Rev John M MacFarlane

Student at New College 1962-63

Why did you choose to study at New College? 

I was a student at San Francisco Theological Seminary and decided that it was time to take a break and do something different. Edinburgh sounded like an interesting place. Plus, my father’s family had left Scotland in 1831 and gone to Canada and ultimately to Minnesota in the USA.

In those days you wrote to Miss E R Leslie at New College and she invited you to come. So I did. I sailed on the Flandre of the French Line from New York to London and then took the train up to Edinburgh.


What are your best memories of your time at New College?

I found a place to stay with other students down on Windsor Street. We got one meal a day and one bath a week. For warmth you had to plug the meter with shillings. If you ran out on weekends you were just going to be cold as no banks were open.

Each morning I would make my way up Leith Walk to New College. It was in the days of the Torrance bothers and Dr Stewart in New Testament. You could have lunch for 30p.All of this and more has remained with me through the years as fond memories.

After the year was up I found my way back to San Francisco, finished my BD, was ordained and spent most of my years as a hospital chaplain.

I have been back to Edinburgh on several occasions. I never fail to walk into the courtyard of New College and recall that I had been there before. The years are passing but perhaps, once again, I shall look in upon New College.