Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
Newspaper Articles
Revised August 23, 2022

Newspaper Articles for Scotland

1893 January 7 ~ Motherwell Times
Announcement by Rev. John McNeill of services to be held at Motherwell Town Hall

1893 January 14 ~ Motherwell Times
Report of Rev. John M’Neill week’s mission in Motherwell

Date unknown ~ possibly by The Courier or Leven Mail
Strange Sect Which Has no Name - Baptism in the Sea at St. Monance (now St. Monans)

1920 December 9, p5 ~ The Courier, Dundee
How St. Monans went "Dry" – Cooneyites

1905 May 5 ~ Kilsyth Chronicle
Baptisms in Banton Loch

1905 May 6 ~ Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Kilsyth – Baptisms in Banton Loch

1905 May 19 ~ Kirkintilloch Gazette
Queenzieburn – Open Air Baptisms

1906 January 13 ~ Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News
Overtown – The Lady Preachers Interviewed (Misses Jamieson & Weir)

1907 February 13, p5 ~ The Courier, Dundee
A Wintry Dip.
Notable Quote: With whom did the movement begin?
The first person to take up the work was Mr. Irvine who was at one time mine manager for Messrs. Baird & Company in Glasgow.

1907 March 4 ~ Dundee Evening Telegraph
Scene at Perth Religious Meeting

1907 March 23 ~ Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News
Tramp Preachers Go to Prison

1907 June 12 ~ Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News
Motherwell – The Tramp Preachers

1908 July 24 ~ Kilsyth Chronicle
Kilsyth – A Socialist Colony about the Cooneyites

1909 July 23 ~ Linlithrow Gazette
Whitburn – Tramp Preachers' Mission

1911 June 21 ~ The Courier, Dundee
Dipping in Kininmonth Burn

1913 August 15 ~ Kilsyth Chronicle
Kilsyth – Death of John Irvine (Wm Irvine's father)

1924 April 19 ~ The Courier, Dundee
Strange Preachers in Peterhead

1931, July 9 ~ Courier, Dundee
Tramp Preachers Released

1931 August 4 ~ The Courier, Dundee
Glasgow Green Cases – Large Crowd again at Court

1931 August 12 ~ The Courier, Dundee
Tramp Preacher on Hunger Strike

1947, March 16 ~ The Sunday Post, Lanarkshire
William Irvine Had to Go (William Irvine's Death)

January 7, 1893
The Motherwell Times
[Newspaper for Motherwell, Scotland]

Will preach in the
Parish Church (Rev. D. Scott’s)
He will also conduct Services in the
At 5 Afternoon for Women only, and at 7:30 Evening for Men only
Will Conduct Services in the
From MONDAY, 9th to FRIDAY, 13th Jan.
At Eight o’clock
Service of Song at 7:30;
Also Afternoon Meetings on TUESDAY, 10th,
and WEDNESDAY, 11th in
Daiziel Free Church (Rev D. Ogilvy’s).
On THURSDAY, 12th and FRIDAY, 13th, in
Brandon Street U.P. Church (Rev A. W. Carmichael’s).
At 3 o’clock each Day.

Mr. J. H. Burke, from America
Will sing at all the Meetings with the exception of the Service in the Parish Church.

Saturday, January 14, 1893
The Motherwell Times
Motherwell, Scotland


MOTHERWELL. On Sabbath the Rev. John M’Neill opened a week’s mission in Motherwell, where he addressed three meetings.  In the morning he spoke in the Parish Church, and in the afternoon and evening in the Town Hall he addressed two meetings, one for females only at five, and for men only at 7:30.

At each of the meetings every seat was occupied, and in the evening an overflow meeting was held in the Christian Institute.  In giving out the intimations in the morning, Mr. M’Neill said he wished to interject one remark to those people who would object to everything except what fitted their own anvil.  Some would ask, why separate the sexes?  He would answer, simply for the reason of common sense, for they could not at seven o’clock turn into men those who filled the hall at five; and if they used their common sense in spiritual things they might have been saved Christians before now, but alas!  It was seldom that common sense was applied in that direction.

He took the text form the narrative in the Book of Ruth concerning Naomi and her daughter-in-law, and the parting of the ways, in the 16th verse, chapter 1st, "Entreat me not to leave thee," &c.  He asked them to picture a Scotch woman going over the border, and her return to her own country and people in similar circumstances, for it was just the same thing.  He was afraid there were more Orpahs in our congregation than Ruths.

They were not genuine in heart.  They would go to the station with you, and kiss you gently on the cheek, and when you were gone they would say, "I have had enough of her."  There were also men in our own churches, aye, gentlemen, if you please, and they actually thought they were "blooming" saints, because they came to church occasionally, and perhaps took a part in a little heartless singing. That was all the religion that could be seen with a microscope in their whole lives; but they were only scarecrows in the church.  Outsiders looked at them, and watched them, and they said it was a sham, and they would have none of that sort of Christianity.  That kept thousands outside the church walls.  In the name of God, let them have done with that today and be real!

Touching on the passionate appeal of Ruth to Naomi, he said, Lord help some people.  When Christ was pressed on their acceptance, they looked as if they were lured on to destruction, instead of to salvation.  They came, if they came at all, with such a "swither, as if they were not sure what they were doing.  They went bang full tilt into drinking, to the theatre, and to business head over ears.  But if to Christ, pardon, peace, happiness and heaven at last, they came dragging their heels behind them, and they put a hand into Christ’s cold and clammy, as if He was not worth trusting.

Let it be either Bethlehem or Moab, heartily. They could not go both ways, clever and all as they were. Let it be either cold or hot, or (Christ used the words) "I will spue thee out of My mouth."  If he (the speaker) used the words originally in a Motherwell church that day, nothing would save him on the part of some dainty dilettante people from a charge of vulgarity!  They would go home and say—did you ever hear such language, such vulgarity?  The vulgarity was in the souls that did not love Jesus Christ supremely.  That was hideous vulgarity.  Indecision did not reflect any moral or intellectual capacity in any man. It was the dry-rot of religion—"Put the pith of your manhood in your decision and turning point."

The weariness and languishing often seen in the churches was a disgust to the Son of God.  Did anybody think they would be the worse or the poorer for making that day the decision that Ruth made?  Well, let them look at her.  She became mistress of that farm where she gleaned her livelihood amongst the stubble.  He concluded with urgent appeals to those present to turn their faces today and follow in the same direction a Ruth did.  The discourse was listened to with perfect stillness.

During the week crowded audiences have assembled in the Town Hall.  Large numbers have flocked in from the surrounding districts nightly and the Rev. gentleman’s discourses have been received with acceptance.  Mr. M’Neill has also in the course of his mission spoken in Dalziel Free Church and Motherwell U.P. Church.

By advertisement we observe that this mission is to be continued in Motherwell.  Meetings will be conducted next week by Messrs. Ferguson and Bissect, evangelists, in the Clason Memorial Free Church and the Town Hall.  We anticipate large and interesting meetings throughout the week.

(No Date, no publisher)
By a Correspondent

Late at night and in the early hours of morning pilgrims, standing waist deep in water, have been solemnly baptised in the Firth of Forth near St Monance [Scotland].
Carried out in secret, the remarkable ceremonies have formed part of the programme of a strange religious sect which has been holding its annual convention in the Fife fishing village.
For the past few years this has been its accepted meeting place. The religious services are held in the Town Hall Building, formerly the school, which are hired to them by the Town Council.
This body of men and women pass the greater part of each day in hymn-singing and prayer. Among the 300 members are people of all classes: bakers, butchers, grocers, working people, and professional men and women.
Perhaps the most surprising fact is that it has no name. Locally the members are known as "Cooneyites," but the sect itself does not recognise this designation officially.

By Word of Mouth

The annual convention is interesting in the extreme. The members are summoned not by letter, but by word of mouth. From widely scattered parts they come from England, Ireland, and Wales.
There is no secretary, the sect has no fixed headquarters, it takes no collections, and has no clergy. Their faith lays down that if they organise into a movement, they would chase out the Holy Ghost. There are a number of unpaid preachers who travel from town to town visiting members. They carry no money with them.

Each year during the Fife conference, there are a number of converts, and following the accepted custom, they are baptised in the Firth of Forth. Several ceremonies have been carried through this week. The hours chosen are late at night and early in the morning "The members stay in St. Monance for several days," one local resident informed me, "and although they have been coming here for years, we know as little about them as we did when they first came. They are not secretive; they simply keep their religion to themselves. They are all very devout people. We have rather taken to them, with their somewhat strange ways, and now welcome their annual visits."

View photo of baptism in TTT Photo Gallery.
Caption: Pilgrims being baptized in the sea at St. Monance, Fife, during the four days religious conference which was concluded last night. Pilgrims from all parts of the country were present

TTT Editor's Note: Possibly published in the paper formerly called The Leven Mail but now titled the East Fife Mail, or the Dundee Courier. In earlier years, there were one or two other local newspaper covering the east coast fishing villages in Fife, but they may have ceased and/or been swallowed up by the Leven Mail.

St. Monance (sometimes spelled St. Monhans) is located in the County of Fife located north of Edinburgh, on the north side of the Firth of Forth.

NOTES provided to TTT Editor: St. Monance is a small fishing village. The name has now returned to its original "St. Monans." I remember my mother telling me about convention at St. Monans. It was held in the Town Hall just yards from where she grew up. Special Meetings at Christmas time are still held there. I also remember my mother telling me about the baptisms. Due to the interest they aroused from outsiders, they tried to hold the baptisms at night or early in the morning on the beach outside the western boundary of the village.

Gartocharn, Dunbartonshire replaced St. Monans Convention, perhaps in the early 1960's. I remember my mother saying it was there at St. Monans when she was a small girl (perhaps late 1920s–early 1930s at least.) At the time the convention was in St. Monans, the village for its size must have had one of the healthiest numbers of professing folks. Out of a population of 800 to 900 then, there were four or five large meetings. Probably that's why the convention was held there. Those who came from afar stayed in the homes of the friends.

May 5, 1905

KILSYTH. On Sabbath afternoon curiosity tempted several hundreds of people to face the cold easterly breeze and showers on a pilgrimage to Banton Loch where a number of adults, converts to Edward Cooney, who styles himself ‘the tramp preacher,’ were immersed. For several weeks, Cooney, a native of Enniskillen in the North of Ireland, has been conducting in Kilsyth a mission in connection with the evangelistic body occupying the Wooden Hall, in West Burnside Street.

The scene of Sunday’s proceedings was on the North side of the Loch where at the water side a canvas structure had been erected as disrobing room. The spot selected, whether advisedly or merely coincidentally, was at the spot from which it will be remembered a boy named Wilson, about two years ago, went in to bathe and was drowned. A goodly number sought vantage spots on the rubbish bing from the old Riskend Pit, while numerous others lined the West Bank and also the North bank, in the immediate vicinity of where the tent was erected.

Prior to the immersion proceedings, a religious service was held, and thereafter, females were the first to brave the cold water. They were conducted down the bank by one man and led out to where another (Mr. W. Abercrombie, Queenzieburn) was standing waist deep, who received them and dipped them beneath the water. The varying expressions on the faces of the immersed as each came to the surface, in some cases gasping and to all appearances chilled with the experience, gave room for much caustic comment and humourous remark from the spectators.

The crowd was, however, of the most tolerant nature and beyond giving audible expression pretty freely to their opinions, in no way interfered with the ceremony. While the males were preparing for the baptism, Cooney held forth upon the rite of baptism, avowing himself a believer in adult baptism and giving an account of the rite as performed by the ancients and in the various religious bodies of the world. Afterwards, the men were dipped and interest in the proceedings, so far as the crowd was concerned, was at the end. While the ceremony was going on the Hall followers sang hymns. In all, eleven women and eight men underwent immersion.

May 6, 1905
Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Baptisms in Banton Loch

KILSYTH.  Hundreds of people found their way to Banton Loch, Kilsyth, on Sunday afternoon to witness the baptism of nineteen adults, converts of Edward Cooney, who styles himself the "Tramp Preacher." For some weeks Cooney has been carrying on a mission in Kilsyth, where his following have erected a wooden hall in which to conduct their services.

May19, 1905
Kirkintilloch Gazette
Open Air Baptisms

QUEENZIEBURN. Quite a stir was created here on Monday evening when a baptismal ceremony under the auspices of the Wooden Hall mission, Kilsyth, was held. For the occasion, which was unique in the annals of the village, the faithful had dammed the Glen Burn to obtain a sufficient depth of water in which to immerse the candidates. Weather conditions were favourable for the ceremony, which was witnessed by a good natured crowd of about 20 people.

The principals were Messrs. Wm. Irvine and Edward Cooney, both of whom delivered addresses, while the choral proceedings were similar to the recent ceremony at Banton Loch.  A tent had been erected on the banks of the stream for the disrobing of the candidates.  The actual dipping was performed by Mr. T. Crawford, Queenzieburn. There was no attempt at interfering with the ceremony. Curiosity drew the crowd and the ubiquitous snapshotter. Nine men and eight women were immersed.

January 13, 1906
Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News
The Lady Preachers Interviewed

OVERTOWN. The two lady preachers, who for two months conducted services in Overtown, and created considerable stir among the inhabitants, have, after a couple weeks' absence, returned again. On this occasion, they were accompanied by three gentlemen, who are said to said to belong to Ireland.

On Sunday evening the ladies and gentlemen addressed a greet crowd at the Cross and were met with rather a hostile demonstration. They contended that a person could not be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, and have a house to live so, whereupon Mr. John Moore asked them to quote a passage in the scriptures that condemned a preacher because he had a house to live in and asked if the Apostle Paul did not live in his own hired house.

On Monday evening the same "tramp preachers," as they were pleased to define themselves, came again to the Cross, and soon, by their singing, once more attracted a large gathering, who on this occasion, it must be said, listened most attentively. One of the ladies and five gentlemen addressed the meeting in turn, each declaring that they came not to preach any new Gospel or religion, but to preach Christ. One of them said that he cared not what they (the people) thought of them as tramp preachers, so long as they knew that they were saved and following Jesus. The meeting on Sunday night lasted nearly three hours, and that on Monday for two hours.

The representative of The Lanarkshire called at the house of Mr. Cooper, which is situated two doors from the new police station, for the purpose of interviewing the two ladies, who, he learned resided there. In answer to his knock a woman came to the door, whom he presumed to be Mrs. Cooper. She at once sent one of the ladies out to speak to our representative, and, though at first a little bashful, the young lady was not long in becoming quite friendly and extremely communicative.

She readily promised to forgive our representative for asking any questions whish might seem a little personal: and, in answer to his interrogations, went on to say that they were attached to no sect or denomination, they went just exactly on the lines that Christ did going into the world, and preaching the Gospel freely without money and without price. The people of today, she said, clamoured for a part of the truth, but they preached the whole truth, and it was only in accordance with the teachings of Christ that they should meet with disapproval.

She believed, however, that the cause of the hostile feeling which had been shown to them was due the fact that one of the speakers at their meeting on Sunday night had previously been a "Cambellite," a branch of the Plymouth Brethren. If anyone could show them, she said, from the scriptures where they were wrong or not, seeking in everything, just to go by the scriptures, they would be glad to stand corrected.

"But, if it is not too impertinent, where do you get your money from?" queried our representative. "We get the money from the same source as Paul and the other disciples," quickly replied the young lady, who seemed to be growing nicer as the interview proceeded. "We believe," she added, "that the man that takes gold for preaching the Gospel is a fraud.

Our representative now had sufficient confidence and courage to ask the young lady's name. "Jamieson," she at once responded, and stated further that, as our representative suggested, also did not belong to Ireland; she belonged to Berwickshire, but that her companion, who now also appeared at the door, and gave her name as Miss Weir, a native of Dublin.

Miss Jamieson is to all appearance, a lady of about twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, while her companion looks probably ten years older. Miss Jamieson stated that after she was saved, she looked round for something that was like Jesus, and joined the Baptist Church, but her brother went out without purse and scrip, and she then began to see that things were not right with the Baptist either, and so she determined, no matter what it cost, to go out into the world just as Christ himself had done. They did not get money for preaching and would not take money from any unconverted person. They just went about getting a bite and a sup just as Jesus did. They did not always look well clad and well fed, but, on the contrary, they believed that they would feign be hungry and ill oft as Jesus and the others who followed him were.

The great majority of the preachers today, continued Miss Jamieson, were a great deal above what Jesus was. Miss Jamieson further remarked that Jesus was thirty years of age when he went out into the world, whereupon our representative suggested that she was not quite that age yet. "No," retorted Miss Weir, who came to the aid of her companion, "but many of his disciples were not under thirty when they started to preach. We don't know how long we will be here," continued Miss Weir, who had now also begun to throw off her shyness, "we just go when and where the spirit moves us—just as God leads."

In regard to the three gentlemen, Miss Jamieson explained that they had just come across Kirkmuir, but they had now gone away from Overtown. Miss Jamieson said that they had met few friends in Overtown, but then, she added, "Jesus says there are few that find the narrow way." Since they had lived in Overtown, they had been in different places, added Miss Jamieson; and she now narrated how that she and Miss Weir had just come to Overtown in fulfilment of the conditions of scripture, and on the invitation of the man of that house (Mr. Cooper) partook of his hospitality. Mr. Cooper, she added, had told them that he had been praying for God to send two such disciples of his to Overtown, and Mr. Cooper believed that their presence was God's direct answer to that prayer.

EDITOR's NOTE: Sibling Workers Violet, Elizabeth and Willie Jamieson were from Berwickshire, Scotland. Edith Weir was from Dublin, Ireland.

February 13, 1907, p5
The Courier, Dundee


DOWNFIELD. Although the efforts of a sect of revivalists in Downfield to carry through a series of out‐door baptisms at Falluws on Sunday afternoon were thwarted by one of the proprietors, the ardour of the enthusiastic little band was by no means quelled, and the ceremony was carried through to a successful termination yesterday afternoon.

There were six candidates for the rite, which was performed in the Gelly Burn at a point near the farm of Mr. James M. Andrew, Magdalene’s Kirkton, Mains, by two “tramp preachers” who are at present carrying on evangelistic work in Perth.
As the principal actors approached the scene of operations, followed by a small band of spectators, a cold drizzle of sleet was falling, accompanied by a sharp east wind. The candidates, however, seemed to heed but little the inclemency of the weather as the ceremony proceeded, and concluded with their complete immersion into the water of the burn, which had been dammed for the purpose.


Later in the evening a “Courier” representative called at the farmhouse of Magdalene’s Kirkton with the object of obtaining from Mr. Andrew, who is a prominent member of the sect, some particulars as to the views held by this people, and was cordially invited to join the company at the tea table. In the course of conversation one of the preachers informed our representative that the sect had no organisation at all.
“There are no headquarters” he said, “no recognised leaders of thought, although there are some men we recognise as men of more experience than others in helping the weaker.”
“Then who carries on the work?”
“We have what are called ‘tramp preachers’ or ‘going preachers’ since some people object to the word 'tramp.'
“And if you have no head, who appoints them, and who pays them?”
“We go forth at the call of Jesus. We believe in men who feel they are sent for the work, and while we recognise the text that the labourer is worthy of his hire, we believe that by hire was meant his food, his clothing, and his shelter; but we do not believe in a salary, and we have no salary. The paid minister is the servant of man, not the servant of God. We go forth in faith depending on God. When we enter a town, we enquire if there is anyone worthy, and if we find a worthy home we stay there. If not, we take lodgings.”
“And who pays the rent?”
“We take no collections, nor solicit money from anyone, but nevertheless we have been living in a hired house in Perth since the New Year – of course it is only an attic – and we have never wanted the rent.”


“Are there many ‘tramp preachers’?”
“There are well on to four hundred who are thus evangelising in Great Britain and in other parts of the world.”
“Do the ‘tramp preachers’ all find they can thus exist?”
“Oh yes; of course, we suffer sometimes. The Bible says we have to go out and suffer hunger. Sometimes we do. Sometimes our clothes are not very good, but the Lord sees to these things.”
“How long have you been a ‘tramp preacher’?”
“Close on two years, but there are men amongst us who have been seven or eight years.”


“With whom did this movement originate?”
“The first man to take up this work was Mr Irvine, who was at one time mine manager for Messrs Baird & Company at Glasgow.”

“With regards to open air baptism, do you consider it a necessity to furtherance of Christian faith?”
“Jesus Christ sent forth disciples to make disciples, and to baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We do it as the command of Jesus. It looks a ridiculous thing to many, but it is the command of Jesus and that is why we do it – not for any glory of our own or for any selfish ends.”
“It must require a bit of physical courage to undergo that ordeal in a running stream on such an afternoon as this,” I remarked.
“We don’t believe in a tank or anything else. The New Testament gives instructions for the open baptism, and all the incidents of the kind we find there were all carried out in one or other of the rivers.”
“You don’t believe in waiting till the weather is warmer,” I suggested with a smile.
“We have come here at the request of the people who were to be baptised.”
“Have you had many baptisms in Forfarshire?”
“There were two here on a previous occasion, four at Letham, and two in the Almond at Perth.”


In the course of conversation with candidates, who were looking none the worse for their dip, our representative was told that they did not feel the water was at all cold, while another who had undergone the ordeal remarked that, while it required some courage, members who were true to their faith were so unhappy till they were baptised that season never entered their thoughts. The preachers expect to remain in Perth for some considerable time. They have a following in Forfarshire, there being a church in Letham and a church in Downfield. All churches of this sect are entirely carried on by the local members.

March 4, 1907
Dundee Evening Telegraph

PERTH. For several weeks past, a number of men describing themselves as "Tramp Preachers" have been holding forth to the people of Perth nightly at the High Street Port and South Street Port. These meetings are sometimes continued into the night and certain statements made by the Tramp Preachers last night seemed to have roused the indignation of two or three of the local Pentecostal League.

Towards 10 o'clock, one of the Tramp Preachers was interrupted by a member of the Pentecostal League and descried as a liar.  The large crowd at once surrounded the interrupter, its sympathies evidently being with the preachers.  A heated altercation ensued, the different sections excitedly proclaiming their religious beliefs, and introducing personal references into their remarks.

Ultimately, the Tramp Preachers closed their meeting, and the Pentecostal League followers, taking advantage of the crowd, stepped into the centre and announced a hymn. They were, however, allowed to conclude the hymn themselves, the crowd having disbursed as quickly.

March 23, 1907
Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly
Religious Strife in Cambuslang


CAMBUSLANG. Since early in January last, Cambuslang has been favoured or bored, as the awe may be, by regular nightly visits from a small but earnest band of street preachers, who, although strangers to the place, speedily monopolized the popular stances at the Cross as their own. At first, their meetings attracted little or no attention, but as the preachers commenced to assail the teachings of other denominations, and particularly the religious views held by the Plymouth Brethren, who meet in the Argyle Hall, public interest was quickened, and not infrequently when the weather was favourable, the meetings at the Cross were attended by very large crowds.

The visitors rejoice in the name of the "Tramp Preachers," but to many they are known as the "Cooneyites," owing to the fact that their leader is one William Rutherford [should be Edward] Cooney, a native of Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. Cooney is well connected, being an Enniskillen magistrate; his sister is married to an Irish bank manager; one of his brothers is Service consul in Liverpool; while he has a brother-in-law in the ministry. "My crime," said the leader of the tramp preachers to a large crowd at the Cross the other night, "is my poverty, and when I go to Enniskillen, I am refused a night's shelter in my father's house."

The sequel to a meeting held at the Cross on the evening of Wednesday, 24th February, was based in Cambuslang J. P. Coors on Thursday last, when a charge of obstruction and refusing to desist when requested by the police was proferred against Archd. Russell and Samuel Acheson, Oswald Street, Glasgow; and John Baille, Old Shettleston Road, Shettleston. They pleaded guilty. Justices Simpson and Fyfe presided.

The first witness called said street preaching was very common all over the district. On the date libelled, the accused were addressing a large meeting at the Cross, and as the thoroughfare was blocked, Inspector Fraser asked them to remove. They refused, one of them replying that the police had no power to shift them.

Constable Gardiner said the accused preached in Cambuslang every night of the week except Saturday. On Wednesday, 27th February, John Aitchison, hairdresser, Main Street, was preaching at the Cross, when the accused came forward and started singing, with the intention of drowning Mr. Aitchison's voice. Witness, having learned that Mr. Aitchison was only going to preach a few minutes longer, requested accused to wait until he had finished.

They refused to do this, but proceeded to ridicule all the different religions, and particularly Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Plymouth Brethren, and the Salvation Army. (Laughter.) The footpath was completely blocked, and there was a crowd of at least 150 people. Witness informed Inspector Fraser, who also requested accused to desist, but without result.

Russell (accused) denied that they were ridiculing other denominations any more than were ridiculed is the New Testament. To ridicule meant to mock and scorn.
Witness: You have done that.

William Hattie, baker, Morrison Buildings, said he was much troubled by the ___at the Cross, be wee trying to write a letter but could not fix his mind on it. He spoke to the police about it, and asked if they could not remove the preachers. Witness had to rise early in the morning, and he liked to get to bed early and especially on Sunday nights.

Baille (accused) Could you really say that the preachers were the cause of the annoyance?
Witness: Yes, the preachers cause the people to _________
…Believed they were spreading a false doctrine in Cambuslang, and he was trying to show the people where they were being taught untruths.

Russell (accused): Did you sit at the Cross for ___minutes and then begin speaking?
Witness:  Yes
Why did you start as we came forward?
Because I wanted you to hear the untruths you were teaching.

The _____: Are there no halls in Cambuslang?
Aitchison: Yes, but I have been in the habit of addressing ___ at the Cross for over 40 years.
Russell:  How long has it been since you addressed a meeting there before?
Mr. Aitchison: I addressed one last December
This concluded the evidence.

Russell, addressing the Bench, said he and the other preachers there were being interfered with by the public. ----there was only a crowd of thirty persons, but then the police came, ---and the crowd swelled to almost 100 immediately. If the police had moved the crowd, everything would be right. He admitted that his ___were damaging to the other speaker.

Do you sell this Christian courtesy?
Russell: We had advertised our meeting to commence at 8 o'clock and we would have been found liars had we not commenced then.
Mr. Simpson: Excuse me, but I think that the one offense is as great in your Master's eyes as the other. It is the first duty f Christian men to submit to the powers that be. They should not make these fusillades against every Christian sect.
Russell interjected that it was their intention to go on with the meetings.
Mr. Simpson: If you intend to continue the practice the Court will deal with you accordingly.

Mr. Robert Weir (fiscal) said it was with a feeling of regret that he brought accused before the Court, but the King's subjects must be the free use of the highways, and the police must be supported in seeing to that.  He had no desire to be vindictive, although the police been ignored, and if he got a guarantee that there would be no further ground for complaint, he would withdraw the charge. Otherwise, he would leave the matter entirely in the hands of the Bench.

Cooney, who had been sitting in the body of the Court, then advanced to the bar and said they were willing to work and co-operate with the police, as they did in other places.  As they were not men who did not consider other people's feelings, they would also undertake to give Mr. M___ no further grounds for complaint.

Mr. Simpson (to accused): We find you guilty of this charge. Ten shillings or seven days.
Cooney indicated that he was quite prepared to suffer with his colleagues.

The preachers elected to go to prison, although, it is believed, they could easily have raised the amount of the fees.  Their womenfolk, who had followed the trial with interest, seemed rather upset, and before leaving the Court Room shook hands with the trio of martyrs.

June 12, 1907
Hamilton Herald & Lanarkshire Weekly News
Motherwell - The Tramp Preachers

MOTHERWELL. The "tramp preachers," whose enthusiasm has attracted large crowds since the opening of their campaign in Motherwell, fell foul of the police on Sunday evening. It appears that a large crowd had congregated on the footway at the Cross, causing an obstruction, and this resulted in the preachers being asked to accompany the police to the office.

Speaking to our representative on Monday, one of the preachers stated that the police had warned them to keep away from the Cross on Friday evening, and they had fully intended to submit to the authority of the police. On Saturday evening they, therefore, took up their stations at the Fountain. On Sunday, however, various religious bodies had met at the Cross and held meetings without any objection having been given.

If one body was allowed to preach, the '"tramp preachers" thought they were quite justified in preaching also. Accordingly, they took up their positions at the Cross, when argument became general and conversation more than usually animated. We understand that a charge will be proferred against the preachers on Monday first.

July 24, 1908
Kilsyth Chronicle


KILSYTH. Residents in this district will remember that two or three years ago some stir was made by the preaching of Edward Cooney in Kilsyth and neighbourhood, A number of followers banded themselves together, but their enthusiasm seems to have evaporated and now only two three professed Cooneyites are in the locality. That the sect is not by any means defunct may be gathered from the following notes from correspondent in Ireland:–

At a little village known as Crocknacrieve, County of Fermanagh, a temporary colony of about 1000 inhabitants has been established, and the whole of the people forming this community practicing -???- of Socialism which is thorough enough in character to satisfy even the most advanced Communist.

The colony is composed of men and women of various nationalities. The Irish, of course, preponderate, but there are also representatives of France, Germany, Spain, the United States, and other countries, while quite a number of people have come from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Canada.


The army of men and women who are defying the most cherished conventions of social life are identified with a religious movement that was four or five years ago in Enniskillen, and they are known throughout the North of Ireland as "Cooneyites,” this name having been fastened on them by those who affect to laugh at them and their innovations as a result of the association with the movement of Mr. Edward Cooney, a large farmer residing in County Fermanagh.

July 23, 1909
Linlithgowshire Gazette
Tramp Preacher's Mission (Convention)

WHITBURN.  A convention in connection with the Tramp Preachers' Mission, which has been going on in the district for some time, has been held in Whitburn during the week. Large numbers of converts to the mission have crowded into the town from all directions, the numbers each day reaching to hundreds.

The Town Hall was engaged for the occasion, and each day a continual service of praise and prayer has been held. On Tuesday afternoon a rather unusual scene was witnessed when the large crowd of converts, followed by a number of spectators, wended their way to the White Burn, where at a point near Eppiestane, the water had been dammed up and a tent erected.

Here ten female converts were immersed, each convert in turn being led from the tent to the waters edge by an attendant and handed to one of the officials who stood knee-deep in the water, and who caught each in his arms and bent them back until the water closed over their faces, the others singing hymns the while. During a lull in the proceedings, the spectators were addressed by an official. The convention will continue for another week.

June 21, 1911

The Courier, Dundee

PITSCOTTIE. The "Tramp Preachers" who have been labouring on the Riggin' o' Fife for some time held baptismal service at Kininmonth Burn, Pitscottie, yesterday afternoon. One of the preachers" asked permission from Mr. Chas. Dryburgh to dam up the burn below his farm. "What do you want for,' asked Mr Dryburgh. "Oh," was the reply, "for baptismal purposes."

The crave was granted, and the burn was cleaned out and the waters duly held back. In anticipation of seeing dipping a large number of people assembled at the burnside on Monday evening, but " the priest" did not put in an appearance, and they had to go home disappointed.

Early yesterday afternoon, however, "the preachers" and their converts met by the waters of the brook, and the ceremony was carried through without the gaze of the "vulgar throng" being upon them. Three women and two men were dipped.

August 15, 1913
Kilsyth Chronicle

KILSYTH. There passed away at Bogside House, Kilsyth (the residence of his son-in-law, ex-Bailie Freebairn), on Tuesday, in the person of Mr. John Irvine, a noteworthy Kilsythian and one of the now sadly, diminished army of veterans who took part in the historic war in the Crimea.

John Irvine first saw the light day in Kilsyth, and, following the footsteps of his father, became in his boyhood connected with the development the mining industry in and around Kilsyth. He was first connected with the smaller enterprises which worked the minerals, and he afterwards was a trusted colliery manager with Messrs. William Baird & Co., Ltd., when the industry extended, being manager along with his sons when the Dumbreck Pits were newly opened. He was also manager at Haugh Colliery. All his life he had been connected with the mining industry of Kilsyth, like his father before him.

In the stirring times of long ago, when the call came for men to serve their country, John Irvine volunteered and was accepted for service with the 79th Cameron Highlanders at the beginning of the Crimean war. He went right through the great campaign, being present at the Alma and Balaclava, and also taking in the siege of Sebastopol, in the Turkish campaign, holding the medals and clasps for these engagements. As a soldier he witnessed the soul-stirring charge of the Light Brigade. He came through the wars without a scratch, but could tell of many thrilling escapes.

Mr. Irvine was a real old Kilsythian—he had reached the ripe age 80 years—and no one could speak with more interest and enthusiasm of life in the olden times. The family was a much respected one in the annals of the town. His early days had been closely associated with that glorious name in Kilsyth’s religious history, namely, Burns, and Mr. Irvine was often heard to declare that Mrs. Burns had been to him like mother. Little wonder then that he was a great church man all his life.

The family went over to the Free Church in the Disruption, and deceased filled the office of manager in that church. A Freemason, he was connected with Lodge Kilsyth St. John, filling the office of Worshipful Master in his earlier days. Some ten or twelve years ago, Irvine retired from active duty. He paid a visit to New Zealand, extending over a period of two years, to see his son, and his elder brother James, who is now over 86 years of age.

For about a year before his death, he had not been able to go about. Those favoured with his company found in him a most interesting personality. Rich in his reminiscences of the old life of the town, and having held the confidence and esteem the best known families in the town for generations, it was indeed a treat to hear him relate incidents connected with the days of long ago. No one could have been better versed in the history of Kilsyth. His was indeed a noted personality, and by his death an important link with the past has been severed. Three sons and four daughters of Mr. Irvine survive. Since returning from New Zealand, Mr. Irvine has resided with his son-in-law, ex-Bailie Freebairn.

December 9, 1920
The Courier, Dundee p5 

How St. Monans Went "Dry"
Village Licenses All Held by Women

Propaganda Which Won the Victory

Excerpt that pertained to Cooneyites:

St. Monans, the only centre in Fife to go "dry," was carried for "No License" by a remarkable wave of religious and temperance enthusiasm.

The electors are namely fisherman, and St. Monans possesses the distinction of having an unusually large number of religious sects, including such bodies as Plymouth Brethren, Salvation Army, "Cooneyites," in addition to the orthodox churches.

These sects hold services in houses, varying the meeting place from time to time, and these occasions, it is said, produced a strong wave of "No License" sentiment. In addition to this, the U.F. and Congregational parsons were strong leaders for "No License."


April 19, 1924
The Courier, Dundee

PETERHEAD. Some perturbation has been caused in religious circles in Peterhead by the visit of two young men, Frank Dennison, Tipperaray, Ireland, and James Tarvet, Fifeshire [Scotland], who have been conducting religious services in the town. Their teachings have been considered in some quarters to be rather mysterious and there have been all sorts of rumours regarding their sect.

Feeling has been aroused in the local Salvation Army by the fact that several young women members of that body, have been attending meetings and have been influenced by the teachings of the preachers.
In an interview Mr. Dennison stated that they were undenominational and were simply following the scriptures and acting on the same principles as Christ's disciples. They did not take collections at their meetings and were supported in the same way as the New Testament preachers. They had no antipathy towards any church in particular, but did not believe in commercialising the gospel. He emphatically denied the rumour that they were Cooneyites or Mormons.

It is understood that they have several followers in Peterhead and last night addressed a meeting in Buchanhaven.
EDITOR's NOTE: Peterhead is a fishing town in Northeast Scotland. James Tarvet was from St. Monans.

July 9, 1931
The Courier, Dundee

Four Glasgow tramp preachers who were imprisoned in connection with the question of free speech Glasgow Green, were liberated from Barlinnie Prison yesterday. They had been in prison since June 22. It was when he protested against the imprisonment of these men for preaching the Gospel that Mr. M'Govern, following a scene, was ejected from Parliament.

August 4, 1931
The Courier, Dundee
M.P. Who "Went Out to Break the Law"

The Glasgow Green "free speech" cases, in which Mr. John M'Govern, M.P., and eight other men are charged with speaking on the Green without a permit, again attracted a large crowd at Glasgow Central Police Court yesterday.

There was no disturbance of any kind, however, and no banners or other insignia were carried. When the court was opened, a restricted number of the public was admitted, whereupon the rest disbanded almost immediately. There was a slight sensation in Court when the names of the accused were called and it was found that two of them, Joseph M'Glinchey and Edward M'Dougall, were absent.

The procurator fiscal, Mr Langmuir, rose immediately and asked that warrant be issued for their apprehension. Stipendiary Magistrate Smith said would give the accused a minute.

Late Arrivals

John Heenan, one of the accused present, said there was no reason why the men should be absent, and they would both appear. M'Glinchey arrived at 11.4, four minutes after the Court was due to start. He apologised to the magistrate, and said that his being late was due to miscalculation. The magistrate then retired and asked to be informed when M'Dougall appeared.

While the magistrate was absent one of the tramp preachers, William Stone, whose case had yet to be heard, made, a dramatic appearance at the door of the court carrying three crosses, one of which was decorated with red ribbon. He was told the constable on duty the door that no banners were allowed in the court, and he was prevented.

M'Dougall, tho last accused, arrived 11.8, and his entrance was greeted by some applause from the public gallery. This was, however, immediately suppressed. M'Dougall also apologised to the magistrate, and the case proceeded.

Witness Questioned

Guy Aldred, the fifth accused, when asked if he had any questions to put to Mr. Gordon, the Glasgow Corporation witness, confined his questions to asking whether certain documents had been lodged as productions. When he sat down, Stipendiary Magistrate Smith remarked that as much good had been done by Aldred as was done by all the other accused, and they took ten times, as long he did. Aldred's cross-examination, he said, had the same effect as all theirs put together. 

Joseph M'Glinchey, the next accused, said —"I am not a lawyer, but my conscience makes me desire to ask certain questions. I hope you will be lenient. Stipendiary Smith —Of course. Aldred is not a lawyer either. Shall we say has had more experience? Accused—Well, this is first chance. I will have more experience next time, three weeks hence. M'Glinchey proceeded to cross-examine the witness at considerable length, but the magistrate interrupted him and suggested that it would be to his interests to shorten his case.

Mr M'Govern's Defence

Harry M'Shane, one of the accused, contended that the conditions laid down for the granting of permits could not be enforced by law. A blind lecturer stated for the defence that prior to the permit system being introduced, the speeches and lectures delivered on the Green provided a university for the working classes. The permit system was counterfeit of the public rights and all counterfeits wore worthless.

Mr. M'Govern, speaking his own behalf, said went out deliberately to break the law. He did not ask for a permit because he wanted to test the legality of the procedure of the permits. There were gross anomalies, and it was his duty, as a representative of the people, to see that they had their constitutional eights. The hearing was adjourned till to-day.

August 12, 1931
The Courier, Dundee

Tramp Preacher on Hunger Strike
M.P.'s Question to Magistrate

William Stone, one of the Glasgow tramp preachers, who is serving a term of imprisonment for preaching on Glasgow Green without permission of the magistrates, has gone on hunger strike. Prisoners who were released from Barlinnie Prison told a renorter that Stone had refused to take any food. "In fact," they said, "things became so serious that the warder and the prison doctor had to forcibly nourish Stone."

More Protests

Further protests against the imprisonment of tramp preachers were voiced in Glasgow Central Police Court yesterday, when Stipendiary Smith granted adjournments in 26 pending cases until varying dates in November.

John M'Govern, M.P., was among those who appeared. The stipendiary having stated that the whole question of the byelaws was under consideration by the High Court, Mr M'Govern asked what the position would be if the High Court reveresd the decision already made in the Central Court. Would the stipendiary agree that in such an event Stone would have served a sentence for contravening a byelaw which was declared illegal?

Mr Smith—ln the same way others who have been in prison already serving sentences for the past three years.

The stipendiary pointed out that the reason why Stone was imprisoned was that he had a recent previous conviction on his last appearance, and on that account objection was taken to give him time to pay. Stone made no appeal.

March 16, 1947
The Sunday Post
Lanarkshire, Scotland

I was a soldier in Jerusalem. Maybe that makes you think of armed combats, of Arabs and Jews, and strange scenes and customs. But my most vivid memory is of a tall Scotsman with a great head of white hair. Every morning I saw him striding out of the Holy City towards the Garden of Gethsemane. He wore a deerstalker’s cap, heavy jacket, shorts, and suede sandals. He greeted nearly everyone he met with a smile and a word of encouragement.  And they felt the better for meeting him.  You knew at once there was something remarkable about the man.

He was William Irvine.  Sixty years ago, at 35 years of age, he was general manager of William Baird and Company’s Boswell Colleries in Lanarkshire.  He was only in his twenties then, and on the way to the top of his profession—a directorship. But he felt a higher call.  He gave up his job.  He founded in his native Kilsyth a Pentecostal movement, which is still active. He did not believe in churches of stone.  A tent, or the open air, was all he wanted.  He told his message with simple earnestness. Having founded his church in his native village, he felt he had to go with his message to foreign lands. He set out as a free-lance missionary. He went to Ireland, United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Colonies. He became known all over the world as ‘The Man with the Mission.’

He lived frugally.  His needs were slight.  Money had no value for him.  ‘I have nothing,’ he said.  'Yet—I lack nothing.’ He quoted from Luke, ‘Go your way.  Behold, I send you forth, as lambs among wolves.  Carry neither purse nor scrip nor shoes, and salute no man by the way.’ Between the two great wars he settled in Palestine.  He received letters from all corners of the earth where his message was still remembered. During the second World War he became a favorite of the British troops.  They called him Jock.

Then last Sunday I learned that in Jerusalem William Irvine had come to the end of his pilgrimage. He died, a single man, aged 84.
EDITOR's NOTE:  Reportedly, the above was written by a young soldier named Irvine Noble.


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