Jedburgh Church History - Established and Secession Churches After 1700


To understand the plethora of religious sects, one must keep in mind the religious fervor and dissent of the times. The turbulent politics in Scotland in the 17th century were as much over religion as over politics. What began with the Reformation in Germany in 1517 (Martin Luther), continued for 150 years in the 16th and 17th centuries. In comparison to other countries, there was very little persecution of Protestants in Scotland. In the early 17th century, only about 10% of the population, mostly lairds (lords) and townsfolk, were Protestant, but their numbers included some very important nobles. How this was to change! By 1700 Scotland was so predominantly Protestant, that the Scottish Catholics were on the verge of extinction.

Chart of the Churches of Scotland
(click on the picture for readable view)
Change did not suddenly stop with the embracing of Protestantism, however. The diagram is taken from the Collins Encyclopedia of Scotland showing the churches in Scotland after the Reformation. As of 1700, there were only the "established" Church of Scotland and the Cameronians. (The non-Protestant churches which were in existence the whole time were the Episcopal Church and the (largely Highlands) Roman Catholic Church -- none of our known ancestors belonged to either.) The Church of Scotland and the Cameronians were both Presbyterian. Many groups of dissent soon split off from the mother church, and then subsequently split off from each successive branch:

-----CHURCH OF SCOTLAND - It could be said that the Church of Scotland dates from 1560 when the Scottish Parliament decided that the protestant Confession of Faith should be be the only authorized creed of the Scottish Kingdom. Others claim that the Church dates from 1690 over a century later. In the next decade after 1560 Prelacy had been re-established only to be abolished by a General Assembly of 1638. After the Restoration of Charles II he rescinded the act in favour of the National Covenant and abolishing the prelatical hierarchy. In 1688 after the flight of James II and the usurpation of the throne by William the situation changed and by 1690 the church had been re-established by the state as a Presbyterian body. Although from this time the Church of Scotland was truly the established church it was the relation between church and state that was to lead to secession and Disruption in later years.
-----COVENANTERS - formed an important movement in the religion and politics of Scotland in the 17th century. In religion the movement is most associated with the promotion and development of Presbyterianism as a form of church government favoured by the people, as opposed to Episcopacy, favoured by the crown. In politics the movement saw important developments in the character and operation of the Scottish Parliament, which began a steady shift away from its medieval origins. The movement as a whole was essentially conservative in tone, but it began a revolution that engulfed Scotland, England and Ireland, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. What are normally thought of as the first Covenanters were those who supported the 1638 Scottish (or National) Covenant. This was a protest not just about the changes Charles I was imposing on the church, but also because of the manner in which they were imposed by Charles without reference to the Scottish Parliament or to any sort of free assembly. They went on to demand both a free Parliament and a free Assembly. The term is also applied to their spiritual heirs who opposed the re-introduction of episcopacy in 1662 after the Restoration. After the 1651 crowning of Charles II the power of the Covenanters declined. James II/VII regarded loyalty to the Covenant as treason as the Covenanters (The Society People) accepted no King but Christ. The last of their ministers James Renwick was executed in 1688. The few Cameronians left, refusing to accept an uncovenanted church, established the Reformed Presbyterian Church ("the only true Kirk of the Covenanters") in 1743. Robert Burns praised the Covenanters in verse; in his day the Covenanters were well-established as part of a radical Scottish tradition, a position which they continue to occupy-to some degree-down to the present time. But history and myth in Scotland often walk hand-in-hand; it is open to debate just how committed the movement really was to 'freedom's sacred cause'.
-----CAMERONIANS - Called after Richard Cameron (c1648-1680) a schoolmaster from Fife and a covenanter. He refused to recognize the rule of Charles II and after a brief period of exile was killed by royalist troops in Ayrshire. His followers, known as the 'Society People' formed themselves in local societies and by 1690 numbered several thousand. They rejected any State interference in Church matters. Their three ministers left them for the established church but in 1706 John Macmillan became their minister and carried out an active itinerant ministry and the term 'Macmillanite' was sometimes used to replace that of 'Cameronian'. It was under his leadership that in 1743 they set up a presbytery at Braehead called the Reformed Presbytery. They refused yet to take part in civil affairs. Many members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church joined the Free Church in 1876.
-----1733 SECESSION CHURCH (OR ASSOCIATE PRESBYTERY) - the problems with establishment continued however and led to a breakaway from the Established Church in 1733. Led by Ebenezer Erskine, the main source of disagreement was patronage. The Patronage Act passed by the state enabled the landowners to place the ministers of their choice. The Secession Church believed that this right belonged to the people. To the doctrinal statements of belief the church required that its ministers subscribed to both the Long and the Short Westminster Catechisms. It was known as an "associate presbytery" in 1733 and an "associate synod" in 1744.
-----Burghers and Anti-Burghers/Old Lichts and New Lichts. In 1747 the Secession Church split again. This was because of a religious clause in the oath (which was basically directed against Jacobites) required of all burgesses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Perth. This division gave rise to the Burghers and Anti-Burghers. At the end of the century (1799 to 1806), these two groups each split again into Old Lichts (or Lights) and New Lichts. This latest disagreement was in regard to the jurisdiction of the civil authority over the Church. The two groups of New Lichts merged in 1820 into the United Secession Church.
-----1756 RELIEF CHURCH - the issue of patronage again caused problems in 1756 and led to the formation of the Relief Church, beginning with Thomas Gillespie of Carnock (near Dunfermline), Thomas Boston of Jedburgh, and Thomas Collier of Colinsburgh. Unlike the Church of Scotland, which had become so intolerant, and the Secession Church, which kept strictly aloof from the parent body, the members of the Relief Presbytery form the very first cherished catholic ideas of Christian communion. They "revived a truth that was ready to die, when they taught that, notwithstanding the multiplicity of sects, there was but one God and Father of all. The communion-table, said they, is spread, not for the Burgher or the Anti-burgher, not for the Independent or the Episcopalian, not for the Churchman or the Dissenter, but simply for the Christian." In particularly Jedburgh (where our Taylor branch is known to have lived in the 1760s and 1770s, and perhaps earlier and later), a majority of parishioners embraced the new movement immediately -- in the 1790s it was the largest church with 44% of the Jedburgh worshippers. The Relief church gradually extended throughout Scotland till 1847, when it was united to the Secession church, and both together now form the United Presbyterian synod.
-----the following were formed after our ancestors emigrated in 1811:
-----UNITED SECESSION CHURCH - Formed from the union of the 'New Lichts factions of the Burghers and Anti-Burghers in 1820. It united with the Relief Church in 1847 to form the United Presbyterian Church
-----FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND - there was a third breakaway in 1843 -- the 'Disruption' associated with Thomas Chalmers which led to the formation of the Free Church. While the Seceders and Relief came about by the separation of one or two at a time the 'Disruption' saw over 400 hundred ministers resign from the Church of Scotland.
-----FREE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - This was formed by Free Church dissidents in 1893 the immediate cause being the Free Church Declaratory Act which the dissidents believed to have altered the beliefs on which the Free Church was founded.
-----ASSOCIATED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - This group broke off from the Free Presbyterian Church in 1989


Jedburgh ministers of all the churches, 1700-1800:

                    Church of Scotland
Year . . . . . . Estabished Church . . . . . .Associate Church (1734). . . . . . . Relief Church (1757)

1682..............William Galbreath
1690..............Gabriel Semple
1707..............Daniel McKay
1732..............James Rowat
1734..............James Winchester
1736. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Scott (of Gateshaw) et al
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(~1740 no Ann Cranston birth record)
1746. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Smith
1758..............John Douglass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Boston
1760. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alexander Shanks
1767. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Bell
1769..............James McKnight
1773..............Thomas Somerville
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(~1775-1780 no Nellie/Thomas Taylor birth records)
1780. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Dunn
1783. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Scott
1797. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . William Sweet
1813? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Young
1815. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (new minister)
1830..............(new minister)
. . . . . . . . . . . (records) . . . . . . . . . . . . (records) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (no records)
. . . . . . . . . . . 29% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44% of the parishioners in 1790s


Established church ministers: (under the patronage of the Crown)
-----1682. WILLIAM GALBREATH, A.M. - trans. from Morebattle, pres. by Charles II.; and inst. 20tt Sept.; deprived by the Privy Council 29th Aug. 1689, for not reading the Proclamation of the Estates, and not praying for their majesties William and Mary, but for James VII. He carried off the Presb. Records previous to his deprivation, which were recovered from his grandson in 1738, and 1749. He marr. 6th Oct. 1672, Dorothea Ker, who with him, got an Escheit; l8th Dec. 1677, and 26th July 1678.-[Reg. Sec. Sigill, Presb., and Test. Reg. (Peebles), MS. Acc. of Min. 1689, Rule's Sec. Vindication, 11Torrison's Dec. xviii., Peterkin's Constitut. of the Church]
-----1690. GABRIEL SEMPLE, A.M. - trans. from Kirkpatrick-Durham, called in Sept., and adm. 29th Oct.; died in Aug. 1706, aged about 74, in 50th min. He was the earliest of the field preachers, and possessed great determination, joined to much sagacity, piety and prudence, so that he had no small influence among his brethren during the days of persecution, and after the settlement of Church-government at the Revolution. He wished Thomas Boston Sr. to be his assistant or colleague, who hearing him preach on the Fifth commandement, narrates, "The things he insisted on were common and ordinary, but were delivered in such a manner, and such power accompanied them, that I was amazed, and said in my heart, 'Happy are those that hear thy wisdom."' He bequeathed money for the maintenance of a schoolmaster in his former parish, and marr., 1st, Margaret daugh. of Sir Pat. Murray of Blackcastle, and had a son Samuel, min. of Liberton; 2dly, a daugh. of Sir Walter Riddel, of that ilk, an excellent woman, and died in Northumberland, where he was engaged in the ministry; 3dly, Margaret, daugh. of Sir Robert Ker of Ital.-[ Wodrow's Hist., Presb. Reg., Douglas's Baron., Boston's Mem., Acts Paul. ix., Mem. of W. Vetch, Sinclair's i., and New St. Acc. iii., Lee's Memorial, Edin. Chr. Inst. xxiii.]
-----1707. DANIEL M'KAY - formerly of Inverary, 2d Charge, called 3d, and adm. 25th Sept.; died in Sept. 1731, in 39th min. He marr. a daugh. of Mr John Cranstoune, min. of Ancrum. -[Presb. Reg., Sinclair's St. Acc. i.]
-----1732. JAMES ROWAT - trans. from Dunlop, pres. by George II. in March, and adm. 20th Sept.; died in June 1733, in 25th min. "A gentleman, a scholar, and a popular preacher." A son, William, became Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Univ. of Glasgow, besides whom he had a daugh. Jane.-[Presb. Reg., Sinclair's St. Acc. i. ix.]
-----1734. JAMES WINCHESTER, A.M. - trans. from Elgin, called 5th Dec. 1733, and adm. 20th June following; died 18th Sept. 1755, in his 66th year, and 40th min. He marr. Mary Dunbar, who died 15th July 1750, and left issue.-Publications-Great Britain's joy in God's salvation, a sermon, Edin. 1749. Sacramental Sermons, Edin. 1771, 12mo.-[Pres. Reg., Sinclair's St. Acc. i., Morrison's Ann., Somerville's Life, &c.]
-----1758. JOHN DOUGLASS - trans. from Kenmore, pres. by George II. 2d June 1756, but owing to opposition from the great body of the parishioners, not adm. till 28th July 1758; died 16th Nov. 1768, in 26th min. His settlement gave rise to a large secession called by the name of Relief. He marr. 26th April 1750 Beatrix Ainslie, who died 20th May 1794, and had Robert min. of Galashiels, and Captain Walter, Deputy Adjutant General in the Army, who died in India.-[Presb. Reg., Scots Mag. xv iii.-xx., Morren's Ann. ii., Sinclair's St. Acc. i., Somerville's Life, &c.]
-----1769. JAMES MACKNIGHT, D.D. - trans. from Maybole, pres. by George III. 25th Jan. and adm. 30th Nov.; trans. to Edinburgh (Lady Yester's Ch.) 29th May 1772.-[Presb. Reg., Sinclair's i., and New St. Acc. iii., Somerville's Life.]
-----1773. THOMAS SOMERVILLE - trans. from Minto, pres. by George III. 27th July 1772, adm. 1st July following; had D.D. from the Univ. of St. Andrews 17th July 1789, and was appointed one of his Majesty's Chaplains for Scotland in Oct.1793. He was offered the Professorship of Church History in the Univ. of Edinburgh in 1798, but declined its acceptance, and had an yearly pension bestowed by his Majesty in 1800. By decree of the Court of Session 16th Dec. 1805, he obtained a grass glebe in addition to the original one; and continued in the discharge of his ministerial duties, even going through the arduous and fatiguing labour of dispensing the Lords Supper in his large and numerous congregation on the 9th, when he was seized with illness, and died FATHER of the Church 16th May 1830, in his 90th year, and 64th min. He marr. 5th June 1770, Martha daugh. of Samuel Charters, Esq., solicitor of Customs, she died 17th Dec. 1809, and had two sons, William, M.D. Inspector of Military Hospitals, and Samuel Charters, writer to the signet, and four daugh. Elizabeth, marr. Walter Riddell, Esq., Friar's Glen, Janet marr. Lieut.-Gen. Elliot of Rosebank, Margaret marr. Joseph Pringle, Esq., Consul General at Madeira, and Martha marr. Will. Rutherford, Esq., writer Jedburgh.-Publications-Candid Thoughts on American Independence, Lond. 1780 [he was strongly anti-Revolution]. The History of Political Transactions, and of Parties from the Restoration of Charles II. to the death of King William, Lond. 1792, 4to. Five single Sermons, Kelso 1792,-Hawick 1825, 8vo. Observations on the Constitution and State of Britain, Edin. 1793, 8vo. The Effects of the French Revolution with respect to the interests of humanity, liberty, religion, and morality, Edin. 1793, 8vo [he considered the French revolution to be the "harbinger of evil to the whole of civilized Europe"!]. The History of Great Britain during the reign of Queen Anne, Lond. 1798, 4to. Sermons, Edin. 1813, 8vo. Memoirs of his own Life and Times, Edin. 1861, 8vo. Sermon V. (Scotch Preacher, ii., iii.) Accounts of Jedburgh, and of Ancrum (Sinclair's St. Acc. i., x.). Sermon III. (Gillan's Scott. Pulpit), Jedburgh (Edin. Encyclopedia).-[Presb. Reg., Sinclair's i., New St. Acc. iii., Morrison's Digest., Ann. Obit. 1831, Chambers' Biog. Dic., &c.] Interestingly, when he was orphaned young, his education was left to Rev. John Cranstoun of Ancrum!

Associate (Secessionist) Church Ministers (later called "Black Friars").
-----1736/1742. James Scott, et al. The record book for the Associate Church in Jedburgh is supposed to start with 1737, but there is no title page, the cover is indecipherable, and the first entries appear to me to be dated either 1736 or 1756. Although these records preceed the 1742 ones, and the book is supposed to start with 1737, a 1736 date is suspect since the Gateshaw Church in Morebattle is supposed to be the "oldest secession congregation in the South of Scotland" and its first minister Mr. Hunter was ordained in 1739 (died just a few months later). Furthermore, James Scott's dates of service at Gateshaw Brae Secession Church are supposedly 1747-1773. Based on the entries in the Jedburgh book, the 1747 date is definitely too late; the records at least as early at 1742 list James Scott of Gateshaw. Perhaps some of this confusion relates to a scarcity of records, and to the fact that a Morebattle church was not built until 1749 -- "after a lot of open air praying a church was built in 1749 near Gateshaw Brae and possibly at the spot known as Preacher's Brae due south of Corbet Tower. This was used until 1780." Morebattle is 9 miles from Jedburgh. Although James Scott was the most common Secessionist minister in these earliest Jedburgh records, as well as the first one listed, he was not the only one -- other ministers prior to 1746 included: Mr. William Hutton at How (Stow?), Mr. Patrick Mathew at Midholm (Bowden, Roxburghsire), Mr. White at Duns (Berwick), Mr. David Gelfreund of Mentalk ???, Mr. Patrick Malher of Misslowe ???, Mr. James Main of Linton (Roxburghshire), and Mr. John Hope, Mr. George Murray, Mr. John Swanston, and Mr. Thomas Ferguson. Unfortunately, one record we would like is Ann Cranston's birth circa 1740, just at the time of this non-permanent ministry.
Registers for a number of non-conformist Morebattle churches are available in LDS family history centres around the world. These include the Free Church (christenings for 1847-1854) and the Gateshaw Associated Session (christenings for 1775-1866, 1900-1907; marriages for 1775-1783).
Copy first few pages of Jedburgh records and link. Look at Morebattle records to see if perchance our Cranston is there. Look up Linton ministers -- was James Main with the regular Church of Scotland church? any records for him?
-----1746. John Smith (1722-1780) transferred to Dunfermline, as a subsequent successor to Ralph Erskine, and is memorialized on one side of Erskine's monument -- the panel on the north side has on it the following inscription: "In memory of the Rev. John Smith, Minister of the Gospel, first at Jedburgh, afterwards in Dunfermline, who died 7th December, 1780, in the 58th year of his age, and the 36th of his Ministry." THE REV. JOHN SMITH, Minister of the Secession Church, Backside, Queen Ann Street, died on 7th December, 1780, aged fifty eight years, and the thirty fifth year of ministry. He was minister in Jedburgh for twenty seven* years, and eight* in Dunfermline. (See An. Dunf. date 1752). He attended the Associate Burgher Synod in Stirling in 1747 with Ralph Erskine, Ebenezer Erskine, among others. In 1748 he was one of three Associate ministers to be sent for several weeks to "labour among the Irish congregations." [*Note -- these dates are wrong, since he spent only 14 years in Jedburgh and 20 in Dumferline.]
-----1760. Alexander Shanks (1731-1799) was "...ordained in October 1760, to the pastoral office and charge of the Associate congregation at Jedburgh." "The character 'Mighty in the Scripture,' which belonged to him in an eminent degree, and the judicious use which he made of scripture metaphor and phraseology in all his discourses, may be traced in part to this extraordinary and sanctified turn of mind... He excelled in the art of lecturing... His sermons, however, were most generally admired. ...His introductions were short, but striking. ...In his application to every sermon, he was close in his reasoning, and discovered a deep acquaintance with the human heart; and in them he frequently gave some of the most pointed and sharp rebukes."--R. Young, "Life of the Author." 19TH-AM-PA-WASHINGTON-GRAYSON. Tombstone (Jedburgh): Alex Shanks, late pastor of the Associate Congregation of Jedburgh d 5.10.1799 67 in the 39th. Year of his ministry (new stone erected 1877 by members of Blackfriars U.P. Church, formerly Associate, when the first "frail memorial" was obscured).

The Relief Church.
For Jedburgh this was a major secession group, starting in 1757 when Jedburgh's parishoners of the Church of Scotland wished to have Thomas Boston as their new minister, but John Douglass was chosen instead. Again this issue of patronage caused a major chasm in the church, and the feelings were so profound, that the majority of Jedburgh citizens split, and built their own church with Thomas Boston anyway. By the 1790s, over 20 years after Boston's death, the Relief Church was the largest in Jedburgh (almost half of the parishioners -- 44%); the Church of Scotland (29%) and the Secession Churches (27%) were the the smaller churches. Unfortunately, there appear to be few church records left from the Relief church -- no baptisms or marriages were found in either the Church of Scotland books or the Associate Church books with the names of the ministers of the Relief churches. It is assumed that independent books were maintained but were lost.
-----1758. THOMAS BOSTON (1713-1767). His father was a church leader with the Church of Scotland, and his grandparents were Covenanters, the grandfather imprisoned for his recusancy. In 1687, upon the coming out of king James’s indulgence, his father (age 11) went with the grandfather to a presbyterian meeting at Whitsome, where he heard the Rev. Mr Henry Erskine. Thomas Boston Sr. was a "Marrow Man" believing in the unconditional freeness of the gospel. Had he lived longer, religious historians believe he would have become a Dissenter, as did his friends Davidson of Galashiels, Wilson of Maxton, and the Erskines of Stirling and Dunfermline. Upon his death, son Thomas Boston Jr., just 19, took over his parish at Ettrick. In 1755, upon the death of James Winchester, there was a vacancy in the church of Jedburgh, and the people were anxious for Mr. Boston Jr. to be their minister. The church however, presented Mr. John Bonar, minister at Cockpen. So great was the opposition, the Lord Advocate decided against Bonar, and next presented Mr. John Douglass of Kenmore, who was even more unpopular! When Douglass was chosen, the Relief secession began. On 30th May 1757 there was a meeting of the magistrates, town-council, several heritors and inhabitants of the town and parish of Jedburgh, to concert upon proper measures for raising and erecting a meeting-house in this town (minute book of Jed. R. C.*). Boston's concent having been secured to become their minister, they drew out a more formal Call for subscription by the people and appointed committees to go through Jedburgh and the various adjoining parishes -- Minto, Hawick, Lilliesleaf, Maxton, Crailing, Morebattle, &c, -- to collect subscriptions. Ground was purchased. Some gave money. The farmers sent their servants and horses to cart the materials for the building. Wood, iron, and glass for the windows came from various quarters. Those who had no gift to give gave so many days' labour; and, in the incredibly short period of little more than six months from the first meeting, the church was built, seated, and its pulpit filled by Mr. Boston. At his 9th December 1757 induction into the new church, at least two thousand people were present; on which occasion the bells were rung, and the magistrates and council, in their robes of office, walked in procession to the meeting-house. His admission was performed by Mr. Roderick Mackenzie, an Independent minister from England, who was shortly to accept a charge in the same way, at Nigg in Ross-shire. After his induction Mr. Boston preached to crowded audiences, and persons from a great distance formed a considerable portion of his congregation. [*apparently a minute book survives, but no parish records}
          At his first dispensation of the sacrament, the concourse of people was very great. It took place in the open air on a little holm called the Ana, on the banks of the Jed, and close by the town of Jedburgh. The scene was august and most impressive. A touching incident marked his second dispensation of the Lord’s Supper. He had invited to assist him Mr. Thomas Gillespie of Dunfermline, who, in 1752, when minister of Carnock, had been deposed for not obeying an order of the General Assembly to attend at the induction of an unpopular minister to the church of Inverkeithing. "Mr. Gillespie," says Dr. Struthers, in his History of the Relief Church, "acceded to his request. It was not so easy travelling then as now between Dunfermline and Jedburgh. On Saturday he did not arrive; on Sabbath morning he was not come. Boston went to the church, where the sacrament was to be dispensed by him, alone. A whole day’s services were before him; and taking strangers along with his own congregation, (aged persons report that) 1,800 would at times communicate with him. During the morning prayer, Mr. Boston heard the pulpit door open, and a foot come gently in behind him. It was then the custom for the assistant minister to go to the pulpit during the action sermon. He could scarcely be deceived as to his visitant. His prayer was speedily drawn to a close. Turning round – it was Mr. Gillespie. In the face of the whole congregation, whose feelings were wound up to the highest pitch of excitement, he gave him a most cordial welcome. From this time forward they followed joint measures for promoting the liberty of the Christian people, and affording relief to oppressed parishes, though they did not constitute themselves into a regular presbytery till three years afterwards." It was on the 22d October, 1761, at Colingsburgh in Fife, that Messrs. Boston and Gillespie**, with the Rev. Mr. Collier of Colingsburgh, and representative elders from the three churches of Jedburgh, Dunfermline, and Colingsburgh, formed themselves into a presbytery for the relief of Christians oppressed in their Christian privileges. formed a distinct communion under the name of "The Presbytery of Relief" -- relief, that is to say, from the yoke of patronage and the tyranny of the church courts.

Our Ancestors' missing Jedburgh records:
Ann Cranston's birth circa 1740
: My guess is that our Cranston family left the Church of Scotland in the 1730s with the secession movement. Although there are secession records supposedly back to 1736/37, they seem to be by a variety of visiting ministers, and there are serious gaps in the record-keeping and many illegible pages; a permanent secessionist minister did not come to Jedburgh until 1746. The records mostly start after 1741 -- there were no records for 1740 and only four in 1737-1739 (Caverhill, Dickson and Waugh). The 50 Cranston records span 1748-1845 (the early ones for fathers George and William), but only after 1800 for Taylor records. There were no 1740 records at all, and no Ann Cranston birth record anywhere. (And no secession marriage records at all either.) However, it is possible she was baptised under another name in a Church of Scotland or a secession church -- e.g. Jane for Jane Ann; or her record was inadvertently not entered in the book; or it was illegible; -- it is not clear that a secession church is the most likely scenario.

Taylor births in 1770s: Although the Church of Scotland marriage records are lost for the time period we are interested in (1780s and 1790s -- 1740-1757 and 1773-1820 are lost), the birth/baptism records are entirely extant. However, there were two Taylor births in the latter 1770s that do not exist in the birth records. My guess here is that the Taylor family may have left the church over disagreement with Rev. Somerville's vitriolically anti-freedom politics. We know the family was pro-America, as all of these Taylor children born in the 1760s and 1770s emigrated; furthermore we know that these children considered themselves "dissidents" (the biographical sketches in America). Therefore, we can only assume that this desire for independence, self-government and separation of church and state was an issue with the parents as well, and this disagreement over politics led to Thomas Taylor and Ann Cranston leaving the established church at this time. The earliest church records for the Relief church in Jedburgh unfortunately date from the 1840s, so no confirmation can be made. However, none of the baptism records of the 1770s in the Jedburgh Established Church books or the Associate Church books list these Taylors or the Relief Church ministers. (Note that in 1787 Jane is listed as from Jedburgh in the Makerstoun marriage record, but in 1793 Janet is listed as from Ancrum in the Ancrum marriage record -- so it is assumed that the Taylors lived in Jedburgh at least throughout the 1770s and 1780s). Also missing in the parish record books are the 1790s-1811 Taylor birth records, plus Swan and Hay birth records post 1806. In Jedburgh at this time, the Statistical Abstract specifies that over 70% of 1790s parishioners were secessionists; in Linton it was over 33%.

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**DISAGREEMENTS IN THE RELIEF CHURCH, &c. -- Mr. Fernie, in his History of Dunfermline, p. 37, says:--"After the death of Mr. Gillespie in 1774, his congregation split into two parties—one party continued their connection with the Relief; the other party petitioned the Presbytery to have the Meeting-house converted into a Chapel of Ease." After five years of litigation on this subject, the prayer of the petition was granted by the General Assembly in 1779.