Tag Archives: John Knox

Monifieth Session Records

Monifieth Session Records.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow, America‘s gentle poet, urges us to allow the dead past to bury the dead, and to “act in the living present,” but most of us have to act whether we will or not in order to keep the wolf from the door. As to allowing the dead past to bury its dead not a few of us think its influence is still felt in the present, and at any rate we have a curiosity to know how our ancestors lived and moved and had their being, hence our excursions into fields remote. It is a legitimate and natural feeling worthy of respect, and to gratify it in some slight degree is the object of these notes. We as a people are not content with the blood-stained annals which as a rule absorbed till lately so much of tie historian’s page, but want to know something of the social customs and manners of the past. From the session records of many country parishes light could be shed on the history and de­velopment of the nation, and the lecture which the Rev. Dr Young lately delivered on the parish ministers of Monifieth is, I hope, only a foretaste of others which he may yet give on similar subjects. That the store of information at his command is ample we have his own assurance, as also that of Dr Samuel Miller, who was minister of the parish at the time of the Disruption. From the latter’s account of Monifieth, published in 1840, it appears that the parochial re­gisters have been with some exceptions kept for a period of over 300 years—in short, they commence at the date of the Reformation.

The earliest separate register of births and marriages begins in July 1649. Before this period baptisms and marriages were regularly engrossed in the weekly record of sessional proceedings. This curious archive com­mences with a title which is much damaged, but the entry is partly legible and is as follows:—” In Apryle ye sixth day 1560, the which day it is appynted that our assemble of ye Kyrk of Monefut meet, at twa afternoon, to do with prayer untc God for His assistans what He forordains to His glory and suppressing of Satan.” It will be observed that the tenor of this entry, which is not entire, is similar to that of the bond executed at Perth in the previous year by the Reforming congregations of Perth, Fife, Angus, and Mearns, among which the congregations in and around Dundee are specially mentioned by historians.

John Knox

John Knox

It would appear also that the zeal of the people had been directed against the edifice of the Popish Church in Monifieth, and that it had undergone a dismantling similar to what overthrew more stately fabrics, for the second entry is to this effect;—”Ye quhylk day it is thoicht necesser bi us yat the hous of prayr be mendit in haist, yat God may be glorifiet yair.” The circum­stances which seem to account for the people of this parish embracing the Reformation so heartily and so early are:—

1st, The proximity of Monifieth to Dundee, in and around which George Wishart preached much and successfully;

George Wishart

George Wishart

2nd, Durham of Grange, the most influential individual in the district, and living on the spot was a zealous Protestant and a near relative of the celebrated superintendent of Angus, John Erskine of Dun. Erskine, indeed, lived frequently at Grange, and according to well-authenticated tradition, had at one time a narrow escape from the Government emissaries sent to capture him. We may, therefore, infer that during these visits this zealous Reformer organized the congregation of Monifieth, and that Durham was his hearty assistant in the work. We know further that John Knox lived much with Erskine of Dun at this period, that he was a frequent visitor at Grange and Pitkerro House—then the property of a son of Durham’s—that he was engaged visiting and conferring with these worthies as to the best means of bringing over completely all those who were alreadv favourably inclined to Protestantism, so that it is not unreasonable to suppose that Papacy was overthrown in Monifieth by the masterhand of the Reformer John Knox.

Statue of John Knox

Statue of John Knox

 

 

 

 

 

These records are full of amusing and curious infor­mation, besides throwing much valuable light on the history of the district, the manners of the people, the value of labour, and the supreme authority exercised in these times by the church in matters both civil and ecclesiastical.

 

The Story of Monifieth Parish Church

Pre Reformation Church

Pre Reformation Church

There has been a place of Christian worship on the site of St Rules Church for over 1400 years and most probably some form of worship before then.

The town developed around the church, which at one time was identified as `Kirkton of Monifieth`.

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John Knox and Monifieth

John Knox was the first to devise a system of education and his aim was to provide in every parish a place of education where even the poorest might be educated. The expense of education to be borne by the Church.

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The Sunday School Hall

Gerard Hall 1900

Gerard Hall 1900

Gerard Hall, Monifieth.
Opened December 23rd, 1882. by Alexander Gordon of Ashludie

(In connection with Monifieth Parish Church)

During January last an organ was erected in the above hall, and the platform enlarged. The organ is a finely-toned instrument, and greatly enhances the internal appearance and beauty of the building.
Dr Young, on the first meeting of the congregation in the hall
– February 9th- after the erection of the organ, delivered a lecture on music, in connection with praise, since the earliest period of the Christian era, supporting his statement by reference to ancient books and sculptural monuments.
– He stated that the service of praise was one of the most pronounced customs of the early Culdees, who had a place of worship on the spot where the present hall now stands. Part of an obelisk erected by them still exists, and may be seen a little north of the Parish Church, and it is known as the `Font Stane`, the shaft having been carried away. It was partly destroyed by being taken and used as a lintel for the door of the `old church`– that is the predecessor of the present building—and in this manner it was mutilated to bring it to the required shape.
– It was subsequently built into the front wall of the present church, but has since been taken away. On it were sculptured Jesus on the cross, and at His feet David playing a harp. On the other side were the figures of three women surrounding a younger female playing a lyre. Dr Young afterwards spoke of the efforts put forth by the first General Assembly to introduce the service of trained singers into the Church, by giving a brief history of the Scottish Psalter, prepared by John Knox, only one copy of which was known to exist. He remarked on the fact that Gilbert Garden, the first minister of the Reformed Church in Monifieth, was Moderator of the General Assembly which put forth such zealous efforts for the proper musical training of the people. The history of our present version of the Psalms was also dealt with, and examples given of the variations to which they had been subjected before they finally attained there ultimate form