We are a union of two churches which like so many in Scotland had origins in the great disputes within the Kirk. Hope Park traces its origins to 1738 when its congregation formed five years after the Secession of 1733, meeting in Imrie’s Close, Burgher’s Close and North Street before occupying the present building under the new name of Hope Park in 1865. Martyrs Church was founded during the Disruption of 1843 as a Free Church, developed rapidly and occupied its newly-built church in North Street the following year. While the building was proceeding the congregation worshipped in the Secession Church (as Hope Park then was).
Both Martyrs and Hope Park returned to the Church of Scotland in 1929.
In 2006 Martyrs Kirk Session made an approach to Hope Park with a view to an eventual union, which took place in 2010 under the name “Hope Park and Martyrs Church”.
Hope Park had formed a linked charge with Strathkinness in 2005 and this remains in place.
Martyrs Church was named in memory of the local martyrs who gave their lives for their beliefs during the Reformation, the most famous being Patrick Hamilton, Walter Myln and George Wishart. It was built directly opposite the tower of St Salvator in front of which Patrick Hamilton was martyred in 1528.
The name of Hope Park was suggested by the minister (Reverend James Black) at a reception in the Town Hall to mark the opening of the new church. It appears to combine the park on which the new church and surrounding streets were built and the name of the developer, a Mr Hope-Scott. This also explains nearby Hope Street and Abbotsford Crescent (Hope-Scott was a relation by marriage of Walter Scott).
On the rack are two publications that give information:
“Martyrs’ Church St Andrews – A Short History of the Congregation, 1843-1993” by Robert Warren and David I Sinclair
The “Concise History of Hope Park Church 1738-1973”, by TT Fordyce