The previous post looked at the beginnings of Largo Baptist Church and its evolution up to circa 1880. At that point there were actually two Baptist Churches in Lower Largo. The traditionalists that met in the Baptist Meeting House (known as West Baptist Chapel at the time) close to the Crusoe Hotel (pictured above in September 1966) and the more modern group that met in the church at the Orry, which they had built in 1867. The two groups co-existed between 1867 and 1927. Below is the list of ministers of the modern church at the Orry. Alexander Brown served for thirteen years up until 1881 but thereafter followed a series of brief appointments. In 1892, church membership was healthy and those members that resided in Leven felt it appropriate to create a new church based there. Rev. Alexander Piggot, left to lead this new church (which became the present Leven Baptist Church). After a short vacancy, the Reverend William Pulford arrived in 1893 and stayed for 36 years.
William Pulford studied theology at Bristol University and spent four years at Ford Forge in Northumberland before coming to Largo in 1893. That same year, a porch was added to the main Largo church building at the Orry (shown in the image below). Initially, Rev. Pulford and his wife Alice were tenants at a Burnbrae Terrace property owned by Euphemia Philp. However, following the birth of their daughter Beatrice in 1894 and their son William in 1896, they moved to 'Frithville' close to the Orry, staying there for a few years. Subsequently, they lived at Anchorage further east, next to Craigiebank, for over a decade. Sadly, their son died in 1904 aged 7. Another son, Wilfred, was born in 1906.
Around the end of the First World War, with the church building reaching its half century and William Pulford having been in post for 25 years, it was decided that the church needed its own manse. The notices below date from the 10 February 1921 and 7 July 1921 Leven Advertiser and Wemyss Gazettes and show that fund raising had begun at this time for the 'Largo Baptist Manse Fund'.
The fund raising effort lasted several years, extending beyond the actual building of the detached bungalow at Drummochy, adjacent to the Net House in 1924. The house is shown in the 1970s image below to the right of centre behind the Net House wall (by which time two dormer windows and upstairs rooms had been added). The manse is shown from Drummochy Road in more recent times further below and also from the beach. In August 1927, a sale of work was held to wipe out the remaining debt on the manse fund. Meanwhile, also in 1927, pastor of the other baptist church, the West Baptist Chapel, retired grocer John Marr of Upper Largo, died aged 83. This event ultimately led to the two baptist churches reuniting as one again (based in the 'new' church at the Orry).
William Pulford retired to Rosyth in 1929 but moved to Dundee where his son lived in 1937, where he died in 1939, aged 79. More in the next post about the next era of the Largo Baptist Church.
This blog is about the history of the villages of Lundin Links, Lower Largo and Upper Largo in Fife, Scotland. Comments and contributions from readers are very welcome!
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