11: Andrew Burnett

Reverend Andrew Burnett (b.1876 – d. 1949)

  • Minister of the parish of New Cumnock (1926-1949)
    • Current Parish Church
  • Spouse (1): Francis (Fanny) McKendrick (b. 1873 – d. 1941)
  • Spouse (2): Meta Louisa Hitchcock

Burnett_AndrewAndrew Burnett was born at Inverness on July 1876 the third child of Andrew Burnett, railway carpenter, and Mary McDonald.

As a young man he was a student of theology at the Dunoon Baptist College founded by the Reverend Duncan MacGregor.  As a 24-year-old his name appeared in the 1901 Census entry for the College,  at Dhallingmohr house in Clyde Street, alongside that of the notable Scottish baptist 26-year-old Oswald Chambers, who was a tutor of philosophy at the College.

In 1907 Andrew Burnett, clergyman, married Francis (Fanny) McKendrick, daughter of William McKendrick, joiner and Mary Morris; both residents at Glendyne House, Dunoon at the time. The couple were married after banns according to the Baptist Church with Rev. Duncan MacGregor, Baptist minister and Reverend William Howie, parish minister of Dunoon officiating.

Kilcalmonnel, Argyll & Bute

By 1910 the Reverend Burnett is serving as the minister of the Free Church in the parish of Kilcalmonell in north Kintyre (Presbytery of Inverary), where he and wife lived at the manse in the village of Clachan.

Martyrs’ Church, Townhead, Glasgow

By 1920 the Reverend Burnett had moved to Glasgow to be the minister at the Martyrs’ Church in Townhead, Glasgow.  The church was named in honour of three Covenanters James Nisbet (parish of Loudon), James Lawson and Alexander Wood who were hanged in June 1684 at nearby Howgate, outside the town limits.  The Reverend Burnett and his wife live at Seton Terrace, Denniston a property owned by the Trustees of the Martyrs’ Church.

New Cumnock Parish Church

Following the departure of Rev. William Bodin to Ardrossan the following short leet was drawn up for the New Cumnock vacancy: – The Rev. Mr Orr, assistant, Bluevale Parish Church, Glasgow; the Rev. P.G. McIvor, minister of Craigneuk Parish, Craigneuk; and the Reverend James Anderson, minister, Robertson Memorial Church, Glasgow.

However by early October the congregation of New Cumnock Parish Church elected the Rev. Burnett (the sole nominee) to fill the vacancy.

On 1st November 1926 at a special meeting of the Glasgow Presbytery, the translation of the Rev. A. Burnett, Martyrs’ Church, Townhead to New Cumnock Parish Church was unanimously agreed to.

New Cumock Parish Church was renamed as the Martyrs Parish Church (Martyrs’ Kirk) at some point and one tradition suggests that it was on the arrival of the Rev. Burnett from his previous church of that name in Glasgow.

However another tradition considers that the renaming took place in 1929 and that the name Martyrs was put forward by James H. Stevenson of Rottenyard Farm and his suggestion was ‘accepted by great unanimity by the congregation’. [See New Cumnock Heritage / Collections / Betty Lees ].

In 1929 the United Free Church merged with the Church of Scotland and largely reversed the Disruption of 1843  and reunited much of Scottish Presbyterianism. Perhaps this historic year in the history of the Church of Scotland created the motive for the name change and taking a leaf out of the Rev. Burnett’s book,  it was renamed in honour of the five Covenanters martyred in the parish of New Cumnock in 1685.

The Reverend Burnett served the parish througout the years of World War II.

Family life

The Reverend Andrew Burnett and his wife Fanny, now in their early 50s, settled in the Parish Church manse.  It was here in 1941, that Fanny passed away age 64 years and was laid to rest in Glenafton Cemetery.

On the 25th August 1945 the Rev. Burnett married Meta Louisa Hitchcock, the daughter of Alfred Hitchcock and Agnes Campbell. Meta was born in 1903 at Laurieston in the parish of Balmaghie, Kirkcudbrightshire where her father was the head teacher of the school. The family later moved to Edinburgh.

On 23rd July 1946 at Prestwick Nursing Home, Meta gave birth to a daughter, Eleanor Campbell Burnett.

It was while visiting the General Assembly at Edinburgh on the 25th May 1949 that the Rev. Andrew Burnett died suddenly.  A service was held at the Martyrs Church New Cumnock on Saturday 28th May before he was laid to rest at Glenafton cemetery alongside his late wife Fanny McEndrick.

Glenafton Cemetery, New Cumnock (Robert Guthrie)