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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SECEDE, v. Sc. usage, in reference to the Secession from the Church of Scotland in 1732 of a group of ministers led by Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine in protest against limitations in the powers of a congregation to appoint its minister. The word ‘secession' was used in this protest but the dissenters called themselves formally “The Associate Presbytery” and after expulsion from the Church of Scotland in 1740 formed themselves and their followers into an independent church which was itself later split in 1747 into a Burgher and Antiburgher Church, these two being again split into Old and New Light sections (see Light, II. 5.). The New Light churches reunited in 1820 as the United Secession Church (the first official use of the name Secession), and the Old Light in 1842, with the name of the Synod of Original Seceders. The Secession Church amalgamated with the Relief Church in 1847 as the United Presbyterian Church, q.v., now merged with the Church of Scotland in 1929, the Original Seceders following in 1956.

Hence Seceder, Secehder, Secaider, and erron. form Sinceder (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 76; Abd. 1904 E.D.D.).  [sə′sid, ‡-′sed]

1. A member of any of the branches of this church; Seceding.Sc. 1740 Acts Gen. Assembly 7:
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland . . . proceeded to the Affair relating to the seceding Ministers.
Sc. 1743 J. Currie New Testimony 1, 3:
The Objections raised against that Work by sundry, particularly by the Seceding Brethren. . . . Many are of Opinion 'tis washing a Blackmore to endeavour the Conviction of Seceders.
Sc. 1746 E. Erskine in J. McKerrow Hist. Secession Ch. (1839) I. 265:
In this, your noble family and we who are Seceders from the Established Church, do happily agree; for our Secession from the present judicatories goes purely and only upon this very ground.
Sc. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (29 June):
During the administration of the holy sacrament in a seceding congregation at Pathhead.
Abd. 1779 Aberdeen Jnl. (1 Feb.):
[He] is a Seceder, and speaks much in their Manner and Dialogue.
Bwk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 355:
All the parishioners are staunch Presbyterians either of the Establishment or of the Secession; the Seceders are not above 1 in 12 in proportion to the adherers to the Kirk.
Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (July) 75:
The committees appointed by the Associate and General Associate Synods, to deliberate on the proposed union between the two great bodies of Seceders.
Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 130:
Tam nails them aff a short petition Wi' a lang seceder face.
Sc. 1839 J. McKerrow Hist. Secession Ch. I. 183:
The pronouncing of the sentence of deposition against the eight brethren [in 1740], made the separation betwixt the Secession and the Establishment final.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 3:
The “Seceder”, when, in due time, he became an existing entity, here and there, was ordinarily regarded, and described as a pestilent fanatic.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (20 March) 383:
Religious — I dinna mean Seceder-faced.
Sc. 1887 Jam., Memoir 15:
One of the most important public affairs in which Dr Jamieson was ever engaged. was bringing about the union of the two branches of the Secession, the Burghers and Antiburghers.
Abd. 1891 T. Mair Arn And His Wife 63:
He leukit to be steerin' for The new Secaider kirk.
Fif. 1897 D. Pryde Queer Folk 7:
Their religion, too, was of the olden type. They were Original Seceders, would not enter an Established Church, travelled miles to attend a Dissenting Chapel, believed every iota of the Bible and the Confession of Faith, kept the Sabbath strictly, abhorred novels as “parcels o' lees”, and looked upon food that had not been consecrated by a long grace as absolute poison.
Sc. 1906 Rymour Club Misc. 33:
There was an auld Seceder Cat, and it was unco gray, It brocht a moose into the hoose upon the Sabbath day.
Abd. 1936 Abd. Univ. Review (July) 199:
The orra man wiz a Secehder born.
Sc. 1956 Scotsman (17 May) 7:
Nine of the 12 congregations of the United Original Secession Church are to accede to the Church of Scotland, it was unanimously decided at a meeting of the Synod of the Secession Church in Glasgow yesterday.
Edb. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 15:
With his gaunt figure and bloodless face, he reminded Rebus of a painting he'd once seen of some Calvinists or Seceders ... some grim bunch like that.
Sc. 1995 Sunday Times (19 Mar):
Heffer rightly emphasises that Carlyle's thinking owed much to his Scots Calvinist roots. His family were Burgher Scotch Seceders, ... and although Carlyle, in turn, seceded from the seceders rejecting the teachings of the New Testament and inventing his own idiosyncratic theology on the basis of the Old...

2. A free presbyterian (s.v. free adj., v., n. IV. 10.) Also attrib.Ags. 1984 Valerie Gillies Bed of Stone 7:
Seceder Girl
Sc. 1993 Herald (2 Feb) 13:
. . . the MacUspies not speaking to the MacFoozles, and them on different sides in a Sunday ferry row, and wee Roddy lifted for poaching, just as the Free Church suspends a deacon for going to his own funeral, and all because of what Old Effie said to Granny Lachie, and her a seceder.
Sc. 1996 Scotsman (20 May) 15:
He maintains it was always a very respectable street, apart from childhood pranks, a shebeen down the poorer end and Coachman's habit of playing the piano on Sundays to annoy "the seceders" as they made their way to church, a reference to the Free Presbyterians who split from the Free Kirk more than 100 years ago.

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"Secede v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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