Sunday, January 17, 2021

Book Launch – ‘Markinch: Its Church and Parish’

September 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Latest News

Launch Date – 3rd October 2010

Markinch: Its Church and Parish by Ian Gourlay and Ken Wilkie

This new paperback or hardback book provides a background to the history of the parish of Markinch from Neolithic times.
The content includes:
Foreword by Rev Alex Forsyth
A history of the parish incorporating Tullis Russell, John Haig, Markinch & District Co-operative Society, the beginning of Glenrothes and clubs and societies operating in the town today
A detailed look at the architecture of the church and tower (by Bruce Manson)
Church history from the sixth century to date
Listing of the ministers since the Reformation and local people of interest, including the names on the gravestones in the churchyard; the Balfours of Balbirnie (by Dr Jean and Robert Balfour); the Beatons of Balfour; the Sibbalds and Leslies of Balgonie Estate (by Stuart Morris) and the Ballingalls of Sweetbank
A section on miscellaneous topics including a listing of church officers over the past 115 years; session clerks  over the past 210 years and a personal story on the Ibrox disaster (by Shane Fenton) plus the 40th anniversary dedication services for the memorial bench and new stone in memory of the five Markinch boys who died at Ibrox Stadium on 2 January 1971
200 pages of content
48 monochrome photographs, most taken by Ken Wilkie
6 additional pages of colour photographs mostly by Ken Wilkie
A comprehensive index

Cost –
Hardback  £18.00
Paperback  £12.50
Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to fund improvements to the buildings of Markinch Parish Church

Copies can be obtained from:
Markinch Parish Church – After Sunday service and at Thursday coffee morning
Ken Wilkie, 6 Selkirk Street, Markinch (by prior arrangement for collection or to arrange delivery. Telephone 01592 760042 or email
Internet – Payment by Paypal to (postage and packing costs apply)

The Book
The book provides those who are new to the town of Markinch with a brief historic knowledge of its local area. It starts in the Neolithic Age with comment on the stone circle in Balbirnie Park and the henge at Balfarg. The church tower dates from the Norman period in the early twelfth century and there is a chapter on its architecture and history. The site of the current church, which was built in the 1780s, is known to have had two older buildings attached to the tower and the architecture of these is explained.
The reader is taken through a history of religion in Markinch from the time of St Drostan and the ancient cross at Stob Cross – believed to date from the sixth century and which stands in Balbirnie Park – through to the present day, including the dedication of a new memorial stone for the five boys from the town who were killed in the Ibrox disaster of 2 January 1971. With the 40th anniversary of that event imminent, Rangers supporters from across the globe raised funds to refurbish the existing memorial garden and plaque and a new plinth was dedicated at a service led by Rev Alex Forsyth on 29 August 2010.
The book includes details of ministers of the church since the Reformation, a list of session clerks over the past 210 years and church officers of the past 115 years.
Details of organisations where people can enjoy their leisure time is included. Social historians get brief histories of Tullis Russell, papermakers; John Haig, distillers and Markinch and District Co-operative Society.  There is a section listing the names on the gravestones in the churchyard. Local people of interest include the Balfours of Balbirnie; the Beatons of Balfour – the most famous being Cardinal David Beaton – the Ballingall factors from Sweetbank House; General Sir Alexander Leslie and William Haxton.
It is a reference point for anyone wishing to learn about the area on which the new town of Glenrothes now stands and concludes with a comprehensive index. There are 48 monochrome photographs and eight pages of colour plates, including one of the new memorial stone commemorating the boys who died at Ibrox Stadium.
The text is by Ian Gourlay and Ken Wilkie has taken or sourced the photographs then arranged the book’s layout.

The Authors are cousins who were brought up in Markinch in the 1960s, attending the local primary school, St Drostan’s Church and Sunday school prior to its merger with St Mark’s Church in 1969 when Markinch Parish Church came into being once again [having had to change its name in 1929]. Secondary school education started at Auchmuty Junior High School, Glenrothes in 1968 before moving to Glenrothes High School in 1970 in preparation for sitting Higher examinations. Ian Gourlay was employed in the banking sector for 35 years before retiring in May 2009. Ken Wilkie was employed in the sale of industrial process control equipment prior to retiring.

Dr Jean Balfour CBE
is well-known in farming circles. She has an interest in plants & vegetation which has taken her all over the world and continues to look after Scourie Estate and its crofting interests. Jean has honorary degrees from St Andrews and Stirling Universities.
Robert Balfour inherited the title of Laird of Balbirnie following the death of his father, John, in May 2009. He runs the family’s farming operation, is chairman of the Association of Deer Management Groups and is on the east area board of Scottish Natural Heritage.
Shane Fenton works in Markinch and contributes a weekly quiz to the local newspaper plus other occasional pieces. He gives a personal recollection of the Ibrox Disaster, having walked to Glenrothes to get their coaches to Glasgow with the five boys who died on the day.
Bruce Manson has lived in the town for a number of years and has written and researched several papers for Markinch Heritage Group. Bruce provided the sections on the architecture of the Norman tower and the medieval history of Markinch.
Stuart Morris lives with his parents at Balgonie Castle and allowed the authors to adapt an article he had written for an American publication for Clan Chattan on the history of Balgonie Castle and a famous inhabitant, General Sir Alexander Leslie, the well-known Covenanter.

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