Records of Newport Chapel of Ease, St Thomas's Kirk Session
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Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Newport: St Thomas's was established as a chapel of ease in 1870, and in 1875 the parish of Newport was erected quoad sacra. It was in the Presbytery of St Andrews and Synod of Fife until ca.1929, thereafter in the Presbytery of Dundee and Synod of Angus and Mearns. In 1980 Newport: St Thomas's was united with Newport: St Fillan's and with Forgan under the designation Newport-on-Tay.
Each congregation of the Church of Scotland has a Kirk Session, which comprises the minister(s) and the ruling elders, all members of the Session (including the minister) being elders. The elders' duty is care for the spiritual needs of the congregation; each of them has a district of the parish assigned to him/her. The Kirk Session determines the number of elders. The minister is moderator of the Session, and there is a clerk who has custody of all the Session's records. There may also be a treasurer, and an officer or beadle. The Session must have maintained a communion roll, containing the names and addresses of the communicant church members within the parish.
The Kirk Session's duties are to maintain good order amongst its congregation (including administering discipline and superintending the moral and religious condition of the parish), and to implement the Acts of the General Assembly. The Kirk Session is at the base of the pyramid of church courts, and it is subject to the review of the Presbytery in which it is situated, and to the superior courts of the Church. Each Kirk Session elects one of its number to represent it at the Presbytery (and formerly at the Synod).
Into the 19th century, there used to be weekly collections made for the support of the poor, but as the state began to assume responsibility for their support (by means of taxation) so funds collected from communicants might be directed to special schemes (eg support of missionaries), more recently through a weekly freewill offering scheme. Seat or pew rents were also quite common (money paid for a fixed seat in a church), but declined rapidly from the 1950s. Many congregations now have a congregational board, which monitors income and expenditure. Former Free Church congregations often had Deacons' Courts, which had responsibility for the whole property of the congregation, and had to apply spiritual principles in the conduct of their affairs.
Sources: Hew Scott and others (ed.), Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, vols. 5 and 8-11 (Edinburgh, 1915-2000).
Conditions Governing Access
By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs.
Held under charge and superintendence of the Keeper of Records for Scotland.
Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project, based on description created by Alan Borthwick, Scottish Archive Network project.
Other Finding Aids
Typescript catalogue available in St Andrews University Library Department of Special Collections and in National Archives of Scotland search rooms.
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.