September, 27th | The Kirk, Conflict and Cupar

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Cupar Heritage recently held its first in person event of 2021 on 27th September, in the Age Concern Hall. The speaker was our own Chairman, Guthrie Hutton, who gave a talk on “The Kirk, Conflict and Cupar”. There was a really good attendance from Cupar Heritage and members had an excellent presentation from Guthrie and an enjoyable get together.

Guthrie’s talk took us through several centuries of Cupar Church history.  He started with the town’s old Catholic Parish Church tower (mid-15th Century) before leading us through the religious turmoil of the mid 1500s and mid-1600, when the Protestant church was strongly established. For the following 200 years, tensions in the Protestant Church of Scotland went on, especially in Fife.  Guthrie included the Covenanting movement, the Civil War and the killing times of the 1670s and 1680s, with the attempt to re-establish the Episcopal Church, at the cost of an Archbishop murdered on the road to St Andrews!   Sharp’s murderer was hanged, with some body parts placed in the graveyard of the new and enlarged 1785 Cupar Parish Church.  

Moving on to the 1700s in Cupar, Guthrie really warmed to his subject   A whole range of Churches was established in the town, such as the Burgher, two Relief Churches and the Baptist Church from 1814.  However, these were only on the way to the Great Disruption of 1843, when 40% of Ministers and 60% of the congregations left the Church of Scotland and established the Free Church. By 1878, they had built the mighty St John’s Church and spire in Cupar.  Amalgamations and further splits followed. Finally in 1964 the new Catholic Church, St Columba’s, was built and left us with 5 active Churches in Cupar.  At long last, the churches had come to live together in the town and Guthrie had fully earned many thanks from Cupar Heritage for his superb talk.