On Saturday 23rd May 1752 Thomas Gillespie was deposed from the ministry of the Church of Scotland for refusing to take part in the forced settlement of a minister at Inverkeithing. He preached the following day in the churchyard at Carnock, and on subsequent Sundays, first in a neighbouring hollow and then on the public highway to immense congregations.
As autumn approached his supporters purchased the Associate Congregation’s old meeting-house in Chapel Street, and, in September 1752, it was used as a place of worship by the first Relief Congregation in Scotland, and became the first home of our Congregation. The first meeting-place was situated on the opposite side of the street from the present Gillespie Memorial Church.
There Gillespie continued to minister until his death.
For the first nine years he stood entirely alone. In 1761 he joined with Thomas Boston of Jedburgh, who was in a similar position, and Thomas Collier of Colinsburgh, together with elders of the three congregations concerned, to form “The Presbytery of Relief” which became, in the course of time, the Relief denomination, and of which he is regarded as the founder, and ours as the “Mother Church”.
The Relief Church, which followed an independent existence from 1761 to 1847, joining then with the Secession Church to form the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, had a notable history. It was the first in Scotland to open its pulpits to all true ministers of Christ and its Communion Table to all believers; the first to introduce the hymn book into public worship; the first to sponsor the cause of foreign missions, and the first to take a definite stand against the evils of the slave trade.
WHERE WAS GILLESPIE’S CHURCH?
A good many people in Dunfermline assume that the church in which Gillespie preached was the one which occupied the site of the present Gillespie Church, and which was torn down in 1747. This is not the case, however. Gillespie’s meeting-house stood near the site of St Andrew’s Established Church.
The meeting-house was purchased by a number of personal friends, and they reserved to themselves, at Gillespie’s death, the right to sell the building, and divide the proceeds. The majority could either sell it or keep it up as a place of worship, paying out those who wished to have their money.
In that rude Church GILLESPIE preached
For twenty years and more;
To his reward and rest, he went
In Seventeen Seventy-four.”
Gillespie died on 19th January, 1774, in his 66th year, and on the day of his funeral his brother Robert invited, in Dunfermline churchyard, a number of the original donors or their heirs to meet that afternoon to consider what was to be done, with the church. The Rev. Mr Smith, the, successor of Gillespie, in his Relief sketches, says, in a kind of suspicious way – “For reasons best known to himself, Robert was now become an avowed enemy of the religious society which his deceased brother had the honour of founding.”
At the very time Robert Gillespie raised the question of the sale of the church at Dunfermline churchyard he was the land-factor for Dr Erskine, Edinburgh, for his estate in the parish of Carnock. Erskine was a, great friend Thomas Gillespie and strove repeatedly to get his sentence relaxed or reversed, and to win him back to the Establishment. The meeting in the churchyard was adjourned, and because of the, circumstances stated, and the allegations that Gillespie had intended to revolt from the Relief, and turn the meeting-house into a chapel-of-ease, a. majority of the original donors of the building and their heirs voted at the adjourned meeting for the alienation of the property from the Relief Church.
“A Court Of Session case arose on the property, and in the record of the case we are told that at a meeting held on 12th July 1774, the donors “unanimously recalled and annulled their former application to the Established Presbytery (for the building to be recognised as a chapel-of-ease), and ordered and appointed an application to ‘be made to the Relief Presbytery, and ordained the meeting-house to be kept up for worship and dispensing gospel ordinances in connection with the Relief Synod as it has been ever since there was any such Presbytery or Synod.”
Against this “Robert Gillespie, of Clearburn, for himself, and as pretending to have powers from some few of the contributors, protested, got out an interdict from the Court of Session, and a process at law was commenced, whether the judgment of the meeting on the 3rd of February or that of the 12th July was to be adhered to.”
The process was never finished. The property was not of great value. It did not belong to the worshipping congregation. They therefore proceeded to build a new church for themselves in 1776 with 520 sittings; and some years afterwards the Establishment took the old· meeting-house in connection with the church as a chapel of ease.
A NEW MEETING-HOUSE.
Here is a minute of the meeting at which the decision to hold by the Relief principles was arrived at:-
Abbey of Dunfermline, January 23, 1775.- The congregation having met, a number. of whom subscribed for purchasing ground and building a new meeting-house for the public worship of God, and agreed to ye following articles. Nine articles follow.
The first article is-
That a sufficient number of persons of character do give in as a free gift such a sum of money as their ability will admit of, for building a house for ye public worship of God, so large as to contain 6 or 700 sitters, no smaller sums to be accepted as a donation than 5 shls sterling, but who gives a smaller sum shall .be preferred to their seats accordingly.
A SITE SECURED: A MODEST BUILDING.
A site for a meeting-house was procured in Chapel Street opposite the old meeting-house. A minute, dated February 14th, 1775; sets forth that the managers met and authorised certain of their number to enter into contract with Mr John Black, jun., for thirty-two falls of ground for the purpose of building a meeting-house on. The minute then goes on to say that-
They all agreed with Robert Gall,. Mason, and Robert Black, wright, for ye building of ye walls and putting on ye roof of ye meeting house, they furnishing stones, wood, and every oyr material for ye sum of seventy-nine pounds sterling.
Here are two minutes bearing on the price and the collections for the meeting-house:-
Dunfermline, October 16, 1777 — “Meeting of ye managers of ye Relief Congregation, in the house, of John Cousins, which day ye managers greed to give Mr Smith sixty-five pounds of yearly stipend.” At the same meeting a list of donations was submitted – the total being £147. The last name on the list is that of the Rev. James Smith. At a meeting held on 17th April 1778 the treasurer submitted a statement from which it appeared that the total cost of the meeting-house had been £232 3s 111/2d. The subscriptions amounted to £149 10s 6d, leaving a debt on the building of £82 13s 51/2d.
In 1779 the minority were constituted as a “Chapel of Ease,” and in 1835 as a Quoad Sacra charge of the Church of Scotland, this being the St. Andrew’s Parish Church (which was demolished in …… to make way for the new Bus Station).
Meanwhile, the Relief Congregation had raised funds for a new meeting house which was erected on the present site in 1777.
Near to the place where now we sit,
A fragment may be seen
Of that old Church – it stood in front
Out there upon the green.”
THE ORIGIN OF THE GILLESPIE MEMORIAL CHURCH.
Here is an interesting minute of a meeting of the session dated 5th February 1847:-
It was agreed to make an effort to wipe of £30 of debt on the old building. This done, Dr McMichael stated that he had come to the painful conclusion that unless a new church was to be built he would resign his charge, and he wished to know what they were prepared to do before the 5th of May, being the time when the union would take place. His reasons for coming to this decision were that he had all along found the old damp, uncomfortable and unhealthy place of worship to be, as it were, a millstone hanging around his neck, impairing his usefulness.
At a meeting of the session and managers on 8th July 1847 it was unanimously agreed that an attempt should be made to erect a new church. A meeting of the congregation was summoned on 17th March 1847 for the purpose of hearing a report by the managers on the prospect· of funds for a new church. The subscription list showed promises of £244. This was not considered encouraging, and it was thought it would not be prudent nor safe to attempt to build a new church with £244 on hand.
A subsequent meeting of the congregation was held in May 1847, which was attended by the Rev. Dr French and Messrs Kirkland and Welsh from the Edinburgh Presbytery. The deputation explained, that the Secession was about to unite with the Relief, and they pressed the desirability of erecting a new church. The union of the Secession and the Relief Churches gave an impetus to the building fund, and the congregation ultimately decided to proceed with the erection of a church. It was agreed to take down the old building and to erect the new one on the same site.
Maygate Secession Church
In the history of Chalmers Street Church, the minister of that congregation, with a portion of his people, withdrew and formed themselves into a separate church in 1832. This was due to the fact that the minister had been suspended from his office for a time by the Presbytery.
When he was restored, some members of the Chalmers Street congregation still objected to him, thus his withdrawal. They purchased the Wesleyan Chapel in Maygate, which contained seating for 410.
After the great union of Secession and Relief churches in 1847, this congregation united with the North Chapel Street Relief Church and later became known as the Gillespie Church. The Maygate chapel was sold to the Baptists.
THE UNION OF THE MAYGATE AND NORTH CHAPEL STREET CHURCHES
In July 1847 a letter was received from the Secession congregation meeting in Maygate Chapel inviting them to worship with them in Maygate while the new church was being built. The letter went on to say “that this congregation shall be most happy to see them (the Relief congregation) worshipping along with them in this house.” In August 1847 the congregation removed to Maygate, and by December 1847 it was reported that the Maygate congregation had practically united with the North Chapel Street congregation.
“But here a little I must pause,
A circumstance to state,
About the Anti-Burgher Church
That worshipped in Maygate.
Their minister received a call,
And they made up their mind
To join with Gillespie Church,
And leave their own behind.
With open arms they were received
And welcomed, one and all;
I daresay some are sitting here
Who worshipped in that hall.”
In 1847 upon the Union of the Secession and Relief Churches (the one denomination with over 400 congregations and the other with 115), steps were taken to bring about a union between the Dunfermline Relief Church (our own) and Maygate Secession Church. This was consummated in the following year. On the 8th March 1848 a joint meeting of the congregations was held, at which union was unanimously agreed to, and the Maygate Church was withdrawn from the roll of the Presbytery.
The union of the Maygate and North Chapel Street congregations put new life into the Building Committee of the Gillespie Church, and from this date the work was pushed :forward with great effort. At a meeting of the congregation on 18th May 1848 it was announced that nearly £700 had been subscribed for the building fund, and it was agreed to build a church to cost £1200. The church cost £1634 16s 6d. Apart from a sum of £47, which came from outside sources, the money was raised by the two congregations of the Dunfermline Relief Church (Gillespie’s) and the Maygate Secession Church, who had united to form the Gillespie United Presbyterian Church.
The plans for the building were prepared by Mr. Nicol, Dunfermline, and were approved at a meeting of the Session on Nov. 4, 1847. The foundation stone was laid in Sept. 1848, and the church was opened on Nov. 4, 1849.
Gillespie Memorial Church – Historic Scotland
This building is a category C building and was listed on 19/12/1979.
Historic Scotland Building ID: 26037
National Grid Reference (NGR): NT 09060 87590
OS Grid Coordinates: 309033, 687581
Latitude/Longitude: 56.0724, -3.4629
Address: 12 Chapel Street, Dunfermline, Fife. KY12 7AW. Scotland
Built as United Presbyterian chapel.
Builder: Andrew Balfour, 1848-49;
altered and hall added 1882; with later additions.
Construction materials: Ashlar* – Principal (west) elevation; Slate – Roof; Stone (sandstone) – Coursed sandstone side and rear elevations (north, south and east);
The church is 5-bay; symmetrical; rectangular in plan with an ashlar west front containing three pointed arch windows and the main entrance. Gothic design with Tudor-arched entrance and octagonal piers flanking gabled central bay to principal (W) elevation.
There are tall pinnacles on the outer flanks which would have originally been matched on the nave gable, though these have now been removed.
Coped gables. Hood-moulded openings with chamfered reveals to principal elevation; droved chamfered reveals to windows to side (N and S) elevations.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: steps up to central Tudor-arched entrance; 2-leaf panelled timber door. Ogee-headed hood-mould with foliate finial to traceried window above. Parapet raised at gable between octagonal piers flanking central bay; embellished clover-leaf cross finial at apex. Taller narrower traceried window to each of flanking bays. Stepped diagonal buttress to either side of elevation; each with gableted head surmounted by truncated pinnacle. Cill courses to outer bays and octagonal piers. Band courses over entrance, at cill level, adjoining hood-mould and at gable level to central bay and flanking octagonal piers.
N AND S ELEVATIONS: lancet window to each bay. Minor entranceway between 4th and 5th bays from left to N elevation; steps down to basement between 1st and 2nd bays. Entrance into vestibule to lower height extension of 1882 adjoining to right of S elevation; droved surround; panelled timber door with rectangular fanlight. Window to right.
E ELEVATION: single storey harled extensions project some distance from church. Taller lean-to roof of 1882 choir range set back to centre of church. Fixed multi-pane windows; some leaded stained glass. Grey slate roof. Small coped gable head stack with to E side.
INTERIOR: U-plan gallery supported on cast-iron columns. Contemporary Gothic panelling to lower part of E end; flanking doorways and central fixed pulpit with steps up to either side. Plain pews with book rests. Moulded Caernarvon-arched opening with flanking foliate columns to choir range inserted 1882. Pair of stone staircases to gallery to either side of vestibule at W entrance. 4-panel Tudor-arched doors throughout. Stained glass window to W depicting goodness, meekness and gentleness in memory of Reverend Miller, died 1924; later windows (circa 1947) by R Douglas McLundie circa in 1882 choir range.
BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: pair of late 19th century sandstone ashlar gatepiers to W; square-plan with chamfered sides on base; moulded Gothic band course; gablet enclosing trefoil to each side of coping; ball finial. Low flanking walls of coursed stugged sandstone with chamfered coping.
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. B-Group with 12 Chapel Street (former manse).
Ashlar is finely dressed (cut, worked) masonry, either an individual stone that has been worked until squared or the masonry built of such stone. Ashlar is the finest stone masonry unit, generally cuboid or less frequently trapezoidal. Precisely cut “on all faces adjacent to those of other stones”, ashlar is capable of very thin joints between blocks, and the visible face of the stone may be as quarry-faced or feature a variety of treatments: tooled, smoothly polished or rendered with another material for decorative effect.
Ashlar is in contrast to rubble masonry, which employs irregularly shaped stones, although sometimes minimally worked or selected for similar size, or both. Ashlar is related but distinct from other stone masonry that is finely dressed but not quadrilateral, such as curvilinear masonry and polygonal masonry.
Ashlar may be coursed, which involves lengthy horizontal courses of stone blocks laid in parallel, and therefore with continuous horizontal joints. Ashlar may also be random, which involves stone blocks laid with deliberately discontinuous courses and therefore discontinuous joints both vertically and horizontally. In either case, it generally uses a joining material such as mortar to bind the blocks together, although dry ashlar construction, metal ties, and other methods of assembly have been used in the past.
Dunfermline Journal, November 1849.
Gillespie Church: This elegant place of worship, erected, as its name implies, in honour of the memory of the founder of the Relief Church, which was opened on the 4th current, is a great ornament to the place.
The front is the most unique specimen of gothic architecture in this town. The upper part of the building, which is ornamented with lofty turrets, each of which each of which is ornamented with a graceful crown, and the cope stone in the centre is surmounted with a large ornamental cross, executed with artist-like skill by Mr. Goodwillie, seen with excellent effect at a considerable distance — from the Ferry Road, and from the west from the Kincardine and Carnock roads.
The interior of the building which is done with the best of materials, and executed in the most tradesman-like manner, reflects the highest credit on Mr. Carter, the wright, as the design and building does on Mr. Brown, the architect, and Mr. Andrew Balfour, the builder, and accords beautifully with the style of the building.
The massy pulpit, with its antique-like canopy, has a rich gothic appearance. It is entered from the vestry at the back; there is, however, a stair at each side, by which the minister descends to the baptismal font, which is made of the purest white marble, and stands on a table covered with a marble slab, nearly white but veined with blue. The font, and the erection connected therewith, were the gift of a lady, in testimony of her esteem for the minister of the Gillespie church.
The windows on each side of the pulpit are beautifully stained by Mr. Ballantyne, Edinburgh. The other windows are obscured.
Prior to the opening of the church, the Rev. Professor McMichael was presented, by the ladies belonging to the congregation, with a very elegant pulpit gown, pulpit Bible, Psalm and Hymn books. The precentor was also presented with a gown and Psalm and Hymn books.
The church was opened on Sabbath, 4th November, by the Rev. Professor Dr. John Brown, of Edinburgh. The Rev. Professor McMichael preached in the afternoon, and the Rev. William Anderson, of John Street, Glasgow, in the evening. On each occasion the discourses were exceedingly eloquent and appropriate. In the forenoon, the magnificent sum of £226 was collected on entering the church; and during the day the collection amounted to £242, 6s, 4d.
A soiree was held in the church on the evening following — the Rev. Professor McMichael in the chair. Very appropriate addresses were delivered by the Rev. Dr. Johnstone, Limekilns, the Rev Messrs Walker, Dunfermline, McDowall, Alloa, and Anderson, Glasgow. On the platform were the Rev. Messrs Law, Young and More. Mr. Law, at the commencement, offered a very impressive prayer. The choir was very ably conducted by Mr. Martin, the Master of Song here, who in the most handsome manner proffered his services to assist the usual precentor on the occasion. Mrs. Hartley, from Edinburgh, also assisted, and was a valuable acquisition.
At the opening of the church, an aged lady (Mrs. Adams) was present, who was also present at the opening of the old Relief Church, which was taken down to make clear the site for the present elegant structure.
The Relief Church/United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, had a notable history:
It was the first in Scotland to open its pulpits to all true ministers of Christ and its Communion Table to all believers;
the first to introduce the hymn book into public worship;
the first to sponsor the cause of foreign missions, and
the first to take a definite stand against the evils of the slave trade.
A Manse was built in 1803 at the corner of Chapel Street; a new one was built in 1878, and was sold in 1893 for £360.
1812 – the interior of the old (1777) church was renovated at a cost of £118.
1848 – The foundation of the present Church was laid on 19th April.
1849 – The new Gillespie Memorial Church was opened for worship on 4th November.
During the years that have passed since the Church was first opened for worship, there have been a number of additions and alterations to the buildings to meet the changing needs of the congregation, as well as to enhance the beauty of the sanctuary.
In 1882, for example, the Vestry, Session Room, Managers’ Room, Lesser Hall, and Large Hall were built. All these, with the exception of the Vestry, may be thrown into one large hall, or partitioned off into rooms suitable for committee meetings or Sunday School classes. The cost of these additions was met by a gift of £500, which was left by Mr Henry Aitken, whose family had been connected with the Church from the days of Gillespie.
In the same year, 1882, the Pulpit was lowered and seats for the Choir were installed.
1891 – the old wall around the church was taken down and replaced by a new wall and railings at a cost of £98.
1895 – a harmonium was installed.
1895 – The church was repainted, and the history to that point celebrated in a Poetical Sketch.
“I’m almost done, yet I could wish
Of many things to speak-
The manse, the halls, our grand new gates,
With lamps to light the street.
Our Sabbath Schools, and Mission work,
The Band of Hope as weel,
The new harmonium, and the Choir
Its leader, Mr STEELE.
The Dorcas and Zenana too,
I’ll praise; but Oh dear me,
How could I ever put in rhyme,
The Y. P. S. C. E. ? *”
* Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavour
1896 – Seat rents were in operation, the payments helping towards the upkeep of the church.
1900 – Gillespie became known as Dunfermline Gillespie United Free Church.
1908 – Harmonium replaced by an organ
In 1929 the Halls were improved, and the accommodation further increased with the addition of a new Kitchen and more Committee Rooms and Cloak Rooms.
Following the Union of October 1929, and the presentation to our Church of the historic Communion Plate of the old Gillespie Meeting House by the Minister and Kirk Session of St. Andrew’s Parish Church (in whose custody they had been since 1774), a united Communion Service of the two congregations, Gillespie and St. Andrew’s, was held, and an arrangement made whereby they would join forces in social work among the Model Lodging House population in the district. Thus, after many generations, were the breaches of a former day completely healed.
Jubilee celebrations were held between 21st and 23rd May 1932 in the grounds of the ruins of the Old Parish Church at Carnock, where Thomas Gillespie had been Minister all those years previously. The historic silver communion plate, used at Carnock Parish Church in 1707, was used again.
1936 – The Gillespie Branch of the Women’s Guild was formed in October, and continues to this day.
1947 – In anticipation of the forthcoming Centenary Celebrations, the congregation happily
decided to institute a War Memorial and Centenary Scheme, which would enable the members
to express in a tangible way their humble gratitude to God for His great goodness throughout
the years, and, at the same time, to honour the memory of those of their number who made
the supreme sacrifice during the World War of 1939-1945.
RHS Window: James Morgan; John McNaughton; William McNaughton; Gordon Reynolds;
Alexander Stewart; Godfrey Turner; Harry Wheeler
As a result of this effort, whereby a sum of £1500 was donated by our members, the fabric of
the church has been put in a state of good repair and the beauty of the sanctuary enhanced.
Two stained glass windows behind the pulpit form our War Memorial:
The subjects chosen for the Memorial windows, which were designed and executed by R. Douglas McLundie, Art Director of the Abbey Studio, Greyfriars, Edinburgh, are SERVICE (LHS) and THANKSGIVING (RHS).
1948 – Sunday, 30th May, 1948 Dedication of the Memorial windows in honour of those within the Congregation who made the supreme sacrifice in the world War, 1939-1945.
The organ was completely overhauled, and the position of the organ console was altered in order to make the Choir range more spacious.
The Choir range itself was newly carpeted, and was further enhanced by a new Communion Table – the gift of our late senior elder, Mr William Farman – and by a new Baptismal Font.
All the new furnishings of the Range are in keeping, in colour and design, with the handsome woodwork of the entire pulpit area.
One feature which is most noticeable from the foregoing is the complete independence and the constant loyalty of the congregation with regard to the Church fabric and, property. These have been maintained and improved entirely by the members’ own efforts.
In anticipation of the union of the Churches the following year, a Commemoration Gathering was held in the Old Carnock Parish Church in May 1928, when the Ministers of Carnock Parish and Gillespie Memorial Churches took part together, this being the first event of its kind.
Following the Union of October 1929, and the presentation to our Church of the historic Communion Plate of the old Gillespie Meeting House by the Minister and Kirk Session of St. Andrew’s Parish Church (in whose custody they had been since 1774). A united Communion Service of the two congregations, Gillespie and St. Andrew’s, was held and an arrangement made whereby they would join forces in social work among the Model Lodging House population in the district. Thus, after many generations, were the breaches of a former day completely healed.
At the close of the 180th year of our congregational life, the Ter-Diamond Jubilee of our church was celebrated by united gatherings both at Carnock and within our own walls, in which the three congregations that share the Gillespie tradition took part together, an event so far as is known without parallel in the history of Scottish Presbyterianism.
Of the many features of our congregational work and service to which one would like to refer, those that have stood out perhaps most conspicuously are its home and foreign missionary interest. The congregation has always been imbued with missionary zeal, and has liberally supported the work of Christ’s Church both at home and overseas. At least seven of its number have served on the foreign mission field, and of these, two, the Rev. P.L. and Mrs. Hunter, gave some 43 years of service in South Africa. The Church they founded, and saw steadily grow in numbers and in influence, in the great district of the Transkei where they labour, was fittingly named “Gillespie” after the congregation that sent them out. Mr. Hunter, it should be added, was one of the many District Missionaries who gave service in the home field at our own doors, the tradition they left being well maintained by a band of office-bearers and workers, who are their present day successors.
Miss Ina Herd Rev. P.L. and Mrs. Hunter
Nearer home, and until the Union of the Presbyterian Churches in 1929 and the consequent delimitation of parishes within the burgh, a Mission Sunday School, was conducted in the populous Baldridgeburn district of Dunfermline. This proved to be a rich training ground, from which more than one member of the staff went forth to serve the Church in wider spheres.
In the varied work and witness of the congregation they have been loyally supported by a company of gifted and deeply devoted men and women, far too numerous to mention individually. Their names and the service which they rendered to the Church they loved are remembered, however, with proud and humble gratitude. They have bequeathed to their successors a fine tradition of voluntary giving and of splendid self-sacrifice which is both an inspiration and a challenge.
An historic past, rich in memory and tradition; a living present, as full of opportunity and privilege as it is of challenge and responsibility; and a future “as bright with hope as the promises of God” – these are the things we in Gillespie Memorial Church rejoice in today, as we set out, a fully constituted parish of the Church of Scotland, on the closing decades of the second century of our congregational life and witness.
“Now I must close. I’ve rudely sketched,
With too unskilled a hand,
The past of our beloved Church
Honoured throughout the land.
May that great past inspire us all,
And may we feel each one
A charge has been upon us laid
By those who now are gone.
That charge we’ll ever try to keep,
And tread the paths they trod;
Have courage ever to obey
Our conscience and our God.”
1986 – Gillespie Centre purchased
The building was built after the Gillespie Memorial Church (1849), sometime between 1854 and 1891. it was built as a Christian meeting house. This building belonged first to the Church of Christ, and was then sold to the Vine Fellowship, who in turn sold it to the Salvation Army as a music place. (1975?) However, the Salvation Army were unable to get planning permission to build another floor, so Gillespie Memorial Church bought it, in 1986, for £42,000; this money was donated by the congregation, of whom one member made a donation of £20,000 towards the cost.
This building then was renamed the Gillespie Centre.
In 2014 the Gillespie Centre was refurbished with the help of a grant of nearly £250,000 towards developing a community hub. The cash was from the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Spaces Scotland scheme, which helps rejuvenate local areas and provide somewhere for people to come together and shape their neighbourhood. The congregation raised £13,000 towards the work.
Construction work included raising the floor to create a cafe facility at the kitchen floor level, three new meeting rooms, disabled toilets and an open-plan office area. The kitchen area was also re-planned using existing equipment and energy-efficiency measures and roof lights were put in.
Now complete, the hub is able to accommodate a greater variety of activities and number of visitors.
Today, the road layout in front of the church is very different from when the church was originally built, as can be seen from looking at the map below.
The St. Andrew’s Church that was once opposite the Gillespie Church has now been demolished and the Dunfermline Bus Station has been built on the site.
2010 – New windows and extensive repairs
In 2010, Dunfermline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) awarded two grants to Gillespie Church.
• £50,000 towards new timber windows. These will last much longer than the rotted metal windows that were removed, and will look better too.
• £215,000 to support extensive external repairs, completed early in 2011.
Work has included:
• re-slating the church roof
• repairs to lead-work
• overhaul of the rainwater goods
• masonry repairs
• highly skilled repointing in lime mortar of the narrow joints between the smooth ashlar masonry
The two memorial windows to the fallen in the World Wars were refurbished at this time with a grant from ………………
2016 Church sanctuary partly (phase 1) refurbished.
A Brief History of the Congregation – 1752-1932
History of the Congregation – TE Miller
Short Historical Sketch 1849-1949 – Centenary Celebrations Programme
Poetic Sketch Pamphlet
Dunfermline Journal, November 1849
Dunfermline Gillespie Relief Church Communion Token 1849
Scottish Church Communion Token from Dunfermline (Fife), Gillespie Relief (United Presbyterian) Church, First Minister Thomas Gillespie (1741-1774), dated 1849. Rectangular with cut corners on white metal. Obverse: Text on three lines: “GILLESPIE CHURCH DUNFERMLINE 1849”. Reverse: Text on six lines: “THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME BUT LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF”. Thomas Gillespie was the founder of the Relief Church.