Church of Scotland
and some other churches
Scotland's religion was Roman Catholic
until John Knox created the reformed Church of
Scotland in 1560.
The Church of Scotland was a Presbyterian church.
In Presbyterian churches, there were no Bishops, and the congregation
played an active part in the running of the church and election of
This became the Established Church of Scotland
Establishment meant recognition by the Government as
being the official church in Scotland. However, some thought that
Establishment had resulted in too much interference by the Government, and
they broke away to form new churches.
The State attempted to introduce Bishops.
The Covenanters objected and were
However, Presbyterianism was restored in 1690.
1733 - The Secession Church broke away.
1761 - The Relief Church broke away
Both these break-aways occurred when the State introduced
new rules for the election of Ministers.
1843 - The Free Church of Scotland broke
This was by far the largest secession from the Church of Scotland, over
400 Ministers leaving the Church.
This was the event for which David
Octavius Hill took many calotype photos as a basis for his painting.
It took Hill several years to take all his photos, and the painting was
not completed until 1866.
The Disruption: Signing the Deed of
Demission - 1843
1847 - The Secession Church and the
Relief Church, the two that broke away in the 1700s, re-united
to form the United Presbyterian Church .
1893 - The United Presbyterian Church was making moves towards a union
with the Free Church. A minority of United Presbyterian members were
not happy with this proposed union, so they split to form the
Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland
1900 - The Free Church and
United Presbyterian Church united to become
the United Free Church
However, some of the Free Church of Scotland members did not agree to
this union, So they continued as the Free
Church of Scotland, known as he "Wee Frees"
1929 - The United Free Church united with the Established Church of
When the Free Church broke away from the Established Church of
Scotland, in 1843, it was David Octavius Hill, with a studio at
Rock House, Calton
Hill, who recorded the event in his painting above.
Eighty-six years later, it was
Francis Caird Inglis, whose studio was also at Rock House, who
recorded the lat General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland
before the church united with the Established Church of Scotland.
The Last General Assembly of United Free Church
1929 - A minority of the United Free Church did not agree
to be united with the Church of Scotland. They were not
comfortable with the State-Church relationship.
This minority were known as the United Free
Church of Scotland (continuing) for the first five years, then as the
United Free Church.
2000 - There was a further split in 2000, when about a
fifth of the members of the Free Church broke away to form the Free Church of Scotland (continuing), or
FCC Members refer to themselves as 'Continuings'
and to Free Church Members as
This breakaway was not based on doctrine, but on the result of a court
case against a prominent United Free Church Member, Professor Donald
Macleod. FCC Ministers had supported his prosecution. He was
Since 2000, there has been an ongoing dispute as to whether the United
Free Church or the FCC owns some of the church buildings. The court,
in a recent dispute (Skye, August 2009) ruled
in favour of the United Free Church.
- 1500s to 1999:
United Free Church of Scotland
web site summary, adapted from an article by Rev A Innes
(b) further comments from David King, Granton,
Edinburgh. David also provided these links to web sites for various
denominations from this page of his
Granton History Group web site.
report in The Scotsman, August 9, 2009