1912: New Cumnock Documents

Two local documents were found within the time capsule . The first was a hand-written document giving some notes on the laying of the foundation stone, the early challenges faced in the building of the Arthur Memorial Church and the names of the Minister, Elder, Deacons of the Court and other positions held. The second was a printed document on the 1911 Financial Accounts of the church.

Notes on the laying of the Foundation Stone


The following hand-written note was contained within the capsule recording the Architect, Contractors, Mason and Carpenters involved in building the Free Church along with the names of the Minister, Elders and Committee.

“The Memorial Stone of this Church (New Cumnock United Free Church) was laid, with appropriate religious services, by the Reverend Thomas Whitelaw D.D., Kilmarnock, the Moderator for this year 1912, of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland and by Sir Andrew H. L. Fraser L.L.D, K.C, lately Lieutenant Governor of Bengal , India, himself the first Moderator, though a layman of recently constituted Presbyterian Church of India (N.B. These words were scored out , Sir Andrew was unavoidably delayed and did not attned the ceremomy.)

This church, whose memorial stone is now being laid, at four o’clock, on Saturday 7th September 1912, is being created by the munificence of the late Mr. Wm. Arthur, retired farmer, of Arthur Seat Cottage, Pathhead, New Cumnock, who died in the month of February 1894, and directed his trustees to pay to the Deacons Court of this Congregation 3/5 of his residue to repair, renew, enlarge, or rebuild, the then existing church (whose foundation stone had been laid on 29th August 1843). The sum paid in Nov 1825 to the Deacon’s Court (£2868) having lain at interest until it grew to ???? £4,000; and the needs of the Congregation to have accommodation on larger basis and after a modern style of architecture being recognised by all it was resolved with Congregation on 25 Jan 1911 ( a perfect hurricane of wind & raining not withstanding) to go forward to the creation of not only a new church but to enlarge the then xxx Hall (the old Free Church School) thereby securing permanent room for the Sabbath School children in the Hall to be forever so, and to do away with the custom of holding the Sabbath School in the main Church.

These things being all duly agreed and no obstacle intervening an Architect was found in the person of Mr W. Beddoe Rees, 3 Dumfries Place, Cardiff to whose designs the present building will finally conform: the cost to be within £3,700 if at all reasonably possible.

The contractors having been selected by open competition the old buildings were surrendered to them as from 17 Jul 1911, and steadily the work went on. The New Hall (built wholly of the old whin stones of the old church) was opened for public worship on Sabbath 24 Dec 1911. The Congregation having worshipped in the Town Hall for a few months were glad to be housed in their own building again : and public worship is ???? held the new Hall.

A rather distressing experience came to the Congregation through stone decay in the New Church. The stone selected after much enquiry was that from Seven Acres (“Snakers”) Quarry, Kilwinning  – a very effective stone it seemed to be, as found in the first completed R.C. Chapel at Troon. But a very severe frost following upon a almost ??? a severe deluge of rain has stopped falling – brought much of the stone to dust – to the dismay of the Congregation. This occasioned a delay of about five months – xxx at the end of May, work began again: ???

From the resumption of the work, there has been no hitch , and this day all work is very well indeed and seems to justify the thought that, are many months faraway. The Congregation will be with housed in its own church – to worship God for length of days. Such is the prayer of one and all.

Minister: The Revd. William Scott ordained here 15, December, 1877.

Elders: Hugh Muir ( manager of Co-operative Society for 21 years having retired in Dunscore, Whitsun 1911); Wm. McKnight, Miner; Thos. McFarlane flesher; Wm. Black painter; Wm. Dowie, pitman; Wm. Gold , plumber; Byron Stevenson, miner; Robert Shankland, pointsman; Ja.s Armstrong, shepherd & John Trotter, draper.

Deacons: James Moodie, Inspector of poor; James Blackwood, roadman; Wm. Dowie pitheadman; David Scoular, grocer; Thos. Love, flesher; Jas Donaldson, farmer & John Lawson, miner.

  • Session Clerk: William Gold, plumber
  • Deacon Court Clerk: William Gold, plumber
  • Congregational Treasurer: Thos. Love, flesher
  • Central Fund Treasurer: John Trotter, draper
  • Foreign Missionary Fund: Mrs Scott, The Manse
  • Superintendent of Sabbath School: Thos. MacFarlane
  • Supertintendent of Band of Hope: Thos. MacFarlane
  • Leader of Kitchen ?????: John Trotter
  • Praise Leader & Organist: Sidney Latimer, clerk
  • Church Officer: James Pearson, baker
    • who followed his father William (who served 46 years)
      • who followed his father , the beadle in ’43.


  • Messr. Reid, Catrine – all but painting
  • Wm. Black,  New Cumnock, painting
  • Builders: Messr. Reid
  • Joiners: G. Finlay & sons, Mauchline
  • Plasters: Mr. Campbell, Catrine
  • Slater, Plumbers: Wm. Gold, plumbers

Inspector of Works: Mr George Cairns, Kilmarnock

Architect: W. Beddoe Rees Esquire, 3 Dumfries Place, Cardiff (who also acts as Measurer)

Financial Accounts of New Cumnock United Free Church




I have again the pleasure of submitting to you the ABSTRACT OF ACCOUNTS for the last year , as passed by the Auditors and approved by the Deacons’ Court.

The Court are pleased to see that the Church Door collections , notwithstanding the great inconvenience to which the Members have been out by the rebuilding of the Church are practically the same as last year. they also observe that the Collections for the Central Fund during the year have been maintained , but they would again urge on all Members the importance of this Fund , and the necessity of regularity in the contributions.

In name of the Deacons’ Court.
January , 1912