The four-day communion services, attracting larger than normal congregations, were used to collect money for the poor of the parish as well as to defray the expenses of the service. Once a parish moved to having two communions a year the collections were needed to fund the costs of the second service. In 1708 Bo’ness session minutes recorded:

“David Jervay, Ja. Cassils and Richard Durie having counted ye money collected at our late Solemn Occasion and cleared ye Eleemosynerss book reports as follows viz upon Thursday there was collected thirtie and one pounds eleven shillings Scots, upon Saturday our preparation day and on Sabbath our Communion day and on Monday and Tuesday following ye Summe of one hundred sixtie and one pound thirteen shilling Scots money.”

In 1718 at Slamannan the collection had been £53.14.6 of which £1.18.0 was given to the poor, £16.16.0 paid for the elements, and £8.19.0 went on a new green cloth and gold fringe for the pulpit.  In the same parish in 1742 we find more money going to the poor:

“Session met to see what money was collected at the Sacrament and to supply the poor therewith and observing that on the Monday next after the Sacrament they did distribute among the Common poor two pounds Scots and find of good money then collected by and attour the said two pounds Scots the sum of thirty four pounds twelve shillings Scots money was divided among the common poor.”

They also paid “Edward Watt for his pains and for room for the tent on the brae, £4.16.0 and John Walker for precenting £1.”

Allan Ronald, 2021

See Tokens to continue reading about the administration of Communion.