From the "History of the congregations of the United Presbyterian Church, from 1733 to 1900," Volume 1. By Rev. Robert Small

United Presbyterian Church, Dalbeattie (United Presbyterian)

THIS thriving police burgh in the parish of Urr had no existence till about the year 1780. In 1802 a number of residenters attempted to have it made the seat of a Relief congregation, and they had occasional sermon for years, but the experiment was abandoned, the last day’s supply being in January 1807. From this time till 1858 there was a blank, so far as any section of what is now the United Presbyterian Church is concerned, though Urr congregation, four miles distant, had a considerable branch in Dalbeattie district. During the vacancy occasioned by the removal of the Rev. James Black to St Andrews steps were taken to secure gospel ordinances for themselves, and on 4th May 1858 "a petition was presented from seventy persons residing in or near Dalbeattie praying for supply of sermon." A hall had been obtained, and the applicants engaged to meet all expenses for the first half-year. The station was opened on Sabbath, the 23rd of that month, with encouraging prospects.

The above movement was prompted into shape at this particular time by a dispute which had arisen in Urr congregation. The question of whether a choir, introduced some time before, should be discontinued had been submitted to a plebiscite of the congregation, but, on a scrutiny, thirty-two of the voting papers were cancelled. By this measure the session turned the balance in favour of the choir. Disturbance followed, and here now were the elders in a body up at Dumfries before the Presbytery. The reason they assigned for setting aside these thirty-two papers was that the parties had recently joined the congregation; but the Presbytery held that, after being admitted to membership, they could not be denied any of the rights which membership involved, and finding that an actual majority had voted against the choir gave deliverance that the session counsel its discontinuance. Before the month was ended steps were taken to have a preaching station opened at Dalbeattie.

On 4th August 1858 a petition was presented from sixty-two persons asking to be constituted into a regular congregation at Dalbeattie, and on 6th October it was reported that this had been done, and that there were 38 names on the communion roll. An election of elders was now proceeded with, and four of their number having held office already a session was formed without the usual preliminaries. Other six months having passed the congregation applied for a moderation, promising a stipend of £120 from their own resources. The membership at this time was slightly over 50.

First Minister. DAVID KlNNEAR, B.A., from Buckhaven. Ordained, 30th August 1859. In October 1861 the church, seated for 350, was opened by Dr Macfarlane of London and Dr Eadie of Glasgow. It cost £1000, which was paid up in a few years, £250 being received from the Ferguson Fund, £120 from the Debt Liquidating Board, and the rest subscribed by the people. In or about 1868 a manse was built at an expenditure of £1060, of which £330 came from the Manse Board, and £730 was raised by the congregation. But in Dalbeattie, where there were already a Free and a quoad sacra Established Church, with an E.U. Church added in 1863, there has been little scope for extensive increase. The present membership is entered at 120, and the stipend from the people £135, with the manse.

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