A history of the parish of Banchory-Ternan to 1929 : a study in national and local ecclesiastical interaction
The history of the Parish is a significant microcosm of general Scottish Church history. In particular, it illustrates the medieval and post-Reformation origins of the major obstacles which had to be overcome before the reunion of the Church of Scotland could be achieved in 1929. The first obstacle concerned Church-State relations in matters spiritual. The UK Parliament’s re-imposition of Patronage in 1712 had indeed caused the Secessions of 1733 and 1752. However when, before the Disruption (1843), the civil courts acted to support patrons in intruding Parish Ministers contrary to local opinion and also interfered with the structures and membership of the Church Courts, the issue became not so much Patronage as such but that of the Church’s independent spiritual jurisdiction. Accordingly, the UK Parliament’s abolition of Patronage in 1874 was not enough to heal any of the divisions in Scottish Presbyterianism. The second obstacle concerned the Church’s properties and endowments. The Churches of the Secessions and the Disruption - and thus the United Free Church from 1900 - had necessarily adopted a voluntary position, free of secular involvement in such matters. Therefore it was necessary to ensure that, in a reunited Church, the provision, ownership and maintenance of properties, the ownership and control of endowments and thus the determination and funding of all stipends would all come within the Church’s internal structures, free from external responsibility or intervention. Thus an understanding of the historically differentiated elements in the Scottish Church and not least in the Parish of Banchory-Ternan, requires consideration of all such interacting national and local ecclesiastical factors. Accordingly, the object of this thesis is to detail, in their national contexts, relevant developments in the Parish from the medieval period onwards, the resulting fragmentation on Scottish Presbyterianism and subsequent progress culminating in the Reunion of 1929.