Rev William Proctor b1850

1850 William Proctor was born 15 June 1850 in St Cuthbert, Edinburgh, the youngest child of Adam Proctor b1797 and Elizabeth Roger b1807. His parents were living at 55 India Place, Edinburgh, and his father was a sucessful plumber. Educated at George Watson College and Edinburgh University. He was ordained as a Free Presbyterian minister, married Bathia Steedman in 1874, worked as a missionary in Penang, returned briefly to Oban, before moving to Dublin in 1884. He had 5 children, of whom only 2 survived to adulthood and to marry.He was the minister at Abbey Road Presbyterian Church in Dublin for nearly 40 years. He died in Pau, France in 1922

James Hutchison Proctor John Proctor Thomas Roger Proctor

1851 census shows William Procter, Age: 1, born: St Cuthbert, Midlothian, Son of Adam Proctor, age 53, and Eliza Proctor, age 43. Living at 55 India Place, Edinburgh. Living with them are their children, Mary Procter 21, John Procter 14, Elizabeth Procter 12, Thomas Procter 10, James Procter 1, William Procter 1.

1861 census William Proctor Age: 11, born: Edinburgh Son of Adam Proctor, age 63 (plumber) and Eliza Proctor, age 53. Living a 11 Dean Street, Edinburgh with their children Mary Proctor 30, Thomas Proctor 20, James Proctor 17, William Proctor 11

1871 census - His father had died in 1869, his mother and 2 sisters are still living at 11 Dean Street, Edinburgh. I assumed that William was at Edinburgh University at this time, but would have thought him to be living at home. Eventually I found him in the census, a "student of divinity" working as a tutor for a farmer's children (Charles Borthwick) in Mindrim Farm, Carham, Northumberland. It is difficult to see why he was there, it is 40 miles south-east of Edinburgh, just in England. Neither the farmer, nor his wife are Scottish.

1874 Ordained on 2 March and his address is given as St James Place, Edinburgh.

1874 Marriage of Rev William Proctor to Bathia Steedman. 2 April 1874 of Abercromby Place, Stirling after banns according to the form of the United Presbyterian Church signed by William Proctor, Minister Free Church, bachelor, age 24 of 11 Dean St, Edinburgh. Son of Adam Proctor, plumber, deceased and Eliza Proctor (nee Roger). His address is where his parents were living in 1869 when his father died

He married Bathia Steedman, spinster, age 20 of Abercromby Place, Stirling. Daughter of Rev John Steedman ( minister of the United Presbyterian Church in Stirling) and Catherine Kinross Steedman (nee Kerr) at the Stirling UP church

1874 to 1876. William Proctor worked at the Presbyterian Church in Penang. Going out to Penang immediately after his marriage with his wife. St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Codrington Avenue, Penang is where he worked during his years in Penang. We first visited it in the 1980s and it was still there, but on the verge of extinction. 10 years later it had received an injection of cash, and had been rebuilt and was thriving. None of the people we saw could speak English, so we were unable to find out what had happened. But I was later told the story

William Proctor was the 5th minister of St Andrew's Georgetown from 1874 to 1876. The climate did not agree with him and he left prematurely. The congregation had not expected this as he was a young man and for the next 17 years there was no minister and in the interim the congregation left the Presbyterian Church of Scotand which was then undergoing great divisions and joined the more stable  Presbyterian Church of England instead. The  Presbyterian Church of England also provided loans to keep the struggling church afloat. During that time the premises, built on a beach were almost washed away by sea storms and without a minister, the number of adherents fell sharply, services became irregular and the church underwent financial difficulties and were forced to rent out the church building and manse to the Church of England to be used as a free school for girls from poor families.

The St Andrew's Presbyterian Church which Rev Proctor was associated with was commonly known known as the Mission Chapel at Light Street. The Presbyterians merely rented the premises. The actual building itself has by now been long demolished, though adjacent buildings within the former Mission compound still survive as ruins and could be restored as heritage buildings in the future. The St Andrew's Church that exists today is the 4th incarnation of Rev Proctor's church. The second (Light St) and third (Farquhar St) churches were pulled down decades ago, the land sold for profit and redeveloped. The 4th church was much more modest in size and built in the 1950s to replace the third church which had been looted and badly damaged during WW2. The largely British congregation had dwindled away to about 2 dozen souls by the 1970s and faced severe financial difficulties. The congregation then decided to donate the church premises to a Chinese language congregation which appropriated the name of St Andrew's and assumed the property's liabilities but neglected to maintain the records of the colonial congregation which are now lost. The remnants of the colonial congregation either joined the Church of St George the Martyr (Church of England) or Wesley Methodist Church which had English-language services and which already had British expatriates in their respective congregations.

There wre 3 st Andrews Churches in Malaysia. The oldest was the Georgetown one. The St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the second of the original three St Andrew's Churches built by the Scottish Presbyterians in colonial Malaya. The third St Andrew's is in the city of Ipoh and it was also appropriated by a Chinese language congregation in the late 1960s after the colonial congregation went into debt. The KL church was always financially sound and still has a substantial expatriate congregation though the number of Scots and Irish could be counted with one hand!

1876 Kate E. S. Proctor born 1876 in Penang. She died at a young age, but was still alive in 1881 census

The UP Manse at Oban

1877 William Proctor inducted to be minister at Oban on 5 June 1877

The relative position of the UP church and its manse are very clear in the 1847 map of Oban. They were barely integrated into the town.


1877 William Adam Proctor born in Oban. Died 1877, died aged 0 in the Scottish death registers.

1880 Eliza Roger Proctor born Oban Manse . The church at Oban has since closed (it is a Scotland Hydro Electricity shop now) and the manse is a guest house.

1881 census William Proctor Age: 31, born: Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, Minister Of Oban U P Ch, Son-in-law of the head of that household, John Steedman. Bathia and daughter Elizabeth are at Oban Manse the day of the census. While he is living on the day of the census at 12 Abercromby, Pl: Stirling which also contained on that day:- John Steedman 67, Catherine Steedman 55, Margaret G Steedman 29, Agnes Finlayson 16, Mary Steedman 14, Katie E S Proctor 5 (his daughter).

1881 Bathia Steedman Proctor born 29 July 1881 at Oban. She died of TB, unmarried, in Dublin in 1904.

By 1881 it was noted that membership of the church had risen during Mr Proctor's tenure from 74 to 104.

1884. The family went to Ireland on 18 January where Rev William Proctor was the minister of the Church of Scotland, Abbey Street, Dublin from 1884 – 1920

1885 Ada Mary Hope Waddell Proctor born in Dublin. "Hope Waddell" was an Ulsterman and Presbyterian missionary minister in Nigeria. A college he founded is still called after him. I have not been able to find the link between him and Rev William Proctor in 1885.

The first Minister of the Scots Church in Dublin had been Mr. James Stevenson, 1867 – 1882. He was succeeded by the Rev. William Proctor, 1884-1920. After William Proctor retired the next minister was the Rev. A. MacPherson, 1921-1939.

Lower Abbey Street Church is closed in 2008, and will be turned into offices by the neighbouring VHI company

The Cause was sustained and supported by the United Presbyterian Church in Scotland. 1900 saw the Union of the Free Church of Scotland and the United Presbyterian Church. The new name of the Congregation was the United Free Church of Scotland. 1929 saw the Union of the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland. As that Union approached, the mother Church in Scotland advised the Congregation to seek inclusion with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. This was done and the Church in Abbey Street took the new name, The Scots Church. The Scots Church and Ormond Quay were later amalgamated in 1938. Due to a variety of circumstances, the Congregation of Ormond Quay & Scots sought to amalgamate with the Congregation of Clontarf. This was achieved at the General Assembly in June 2003, to be effective from 31 July 2003, on which date the Rev. James Brogan retired. The church building in Lower Abbey Street closed it doors following the retirement of Rev. James Brogan (a Scot) and all of the historical documents were transferred to the care of Clontarf Church.

Rev. William Proctor took over from the missionary work begun by Rev. James Stevenson. Rev Stevenson had arrived to take charge of the North Strand district in 1866. After 16 years Stevenson accepted a call from the congregations in North Leith and after a lengthy vacancy William Proctor, of Oban, took the charge of the United Free Church of Scotland, Lower Abbey Street. The membership was then 272; and by 1909 that number had increased to 443.

Soon after his induction, Day Schools were opened in the North Strand, and the mission and school paid agents under the minster, numbered nine, there being three Sabbath Schools and three Day Schools, together with the other congregational organizations. When the Home Mission Funds of the mother United Presbyterian Church in Scotland declined and were withdrawn, the congregation undertook the support of the North Strand Mission without these funds. According to a report: "Rev. Mr. Proctor is an ardent supporter of Rescue work, and has done lasting work in the cause of social purity." The congregation maintained vigorous educational and mission work, both in Whitefriars St. and North Strand. A lecture hall costing £1,000 was also added in Mr. Proctor's time in 1886. The congregation became part of the United Free Church of Scotland following the Union of 1900,

He was not above politics, viz this petition that he put his name to in 1901 "How could any stranger, for instance, be aware of the following facts concerning "the district of the city of Dublin which lies between the Liffey, Sackville Street, Great Britain Street, Summer Hill, and Amiens Street" issued in July 1901, and signed by "W. J. Clarke, D.D., Highfield Road, Rathgar, late rector of St. Thomas's parish, chairman; E. Robinson; A.M., 6 Gardiner's Place, rector of St. Thomas's parish; William Proctor, 28 Kenilworth Square, Rathgar, United Free Presbyterian Church, hon. secretary; John Connell, A.M., 2 Gracepark Gardens, Drumcondra, rector of Drumcondra and North Strand, hon. secretary." The abominable district is in the Protestant Parish of St. Thomas, and the next adjoining Protestant parish is that of North Strand.

28 Kenilworth Square in 2006
Kenilworth Square in 2008

1911 census, The Proctor family is living at 28 Kenilworth Square, Dublin and consists of

It is interesting to note that in 2006 this house, 28 Kenilworth Square sold for €3.2 million

His daughter Ada married George Robinson soon after this. They moved to Cheltenham after the end of WWI, had had two children Desmond and Peg.

The Belgrave is still a hotel today

1917. Charles William Grant married Elizabeth Proctor (or Elsie as she was known), daughter of the Rev William Proctor and his wife Bathia Proctor of 28 Kenilworth Square, Rathgar, Dublin. Elsie and Charles Grant were married on 15th January 1917. Mr Proctor, assisted by several clergymen married them in the Church of Scotland Church, Abbey St, Dublin, of which Mr Proctor was minister for almost 40 years. Dorothy Bigger, a very old friend of both Elsie and Charles, was her bridesmaid, and Charley Bailey, adjutant of Charles Grant's regiment Royal Dublin Fusiliers, was the best man.

1922 Rev William Proctor died at and was buried at Pau, France. He had a visiting card produced with "Rev William Proctor, Hotel de Londres, Pau". For 100 years, Pau was barely out of the society pages in Britain and, later, the United States. They called it “Pau, ville anglaise”. The episode has since quite slipped out of the national consciousness. Which is strange, because — more so than Nice or even Biarritz — Pau remains influenced by its moneyed British past. It is, for a start, both sedate and raffish, a legacy from the days when a large-scale descent by British visitors heralded Anglicanism and backgammon. Britons showed up initially for the good of their lungs. Pau’s mild, wind-free winter climate was thought just the thing for TB — quite wrongly, as the British graves in the town’s cemetery testify. Soon enough, though, fit folk from the top drawer were rolling in, unimpeded by any damned nonsense about integrating with local life. In a remote French country town of 10,000, they simply re-created a noble British culture, complete with golf and gaming, hunting, polo and tennis, music salons, Anglican churches and English dentists.

Full family index

The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland commenced a Mission cause in DUBLIN in 1861. Services were held first in Aungier St. and later in Whitefriars St. More permanent arrangements were made when the Pillar Room of the Rotunda was opened for public worship on 17 May 1863. A congregation was formed and the Rev. James Stevenson of Derryloanhead, Scotland, was installed as the first minister on 18 July 1866. Services were moved to the old Metropolitan Hall, Lower Abbey St. in Feb. 1867 and the foundation stone of the new U.P. Church in the same street was laid on 6 May 1868. The church, built for £6,000, was opened on 4 Apr. 1869 by Rev. Prof. Eadie, D.D.

The Rev. James Stevenson was called to North Leith U.P. Church and Rev. William Proctor, who had ministered at Penang (Malaysia) and Oban was installed in 1884. The congregation maintained vigorous educational and mission work, both in Whitefriars St. and North Strand. A lecture hall costing £1,000 was also added in Mr. Proctor's time in 1886. The congregation became part of the United Free Church of Scotland following the Union of 1900, and it was not till 1929 when the U.F. Church and the Church of Scotland joined, that the Abbey St. congregation affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and was known as the "Scots Church". The Rev. Mr. Proctor remained its minister until 1920 when he retired because of ill-health. He died at Pau in France on 23 Mar. 1922.

The Rev. Hope Waddell, for many years an associate of Mary Slessor in Old Calabar, and himself a Monaghan man, came to retire in Dublin. He was a member of the first Kirk Session and remained a member till his death in 1895.

The Rev. Alexander Hugh MacPherson was installed on 6 Jan. 1921. He came from Levenside U.F. Church, Scotland, saw the congregation become part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and retired through failing health on 30 June 1938. He was a popular and frequent broadcaster on Scottish and other poets. He retired to Glasgow and died on 20 Dec. 1945.

When the Rev. A. H. MacPherson retired the congregation of the Scots Church united with that of Ormond Quay under the ministry of the Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Byers who was installed on 1 July 1938.