Rev Henry Erskine Fraser

Rev Henry Fraser was the first owner and occupier of 12 Moray Place, until at least 1875. He was the first pastor of the United Presbyterian Church on Langside Avenue. The church opened in 1857 (as Langside Road UP Church), but was replaced with a new building by John Bennie Wilson in 1897. That church in turn became St Helen’s RC Church, a role it still fulfils today, on the corner of Deanston Drive.

The following biography is taken from “History of the congregations of the United Presbyterian Church, from 1733 to 1900”, published 1904.

On 14th April 1857 a petition from 21 persons in the district of Strathbungo to be received into Church fellowship with the view of being erected into a congregation was laid before the Presbytery of Glasgow. Along with this there was a paper subscribed by 31 members of the denomination declaring their readiness to encourage and support the movement. It was also stated that £100 had been collected for the building of a church, that a free site had been obtained and £500 to meet prospective expenditure, and it was hoped the congregation would be self-supporting from the first. After some demur from Pollokshaws session about the station having been begun without the sanction of the Presbytery a committee met with the applicants, and on iith August a congregation was formed with a membership of 17, of whom 11 had been admitted by examination and 6 by certificate.

First Minister. — Henry Erskine Fraser, M.A., son of the Rev. William Fraser, Alloa (West), and great-grandson of the Rev. Henry Erskine, Falkirk. Mr Fraser, when a preacher, was called first to Methven and then to Hexham, but having accepted North Shields he was ordained there, 20th November 1845. Being invited to undertake the building up of a congregation at Langside he resigned a flourishing charge on 2nd September 1856 and removed to Glasgow. The population around being sparse progress was not rapid, and it was not till February 1858 that a moderation was applied for, but though the call which followed was signed by only 26 members and 31 adherents there was a stipend promised of £200. Mr Fraser was inducted on 23rd March, and for another year the congregation continued to worship in a schoolroom at Crossmyloof. Then on 6th March 1859 the new church, with 450 sittings, was opened by Professor Eadie, when the collections amounted to over £80. The cost came up to £1600. In 1879 steps ere taken to secure a junior minister, the pecuniary arrangements being that Mr Fraser should receive £150 for five years, and after that £120, the colleague to have £315.

Second Minister. — James R Houston, translated from Govan (Greenfield), his third charge, and inducted into Langside Road, 24th June 1879. At the end of that year the membership was 183. The entire work of the congregation devolved on Mr Houston from the first, and in 1884 the Presbytery, with his own consent, sanctioned the reduction of Mr Fraser’s retiring allowance to £75 on account of the congregation’s financial position. He now removed to Edinburgh, where he died, after a brief illness, on 15th May 1890, in the seventy-third year of his age and forty-fifth of his ministry. His son, Mr Norman Fraser, was ordained two years afterwards at Saffronhall, Hamilton. A new church was opened on Friday, 21st May 1897, by Dr Smith of Broughton Place, Edinburgh, the collections that day and on the two following Sabbaths amounting to £314. The building cost £5600, and there were 780 sittings. The membership of Langside Road in December 1899 was 400, and though the interest on borrowed money must have told largely on the funds the stipend kept at £315, as before.


Rijksmuseum [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jun 28]. Portret van Henry Erskine Fraser, Thomas Annan, c. 1865 - in or before 1875. Available from:
Small R. History of the congregations of the United Presbyterian Church, from 1733 to 1900 [Internet]. Edinburgh : David M. Small; 1904 [cited 2020 Jun 28]. 768 p. Available from:

1 Comment

  1. Douglas Anderson

    June 29, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    This and the Clifford post fascinating. The proliferation of churches built around here in the 18 hundreds is remarkable . I have wondered if this was a particularly pious area of Glasgow but that seems unlikely.

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