The Free Church and the Disruption

In 1843, there was a third breakaway from the Established Church in Scotland. This was the "Disruption" associated with Thomas Chalmers and led to the formation of the Free Church. Over 400 ministers resigned from the Church of Scotland. The Minister of the Parish, David Barclay Mellis, and almost the entire congregation, "came out" in 1843. A church was erected forthwith, up the Huntingfaulds Road, and the manse soon afterwards. (The manse still stands and is now privately owned, the church ruins are in the garden). The Free Church also provided schools for their children. The County Register of Free Church Clergy and Teachers in 1845 shows that the teacher in Tealing was a Mr William Rattray.

William Elder became Minister of Tealing Parish Church in 1843 and although he "subscribed the Solemn Engagement and both series of Resolutions of Convocation" he did not join the Free Church. He took up the charge at Tealing on 28 September 1843, with a much-reduced congregation, where he remained until he died in August 1890. When David Mellis died in 1861, he was succeeded at Tealing Free Church by Duncan Turner, who ministered there until 1883, when the Rev, Neil S Elder took over. So, there was a time, between 1883 and 1889, when the Ministers of both Tealing Churches were known as "the Rev. Elder" very confusing!

The History of the Free Church Congregations states that "the church suffered through the extinction of handloom weaving and the absorption of crofts in larger farms". Then, in 1900, the Free Church united with the United Presbyterian Church to become the United Free Church. In 1929, the United Free Church united with the Established Church (the Church of Scotland) and Tealing returned to having one church, Tealing Parish Church. The Rev. James Alexander Sutherland Wilson took over the reigns at Tealing on 15 June 1929, the 86 year separation of the congregations over. The United Free Church, manse and outbuildings were sold for £845, 9 shillings - and the proceeds were invested for the Fabric Fund.

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