History

The Guild was started in 1887 by Rev Dr Archibald Charteris and today, over 130 years later, has 23,000 members in 900 Guilds across the UK.

Below is a short excerpt from the Guild's timeline – you can find the full version on the Resources page.

1884 Dr Charteris makes appeal to women of the Church through 'Life and Work' magazine to find out more about women's work – such as that with the fisher women of Scotland
1885 Charteris appeals to the Assembly for permission to investigate and report back on, the work being done by women and the possibility of organising and official working unit.
1887 Church of Scotland Woman's Guild was formed.
1891 First Guild conference - first deaconess, Lady Grisell Baillie, allowed to preside over the morning session. Guild launches a 'mothers' union' movement
1892 Dr Archibald Charteris, elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
1893 Guild agreed to build hospital adjacent to the school in Kalimpong. First Guild badge launched: price 10d, or 9d as a pendant
1894 Kalimpong hospital opens (both funded and provided with equipment by Guild members)
1898 Charteris retires
1904 Guild Cottage opened, in Lasswade, Midlothian– for women who 'had fallen victim to intemperance'
1907 Kirk Sessions empowered to bestow Guild Leader's Diploma on woman of 'particular zeal and ability'
1908 Dr Charteris dies - buried in Wamphray
1924 Presbyterial Councils, with reps going to Central Committee started.
1928 Guild formed Sub-Committee on Service to train Guild members in public speaking
1937 Jubilee year – additional funds sent to Kalimpong for expansion and remodelling of school and hospital. Annual Meeting held at Waverley Market (instead of Usher Hall) to accommodate numbers wishing to attend – 7000. Guild president allowed to chair Guild central committee – previously it had to be a man who chaired the meeting! Long Service Certificates, with badge and bar launched to recognise 25 years of service.
1939 Annual Meeting held in McEwan Hall (instead of Usher Hall) (Last meeting till 1943). Guild given responsibility for own finances – first fee was per group dependant on size, later becoming a capitation fee. Four year limit put on period of service for presidents.
1954 Kalimpong hospital jubilee – funds sent for maternity department
1956 First Theme launched
1957 70th anniversary of Guild, and 25th anniversary of first annual meeting in the Usher Hall.
1971 Guild set up Communications Group to ascertain views of members on matters of social concern
1977 Queen attended Guild's 90th anniversary AM
1982 Anne Hepburn, national president, opens annual meeting with 'God, our Mother' prayer sparking controversy and debate at General Assembly
1987 Guild Centenary – celebratory annual meeting Assembly Hall, Edinburgh. Discussion Topics launched
1997 Church of Scotland Woman's Guild becomes Church of Scotland Guild. New constitution. Project Partnership Scheme started. Three-year strategies launches – 'Riches in Poverty 1997-2000. Special celebratory Annual Meeting in Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
2004 First annual Guild Week - last week in November – to encourage Guilds to raise awareness of Guild work in their congregations and communities
2015 Launch of new strategy and projects for 2015-18: Be Bold, Be Strong!
2015 Official Guild tartan commissioned and designed.