06: Robert Craig

REVEREND ROBERT CRAIG: 1829-1835

  • Minister of parish of New Cumnock (1829-1835)
    • Auld Kirk (1829-1833)
    • Current Parish Church (1833-1835)
  • Spouse: Flora Campbell Mure

ReverendRobertCraigAssistant minister in Bonhill, Dunbarton the Reverend Robert Craig was presented to the parish in 1829 by the Marquis of Bute, patron of the church. He was a very popular minister and it was soon apparent that the small parish church with 380 seats was ‘inadequate for the large numbers who flocked every Sunday to hear him preach.’

Plans to install galleries in the old church and increase the seating to 636 were soon scuppered and the Marquis of Bute, gave land for the building of a new parish church, with the foundation stone being laid in 1831.

In the same year Helen J Steven [History of the Cumnocks, Old and New ] provides a breakdown of the preference of the parishioners ‘ 1752 individuals belonging to the the Established Church, nominally or in active membership; seceeders of various denominations, 299; and of the Reformed Presbyterians, 117. The average number of communicants in the parish church was 600, although the number on the communicants’ roll was considerably larger’. 

The new church was opened in 1833 and the Reverend Craig held the distinction of being the last minister in the Auld Kirk and the first minister in the new parish church.

In a letter dated August 22nd, 1833 from the Manse of New Cumnock he writes of his new church

‘It is commodious and handsome, and our congregation has nearly doubled in consequence of its accommodation. I trust the change which it has wrought on the outward appearance of the people – it has by the force of congruity vastly improved their dress – will only be a sign of inward renovation in many, accomplished by the sight of the glorious temple into which the Gospel is intended to call men.’

However, the parish or his new building would not contain him for much longer. The Marquis of Bute enticed him away in 1836 presenting him to the people of Rothesay, on the Island of Bute.

REVEREND ROBERT CRAIG

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae Entries

ROBERT CRAIG M.A. ; pres. by John, Marquess of Bute, 31st March, and ord. 17th Sept. 1829 ; trans, to Rothesay 17th Sept. 1835.

ROBERT CRAIG, born Eaglesham, 7th June 1793, third son of Robert C., artificer; educated at Univ. of Glasgow; M.A. (1819); licen. by Presb. of Glasgow 31st March 1824; app. preacher at Stanley Chapel Aug. 1826; ord. to New Cumnock 17th Sept. 1829; pres. ny John Marquess of Bute, Dec 1834; trans. and adm. 17th Sept. 1835, when Gaelic was considered no longer necessary to the charge. Joined the Free Church in 1843; min. of Free Church Rothesay; 1843-1860; died 26th May 1860. He marr. 16th Oct. 1846, Flora Campbell Mure, who died 20th July 1878. Publications – Theocracy, or the Principles of the Jewish Nation and Polity adapted to all the Nations and Times (Edinburgh 1848); The Man Christ Jesus (Edinburgh 1855); Account of the Parish (New Stat. Acc., v); Memoir of the Rev. James Stewart (Stewart’s Remains) and Dr. Patrick McFarlane – [Memorials]