Person NameFree Church of Scotland; 1843-1900
ActivityIn May 1843 more than a third of the Church of Scotland's 1200 ministers and almost half of its laity withdrew from the Established Church. This event, known as The Disruption, was prompted in particular by the revival in the 1830s of the dormant dispute over lay patronage. A situation in which parliament and the civil courts were acting in support of patrons' interests proved intolerable for the evangelical section of the church, which asserted the church's independence from the state in matters spiritual. The anti-patronage evangelicals seceded and formed the Free Church of Scotland. The first assembly of the Free Church took place at Tanfield Hall on what is now Warriston Place, Edinburgh. It was there that more than 380 ministers signed the deed of demission, by which they withdrew from their livings.

This new body was joined by most Auld Lichts of the Antiburgher branch of the first Secession Church in 1852 and the greater part of the Reformed Presbyterian (or Cameronian) Church was similarly absorbed by the Free Church in 1876. A part of this enlarged Free Church seceded in 1892 and founded the Free Presbyterian Church. In 1900 the Free Church of Scotland joined with the United Presbyterian Church (formed in 1847) to form the United Free Church. However, around 150 Highland congregations rejected the union, and this body, keeping the name of the Free Church of Scotland, continues as a separate denomination. In 1929 the majority of United Free Church congregations reunited with the Church of Scotland. The remaining congregations have maintained their independence since then as the Continuing United Free Church.
Corporate NameFree Church of Scotland
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