Death of James Moir

[James Moir is named on the Cairneyhill War Memorial, second from the top]

Dundee Evening Telegraph 13 October 1915

Black Watch Officer who has fallen – hero in the struggle

Second-Lieutenant J M Moir, 1st Black Watch, has been killed in an attack on a German position. He was a son of the late Rev John Moir, BD, Cairneyhill, Fife, and was born in 1889. Educated in Glasgow, he graduated in arts in 1908, and in same year he entered the service of the Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Society. On the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the Glasgow Highlanders (Territorial Force) and went to France with the battalion at the beginning of November. In June he was sent to the Cadet School at Headquarters, and received his commission in the 1st Black Watch, being gazetted early in August. His sisters reside in Doune Terrace, Glasgow.

University of Glasgow Roll of Honour

(James Moir’s entry in the University of Glasgow Roll of Honour gives us a few different details.)

James McMurchy Moir was the son of the late Reverend John Moir, BD, Cairneyhill, he was born on 17th October 1889 and attended Hillhead High School.

After leaving school he entered the University of Glasgow, where he graduated in arts in 1908. In the same year he entered the service of the Scottish Amicable Life Assurance Society, and in 1912 gained the degree of FFA [Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries]. he had rapid promotion, and in 1914 was appointed inspector of the Manchester branch of the Society.

On the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the Glasgow Highlanders, and went with the battalion to France at the beginning of November 1914. He served there until June 1915, when he was given a commission in the 1st Black Watch. He was twenty-five years of age when he fell leading his men into attack in the German positions on the 25th September 1915.

In his obituary it is written:

Lieutenant Moir was clearly marked out for a high place in his profession, and he was greatly beloved by all who knew him.

This is the family grave in Cairneyhill graveyard:

Hatches, Matches and Dispatches Part 1

Dear blog reader

This is the first part in a new series of Cairneyhill hatches, matches and dispatches that have appeared in the newspapers.

I have always found such finds very exciting in my own 30 years of family history research and I hope this helps anyone doing similar Cairneyhill-based research.

Please note that for privacy reasons all entries will be 100 years old and over.

(Glossary: inst/instant means of the present month and ultimo means of last month).


Glasgow Herald 10 July 1883

Moir – At Cairneyhill Manse, on the 7th instant, Mrs Moir; a daughter.

Dundee Courier 10 January 1887

At Cairneyhill Manse, on the 7th inst, the wife of the Rev John Moir, a daughter.

Glasgow Herald 25 March 1898

Erskine – At Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, on the 21st inst, the wife of Mr Ralph Erskine; a son.


Caledonian Mercury 3 July 1843

At Cairneyhill Manse, Fifeshire, on the 30th ultimo, Mr William Cromarty, St Margaret’s Hope, Orkney, to Catherine, second daughter of Henry Norquay Esq, same place

Manchester Times 19 October 1847

On the 13th inst, at Cairneyhill Manse, near Dunfermline, by the Rev John Moore, the Rev David Winton, of the United Presbyterian Church, missionary to Jamaica, to Ellen, second daughter of the late Alexander Baird, Esq MD Farnworth, near Liverpool

Glasgow Herald 15 June 1868

At 157 Upper Main Street, Gorbal, on the 12th instant, by the Rev James S Taylor of Hutchesontown UP Church, assisted by the Rev David Borland, MA of Cairneyhill, Mr James Morrison, clerk to Margaret, third daughter of the late Mr William Paterson, agent, Glasgow

Glasgow Herald 28 April 1871

At Fauldshead Terrace, Renfrew, on the 27th inst, by the Rev Robert Stephen MA assisted by the Rev David Borland MA of Cairneyhill, cousin of the bride, Archibald Fletcher Esq, sewed muslin manufacturer, Glasgow to Henrietta, only daughter of Mr John Wilson, late publisher and bookseller, Rothesay.

Glasgow Herald 15 June 1871

At Cairneyhill, by Dunfermline, on the 13th inst, by the Rev A M Jarvie, P Hodge, teacher, to Helen France, elder daughter of Thomas Duncanson, builder.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 22 September 1881

At Castlehead, Paisley, on the 19th inst, by the Rev A G Fleming, assisted by the Rev George Crawford, the Rev John Moir, BD, Cairneyhill, to Mary, youngest daughter of the late James McMurchy.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 25 December 1882

At Muirside, Cairneyhill, on the 22nd inst, by the Rev Mr Gull, minister of Torryburn, assisted by the Rev Mr Pitt, BD, minister of the first charge, the Abbey Church, Dunfermline, John Loudos, solicitor, Haddington, to Mary Yates, third daughter of James White Esq, The Boreland, Glendevon, Perthshire and Muirside, Cairneyhill.

Glasgow Herald 7 June 1889

Stupart – McKay – At Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, on the 6th inst, by the Rev John Moir BD, James W Stupart, harbourmaster, Bridgeness, Bo’ness, to Eliza Wilson, widow of James C McKay, late of Govan, and eldest daughter of the late William Wilson, Cairneyhill


Glasgow Herald 6 January 1868

At the UP Manse, Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, on the 2nd instant, the Rev John More, in the 80th year of his age, and 54th of his ministry

Glasgow Herald 4 February 1870

At Cairneyhill, on the 31st ultimo, Mr John Duncanson, in the 73rd year of his age – Friends will please accept of this intimation

Glasgow Herald 17 July 1872

Suddenly at Cairneyhill, Dunfermline on the 14th inst, Mr Peter Hodge, teacher, 187 George Street

Glasgow Herald 14 February 1880

Wilson – At Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, on the 13th inst, after a long and painful illness, Willaim Wilson, aged 67 years – Friends will please accept of this intimation

Aberdeen Press and Journal 20 December 1882

At Cairneyhill, on the 11th inst, James Philp, late of Tillicoultry, aged 58.

Dunfermline Saturday Press 23 August 1884

Reid – At Cairneyhill, on the 20th inst, Jean Templeman, aged 79 years, widow of the late Henry Reid.  Friends omitted please accept this intimation. (Australian and American papers please copy).

Dunfermline Saturday Press 8 November 1884

Calderhead – At Cairneyhill, on the 19th ult, John Calderhead, feuar, aged 86 years

Deas – At Cairneyhill, on the 6th inst, Alexander Deas, aged 67 years

Dunfermline Saturday Press 15 January 1887

Templeman – At 46 Dundas Street, Glasgow, on the 6th inst, John, eldest son of the late Robert Templeman, Cairneyhill, aged 47 years

Dunfermline Saturday Press 17 September 1887

Templeman – At Cairneyhill, near Dunfermline, on the 14th inst, Alexander, youngest son of the late Mr George Templeman, aged 15 years

Glasgow Herald 22 December 1891

Gilmour – At Cairneyhill, Dunfermline, on the 19th inst, in the 77th year of her age, Christian Blair, wife of John Gilmour – Friends please accept this intimation.

Glasgow Herald 11 June 1897

Moir – At 7 Huntly Terrace, Kelvinside, Glasgow, on the 10th inst, Mary McMurchy, widow of Rev John Moir, Cairneyhill

Glasgow Herald 17 September 1900

Erskine – at Cairneyhill, by Dunfermline, on the 11th inst, John Erskine, farmer, aged 75 years – Friends omitted please accept this intimation.

Sir Robert Herron, Knight

[Hawaiian Gazette 1 November 1898]

I must admit, I didn’t know that a son of Cairneyhill was a Sir and a Knight until one evening recently when I was meandering in the Dunfermline digitised newspapers and I found an intriguing article about a visit to Cairneyhill by Sir and Lady Herron:

Dunfermline Saturday Press 29 September 1888

Distinguished Visitors

‘Sir Robert and Lady Herron arrived in the town from Kingstown, Dublin on the evening of Saturday last, and took apartments in the City Arms Hotel. We understand Sir Robert’s intentions by his visit were stimulated by a laudable desire to see his native village (Cairneyhill) and visit the scenes of his boyish rambles.

Sir Robert and his lady drove to Cairneyhill Church on the Sunday, and attended the forenoon and afternoon services there, and in the evening were present at the centenary service held in Chalmers Street Church, Dunfermline. On Monday they visited the Corporation Buildings, the Abbey Church and Ruins and St Margaret’s Power-loom Works, where they were shown over the same in the most courteous manner by Mr William Robertson, the senior partner of that establishment. They afterwards visited Sir Arthur and Lady Halkett at Pitfirrane, leaving here in Tuesday forenoon for a tour through the Highlands.

About nine years ago Sir Robert, then Mayor of Kingstown, Dublin, presented that town with a town-hall at a cost of between £6000 and £7000, and after opening ceremony gave a most sumptous banquet to over six hundred of his townsmen and friends. In consequence of his many munificent acts during his municipal reign, Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen conferred the honour of knighthood on him on the occasion of her Jubilee.

Sir Robert is presently on his marriage tour, and we cannot do less than wish him and his bride good weather and every enjoyment.’

Robert was born in Cairneyhill on 17 August 1835 to Robert Herron, a carrier, most probably the equivalent of a postman, and Lillias Henderson. I am most impressed by Robert junior’s rise from the son of a Cairneyhill postman to a Knight …..

Sir Robert’s obituary in the 1 November 1898 Honolulu edition of the Hawaiian Gazette tells us more about Sir Robert’s life:

‘It is a sad and sorrowful duty to announce the death of Sir Robert Herron, Knight, which took place at his residence on Kinau Street, in this city, Friday afternoon. Sir Robert, who had not been in good health for some time, was taken seriously ill on Tuesday, the 18th inst. This was during the absence of Lady Herron and most of the family, who were attending the marriage of the eldest son on Hawaii. The medical attendants of Sir Robert, Drs Herbert and Humphris, were immediately summoned and declared his condition to be critical. Word was sent to Lady Herron, who returned to town on Saturday night last. From the time of her arrival Sir Robert appeared to rally, and hope was entertained of his ultimate recovery, but at midnight on Thursday a change for the worse took place and Sir Robert slowly sank until his death, at 1.45 o’clock Friday afternoon, all the members of the family in Honlulu being present when he passed away.

Sir Robert was born on August 17 1837 [date contradictory to the Cairneyhill Church Registers] at Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. In early manhood he went to Dublin, Ireland, and entered on a commercial career at Kingstown, Dublin. After being appointed Magistrate for the County of Dublin, and chairman of the Kingstown Commissioners for a number of years, Sir Robert finally received the honor of Knighthood in 1887. In 1890 he sold out his commercial interests and retired from business, and in 1894 settled with his family in Honolulu.

During his residence in Ireland Sir Robert was a prominent member of the Masonic Order, and frequently visited the local lodges in Honolulu. He was twice married. His first wife died in 1883 leaving him a son Robert, who died in 1887. His second wife, Anna Danford, survives him. Besides the widow, Lady Herron, he leaves a sister, Mrs McIntyre, residing in Scotland; his relatives in Honolulu are Mr and Mrs Danford, Rev V H and Mrs [illegible], Judge W L and Mrs Stanley, Mr Wm Danford and the Misses Alys and Ana Danford. The funeral service will be held from St Andrew’s Cathedral at 3 o’clock this afternoon, the interment taking place in Nuuanu cemetery.

Sir Robert Herron was a fine type of the Christian gentleman. he was a tall, strong, handsome man, dignified yet genial, always graceful, one whom it was a pleasure and a privilege top known. He became well-known in Hawaii and was exceedingly well-liked. He had full success in a business career, was well to the fore in politics in his own country and was considered a man of distinction. He was a favourite with many of the noted personages of Great Britain and was known as one of unbounded hospitality.’

Robert Herron’s parents and siblings are buried in Cairneyhill graveyard:

Thomas Blair, Solicitor

[Edinburgh Evening News 15 May 1897]

When the solicitors’ firm of Thomas Blair & son closed in Dunfermline in 2016, it was reported as one of the oldest Fife firms in existence, having started in 1840.

The firm was started by a Cairneyhill man, Thomas Blair (pictured above) born in 1822 in Cairneyhill to Andrew Blair and Isabella Wilson.

The report of Thomas’ death tells a lot about his career and interests:

Death of an ex-Baillie – Dundee Courier 13 May 1897

‘Mr Thomas Blair, solicitor, died yesterday morning at his residence in Viewfield Place. The deceased, who was a native of the neighbouring village of Cairneyhill, was a well-known public man, having been a member of the Dunfermline Town Council for the long period of twenty-five years. For a considerable part of that time Mr Blair was a burgh treasurer and after a magistrate. The deceased, who was seventy-four years of age, leaves a widow and family.’

Thomas Blair is buried with his family in Cairneyhill graveyard:

Church ministers

This week I am going to outline the various ministers who have been Cairneyhill ministers since the church was built in 1752.

(There will be a post in the future outlining the changing theological points of view at Cairneyhill in line with changing theological points of view in Scotland over the centuries).

Reverend James Burt

The 1st minister was James Burt. Reverend Burt was originally from Leslie and was ordained at Cairneyhill on 5 April 1755. The church members who ‘called’ Reverend Burt numbered 62 men and 6 female head of families.

In 1781 there were 143 Church members in the parish.

Reverend Burt died in Dunfermline in 1792 and is buried in Cairneyhill graveyard.

Reverend Thomas Blair

The 2nd minister was Thomas Blair from Kilmarnock who was ordained at Cairneyhill on 13 September 1791. Thomas Blair was called by 77 male members and 16 male adherents (ie those who were not formal members).

Unfortunately it was discovered that Reverend Blair was unsuitable due to his issues with alcohol and he was let go on 14 May 1813.

Reverend Blair subsequently moved to Ayrshire and attempted periodically to gain permission to work as a minister but was never again permitted. He died at Stevenston, Ayrshire in 1820.

Reverend John More

The 3rd minister, Reverend More, was from Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire and was ordained at Cairneyhill on 13 September 1814. 44 church members ‘called’ Reverend More.

Reverend More and his wife had financial difficulties due to the stipend (ie pay) attached to Cairneyhill church not being high enough and so Mrs More opened a ladies’ seminary (about which I have blogged previously).

In 1837 the stipend was £96 (equivalent to £6,500 nowadays) and the church came with a house ie the manse, a garden and a glebe (ie a piece of land or fields) of 2 acres.

Communicants in Reverend More’s time numbered 250 and Reverend More’s entire congregation was 400 people residing in Carnock parish, 106 in Torryburn, 45 in Dunfermline, 35 in Culross and 8 in Saline.

On Reverend More’s jubilee in 1864, he was given many presents including 580 sovereigns.

(I will publish a blog post on Reverend More’s jubilee in the future).

Reverend More died in 1868.

In July 1866 the congregation called a new minister Reverend James M Copland to act as an assistant to Reverend More in his older years but Reverend Copland declined their offer.

(I will publish a blog post in the future on Reverend More’s obituary).

Reverend David Boreland

The 4th minister, Reverend Boreland, from Glasgow was ordained at Cairneyhill in 1867 to act as an assistant to Reverend More.

(I shall publish a blog post on Reverend Boreland’s induction in the future).

Unfortunately Reverend Boreland’s time at Cairneyhill was not successful due to money issues.

The congregation had offered a stipend of £120 but unfortunately the congregation reneged on this because they could not afford it and they did not want the church to go into debt.

On 20 June 1876 Reverend Boreland resigned.

Reverend John Moir

The 5th minister, Reverend Moir, was unanimously ordained to Cairneyhill on 30 November 1876. (He had previously rejected job offers from Belfast and Ardersier).

in 1876 there were 116 names on the communion roll and the stipend was £90 with manse and garden.

Reverend Moir became ill and died in 1895.

(I have previously blogged Reverend Moir’s obituary).

Reverend William Forbes

The 6th minister, Reverend Forbes, was from Aberdeen and was ordained at Cairneyhill in 1895.

In 1899 there were 144 members and the stipend was £90 plus manse.

Reverend Forbes served on Carnock Parish Council and Carnock School Board and was a JP.

Reverend Forbes died in 1943.

Reverend Robert McVicar

The 7th minister, Reverend McVicar, was ordained at Cairneyhill in 1943 but moved on in 1946.

(I shall publish a blog post on Reverend McVicar’s induction in the future).

Reverend William Cunningham

The 8th minister, Reverend William Cunningham, was inducted at Cairneyhill in 1946 at the age of 43 having previously worked in Chapelhall.

Reverend Cunningham was the last minister to live in Cairneyhill manse.

Reverend Cunningham retired in 1968 and died in St Andrews in 1994.

Reverend David Archibald

The 9th minister, Reverend Archibald, was born in India in 1913. He had previously worked at Bargrennan and then , from 1961, at Torryburn and Newmills. In 1963 he also became the minister of Cairneyhill.

Reverend Archibald retired in 1983 and died in 2002 in Lincolnshire.

Reverend Robert Henderson

The 10th minister, Reverend Henderson, was born in Edinburgh in 1925 and previously worked in Melrose until he was called to Cairneyhiull in 1984. Cairneyhill church was now linked with Limekilns church and Reverend Henderson lived in Limekilns manse. In 1985 his wife became an auxiliary minister.

The Reverends Henderson attracted a congregation – in 1984 there were 77 communicant members and 6 years later 203 communicant members.

Reverend Henderson retired in 1990 and died in Edinburgh in 1999.

Reverend Grant

The 11th minister, Reverend Norman Grant, was inducted to Cairneyhill and Limekilns churches in 1990 and is still the minister.

Cairneyhill education almost a hundred years apart – in 1851 and 1942

The Scotsman 30 July 1851

Wanted, a teacher for the village school at Cairneyhill. He must be qualified to teach English, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Latin.

Application to be made to Mr William Erskine, farmer, Cairneyhill, within a month of this date.

Cairneyhill, 28th July 1851

Dundee Courier 29 December 1942

Fife Headmaster’s Death

Mr William Hunter McIntosh, who had been headmaster of Crossford-Cairneyhill School, near Dunfermline, for 23 years, has died after a short illness.

Before his appointment there he was a pupil teacher at Inverkeithing and an assistant in Commercial School, Dunfermline.

He was well known in the UF [United Free] Church and was on of the original members of the Dunfermline congregation. For some years he was a prominent personality in the Scottish Nationalist movement.

Political meetings at Carnock,Cairneyhill and Torryburn

Dunfermline Saturday Press 13 March 1880

Leaving Saline [that is leaving the previous meeting at Saline], the Honourable R Preston Bruce proceeded to Carnock, where he addressed a large meeting in the schoolroom – Mr Robert Seton being chairman. Mr Bruce spoke on Home Rule, and the way in which the Government appealed to the country on this point, and characterised the Government’s foreign policy as costly. meddlesome, arrogant and ineffectual. As to Turkey, he said it was bankrupt, corrupt and helpless, and more in a demoralised condition than when the war began.

The next meeting was at Cairneyhill, where there was a large attendance. Reverend Mr Moir presided, and made an eloquent speech in introducing Mr Bruce, whose address was mainly taken up in pointing out some of the defects in Captain Oswald’s address to the electors, and of Lord Beaconsfield’s statement that the foreign affairs of the country would not be safe in the hands of the Liberals.

The last meeting for the day was at Torryburn, which was also largely attended. Mr Halley, Newmills, occupied the chair, and Mr Bruce’s address was chiefly taken up with an account of the Zulu War, which he condemned, and of the domestic subjects which had been neglected by the Government during their term of office. He (Mr Bruce was anxious to deal with the publicans in perfect fairness, as he recognised that they carried on a trade perfectly legitimate; and if any valuable interest of theirs was to be taken from them for the benefit of the community, he held that they were entitled to compensation.

A motion was unanimously passed at the three places that Mr Bruce was a fit and proper person to represent the county.

[In 1880 there was a UK General Election. Robert Preston Bruce was a British Liberal Party politician and was a Fife MP from 1880 to 1889].

Two Hour Row in Cairneyhill

Dundee Evening Telegraph 19 January 1931

The fiscal said that accused came home about 10 o’clock and the disturbance lasted in the house from 10 until midnight.

Mrs Jeannie Nicholson, housekeeper, The Mews, Main Street, Cairneyhill, Carnock Parish was fined 5s with the option of five days imprisonment at Dunfermline Sheriff Court today for having in that dwelling house, occupied by John Hodge, retired mason, conducted herself in a disorderly manner, shouted, bawled, cursed and swore and committed a breach of the peace.

There were some men in the house and a good deal of drink and the disturbance caused great annoyance to the people below.

[After some research it is believed the property named the Mews referred to above is actually the Yews].

Two Cairneyhill soldiers: 1 killed, 1 wounded

Dundee Courier 25 December 1914

[Note the date of the newspaper!}

Cairneyhill Private killed in action

Private Charles Lockhart, of the Gordon Highlanders, who belongs to the village of Cairneyhill, near Dunfermline, has been killed in action.

He was 23 years of age and had been in the army for 2 1/2 years.

Wounded Fife soldier returns to front

Private John Anderson, 2nd Royal Scots, after a brief visit to his home at Cairneyhill to recuperate from wounds, has now returned to the scene of hostilities.

Private Anderson has been nine years in the army. His time had expired, but he re-enlisted. He has another brother with the Royal Scots.

Cairneyhill Village Institute

16 October 1935

Dunfermline District Council refuse to take it over.

At a meeting of Dunfermline District Council yesterday a letter was read from the secretary of the Cairneyhill Village Committee asking the Council to take over the village institute on the ground that, under present conditions, there was not sufficient income to meet the expenditure.

The chairman (Major Ross) warned the Council to be careful as to what they did with the application, remarking that in Fife there were so many of those institutes which were suffering from financial embarrassment that if they took over the Cairneyhill Institute they would be inundated with applications in respect of institutes all over the county.

Mr James Potter, who is a member of the Miners’ Welfare Committee, agreed that if the Council made a beginning with Cairneyhill they would be called upon to take over many miners’ welfare institutes which at present were run at a financial loss.

The Council agreed to send a negative reply to the Cairneyhill Committee.

[After some research it is believed the Village Institute was what is now known as the Masonic Hall]