ABERDEEN-L ArchivesArchiver > ABERDEEN > 2005-04 > 1113392551
From: Gavin Bell <>
Subject: Re:[ABERDEEN]Church Services and Baptism
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 12:42:31 +0100
In response to Sandi's query:
>> Did each minister go to a number of churches every Sunday
>> (let's say in the time frame of 1750-1850) in the smaller parishes.
> Sometimes the minister would alternate churches, depending how many
> churches he served- sometimes he would have early service at one
> church and late service at another.
I'm sure such arrangements may well have occurred in various churches at
various periods of history - but if it is meant to represent the norm in
the Kirk of Scotland in the period Sandi was asking about, I very much
doubt if it is true.
Each Minister was appointed to a single parish, and (except for
relatively brief periods when a Minister died or moved away), there was
a Minister in every parish. If you look at any of the relevant records
(eg the 'Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae' or the Old and New Statistical
Accounmts) these will show the more or less continuous presence of a
resident Minister in every parish. The majority of parishes had just
one place of worship, the parish Kirk. In some of the larger or more
populous parishes, there might be a "Chapel of Ease" or subsidiary
church - but this would generally have its own Minister. In such cases,
the Statistical Accounts generally specify how this additional Minister
There might well have been times, when a Minister was ill, or absent for
some other reason (eg attendance at the General Assembly) when other
arrangements might be called for, but in the first instance, it is
likely that the Parish Schoolmaster or some senior Elder might act as
"Reader". He would be able to hold Sunday services, but would not be
licensed to administer the Sacraments of Baptism or Communion. In such
cases, a neighbouring Minister might step into the breach, but I doubt
if this was a frequent occurrence.
> It was determined by how many churches he was responsible for and how
> close they were together.
Can you name a specific example of a Minister being appointed to more
than one parish at a time?
> Are you familiar with the title "Circuit rider minister"?
Not in connection with the Kirk of Scotland. Have you specific evidence
to the contrary?