|Home | The
Buchanites | The CCI | The Village Hall | The
Millenium Book | Contact
Us | Links | Index
Crocketford owes its foundation as a village mainly to the Buchanites. I was unaware of the Buchanite sect until I read the Crocketford Millennium Book in 2000 which had a very interesting item about them written by Ann Botel. At that time I found the story very interesting but it was not until Saturday 7th October 2006 when my wife Maggie and I went to see a play called The Heretics Tale written by Hamish MacDonald and performed by the Dogstar Theatre Company that my interest was re kindled. The performance was excellent with very basic staging, lighting and props. The characters portrayed were played by Annie Grace as Elspeth Buchan and Matthew Zajac as Andrew Innes, music was by Amy Geddes, program photography by Laurence Winram, graphic design by Karen Sutherland,
Andrew Innes was interviewed many times by Joseph Train a lawyer and writer of The Buchanites First to Last who encouraged him to write down his memories of Elspeth and the sect. It transpired that Andrew had quite a collection of letters and other documents, some written by Elspeth Buchan. It is this book and a book called History of The Buchanite Delusion written by John Cameron, which I have used to research this story.
Elspeth Simpson (1738-1791) was born in the parish of Fordyce, Banffshire. Her father, John Simpson, owned a small public house on the road between Banff and Portsoy at a place called Fatmacken; her mothers name was Margaret Gordon. It is interesting to note that within a ten to twelve year period of Elspeth Simpsons birth two other women were born, who would go on to become well known for their strange religious beliefs.
The first of these was Ann Lee (1736-1784) who was born in Manchester. She came from a poor family. She was responsible for founding the “Shakers”, an offshoot of the Quakers. The name Shakers came from the tendency of its members to shake violently during prayers, “an epidemic form of religious hysteria not unknown to history” which would eventually subside into a uniform rhythmic dance with hand clapping as they sang their hymns. They migrated to Watervliet, New York, in May 1774 due to persecution. The Shakers are are still thriving in America.
The second of these unusual ladies was Joanne Southcott (1750-1814) who was born in Exeter. She had a normal life for that time as a domestic servant and at about the age of 40 she met a man who claimed to be the spirit of prophesy. Joanne caught the bug, feeling that she had as much right to the claim as he and in 1792 declared herself a visionary prophetess. Local harvest failures and food riots as well as international war and revolution provided the backdrop for her mission to proclaim these disasters as signs that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. Provincial preaching tours, numerous books, newspaper columns and posters won her thousands of followers across the country. In 1814, she announced herself pregnant by the Holy Spirit and managed to convince several reputable doctors of her condition. No child was ever born and her death soon after resulted in the fragmentation of her sect although it is still active especially in Australia, New Zealand and North America,