The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) gives this information about the religious views of the inhabitants:
- The Established Church in St Andrews is collegiate [served by 2 ministers]. There is a separate minister for St Leonard's.
- 118 dissenters of all denominations
- 1 Episcopal clergyman who has an annual pension from Queen Anne's bounty
- 1 minister of the Burgher Seceders
- 1 family only of Antiburgher Seceders
The New Statistical Account of St Andrews (written in 1837) gives this information:
- 4 Dissenting chapels in the parish, 3 in the city (including 1 for the Episcopalians) and 1 in Strathkinness.
- Between one-eighth and one-ninth of the population of the parish are Dissenters.
- One family of Roman Catholics resides in the parish. The father is in the preventive service and was stationed here only about a year and a half ago. There are 2 other individuals of that persuasion in the parish, and the whole are natives of Ireland.
- An 1836 survey found 2490 individuals in communion with the Established Church, and 344 in communion with the various denominations of Dissenters, while the whole number of Dissenters was 697 (328 - United Associate Synod, 150 - Original Burghers, 108 - Episcopalians, 111- Independents).
The New Statistical Account of St Leonards (written in 1837) gives this information:
- The number of Dissenters of all denominations in the parish is 53. A few more usually sit in the dissenting chapels, but have not joined them as communicants. They urge that no accommodation has been provided for them in St Salvator’s Chapel, where the St Leonards congregation assemble for public worship.
A census of Religious Worship and Education was taken in 1851 at the same time as the census of population. A table of statistics about the churches in Fife at this time is available here. The statistics for the separate burghs were also given. Those for St Andrews are as follows:
St Andrews (Parliamentary Burgh): Population of Parish 7327, Population of Burgh 5107:
||Number of Places of Worship
||Number of Sittings
||Number of Attendants at Public Worship on Sunday March 30 1851 (including Sunday Scholars)
|United Presbyterian Church
|Independents or Congregationalists
|The number of sittings was not returned for 2 of the Established Churches.
Source: Census of Great Britain, 1851, Religious worship and education. Scotland. Report and tables. British Parliamentary Papers 1854 LIX (1764).
The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists St Andrews parish church, a second charge of the Established Church in St Andrews, St Leonard's parish church, an Established Church at Strathkinness, Free Churches at St Andrews and Strathkinness, the Episcopal Church, the Baptist Church, the Congregational Church and the United Presbyterian Church.
Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website.
Details of church history:
- St Andrews Parish Church (Holy Trinity)
St Andrews once existed as the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland and there is though to have been a religious community here since around 732AD, when relics of St Andrew were brought to the area, which was known in ancient times as Kilrimont. By 1144 St Andrews had established its place in the Scottish Church when a community of Augustinian Canons was set up here, and additionally in early times, around the beginning of the 12th century, there was a parish church built in St Andrews, which was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and which belonged to the Priory of St Andrews. The parish church was extensively restored in 1798 and again in the early years of the 20th century. A second charge was founded for the parish of St Andrews in 1589 and between the years of 1593-1620 a third charge was also maintained. The General Assembly, during the early years of the reformed church, held sessions on several occasions at St Andrews, the first of these, in 1572, coincided with the time during which John Knox was resident in the cathedral city. The Kirk Session of St Andrews Holy Trinity, the two charges of which were united in 1978, sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
St Leonard's originated in a hospital, dedicated to St Leonard, for pilgrims visiting St Andrews founded c1140. In 1512 St Leonard's Hospital was converted into a college of St Andrews University. From the Reformation until 1824, the Principal of St Leonard's College was also minister of the parish. The church was ruinous in 1759, and the congregation thereafter worshipped in St Salvator's Chapel, but a new parish church was dedicated in 1904. In 1975 the congregation was linked with Cameron with Largoward, but the link with Largoward was terminated in 1983. The designation is currently Cameron linked with St Andrews: St Leonard's. The charge is within the Presbytery of St Andrews, and was in the Synod of Fife until synods were dissolved in 1993.
- St Andrews Hope Park (burgher, United Presbyterian, United Free and Church of Scotland)
Hope Park originates in a burgher church in St Andrews founded in 1749, although there had been seceding worship in the town for some years before. The first minister was ordained in 1752, but there was not regular ministry thereafter in the remainder of the 18th century. A new church in North Street was opened in 1826, and because the congregation increased another new church was opened in 1865. On the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the congregation became a United Free Church charge, under the designation St Andrews: Hope Park. This name was maintained through the union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland in 1929.
- St Andrews Martyrs Free Kirk Session (United Free and Church of Scotland)
A Free Church congregation at St Andrews was established immediately after the Disruption in 1843. At latest on the union of the Free Church of Scotland the United Presbyterian Church in 1900, the charge became St Andrews: Martyrs, in the United Free Church of Scotland, within the Presbytery of St Andrews and Synod of Fife. On the union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland in 1929, the charge's designation remained as it was. In 1993 it was linked with Boarhills and Dunino. Jurisdiction: Presbytery of St Andrews
- St Andrews Congregational Church:
The evangelical activities of the Haldane brothers provoked a growth in non-conformity. An independent or congregational society was functioning in St Andrews with its own minister by 1805 and shortly therafter with a chapel at 101 Market Street. From 1839 the building was also used by a Baptist group who moved in 1843 to their own building on South Street. In 1853 the Congregationalists acquired a new chapel in South Bell Steet, a well-designed gothic building by Jesse Hall of St Andrews, which continued in use until the society was disbanded in 1966.
- St Andrews Episcopal Church:
There was a persistent adherence to the Episcopal order within St Andrews after 1690. However, the association with Jacobitism meant that there were restrictions imposed on Episcopal worship until 1792. It was not until 1825 that the St Andrews Episcopalians were able to build a small chapel in North Street, designed by William Burn and embellished in 1853 with and ornate gothic front by Gilbert Scott. In 1867-1869 this church was superseded by a larger building, also called St Andrew's Church at the foot of Queen Street. This was a dignified neo-gothic design by R Rowand Anderson of Edinburgh, often described as a cathedral in its early days and intended to have a lofty tower and spire. The tower was added in 1892 but was demolished as structurally unsafe in 1938. Associated with the congregation was a fishermen's mission (All Saints, St Andrews), in North Castle Street. The congregation remains the largest in the diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is run by a Rector , currently assisted by a Curate and various honorary clergy. Source: R.G. Cant, 'Public Buildings of St Andrews, 1790-1914, Churches, Schools and Hospitals', in Three Decades of Historical Notes, (St Andrews, 1991), p. 121.
- Strathkinness Church of Scotland
The parish of Strathkinness was established in 1860 when it was disjoined from that of St Andrews and erected quoad sacra. In 1935, following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness parish church was joined by the former United Free church congregation of Strathkinness. After the union the former United Free church, which had previously existed as a preaching station, was sold and a link was later established in 1980 with Dairsie with Kemback. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.
- Strathkinness United Free Church
Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, the former Free Church charge of Strathkinness was accordingly termed Strathkinness United Free Church, and in 1908 was reduced to a preaching station. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness United Free joined with the parish church congregation of Strathkinness, and the former United Free church was later sold.
- Strathkinness Associate Session (later Free and United Free)
There was a Relief congregation at Strathkinness from c1801-1816, though not continuously in existence. In 1818, the Original Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline prepared for a church at Strathkinness, but it was only in 1823 when that congregation was organised. In 1827 Mr Ralph Robb, an Original Burgher preacher, was ordained as first minister of the charge and in 1839 he, along with his congregation, joined the Church of Scotland. At the Disruption in 1843, however, Mr Robb left the session, which then became the Strathkinness Free Church. At the 1900 union of the United Free Church and the United Presbyterians, the charge was accordingly termed Strathkinness United Free Church, and in 1908 was reduced to a preaching station. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Strathkinness United Free joined with the parish church congregation of Strathkinness, and the former United Free church was later sold.
When the church of Boarhills was erected in 1865 it is believed that the remains of an ancient chapel of Boarhills, dating back to the ninth or tenth cent, were found. Prior to the erection of the church in 1865 worship within the district was conducted within Boarhills school from 1840 and it wasn't until the year 1903 that the parish of Boarhills was disjoined from St Andrews and St Leonards and erected as a parish quoad sacra. Boarhills established a link in 1965 with Dunino and a further link followed in 1993 with St Andrews Martyr's. The link with St Andrews Martyr's continued following the union of Boarhills and Dunino in 1994, under the name of Boarhills and Dunino. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of St Andrews.