The Legacy of the Free Church Abroad

On 18 May 1843 a large number of clergy withdrew from the established Church of Scotland – an event that became known as the Disruption of 1843, and led to the foundation of the Free Church of Scotland. The history of the Free Church is intrinsically connected with many a Scottish venture and settlement abroad, but perhaps nowhere more so than with the establishment of Dunedin, Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. This is the case because Dunedin was organised under the New Zealand Company’s offshoot, the Otago Association, as a Free Church Settlement in 1848, thus bringing a large number of Free Church settlers to the country to build a ‘new Edinburgh’ in the South Seas. Here, and as a direct result of the 1843 Disruption, Scottish …