Resignation of Thomas Chalmers, Professor of Divinity, 1843

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In 1843, the Disruption in the Church of Scotland led to the resignation of Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), Professor of Divinity, and to the creation of New College.

The Disruption was the result of a schism in the Church of Scotland, when over a third of its clergy and perhaps half its membership left the established Kirk in protest against what they perceived as state efforts to undermine its spiritual independence and integrity. On 18 May 1843, David Welsh (1793-1845), the retiring Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly, led 121 ministers and 73 elders out of the General Assembly in St. Andrew's Church, George Street, Edinburgh, to form the Free Church of Scotland. They proceeded to Tanfield Hall, Canonmills, where the first meeting of the Disruption Assembly was held with Thomas Chalmers as Moderator. At a further meeting on 23 May, an Act of Separation was signed. On 5 June 1843, Chalmers and Welsh demitted their university posts as Professor of Divinity and Regius Professor of Divinity and Ecclesiastical History respectively. The Free Church proceeded to set up New College in 1846 to train its ministers.

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