[From Brown's Directory, 1881/2]


The Presbyterian Church of England is represented in Douglas by the congregation which meets for Divine worship in what is popularly known as St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Finch-road. The present handsome structure, with its tall tapering spire, occupies a commanding position opposite the imposing pile of buildings formerly the property of the Bank of Mona, but now held by the Insular Government for Government offices, and covers the site of a former building erected about 1831—and commonly called the " Scotch Church, or " Scotch Kirk."

In a printed document, dated November, 1830, it is stated "that from time immemorial, the Isle of Man. from its contiguity to Scotland, has been the residence of several Scotch families, who, as well as others, natives of the Island, and elsewhere, have been attached to the Doctrine, the Discipline, and Forms of Presbyterian Worship." In 1829 a congregation was formed under the ministry of the Rev. David Barclay Mellis, who was ordained in Edinburgh by the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, then Moderator of the Presbytery of Edinburgh. with Messrs. James McCrone, crown agent in the Isle of Man, John Connal, and John Christian, as Elders. The congregation at that time met for worship in a large room or hall in Fort-street. Through the active exertions and interest of Mr. McCrone (then residing in Castle Mona, and who with his family was warmly attached to the Church of Scotland), a site was purchased, and a Church and Manse having been erected, the whole property was conveyed by Mr. McCrone and his wife to ten Trustees, among whom were such well-known Douglas names as Gavin Torrance, John Clarke, Andrew Craughan, and H. B . Oswald, surgeon.

Mr. Mellis was ordained in August. 1830, as Pastor of the congregation, and was translated in 1835 to the parish of Tealing, in Forfarshire. In a letter written in 1858, a few years before his decease, he furnishes some interesting reminiscences, and speaks very lovingly of his experience both with his congregation and others in the Island. "Our Scotch Psalm Book," he says, "was introduced into the congregarion as the book of praise. The congregation was never large and very fluctuating. Indeed a large portion of the population was of a fluctuating character. During my stay we had visits from Drs. Clason, Dickson, Maclagan, and Sievewright. We had clerical intercourse with the Presbyterian ministers of Liverpool, Dr. Ralph, who was afterwards settled in Fife, and Dr. Park, now of St. Andrew’s. We were on the most cordial and friendly footing with the Episcopal clergy. I have seen several of the English clergy in our church of an evening. Dr. Carpenter was then in Douglas, and there was a clerical prayer meeting at Kirby House, then occupied by his brother-in-law, an Irish clergyman. I have been present at these meetings. The Bishop, then Bishop Ward, was most friendly, and used to call at the Scotch Manse. He offered me ordination in the English Church without any ordeal, which, however, I was not ambitious of, and declined, and he gave me, on removing from the Island, a large Family Bible which I still use at family worship. These notices serve to show the fraternal reception which I experienced among the Episcopal clergy."

Mr. Mellis was succeeded by the Rev. Walter McLean, who took an active interest in matters connected with the welfare of the town. He was a member of the first committee of the House of Industry, and " through his persevering agency," says Train, in his History of the isle of Man, " a Savings Bank was established at Douglas, in the year 1835, which has succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. " Mr. McLean was followed by the Rev. William Wilson, who, after three years, was removed to Scotland, and succeeded by the Rev. James Cleland, who came to the Island on the 18th May, 1844. After a ministry of twenty years, Mr. Cleland was translated to the charge of the congregation at Risley, in Lancashire, and was succeeded by the present minister, the Rev. James Fettes, an ordained minister of the Free Church of Scotland at Ladhope, Galashiels.

Mr. Fettes was inducted to his charge in Douglas on the 21st of September, 1865. In the spring of 1866 the old Scotch Church was removed to make way for the present church, with its large Sabbath school-room and smaller class-rooms. The memorial stone was laid by Dr. Steele, of Strathallan Hall, a ruling elder of the Church, and a devoted friend of the congregation, who was presented with a handsome silver trowel, bearing the inscription, " Presented to Alexander Steele, LLD., Ph.D., on laying the memorial stone of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Douglas, Isle of Man, 3rd October, 1867. The new church was opened for public worship in 1867. The affairs of the congregation are managed by the minister and his elders—or Kirk Session ; and by the minister, elders, and deacons—called the Deacons’ Court. The elders or session consist of members of the congregation, who are elected by the communicants and ordained to the office of elders or presbyters by the minister and kirk session. To the session belongs the conduct of the spiritual matters of the congregation. To the deacons’ court, consisting of minister and elders, and approved members of the congregation who have been elected and ordained to the office of deacons belongs the management of the more temporal affairs of the congregation. rllhe whole, however, ministers, elders, deacons, and members of the congregation are subject to the constitutional jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Liverpool in connection with the synod of the Presbyterian Church of England. In connection with St. Andrew’ Church there is a flourishing congregational Sabbath school under the management of the minister and an efficient staff of male and female teachers ; with occasional classes for the study of Biblical Theology. There is a good library of standard Theological and other works belonging to the church for the use of the congregation, and also a library for the Sunday school teachers and scholars.

In September, 1881, a turret clock, furnished by Mr. Little, of Prospect-hill was placed in the church tower.

The congregation meets for Divine worship each Sabbath morning at ii-Sabbath evening at 6-30 ; and Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock.

The Presbyterian Church of England is represented in Ramsey by the congregation which meets in Trinity Presbyterian Church, a plain modest building situate in Albert street, Ramsey. The congregation has completed half a century of existence. In 1830 the Wigton Presbytery of the United Secession Church of Scotland commenced a mission in Ramsey ; a year later it was recognised as a station within the bounds of that Presbytery. In 1834 the present building was erected, and for some time the Rev. John Robb undertook the oversight of the congregation then forming. In 1853 the Rev. Wm. Walker was ordained to the pastorate of the church by the Presbytery of Lancashire ; he remained but a short time, and then emigrated to Canada. The Rev Duncan McOwen the next minister, was ordained on December 3, 1856.This gentleman resigned his charge in June, 1873, afterwards being appointed to a parish in the Shetlands in connection with the established Church of Scotland. After his resignation the congregation entered upon a long and tedious vacancy lasting five years. In 1878 (June) the Rev. W. A. Cathcart, of London, formerly of St. Luke’s, Auckland, N.B., was ordained to the oversight of the congregation by the Presbytery of Liverpool. Since his appointment the church has awakened from its lethargy into a healthy and vigorous life, and the various departments of churchwork are progressing prosperously. The Presbytery element in the population is small, and the further development of the congregation depends much on the growth of the town and the influx of Presbyterians from Scotland. Divine services are conducted by the minister—Sabbath morning at 11, Sabbath evening 6-30 ; Wednesday evening 7-3,. In connection with the church a large and prosperous Sabbath-school is conducted under the supervision of the minister by Mr. Crennell and an efficient staff of teachers.


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