James Lundin Cooper

Cooper, a provincial lawyer from Fife, was a rising man in the 1820s, engaging in business and travelling to Edinburgh for a smart wedding by the Bishop. In the 1830s, however, he went bankrupt and his reputation was destroyed by his misguided participation in ecclesiastical controversy, and he followed his children to an early grave. His story is told in greater length in this article for church magazines.

Lived
1791-1839
Origin
Kirkcaldy
Father
James Cooper, saddler in Kirkaldy (7)
Political views
His cause against Rev. Marshall was supported by a radical, Mr Aytoun, who disliked Mr Marshall for political reasons, but there is no evidence Cooper was a radical himself. (2 p.13)
Religious views
When the rest of the disgraced managers left to join the Presbyterian Kirk instead, Cooper appears to have stayed on, suggesting he had a stronger allegience to the Episcopal Church. (2 p.23)
Profession
Writer in Kirkcaldy who also engaged in business as a Shipowner, Trader and Gas-Manufacturer. (3) In 1828 he was Manager of the Kirkcaldy and London Shipping Company, with 3 smacks of 132 tons, the Enterprise (Moir), Fifeshire (Morison) and Hope (Mann) (6)
Wealth at death
Cooper went bankrupt in 1839 and died a few years afterwards before matters were settled with his creditors. (3 and 4)
Story
Cooper was one of the managers in the Episcopal Chapel in Kirkcaldy. Around 1830, he persuaded a priest called Mr Marshall to replace their elderly incumbent on very poor financial terms. However, Mr Marshall discovered not a congregation doing its best in honest poverty, but one kept impoverished by corrupt managers who ran the organisation in their own interests. They also began to find more and more fault with Mr Marshall, and eventually complained about him to the bishop. This proved a mistake, as Mr Marshall had a good reputation in the Episcopal Church, while the managers already had a reputation with a former bishop, who advised that 'he had more trouble with Kirkaldy than with all the other chapels within his diocese put together, and that he believed the Archbishop of Canterbury himself would not be acceptable to the Managers thereof!' Cooper seems to have realised he had gone too far and disassociated himself from the other managers; but he died shortly afterwards. (2)
Chapel connection
1816 (wedding)
Married on
30 May 1816
Spouse
Sarah Brown
Children
Elizabeth Kinnear (d.1825), Michael (d.1825), Elizabeth (1826-1834), Michael (1828-1842), Mary Stark (1833-1838) (5)

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Observations on a recent publication entitled Speech delivered by the Rev John Marshall in the presence of Patrick Torry Bishop of Dunkeld on 15 August 1838, concerning the late dissentions in St Peter's Episcopal Chapel Kirkcaldy by a clergyman of the Episcopal Church of Scotland (London, 1839)
  3. London Gazette, 19 February 1836 p.353
  4. London Gazette 3 September 1841 p.2243
  5. A.J. Campbell, Kirkcaldy Burials 1767-1854 (Online accessed 18 May 2011)
  6. Edinburgh Almanack (Oliver and Boyd, 1828)
  7. Old Parish Registers, Scottish Family History Centre

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