Bervie Church History
Relatively few facts are known of the early beginnings of the Church in Inverbervie. We find Bervie mentioned in a list of 52 churches within the bounds of the Diocese of St Andrews in 1153, and another reference is found in 1275 when it is mentioned in Bagimont’s Roll.
In 1618 the parish of Bervie was erected from the parish of Kinneff by the Lords for the Plantations of Kirks, and given independent status with its own minister. From the date of the Reformation until 1618 Bervie Church had been a chapel dependent on the Parish of Kinneff. The earliest surviving minutes of the Kirk Session date from 1657. There is also the silver Communion cup, gifted to Bervie Church in 1680 by John Aytton, Provost of Bervie.
The original Bervie Manse (now the Church Centre) was built in 1738. It was later extended and improved in 1797 and 1836. In 1781 the Parish Church was demolished and a new building was erected on its site in the Kirkburn. Only the west gable of this building now remains in the old cemetery.
1836 saw the erection of the present church building in order to provide more accommodation. It was opened for public worship on 1 January 1837.
A Free Church congregation was formed shortly after the Disruption of 1843, consisting of 80 members who had seceded from the Church of Scotland. Until a place of worship could be found, services were held in the ‘Teetotal Hall’ (now Church Street Hall) belonging to Bervie Temperance Society. The Church was erected in the Kirkburn. It was rebuilt in 1892-93 at a cost of £1,100.
There was a great religious revival in Bervie and Gourdon in 1859-60. The ‘Stonehaven Journal’ for August of 1859 mentions that twelve services were held in the Parish on one Sunday and meetings were held in Bervie Free Church every evening.
The Union of the United Presbyterian and Free Churches took place in 1900, and the congregation was renamed Bervie United Free Church. Again in 1929, the majority of the United Free Church merged with the Church of Scotland, and the name of Bervie East Church was adopted. After the death of Rev. Ernest Richards in 1944, the congregation united with that of the Parish Church, and the East Church was closed. The East Church building was converted into the Church Hall. It was closed in 1980.
In the mid-1950s, it was decided to restore the fabric of Bervie Church. The side galleries were removed, the pews were changed and a new heating system installed.
In 1980 a decision was taken to build a new Manse. The Church Hall was also discovered to be in need of major work. It was decided to demolish the Hall, build a new Manse on site and turn the old Manse into the Church Centre. In 2016, after the retirement of Dennis Rose, it was decided to buy a new manse in the West Park estate in Inverbervie, with the manse in Kirkburn being sold.
The Church of Scotland congregation in Bervie was linked with Benholm and Johnshaven from 1980 before being linked with Arbuthnott and Kinneff from 1987-1990. Arbuthnott and Bervie were then linked together until Kinneff rejoined in 2007. At this time, it became a single united congregation (albeit meeting in different places on a Sunday), which continues to this day.