Church of Scotland

Church of Scotland logo (St Andrew's flag with burning bush).


Barnton Street, STIRLING FK8 1HF
Tel: +44(0)1786 471400

Church of Scotland emblem.

The Presbytery of Stirling with the overwhelming support of all members, and the congregations of Viewfield and the Holy Rude now eagerly embarks on a new linkage between VIEWFIELD ERSKINE CHURCH and CHURCH OF THE HOLY RUDE.

Viewfield History

Viewfield Church.

The original Viewfield meeting house had been built in 1752. The cost of the building was not known, but a debt of £200 had been incurred. It could seat 522 persons. In 1860 a new church, which is the present building, was opened with a similar capacity.

As with most churches of the time, Viewfield rented out the pews. About two-thirds of those available for let were in fact taken. In Viewfield 88 pews were set aside for the poor. The rates charged for the pews ranged from 5/- to 11/-; compared to other churches, the majority in Viewfield were let relatively cheaply, but the sum of £130 a year provided from this source made it the congregation's biggest single source of revenue. Ordinary collections in Viewfield amounted to about £56 a year and together with seat rents formed the basis of the minister's stipend. There were no manses provided for the ministers, nor was there any assistance from local or national taxes to Secession congregations. After paying the stipend there was only a small amount left for items like repairs, and the salaries of the church officer and precentor. While Viewfield had no great liabilities outstanding, it is clear that it operated within close financial limits, and had a fairly constant struggle to maintain financial viability.

The provision of worship and pastoral care was not dissimilar to that of most churches of the time. There were two services each Sunday with an evening service in alternate weeks. Classes were held for young people and hi Viewfield attracted between 40 and 60 persons. There was a library of about 400 volumes. There were a number of prayer meetings, a particular feature of the Secession churches. A report of the Royal Commission on Religious Instruction suggests that in the late 1830's they were working quietly but effectively within their own bounds.

During the rest of the nineteenth century the Secession churches of Stirling changed their denomination twice more. In 1847 the United Secession Church joined with the Relief Church to form the United Presbyterians. This line of development kept Erskine and Viewfield out of the most famous split hi Scottish church history, the Disruption of 1823 which produced the breakaway of the Free Church from the Established Kirk. By 1900, however, the United Presbyterians and the Free Church of Scotland had united under the name of the United Free Church of Scotland. At this time Viewfield Church was in a poor state. Since 1845 the minister had been Walter Scott, a scholar with a passion for book-collecting. It was hinted, however, that he was less than successful in ministering to his congregation, and that Viewfield was at a low ebb.

What Viewfield did possess was a sound building. The Viewfield office-bearers indicated that they were prepared to look at a union with the 'mother church' of the Secession, the Erskine Church in St. John Street, provided that Viewfield would become the place of worship for the new congregation. The result was a row which created a rumpus in Stirling and attracted national attention. Eventually, after prolonged debate and a good deal of ill-feeling, the Presbytery accepted the union, but equally resolved to make arrangements for the oversight of those of the Erskine congregation who refused to join with Viewfield and who numbered about 240.

The union was effected on Sunday, 2nd May, 1909, with three services in Viewfield Church, the Rev. Mr. Wright being minister of the new congregation, and bringing some 150 members and half the Erskine Session with him. The issue of the use of the Erskine name rumbled on throughout 1909, until finally an amicable solution was obtained. The building in which the new united congregation worshipped was to be called Viewfield Church, but the congregation itself was to be called 'Viewfield-Erskine', and that is how it has remained ever since.

The Stained Glass Window.

The stained glass window, which depicts the Creation Story as found in Genesis chapter 1, was designed by Christian Shaw, and was bequeathed by Mr. Alistair Cameron in memory of himself and his wife. It was dedicated in December 1999.
Viewfield Erskine Church Viewfield Erskine Church
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