Records of St Andrews Congregational Church, St Andrews, Fife

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The records include minutes of meetings, membership rolls, financial material and papers relating to the life of the congregation including work with women and children.

Administrative / Biographical History

The evangelical activities of the Haldane brothers provoked a growth in non-conformity. An independent or congregational society was functioning in St Andrews with its own minister by 1805 and shortly therafter with a chapel at 101 Market Street. From 1839 the building was also used by a Baptist group who moved in 1843 to their own building on South Street. In 1853 the Congregationalists acquired a new chapel in South Bell Steet, a well-designed gothic building by Jesse Hall of St Andrews, which continued in use until the society was disbanded in 1966.

Congregationalism emerged in Scotland at the end of the eighteenth century as the result of a revival of religion and as a protest against the formalism and authority of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland. The Congregational Union was founded in 1813. In the 1840s a number of churches came into being in response to the preaching of James Morrison, in which he challenged the Calvinist beliefs of the Church of Scotland. These churches formed the Evangelical Union and adopted the Congregational form of church order. In 1897 the Evangelical Union and the Congregational Union merged in the first church union of modern times.

In the 20th century, moves towards organic union with other denominations increased in Scotland as they had done in England and Wales. In 1993, the Congregational Union of Scotland became the Scottish Congregational Church. As the concept of a national Congregational church is a contradiction in terms, Congregationalism being the belief that each individual church is a church in its own right, independent of other churches, about a third of the Congregational churches left the Scottish Congregational Church and became members of the Congregational Federation. In recent years since this initial group of churches joined the Federation, there have been a steady stream of Scottish Congregational churches moving their affiliation to the Congregational Federation. In April 2000 50 of the churches in membership with the Scottish Congregational Church became the Scottish Synod of the United Reformed Church.

Sources: website of the Scottish Congregational Union, R.G. Cant, 'Public Buildings of St Andrews, 1790-1914, Churches, Schools and Hospitals', in Three Decades of Historical Notes, (St Andrews, 1991), p. 121.


  • ms30326-30333 Minutes of meetings of deacons and congregation, 1896-1966 (8 volumes)
  • ms30334-30335 Rolls of members, 1822-1946, with communion attendances, 1917-1946 (2 volumes);
  • ms30336 Church meeting attendances, ca. 1951-1953;
  • ms30337-30338 Cash books, 1906-1964 (2 volumes);
  • ms30339-30340 Free will registers, 1948-1965 (2 volumes);
  • ms30341 Minutes of Sunday School, 1846-1869 and 1930-1931 with miscellaneous Sunday School accounts, 1847-1918;
  • ms30342 Minutes of womens' work party, 1937-1945;
  • ms30343 Accounts of womens' work party, 1943-1966;
  • ms30344 Miscellaneous papers relating to the congregation, 1882-1966 (2 files, 3 plaques).

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.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the Library of the University of St Andrews by the Trustees of the Church in 1966.


Brass plaque transferred to custody of University Collections, 2003.

Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project.

Other Finding Aids

No list, but entered into general index of manuscripts in Reading Room at Special Collections Department of Library of University of St Andrews.

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.

Geographical Names