Scots in Germany
There were monasteries of the Virgin and St. Gregory at Vienna; the St. James’ monasteries at Erfurt
and Wurzburg; St. Giles at Nurnberg; St. James again at Constance; St. Nicholas at Memmingen; the
monastery "Sanctae Crucis" at Eichstadt, and the priories of St. John at Kehlheim and Altenfurt near
Nurnberg. These eleven monasteries were formed into one body at the Lateran Council of 1215.
Later, Frankfurt-on-the-Main welcomed Scots driven out of England during the persecution of
Bloody Mary, and they had settled in the city and obtained permission to worship in the same church
with the exiled Walloons and French. The dukes of Wolfenbuttel also lent a helping hand, as did the
princes of Anhalt, of Zweibrücken, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the counts of Isenburg and
Solms, and above all the Elector of Brandenburg.
Excerpts from  
"The Scots in Germany: Being a contribution towards the history of the Scot abroad"
by T. A. Fischer, 1902
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has sometimes taken notice of its scattered
countrymen on the Continent. One of the most interesting references is that of the year 1587, when
Andrew Melville, who was then Moderator, was ordered "to pen a favourable writing to the ministrie
in Danskine (Danzig) congratulating their embracing the treuth in the matter of the Sacrament." From
this notice it appears that already in that year there existed at Danzig a Scottish-Evangelical Church.
But more than that, it did not only exist but prove its inner life and its keen religious interest by
rejecting the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation; for this is the meaning of the last clause
Since then the number of members of the "British Nation" gradually diminished, owing to the very
rapid absorption of the Scottish into the German element, and to the almost entire cessation of
immigration. During the time of the French oppression for sixteen years there was no English
clergyman at Danzig. Previous to it the worthy Dr Jamieson, a Scot, had gained the reverence and
the affection of the inhabitants, as we are told in the charming Memorials of my Youth, by Johanna
Schopenhauer (1768-1790). Now there is hardly work enough for an English Seamen’s Missionary.
The descendants of the old Scottish congregation have joined the Reformed Church. We are better
informed with regard to Königsberg, the second largest town on the Baltic, although here also the
very first beginnings of a Scotch Divine Worship are lost in obscurity. When the "Reformed
Congregation" was founded in 1646, out of seven elders three were English, or rather Scotch, two
Dutch, and two Germans.
The same reasons for the rapid decline of the "Brüderschaft" which we adduced when speaking of
Danzig were at work in Königsberg. In 1819 there were no longer any British subjects using the
pews. Only six, mostly very old persons, four of them Scottish, received a monthly dole out of the
Poor’s Box. The British coat-of-arms disappeared from the English pew and went the way of the
Scottish lion, and with the 1st of January 1820 pews as well as church funds were taken over by the
officers of the German Reformed Church.
The Scots in Memel never ceased to show their attachment to the Reformed Church, even long after
every trace of Scottish nationality had disappeared. A rich merchant, Ludwig Simpson, presented to
it in 1802 the large sum of 8000 gulden, the interest of which was to be set aside for the raising of the
schoolmaster’s stipend; and John Simpson, a cousin of Ludwig, gave a large donation in 1760, when
the rebuilding of the church had become an urgent necessity after the damage done to it by the
The first call was given to Alexander Dennis, born at Königsberg, but of Scottish descent. He had
been trained in Dutch universities and got ordained at Danzig. From the day of his induction by the
Court Preacher Blaspiel on the 11th of October 1679, the Reformed congregation at Tilsit reckons its
existence. Eleven days later the first communion was held. Among the 27 communicants there were
only two Germans and two French. The number, however, soon increased, there being 160
communicants in 1680 and 206 in 1681. The firm adherence to their own faith, so earnestly
inculcated by their General Assembly at home, clearly showed itself on these occasions, when people
came from Insterburg, a distance of between thirty and forty English miles, or did not shun the long
journey of ninety miles from Lyck. Many did this more than once in, the year. In 1682 Dennis had a
service at Lyck, in which about 36 Scottish settlers in Masuren took part. From 1687 onward he
visited this place as well as Insterburg annually at regular intervals, until at the beginning of the
XVIIIth Century both these congregations obtained their own clergymen. About this time (1711) the
church at Tilsit received a legacy of 42,000 gulden from the Scottish member, John Irving. (end)
From: Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia; 1903 edition by Otto Schulze & Co., Edinburgh

About 1067, Marianus Scotus, along with some other Scottish monks, came from Ireland to
Bamberg in Bavaria. Monks in the Scottish Monastery of Nurnberg in 1418 sold wine; There had
been only Scottish Abbots at Ratisbon from the year 1515 onward in the Monastery of St James of
the Scottish Benedictines. It not until in 1862 that the Bavarian Government bought it from the
Scottish for the low price of £10,000, to convert the building into a clerical seminary.
Like Danzig, the old German city of Elbing (now Polish) maintained close trade relations to
England, and in 1579, many English and Scottish buyers became Elbing citizens. They organize
themselves in the “Fellowship of Eastland Merchants” and created The Scottish Reformed Church
in Elbing. One could find family graves with names like Ramsay, Slocombe, Lambert, Payne,
Larding, and Wilmson in the Marien cemetery in the old part of town, until Elbing was destroyed
by English bombs in 1945.
Apart from religious reasons, there was a very old Scottish presence in the more remote regions of
the old German Provinces which were to Scottish immigrants at that time what Canada and the
Australia of the seventeenth century were. Scots were present in small numbers in Danzig as early as
the 14th century. The great Baltic ports were well known to the trading communities of Scotland,
and trade prepared the way for the Scottish emigrants to Prussia. Besides Aberdeen and Leith,
Dundee is mentioned in 1492 as trading with Danzig. Between the years 1474 and 1476, twenty-four
Scottish ships entered the harbour of Danzig. Danzig gave the settlers numerous privileges such as
free retail trade throughout the country.
Besides the name Schott or Schotte, which came to signify throughout the German Empire a pedlar,
and its derivations as "Schottenkram," "Schottenhandel," "Schottenpfaffe," "Schottenfrau," we have
quite a number of traces of the old immigrants in local topography. There is village called
"Schottland" in the district of Lauenburg, in Pomerania, with eighty-four inhabitants and ten houses;
another Schottland in the Danzig lowlands in Western Prussia, numbering some 200 souls; a
kirchdorf (village with a church), "Schottland," in the district of Bromberg in Posen, also numbering
about 200 inhabitants. A so-called Schottenkolonie exists near Neuhausen, in district of Konigsberg,
Eastern Prussia. There are besides three so-called "Schottenkruge" = Scotch inns, one four miles
distant from Marienburg, in the Danzig district, another in the district of Marienwerder, a third near
the city of Culm, in Western Prussia. What the precise connection of these inns with the Scots was,
whether they were at one time in possession of Scotsmen, or because they were placed in a district
where many Scots lived, or finally, because they were much frequented by the Scots—and who
would deny the latter eventuality?—it would be difficult to say. They are there, at any rate, witnesses
of a dim past, when the county was flooded by Scottish traders. There was also a "Schottengang "
"Scottish lane," at Danzig,’ which already boasted of an Alt-and Neu-Schottland, as we have seen.
Descendants of the old Scottish family of the Earls of Ross had settled in the Netherlands and on the
Lower Rhine as far back as the XVIIth Century. One of these, William John Gottfried Ross, was
born on the 7th of July 1772 at Isselburg. He was the son of a clergyman, studied at Duisburg, then a
Calvinistic University, and, having been ordained, worked with the greatest acceptance as pastor of
the small parish of Budberg for thirty-three years. He was so active in promoting the education of the
people and the welfare of his whole district, that he not only won the love and esteem of all classes
and all creeds, but also attracted the attention of the King of Prussia, Frederick William III, who
summoned him to Berlin, to consult with him about the condition of the Evangelical Churches in
Westphalia and the Rhine Provinces, and after some pressure even persuaded him in the following
year to leave Budberg and to settle in the capital. Here Ross devoted himself with untiring energy to
the cause of the Evangelical Union. The King made him first Bishop of the new Church and General
Superintendent of Westphalia and the Rhinelands.
Ross was also greatly interested in the cause of education and of the orphanage, persuading his
cousin, Count Ross, [This Count Johann Ross (1787-1848) saved the life of the King of Prussia at
the Congress of Vienna when threatened by a would-be assassin. There have been several officers in
the German Army, who belonged to this family. A Count Ross died in 1883 at Bonn, in consequence
of injuries received at the explosion of the powder magazine when the Germans entered Laon in
1870. Two brothers Ross, an archaeologist and a painter, both born in Holstein, are also descended
from the old Scottish stock.] an eccentric, rich, old man then living at Berlin, to leave a considerable
legacy to the latter. The title of Count was offered to him also by the King, but he always refused it
as being incompatible with his calling. In 1843 he received a congratulatory address from the
University of Bonn thanking him for his long-continued efforts and his conciliatory attitude in Church
matters. In appearance he was imposing; goodness and benevolence were seen in his eyes. His
influence on Frederick William was very marked. Finding, however, that his advice was neglected
under King William IV, he resigned his offices and retired into private life. He died on the 27th of
October in 1854 and was buried in the cemetery at Budberg.
Turning now to the religious organisation of the Scots, who had settled in such great numbers in
Poland and Germany during the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, as we have seen in the first part of our
book, we have reluctantly to confess that not very much is known about it. The old records in
Germany have been partly lost during the turmoil of endless wars, partly buried beyond the hope of
speedy recovery under cart-loads of official paper rubbish. In Scotland we have to content ourselves
with an occasional reference. What we have been able to glean under such discouraging
circumstances will be put before the reader in what follows.
"In German sources we find, as to Danzig, that already in 1577, when the town levied a force of 700
Scottish mercenaries, permission was given them, as being of the reformed faith, to bring with them a
preacher of their own persuasion. Now it is very probable that the reformed congregation of Danzig
formed itself gradually around this nucleus, till it attained to that independent position, in which we
find it ten years later, when the above "friendly letter" was written by the Moderator of the General
Assembly. Everything fostered such a formation. The number of Scottish settlers was already great,
greater numbers were continually pouring in, and many of the merchants had by this time acquired
wealth and position. The privilege of freely enjoying their own religious services was possibly
extended, and thus we find in 1587 a body of men with a settled "ministrie," fearlessly discussing the
crucial points of evangelical theology. At first, no doubt, the meetings of the members of the
Reformed Church met in private houses or in a hall. We hear of a preacher named Jacob Brown,
who alternately preached at Danzig and at Königsberg in the time of Charles I. Soon after him
Alexander Burnet came to Danzig (1689) and remained there till his death in 1712. He was born in
1654, studied at Aberdeen, and had been minister of Crichton near Edinburgh. During his time of
office the amalgamation of the so-called English and Scottish "nations" took place at Danzig,
consequently upon the Union of England and Scotland at home.
Through the efforts of Robinson, the British Consul, the Churches also were united. The Poor-Box
of the Scots, which had been in existence since the beginning of the XVllth Century, became the
property of the new "Nation of Great Britain" ("Groszbrittannische Nation"). Five elders were
appointed, of which three were always to be Scotchmen. As to the form of divine worship, a happy
medium between the Scottish and the English was peacefully adopted. It was arranged that the
clergymen should alternately be called out of Scotland and England, and that they should conform to
the usages of the Church at Danzig. A new building, called the "British Chapel," was erected in 1706,
the Scots throughout Prussia and Poland having most liberally contributed towards it.
Very soon the want of a preacher became apparent, but whether the above-named Brown ever
preached in English at Königsberg, as he did at Danzig, must remain uncertain. We only know that
he, during his stay in the city in 1658 or 1659, in "matters concerning the public worship and the
rules of the Church," was found wanting and in the wrong. "His errors smacked of the Quakers";
they were chiefly manifest in his disapproval of the praying of children, "who knew nothing about it";
in his rejection of set prayers, of saints’ days and holidays, and of organ music in churches.
In spite of this the Great Elector had appointed Jacob Brown minister of the newly formed Scottish-
English congregation, after he, at the urgent request of some Scottish families at Königsberg, had
given them permission to have divine service in their own tongue, embracing its "complete
‘exercitium’ with all its actibus catechisationis, visitationis of the sick, administrationis of the Lord’s
Supper, Baptism, and other spiritual exercises, appertaining there unto."
This royal rescript was dated the 4th of December 1685; it granted at the same time the use of the
"large Hall in the Castle" for these services. In these circumstances the congregation could do nothing
else but acquiesce in the appointment of Brown, who, in the meantime, had declared his willingness
to abide by the rules and forms of worship as adopted in Konigsberg. Strangely enough we know
nothing of his future career there, except that his stay only extended to the year 1689, when he
preached at the Scots’ Church at Rotterdam.
In Konigsberg, as elsewhere, the Scots took the most prominent and active share in the promotion of
the welfare of the congregation. Without them and their generosity the building of its new church
would hardly have been completed. Three men are especially mentioned in connection with this great
enterprise: Thomas Hervie, Francis Hay and Charles Ramsay. The first of these, born in 1621 at
Aberdeen, had settled in Konigsberg in 1656 as a merchant. When he died in 1710 it was said "that
without his zeal this our temple would scarcely have been built."
He also promoted the establishment of a "home, for widows" by advancing considerable sums of
money. The two other men were the originators of the collection throughout Scotland for the building
of the church, amounting to over 4000 thaler, or nearly £700. After the completion of the church, to
show their gratitude towards the Scottish brethren, the fourteen front seats were handed over to them
and their successors by the members, for their free use. They were distinguished by the letters S. B.
= "Schottische Blinke" (Scottish seats) and by the Scottish Lion rampant. The latter coat-of-arms,
however, disappeared after the French had occupied the church as a hospital. A school and a
poor-fund existed in connection with the church since the XVIIth Century. After the union of the two
kingdoms in 1707, here, as in Danzig, the "Scottish and English Nation" formed a "Brotherhood of
Great Britain" ("Groszbrittannische Bruderschaft"). Two elders (Alterleute) watched over the welfare
of Scottish and English residents or travellers. The poor-fund, which was made up of the interest of
an old capital, the amount of annual collections and the pew-rents, served also to support
shipwrecked or otherwise disabled sailors, and to provide for the maintenance of Scottish or English
poverty-stricken invalids in two separate rooms of the Royal Hospital. The two Scottish burying
vaults in the churchyard now became common property likewise.
As in the two largest Baltic ports, so in many of the smaller towns of Eastern and Western Prussia,
we can trace the formation of Calvinistic or "Reformed" congregations back to the Scots. In Memel,
for instance, we hear of a Reformed congregation, consisting mainly of Scottish and Dutch people,
since 1640. Three or four families, among them Barclays, Ogilvies, and Fentons, had engaged a sort
of domestic chaplain and teacher in the person of one Wendelin de Rodem, a native of the Palatinate.
But he was obliged to leave the town in 1641 owing to the complaints of the Lutheran party of the
Duchy. It was not till twenty years afterwards that Wendelin obtained the permission of the Elector
to come to Memel once in every quarter for the purposes of ministration. By degrees a separate
house was acquired for divine worship; and finally a preacher was procured, after the receipt of a
"Privilegium" from the prince. The person chosen was one Petrus Figulus, the son-in-law of the
famous founder of our modern system of education, Amos Comenius. He knew the English language
well, and discharged his duties up to the year of his death in 1670. His successor was Paul Andreas
Jurski, a native of Lithuania, who had married a Scotchwoman. During his ministry the house in
which the Calvinists hitherto held their meetings was burned to the ground (1678). But a new church
was completed in 1681. The members of the congregation were mostly Scottish; there were,
however, a few Dutch and French and English. The Germans constituted the minority, though, in
later years, only German was used in preaching. Here also there existed a "Poor-Fund of the Scottish
Nation," but it became amalgamated with that of the German "Reformed Church".
The formation of the Reformed congregation at Tilsit proceeded much on the same lines. It was
composed first of all of the Scottish; but we are not informed as to the exact year in which this union
of the Calvinistic settlers from Scotland took place. It must, however, have been some time before
1667, as a Scottish Poor Fund is mentioned in that year. The treasurer was one Alexander Krichton,
but the general supervision lay with the whole "Brotherhood." The fund then amounted to 230
gulden, lent out to three members: Albrecht Ritsch (Ritchie), Peter Kerligkeit (?) and William
Schamer (Chalmers). There were other voluntary contributions besides, as well as the proceeds of a
collection from house to house undertaken by two prominent men annually about the time of
"Michaelmas-fair." Divine service must have been held before 1669, for in that year a small hall in
the Elector’s castle is set aside for this purpose. As in other towns, the congregation during the
XVIIth Century increased rapidly and drew the Scottish settlers of the district to it, so that the
appointment of a special clergyman soon became necessary. We are told that a rich Scottish
merchant, a member of the congregation, William Ritsch, went to Berlin in order to obtain the
requisite permission from the Elector. Falling on his knees before the sovereign, he obtained by his
eloquent pleading a royal edict (16th of March 1679), which not only granted the Tilsiters their own
preacher, but allowed a stipend of 200 thaler out of the Electoral purse as well.
Scottish peddlers (the "Schotte") proliferated and were welcomed by country folk, especially in
remote regions. An East Prussian  proverb said, "Warte bis der Schotte kornmt": " Wait till the Scot
comes" as a term of enthusiasm. But before long, with growing German competition, the many
Scottish peddlers were regarded as a nuisance by the 16th century. However, the upper classes of
traders, professionals, clergymen of the new Presbyterian Churches and academics assimilated well,
marrying into rich and influential German families. Scots rose in favour and social distinction in the
same measure as they lost much of their nationality.
Finally, we find in the year 1698 a recommendation to those Presbyteries and Parishes "that have not
yet sent in their collection for helping to build a church of the Reformed Religion at Konigsberg" to
send the same to John Blair at Edinburgh, Agent of the Kirk; and in 1699 the receipt of a letter is
duly registered from the consistory "of those of the Reformed Religion at Königsberg," expressing
thanks for "the Charity of this Church and Nation to help them build their church."