Day Six: Finding the Grave of Robert Haldane, and Exploring the Glasgow Necropolis

GlasgowCathHello all:

I visited the grave of Robert Haldane, who is buried, quite interestingly, inside the building of the Glasgow Cathedral. I say interestingly, because as independent congregationalists, both of the Haldanes rejected the state Presbyterian Church. Why would Robert Haldane be buried in the largest symbol of Scottish Presbyterianism in Glasgow, right under the shadow of a huge monument to John Knox, the man who brought the reformation—and Presbyterianism—to Scotland?

I don’t have an answer yet, but there is some evidence to start hypothesizing (or really, just jumping to some conclusions). Robert is buried in the tomb of his wife’s parents. According to a narrative I have read, he died in Edinburgh, where he and his brother were collaborating in church building, and he was buried the very next day in the Glasgow Cathedral. Robert’s in-laws were wealthy town-folk in Glasgow. His father-in-law was an attorney and merchant in the city, living in a fine estate. In contrast, Robert and his brother James had been wealthy. The brothers sold their Castle, called Gleneagles, used some of the money to fund their ministry, and gave the rest to the poor. Robert’s father-in-law, by contrast, kept his estate, his money, and had enough status, prestige, and money to purchase his entire family tombs in the Glasgow Cathedral. So, when Robert died, the family did what was easily and immediately available: they buried Robert in a place he would have never wished to be…..let alone en tombed.

Robert is buried in the floor of the Cathedral, near the stairs that take the viewer down to Saint Mungo’s tomb. Some of the family graves are marked G.O. with a number next to it. Robert’s tomb, however, is walked upon so frequently that the letters and numbering have completely warn off. Nothing is left to mark his tomb. To find his grave, you must locate the graves of family members and then count the stones to determine where he lies.

After visiting the Cathedral, I took a trip up to the Glasgow Necropolis – The Glasgow City of the Dead. The first monument in the Necropolis was a statue at the top of a large hill commemorating the death of John Knox, the reformer of Scotland. Ironically, Knox is buried in Edinburgh, not Glasgow. After Knox, others started placing their graves, along with their gaudy headstones and mausoleums, near by. In the Victorian era, the Necropolis took off as the “in” place to be buried. The architecture of the area is amazing. I had to think about the Necropolis eschatologically, however. The City of the Dead is beautiful, if not a big creepy, in its own way. I had to wonder what the Earth will look like without all of these huge monuments to human beings. What will Earth be like when the only monument that exists is one to the Living God, the New Jerusalem come down from heaven so that God may dwell with God’s people? I long to know, and so does Robert Haldane and John Knox.



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Inside Glasgow Cathedral, looking at the tomb of Robert Haldane:

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The Necropolis and Scenes of the Outside of the Glasgow Cathedral:

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Day Five: Visiting Greville Ewing’s Grave, and the University of Glasgow.

Hello Everyone,

I arrived in Glasgow this afternoon after taking the ferry and the train from Belfast.  After arriving in the city, I made two visits, one to the grave of Greville Ewing, a Haldanite preacher in Glasgow that had a major impact on the thought of Alexander Campbell, and the University of Glasgow, where both Thomas and Alexander Campbell attending University. I found the masoleum to be in disrepair, with graffiti on it and trees growing up around it.  In addition, the general cemetery, which is owned by the City of Glasgow, is in general disrepair. Greville Ewing was a Haldanite minister who preached and ran a seminary in Glasgow.  When Alexander Campbell was shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland in 1808 and then crossed the channel into Scotlqand, it was Ewing who helped Campbell get enrolled at the University of Glasgow.  Campbell spent quite a bit of time in Ewing’s home, and visited his church often, experiencing weekly communion.  Additionally, Ewing created an immediate link between the Glasites and Campbell.  Ewing required all of his students to read the works of John Glas and Robert Sandeman, and we know that Campbell read their works and were familiar with their theology. Ewing broke away from the Haldanes, however, over baptism by immersion.  The Haldanes eventually embraced believers baptism by immersion, but Ewing, who had come out of the Presbyterian Church, could not agree to give up infant baptism, and eventually he broke ranks with the Haldanes. Between 1808 and 1809, Alexander Campbell attended the University of Glasgow, like his father.  Alexander was heavily influenced by the Scottish Philosophy that he learned at Glasgow, that included heavy doses of Scottish Common Sense Realism, the school of which was founded by Thomas Reid.  Common Sense Realism heavily influenced how Campbell, and later, his followers in the faith, read the bible. Later, many other conservative, evangelical Christians, were influenced by Common Sense Realism, to the point that Mark Noll has declared a knowledge of Common Sense Realism as a requirement for fully understanding evangelicals.  However, among the rest of the world that is not evangelical, Common Sense Realism has largely been rejected.  The discipline of Anthropology, for instance, has termed Common Sense Realism as “Naive Realism,” and lays the phenomenon of ethnocentrism directly at the feet of Common Sense Realism. Pictures from the mausoleum of Greville Ewing: Mausoleum 18 Mausoleum 17 Mausoleum 16 Mausoleum 15 Mausoleum 14 Mausoleum 13 Mausoleum 12 Mausoleum 11 Mausoleum 10 Mausoleum 9 Mausoleum 8 Mausoleum 7 Mausoleum 6 Wilson Wislon Mausoleum 5 Mausoleum 4 Mausoleum 3 Mausoleum 2 Mausoleum 1 Glasgow City Council Land Services Sign Eastwood Old Cemetery Rule Sign                                         Photos from Glasgow University:   IMG_3804 IMG_3803 IMG_3802 IMG_3800 IMG_3799 IMG_3797 IMG_3796         IMG_3793 IMG_3792 IMG_3791 IMG_3784 IMG_3777



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Days Three and Four: Exploring Dublin and Belfast, and thinking about the Campbell’s and Glasites as Colonizers

View of Belfast 1789, Lawson's MapHello all: Days three and four have been slow ones on the research front.  Since I am traveling by train, there are Glasite and Stone-Campbell sites that I could visit that are outside the cities that I just can’t reach without a car.  So, I’ve been unable to check those areas.  Instead, I spent some time exploring Dublin, and yesterday, Saturday, I transited between Dublin and Belfast on the train.  I’ve also taken some time to read and think about Thomas and Alexander Campbell and the role they played as Scotch-Irish settlers in Ulster. Ireland was a colonized area, and it required military force to keep the island a British possession.  The area of Ulster, particularly, was taken over by the British as a settlement.  Starting with the Irish Rebellion of 1798, there were four sustained uprising against British rule by the Irish between then and when Alexander Campbell left Ireland in October of 1808.  Thomas, Alexander, and their family then, as Scotsmen, were foreign colonizers, and Thomas, as a Protestant Presbyterian clergyman in a predominately Catholic nation, was an important part of the dominating English establishment.  As far as I am aware, no research has focused upon Thomas and Alexander as colonizers.  The same could be said of those Glasites who spread the faith from Scotland to Ireland as well.  Of course, the Campbell’s and those Scottish Glasites who went to Ireland did not see themselves as colonizers, but as missionaries, or as simple ministers of the Gospel traveling to Ireland to feed the flocks that were already there.  I wonder, however, what we can learn about both our own movement, and the lives and work of those who transplanted their faith and work from one area to another, in part, as a way to defend and expand an empire.


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Day Two: Dublin, Searching for John Walker

TrinityCollegeHello all:

I arrived in Dublin around 11am GMT this morning.   I visited Trinity College today, there the Reverend John Walker had been a fellow.  Walker had been a member and minister of the established Church of Ireland, but then converted to Sandemanianism.  Upon his conversion, he was expelled by Trinity College.  Walker founded several Sandemanian congregations in Ireland, which often went by the name of Walkerites or Separatists.

I’ve been attempting to locate Walkerite meeting houses in the Dublin area, but unfortunately they all appear to have been torn down.

The collected works of Walker were published shortly after his death in 1838. Volume 1 and Volume 2, along with a separate index, can be found at the Glasite Digital Archive.


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Day One: Flying from Nashville to Dublin via Toronto

dublinHello Everyone:

I am flying from Nashville to Toronto today on Air Canada Flight 8032, departing at 6:50pm Central Time.  I will arrive in Toronto, Canada, at 9:40pm Eastern.

I then depart from Toronto to Dublin at 11:10pm Eastern, and will arrive in Dublin at 10:40am GMT.

I will be updating this blog post throughout the day.  Stay tuned.




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My Itinerary







My Itinerary for my research trip to Ireland and the United Kingdom:

May 7  W        Flight from BNA to Dublin, Ireland

May 8  Th       Visit to Glasite and Stone-Campbell Movement sites in the Dublin Area.

May 9  F          Archival work in Dublin.

May 10 Sat    Travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, via train.  Visit Glasite and Stone-Campbell Movement sites in Belfast area.

May 11 Sun   Travel to Glasgow, Scotland via Ferry. Visit significant sites in Stone-Campbell Movement History in Glasgow, including Alexander Campbell’s home, the University of Glasgow, and Haldanite and Glasite Church sites.

May 12 M       Continue to tour Glasite and Stone-Campbell locations.

May 13 T        Travel to Dundee, Scotland, via train (1h30m).  Archival Research at University of Dundee.

May 14 W       Archival Research at University of Dundee.

May 15 Th      Visit Glasite sites in Dundee.

May 16 F        Archival Research at U of D.  Travel to Edinburgh, Scotland via train.

May 17 Sat    Visit Glasite and Haldanite sites in Edinburgh.

May 18 Sun   Travel to Cardiff, Wales via train.  Visit Sandemanian locations.

May 19 M       Visit Sandemanian locations.  Travel to London, England via train.

May 20 T        Visit Stone-Campbell and Sandemanian locations in the London Area.

May 21 W       Visit Stone-Campbell and Sandemanian locations in the London Area.

May 22 TH     Conduct Archival Research in London.

May 23           London

May 24 Sat    Fly to BNA from London, England.


Daniel Humphreys Polemical Letter Against Elias Smith

Map of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, around the time Daniel Humphreys lived there.
Map of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, around the time Daniel Humphreys lived there.

Hello All:

My last broadcasted post described a letter I found from Elias Smith of the Christian Connexion to Daniel Humphreys, whom Smith described as “A Sandemanian Teacher.”

I have now obtained and digitized a letter from Humphreys to Smith, which is fascinating.  Humphreys’ polemic against Smith in many ways reminds me of the countless polemics I have read from preachers in the Church of Christ against denominational doctrines.  Whether it is Humphrey’s attacking Smith as being a member of a denomination (I think Smith would disagree), or attacking Smith for being creedal (again, I think Smith would reject this idea), it reads familiar, except, at one crucial point.  One of Humphreys’ main attacks on Smith is over baptism by immersion.  To quote Humphreys:

Your zeal for a favorite point respecting baptism, leads you to pronounce these your opponents, and the common churches around us, antichristian. (4)

Humphreys agrees with Smith’s contention that the other churches are in fact antichristian. But he also feels that Smith and his band of Christians are as well, for “failure to come out of Babylon.”

I had reported incorrectly in my post about Smith’s letter to Humphreys that Humphreys had asked why the two churches could not commune.  This was incorrect, as I noted in an errata in the original post.  This question had been asked of Smith by Congregationalists in New England, and Smith’s answer was baptism.  Humphreys answers the question back to Smith, saying:

By this time you will perceive that I am none of those who put the question, Why cannot you commune with us?–No–we may commune as fellow citizens and neighbors, but present sentiments continuing, religious connexion is quite out of the question.

Smith, however, wouldn’t have been interested in communing with Humphreys anyway, because the Sandemanians practice infant baptism. being the Calvinists in Soteriology that they were.

Humphreys spends much of the balance of the letter comparing the doctrines of the Christian Connexion to that of the Sandemanians, praising Smith where he thought praise was due, and condeming Smith’s understandings where they disagreed.

Near the end of the letter, Humphreys exhibits some pattern theology, another common thread between the Sandemanians and Churches of Christ. Humphreys compares Smith’s “church building” to the pattern of God, and declares it wanting.

You can find the entire letter at the Glasite Digital Archive.




Tickets are Purchased!

Hello all,

Just a quick update to say that I purchased my plane tickets today.  I am flying from Nashville to Dublin, Ireland on May 7th, and  I am returning to the States via London on May 24th.

I will be posting my full itinerary in the next few days. Stay tuned!



An Interesting First Find

EliasSmithHello Everyone:

While doing some searches for primary sources related to the Glasites, I came across a letter written by Elias Smith of the Christian Connexion, to Daniel Humphreys, a Sandemanian elder.  Smith’s letter is highly polemic in nature, and he attacks Humphreys’ teachings on subjects such as baptism and  soteriology.

This letter is significant to me because it shows a connection between the Christian Connexion, one early precursor to the Stone-Campbell Movement, to the Glasite/Sandemanian movement, another early precursor.  While the letter is polemical in nature, it provides us with direct evidence about Smith’s beliefs, and his views on how Glasite beliefs fit or did not fit within his religious framework.

I had not previously heard of Humphreys’, but found that the Library of Congress had established a subject heading under his name.  A search of Worldcat found nothing, but I did find that Vanderbilt holds several sermons and letters that he published on microcard.  One of the letters in this collection is a letter to Elias Smith, which possibly is the letter that Smith was replying to in his published letter.  In it, Humphrey’s asks Smith why the Sandemanians, who called themselves “Churches of Christ,”  and the “Christian Church” of Elias Smith could not worship together, an interesting question posed by the typically exclusivistic Sandemanians. This is one question, I am sad to say, that has been asked over and over again by those in the Stone-Campbell Movement.

You can find the full text of the letter at the Glasite Digital Archive.

Erratum: The post above states that Humphrey’s letter to Elias Smith asked why the Christian Connexion could not worship with the Sandemaninans.  This was incorrect. The letter from Humphrey’s is a public response to a series of letters between a Congregationalist minister and Elias Smith, where the Congregationalist was asking Smith why the Chrisitan Connexion could not commune with the Congregationalists.  I regret the error.



The Glasite Digital Archive

ArchiveGreetings Everyone:

Part of this project website is the creation of the Glasite Digital Archive.  The goal of the archive is to be a clearinghouse of primary source materials on the Glasite/Sandemanian Movement and closely related independency movements in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This will do three things: it will allow me to have immediate access to important documents before, during, and after my research trip to Europe this summer, and it will provide me with a  place to house new materials that I obtain during that trip, and it will allow other scholars and those interested in the history of the Glasites or the Stone-Campbell Movement with easy access to these documents for research purposes.

The main framework of the archive is now up and running.  55 documents have accessioned into the archive.  The vast majority of these documents are primary source materials such as essays, sermons, and letters.  A small number of secondary source documents are also in the archive, however, these are not available to the public due to copyright restrictions.  I will be communicating with a digital copyright expert in the next few weeks to explore options for hosting these documents on the site for registered users.

The collection itself is currently divided into two sections.  Section one is for Glasite/Sandemaninan documents.  The second section contains documents related to the Haldanite independency movement, which is closely related to the Glasites, and which Alexander Campbell interacted with during his year residence in Scotland.  Additional sections for related groups may be added later as I obtain documents for them, including independency groups such as the Scotch-Baptists.

It should also be noted that not all primary source documents in the archive were generated by the movements themselves.  I am including polemical documents against the groups in the archive as well as these also provide important insights into the groups that they are about from outsiders.

There are, of course, many more published documents out there waiting to be found and added to the collection.  If you have documents on the Glasites, the Haldanites, or related independency groups that you would like to share, please feel free to contact me by posting a comment, or e-mailing me at Josh [at] glasite [dot] org.

You can access the archive at the link above, or through the main website, and clicking on the graphic for the Glasite Digital Archive.