Following a meeting of the Church Board early in 2005, it was resolved to photograph and catalogue the communion plate from both churches.

This was initiated on the 20th August 2005.  At this meeting of the  Board, all the plate was on display.
Mr Jack Thomson, with his notable interest in antique silver, combined with a profound  knowledge of local history, was able to provide much of the description and commentary for the text.

Mr Kirkpatrick Dobie was also present, cataloguing on behalf of the Presbytery and providing additional detail which with his kind permission is also included.

We hope that this collection and the short historical notes will provide a useful document for the future and an interesting explanatory commentary for church members, young and old.


For further historical information about the two parishes, the reader is referred

to ‘The Book of Kirkpatrick-Durham’ by W.A.Stark F.S.A.(Scot) Castle Douglas : Adam Rae, 1903

 and ‘Annals of the Disruption’ by Reverend Thomas Brown F.R.S.E. Edinburgh : Macniven and Wallace, 1884.


We are indebted to, not only those named above, but also Mrs Sheila Bishop, Mrs Betty Watson, Mrs Mary Burney, Mr Michael and Mrs Jane Ingall for their practical help and advice. Lastly, my grateful thanks to Ms Marianne Smith for her invaluable help in producing this booklet.

John McCormick

April 2007

Historical Note

It is known without doubt that there was a church on Minnydow Kirkpatrick-Durham in the 13th century. When it moved to the present site is unknown; but it was replaced again in 1748 and the present church built in 1848. The village itself was founded and built close by the church in 1783 by the Reverend David Lamont, minister of the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham, who used a legacy to buy land that could be feued “on good terms to handloom weavers”.

The church pews were removed in 1949 and a wall erected to form the present lower hall, followed by the upper hall in 1952. The most recent refurbishment was completed in 2003.

In May 1662, an Act of Parliament deprived of their “Livings” all Ministers who had not been presented by their Patrons. This virtually “outed” all ministers staunch to their Presbyterian convictions. As a result, in 1666, the Minister  of Kirkpatrick-Durham, Reverend Gabriel Semple, who had been ordained 26th May 1657, held the first ‘conventicle’ or field preaching at Corsock. This is commemorated by a wooden plaque in the church.

On the first Sunday it was held in the hall at Corsock Castle , the home of the Laird, his friend and supporter, Mr John Neilson. Because of the increasingly large numbers attending each week, the second was held in the courtyard, the third in the garden and finally the fourth and subsequent preachings in the fields adjacent.

Because of his beliefs and “for appearing for the covenanters at Pentland”, John Neilson was soon after “driven from his home, spoiled of his goods, tortured by the boots and hanged at the Cross in Edinburgh on the 14th December 1666.” He was buried in Greyfriars Churchyard in Edinburgh ,  but  is commemorated, on the gravestone in Kirkpatrick-Durham Churchyard, of his widow, Mary McLellan, who died in 1697.

Although his home is now a ruin, a stone bearing the Neilson Arms, the initials of his parents (I.N and M.G) and the date  of their wedding – 1589 - can still be seen, set into the east wall of the present Corsock House.

Episcopal curates were thrust into the churches and over the next 26 years

Reverend Semple was side-lined and eventually expelled. Services were conducted by Episcopal curates, so called because they had charge of the “cure” or benefice, deriving from the French word curé (parish priest).

The third curate, replacing Reverend Semple at Kirkpatrick-Durham, was Alexander Sangster, previously from the Isle of Cumbrae. He arrived in 1676 and beat a hasty retreat in 1688. Although never proven, it was a widely  held view among the congregation,  that he also absconded with the communion plate.  It is recorded in  the session clerk’s minutes of 1698 that there were no communion cups and that two elders were  therefore dispatched to Balmaghie ‘to fetch the lend of the cups’.

Around 1698, bread and wine were brought from Dumfries , although people made their own bannocks. Even as late as 1725, when the first communion tokens were in use, there was only one baker in Dumfries . He made “Bawbee Baps” of coarse flour, chiefly bran, which were also carried in creels to Kirkpatrick-Durham for the annual fair held on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The minister at that time was the Reverend James Hill. His son James was a surgeon in Dumfries, who acquired much professional and scientific repute due largely to his apprentice Dr Benjamin Bell, who became the greatest surgeon of his day in Scotland . He founded the Edinburgh school of surgery. His great grandson Joseph, a President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh , was the rôle model for Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

The Free Church, later known as the United Free Church originated with the withdrawal of membership from the Church of Scotland in 1843. This was known as ‘The Act of Secession’.

The building now used as the village hall in Kirkpatrick-Durham served as the Free Church and Schoolroom. It opened in 1870 and cost about £750. There is a fine stone plaque there, commemorating this event. The minister was Reverend George J. C. Duncan.

The churches were reunited on the 6th November 1940.

The parish of Corsock was described in 1843 as Quoad Sacra (meaning ‘ as far as a place of worship only is concerned, other matters excluded’) The parish was formed from the three parishes of  Kirkpatrick-Durham, Balmaclellan and Parton. The Reverend Duncan, minister at Kirkpatrick-Durham,  was the first promoter of these arrangements. His assistant, Reverend William Corson, held public worship in Drumhumphry Schoolroom and lived at Nether Craigenputtock. He was later proprietor of Barmark on the Moniave road. His relatives are still in the Corsock area.

For communion, Corsock residents travelled to Kirkpatrick-Durham, Parton or Balmaclellan, depending where they stayed, relative to the bridge over the Urr, or on which side of the Auchenvey burn they lived.

The parish church at Corsock was built in 1839 largely by the enthusiasm and support of John Clerk-Maxwell. His son  James, a scientist, was the first Director of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and arguably the greatest genius Scotland has ever produced. A brass commemorative plaque, moved from the old parish church, can be seen in Corsock Church .

In 1856 Corsock was disjoined but the parish church was only a preaching station until the first minister, Reverend George Sturrock, was ordained in 1863. Communion was held there from then on until the churches were finally united in 1947 and the parish church converted into a dwelling house in 1951.

The Free Church was built in 1854 through the generosity of Alexander Murray-Dunlop. A gifted lawyer and Member of Parliament, he was prominent in shaping the movement that resulted in “ The Act of Secession”.

He drew up the “Claim of Right” regarded as the most important document in the whole of the “Ten Years Conflict”.

His family also gifted much of the communion plate and latterly, the font.

In 1963, Corsock was again  linked with Kirkpatrick- Durham and Union took place in January 1989. This followed a vote taken by both congregations, which, apart from one vote, was unanimous, and linking with Crossmichael and Parton took place at the same time.


Item:Four pewter plates

Date: circa 1870  


Set of four EPBM plates, nearly matching. Diameter 353mm.
James Dixon and sons (impressed) Turned over rim, stepped to base.


From the United Free Church of Scotland Kirkpatrick-Durham, which was reunited with the present Church of Scotland on the 6th November 1940.

The United Free Church of Scotland was rebuilt in 1870




Item:  Baptismal bowl

Date: circa 1820

Description: Pewter. Helmet-shaped narrow rim 225mm diameter H. Reid Glasgow (impressed)

See Cotterell p282 no. 3889


Not currently in use in Kirkpatrick-Durham. Its conical fluted wooden stand is in the church.




Item: 74 communion tokens

Date: 1850


Lead of oval shape and inscribed Kirkpatrick- Durham 1850, enclosing a blank oval and on the reverse ‘Communion Token’ enclosing a cartouche containing the number 1, 2 or 3 under the heading “Table”.


Possibly produced locally. In the early days Communion was held when the minister decided, sometimes at intervals of two to three years. Neighbouring ministers were called on to assist.

A tent was erected in part of the present churchyard and tables were set and numbered. Hence the numbers shown on the tokens. See Kerr & Lockie no. 840  



Item: 132 communion tokens

Date: 1725


Square and of lead approximately
22mm x 22mm and inscribed on face K.P.D 1725 with plain reverse

Notes: Produced locally. Lead was mined at Wanlockhead.

See Brook no 679  




Item: Two of the three
travelling communion sets

Date: Victorian


All three sets are made of EPNS and bear no visible makers marks or dates.


The set above, the oldest of the three, has no known provenance. 





Reverend Graham Little gifted the set below on his retirement in 1968.















Item: The third of the three Victorian travelling communion sets.

The set above was presented to Reverend Ronald Dick by Miss
Dorothy Peacock and her sister
Mrs May Dorward from Belfast .

Their father David Peacock was
 born in 1864 and was brought up in the village of Kirkpatrick-Durham





Item: 113 Kirkpatrick-Durham communion tokens

Date: 1843

Description: Oval shaped and made of lead.

Inscribed, “Free Church of Scotland” enclosing date 1843.

On the reverse “Let a man examine himself” 1 Cor.X1 vv.28


Issued nationally by the Free Church of Scotland on its establishment in 1843. These tokens were distributed by members of the Kirk session in Kirkpatrick- Durham and taken up at the communion service.

See Kerr & Lockie no. 840  





Set of four pewter cups  

Date: circa 1870


Deep Bowl, spool stem with knob, Height 212mm Width of base 106mm.



From the United Free Church of Scotland Kirkpatrick-Durham, which was reunited with the present Church of Scotland on the 6th November 1940.


The United Free Church of Scotland was rebuilt in 1870.  






Mediaeval collection plate

Date: 13th century

Large pewter plate with high lead content.

It is 32cm in diameter and 2.5cm deep.

Its beaded rim is mostly incomplete.

There is a distorted triangular extension that would have accommodated a wooden handle.

It is listed in the 1927 inventory as made of tin and was used in the
original church site at Minnydow Kirkpatrick-Durham. An alternative later suggestion was that it was used in the chapel at Kirtlebride.




Item: Single flagon  

Date: circa 1890


Inverted pear body on foot.
High loop handle. Narrow neck,

Domed lid with flower finial.
Gilt interior. Height 290mm

Width of base 88 mm.

Described in an early inventory
as “Very Handsome”


Probably a claret jug gifted by the Murray–Dunlop family of Corsock








                                                                              Item:A pair of communion cups  

Date: 1846


Victorian. Silver with waisted bowl. Baluster stem. Stepped domed foot. Weight 20oz each. Width of bowl 130mm. Width of base 115mm.
Marked Duty, Castle, J .Mc M (gothic) Edinburgh . Engraver James McKay.

Inscribed ‘Presented to the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham by Mrs Martin of Kilquhanity June 1846’

Notes: In current use











Item: A pair of plates

Date: 1927

Description: EPNS plated plates. Diameter 250mm
Marked Townsend (impressed)
Inscribed ‘Presented to Kirkpatrick-Durham Parish Church by Mrs Findlay of Barncailzie Hall, November 1927’.

Notes: These plates are normally used at present day communions.  





Item:A single flagon

Date: 1886

Description: Straight-sided spreading foot, double 'S' handle, spout, 'D' domed lid. Scrolled thumb piece.

Inscribed I H S (in a sunburst).
Marked  Walker & Hall Sheffield .

Height 280mm. Width of base 149 mm.

Notes: Probably gift from the Murray-Dunlop family of Corsock house.






                                                                         Item: A pair of cups

Date: 1886


Deep square bowl. Spool stem.
Trumpet foot.

Inscribed I H S (in a sunburst).

Marked Walker & Hall Sheffield



Probably gifted by the Murray-Dunlop family of Corsock House.












                                                           Item: A single plate  

Date: circa 1908

Description: EPNS Diameter 250mmmarked  Philip Ashberry Sheffield . Plated plate double rim

stepped to base.

Notes: Currently in use in Kirkpatrick- Durham , usually for smaller communions in the week
before Easter.

Probably gifted from the Free




Item: Two lidded tankards or flagons

Date: circa 1750


A pair of pewter flagons 8.5 inches high.
Tapered body with mid girdle and reeded base. ’S’ handle.
Almost flat lid with thumb piece

Made by Ballantyne, Edinburgh.


Although there is no record, these
were probably purchased by
Kirkpatrick-Durham Church .

See Cotterell p.153 no. 218  




Item: One pair of cups

Date: 1863

Description: Height 210mm. Width of bowl 95mm Width of base 98mm.

Unidentified mark EPNS. Lacks an inscription

Notes: These cups are from the
parish church built in 1839.
Communion was not held until 1863.






Item: Two plated plates

Date: circa 1940

Description: Double rim.
Wide rim, stepped to base.  EPNS
Marked J D & S. Bell.
James Dixon and sons

 Notes: Currently in use in  communions at Corsock.













Item: A pair of pewter cups

Date: 1733


Height 190mm. Width of bowl 108mm. Width of base 103mm. The stems on both have been repaired. Tapered bowl. Plain stem. Slightly domed foot. Inscribed ‘ Kilpatrick Durham +1733 +’ (note spelling-Kilpatrick) Described in one inventory as” pure tin”.

Notes: Probably gifted to, or purchased by, the church.  




Item: Two lidded tankards or flagons

Date: circa 1870


Tapered body with mid girdle on spreading foot, spout, double domed lid, 'S' handle.

Height 305mm, Width of base 192mm.


From the United Free Church of Scotland Kirkpatrick- Durham which was re-united with the present Church of Scotland on 6th November 1940.

The United Free Church of Scotland Kirkpatrick- Durham was rebuilt in 1870






                                                                                 Item: Baptismal bowl

Date: 1946


Overall width 26cm.
Width of bowl 20cm. Depth of bowl 5cm. EPBM. Lacks any marks

Notes: The wooden font with its brass plaque and bowl was presented to Corsock Church by Eileen Jennings, her niece and Roger C. Bell, her nephew, in memory of Mary Hutchison Murray-Dunlop who died in 1946.
Roger C. Bell’s grandfather was Alexander Murray-Dunlop.  




Item: One nest of trays

Date: 1927


A nest with four trays complete with cover and containing 24 glasses in each tray. Electroplated.


Currently used at Corsock Church for communion.







 Item:   Two further nests of trays

  Date: 1927

  Description: As above.

      Notes: Probably presented by Mrs Findlay, Barncailzie Hall.

 Currently used in Kirkpatrick-Durham church.  




Item: One large tankard or pourer

 Date: 1893


Tapered body on three-stepped skirt.
’S’ handle with scroll terminal.
Shaped spout domed lid with finial.
EPNS with inscription below spout.


Inscribed “Presented by Mrs Hunter of Newall Close Otley to the parish church of Kirkpatrick-Durham 1893”.

It may have been gifted to the United Free Church.  






Item: A pair of pewter plates

Date: circa 1854

Description: Possibly EPBM. Said to be pewter.
Width of bowl 357mm. 
Lacks any inscription.

Turned over rim stepped to base.

Notes: Used at earliest communions
at Corsock Free Church
as bread plates.  




Item: A pair of pewter cups

Date: circa 1854

Description: Cups with deep bowl, spool stem and with knob. Pewter.
Height 204mm. Width of base 105mm.

Notes: These were gifted by Alexander

Murray-Dunlop, whose generosity enabled the Free Church to be built in 1853 and completed in 1854.


















Item: A pair of communion cups

Date: 1802

Georgian silver cups. Height 250mm. Bowl width 126mm. Base width 113mm. Engraver McHattie & Fenwick
Marked  M & F, Castle, Thistle, Duty, Y Slight out-turned rim.

Spool stem with knob. Trumpet foot, reeded.

Inscribed ‘Given to the parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham by Elizabeth McCartney, spouse to James McMillan of Kirkland and the late widow of William Raining of McCartney AD 1804’

Notes: McCartney is now known as Walton Park .






Item: Four piece travelling communion set.

 Date: circa 1870


Indian design. Made of Indian silver. The flagon has a porcelain interior (which is most unusual) and is straight sided with an oval handle, spout and finial. The liner is retained by thumbscrews under the lid. Marked Reid and Barron.  

There are two beakers, each with a bowl width of 90mm; height 118mm; width of base 62mm. Marked Reacher & Co, Bombay & Poona ’. Plain tapered to the base. There is a single cup with a shallow bowl and fine stem. Height 110mm; width of bowl 88 x 60mm.

Notes: Used in India by the Reverend Thomas Hutchison, second son of the Reverend George Greig, Minister of Kirkpatrick-Durham from 1843 to 1870. Thomas, an Army Chaplain in Bombay , used this set when conducting Church of Scotland services.



Item:    Single plate

Date: 1886

Description: EPNS plate, width of base 227mm Inscribed I H S in sunburst. Walker & Hall, Sheffield . Double rim with double step to base

Notes: Probably gifted by the Murray-Dunlop family of Corsock House.












Item:  One pourer

Date: circa 1927

Description:                                                                                        EPBL plated pourer of elegant design

Notes: Currently in use for filling the communion glasses in

Kirkpatrick- Durham.





Item: One pourer

Date: 1946

Description: Modern design. This was possibly originally a teapot. 
Marked A. Edward Jones Silversmith Birmingham . EPNS.
Height 12.5cm Base 11cm.

Notes: Probably gifted to Corsock Church . Currently used at communion in Corsock.