Churches in Fowlis, Liff, Lundie, Muirhead


Muirhead Church was founded on 4th June 1843 as a result of the ‘Disruption’ at the General Assembly held in May of that year. Church members wished to be able to call their own Minister and not have one imposed on them by the Church Heritor. Led by a large group of Evangelistic Ministers a new Free Church of Scotland was formed.

The people who left the Parish Church of Liff soon formed into a Congregation and were allowed to call the Reverend Moncur as their first Minister. The Free Church of Liff held its first services in Liff School House which was so crowded that many had to gather outside the door and windows. A site for the New Church was found at Backmuir. The ground was gifted by Mr James Waddel, a baker from Liff. The local farmers supplied stones for its construction.

The Free Church together with the Manse and garden has been described comfortable without being a study in architectural beauty. It was erected when money was scarce and involved quite a sacrifice for the new members who not only had to supply and maintain a building but also support a Minister. The first Holy Communion Service was held on 30th July 1843.

In 1846 the Church decided to build a school (now the Nursery on Newtyle Road) and Mr Patterson of Dundee was chosen as Architect. Mr William Fairly of Biggar was appointed as the school’s first teacher on 20th October 1847. There was no house provided but a grant of £10 was given in lieu. The school remained under the jurisdiction of the Church until 26th May 1873 when it was handed over to the School Board of Liff, Benvie and Invergowrie. The Church still had the use of the school and a say in the election of teachers.

Mr Moncur retired from the Ministry on 30th October 1876 and Reverend John Gall was inducted on 11th May 1877 but he moved to Rutherglen on 20th November 1879. Reverend John Kennedy was inducted on 5th February 1880 and served as Minister until his death on 4th February 1915. It was during his ministry that the Manse was extended and an organ donated by Mr Kennedy was first used in the Church. Mr Kennedy also changed the form of service and introduced unfermented wine to the Holy Communion. In 1900 the Church’s name was changed to Liff United Free Church.

There then followed a series of short ministries. Reverend Alexander Strathearn 19th April 1915 to 10th October 1920. Reverend Peter Lockhard 27th December 1920 to 6th June 1923. On 4th October 1923 Reverend Thomas Tully was called as Minister and served until his retirement on 1st November 1936. During Mr Tully’s ministry the church was renamed Muirhead of Liff (18th August 1929) and on 2nd October that year a union with the Church of Scotland gave us the status of Parish Church. Reverend Thomas E. Nichol was inducted as Minister on 4th March 1937 and stayed until December 1949 when he was called to West Calder. On 21st September 1950 Reverend John R Lester was called as Minister and served until his death on 20th May 1977. During his ministry individual Communion Cups were used for the first time (24th May 1953) and he and Mrs Lester donated new Communion Sets to the Church.

On 7th June 1955 a Union took place with Lundie Church. In 1960 the Muirhead Church Organ was changed, as were the internal layout of the pews and the old stables were converted into the Youth Centre. Reverend William M.M. Campbell was inducted as Minister on 14th April 1978 and served until 10th August 1986 when he was called to Hospital Chaplaincy. On 22nd June 1987 Reverend Martyn R. H. Thomas was ordained and inducted into the Parish Church of Lundie & Muirhead of Liff. In 1995/96 Muirhead and Lundie Churches linked with Fowlis and Liff Churches. In 1997 the vestry and choir room were converted into a new hall and a new vestry and toilets. The Church entrance was moved from the South wall to the East wall. Reverend Martyn Thomas retired in January 2002 and the Church was without a minister until Reverend Donna M Hays Ordination and Induction on 18th March 2004.

Sunday School:

The Sunday school was very well attended and in the 1950s it was the largest Sunday school in Scotland. Sunday school picnics were always eagerly looked forward to by both children and their parents and bus loads would take off to wherever the picnic was being held. Streamers would be flying from the bus windows. On Sunday school picnic day the villages would be empty everybody was enjoying the picnic. One year in particular a bride’s father was extremely upset as there was no one to see his daughter’s wedding, the villagers were all at the picnic.

There is a War Memorial at Muirhead Church with the names of the locals who served in 1914-18

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Fowlis and Liff Parish Church of Scotland Scottish charity No 002792,Lundie and Muirhead Parish Church of Scotland Scottish charity No 001085