The broad outline of the Tranter family's involvement in the Catholic Apostolic Church in Edinburgh, to which he belonged in his early years and within which his father was a Minister, is well covered in the early chapters of Ray's biography of Nigel and in the part of this paper dealing with Mansfield Church.
Around 1823 Mary Campbell and James and George MacDonald began to display a spiritual 'gift ' of healing, prophecy and glossolalia, or speaking in tongues.
Their main champion, within the Church of Scotland, was Edward Irving (1792 - 1834). Irving was born in Annan and studied at Edinburgh University becoming a schoolmaster. In 1819 he became an assistant minister to Thomas Chalmers in the Glasgow Tron Parish. Chalmers was a the gifted orator and a Professor of Theology who is noted for his action in 1843 that split the established Church. Disgusted at the level of patronage, within the Church of Scotland, Chalmers led the famous 'disruption' from which the Free Church of Scotland was founded. In Chalmers therefore the young Irving had a excellent role model. A role model of excellent oratory and of thinking laterally and not simply accepting the existing system.
In 1822 Irving, still within the patronage of the Church of Scotland, a was invited to a be minister of the Caledonian Church, Hatton Garden in London where he enjoyed phenomenal success. Success such that they built him a new and larger church in Regents Square in 1832.
In 1825 Irving began to reject the formal doctrine of the Church of Scotland and announced the imminent Second coming of Jesus Christ and by 1828 he began to talk extensively of the humanity and sinfulness of Jesus.
Increasingly he began to move away further and further from the basic tenets of the Church of Scotland and in 1832 he was rejected by the Caledonian Church in London and in 1833 convicted of heresy and expelled from the Church of Scotland.
The majority of his congregation, some six hundred members, stuck with him and thus the Catholic Apostolic Church was found it. Many of its early members, including Thomas Carlyle and his wife, where Scots or had Scots corrections. Irving was soon forced into a much more subordinate role and he died in 1834.
Synopsis from 'The Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology (1993)
The Catholic Apostolic Church had a four fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors. The chief pastor in each congregation, who had some Episcopal powers, was known as an " angel ". As we have seen that there was a strong emphasis on the doctrine of the incarnation, a conviction of the near Nice of the second Advent, and an acceptance as a thick as an authentic has the authentic of the contemporary manifestations of Gloucester Old Bailey after and Associated phenomenon. The style of their worship developed along the richly ceremonial lines, and at the Catholic Apostolic liturgy had an important influence on other churches.
The Church never had more than a few thousand adherents in Britain, the three Scottish congregations had, for example, in 1851 a total attendance of 508. In the later nineteenth century, as the apostles died, no successors were appointed. After the demise of the last apostle in 1901, the Ministry died out, churches were closed and their congregations generally join the Church of England. However other groups including the New Apostolic Church in Germany and the Western Orthodox Church claim to continue the Catholic Apostolic tradition in the twentieth-century.
(End of reference)
Because of their prophetic gift, twelve of the apostles were in 1835 set aside as officers. They were expected to survive until the second coming of Christ, but the last of them died in 1901. When the apostles began to die, a schism took place in Germany over the appointing of successors. This led to the formation (1863) of the New Apostolic Church, the formal name of the present day or organisation. An 'angel' or Archbishop presides over each congregation; he is assisted by 'pastors', 'teachers' and others. Symbolism and mystery of worship characterise the elaborate liturgy, which has borrowed much from the Roman Catholic Church, including devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Much emphasis is given to the second coming of Christ. The membership is reckoned to be about eight million worldwide (as in 1994)
The church that Nigel attended was in Mansefield place in Edinburgh and, although no longer used as a place of worship, it is an imposing, 'A' listed historic building whose foundation stone was laid in 1873. That the account, above, suggesting that the death of the last of the original 'apostles' in 1901 the Catholic Apostolic Church ceased to exist is simply not true. services were held continuously in the Mansfield Place Church until Easter Day 1958.
The reason that the Mansfield Place church died out was a result of its original constitution where the 'apostles' were the only ones who could create 'Angels' or bishops, the Angels alone could create or ordain 'Priests'. After the last Angel died no more priests could be created so when the last ordained priest, J. B. Stewart, died in 1959 the church ceased to exist. By that time the congregation was minuscule anyway.
Nigel then attended the Episcopal Church of Scotland.