Gledfield Free Church
Back in May when Hamish and I travelled around the Highlands we passed through Gledfield, the home of my Scottish Ross ancestors. We saw an old church that had no sign outside but which I took to be the Gledfield Free Church. I took a few photos and found myself wondering exactly how it was being used now, since it seemed to have ceased its function as a house of worship.
Yesterday I received the following information in an email from Peter Reynolds of peterreynoldsbooks.com. It brought a smile to my face:
I see the old Gledfield Free Church is for sale. http://bellingram.co.uk/property/the-old-free-church-ardgay-sutherland/ Driving past, it was not immediately obvious that it had been converted to a house. There is actually a lot of property in Ardgay on the market at the moment.
I remembered a census record from 1881 that I had seen some time ago on Ancestry.co.uk when I was researching Catherine Ross (Urquhart) and looked it up:
Name: Catherine Ross
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1801
Where born: Golspie (G), Sutherland S.
Registration Number: 71A/1
Registration district: Kincardine
Civil Parish: Kincardine
County: Ross and Cromarty
Address: Gledfield F. Church
Malcolm Ross 41, Jane Ross 29, Hector Ross 38, Catherine Ross 80, Elizabeth Stewart 14.
I still don’t really understand why the family address is listed as Gledfield Free Church. Surely in 1881 the building was still being used as a church, and not as a home. Looking more closely at the census record reveals that Malcolm Ross was the head of the household and that his occupation was “Master Blacksmith And Farmer (Of 11 Acres, All Arable, Employing 2 Man 1 Girl).” Jane Ross was his wife and Hector Ross his younger brother. Malcolm and Jane never had any children and Hector never married. Hector was a journeyman blacksmith. Elizabeth Stewart was their domestic servant.