Thomas Ramsay (Scottish Baptist)

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Thomas Ramsay
Thomas Ramsay 1914 Maybole Scotland.jpg
Born11 April 1857
Died12 July 1934
Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland
OccupationBaptist lay preacher, Businessman
Known forEstablishment of Maybole Baptist Church
Spouse(s)Margaret Lamont Black (to 1890, her death)
Jane Guy (1893-1934, his death)
ChildrenCatherine (born 1887)
Jessie (born 1890)
Robert (born 1895)
Parent(s)Thomas Ramsay (Sr)
Catherine Arthur

Thomas Ramsay (1858–1934) was a Scottish lay pastor and businessman. In addition to commercial success in shoe manufacturing during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he played a formative role in establishing Maybole Baptist Church, opened 1914, and later in the Baptist Union of Scotland, of which he was president during the 1920s.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

A pastor is an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. A pastor also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation.

Maybole Baptist Church Church in Ayrshire, Scotland

Maybole Baptist Church is the only Baptist church in Maybole, South Ayrshire, Scotland. It arose from a Maybole prayer group started in 1898 that was admitted to the Baptist Union of Scotland in 1901. The church building opened in 1914. It has operated for over a hundred years, one of 164 active Baptist churches in Scotland in the early twenty-first century serving 14,000 members.

Contents

Early life

Thomas Ramsay was born in Ayrshire, south-west Scotland in 1857. He was the fifth and final child of Thomas Ramsay (Sr, born 1811) and Catherine Arthur (born 1814). [1] The family had historical roots in Ayrshire and shoe manufacturing.

Ayrshire Historic county in Scotland

Ayrshire is a historic county and registration county in south-west Scotland, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. Its principal towns include Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine and it borders the counties of Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire to the north-east, Dumfriesshire to the south-east, and Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire to the south. Like many other counties of Scotland it currently has no administrative function, instead being sub-divided into the council areas of North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire. It has a population of approximately 366,800.

He had limited schooling and, after varied work including an ironmongery apprenticeship, returned to the family business of shoe manufacturing. [2] From the 1880s onwards he was manager of the family's shoe factory in Maybole, Ayrshire.

Career


Industrial

Thomas Ramsay's industrial career had greatest success within shoe and leatherware production common in Maybole from the late nineteenth century. By 1883, in partnership with his brother, James Ramsay, "Messrs. Ramsay, Boot & Shoe Manufacturers" employed 51 workers producing approximately 500 pairs of boots per week or 25,000 pairs yearly. [3] This was 5% of total Maybole production. Thomas Ramsay's business centered around production in the St Cuthbert's area of Maybole [4] and distribution through Glasgow. [5] Maybole footwear manufacturers shared a nationwide retail presence throughout the United Kingdom and some overseas outlets including Canada. [6]

In the early twentieth century, the Ramsay interest faced rising costs and automation challenges. New production methods lowered some costs. [7] However, wider declines in shoe manufacturing after the Great War proved too significant. [8] During the Great Depression of the 1920s, the business fell away and the Ramsay shoe factory in Maybole was repurposed to shops. [9]

Baptist lay preacher

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Thomas Ramsay commenced lay preaching in the 1880s. He opened a Maybole prayer group which used private homes and during the 1890s the disused Maybole Methodist Church. [10] The Baptist Union of Scotland admitted Thomas Ramsay as lay pastor in 1901 when the Maybole Baptist Church opened. [11] He was the first pastor of Maybole Baptist church, serving from 1901 until 1919. [12] He acted as both pastor and treasurer. [13] At the time the Baptist Union was a relatively new Church institution, having re-formed in 1869 from an earlier (lapsed) incarnation in the 1830s. [14]

During and after the Great War, Thomas Ramsay supported, along with members of Maybole Baptist Church, a "daughter church" in Girvan, 19 km south of Maybole. This emerged from a Girvan prayer group, established in 1907. [15] The Girvan church was destroyed by fire in the twenty-first century. [16]

When Thomas Ramsay resigned as Pastor, in 1919, he was replaced by D M Simpson. [17] Despite donations from Thomas Ramsay and other elders, Maybole Baptist Church carried debt for some time, although reaching debt-free status in the 1920s. [18] On retiring, Thomas Ramsay made a further donation of a manse, citing the Great War as motivation.

In 1921, Thomas Ramsay was elected President of the Baptist Union of Scotland. [19] [20] Themes during his presidency included solidifying Baptist identity within the United Kingdom and internationally. As one example of international concern, Thomas Ramsay's presidency addressed persecution of Baptists in Russia and Romania, which had been exacerbated by famine. Food collections by Baptist churches in Scotland during early 1922 were despatched to Moscow and provided sufficient food for 12,000 people over one winter. [21]

At home, the Scottish identity of the Scottish Baptist Union was stressed as distinctive from "The English Union", as the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland (BUGBI) was called. [22] This Anglo-Scots divergence continued to the 1960s, when the Scottish Baptist Union sought admittance to the Baptist World Alliance, further loosening ties with BUGBI. [23] Divisions between Scottish churches, notably involving the prominent Church of Scotland, also influenced Scottish Baptists in the early 1920s. Thomas Ramsay’s immediate predecessor as President had stressed the declining influence of the Church of Scotland and that new churches emphasized different religious positions. [24] At the end of Thomas Ramsay's presidency, the Scottish Baptist Union renewed its protest at Church of Scotland advantages. [25]

Personal life

Thomas Ramsay was born in 1857 at Greenside, Maybole. [1] He was married three times and lost two wives to childbirth. His first wife died in childbirth during the 1880s, unnamed in census returns. His second marriage was in 1885 to Margaret Lamont Black, [26] with whom he had two children, Catherine in 1886 [27] and Jessie in 1889, [28] before her death in 1890, also in childbirth. [29]

He was married a third time in 1893, to Jane Guy, [30] with whom he had one son, Robert, born 1895. His third wife conducted several talks and public events, including a 1925 tribute to sermons by Charles H Spurgeon [31] and a 1932 review of missionary work by Christina Moir Forsyth in South Africa. [32] His son, Rev R Guy Ramsay, followed him into the Baptist ministry, and was closely connected with Hillhead Baptist Church in Glasgow, Scotland. [33] Thomas Ramsay's elder brother, James, born 1847, was Provost of Maybole during the 1910s. [34]

Death

Thomas Ramsay died in Maybole in 1934. Maybole Baptist Church installed electricity within the church building shortly after his death, where a memorial plaque commemorates this event and his life. [35] He was survived by Jane, who died in 1951. [36] Their shared gravestone in Maybole bears the inscription: "Life’s race well run, Life’s work well done, Life’s crown well won." [37]

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References

  1. 1 2 "Register of Births". Parish of Maybole, County of Ayr. 11 April 1857. Thomas Ramsay, born April 11, 1857 (Page 34)Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. "1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census". Crown Publishers. 1871. Ramsay household: Thomas Ramsay, Ironmongery Apprentice. Transcription for School Vennal, Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland (Archive reference RG09)
  3. Gray, James T (1972). "10". Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks. Ayr, Scotland: Alloway Publishing. In 1883 there were eight large shoe factories, (three with tanneries and currying departments), employing 1,184 workers and producing 12,360 pairs of boots weekly. The main factories in that year [included] James Ramsay, 51 workers, 550 pairs per week
  4. Gray, James T (1972). "10". Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks. Ayr, Scotland: Alloway Publishing. In the 1890s the list of factories in the town at that date [included] James Ramsay, St. Cuthberts
  5. "The Post-Office Annual Glasgow directory (1879-80)". 1880. Ramsay & Gray, Maybole boot and shoe warehouse, 43 Church St, Glasgow
  6. Gray, James T (1972). "10". Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks. Ayr, Scotland: Alloway Publishing. [Maybole manufacturing produced…] about one million pairs of boots and shoes annually. Shops were opened throughout the whole of Britain, named "The Maybole Shoe Shop", (one being opened as far away as Manitoba) and these sold the products of the factories direct to the customers.
  7. Gray, James T (1972). "10". Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks. Ayr, Scotland: Alloway Publishing. The owners of some of the smaller factories, however, were more far sighted and gradually Crawford, Ramsay and Lees installed modern machinery and absorbed the remainder of the shoemakers who had stayed in Maybole.
  8. Scotland Reaching Out, Your Home in Carrick, Ayrshire (PDF). McKenzie Wilson Partnership. 2014. p. 15. Maybole’s boot and shoe industry was impressive, employing over 1,600 people in ten factories producing a million pairs annually at its peak. However, at the end of the First World War the demand for boots decreased significantly and the depression that followed laid waste to the industry.
  9. Maybole Coronation Pageant, Programme Notes. 1953. p. 1. The stores of Hutchison and McCreath are on the site of the former boot factories of Crawford and Ramsay.
  10. Yuille, George (2005). History of the Baptists in Scotland (From Pre-Reformation Times) (PDF). Arkansas, USA: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. pp. 223–224. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. In November, 1898, evangelistic services [in Maybole] were conducted by Mr. Thomas Ramsay in the Methodist Chapel, which had just closed...
  11. Gray, James T (1972). "12". Maybole, Carrick's Capital Facts, Fiction & Folks. Ayr, Scotland: Alloway Publishing. It was built, mainly through the efforts of Pastor Ramsay, to replace the former meeting place of the Baptist congregation which was a hall in Abbot Street near the Old Cemetery and which is now used by the Roman Catholics as a recreation hall.
  12. Yuille, George (2005). History of the Baptists in Scotland (From Pre-Reformation Times) (PDF). Arkansas, USA: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. pp. 223–224. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. [Maybole Baptist Church] was admitted into the Union in October, 1901, at the Session held in Paisley. Mr. Thomas Ramsay was the first Pastor, and continued until 1919.
  13. Yuille, George (2005). History of the Baptists in Scotland (From Pre-Reformation Times) (PDF). Arkansas, USA: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. p. 224. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. Office-bearers were appointed as follows: Pastor, Thomas Ramsay; Secretary, H.B. M’Fadyen; Treasurer, Thomas Ramsay; Deacons — Messrs Moses M’Millan, William Fisher, and Richard M’Clymont, and a little later Mr. John Jackson came from Victoria Place Church, Glasgow, and joined the diaconate.
  14. Brackney (Ed), William H (2009). "Historical Dictionary of the Baptists (1609-2009)". Scarecrow Press. The first Scottish Baptist Association dates from 1835 until it lapsed in 1856. The current Baptist Union of Scotland dates from 1869Missing or empty |url= (help)CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  15. Davidson, John; Wallace, Morton; Waugh, James (1950). These Fifty Years: The Jubilee Story of Maybole Baptist Church. p. 32. The Girvan church proper was started on 1st Sunday in April, 1920, under the direction of the Ayrshire Baptist Association. The oversight was in the hands of a committee, with Mr Thomas Ramsay as pastor and guide. A great deal of the initial success of the Girvan cause is due to Mr Ramsay, also to Rev D. M. Simpson, and other Maybole helpers.
  16. "Girvan residents shocked after former Baptist Church is gutted by fire". www.dailyrecord.co.uk. 15 November 2013. The former Baptist Church was gutted in a blaze that may have been deliberate.
  17. Yuille, George (2005). History of the Baptists in Scotland (From Pre-Reformation Times) (PDF). Arkansas, USA: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. Maybole. — f. 1900. Thos. Ramsay, 1900-19; D.M. Simpson, 1919.
  18. Yuille, George (2005). History of the Baptists in Scotland (From Pre-Reformation Times) (PDF). Arkansas, USA: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. p. 65. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 March 2016. At Maybole and Girvan churches were begun through the influence and service of Mr. Thomas Ramsay. For 19 years he carried on the pastoral work of the young cause at Maybole, while attending to the onerous duties of his business; and at the end of that period, he had the satisfaction of introducing his successor to a prosperous, self-supporting church.
  19. The Baptist Missionary Society, 130th Annual Report (1921-22). London: The Baptist Missionary Society. 1921. p. 74. Mr Thomas Ramsay of Maybole Baptist Church was elected President in 1921
  20. "Scottish Baptist Union Annual Assembly (1921)". Aberdeen Journal. 18 October 1921. At the annual Assembly of the Baptist Union, Thomas Ramsay, Maybole, was initiated president.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. Talbot, Brian (2005). "Fellowship in the gospel: Scottish Baptists and their relationships with other Baptist churches, 1900 to 1945". Baptist History and Heritage Society. The affliction of these Christians [Baptists in Russia and Romania] increased greatly with a famine that was brought to the attention of Scottish Baptists in February 1922. An open letter signed by the leaders of the "Baptist Union of All Russia," P. V. Pavloff, M. Timoshenko, and W. G. Pavloff, painted an appalling picture of mass starvation in their homeland. British Baptists, led by J. H. Rushbrooke, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Commissioner for Europe, rallied to the cause providing enough food for "a Baptist Relief Train." Most of the Scottish Baptist churches took collections to assist this effort. (5) At the end of March 1922, Rushbrooke welcomed the relief train into Moscow. It provided food for over 12,000 people until the next harvest.
  22. Talbot, Brian (2005). "Fellowship in the gospel: Scottish Baptists and their relationships with other Baptist churches, 1900 to 1945". Baptist History and Heritage Society. The BUS [Baptist Union of Scotland] was determined to retain control over the accreditation of its own ministers and to avoid being swallowed up by a numerically larger body. Preservation of a distinctive Scottish identity, within a British Baptist context, was a recurring theme in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
  23. Brackney (Ed), William H (2009). "Historical Dictionary of the Baptists (1609-2009)". Scarecrow Press. In 1967 in an expression of independence from the BU (Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland), the Scottish Baptist Union was admitted to the Baptist World Alliance as an independent memberMissing or empty |url= (help)CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  24. Moyes, T W (1989). Scottish Baptist Relations with the Church of Scotland in the Twentieth Century. The Baptist Quarterly. p. 176. In the context of Presbyterian reunion, Thomas Stewart, a prominent Scottish Baptist thinker who became Union Secretary in 1920, noted a 'surprising evidence of a deep hankering in Presbyterian ministers and members for the sacramental gift in the Holy Communion' and sees this, coupled with their restriction of the dispensation of the sacraments to ordained ministers, as evidence of the deep division running through the Churches, between the sacramental and the purely spiritual view.
  25. Moyes, T W (1989). Scottish Baptist Relations with the Church of Scotland in the Twentieth Century. The Baptist Quarterly. p. 177. .. this Assembly (1923) therefore renews its protest against the principle of a State established Church as a violation of religious equality, and especially against the final appropriation of the National teinds [tithes] to the exclusive advantage of one section of the people [Church of Scotland] and for only one of the three purposes for which the teinds were originally designed
  26. "Register of Marriages". District of Leith, City of Edinburgh. 26 October 1885. (Page 129)Missing or empty |url= (help)
  27. "Register of Births (Catherine Dick Ramsay)". Whitehall, Parish of Maybole, County of Ayr. 26 October 1886. (Page 75, with Thomas Ramsay recorded as 'widower')Missing or empty |url= (help)
  28. "Register of Births (Jessie Black Ramsay)". Hutchison Street, Parish of Maybole, County of Ayr. 12 September 1889. (Page 66)Missing or empty |url= (help)
  29. "Register of Deaths (Margaret Lamont Black)". Hutchison Street, Parish of Maybole, County of Ayr. 14 August 1890.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  30. "Register of Marriages (Jane Guy)". City of Glasgow. 29 August 1893.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  31. "Notes and comments". Motherwell Times. 6 March 1925. In Wishaw Baptist Church, on Monday evening, Mrs Thomas Ramsay, Maybole, delivered an illuminative address upon the life and work of Charles H Spurgeon, one of the greatest pulpits of the nineteenth CenturyMissing or empty |url= (help)
  32. "Notes and comments". Dundee Courier. 8 November 1932. Maxwellton Baptist Church…Dundee. Lecturer Mrs Ramsay, Maybole. “Christina Forsyth: The Loneliest Woman in South Africa”
  33. Maybole Coronation Pageant, Programme Notes. 1953. p. 1. ... Maybole Baptist Church opened some fifty years ago, and placed under the Pastorship of the late Thomas Ramsay, Esq., father of Dr Guy Ramsay of Hillhead Baptist Church.
  34. "Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae; the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the reformation". Alexander Fraser (1909). 1920. KIRKMICHAEL—KIRKOSWALD He married 12th Aug. 1913, Margaret Orr, daughter of James Ramsay, Provost of Maybole
  35. Davidson, John; Wallace, Morton; Waugh, James (1950). These Fifty Years: The Jubilee Story of Maybole Baptist Church. p. 32. It was decided to install electric light in the church and hall as a Memorial to Mr Ramsay, and the light was switched on by Rev Wm McInnes, in September, 1935. An engraved brass plate at the back of the pulpit (marks the occasion)
  36. "Register of Deaths (Jane Guy)". Clifton, District of Maybole, County of Ayr. 14 February 1951. (Page 5)Missing or empty |url= (help)
  37. "Gravestone of Thomas Ramsay and Jane Guy Ramsay". Billion Graves. 1951. Inscription: 'Life’s race well run, Life’s work well done, Life’s crown well won.'