Aberlady | Church Minutes

Laurence Goudie

1918 – 1958 Revd. Thomas Caldwell, MA, BD, PhD, DD
1959 – 1970 Revd. David Cockburn MacFarlane, MA
1970 – 1986 Revd. Robert Cranston Lennie, MA, BD
1986 – 2000 Revd. Norman Livingstone Faulds, MA, BD


Session Clerks
1912 – 1954 Cornelius Smith
1954 – 1959 John Hardy
1959 – 1969 William L. Adams
(March – July)
David Allan
(July – September)
Harold Smith
1970 – 1981 James W. Dickson
1981 – 1990 William A. Doig
1990 – 1999 Laurence D. Goudie
1999 – present Barry J. White


Kirk Treasurers
1912 – 1954 Cornelius Smith
1954 – 1958 John D. Easton
1958 – 1969 Laurence H. Goudie
1969 – 1970 David T. Douglas
1970 – 1973 William Ramsay
1973 – 1982 Peter J. Wood
1982 – 1984 David Ramsay
1984 – 1997 John Nesbitt
1997 -1999 Michael Anderson
1999 – present John Nesbitt


Kirk Beadles
1918 – 1953 Andrew Thompson
1953 – 1986 John Fortune
1986 – 1989 Alexander Punton
1989 – 1995 James W. Wood
1995 – present Frederick Burnett


Kirk Session: – 1945 – 12 members rising to 2000 – 30 members

Communicant Membership
Dr.T. Caldwell Rev D.C.MacFarlane Rev R.C. Lennie Rev N.L. Faulds
* 1945 1959 – 491 1971 – 457 1987 – 506
* 1946 1960 – 492 1972 – 478 1988 – 500
* 1947 1961 – 481 1973 – 488 1989 – 503
* 1948 1962 – 438 1974 – 498 1990 – 498
* 1949 1963 – 432 1975 – 508 1991 – 440
1950 – 513 1964 – 438 1976 – 524 1992 – 410
1951 – 500 1965 – 428 1977 – 522 1993 – 405
* 1952 1966 – 423 1978 – 555 1994 – 405
* 1953 1967 – 440 1979 – 541 1995 – 393
1954 1968 – 429 1980 – 540 1996 – 377
* 1955 1969 – 439 1981 – 539 1997 – 380
1956 – 484 1970 – 457 1982 – 535 1998 – 370
* 1957 1983 – 536 1999 – 349
1958 – 491 1984 – 540
1985 – 548
1986 – 555
* = Not recorded in Minute Book
Church Organisations
Sunday School Sunday School Sunday School Sunday School
Bible Class Bible Class Bible Class Bible Class
Woman’s Guild Woman’s Guild Woman’s Guild Woman’s Guild
Youth Club Youth Club Youth Club
Saturday Club
Youth Fellowship Youth Fellowship
Men’s Club Men’s Club
Bible Study Bible Study
Saturday Club

Noteworthy Events 1945 – 58

Rev T. Caldwell’s Ministry


Following consultative reports concerning the church’s heating a new (temporary) boiler was installed. This proved inadequate in performance and several experimental pumps were incorporated in the heating system in an endeavour to improve the situation. These proved unsuccessful and in 1946 a new solid fuel boiler was installed as “a permanent repair”.

Acting upon an overture from the 1945 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and a request from the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar anent the eligibility of women members for the eldership whereby a separate decision of the Kirk Session and Congregation was sought. The Kirk Session voted by a majority to disapprove and the congregation also voted against.


Rev. Dr. T. Caldwell, MA, BD, PhD was appointed as Depute Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. This appointment he held until 1949. (Prior to this appointment Dr. Caldwell had been Clerk to the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar from 1929)


The Kirk Session agreed that a cast bronze plate be erected in the Church as a memorial of those men of the congregation and parish who had given their lives in the world war 1939-45. It was agreed that the memorial be inset on the sloping sill of the existing War Memorial window. The congregation was invited to subscribe towards the memorial.

In the terms of the Act of General Assembly (1948) and a recommendation of the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar, the records of the former United Free Church of Aberlady and the records of Aberlady Parish Church prior to 1800 were lodged in the strong room of the General Assembly, Tollbooth Church, Edinburgh.


The Kirk Session was invited to appoint a representative to act on the Council of the proposed Aberlady Community Association, in terms of its draft constitution. The Kirk Session appointed the Rev. Dr. T. Caldwell as its representative and a subscription fee of £1.00 authorised.

The Rev. Dr. T. Caldwell MA, BD, PhD, DD, was appointed by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to be its Principal Clerk. This appointment he held until 1953.


The Kirk Session authorised a major repair to be carried out on the church’s Compton Electrone Organ after prolonged correspondence and discussions with the servicing agents and manufacturer. The organ had been “out of commission” for over a year. The repairs would take up to 4 months to complete at an estimated cost of £350.


Following an inspection by Mr. I.A. McKay, ARSA, FRIBA, architect to the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, severe erosion was reported in the area of the great East Window which required expert treatment. It was agreed by the Kirk Session, on the advice of Mr. McKay, that the Ancient Monuments Department of the Ministry of Works be consulted and asked to execute the necessary repairs to the stonework, and to other areas of the church where erosion of internal stonework was evident. The Ministry of Works undertook to carry out the restoration work as part of its 1952 work programme at an estimated cost of £250. The repairs were completed in April 1953. During the period of the restoration Church services were transferred from the Church to the Church Hall.


East Lothian County Council – Proposed Aberlady By-Pass. A letter, dated 29th April, 1953 from the Law Department of the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland enclosing a copy of the Obligations and Representations on behalf of the Minister and Kirk Session of the Parish of Aberlady anent the proposal made under the East Lothian County Development Plan to construct a road to By-Pass the village of Aberlady. The Kirk Session resolved to give general approval to these objections and Representations. A Public Enquiry was held anent the proposed Aberlady By-Pass. The Kirk Session’s share of the Enquiry Costs (£291.10/9d) was £50. East Lothian Council did not proceed with the development.


The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland recommended that on Sunday 24th June an observance of the Lord’s Supper be held in Congregations to mark the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Celebration of Communion according to the Reformed use. The Kirk Session concurred that this Commemorative Service of Communion be held in this Congregation on that date.


The Kirk Session resolved to admit Lord Wemyss to membership of the Church of Scotland within the congregation of Aberlady Parish Church.


On 25th August, the Rev. Dr. T. Caldwell, MA, BD, PhD, DD., submitted a letter to the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar intimating his resignation from the Parish and Congregation of Aberlady, expressing his intention to retain his seat in the Presbytery and requesting that his demission of Charge be as from 7th November, 1958.

The Presbytery appointed the Rev. H.O. Wallace, MA. (Dirleton) to be Interim-Moderator as from 7th November 1958.

On 14th December a Congregational meeting, duly constituted, was held for the purpose of forming a Vacancy Committee of 13 members, the Convener of which has a deliberative and casting vote. Committee appointments were: – Convener – Lord Wemyss, Vice-Convener – Miss M. Findlay, Clerk – Mr. L.D. Goudie.

Noteworthy Events 1959 – 70

Rev D.C. MacFarlane’s Ministry


Revd. David Cockburn MacFarlane, MA. was inducted to the Church and Parish of Aberlady on the 13th May, 1959.

Lord Wemyss appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland. Rev. D.C. MacFarlane, MA. appointed a Chaplain to the Lord High Commissioner.


Congratulations were extended to the former Minister, The Rev Thomas Caldwell, MA, BD., PhD., DD., on the attaining his ministerial jubilee on 9th December 1959

Following consultation with the congregation and receiving over 70% support, the Kirk Session approved the introduction of the Free Will Offering System effective from 1st March 1960.

Lord Wemyss appointed for a second term as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Rev. D.C. MacFarlane MA. appointed as Chaplain to the Lord High Commissioner.

The Kirk Session were advised in the report of the maintenance technician that the church organ required major and expensive replacements to put it in reasonable order. He recommended that it be replaced with a new instrument, preferably by a pipe organ. The Kirk Session appointed a committee to obtain information on various types of organs. A considerable amount of literature on pipe organs was received from numerous firms. One firm advised that a pipe organ was being offered for sale as ‘second hand’ by St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Braemar. Following consultations it was purchased for £75 and installed in the north east. Transept of the Church at an estimated cost of £350. The organ was duly installed and dedicated on Sunday 30th October 1960 by the Rev. J.B. Stewart Thomson, MC, DD. Mr. J. Fleming-Lamb, FRCO, LRAM, ARCM, organist at Dunblane Cathedral, played at the service of dedication and gave an organ recital during the evening service.

The effigy of Lady Wemyss was removed from the Chancel to the south east transept of the Church.

A carpet was gifted for the Chancel of the Church by Miss Watt, The Lodge, Aberlady.


A new Communion Table, the gift of Mrs A. Stevenson, Longniddry, was commissioned from Messrs Scott Morton Ltd., Edinburgh in July 1961 in accordance with the design approved by Mrs. Stevenson and the Kirk Session. The new Communion Table was dedicated on Sunday 5th November 1961 by the Rev. A. M. Campbell, MA, Minister of Borgue.

The Kirk Session agreed to consider the feasibility of converting the Manse Stables, extending the present building to give suitable accommodation for the Sunday school and for a youth centre. Approval in principle had been given by the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar and the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland.


As a consequence of discussions between the Kirk Session and Aberlady Community Association concerning the future of the Aberlady Community Hall it was proposed and presented at a public meeting, convened by the Community Association on 4th April 1962 that: – “The Kirk Session acquire the Community Hall to be under the authority of the Kirk Session and managed by a Hall Council. The Hall council to be composed of the members of the Kirk Session together with elected representatives of the different societies within the community. The hall to be known as the Drill Hall and to be run for the benefit, not only of the congregation but of the entire parish, without religious or political distinction. The Kirk Session request that a decision be made by the Community Association on or before 5th May 1962”.

As a consequence of this proposal and request a letter from the secretary of a newly appointed Council of the Community Association, following a meeting held on 25th April 1962, stated “that there was no support from its members for the Kirk session’s proposal”.

Further consideration was given to the proposal to convert the Manse Stables. Having examined plans and estimated costs presented by Mr. William Campbell, ARIBA of Messrs Campbell and Arnott, Architects, Haddington, the Kirk Session approved and authorised the project.


The Kirk Session at its January meeting resolved to hold a Stewardship Campaign in early November 1963. A committee of nine, representing the Kirk Session and members of the congregation was appointed in March. The campaign would be conducted within the Parish bounds and would commence with an ‘inauguration supper’ on the evening of Friday 26th October, to be held in the Community Hall. Each household, excluding those of members of other denominations, received an invitation to attend. There was an attendance of 270. The programme of visitations was carried out in November with very positive interest being shown through the response cards which had been issued by and returned to the committee being reported to the Kirk Session in December.

The Kirk Session decided, on the 3rd March, to explore the possibility of disposing of the Church Hall. Following consideration and exploration of of possible uses and future requirements involving the Church Hall it was agreed to offer the building for sale. This sale was finally concluded in July 1969 for the sum of £450.

The Kirk Session was requested, to consider the advisability of adopting the 1931 Quoad Sacra Constitution; this would entail creating a Congregational Board within the Church. The request came from the Church of Scotland Offices at 121, George Street, Edinburgh and the Kirk session was asked to report its decision to the Clerk of the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar by 31st December.


After discussion the Kirk Session unanimously agreed that no useful purpose would be served in Aberlady by adopting such a Constitution and resolved that no further action would be taken in the matter. The Clerk of the Presbytery was notified to this effect.

Work was completed on the Manse Stables, and after the close of the morning service on 15th December, 1963 Lady Wemyss officially opened the premises prior to the building being dedicated by the Rev. David C. MacFarlane MA, Minister of Aberlady Parish.


Normal congregational life.


The Rev. Walter Ferrier, MA, BD, preaching at the Induction Service of the Rev. David C. MacFarlane, MA, on 13th May 1959 had made reference to part of an ancient stone cross, estimated to be over 1,200 years old, which had been found in the Manse Garden wall. This stone had been given away, without authority, by the then Minister of Aberlady the Rev. James Hill Tait (1861 – 1877), about ninety years ago, to his brother-in-law Mr. Robert Hutchison, Carlowrie Castle, near Kirkliston, the stone being currently in the possession of the Misses Hutchison, relatives of Mr. Robert Hutchison, residing at Carlowrie Castle.

Lord Wemyss intimated that he had been in contact with the Misses Hutchison with a view to having the stone returned to Aberlady Church. The ladies were favourably disposed to the idea of the stone being returned. Lord Wemyss, at the Session’s request, agreed to negotiate further with a view to the removal of the stone from Carlowrie Castle to Aberlady Church. Following correspondence between the Rev. D.C. MacFarlane, and the Misses Hutchison, the ladies decided after much deliberation to lend the stone to Aberlady Kirk Session for a period of 5 years commencing after Whitsun 1966.

After consultation, involving the preparation of a full scale model of the stone, provided by Lord Wemyss, it was agreed that the stone be displayed and sited to the north of the Communion Table, this being considered the best option. A letter was received from the Misses Hutchison of Carlowrie to the effect that acting on the advice of their lawyer they were intending to transfer the ownership of the Aberlady Stone to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland and that an appropriate legal document would be drawn up. The Kirk Session decided to await sight of the document before making arrangements to have the Stone brought to Aberlady Church.

A letter had been received from Messrs Melville and Lyndesay, WS. Law Agents for the Misses Hutchison advising that provisional arrangements had been made for the transfer of the Aberlady Stone from Carlowrie to Aberlady Parish Church on the 28th September 1966. The National Museum of Antiquities for Scotland requested that insurance coverage of £1,000 be arranged for the Stone whilst in the possession of the Kirk Session. This was duly done.


The Kirk Session noted with the deepest regret the death of the Rev. Thomas Caldwell, MA, BD, PhD, DD., on the 7th September 1966. A memorial Service to the late Rev. Dr. Thomas Caldwell was conducted on Sunday 20th November 1966 at 6.pm.

It was the unanimous decision of the Kirk Session to set up a ‘Memorial Fund’ to mark the notable ministry of the late Dr. T. Caldwell in a tangible way. The fund to be closed at the end of February 1967.

The Rev. D.C. MacFarlane had compiled a Guide to the Church and had contacted the Caledonian Press Ltd, Edinburgh in regard to the cost of printing the Guide Book. The Kirk Session authorised the publication of two thousand copies at an estimated cost of £180.


A lady member of the congregation wished to gift new lamp shades for the Interior of the Church in memory of her late husband. The Kirk Session undertook to consider suitable designs for installation. A design was procured which was in accord with the wishes of the donor, Mrs. D. Simpson, and acceptable to the Kirk Session. The lampshades were dedicated at the morning service on 30th July. 1967

Memorial to the late Rev. Dr. T. Caldwell. The Kirk Session having considered various proposals resolved to commission a “Celtic Style” Cross as an appropriate tangible memorial to Dr. Caldwell. The cross was designed by Messrs Whytock and Reid, Edinburgh, and made of treated aluminium. The Celtic Cross was suspended from the Chancel roof. The Memorial Cross was dedicated on Sunday 19th November 1967 by the Rev. Dr. James B. Longmuir, TD, BD, Principal Clerk to the General Assembly and Moderator Designate of the 1968 General Assembly.

The Rev. David C. MacFarlane, MA. was appointed Moderator of the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar for the term 1967 – 68

Deficiencies in the church heating system were reported and the Kirk Session agreed that consultant heating engineers should be approached, and a report obtained with a view to renewing the system during the summer of 1968. Mr. Ross of Messrs Ross and Morton, Heating Engineers, Edinburgh, submitted a report with recommendations for a new heating system. The report suggested a gas burning type of boiler, utilising the existing pipes with a recommendation that, to enhance the Church, when the new heating unit was installed, the tower be converted into a vestry and the present vestry be used as the boiler house at an approximate cost of £1,500. Following lively discussion on the issue the Kirk Session decided that Mr. F. Ross be invited to a future Kirk Session meeting when the matter could be more fully discussed.


A special meeting of the Kirk Session was convened on 7th May to meet with Mr. F. Ross, Heating Consultant, to advise on the new heating system to be installed, and the recommendation of converting the tower into a Vestry, and closing and stoning up of the Vestry door leading from the Chancel to create a new boiler house and store room. Mr Ross undertook to present detailed drawings and to obtain tenders relative to his proposals. The Kirk Session gave its approval and agreed to another meeting with Mr. Ross when the drawings and tenders were to hand.

On the 15th July, the Kirk Session met again with Mr. Ross when he produced drawings of the present Chancel and as it would appear if the Kirk Session accepted and approved his recommendation. The Kirk Session resolved to accept the recommendations and authorised the work to be undertaken without delay. The final cost amounted to £1,816. 19/-.


Normal congregational life


Rev. David C. MacFarlane MA, advised the Kirk Session that he had been invited to preach as Sole Nominee for the Vacant charge of Peebles Old Parish Church and intimated that he had been elected to that charge on Monday 10th March 1970. Mr MacFarlane intimated to the Presbytery of Haddington and Dunbar his intention of accepting the call to the charge of Peebles Old Parish Church.

The Presbytery appointed the Rev. Robert Shirlaw, MA (Gladsmuir) to be Interim-Moderator as from 3rd May 1970.

The Rev. John Lee, BD., offered to act as Locum-Minister during the vacancy. The Kirk Session accepted Mr Lee’s offer subject to Presbytery approval. This was granted.

On 3rd May, 1970 a Congregational meeting, duly constituted was held for the purpose of forming a Vacancy Committee of 13 members. Committee appointments were: – Convener – Rev. R. Shirlaw, MA, Interim-Moderator, Vice-Convener – Mr. J.M. Stevenson, Clerk – Mr. C. Darg.

16th June 1970. The Vacancy Committee announced that the Rev. Robert Cranston Lennie, MA, BD., Minister at St. John’s Church, Gourock had been invited to be Sole Nominee and having accepted nomination would preach for the vacant charge of Aberlady Parish at the morning service on Sunday 19th July 1970. At the close of this service the Interim Moderator Rev. R. Shirlaw, MA, formally proposed that the Rev. Robert C. Lennie MA, BD., be elected to the charge of Aberlady Church. This was approved by a show of hands.

The Rev. Robert Cranston Lennie, MA, BD., was inducted to the charge of Aberlady Parish Church on Wednesday 2nd September 1970.

Noteworthy events 1970 – 1986

Rev. R.C. Lennie’s Ministry


The Kirk Session were advised at its meeting on the 17th November, that the family of the late Mrs. A. Stevenson, Longniddry, wished to make a commemorative gift to the Church. It was the family’s wish to give some chairs to match the Communion Table which had been gifted by Mrs Stevenson and dedicated on 5th November 1961. The Kirk Session was unanimous in their gratitude for this offer in memory of Mrs. Stevenson and in accepting it. Following the approval of the design of the chairs by both the Stevenson family and the Kirk Session the chairs were commissioned and were accepted by the Kirk Session to be part of the Chancel furnishings. They were dedicated and brought into use on Communion Sunday 17th November 1972.

A Choral Concert was presented in the church on Sunday evening 20th December by the Musselburgh Burgh School Junior Choir by courtesy of Mrs. C. Welsh of Longniddry.


The Aberlady Saturday Club was established as an outreach group of the Bible Class and Senior Sunday School, offering youngsters in the community a place to spend their leisure time. It was founded to support life in the community and encourage its members to live life to the full in Christian fellowship.


At the Kirk Session meeting on 17th August, Rev. R.C. Lennie spoke of a Presbytery of Haddington Dunbar plan for the possible reduction in the number of Charges within the Presbytery and that this might affect Aberlady in a union with Longniddry, soon to become vacant. Mr Lennie stated that he would, for the duration of his ministry at Aberlady, not be willing to agree to such a scheme.

17th September. The Kirk Session convened, at the request of the Presbytery Readjustment Committee, to meet with six representatives of that committee to discuss the Presbytery Draft Readjustment Plan copies of which had been distributed to all members of the Kirk Session prior to its meeting held on 9th September. At that time the plan was considered at length and in detail from the point of view of manpower and finance, and whether union with Longniddry as proposed by the Presbytery’s Committee was the best. The Kirk Session was in general agreement that in the future some form of readjustment would have to be considered.

The Convener of the Readjustment Committee, Rev. G. Munro (Yester) referred in detail to the Presbytery’s plan for reorganisation of Parishes and deployment of Ministers in which Aberlady and Longniddry congregations are united. The immediate necessity for action arose from the Longniddry vacancy, and the Presbytery proposal was that Aberlady should have a voice in the choice of a minister for Longniddry and a deferred union would be arranged now to become effective at the end of Mr. Lennie’s ministry of a united parish. Alternative groupings were proposed, with the Presbytery representatives raising varying objections to them. The Kirk Session was asked to give its considered opinion as soon as possible, so that final proposals could be put to a meeting of Aberlady congregation. Presbytery representatives would attend this meeting and a similar meeting would be held with Longniddry congregation, on the same evening. After the Benediction the Presbytery representatives left. After further discussion the Kirk Session decided to meet on Sunday 10th December at 2.30pm and to invite the Kirk Sessions of Athelstaneford, Gullane and Longniddry to attend to consider the Draft Plan for the Re-organisation of Parishes and deployment of Ministers.

Sunday 10th December. A meeting of Ministers and Elders from Aberlady, Athelstaneford, Gullane and Longniddry was held in the Manse Stables, the Rev. Robert C. Lennie MA, BD, presiding. The Presbytery Draft Plan for Reorganisation of Parishes and Deployment of Ministers was discussed in general as it affected Aberlady, Athelstaneford, Dirleton, Gullane and Longniddry, and in particular as it affected Aberlady and Longniddry. No alternative grouping of Parishes was suggested by the visitors. Mr J.M. Stevenson of Aberlady Kirk Session put forward his plan for a wider union embracing the whole area from the Garleton Heights, in the south, to the River Forth, in the north and from, and including, Dirleton in the east to, and including Longniddry to the west. This plan was looking a long way ahead and would create a large strong congregation with several places of worship and a team of ministers. In the discussions that followed it became clear that there was no general support from outside Aberlady for the type of union outlined by Mr. Stevenson. The Athelstaneford spokesman made it apparent that their Parish looked inland to East Linton and not coastwise for development and union, and were not interested in union with Aberlady or Gullane etc. Gullane Elders indicated that they were satisfied with the proposed union with Dirleton but viewed favourably the idea of including Aberlady with them. Longniddry Elders stated that their Kirk Session were unanimous in thinking that future increases in population and Church membership there would justify a Minister for Longniddry itself and that they should be allowed to go on alone now to fill their vacancy.


Sunday 7th January. A meeting of the Kirk Session was held at 2.30pm at the request of the Presbytery Readjustment Committee to discuss further the Aberlady/Longniddry position. Longniddry Kirk Session and Congregational Board had met on 4th January to consider Aberlady’s offer of a Deferred Union. By a majority vote Longniddry decided in favour of Deferred Linking with Aberlady. The consensus of opinion of the Aberlady Elders was Rejection of Longniddry’s proposal, withdrawal from the Idea of deferred union with Longniddry and if need be union with Gullane in the fullness of time. The Rev. R.C. Lennie speaking on behalf of Aberlady Kirk Session conveyed that it was the Kirk Session’s opinion that there could be no future in linking or Union with Longniddry. Longniddry had not accepted the offer of Deferred Union and had made it apparent that they wanted linking to get out of their present difficulty having in mind that Linking could be more easily broken than Union. Aberlady did not regard this attitude as a good basis for a future Union and if the need arose Aberlady would prefer Union with Gullane. The Presbytery subsequently abandoned the proposal made by its Readjustment Committee.


Normal congregational life.


The year 1975 being designated as European Architectural Heritage Year, the Edinburgh and Lothian Tourist Association is arranging events in celebration. The Association asked Aberlady Kirk to hold a service of ‘historical nature’ on Sunday 27th April, and to arrange for conducted tours of the Church. The Kirk Session approved of taking part and the Minister was authorised to hold a special service on 27th April and to co-operate with the Association.

Mr Alan Buchan, Church Organist, researched and chose appropriate songs and music for the service. The service was structured round a scripted history of the Christian Church in Aberlady, and the music that might have been, (and in some instances certainly had been) heard in Aberlady Church at the various stages of its long history.

The Service was advertised in the East Lothian Courier, The Scotsman, and on Radio Forth. There was a very good attendance and the venture was deemed very successful. As a follow up to this service the Minister was authorised by the Kirk Session to produce in pamphlet form the script used at the Heritage Sunday Service. This was published in November and priced at 10p per copy. To mark European Architectural Heritage Year East Lothian district Council undertook to arrange for floodlights to be installed in the Grounds of Aberlady Parish Church.

Representatives of the Kirk Session, East Lothian District Council and the South of Scotland Electricity Board met and agreed the sites of the floodlights and details of the project. The project was completed in March 1976.


In September a Lectern, commissioned by Mrs M. Ramsay as a memorial to her late husband Mr W. Ramsay, Elder and Kirk Treasurer, designed and built by Mr. John Rodger, Elder and Fabric Convener, was gifted to the Church to be part of the Chancel furnishings.


Lord Wemyss appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, (his third appointment) and Rev. Robert C. Lennie, MA, BD, appointed a Chaplain to the Lord High Commissioner.

13th September. In response to the 1977 General Assembly’s resolution that a ‘Programme for Action’ should be undertaken, including in it a visit to every member by a duly instructed Elder, the Kirk Session appointed a sub-committee of Elders, with the Minister as Chairman, to draw up plans. The sub-committee presented its preliminary findings and suggested Programme to the Kirk Session on 13th October. Each household in the Congregation should be visited in March 1978 by two Elders; that there should be two training sessions for Elders, the first on Sunday afternoon 8th January 1978; that no members of the congregation other than Elders should be engaged in the March visits.

The Aberlady Stone – The National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland intimated that the Museum wanted custody of the Aberlady stone for exhibition purposes and suggested that a cast of it be made for Aberlady Church. The Kirk Session felt strongly that the stone should, if possible, be retained in Aberlady church, with the cast being suffice for the Museum. Lord Wemyss undertook to approach the Chairman of the Museum Trustees to ascertain whether the stone need really be moved from Aberlady. Despite Lord Wemyss’s discussions with the Chairman of the Trustees, the Museum Authorities intimated that they proposed to uplift the Aberlady Stone on Thursday 17th November. Ultimately, with reluctant Kirk Session approval, a cast of the original Aberlady Stone was made and presented to the congregation of Aberlady Parish Church in November 1978. The Museum was made aware that the Kirk Session would like the original stone returned to Aberlady, should it be possible to do this, at some future date.


On the 8th January further preparatory discussions on the programme for Action were held. The Minister explained in detail the need for and the aims of the Programme. It was agreed that each Elder would be supplied with details of the church’s income and expenditure over the past three years. Information relative to Elder’s Districts – members’ attendance at Communion, their method of contributing to the Church’s funds etc. It was agreed by the Kirk Session that the prime objective of the programme in Aberlady should be “people” and getting people interested in the Church, Church Services and attendance rather than seeking more money.

District visitation was carried out in March 1978 and the consensus of opinion was that it had been worthwhile and that some positive results had been achieved.

A request that some provision be made at Communion for ‘individual cups’ for members who preferred these to the ‘Common Cup’. The Kirk Session gave careful consideration to the issue and resolved that the request be noted and that the ‘Common Cup’ should remain in use for all communicants as in the past.

In recognition of the Beadle’s Silver Jubilee the Kirk Session presented Mr. John Fortune with a tangible token of their appreciation, an electric greenhouse heater, for all the excellent work done and services rendered to Aberlady Church and congregation over the 25 years to 3rd July 1978. The Rev. David C. MacFarlane, MA (Peebles Old Parish Church) attended the presentation and added his tribute to John Fortune’s faithful help and assistance over the eleven years of his Aberlady ministry.

Two silver communion plates, matching the two smaller bread plates presently in use, were offered to the congregation by Mr. Laurence D. Goudie, in commemoration of his parents. The Kirk Session gratefully accepted the offer. The plates were presented and dedicated on Sunday 26th November, by the Rev. R.C. Lennie, MA, BD, and the Rev. David C. MacFarlane, MA (Peebles Old Parish Church).


Gosford Mortification Fund. Lord Wemyss informed the Kirk Session on 6th June that this was a very old historical matter going back about 300 years. It was a liability of £4.44 and he had raised with his son the question of redeeming this by making a capital payment to the Kirk Session. He sought the Kirk Session’s reaction to the proposal. The Kirk Session accepted the Wemyss family decision and gave its approval.

Lord Wemyss said he would discuss the subject with the Trustees of Lord Neidpath’s Liferent Fund. The Kirk Session stated that they wished the name Gosford Mortification Fund to be retained in use in the future. The Trustees of the Lord Neidpath Liferent fund agreed to offer the Kirk Session £55, in commutation of the present annual payment of £4.44. The Kirk Session formally accepted the offer and agreed that the £55 be invested in Church of Scotland Trust Income Fund units. The Kirk Session resolved to contribute a further £45 to the fund raising it to £100. Lord Wemyss further contributed a personal donation of £25 bringing the total invested in the Church of Scotland Trust Income Fund Units to £125.


The first Ordination and Admission of Women Elders to the Kirk Session of Aberlady Parish Church took place during morning worship on 15th June. Four ladies of the congregation were ordained to the Eldership of the Church of Scotland and admitted to the Kirk Session of Aberlady Parish Church upon their signing of the prescribed Formula. The ladies were Mrs M. Anderson, Mrs M. Birnie, Miss M.E. Hamilton and Mrs J. Tunnock.


On 15th January report on the condition of the fabric of the Manse Stables was presented to the Kirk Session together with several detailed options for repairs and improvements. These were discussed in detail and it was established that there were only two options – (a) Repair the roof at an estimated cost of £1,000 (b) rebuilt to provide an enlarged hall at an estimated cost of £37,500. The Kirk Session resolved that a minimum amount of work should be undertaken and estimates sought. Two estimates were submitted, one costing £342.80 plus VAT covering essential joinery and other work and laying strips of felt over the joists, the second costing £750 plus VAT for similar work but laying felt over the whole roof. The Kirk Session accepted the first estimate and the Fabric Committee was authorised to proceed and to include any extra costs which might arise. The work was completed by 14th May.


A weekend Flower Festival was held in May involving most parish organisations. A quartet from Haddington played music and a short recital was given by the Church organist on Saturday. Taped music was provided between the performances. The Festival closed with an evening concert on Sunday. The events raised £600 for Church funds.

By courtesy of Mr. D. Chalmers, the gardens at Lochill Farm House were opened to the public on 23rd May when the sum of £232 was raised for Church funds.

A ‘Family Lunch’ was held on Sunday 27th June, this raising £177 for Church funds.

The Garleton Singers presented a choral Evening on Sunday 12th December when some 350 people attended. A contribution was made towards Church funds.


Normal congregational life.


A weekend ‘Flower Festival’ was held on 28th-29th April. The Longniddry Youth Singers gave a Choral Recital on the Sunday evening. The event raised £750 for Church funds.

A ‘Family Lunch’ was held on 24th June, in a marquee in the Manse garden and in the same marquee on 27th June a Brass Band concert was given by 36 children from the Jhunes School in Norway. These events raised £119.97p for Church funds.

A concert, in the Church on 21st September, by the Kevock Choir raised £153.32p for Church funds.

It was announced to the Kirk Session that the Rev. Dr. David H. Whiteford, CBE, MA, BD, PhD., Minister at Gullane Parish Church, had intimated to his Kirk Session his intention to retire on 31st August 1985. Also, the Rev. R.C. Lennie, MA, had disclosed on more than one occasion that he intended to retire in the near future. The Kirk Session was faced with further consideration of the Presbytery Plan for a possible linkage or union with Gullane Parish Church. The Kirk Session formed a small committee of its members to examine the implications of the situation and to help formulate an appropriate course of action preparatory to meeting with representatives appointed by the Presbytery of Lothian.

The Presbytery of Lothian appointed the Rev. Kenneth H. Hughes MA, BD., Minister of Prestonkirk (East Linton) and Mr T. Davidson, Elder at Prestonkirk to present the Presbytery’s Plan to the Kirk Session of Aberlady Parish Church and to the Kirk Session and Congregational Board of Gullane Parish Church.

18th December – the Presbytery Representatives met with the Kirk Session. They reported that they had met with the Kirk Session and Congregational Board of Gullane Parish Church on 26th November. This was an exploratory meeting to discuss their pending Vacancy and to allow them time to consider a linkage with Aberlady. The meeting was amicable, and though they did not commit themselves they were not averse to the Presbytery entering into discussions with Aberlady Kirk Session. Rev. K. Hughes outlined the Presbytery Plan and asked the Kirk Session to give serious consideration to ‘Deferred Linkage’ with Gullane. A ‘Question and Answer’ session covering a wide range of issues relevant to the situation followed. It was indicated that the next step would be for both Kirk Sessions to meet for the preparation of a document to be agreed by both Kirk Sessions and Congregations, enabling a deferred linkage to be set up. It was agreed that the committee appointed by the Kirk Session would meet with a similarly appointed committee from Gullane Parish Church to establish base conditions to be incorporated in a draft document which would be further considered by both parties.


A joint meeting of the Kirk Sessions of Aberlady and Gullane, with the Rev. Kenneth Hughes, MA, BD., presiding as Moderator, was held on 24th January, this being the first joint meeting to consider the Presbytery’s plan for a possible deferred linkage of the two congregations. After discussion, and relevant questions being answered, it was agreed that, in the event of a deferred linkage as proposed in the Presbytery Plan, when the time came to appoint a joint Vacancy Committee it would include representation on a 50/50 basis from the two congregations. It was agreed that the respective Session Clerks nominate four members from each Kirk Session to form a committee to draw up the document, which will form the basis of deferred linking.

The Rev. Robert C. Lennie, MA, BD., announced that he would demit office as minister of Aberlady not later than 31st December, 1985, but that he would demit before that date, should a linkage be agreed, and so allow the induction of a new minister to both charges.

On 14th March the Kirk Session considered the Draft Basis of Linking Aberlady with Gullane paragraph by paragraph with the Rev. Kenneth Hughes acting as Moderator pro tempore. The Kirk Session, with two minuted abstentions, approved the document. Rev. K. Hughes would discuss the document with Gullane Kirk Session on 21st March and, if approved there, with the two congregations on the same day/evening during April (copy of Draft attached).

A meeting of the congregation of Aberlady Parish Church was convened on 15th April at 7.30pm within Aberlady Church. The Rev. K. Hughes presided and outlined the possible timetable to be followed in connection with the Linking of Aberlady and Gullane parishes. Should it be agreed, the Draft Basis of Linking would be presented to the Presbytery of Lothian on 2nd May, 1985; to the Church of Scotland’s Committee for Union and Readjustment in early June; returning to the Presbytery of Lothian during the third week of June. Then, assuming no difficulties were encountered, authority would be given at the end of June or in early July to proceed with the election of a Vacancy Committee. Rev. K. Hughes then appraised the congregation of the background leading to the necessity for linking. Questions were invited and replies given. At 8.45pm the Draft Basis of Deferred Linking was examined, clause by clause, and questions relating to each clause dealt with. A motion that the Manse of the Linked Charge be in Aberlady was defeated. The Session Clerk moved that the congregation accept the Document before them, after its many changes and its passage through Committee and the two Kirk Sessions. Voting for the motion was: 45 votes for acceptance with 37 votes against. The meeting concluded at 10.25pm.

Gullane congregation’s agreement to the Linkage with Aberlady was recorded in the Aberlady Kirk Session Minute of 17th April and was duly intimated to the congregation of Aberlady Church.


The Presbytery of Lothian appointed the Very Revd. Dr. W. Roy Sanderson, DD. to be Interim Moderator during the vacancy.

Aberlady Manse

26th June. The Kirk Session advised the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland that it was of the opinion that the Manse of Aberlady and ground should be sold. The General Trustees were asked to prepare a formal application for authority to sell and to appoint Messrs John Sale & Partners of Haddington to act as Surveyors. A committee of six members of the Kirk Session was formally appointed to deal with matters relating to the sale of the Manse.

17th July. The Committee reported that it had met, with an appointed surveyor present. Three proposals were submitted for consideration:

  1. The property be sold as a single residence.
  2. The property be sold as a single residence with provision for the development of one house.
  3. Either (a) or (b) with an area of ground being retained to allow future development of the Manse Stables into a new Church Centre.

These proposals were submitted to the General Trustees who were entrusted with the Modus Operandi relating to the sale.

16th October. The Kirk Session directed that the Subjects for sale be advertised in the Scotsman, Glasgow Herald, Press and Journal, Telegraph and Times as well as in the Property Centre in Edinburgh. Offers in excess of £100,000 were expected.

On 28th July the congregation, following morning worship, met to elect nine members to serve on the joint Vacancy Committee with nine members of Gullane congregation. The joint Vacancy Committee met on 29th July. Committee appointments were: Convener – The Very Revd. W. Roy Sanderson DD., Vice Convener – Mr J. Howgego (Gullane), Clerk – Mr W.A. Doig (Aberlady).

14th November. The Vacancy Committee recommended and proposed that the Rev. Norman Livingstone Faulds, MA, BD., at present minister of Granton Parish Church, Edinburgh, be the sole nominee for the linked charge of Aberlady with Gullane, Rev. N.L. Faulds to preach as sole nominee on Sunday 1st December, 1985 at 9.30am in Gullane and at 11.15 in Aberlady.

1st December. A joint meeting of the Kirk Sessions of Aberlady and Gullane met at 5pm. Rev. N.L. Faulds had conducted worship in both churches that morning and in each case a ballot vote had been taken. The votes were counted in the presence of both Kirk Sessions and the result of the voting being recorded as: for the election and appointment of Rev. N.L. Faulds – 335, against the election and appointment – 2, spoilt papers 1. The Rev. N.L. Faulds was elected and appointed subject to the judgement of the courts of the Church.

The Presbytery of Lothian intimated that it intended to link the two parishes and congregations at a service in Gullane church on Sunday 5th January 1986 at 11 am.

The joint Kirk Sessions agreed to recommend to the Presbytery that subject to Mr Faulds’ acceptance and all formalities having been satisfactorily concluded, the Induction should take place in Aberlady Church on Thursday 13th March 1986, at 7pm.

After considerable discussion it was agreed that, subsequent to the linking of the parishes, the times of Sunday worship would be 9.45am at Gullane and 11.15am at Aberlady. This arrangement to be reviewed by the joint Kirk Sessions after Mr Faulds’ induction and not later than the end of May 1986.

12th December. Plans submitted to the East Lothian Council Planning Department for the proposed development of the Manse Stables and for the building of one dwelling house were presented to the Kirk Session. Planning applications were advertised just before Christmas.

Noteworthy Events, 1986 – 2000

Rev. N.L. Faulds’ Ministry


13th March. The Rev. Norman Livingstone Faulds MA, BD., was inducted and admitted, by the Presbytery of Lothian, to be minister of the linked charge of Aberlady and Gullane.

Sale of Manse – on 14th August, the Kirk Session was advised by the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland that the Manse and grounds had been sold for the sum of £131,050 with vacant possession being granted on Friday 5th September 1986.

Preliminary arrangements were made, with the formation of a sub-committee of the Kirk Session, to investigate how best to celebrate the Centenary of the present Aberlady Parish Church during 1987.


19th February. The ‘Centenary Sub-Committee’ presented its report to the Kirk Session for consideration. It was agreed that:

  1. The Rev. D.C. Macfarlane MA, and the Rev. R.C. Lennie, MA, BD., (former Ministers of Aberlady) be invited to participate in the Communion Service on Sunday 30th May. – Both agreed.
  2. A Children’s Art Exhibition and a Children’s Essay Competition with three titles for three age groups be undertaken in May.
  3. The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Rt. Revd. Dr. Duncan Shaw MA, PhD, ThD, OStJ, JP, be invited to preach at the Centenary Service on Sunday 14th June and attend a Centenary Family Lunch. Invitation accepted.
  4. Exhibition of parish Memorabilia on 6th and 7th June in the Manse Stables.
  5. Flower Festival to be held in the Church 6th and 7th June.
  6. Installation of a hearing aid ‘loop system’ in the Church. The sum of £500 was set aside by the Kirk Session for this project.
  7. That it would be appropriate to install a stained glass window during the Centenary Year. The window to depict the Crucifixion of Christ.
  8. The Woman’s Guild to present a new Pulpit Fall.

22nd April. The Kirk Session approved an estimate of £2,640 submitted by Mr. Christopher Sachs, Stained Glass Artist, for the construction and installation of the Centenary Stained Glass Window – ‘The Crucifixion of Christ’. The Kirk Session commissioned the Centenary Window and launched an appeal for funds to meet the costs of construction and installation. The window was completed and installed in November. The window was unveiled by Lord Wemyss and dedicated the Rev. N.L. Faulds, MS, BD., on Sunday 13th December 1987.

11th November. The Kirk Session authorised its sub-committee to proceed with the preparation of plans and estimates for the re-development of the Manse Stables with Mr. A.G. Giffen, ARIBA as its appointed Architect.


27th April. The Kirk Session approved the installation of a Loop and Public Address system in the Church, at a cost of £1962, by Knight Electronics of Musselburgh. The installation costs being met from the proceeds of the sale of the former Manse.

During April, site preparation in connection with the construction of the new Manse Stables was begun and permission to spend £86,000 – £90,000, subject to final detailed plans, was requested from the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland. This cost to be met from the proceeds of the sale of the former Manse. The former Manse Stables hall was demolished on 15th October. Prior to this operation it was discovered that there may be the necessity of underpinning the northern wall foundations. A structural engineer was consulted and as a consequence some underpinning would be required to stabilise the stonework at the north west corner of the building.


15th January. The final plans for the new Manse Stables were accepted and it was agreed to proceed to obtain the necessary Building Warrant and to seek tenders for the construction work. On 2nd April, the Kirk Session accepted the tender submitted by John A. Smith, Athelstaneford, amounting to £95,052. 88p. Charges for the demolition of the former building, professional fees and relevant East Lothian District Council Planning Department charges amount to a further £8,696. 12p. An overall total of £103,750. 00.

On Friday 31st March, the Rev. N.L. Faulds, MA, BD., having consulted with members of the Kirk Session, the Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and fellow Church of Scotland Ministers granted the use of Aberlady Parish Church for the celebration of a Requiem Mass and Funeral Service of the late Mrs Elizabeth Hope of Luffness. The clergy who participated in the service were: – Roman Catholic: Cardinal Gordon J. Gray, Priests – Fathers Brodie, Kerr, McBride, Rafferty, Ramsay and Stephen; Church of Scotland – Rev. N.L. Faulds, MA, BD. (Parish Minister of Aberlady), Rev. R.C. Lennie, MA, BD. (former Parish Minister of Aberlady), Rev. A.W. MacDonnell, MA, BD. (Minister of St. Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington), Rev. D.H. Whiteford, CBE, MA, BD, PhD. (former Minister, Gullane Parish Church).

On Sunday 12th March Dr. David Hutchison, FRCP, proposed that a new ‘Aberlady Parish Welfare Fund’ be established. Dr Hutchison presented the Kirk Session with a synopsis of the events leading to his proposal. To quote: – “Some years ago in Musselburgh I was given a sum of money at Christmas time to give to anyone whom I considered to be ‘in need’. The money to be used to buy food, clothing, etc. I had absolute discretion as to whom I gave a present and was not required to account for any money expended. In practice, I consulted with my Partners, District Nursing Sisters and Health Visitors to find recipients. Since coming to live in Aberlady, the fund continued and was extended to include people ‘in need’ in Aberlady Parish, and on my retiral from General Practice to be limited to anyone in Aberlady Parish only. At the present time the fund has a capital of approximately £1,000 and one ill Parishioner is being assisted.

The Kirk Session agreed that they would accept the Fund and agreed on the following Trustees: – The Moderator, the Kirk Treasurer and Dr. David Hutchison. (It was later agreed that in the event of Dr. Hutchison’s demise a member of the Kirk Session would be appointed to fill the vacant Trustee appointment). (An extract of the Kirk Session Minute of 12th March 1989, p.168, relating to the terms of the Trust, is attached. This extract was printed on 23rd January 1993 at the request of the Kirk Session).

On 29th October the Kirk Session were advised that additional costs had been incurred in the construction of the new hall – underpinning the east wall, tree felling and wood preservative treatment. The total charge for the new hall now stood at £12,750. Twelve names had been submitted to the Kirk Session for consideration in naming the new hall. The final choice of name was Aberlady Kirk Stables.


The Aberlady Kirk Stables was officially opened by Lord Wemyss and dedicated by The Rev. David C. MacFarlane MA. (Peebles Old Parish Church) following morning worship on Sunday 14th January, 1990. The Rev. Norman L. Faulds, MA, BD., together with the Rev. David C. MacFarlane, MA. and the Rev. Robert C. Lennie, BD., conducted morning worship on that date.

8th August. East Lothian District Council’s “Landscape and Countryside Services” Committee advised the Kirk Session that the two Elm trees on either side of the churchyard gates were affected by Dutch Elm Disease and both would eventually have to be cut down. It was suggested that replacement trees would be “Weeping Ash” which is similar in height and spread to the Elms. The cost of the replacement trees estimated at £400. The Elm stumps would be taken below ground level. Members of the Kirk Session were invited to attend a ‘site visit’ on 9th August. Following this visit the Kirk Session were advised on 10th October that East Lothian District Council would attend to the removal of the two Elm trees towards the end of November, and that the replanting would take place immediately thereafter. A tree planting ceremony was arranged for Monday 26th November when Lord Wemyss was invited to help plant the trees. The Kirk Session contributed £400 towards the cost of the removal of the diseased Elm trees and the provision of the Weeping Ash trees.


25th September. The Kirk Session received a bequest from the estate of the late Miss J.P. McLean and gave consideration to the purchase of a new Pulpit Fall as a memorial to her. The Kirk Session authorised that part of the bequest be used for the purchase of a self-coloured Pulpit Fall bearing the Agnus Die symbol. This was commissioned from Messrs Whytock and Reid, Edinburgh, and it would be utilised during the seasons of Advent and Lent, also for funeral services.


26th January. The Kirk Session, in response to a request from the Lothian Regional Council’s Parliamentary Returning Officer, agreed that the Aberlady Kirk Stables be designated as the Polling Station for Parliamentary and Local Government elections. The requirements and the Statutory Authority of Returning Officer was defined in relation to all relevant elections.

The Kirk Session approved the purchase of audio visual equipment in the form of a 20″ colour television set and a video player for use by Church organisations, and by authorised groups within the Aberlady Kirk Stables at a cost of £309.97p. Members of the Aberlady Saturday Club gave a donation of £150 towards the purchase of these items. The equipment to be stored in a lockfast cupboard. The television may only be used for the viewing of educational, teaching and training video films which are exempt from the requirement of holding an annual television broadcasting licence for the Aberlady Kirk Stables premises.

26th February. Following a request from the Kirk Session to East Lothian Council to have the Aberlady Churchyard gates removed and renovated, the Director of Leisure and Tourism recorded some doubt as to the onus of his Department in attending to the gates, the boundary walls and pathways of the Churchyard and Burial Ground. The Session Clerk responded reminding the Local Authority that it was their full responsibility to deal with all matters relating to, and in pursuit of their statutory requirement, ensure the proper maintenance of gates, boundary walls and pathways of Churchyards and Burial Grounds.

A letter from the Department of Architectural and Surveying Services of East Lothian District Council advised that they were responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of Churchyards and burial grounds. Accordingly, the Churchyard gates were to be moved and renovated and other items of repair work to boundary walls would be carried out without prejudice and future commitment. The Kirk Session noted that the gates had been removed, renovated and returned.

The ladies of the Aberlady Flower Arranging Group wrote expressing a desire to hold a Flower Festival in Aberlady Church, in aid of Church funds, in either August or September 1992. The Kirk Session approved and the Festival was held between 14th and 16th August 1992.

A programme of guided Church tours commenced in May and a very satisfactory response to the advertisements placed in ‘Life and Work’ was recorded. Volunteer guides from within the congregation, operating on a ‘rota’ basis, welcomed visitors from many congregations throughout Scotland.

18th October. Mr Cameron H. Langlands, a student from the Faculty of Divinity, New College, Edinburgh, commenced a two-term placement with Aberlady and Gullane Parish Churches. The placement would be for two work sessions, plus Sunday, each week. Mr Langlands, a member of North Esk Church, Musselburgh, is completing a course of study to obtain a Diploma of Ministry qualification.

16th December. The following statement was read to the Kirk Session by the Session Clerk: – “I wish to remind the Kirk Session that it meets as a Court of the Church of Scotland, within the Presbytery of Lothian, and that, unless otherwise resolved by the Kirk Session, all meetings are held in ‘Private’. All business and issues discussed are ‘Confidential’ to the Kirk Session and recorded by ‘Confidential Minute’, unless otherwise resolved by the Kirk Session. At all times members of the Kirk Session are expected to observe this. Recently this confidence was breached and Kirk Session business discussed outwith this Court, and prior to the preparation of the Minute now approved. The matter has been dealt with and an assurance obtained that there will be no recurrence in the future. I ask the members of the Kirk Session to note this statement”.

In response to correspondence received from several groups using the Aberlady Kirk Stables, and the Church Secretary, the Kirk Session agreed to the installation of a telephone within the Aberlady Kirk Stables. The telephone was duly installed in the Office in 1993.


23rd February. After previous correspondence with the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland, in response to their request for the release of £5,000, as a donation, to the General Fabric of the Church of Scotland from the monies held by them on behalf of the congregation, the Kirk Session resolved to donate the requested sum, having obtained permission from the Presbytery of Lothian and notified the Kirk Session and Congregational Board of Gullane Parish Church as prescribed.

31st March. A report was received from Mr Ronald Smith, Organ Builder, concerning the condition of the Church organ. It recommended that a major overhaul was required at a cost of £7,255 – this to include the installation of a new rank of pipes and an additional ‘brass pipe’. The Kirk Session having studied the report commissioned Mr. Smith to undertake the renovation as soon as possible. Expenditure would initially be met from Kirk Session’s Reserve Fund with this sum being repaid from the ‘Organ Fund’ which was being established.

12th November. The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland gave forewarning that the Secretary of State for Scotland intended to schedule the Glebe, or part of it, as an ‘Ancient Monument’. The ruins of Kilspindie Castle appear to have been erected on the site of an early Anglo-Saxon settlement of, possibly, the sixth century. The site is considered to be a very important one in that most Anglo-Saxon settlements of this type have been completely built over by subsequent towns or villages with the result that earlier artefacts have been lost. The Glebe was designated a ‘Scheduled Site’ and as such any activities on the site were subject to the consent and permission of the Ancient Monuments Authority of the Scottish Office. As a ‘Scheduled Site, it would not be subject to any form of investigation by the authority due to the lack of financial resources.

A request to the Kirk Session that a stained glass panel depicting Christ holding a Chalice be accepted from the parents and family of the late Stuart Tunnock as a memorial to him and be accepted into the fabric of Aberlady Church. The Kirk Session accepted the Memorial Panel and agreed that it be installed within the vestry of Aberlady Parish Church. This was duly done in March 1994.


16th March. The Kirk Session agreed to the purchase of ‘The Children’s Video Bible’ for use with the Sunday school. The twelve-tape set was priced at £186.00 – the first five tapes were gifted to the Sunday school with the Kirk Session meeting the cost of the remaining seven tapes at £108.50. The videotapes are to be kept in the Kirk Stables Office.

14th August. Visitor Boards had been prepared for use by visitors to the Church by one of the congregations’ Elders, Mr. Gordon C. Davie. Translations were presented in English, French, German, Spanish and Swedish, and were much appreciated by visitors from these countries.


25th January. New floodlights were installed at the Church by East Lothian District Council and protective mesh cages had been installed over each light. The new lights replaced the former floodlights which had been vandalised and stolen during 1994.

2nd July. The Rev. Yvonne E.S. Aitkins, BD., was introduced to the congregations of Aberlady and Gullane Parish Churches for a probationary period of eighteen months prior to her admission and ordination to the ‘full time’ ministry of the Church of Scotland.

15th December. The Kirk Session appointed an ‘ad-hoc’ committee to consider the needs of the Kirk Session and congregation in the approach to the Millennium 2000.


30th October. The ‘ad-hoc’ committee reported that, at present, there were three main items for consideration and approval of the Kirk Session: –

  1. The provision of a tangible item within the Church to which members of the congregation and general public would be able to subscribe. A new Stained Glass Window be commissioned for the South Aisle of the Church utilising an existing prepared design.
  2. To implement a programme of ‘Parish Visitation’ starting in 1998 utilising resources and guidance from the Board of Home Mission of the Church of Scotland.
  3. To arrange a series of events to encourage people into the Church and to make them aware of Christian lifestyle and fellowship.
  4. The committee wished to invite members of the congregation, representing a cross section of the membership to assist in the preparation and organisation of proposed events and to serve on the committee.


19th March. The Kirk Session approved the ‘ad-hoc’ Millennium Committee recommendation that the stained glass window to mark the millennium be installed at an estimated cost of £4,500 plus contingency costs of £500 and that a “Millennium Window” Appeal Fund be established and be administered by the Committee.

28th August. The Presbytery of Lothian celebrated Holy Communion in Aberlady Church in a service conducted by the Moderator of the Presbytery, The Rev. Norman L. Faulds, MA, and BD. The Kirk Session authorised the use of the congregation’s Communion Silver for dispensing the Sacrament.

24th September. The Aberlady Woman’s Guild, following a meeting of its members, resolved to terminate its role within the congregation. The members of the Woman’s Guild requested that the following items be “Held in Trust” by the Kirk Session of Aberlady Parish Church: –

  1. Lectern,
  2. Woman’s Guild Lectern Fall,
  3. Lectern Bible,
  4. Tablecloth,
  5. Minute Book,
  6. Treasurer’s Cash Book

(the Kirk Session agreed to this) and that the balance of Woman’s Guild funds amounting to £10. 00 be paid by cheque to the Kirk Treasurer. (The Kirk Session acknowledged receipt of the balance of funds). The Kirk Session recorded with sadness the termination of the Woman’s Guild within the congregation acknowledging with gratitude the contribution made to the life of the Congregation and Parish over the years.


6th November. The Aberlady Saturday Club was terminated due to lack of interest by local youth who at the time were dominated by a subversive and destructive ‘gang’ mentality.

17h December. The Kirk Session was appraised of the recorded establishment of two of its Benevolent Funds.

The Congalton Bequest.

The bequest was made by John and Ann Congalton residing in the village of Aberlady. On the 10th October, 1805 the sum of £300 was invested, the income thereof to be divided among the poor people in the village connected to the Church or such other poor as the Kirk Session direct”. This bequest is invested in the Church of Scotland Investment Trust in the form of 620 units.

Gosford Mortification.

A bequest from the estate of Sir Peter Wedderburn of Gosford, of 600 Merks Scots for the provision of two Silver Communion Cups in the year 1674, and in the year of 1688 1,000 Merks Scots to be secured by bond for the Widows and Orphans and the poor in the Parish of Aberlady”. This bequest is invested in the Church of Scotland Investment Trust in the form of 24 units.


7th June. The Kirk Session approved an agreement for the recognition of the Rev. Robin Maule-Brown, MA. as Voluntary Minister at Aberlady linked with Gullane, to undertake, in consultation with the Minister, such duties as may be mutually agreed by them. The arrangement to commence on 1st July 1998. The arrangement to be initially for a period of twelve months, to be reviewed thereafter by both parties at two yearly intervals. The arrangement may be terminated by either party at three month’s notice. The arrangement will be terminated on the translation, retirement or death of the present minister.


27th January. The Millennium Committee reported that the new Stained Glass window would be installed in early December, 1999 and recommended that the Service of Dedication be held on Sunday 9th January, 2000.

Following discussion with East Lothian Council Groundcare Services, and with the approval of the Kirk Session a memorial Rose Garden is to be planted at the south side of the Church. Thirty-four persons have subscribed to the project enabling sixty rose bushes to be planted. East Lothian Council Groundcare Services have undertaken to purchase and plant the rose bushes (floribundi) and to annually prune the roses and maintain the rose bed. Planting to be undertaken during March 1999. The Millennium Committee has commissioned an engraved stone plaque to be erected. The Rose Garden would be dedicated in March 2000.

17th March. The Convener of the Fabric Committee, Mr. G.C. Davie advised the Kirk Session that in consultation with members of the Fabric Committee he had completed a feasibility study on the practicality of creating a reception area at the back of the Church as authorised by the Kirk Session on 8th November 1998. The project would require the removal of pews, the installation and carpeting of the new floor area and the installation of power points and light fittings at an estimated cost of under £800. The Millennium Committee informed the Kirk Session that it was their intention to fund the project as part of their Millennium programme. The Kirk Session approved the project in principle and at this time felt it appropriate to consult with members of the congregation giving them an opportunity to examine the plans and express their views on the project.

Consultations were held on 17th June, 1st and 8th August. The recorded attendance at the Consultative meetings – Kirk Session members (not on the Fabric or Millennium Committees) 10; Communicant members 6; Adherents 2. Four objections had been received from those who had attended (two were withdrawn on presentation of a revised plan); four objections from persons not attending the consultations. This represented from a congregational roll of over 360 a total of six objections.

Following prolonged discussion the Kirk Session approved the project by a majority vote (14 for, 7 against, with 2 abstentions)

19th May. The Millennium Committee intimated that the following projects would be undertaken in addition to the Stained Glass Window and Memorial Rose Garden:-

  1. Renovations to rear of Church to create and carpet a reception area.
  2. Purchase of Bibles for each child attending Sunday School
  3. Presentation of a Bible at each Baptism during 2000
  4. Presentation of a Bible at each Church Wedding during 2000
  5. A social event for members of the congregation during 2000
  6. Any surplus funds to be used to buy new folding tables for use in the Kirk Stables.