Reply To: Jane Lockhart (King) and Rev Dr John Lockhart of Prospect House

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Mark Benjamin

Here’s the information supplied by our researcher. The two articles in the Newcastle Journal would seem to be worth you following up.

I have gone through all my papers relating to the Presbyterian/Scotch church in Hexham, and also all the computer documents I have, and can find no reference to Rev Dr Lockhart. I looked at British Library newspapers and found there was an article in the Newcastle Journal of 10.4.1852 p8 but unfortunately Oxford City Library local studies do not have microfilm or hard copy. I have used up my free articles on British Library so could not look at this one. There is another one mentioned in 19 April 1851, Aberdeen herald p3. Both were headed “Cask(e) of the Rev John Lockhart”.
Ministers of the second congregation included:
Rev John Boyd returned to Hexham 1839
Rev Peter Bannatyne 19 Nov 1845 to 1848
Rev Alexander Henderson 1851-4
Rev John McKenzie Wilson 1856
The two congregations were reunited in 1862.
I have put a few things together on attached. I used Westminster College at Cambridge which holds the United Reform Church archives (includes Presbyterian Ch) but unfortunately, although I transcribed what I needed, I am not able to pass this to anyone else.

This is the text from the attachment mentioned: A History of the Origins and Life of St Aidan’s Presbyterian Church in Hexham 1702-1972 (2002)

Chapter 2 Scotch Church
…by Rev Wm Nixon…and was admitted to H by the Presbytery of Newcastle o 22 June 1831. His appointment was soon followed by grave disruption. The Rev Nixon was not to blame for this situation as it was the fault of the voting system employed at that time which gave one vote for every sitting a member held and not one vote for each member…one member could hold 10 or even 20 sittings and it was thus possible for a minority of members to out vote the majority. This happened when the Rev Nixon was selected and before the end of the yr a dissatisfied majority of members broke away from the Scotch ch to form a separate congregation. A sitting was a seat…the right to a seat, not just any seat but a particular seat or a number of seats in a particular pew for which a member paid a pew rent. It became the custom for small labels or cards bearing the name of the sitting holder to be fixed, usually on the back of the pew in front and for many congregations pew rents were an important source of income…unhappy memories of visitors or newcomers to a congregation wandering around disconsolately looking for a space that was not already occupied or did not have the implied “keep out, this is reserved” sitting holder’s card displayed.
…Only 25 yrs after the reunification with the Sandy Foundation there were again 2 Presbyterian Ch in H. Rev Nixon not long in leaving, returning to Scotland where in 1868 he became the Moderator of the Free Ch of Scotland.
The serious split in the congregation meant that the membership of the Scotch Ch was greatly reduced. Still had outstanding debt for the new building and were faced with financial problems which they were never able to overcome…continued as independent congregation for further 50 yrs having 9 ministers during that time.
Chapter 3
First minister Rev John Body 1833, stayed for 2 yrs before going to Paisley…returned to H in 1839 remaining until 1844. During his ministry the W who had taken over the Gilesgate Ch premises formally occupied by the Scotch Ch prior to their move to Hencotes, found that their chapel was no longer big enough to accommodate their growing congregation…built a larger chapel in Market St which was eventually to become premises of H General PO. The United Secession Ch then took the opportunity inn 1839 to acquire the vacated Gilesgate Chapel for £510! Rev Peter Bannatyne appointed 1844 and congregation known as United Presbyterian Ch. This was the direct result of the union of 2 separate branches of Presby – United Secession Ch and the Relief Presby Ch.
Rev Bannantyne moved to Blantyre 1848…Rev Alexander Henderson Dec 1851 from St Catherine’s Ch in Western Canada…stayed until 1854 then Rev John Mackenzie Wilson Feb 1856 from Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire…ministry lasted 44 yrs…name long remembered with affection and respect by many.
…not able to rejoin Scotch ch in Hencotes…decided to build its own new ch. Site acquired 1862 near the top of Battle Hill at cost of £400 and new ch built. Additional land acquired to provide SS and vestry making cost of whole project £1940.

Notes from Presbyterian Cambridge Images

Robson Book of Newspaper Cuttings and Survivals and Revivals of the Great Ejectment
1 Map to illustrate Early Nonconformity in NBL and DUR + 2 close up of legend
3 Presbyterianism in NBL

Statement of Facts in reference to the Union of the English Presbyterian and United Presbyterian Congregations at H (Edward Pruddah, 1862) (Westminster College W VI 6/1B12) February 18, 1862 newspaper article
Westminster College, Cambridge, a resource centre for URC
Black – a valuable and carefully indexed collection of Manuscript material by Rev John Black (1st General Sec of the P/C/of/E) held by URCHS