Edinburgh Other Nonconformist Church Records

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Midlothian Gotoarrow.png Edinburgh Gotoarrow.png Edinburgh Nonconformist Church Records

Congregational and Evangelical Union Churches[edit | edit source]

Circus or Tabernacle Leith Walk[edit | edit source]

A place called the Circus, which had originally been built as a variety theater and which had been used for a time by the Relief Church, was acquired in 1798. James Haldane was ordained as the first minister in February 1799 and the membership stood at 272 with another 38 receiving occasional communion. It was converted for use as a Tabernacle. Its success led to the Haldane brothers opening other Tabernacles in Glasgow, Dundee, Perth, Elgin, and Caithness. Though nondenominational evangelism was their original purpose, the Haldanes and the Tabernacle memberships came to adopt Congregationalism as their denomination. The Edinburgh congregation moved to the newly built Tabernacle, Leith Walk, in 1801. This congregation became Baptist in 1808.
Source: See below.

Augustine Church, formerly The North College Street or Argyle Square Church[edit | edit source]

The attendance at the Tabernacle had grown so large that a second congregation was constituted in 1802. The church was built in North College Street but after 1840 was known as the Argyle Square Chapel after the square to the west of the church. This congregation moved to a new church in 1861 and became known as the Augustine Church. This church became known for the high quality of intellect and culture that characterized its minister and congregation. The congregation also later became known for its Sunday school, with 250 children and nearly 50 teachers and for its missionary work among the poorer people. A separate mission church in Gilmour Street was opened in 1878 and lasted until 1939. This church today is called Augustine United.
Source: See below.

Albany Street Church[edit | edit source]

This church was formed by members of the Tabernacle who adhered to Congregational views when James Haldane adopted Baptist opinions in 1808. A church was built in Albany Street in 1816. The church closed in 1954.
Source: See below.

St. Mary’s Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was short–lived, 1808–1814. No known records exist.

Richmond Place Church, later Hope Park or Henry Wight Memorial[edit | edit source]

This church was formed in 1832 by followers of the preaching of Henry Wight, the first minister. In 1837 it was accepted into the Congregational Union of Scotland and they met in the Richmond Court Chapel. The Richmond Place building was erected in 1843. The Hope Park or Memorial church was built in 1876 and united with Augustine Church in 1979.
Source: See below.

Brighton Street, later Bristo Place Evangelical Union Church[edit | edit source]

This church was formed in 1845 with 75 members who were followers of John Kirk, Congregational minister, who had adopted the principles of the Evangelical Union. Brighton Street chapel was purchased from the Relief church in 1846. Membership in 1850 stood at 667. Kirk was a great inspirer of preachers, and no less than 23 men from his church became Evangelical Union ministers during his 31 year ministry. A new church was erected in Bristo Place in 1900. They united with the Augustine church in 1941.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. FHL book 941 K2es also, The Scottish Congregational Ministry 1794–1993, by William D. McNaughton, pub. 1993 FHL book 941 K2mwd

Brighton Street Evangelical Union Church:
Minutes of Church Meetings, 1845–1899
Associate Preachers’ Society Minutes, 1847–1850
Note: Available in the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH14/5.

The extent of records for any of the other churches is unknown. Contact the following for more information:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

Baptist Churches[edit | edit source]

Bristo Place Church[edit | edit source]

A church was formed in Edinburgh in late 1765. People came from Glasgow, Dundee, Montrose, and other towns to be baptized and became members of the Edinburgh church. A building was erected in Richmond Court in 1787. It was exchanged in 1802 for St. Cecilia’s Hall in the Niddry Wynd on account of the growth of the church. That was sold in 1809 and a new chapel built in the Pleasance in 1811. The Bristo Place church was built in 1836. A division arose in the church in 1834 and a minority withdrew and formed the Minto House Church in Argyle Square. That group dissolved in 1875 and most members rejoined the Bristo Place congregation.
Source: See below.

Charlotte Chapel[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed in 1808. They met at first in the Richmond Court Chapel then they bought the Charlotte Chapel, Rose Street, in 1818. This congregation has continued to grow through the years. Membership stood at 305 in 1880, and though it dropped after a while, it was rebuilt and stood at 830 in 1914.
Source: See below.

Dublin Street[edit | edit source]

This congregation had its beginning in 1809 as a Congregational church formed when the Haldane brothers changed from Congregational to Baptist views. Those of the Tabernacle, Leith Walk, who did not agree with the Haldanes, formed this congregation with a new minister. However, a year later he too changed his views to the Baptist and a small portion of his congregation joined with him to form a Baptist church which met at Laing’s Academy, East Thistle Street and later in a church on Elder Street. Membership grew from 150 in 1841 to 286 in 1846. The church in Dublin Street was built in 1858.
Source: See below.

Duncan Street[edit | edit source]

This congregation began with the Congregational church at the Tabernacle, Leith Walk. When James Haldane changed from Congregational to Baptist views in 1808, the majority of his congregation eventually joined him in the change. He continued to serve the Tabernacle congregation until his death in 1851. In 1864 the congregation removed to the Duncan Street church when it was determined the Tabernacle no longer met their needs.
Source: See below.

Argyle Square, Minto House Church[edit | edit source]

Formed in 1834 when the Bristo Place congregation split over the question of the manner of observing the Lord’s Supper. The minority withdrew and formed a congregation meeting at the Minto House Church in Argyle Square. They reunited with the Bristo Place congregation in 1874.
Source: See below.

Marshall Street[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed in 1846 and met in several different locations until 1856 when they acquired the Richmond Court Chapel. They remained there until the church in Marshall Street was built in 1877.
Source: The source for all churches: History of the Baptists in Scotland from pre–reformation times, by George Yuille, pub. 1926. FHL book 941 K2hi.

Extent of records of all congregations is unknown but they do not include infant baptisms. For information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

Episcopalian Churches[edit | edit source]

Total membership of the Episcopalian churches in the mid-1840s was 3327.
In the following list of churches, whenever the extent of records is unknown, for more information write to:
Diocesan Centre
21A Grosvenor Crescent
Edinburgh EH12 5EL, Scotland

Old St. Paul’s [edit | edit source]

A history is unavailable.
The original old church was formed in 1688. A church in Carruber’s Close was built in 1746. A larger church was built by subscription in the Cowgate in 1771, and the congregation at that time amounted to 1000 by some estimations. St. Paul’s, Carruber’s Close, was retained and later a small group met there.

Records— FHL Call Number
Christenings 1735–1765 941 B2sa vols. 5 and 6
Marriages 1736–1763 941.B2sa vols. 5 and 6
Christenings 1803–1854
Marriages 1803–1817
Burials 1824–1854
Note: Records are available by writing to:
Old Saint Paul's Church39 Jeffrey Street
Edinburgh EH1 1DH

New St. Paul’s[edit | edit source]

A History is unavailable. The church was dedicated in 1817 in York Place.

Baptisms 1842–1946
Note: Available in the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH12/5/19.
Christenings 1712–1854
Marriages 1753–1854
Burials 1838–1854
Note: More information may be available by writing to the church at:
21 Barony Street
Edinburgh EH3 6PD

St. Columba’s[edit | edit source]

This church was founded in 1843. The church was built on Castle Hill and dedicated in 1848.

Various Minutes 1843–1864
Baptisms 1847–1894
Marriages 1846–1894
Confirmations Register 1842–1871
Subscription Accounts for Building the Church 1843–1853
Cash Book 1843–1845
Seat Rent Accounts 1846–1849
School Accounts 1848–1852
Vestry Accounts 1847–1851
Note: Available in the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH12/5.

St. George’s[edit | edit source]

Not available. The church was built in York Place and dedicated in 1792.

Extent of records is unknown.

St. James [edit | edit source]

The church was built in 1820 at the west end of Broughton Place.

Christenings 1820–1854
Note: Records may be available from the minister at:
71 Restalrig Road
Edinburgh EH6 8BG

St. John The Evangelist’s, formerly Charlotte Chapel[edit | edit source]

Not available. The church was dedicated in 1818 at the west end of Princes Street.

Baptisms 1797–1920
Marriages 1813–1934
Burials 1813–1851
Various Minutes 1814–1957
Accounts 1815–1857
Note: Available in the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH12/3.

St. Patrick’s Church – see under Roman Catholic churches[edit | edit source]

St. Peter’s Chapel[edit | edit source]

Not available. The church was located in Roxburgh Place, later Lutton Place.

Christenings 1807–1829, 1847–1854
Marriages 1807–1828
Burials 1807–1817
Note: Records may be available by writing to the church at:
3 Bright’s Crescent
Edinburgh EH9 2DB

Leith Wynd Chapel[edit | edit source]

Not available

Marriages 1814–1817
Note: Record may be available by writing either to:
Central Reference Library
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EG

For marriage transcripts write to:

British Museum
Great Russell Street

Or to:

Brechin Diocesan Library c/o Archive Services University of Dundee Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4HN Email:  archives@dundee.ac.uk

Trinity Chapel, Dean[edit | edit source]

Not available. The church was erected in 1839.

Extent of records is unknown.

Roman Catholic Churches[edit | edit source]

In 1835, there was an estimate of 12,000 to 14,000 Catholics in and about Edinburgh, with about 2750 attending services in Edinburgh.

St. Mary’s and earlier churches[edit | edit source]

Before 1814, there were two chapels in Blackfriars Wynd, one for Gaelic speaking Highlanders and one for English speakers. St. Mary’s church in Broughton Street was dedicated in 1814. In 1830 the mission stretched as far as Campsie, Falkirk, Haddington, and Dunfermline.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1800, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. FHL book Ref. 942 K24gm, vol. 6.

Records— FHL Call Number
Mixed Birth, Marriages, Deaths 1777–1815 Film #0412600
A few entries for people living in Fife Book 941.33 B4f, Nos. 22 & 23
Births 1798–1884
Marriages 1793–1882
Deaths 1800–1811, 1817–1828
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record RH21/74. Later records are in the care of the parish priest.

St. John Portobello[edit | edit source]

Not available.

Records— FHL Book Number
Baptisms 1844-1854, a few entries for people living in Fife 941.33 B4f, No. 23

St. Patrick’s Church[edit | edit source]

The church was built in 1771 as an Episcopalian church and was dedicated in 1834. It was located in South Gray’s Close in the New Town and reopened as a Catholic church in 1856.

Births 1849–1865
Marriages 1850–1869
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record RH21/87. Later records are in the hands of the parish priest. Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk,

Other Churches[edit | edit source]

Wesleyan Methodist[edit | edit source]

There was a large chapel, built in 1814, in the corner of Nicolson Square with a school. There was also a chapel on Richmond Street and another on James’ Court. Total membership in the mid-1840s was about 1470.

Edinburgh Circuit:
Baptisms 1811–1818
List of Members of Society in the Circuit 1806–1841
Communicants Not in the Society 1811–1812
Collections 1825–1841
Schedule Book 1836–1937
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record CH11/1.

Nicolson Square Methodist Church [edit | edit source]

See above.

Baptisms 1801–1871
Leaders’ Minutes 1821–1882
Accounts 1814–1831, 1844–1926
Pew Rent Accounts 1816–1889
Sabbath School Attendance Register 1817–1859
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record CH11/2.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit | edit source]

Edinburgh was the destination of the first missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Scotland in 1839 due to the fact that the parents of one of them lived there. The following year Elder Orson Pratt preached there. By March 1841 there were more than 200 members in the Edinburgh area. By 1855 there was a Conference based in Edinburgh with 14 branches and a total membership of 666. But there began a steady decline in membership throughout Scotland. In 1868 the Dundee Conference merged with Edinburgh, and the following year membership in the Edinburgh vicinity had dropped so low as to require reorganization of the former Edinburgh Conference as a branch of the Glasgow Conference. The reasons for the decline were emigration, excommunication, and apostasy, as was the case throughout Scotland and indeed the whole of the British Isles at the time.
Source: Truth Will Prevail, by V. Ben Bloxham, et. al. FHL book 942 K2tw.

Records— FHL Film Number
Record of Members, early to 1948 0104151 item 1
Conference Records, early to 1868 0104151 item 2

St. Mark’s Unitarian Church, Edinburgh[edit | edit source]

The society was founded in 1776 and in the beginning was called Universal Dissenters. By the turn of the century they were known as the Edinburgh Unitarian Fund. The Scottish Unitarian Association was formed in 1813. The congregation moved to an old Episcopal Chapel in Carrubber’s Close off High Street, and then in 1816 began to build up a fund to erect a chapel of their own. The Young Street Chapel was opened in 1823, but as attendance grew, another larger place of worship was needed. A new chapel in Castle Terrace was erected and opened in October 1835, and was called St. Mark’s. The church has been known for preaching liberal, social religion. In the mid1840s, membership stood at about 150.
Source: Scottish Unitarian Churches, 1963, by Bruce Findlow, FHL book 941 K2uc. Source includes names of ministers.

Baptisms 1841–1853
Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths 1854–1971
Various Minutes 1792–1793, 1798–1800, 1812–1838, 1842–1969
Roll of Members 1822–1850
Seat Rental Accounts 1835–1857
Reports and Accounts 1819–1852
Benevolent Society Minutes 1841–1853
Various Letters, Papers, and Correspondence from 1822–onwards
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record CH15/1.

Society of Friends, Quakers[edit | edit source]

The society began about 1665. Land for a burial ground in Pleasance was in use by 1680. A house in Westport was purchased in 1681 for a meeting place but it was continually in need of repair. During the 1690s the society suffered persecution from local government authorities. In 1730, another meeting house was purchased in Peebles Wynd off Cowgate. Improvements to the city in 1789 led to its destruction, for which the Friends were compensated. A new meeting house opened in 1791 in Pleasance by the burial ground. It was sold in 1944. The Friends currently meet in Victoria Terrace. Membership in the mid–1840s was 80–100.
Source: The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain, by David M. Butler and the Friends Historical Society, pub. c.1999 FHL book 942 K24bd, vol. 2.

Records— FHL Call Number
Registers of Births, Marriages, Proposals
of Marriage, and Deaths for Edinburgh and
other places in Scotland 1647–1878 Book 941 V26q, and
Film #0823635
Duplicate of early years, 1647–1728 Film #0441406, item 3

Births 1670–1786 - with gaps, 1787–1794, 1795–1870
Birth Notes 1828–1959
Marriages 1670–1695, 1786–1793, 1796–1950
Burials 1680–1716, 1788–1793, 1791–1921
Burial Notes 1828–1847, 1857–1961
Monthly Meeting Minutes 1669–1713, 1730–1794
Two Monthly Meeting Minutes 1808–1938
Quarterly Meeting Minutes 1669–1737
Preparative Meeting Minutes 1787–1792, 1804–1890
Two Monthly Meeting of Women Friends Minutes 1791–1822, 1861–1896
Door Keepers’ Book 1796–1812
Accounts 1711–1769
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, record CH10/1.

Bereans[edit | edit source]

This church was in the area of Old Grey Friars and was formed about 1773.

United Christian Church[edit | edit source]

This church was in the area of New Grey Friars.

Jews[edit | edit source]

A synagogue stood on Richmond Street and was built before the mid–1840s. Membership then consisted of about twenty families.

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