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By Boat or Bridge?

How were the congregation of St. Andrews Church to cross the Lossie to attend worship? At the time of the Forty-five Rebellion, the boat was still being used, as an entry in the Kirk Session Minutes of August 1745 confirms “Price of the boat £11/16/-” It also records “Repairing the stool of repentance 24/-

The project of a bridge does not appear until 2nd July 1750 when it is recorded that:

George Baird having undertaken to build a bridge of timber over the water of Lossie, and the minister having found the people would contribute £60. Sc thereto the Session knowing what a convenience it would prove for the people in attending the worship of God as also for the whole countrie in passing about their business and it would afterwards ease the Session of the expense of a boat approved of the agreement with George Baird who obliges himself that it shall neither be carried away by wind or water for ten years.

On the 7th of January 1751 it is recorded that the “Expense of building the bridge £149/15/- (timber £42, lime, tar and fog £3/62/-, iron and nails £34/6/-, etc.) collected for the bridge. The balance paid out of the box.”

13th June 1757

As the bridge has fallen the timber was sold by roup (sic) at near £8/2/- …. The Session considering how great a convenience was to this parish and having experience of the inconvenience of the form of it as the timber rotted in the bulwark, thought a bridge with a middle pillar of hewnstone would be more secure and therefor desired the minister to employ proper persons to try if there was a good foundation and if so to get a middle pillar built this summer and if that took effect to petition the presbyterie for a collection within their bounds to enable them to build a more secure bridge…..

The problem of how to get to Church by boat or bridge was still not solved. On 6th February 1758 there is an entry – “for mending the boat £3/14/-.”

In 1776 Hugh Grant provided iron bands for the bridge and lead for fixing them at a cost of £3/12/6. Then follows the surprising entry: “Hugh Grant, mason Elgin, for rebuilding the bridge and providing stone and lime for the same got 50s. stg.”

In 1779 William Leslie of Balnageith on the Findhorn was translated from Auchindoir and admitted to St. Andrews on July 15th. When Mr Macfarlane, the Minister of Lhanbryd died in 1781, the parishes of St. Andrews and Lhanbryd were united under Mr Leslie the following year. A letter to Wm. Rose, factor to Lord Fife, states that “The annexation of Longbride (sic) and St. Andrews gives no great satisfaction among the parishioners and if they could prevent it, they would. The clergy are likewise much against it.”

Both Churches were allowed to decay, and the present Church was erected roughly half way between! No further reference is made to boat or bridge after 1792. Mr Leslie was a unique man in many ways. He was a minister for over 65 years. From his manse at Darkland, he coped with the problems of rich and poor – even to defending them in Court, but spelling was not his strong point. Thus to him we are indebted for “Lhanbryd” which he adopted in 1791 and used in the Kirk Session minutes from 1796 as “St. Andrews-Lhanbryd”. He was the man who dropped the ‘e’ and got away with it!

Our thanks again to Rev. Dr Stephen for this, the second instalment of his History of the Parish of St. Andrews-Lhanbryd.