History

The Rev. Dr. Robert Johnstone D.D.

Rev. Dr. Johnstone D.D., the son of a Kirkcaldy minister, was educated at St Andrew’s University. In 1896, after a year as an Assistant at Lady Glenorchy’s Edinburgh, he was ordained to St James’s, Kirkcaldy and then moved to Murrayfield, Edinburgh in 1901.

He was transferred to Aberdour on 18 November 1914 but in his first year was called up for military service in the Great War when he served as an Army Chaplain including in France 1916-1917.

Johnstone’s s outstanding events on his return to Aberdour were:

Restoring the ruined St Fillan’s Church, (as the parish church), which was completed in 1926. By all accounts he did much of the work himself. He also instigated the consequent conversion of the church in the High Street into a parish hall.

At the same time he wrote The History of Aberdour the original manuscript is in the Aberdour Library. An updated edition is to be published by the Aberdour Cultural Association in 2022/23.

In recognition of his work he was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by St. Andrew’s University.

Johnstone’s second major achievement was Church Union.

In 1932, the question of union or readjustment at Aberdour was first raised. When this was raised again in 1940 and with his guidance, a triple union took place On the 21st June 1940 the charges of Aberdour Parish Church, Dalgety Parish Church and St Colme’s United Free Church were united.

After some three hundred years Aberdour and Dalgety were once again under one minister. This was dissolved in 1965 when Dalgety was permitted to call a minister of its own in preparation for the new town of Dalgety Bay.

Rev. Johnstone took an active part in village life. He was also one of the founding members of the Masonic Lodge Castle Dour and as Chaplain conducted the dedication service.

Before the Masonic Hall was built the Lodge met in the stables at Aberdour Castle which led to their name.

Johnstone had four children. His youngest child died in 2013 aged 103. It was always Johnstone’s wish that he be buried outside the St. Fillan’s vestry and this is where the family grave is situated. He died on 5 April 1944.

The congregation’s tribute to Dr. Johnstone

 At the dedication of the memorial plaque, to the clergy of the parish and in particular the Rev. Johnstone, the service concluded with these words: “In restoring St Fillan’s, Dr Johnstone wished to do more than just give Aberdour a lovely Church. He wanted to help the people who lived here, and who will live here, to realise in their own lives something of that beauty of holiness of which this place speaks so eloquently” The brass plaque in the chancel lists the ministers in the charge from pre-Reformation times and a special reference to Dr Johnstone.

This information was provided by the  Aberdour Heritage Centre.

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History

The Early Years

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Restoration

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Stained Glass

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Inchcolm Abbey

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Church Hall

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The Hewitt Brothers

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