedral).
1842-1880 In a reaction against the Oxford Movement some congregations leave the Episcopal Church, objecting to a change in the Canons which seeks to prevent non-liturgical services. They describe themselves as “English Episcopal Chapels”. Eventually the number of congregations, including several private chapels, is twenty-four. They regard themselves as under the authority of the Church of England, although the Church of England does not so regard them. All their clergy have been ordained by English, Welsh or Irish bishops. Samuel Gobat, Bishop in Jerusalem, and Edmund Beckles, retired Bishop of Sierra Leone, oversee the English Episcopal Chapels at different times. In the late 19th and 20th century these congregations gradually re-enter the Episcopal Church, the last to do so being Saint Silas’, Glasgow, in 1986.
1843 The unease in the Church of Scotland over who appoints ministers and the Church’s relationship to the State leads to The Disruption in which 450 ministers and thousands of lay people leave the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. The various seceding groups proliferate to form more Presbyterian denominations.
1847 The election of Alexander Penrose Forbes as Bishop of Brechin in 1847, at the age of thirty, gives added impetus to the emerging Oxford Movement in Scotland. The new bishop had come under its influence while a student at Oxford. Further up the Tay, Saint Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth originates as a Mission Church in the Oxford Movement tradition in 1846 and work on the Cathedral begins soon afterwards. Its foundation stone is the first to be laid for a cathedral in Scotland since that at Fortrose Cathedral in the Diocese of Ross in the 14th century.
1847 Trinity College, Glenalmond, is another fruit of the Oxford Movement. It is founded by William Gladstone and James Robert Hope as a place where young men can be trained for the ministry of the Episcopal Church (a role transferred to Coates Hall in Edinburgh in 1891 ) and also where the sons of the laity can be educated and brought up in the faith and tradition of the Church. The school continues today as Glenalmond College, a boarding and day school for boys and girls aged between twelve and eighteen.
1849 The influence of the Oxford Movement continues and the College of the Holy Spirit is built by the Earl of Glasgow on the Isle of Cumbrae “for the frequent Celebration of Divine Service by a Collegiate Body under circumstances favourable to religious learning”. The Earl envisages five Canons and seven Choristers being resident. In 1876 the Collegiate Church becomes the Cathedral of the Isles, within the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. Between 1849 and 1885 the College operates as a theological college and, for two years following the Second World War, serves as Cumbrae Test School, at which ex-service candidates for ordination receive preliminary training. Both Cathedral and College continue today, with the College in use as a residential retreat centre.
1850 The Episcopal training Institution is founded to train men as teachers in Episcopalian day schools and is followed, in 1855, by the School Mistresses' Training School. In 1920 the secular part of the training of teachers became the responsibility of the National Committee for the Training of Teachers and in 1928 the training of all Episcopalian teachers transferred to (what was to become) Moray House School of Education in the University of Edinburgh. The Episcopalian College, Dalry House, continued to provide two hours of training each week in religious education and also served as a hostel for students. It closed in 1934.
1857 The Primus, William Skinner dies, aged seventy-nine. He has been Primus for sixteen years and Bishop of Aberdeen for forty-one.
He is succeeded as Primus by Charles Terrot, Bishop of Edinburgh since 1841 and the first Englishman to be elected as Primus. He had been born in Cuddalore in South India (where his father was an officer in the army of the East India Company). He was educated at Carlisle Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was ordained in Bristol in 1813. However, during the next year he succeeded his uncle as priest of the Qualified Chapel at Haddington in East Lothian, which in the following year became part of the Episcopal Church. In 1816 he moved to Edinburgh – first to Saint Peter’s and then in 1833 to Saint Paul’s, York Place. He remained incumbent there for the rest of his life. He became Dean of Edinburgh in 1837 and Pantonian Professor and Bishop of Edinburgh in 1841. During the following years the diocese saw new churches built and the appointment of a diocesan missionary with the specific task of seeking the poor and linking them into the life of local churches.
1857 The Bishop of Brechin, Alexander Penrose Forbes, delivers a Charge to his Diocesan Synod in which he stresses the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The other Bishops send a pastoral letter to the Church, to be read at each Diocesan Synod, disagreeing with Bishop Forbes. Formal proceedings in the Episcopal Synod lead to the censure and admonition of Bishop Forbes. A century later what he said would be the view of most, but not all, of the Episcopal Church.
1862 Charles Terrot resigns as Primus, aged seventy-four, after a stroke. He remains Bishop of Edinburgh, with a co-adjutor appointed.
He is succeeded as Primus by Robert Eden, aged fifty-eight. He has been Bishop of Moray and Ross since 1851. The son of an English baronet he was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. He was ordained in 1827 and after three curacies became Rector of Leigh-on Sea in Essex. Following his election as Bishop of Moray and Ross he also became incumbent at Elgin, with just seven other clergy in the diocese.
1862 A Sister from the Society of Saint Margaret comes to Aberdeen from the Mother House in East Grinstead to undertake parish work – the first member of a religious order to work within the Episcopal Church. Within two years Saint Margaret’s Scottish house is established and later acquires independent status, with its own Mother Superior and novitiate.
The Sisters ran homes for children and for the aged in buildings adjacent to the Convent in the Spital, (where they moved in 1874) and also a guest house within the Convent itself. At various times Sisters worked in Lerwick, Oban, Fraserburgh and Dundee. Following the death of Mother Verity in 2002 the two remaining Sisters became part of the Saint Margaret Community at Walsingham, in Norfolk, although one of the two, Sister Columba, continues to live and work in Aberdeen.
The 2012-2013 Directory of the Scottish Episcopal Church lists three women’s communities as being active within the Episcopal Church – The Franciscan Hermits of the Transfiguration at Loanhead, near Edinburgh (founded in 1965 as an ecumenical community with a Cistercian rule);The Society of Our Lady of the Isles in Shetland (founded in 1988 with a rule which is a blend of Celtic, Franciscan and Carthusian) and the Carmel Community on the Isle of Lewis.
Other women’s communities founded Scotland but no longer in existence are -
The Community of Saint Andrew of Scotland in Edinburgh (1867),
The Community of Saint Mary and Saint John in Perth (1870) and transferred to Aberdeen and Ellon (1873). The Community closed in 1980.
The Sisterhood of Saints Mary and Modwenna in Dundee (1871). The Community closed in 1988.
The Order of Holy Charity in Edinburgh (1872) out of which grew the Order of the Holy Comforter (1891)
Some English Communities also established Houses in Scotland, although, none now continues in Scotland -
The Society of All Saints began work in Edinburgh in 1870
The Community of the Epiphany worked at Saint Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth, from 1905 to 1923
The Society of Saint Peter the Apostle, Horbury, Yorkshire, took over the running of the Saint Andrew’s Home for Girls in Joppa in 1919 from the Community of Saint Andrew of Scotland. In 1930 the Saint Peter’s Community divided into two independent Houses and four groups of Sisters from one of them, the Community of Saint Peter the Apostle, Westminster, worked in Scotland at Saint Andrew’s Home, Joppa; All Saints’ Mission House, Edinburgh; and retreat houses at Balhousie Castle, near Perth, and Sunnybrae at Walkerburn in the Borders. The Sisters withdrew from Walkerburn, the last surviving house, in 1976.
The Order of the Holy Paraclete, based in Whitby in Yorkshire, sent Sisters to assist in staffing Scottish Churches’ House in Dunblane in the 1980s and 1990s and also worked in Mid-Craigie, Dundee, from 1996-1999. The Order has its mother house in Whitby and its five branch houses in Britain are currently all in Yorkshire.
Fewer communities of men have worked in Scotland and only one appears in the 2015-2016 Directory –
The Franciscan Hermits of the Transfiguration at Loanhead, near Edinburgh, founded in 1965 with a Cistercian Rule and - like the women’s community at Loanhead – is ecumenical
Other groups have also worked in Scotland in years past –
Monks from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (the Cowley Fathers) were at Bishop’s House on the Isle of Iona from 1897 to 1909. Members of the Society returned to Scotland in 1942 and lived at Doune in Perthshire. One of the priests was Rector of Saint Modoc’s Church and Superior of the Community. All lived in The Rectory. In 1946 the Society left Doune and lived at Saint John’s Mission House in Joppa until withdrawing from Scotland in 1954.
Brothers of the Society of Saint Francis worked in both Edinburgh and Glasgow for some years from 1978 and in Dundee from 2003 to 2005. A Sister of the Community of Saint Francis worked alongside the Brothers in Glasgow from 2001 and also with them in Dundee.
The 2015-2016 Directory lists just one community which offers membership to both men and women -
The Emmaus Community of Saint Benedict was founded in September 2013 in the Diocese of Edinburgh and is a dispersed community who meet for the Eucharist, study and discussion at Emmaus House, a retreat centre in Edinburgh.
1863 The Primus, Robert Eden, presides at a General Synod which agrees a complete revision of the Code of Canons. Lay Electors are allowed a role for the first time in choosing bishops, the formal beginning of lay involvement in the government of the Church. (When Bishop Eden had been elected bishop twelve years earlier the electorate consisted simply of the seven priests in the Moray diocese - five voted for his election and two did not).
1864 With the removal of, effectively, the last piece of the penal laws, priests ordained by Scottish bishops can hold office within the Church of England.
1864 The Diocese of Caithness is added to Moray and Ross and the Primus, Robert Eden, now becomes Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness.
1865 The ministry of Lay Reader is established in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
1866 The foundation stone of Saint Andrew's Cathedral in Inverness is laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Longley – a public recognition of the Episcopal Church by the Church of England.
1871 Requests for the Episcopal Church to take financial responsibility for mission work in Kaffaria in South Africa and the Mission District of Chandra in India are accepted, and the first bishop for the Diocese of St John’s, Transkei, South Africa, is consecrated in Edinburgh in 1873. Over subsequent years priests from Scotland serve in both areas and the link with the Diocese of Mthatha (as St John’s has been called since 2006) continues – it is one of Aberdeen and Orkney’s companion dioceses, the other being Connecticut, a link stretching back to the consecration of Samuel Seabury as the first Bishop in the United States in 1784.
1871 The Irish Church Act (passed by the Westminster Parliament in 1869) comes into effect and the Church of Ireland is dis-established, that is separated from the State and the requirement that tithes be paid to it removed. Irish bishops cease to be members of the House of Lords.
1872 The former Primus, Charles Terrot, dies aged eighty-two. He has been Bishop of Edinburgh for thirty-one years.
1875 Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin for twenty-eight years, dies aged fifty-eight. Although never chosen as Primus, he laid the foundations for the development of the Episcopal Church from the mid-19th century onwards. In Brechin diocese he oversaw the building of churches and schools and also played a role in many areas of life in Dundee.
1875 The Aberlour Orphanage is founded by Canon Charles Jupp in the Speyside village of Aberlour. At first Canon and Mrs Jupp cared for just four “mitherless bairns” in one cottage. The Canon remained priest of Saint Margaret's, Aberlour, and Warden of the Orphanage until his death in 1911, never wavering from his view that every child has the ability and right to flourish. At its peak, following the First World War, five hundred children were in care. The Orphanage closed in 1967 and the Aberlour Child Care Trust continues its work of caring for Scotland’s children today.
1876 Further revision of the Code of Canons takes place at a General Synod in Edinburgh. Among the provisions is the establishing of The Representative Church Council, giving laity a voice, along with bishops and clergy, in the governance of the church’s finances and administration. It remains the Church’s administrative body until the creation of the present General Synod structure in 1982. There are forty-seven Canons in the 1876 Code.
1878 Pope Leo XIII restores the Scottish hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops are appointed to cover some of the ancient dioceses (with new dioceses of Motherwell and Paisley being added in 1948). During the years of persecution a hidden network of priests and bishops ministered in Scotland but only in a few areas, such as parts of the Western Isles and some Highland glens, were Roman Catholics a significant percentage of the population. This changed with 19th century immigration from Ireland into the west of Scotland and this, together with freedom from persecution and growing confidence, contributed to the Pope’s decision – eighteen years after a similar restoration in England.
1886 The increasingly frail Robert Eden resigns after twenty-four years as Primus. He becomes priest of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (now Saint Michael and All Angels) in Inverness, a church founded in 1877 to minister to the poor of the town. Bishop Eden dies within a few months.
The new Primus is Hugh Willoughby Jermyn, Bishop of Brechin since 1876 and previously Bishop of Colombo in (what is now) Sri Lanka. He was born in Cambridgeshire and educated at Westminster School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.
Bishop Jermyn has a history of over-working (he had breakdowns in health in the West Indies as Archdeacon of St Christopher’s and also later as Bishop of Colombo - he returned to Britain after four years in the diocese. However, during his twenty-seven years as Bishop of Brechin the first twenty are fruitful as he builds on the foundations laid by his predecessor in Brechin, Alexander Penrose Forbes - new churches open and the number of communicants almost doubles.
1888 The bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference (in a document known as The Lambeth Quadilateral define four areas deemed essential for a united church - the Bible as the ultimate standard of faith; the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds as statements of faith; the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist; and the historic Episcopate. However, the only churches with which the Episcopal Church is in communion are all Anglican but as the 20th century progresses non-Anglican churches are added – the Old Catholic Churches of Europe, the Philippines Independent Church, the Lusitanian Church of Portugal, the Spanish Reformed Church and the Mar Thoma Church of Kerala in south-west India. The Churches of North India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South India are considered special cases as all were formed - at various times after British rule ended in the Indian sub-continent in 1948 - by a union of the Anglican Church with other denominations. All are now provinces of the Anglican Comunion. In the second half of the 20th century the Porvoo Agreement brings the Episcopal Church and other Anglican Churches of the United Kingdom into a close relationship with the Lutheran Churches in Scandinavia and the Baltic, Germany and France and from 2014 the Lutheran Church of Great Britain.
1890 At a General Synod there are further changes to the Code of Canons. “Rector” replaces “Incumbent” as the ordinary title of a priest in charge of a congregation and it is agreed that the Representative Church Council will not deal with questions of doctrine, worship or discipline, these being the concern of the newly named Provincial Synod. A proposal that the Primus becomes Archbishop is rejected (although the Primus will now be styled “The Most Reverend”).
1891 The Theological College moves fom Glenalmond o Coates Hall in Edinburgh (it remains until a dispersed Institute replaces it in 1994) and Coates Hall becomes part of the Choir School of Saint Mary's Cathedral.
1894 The Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Alexander Chinnery-Haldane, founds Saint Columba’s House, on the Isle of Iona, as a centre of Prayer, Study and Eucharist (the house, now known as Bishop’s House, continues this role as a residential retreat centre)
1896 Pope Leo XIII in the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae declares Anglican Orders to be null and void.
Another Moment in the Century : Parson Duncan - a faithful priest
Duncan Mackenzie was born in Ballachulish around 1783 and spent most of his adult life ministering to the people of the Diocese of Moray and Ross, of which he became Archdeacon, and more particularly to the people of Strathnairn, where he lived.
Most people in Scotland today struggle to place Strathnairn - it's a wild, lonely glen in the mountains on the south side of Loch Ness. In the Revolution of 1690 the majority of the people were Episcopalians and it was not until the large scale emigration of the 19th century that the Episcopalian population thinned at all.
The easiest way to find Strathnairn is from the A9 road between Aviemore and Inverness. Five miles south of Inverness the B851, signposted for Fort Augustus, leads off to the west. The road follows the course of the River Nairn up through woods and hills and the settlements of Inverarnie, Farr, Flichity, Brin and Croachy. In the latter is the present day Episcopal Church of Saint Paul, which was built on the site of Duncan Mackenzie's church in 1868. The road goes on through Abeerarder and Dunmaglass and over the hill into Stratherrick, with its villages of Errogie, Gorthleck and Whitebridge, before coming to Fort Augustus at the head of Loch Ness.
Yet Another Moment of the Century
Canon Mackintosh - Another amazing priest
Photo courtesy of Canon John Cuthbert.