Saturday, 12 July 2014

How many Scottish church denominations were there?

Another wee blast from the past, with an article I wrote on another of my blogs in Feb 2011, which might provide a bit of an eye opener if you are stuck before 1855 on ScotlandsPeople...

How many Scottish church denominations were there?

If you are having problems trying to find a pre-1855 birth in Scottish parish records, here's a wee eye opener as to why that might be. The ScotlandsPeople website only hosts the registers of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic churches. But there were plenty more!

The following is a list of church denominations, and the number of premises they had, as returned for the Religious Worship Census of 1851, taken alongside the main decennial census on March 30th-31st.

Established Church 904
Reformed Presbyterian Church 37
Original Secession Church 30
Relief Church 2
United Presbyterian Church 427
Free Church 824

Episcopal Church 112
Independents or Congregationalists 168
Baptists 100
Society of Friends 6
Unitarians 5
United Brethren, or Moravians 1

Wesleyan Methodists:
* Original Connexion 61
* Primitive Methodists 10
* Independent Methodists 1
* Wesleyan Reformers 1

Glassites, or Sandemanians 6
New Church 5
Campbellites 1
Evangelical Union 27

Isolated Congregations:
* Various 8
* Common 2
* Unsectarian 1
* City Mission 7
* Christians 7
* Christian Disciples 14
* Christian Reformation 1
* Reformed Christians 1
* Free Christian Brethren 1
* Primitive Christians 2
* Protestants 4
* Reformation 1
* Reformed Protestants 1
* Separatists 1
* Christian Chartists 1
* Denomination not stated 6

Roman Catholics 104
Catholic and Apostolic Church 3
Latter Day Saints, or Mormons 20
Jews 1

(Extracted from Table A: Summary of the Whole of Scotland, p.2-3, from Histpop at

So just a few more denominations to think about!

For more information on how to find the registers of those other denominations I have written a book entitled Discover Scottish Church Records (updated 2016 for a second edition) for Australian based genie venture Unlock the Past ( For worldwide availability in paperback and ebook versions, please visit my books section at



  1. Chris

    Presumably you are familiar with the diagram of of the splits and unions in the Scottish Church found on ?

  2. Yes thanks, though I think this one is a bit clearer -

  3. Thanks, Chris... I knew there were more, but didn't realise how many. I have very little need of Scottish records, but handy to know just in case.