Token of Edzell history returns to the village

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A bit of Edzell history has returned home to the village, after a local resident bought it due to the sentimental value.

Jean Smedley purchased an old communion token, which was made over 150 years ago.

The 1843 Free Church of Edzell token has travelled from England to Edzell, with the seller having originally purchased the item in an auction.

Jean said: “I bought it from a gentleman, who himself had bought it an auction as part of a massive lot of other communion tokens. It has no monetary value as such but has huge sentimental value as it relates to significant parts of this community’s history.”

The year the token was made, 1843, was known as the year of the ‘Disruption’. Discussing the history behind the token, Jean explained: “There were disagreements within the Established Church which they had tried for years and years to resolve, but in the end it was felt there was no solution and in 1843 about 400 ministers left the Established Church, many of them then forming the new ‘Free Church’. Rev Robert Inglis of Edzell was one of those ministers who left the Established Church in 1843.”

She continued: “It was an incredibly courageous thing for him to have done. 1843 had already been a really bad year for Rev. Inglis as three of his young children had been ill and died that year.

“Coming out of the Established Church meant that he not only lost his church and his income but also his manse, which was his home. He had a young family and his wife was pregnant with another child at the time so it was a really brave thing for him to have done.”

1843 was also the year that Robert William Inglis was born. He would eventually go on build Inglis Memorial Hall and gift it to the village for the benefit of the community in memory of his family.

Jead said: “Written on the back of the token are the words ‘This do in remembrance of me’. The communion token is just two centimetres tall, but it is a really poignant, tangible, part of the history of the development of this village.”

She added: “There may be other communion tokens in the village, I don’t know, but I’m just delighted that this one has come back to Edzell. I may ask if it could be put in one of the display cases in the Inglis Memorial Hall Library so that other people can see it too.”