Fraserburgh Old Parish Church
Fraserburgh Old Parish Church was founded in 1571 in the village of Faithlie which was soon to be built up into the town of Fraserburgh
Fraserburgh is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland with a population recorded in the 2001 Census at 12,454 and estimated at 12,630 in 2006. It lies at the extreme northeast corner of Aberdeenshire, around north of Aberdeen, and north of Peterhead...

. The church itself was the first new structure of Sir Alexander Fraser's new town after the Castle of Kinnaird's Head. It did not take long for the church to become embroiled in its first controversy due to the religious troubles of the time. From the building of the Kirk in 1571 until 1600, Scotland's official religion was that of Presbytery. When King James VI introduced Episcopacy as the official religion in 1600, Fraserburgh had a devout Presbyterian in the pulpit.
The Rev. Charles Ferme MA (c.1565-1617), was appointed to Fraserburgh Old in 1599 and rejected the King's new style of religious government. Instead he allied himself with Rev Andrew Melville
Andrew Melville
Andrew Melville was a Scottish scholar, theologian and religious reformer. His fame encouraged scholars from the European Continent to study at Glasgow and St Andrews.-Early life and early education:...

 - a man who did much to frustrate King James VI from infancy. On 2 July 1605, Ferme was one of the 14 ministers who attended the unauthorised Assembly of Aberdeen. For his part in disobeying the King he was imprisoned in the Doune Castle
Doune Castle
Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune, in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The castle is sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith. It lies north-west of Stirling, where the Teith flows into the River Forth...

 for a year, before being exiled to the Highlands for a number of years. He was in exile until at least 1609, before being released to his Parish where her died in 1617. After his death, the Kirk slipped into the Episcopal form of Church Government.
Not much is recorded about the Kirk over the next century. Events seem abnormally quiet for the times which suggest that the Kirk had undergone a contented shift to Episcopacy by the 1640s. It is worth mentioning that in 1684 the Lord Saltoun
Lord Saltoun
Lord Saltoun, of Abernethy, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1445 for Sir Lawrence Abernethy. The title remained in the Abernethy family until the death in 1669 of his great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter, the tenth Lady Saltoun. She was succeeded by her cousin...

 married off his grandson and heir, William Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun
William Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun
William Fraser, 12th Lord Saltoun , was a Scottish peer and the 11th Laird of Philorth.-Early years:Fraser was born on 11 November 1654 in the small town of Fraserburgh. His father was Alexander Fraser, Master of Saltoun and Lady Ann Kerr...

 to Margaret Sharp, daughter of James Sharp (archbishop), the famous Archbishop of St. Andrews who was charged with installing Episcopacy throughout Scotland. Lord Saltoun also appointed the ministers of the High Kirk.

The quiet, however, did not last. In 1689, Presbyterianism was restored as Scotland's established church. Just as in 1600, Fraserburgh had the wrong kind of minister in the pulpit. Furthermore, the people of the town seemed to have no love for the Presbyterian form of Church Government. The Episcopal Minister was allowed to hold his charge until his death - as was agreed in the Scottish Constitution of 1688. The minister at the time, Rev. James Moore, continued his ministry until his death in 1703. His assistant - and son - Rev Alexander Moore took over the charge in 1703 - an illegal move as far as the law was concerned. Officially the Kirk was declared vacant until 1706 when finally a willing Presbyterian minister (who was either brave or stupid) finally accepted the call. When the unfortunate representative of the Presbytery in 1706 came to declare and induct the new minister, the church was stormed and he flung from the pulpit. After this event the Master of Saltoun petitioned the Presbytery demanding that the Rev Moore be allowed to take the charge of Fraserburgh. This was rejected, and in 1707 the Rev. Aleander Auchinleck became the first Presbyterian minister of Fraserburgh in almost a century. Upon taking the Kirk, he found he held only half of the congregation that Moore held. Although the new minister built up the congregation throughout his 47 year ministry, the Episcopalians tried to storm and take the kirk on several occasions up until the 1740s. Since that shaky start to Presbyterian rule in 1707, it has survived to the present date.

This was the last major upheaval that Fraserburgh Old experienced. Due to the riots caused in the Kirk in the 18th Century, a new Church building was erected on the site of the old building in 1802/3 in the ministry of Rev. Alexander Simpson. This building is in use to date, although the interior has been extensively renovated several times since. In 1843 Fraserburgh Old emerged relatively unscathed from the Disruption of the Church of Scotland. The minister at the time, Rev. John Cumming, seemed all set to join the schism but - to the surprise to most - stayed within the Established Church. He was an erratic character known to argue with anyone who would give him the opportunity. In 1852 he oversaw the deposition of one assistant, the Rev John Lockhart, for 'misconduct', and frequently bickered with his second assistant, Rev. John Storrie, until Cumming died in 1857 aged 85. In the 1860s, under the ministry of Rev Peter McLaren, the Parish State in Fraserburgh branched out to extend education in the Parish. McLaren is credited with the founding of no less than three new schools in the parish during his ministry.

It was during McLaren's ministry that the church peaked in both power and influence within the parish. No minister after McLaren was as influential or (arguably) controversial. His successor, Rev. Michael P. Johnstone, oversaw the renovation of the church to how it basically is today. In 1898 the new pipe organ was installed, and 1906 saw the dedication of the impressive Anderson memorial stained-glass window, designed by Douglas Strachan
Douglas Strachan
Dr. Douglas Strachan was considered the most significant Scottish designer of stained glass windows in the 20th Century. Schooled at Robert Gordon's, he studied art at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, at the Life School of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, and the Royal Academy in London...

. He demitted office in 1919 due to ill health. His successor, Rev. W. Neil Sutherland, tried in his short ministry to boost congregation numbers by encouraging church social and youth groups. He was relatively successful, and in this pursuit purchased the 'Penny Schoolie' as the Old Parish's church hall. Things continued relatively quiet under the next two charges with little to note. The church was almost destroyed during the Second World War. On one occasion a sheet of metal fell through the church roof during a bombing raid, slicing a small chip on the pulpit. To date this mark is referred to as "Hitler's mark" by the congregation.

More recent developments

During the ministry of the late Rev Douglas R. Clyne, much was done to expand the youth groups of the church. In his ministry the 'Penny Schoolie' was renovated in 1976 for better accommodation, a new church centre built in 1990-92, and a special 'Youth Dedication Service' has been held annually for years. All these projects show his dedication to the youth of the church. Today, the Old Parish Church continues to host many youth groups including: the Badminton Club, Boys' Brigade
Boys' Brigade
For the 80s New Wave band from Canada, see Boys Brigade .The Boys' Brigade is an interdenominational Christian youth organisation, conceived by William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian values...

 (with band); Covenanters; Girls' Brigade
Girls' Brigade
The Girls' Brigade is an international and interdenominational Christian youth organization. It was founded in 1893 in Dublin, Ireland. The modern organization was formed as the result of the amalgamation of three like-minded and similarly structured organizations in 1964...

; Junior Choir; as well as Sunday School groups. There are social groups for adults also. The Rev. Clyne demitted office in 2004, and a three year vacancy (under Rev. George S. Noble) ensued. The current minister, Rev. Peter B. Park, was inducted in November 2007. Since his arrival he has overseen the development of a 'Hand Bell' group (The Clangers) which was founded in the last year of the Clyne ministry. Park was also a noted name at the 2009 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is the sovereign and highest court of the Church of Scotland, and is thus the Church's governing body[1] An Introduction to Practice and Procedure in the Church of Scotland, A Gordon McGillivray, 2nd Edition .-Church courts:As a Presbyterian church,...

when he openly opposed the appointment of the Rev Scott Rennie - an openly gay minister and divorced father of one. “There is a danger that we will make a decision [about homosexuality in the ministry] based on the prevailing culture of our time,” said the Rev Peter B.Park, who moved the procedural amendment. He was defeated.
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