Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents



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Josephine Darbyshire


Josephine Darbyshire died on 6th January 1994 in St. John's Hospital, Livingston. Josephine was a nurse in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She was a pupil of Bell Baxter in the late 1970s.

Deirdre Davidson


Mrs Deirdre Chandler (née Davidson) (1971) died very suddenly on 28th January 2006 in Weston-Super-Mare. Deirdre was an accomplished violinist who was leader of the Fife Youth Orchestra in her last year at school and went to St Andrews University to study music. At the time of her death she was working in a Girls' School in the Gloucester area. Deirdre is survived by her husband.

Elizabeth M Davidson


Entered BBS in 1925. Secretarial posts at Edinburgh University. Four years in Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She retired to St Andrews.

Findlay Davidson


Findlay Davidson died on 20th July 1994, after a long illness. Findlay was a pupil in the mid 1950s. He was the son of the late Professor Davidson of St Andrews University.

Hector Davidson


Hector Davidson entered BBS in 1938. He served as an officer in the Black Watch from1944-48 then studied for a BSc in Agriculture at Aberdeen. In 1953 he was awarded a Diploma in Tropical Agriculture from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was employed overseas in the Colonial Service among other things between 1953 and 1978 and was appointed OBE in 1966.

Since 1978 he semi-retired to ownership of a rural hostelry near Blairgowrie (small) and involuntary gardening (large).


Ian Davidson


Served in Fleet Air Arm; Supervisor Telephone Branch, GEC Coventry; 13 Mount Nod Way, off Broad Lane, Coventry. Attended BBS in the 1930s.

Ian Davidson


Ian Davidson (1964) was appointed Global Industrial Marketing Manager for Exxon Mobil Corporation's Lubricants and Specialties Company in 2003. Ian graduated BSc Hons from Edinburgh University in 1974 and gained his PhD in 1977. In his new post he will be dealing with customers in nearly 200 countries world-wide. Until now he has been living in Singapore and is about to move to Virginia with his wife Helen (née Letham), who is also a former pupil. Ian hails from Auchtermuchty, while Helen is a Cupar lass.

James R Davidson


MA (Hons.) in Modern Languages (St Andrews) Dip Ed; Staff Officer with 51st Highland Division and awarded MC at St Valéry; Joined British Council and became Chief Education Officer in Kuala Lumpar. He was then with Chief Programme Division, Unesco Regional Centre for Education in Africa; Claremont, Cupar, or 11 Leopold Place, Edinburgh, 7.

Robert Davidson


(1927-2012)

BBS 1939-45

By an interesting co-incidence, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland during the Centenary Year (1989) was a former pupil of the School.

The Reverend Professor Robert Davidson (we'll spare you, Robert, the embarrassment of mentioning your nickname, which we are quite sure you knew!) comes from Markinch, and attended Bell Baxter from 1939 to 1945.

It appears that science studies were an option, but it was to study Classics that he went to St Andrews University, after gaining the Patrick Hamilton Scholarship.

His career was destined to take him into the ministry of the Church of Scotland, but to the academic side rather than to the pastoral ministry. He began his teaching work in Aberdeen, where he lectured in Biblical Studies in the Arts Faculty. He specialised in Hebrew and Old Testament, which he taught at St Andrews and Edinburgh, in the Divinity Faculties there.

In 1972 he was appointed Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Trinity College, thus having done an academic tour of all four of the old Scottish Universities. He later became Professor Emeritus.

Although Robert may appear a quiet, reticent man, it was clear a few years back, when he brought his Trinity College student choir to Cupar to give a concert in St John's Church, that he enjoys an excellent relationship with his students. The whole atmosphere was light-hearted and cheerful.

He has contributed a stimulating series of articles on the Old Testament to Life and Work, the Church of Scotland's Monthly Magazine. During his year as Moderator he spoke out very strongly on various controversial issues, clearly unafraid of provoking vehement reactions.

He has also been very much a family man, with his feet therefore firmly in the world of the man-in-the-street.

It is pleasant to feel that the School may have played at least a small part in the career of such a distinguished churchman.

Publications: The Bible Speaks, 1959; The Old Testament, 1964; Geneses 1-11, 1973; Genesis 12 - 50, 1979; The Bible in Religious Education, 1979; The Courage to Doubt, 1983; Jeremiah Volume 1, 1983; Jeremiah Volume 2, Lamentations, 1985; Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, 1986; Wisdom and Worship, 1990; A Beginner's Guide to the Old Testament, 1992; Go by the Book, 1996; The Vitality of Worship, 1998.

The following obituary appeared in The Herald online:



Johnston McKay

Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland;
Born: March 30, 1927; Died: September 22, 2012.

Professor Robert Davidson, who has died at the age of 85, had the distinction not only of being Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, but also having taught in all four of the ancient Scottish universities.

He was born in Markinch in Fife and educated throughout the years of the Second World War at Bell Baxter School in Cupar. In 1945 he went to the University of St Andrews where he took a first class honours MA in classics and then studied divinity at St Mary's College, where he graduated BD with distinction. In 1953, just a year after graduating, he was appointed lecturer in biblical studies at the University of Aberdeen, and ordained by the Presbytery of Aberdeen in 1956.
His first book, The Bible Speaks, which reflected the general courses he had taught until then, was published in 1959, and the following year he returned to St Andrews as lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament studies. St Mary's College, home of the divinity faculty, was unique in that although students for the ministry were trained there, it had no church college alongside it, and so was able to concentrate on scholarship without over concern for ministerial formation. However Robert Davidson was someone who was always a churchman as well as a university lecturer.
In 1967 he moved to New College in Edinburgh as lecturer and two years later was appointed senior lecturer. In 1972 he was appointed to the chair of Old Testament Language and Literature in the University of Glasgow. His later colleague and friend Robert Carroll once commented somewhat chauvinistically: "Thus by an inexorably upward journey through the ancient universities of Scotland, Robert arrived at last in the land and graced that chair until his retirement in 1991."

Robert Davidson was a brilliant teacher. A former student wrote that "his gentle delivery and one-handed juggling with chalk in time with the flow of his ideas did not disguise the thread of determination like steel bracing that ran through his approach to his work. There was no doubting what he really thought and aimed to transmit."

More books were published on The Old Testament (1964), Biblical Criticism (1970), commentaries on Jeremiah, the Song of Songs and Lamentations, and in 1983 what was arguably his most influential book, The Courage To Doubt. By careful examination of the witness of Old Testament writers, this was a passionate expression of how constant and absolute certainty is not part of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and that, as Tennyson put it: there is more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds.

In 1990, Glasgow was European City of Culture, and the year also marked the 300th anniversary of the last occasion the General Assembly met in Glasgow and re-established Presbyterianism in Scotland in 1690. It was expected that someone with connections to the city would be elected Moderator of the General Assembly, and many had assumed the minister of Glasgow Cathedral, Dr William Morris, would be chosen. But the nomination went to Robert Davidson. He chaired the General Assembly with firmness and grace and was a delightful guest in congregations, presbyteries and abroad. His reputation as a host in the Moderator's then residence in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square was marked, not always with pleasure, by the entire absence of alcohol!

After his moderatorial year and his retirement from his chair in 1991, Robert Davidson chaired a number of General Assembly committees and commissions. He spent a year as interim secretary of the Church's Board of Education and in 2003 a commission he chaired into "the theology of land and covenant" examined the use of biblical evidence in the claims to land of both Israelis and Palestinians. Always sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, he promoted what became known as "alternative pilgrimages" to the Holy Land.These visited Jewish settlements and Palestinian refugee camps.

Robert Davidson was someone of great personal warmth. Some of his former students produced their own tribute to him, Words At Work, published in 1994, to join the 1992 academic symposium in his honour, Text As Pretext: Essays In Honour Of Robert Davidson. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, four sons and three daughters.


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