The United Presbyterians – Wormit’s Forgotten Congregation

There was a United Presbyterian congregation in Wormit from the early 1890s to 1898. They had their own minister, Rev. Hugh Carmichael, and appear to have been similar in strength to, if not bigger than, the Free Church congregation at the time; but they have been largely forgotten. This is despite the strongly-held views and not a few arguments provoked by the proposed union of the two denominations.

A timeline may be of help here:

1889: the Forgan Church (of Scotland) opened a meeting hall at Wormit in a converted house at Railway Cottages. Status later raised to a Mission.

1893: Free Church congregation are meeting in the Railway Cottages on 2 Sundays a month.

1894: Wormit U.P. congregation members strongly in favour of a Union Church in association with the Free Church. Rev. Rae (Newport Free Church) is against it. At this point, neither congregation had a building to call their own or a permanent minister. Discussions continue.

1895: The Established Church congregation moved to the newly-built Hall in Bay Road (now West Hall).

1895: Free Church opened their Preaching Station, later to become a Mission Station (now the East Hall) – cost about £400. Rev. Livingston is minister. [As a general aside, I am struck by the way the non-Established ministers locally preach in each other’s pulpits.]

October 1895: Rev. Hugh Carmichael selected as U.P. minister for Wormit. The U.P. congregation meets in the Public Hall (above the Wormit Post Office).

November 1897: U.P. minister Rev. Hugh Carmichael moves to Glasgow, replaced for 2 months by Rev. Macleroy.

1898: Established Church raised to a Chapel of Ease.

February 1898: Free Church & U.P. Church locally agree to union. The choice of denomination (Free Church or U.P.) would be decided by the choice of new minister, to be selected from a leet of 4.

June 1898: Plans for a new U.P. church submitted to Dundee U.P. Presbytery, estimated cost £2700.

July 1898: At a meeting of the Union Church, Wormit [sic], 5 names were submitted for the position of minister. Rev. Tweedie elected by a majority. The church will now be under the constitution of the Free Church.

July 1898: Rev. Livingston, having voluntarily retired from his candidature in connection with the recent union, in order to promote the harmony of the settlement, leaves the Free Church charge.

August 1898: Union ratified: the congregations become the Wormit United Free Church. The congregations had selected as minister Rev. John Tweedie – a Free Church probationer. The denomination of the church would therefore be Free Church. Donation of £500 received from the Home Mission Board of the U.P. Church towards the costs of construction of a new church.

October 1898: Rev. John Tweedie inducted to the united charge. ‘The congregation were urged to use consideration and forebearance towards each other and to give their minister a kindly welcome.’

1899 – 1901: Construction of new United Free Church – cost £3000.

A piece in the Evening Telegraph in 1908 declares that ‘Wormit set the example of Union for the rest of Scotland to follow, with the election of Mr Tweedie’.

Sources:

Dundee Advertiser: 7 November 1894, 12 October 1895, 2 September 1898;
Dundee Courier: 7 & 15 November 1894, 28 December 1895, 21 March, 1896, 30 November 1897, 9 June 1898, 21 July 1898, 11 August 1898;
Dundee Evening Telegraph: 25 September 1908;
Newspapers can be found on the British Newspaper Archive or Find My Past sites.
The History of Wormit Church

Jottings seems to have had quite a few posts about the local churches – this was not the intention, it just ‘happened’.

2d. Train Fare Forces Return to City

Drumclog sits above the road in Wormit, looking over to Dundee and west up the river – an ideal spot for a house in 1895 (and it still is). Its first owner was Rev. Robert Howie Wyllie, the popular and hard-working minister of the Hawkhill U. P. Church in Dundee. From the time he was called to Dundee in 1889 he had stayed in the pleasant surroundings of Westpark Road on the Perth Road, but he joined an ever-growing movement of the middle and professional classes to Wormit. He initially rented a house in Birkhill Avenue but within the year had moved into Drumclog.

But being a minister means having commitments to your congregation, and it was the congregation who put an end to his rural residence. They objected to having to pay 2d. for the train fare to come to see their minister, so Rev. Wyllie had to return to Dundee and took up residence in Blackness Road. He may well have had thoughts of returning to Drumclog as he didn’t sell the house when he returned to the city. Unfortunately, ill health took its toll and he ended his days at his home in Blackness Road. Drumclog was bought by its sitting tenant, James Ogilvy Adams, who renamed it Abbotsford.