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The Churches in Latheron

The area covered by this project includes the site of 2 of Latheronís churches, the original church and present Clann Gunn museum being just outside of the square mile.

The congregation of Latheron Parish remained undisturbed from 1717 to the Disruption in 1843 (General Assembly involved in a dispute in the House of Lords). The Disruption left the Parish Church with a very small congregation and no minister. The Free Church was formed and led by the minister Rev. George Davidson who had to quit the Parish Church and manse (at Latheronwheel) and worshipped in the open.

This then led to the building of the church, which today lies ruinous on the south side of the beginning of the Causewaymire road to Thurso. The manse was not built until later, Rev. Davidson lived at one time in Gillovoan, a 17th Century house that is situated about one mile west of the church on the Causewaymire. The timbers for the church came from a large vessel that was shipwrecked off the coast and the cargo, timber was purchased by zealous Free Churchmen .

The next ecclesiastical division followed the union of the Free Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1900, from this the United Free Church of Scotland was formed. This union allowed hymn singing and musical instruments, so new buildings had to be constructed. The United Free Church of Scotland subsequently lost the right to the Free Church and manse as the result of a decision by the House of Lords in London in 1914.  Once again church services were forced into the open air until the new building, the West Church and the dwelling known as Church Hill House (former manse) were ready for use.  It was a result of this and falling numbers in population and worshippers that the first Free Church fell into disrepair and has changed ownership several times since.1

1. Source W.G. Mowat, The Church in Latheron Parish.  Thurso Library, not catalogued but was on the shelf in
January 2001