Opening of Free Church of Scotland Normal and Sessional School, 1848

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The establishment of the Free Church of Scotland led to the opening of its Normal and Sessional School in 1848, a forerunner of Moray House College of Education.

In 1843 a schism in the Church of Scotland known as the Disruption led to the creation of the Free Church. Almost a third of the clergy of the establisehd Church of Scotland 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. The Free Church of Scotland was formed under the leadership of Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) and David Welsh (1793-1845).

At the time of the Disruption, the Church of Scotland maintained a teacher training college called the Edinburgh Normal and Sessional School in Johnston Terrace. Its Superintendant, Thomas Oliphant (fl. 1840-1869), left to join the Free Church, taking all but seven of his pupils with him. At first they used temporary accommodation but in October 1846, the Free Church of Scotland acquired Moray House and its grounds for £2,862. After the building of a new extension, the Free Church of Scotland's Normal and Sessional School opened on 13 September 1848, the beginning of over 160 years of teacher training at Moray House.


  • Hugh Perfect, 'History of Professional Training at Moray House' [[1], accessed 7 December 2017]