Minister dedicated his life to church and academia

The Reverend Dr James Scott Marshall, a devoted minister, academic and Leith stalwart, has died aged 96.

Dr Marshall, who was minister of the Kirkgate Church from 1947 until 1973, was born in Leith in 1913 and attended Leith Academy, where he was made dux boy.

His lifelong interests were academia and the church, which he nurtured while studying agriculture and divinity at Edinburgh University.

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He married his wife, Mary, on 7 September, 1939, and was ordained and inducted to his first church post at Twechar in East Dunbartonshire the same year. He remained there throughout the war years after his application for active service was rejected as his post was a reserved position in the mining town.

In 1947, he accepted a call to be minister of the Kirkgate Church in Leith, but he continued his academic interests throughout his career in the church.

He regularly contributed articles about life in Leith to the Evening News and wrote several books about Leith history, including Leith Hospital and the North Leith Parish Church.

In 1973, the Kirkgate Church united with South Leith Parish Church and Dr Marshall became associate minister, working alongside the Rev Jack Kellet, and served as moderator of the Edinburgh Presbytery.

He continued to pursue his academic interests with a PhD at Edinburgh University, completing a thesis on irregular marriages in Leith.

Dr Marshall was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland, and a member of the Saltire Society, the Old Edinburgh Club and the Scots Language Society.

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He was also the director of the National Bible Society and chaplain to the naval cadets and to David Kilpatrick School.

After his retirement from the church in 1990, he settled in St Andrews, but continued to write and research until 2003, when he suffered a stroke.

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He joined Martyrs Church choir and St Andrews Preservation Trust and became a branch chairman of the Saltire Society.

His academic output continued and he completed histories of Freuchie and Old Lathrisk. He also began a translation of the Old Testament into Scots.

Six years ago, at the age of 90, Dr Marshall completed his autobiography.

Last year, Dr Marshall's work was recognised when he was made a Pillar of Leith in the celebrations for South Leith Parish Church's 400th anniversary. The awards were held in recognition of Leithers who have made a significant contribution to the area.

Dr Marshall is survived by Mary, their children, Donald and Morag, his six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.