Reverend Andrew Taylor
The Reverend Andrew Taylor arrived in Dundee in 1850, to serve the Congregation of St Paul's, South Church on the Nethergate. This was to prove his sole charge, which he dutifully carried out for 23 years, until his death in 1873.
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Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Name of spouse
John William (1843-1894): David George (1845-1853): James Yool (1848-49): Margaret Matthew Whitson (1859-1862): Adam Whitson (1860-1923):
Age at death:
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Established Church - Minister of St Paul's, South Church, Dundee
Clubs / societies
Model Lodging House Association - A Committee Member: Morgan Hospital - A Member of the Board of Governors - elected by the Presbytery: Dundee Lunatic Asylum - An Ordinary Director for the Kirk Session: Dundee School Board - A Director: Free Library - A Director: Dundee Royal Infirmary - A Committee Member:
Subscribers 25 – J H & A Bell – were brothers of Andrew Taylor’s 3rd wife, Mary Hope Bell
Subscriber 36 – William Bell – was a brother of Andrew Taylor’s 3rd wife, Mary Hope Bell
Subscriber 109 – George Jameson – was a brother in law of Andrew Taylor’s 3rd wife, Mary Hope Bell
Subscriber 110 – John Jack jnr. – was a brother in law of Andrew Taylor’s 2nd wife, Elizabeth Freer Whitson
Subscriber 252 – Miss Whitson – a relative of Andrew Taylor’s 2nd wife, Elizabeth Freer Whitson
Career and worklife
Place of work
St Paul's, South Church, Dundee
St Paul's South Church
Career to date:
Andrew Taylor began his working life as a teacher, reported 'in which capacity he acted for brief periods at Crieff, Ceres (1835-42), and at other places, and for many years, at Duddingston (1842-50), where he conducted the Parochial School with much success.' It was declared that, subsequent to 1843, having previously completed the Arts curriculum at St Andrews University, he commenced the study of Divinity at Edinburgh University, while also continuing to teach. In 1849, he was licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Edinburgh. By 1850, Andrew Taylor had been ordained and was inducted as minister of the South Church in Dundee. Andrew Taylor's tenure at St Paul's, South Parish Church was to last for 23 years.
In his 20s, Andrew Taylor embarked upon a career in teaching, his latter two placements having been in Ceres and Duddingston. It was while in Ceres that he wed his 1st wife, Elizabeth Lees. although their three boys were born in Duddingston. Only the eldest, John William, survived into adulthood. While in Duddingston, Andrew Taylor continued to study while also giving his attentions to teaching.
Ordained in 1850, Andrew Taylor then accepted what was to become his enduring vocation, that of minister of St Paul’s, South Parish Church, in Dundee.
Prior to leaving Duddingston for his charge in Dundee, Andrew Taylor was entertained to dinner, by a select number of his friends, in the London Hotel. During his departing get-together, he was presented with ‘a large and valuable collection of works in theological literature.’
However, shortly after gaining his post, he found himself embroiled in a major dispute. Newspapers of the time reported at length, though typically declaring:
‘Unfortunately, no sooner had he entered the work of the ministry than it became necessary for him to take up and maintain a position of hostility towards the Magistrates and Town Council, which, undeservedly, exposed him for a time to the obloquy of many who were strangers to his character and ignorant of his work.’
Known as ‘The Celebrated Stipend Case,‘ it came about in consequence of the Town Council having, in year 1843, reduced the stipends of the town’s ministers from £275 to £150 per annum. Thereafter, the Presbytery entered into a litigation with the Council, with the view of insisting upon more suitable stipends being provided. Reverend Andrew Taylor took a prominent and active part in the proceedings, which were carried on for 10 years, in the Court of Session and the House of Lords. Ultimately, it resulted in the adjustment in an amicable manner, by a bill which passed the Houses of Parliament in 1864.
Gratitude for the part played by Rev Andrew Taylor, was expressed the following year when 50 to 60 gentlemen presented him with a tea and coffee silver service, a gold watch and chain, plus other articles, in token of the esteem in which he was held.
Andrew Taylor’s family life had undergone more than a few tribulations in the interim. His 1st wife and 2 of their offspring were deceased and, in 1858, he wed Elizabeth Freer Whitson. Coming from the parish of Bendochy, Elizabeth and her 3 sisters lived at 57 Magdalen Green, with their maiden aunts. Andrew’s marriage to Elizabeth was short-lived. 1861 marked the year of her death. Their daughter, Margaret Whitson Taylor had also perished. With a small son to care for and nurture, Andrew entered into a 3rd marriage. He wed Mary Hope Bell in 1864, 12 years his junior and the daughter of Thomas Bell, of Belmont, jute and flax manufacturer. Mary and her stepson, Adam Whitson Taylor, were to remain together until her death in 1905.
Andrew Taylor gained a reputation for the eloquence of his ministrations, ‘demonstrating as they did, deep knowledge of theology, great logical power, keen critical acumen, ability and erudition of no mean orders.’ In recognition of his pre-eminent qualifications and his services to the Church in Dundee, the Sinalus of the University of St Andrews conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1867, an honour, it was reported at the time, ‘which he justly merited.’
The Reverend Andrew Taylor, D.D. died on 1 July 1873 at the home of his son, Dr. John Taylor, in Port Glasgow. His funeral was attended by the Masonic bodies, by several members of the Town Council and a large representation of his Congregation, together with private friends. Approximately 200 masons also turned out and gathered in St David’s Masonic Hall, 8 Bank Street.
Andrew Taylor, an able and faithful minister, having the courage of his convictions, was readily recognised for his ‘boldness and unswerving integrity. He uniformly displayed in contending for that which, in his own mind, he was convinced was true, honest and just.’
- Old Parish Registers. Methven. Births. (1811). 380/10 341. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Registers. Ceres. Marriages. (1837). 415/ 40 217. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1858). 282/ 2 256. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Registers. Dundee. Marriages. (1864). 282/ 2 137. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Census Returns. Dundee. (1851). 282/ 75 30. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1853-54. p.222. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1858-59. p.195. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1861-62. p.216. National Library of Scotland website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. p.193. National Library of Scotland website.
- Statutory Registers. Port Glasgow. (1873). 574/ 145. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Vol. 5. Synods of Fife, Angus and the Mearns, Established Church. p.332.
- Western Cemetery Burial Lair Records. Friends of Dundee City Archives website.
- Scottish Post Office. Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. pp.32-47. National Library of Scotland Archive.
- Brechin Advertiser. 8 July 1873. p.4. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Scottish Post Office Directories. Dundee, 1864-65. p.32. National Library of Scotland website.
- Dundee Courier. 2 July 1873. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
-  St Andrews University Register 1747-1897.
- Dundee Courier. 2 July 1873. p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Dundee Courier. (The Scotsman). 15 May 1850. p.3. British Newspaper Archive website.
- Lamb Collection. Courier and Advertiser. 4 July 1873. Dundee Central Library, Local Studies.
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