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THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                345



The Church of the Reformation.—John Knox’s Superintendents.—
Episcopacy. —Presbytery Established.—Scarcity of Preachers.
—Exhorters and Readers.—Mr James Farquharson Exhorter
in Urquhart.—The Parish under the Charge of Andrew
McPhail.—John McAllan, first Protestant Minister.—The
Rev. Alexander Grant.—New Churches. —Grant’s Troubles
with the Church Courts.—He Resists the Covenant, but is
Forced to Subscribe.—The Rev. Duncan Macculloch.—His
Want of Maintenance, and Troublous Career.—His Deposi­
tion.—A Six Years’ Vacancy.—Restoration of Episcopacy.—
Macculloch Reinstated.—A Presbyterial Visitation.—Lamen­
table State of the Parish.—Macculloch’s Resignation.—How
he Slew a Glenmoriston Man.—Loose and Unruly Walking
in the Parish.—Searching for a Minister.—The Rev. James
Grant.—His Presbyterial Trials.—Induction Ceremonies.—
Persecution of Roman Catholics.—Papal Statistics of the
Parish.—The Rev. Robert Monro Appointed Preacher in
Abertarff and Glenmoriston. — His Difficulties, Privations,
and Irregularities. — Lord Lovat’s Midnight Marriage.—
Presbyterial Visitation of Urquhart.—Peace and Prosperity.—
The Elders.—The Rev. Robert Cumming.—Monro’s Protest.
—Prelacy in the Parish.—Troubles in the Church.—The
Revolution.—Presbytery Re-Established.

Although the Parliament of 1560 prohibited the
celebration of the mass, and destroyed the supremacy
of the Pope, it did not directly abolish the Episcopal
form of church government, and establish Presby-
terianism as it now exists. Thirty years or more


had yet to pass to bring about that result. In
Knox’s scheme, it is true, the word bishop does not
appear—but we find in it the word superintendent,
which has the same meaning, and which the High­
land Protestant clergy of the time rendered into
Gaelic by the word easpuig, a bishop.1 The super­
intendents had not, indeed, the position or the
power of the Romish prelates, but they resembled
the old dignitaries in this, that they had the charge
of churches and churchmen within certain defined
districts which were called by the old episcopalian
name of diocese. They were not a success, and in
1572 the name of bishop was restored, and a modi­
fied Episcopacy was sanctioned which continued till
1592, when Presbyterianism, as we know it, may be
said to have been first established. For the first
twenty years after the Reformation there were no
presbyteries. The first was that of Edinburgh,
erected in 1581. Others followed, and all were
ratified by Parliament in 1592. In that year we
find our Parish within the Presbytery of Inverness,
in which it remained till 1724, when it became part
of the newly erected Presbytery of Abertarff in the
also newly created Synod of Glenelg. In 1884 it
was restored to Inverness and the Synod of Moray.
As little did the Parliament of 1560 succeed in
immediately destroying Popery in Scotland. For
years the old faith refused, in many quarters,
to give place to the new. In the Province
of Moray the Roman Catholic Bishop Hepburn

1 Carswell, whom Knox appointed Superintendent of the Isles, describes
himself in his Gaelic Liturgy by the word easbug (easpuig).

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                347

remained in undisturbed possession of his see till his
death in 1573—enjoying the Church lands as fully,
and alienating them as freely, as if Knox had not
been born. At the time of his death the Episcopacy
established in 1572 prevailed, and the Protestant
Bishop Douglas was appointed his successor.

John Knox’s scheme provided that there should
be a minister in each parish who should preach and
teach ; but the great majority of the Romish clergy
who followed him into Protestantism had never
been trained to preach, and so had to content
themselves under the new system with the office of
exhorter, or of reader. The reader read the Scrip­
tures and the new Protestant service book, but
was not allowed to baptise, marry, preach, or
expound. The exhorter did not preach, but he
expounded Holy Writ, and married, and baptised.
James Farquharson, the old vicar of Urquhart,
was a Master of Arts, and a fair writer of Latin,
but to preach was no part of his duty as Catholic
priest, and when he became a Protestant he was too
old to learn.1 He was accordingly continued as
exhorter, at a stipend of £40—probably the same as
he had previously enjoyed. He seems to have died
before 1574 ; for in that year there was neither
minister, exhorter, nor reader in the Parish,2 which,

1 Farquharson, who, as was the custom of the Romish clergy, had quali­
fied as a notary public, appears to have had an extensive practice. Several
Latin deeds written by him are extant.

2 Farquharson was Exhorter of Urquhart and Glenmoriston in 1572
(Register of Ministers and their Stipends, in Advocates’ Library). The
Register of Assignations for the Ministers’ Stipends for the year 1574—also in
the Advocates’ Library—contains certain entries regarding the offices of
readers in Urquhart and Glenmoriston, for which see Appendix N.


with Bona, was placed under the charge of Andrew
McPhail, minister of Farnua in the Aird.1 In 1586
it received for the first time a Protestant minister
of its own in the person of John McAllan.2 Mr
McAllan is mentioned in 1591, and probably held
the living till about the year 1620. He was suc­
ceeded by the Rev. Alexander Grant,3 who was
elected during the existence of that hybrid Epis­
copacy which was established by James the
Sixth in the year 1612. Finding the old pre-
Reformation churches in ruins, and the people with­
out places of worship, he at once took steps to have
a church erected at Kilmore, and another in Glen-
moriston. At a meeting of the Synod of Moray
held in April, 1624, he was “ ordained to proceid
in building of his Kirks off Urquhart and Glen-
moristoun, seeing he hes alreddie stentit his
parochin ; and for ye bettir effectuating of ye said
work my Lord Bishop hes promised to joyne his
request to the Laird of Grant for his concurrance
unto the said work ;”4 but he found it difficult to
carry this instruction into effect, and three years
later the same court ordered him “to forder
[further] the building of ye old foundations of ye
Kirks of Urquhart and Glenmoristoun, and for
fartherance heirof the Moderator of Inverness wt
ye bretheren of that presbyterie ar ordained to visit
ye bounds and see quhat is expedient, and to report
their diligence to ye nixt Synod.”5 The erection of

1 Scott’s Fasti Ecclesiœ Scoticanœ, Vol. III., Part L, p. 267.
2 Ibid, p. 119. 3 Ibid. 4 Records of Synod of Moray. 5 Ibid,

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                  349

these churches followed the Presbytery’s visit. The
Glenmoriston fabric, however, fell into utter ruin
before the end of the century. The Kilmore church,
altered and repaired from time to time, continued
to be the church of the Parish till the present
church was built in 1838.1

Mr Grant was not a model member of the church
courts. In 1625 he was summoned before the Bishop
on account of his frequent absence from the meetings
of his Presbytery, and was called upon in October,
1626, to explain why he had not attended the last
two meetings of the Synod. The explanation he
gave was that he lived “ in the farrest part of ye
diocie,” and “culd hear no certantie” of the date of
the first meeting ; and, as for the second, “ he culd
noth keip it in respect it was the appointed day of
his mariage.”2 As the meetings were held at Elgin
these reasons appear valid enough ; but the brethren
were of a different opinion, and “ thocht guid
heavilie to rebuik him, and exhorted him to tak his
calling moir cairfullie to heart in all tyme cumming.”3

But a greater penalty than rebuke and exhor­
tation awaited him. Some time previously, a
certain Finlay Grant, residing in Glenmoriston, was
“ contracted” for the purpose of marriage with one
Catherine Grant, who resided in Cromdale. Mr

1  In the portion of the old walls still standing there is built-in a stone on
which are inscribed the words Domus Dei (House of God), Mr Grant’s initials,
and the date 1630. Its original place was above one of the doors of the

2 Moray Synod Records. His wife was a daughter of Mr John Mackenzie,
Minister of Dingwall—(Fasti).

3 Ibid.


Dick, minister of Cromdale, wrote to Mr Grant certi­
fying the contract, and requesting that the latter
should publish the banns in his church. By this
time, however, Finlay had deserted Catherine, and
become engaged to a sister of the Laird of Glen-
moriston. Mr Grant favoured the latter project,
and ignored Mr Dick’s request. Complaint was
made to the Presbytery, who “ inhibited” him from
solemnising Finlay’s marriage with the Laird’s sister ;
but the inhibition was also ignored, and he married
the couple. These facts were reported to the Synod
in October, 1626, and he was rebuked and censured,
“ and ordained to mak his publict repentance in ye
kirk of Glenmoristoun, and to pay the soume of
fowrtie libs [pounds] money ad pios usus.” The
public repentance was humiliating, but it had to be
made—a brother of the Presbytery occupying the
pulpit on the occasion.1

Mr Grant was attached to the Episcopalian form
of church government, and, in the struggle which
began with the flinging of Jenny Geddes’ stool, in
July, 1637, he took the side of the bishops, and had
the hearty sympathy of Lady Mary Ogilvy, the
liferentrix of Urquhart.2 For a time he declined
to subscribe the Covenant, but in the end
he was forced to yield. At a meeting of
the Synod held at Forres on 14th May, 1639,
“ Andrew Dow fraser [Minister of BoleskineJ sub-
scryve and sware to ye Covenant, and so did Mr
Alexr. Grant, Minister at Vrquhart, and so did Mr

1 Moray Synod Records.          2 See pp. 146, 147. supra.

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                 351

Williame Watsone, Minister at Dutthell.”1 Not­
withstanding this formal adhesion, the Covenant did
not prosper in the Parish. The minister did not
like it, and Lady Mary continued in open enmity to
it. The Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 was
even more obnoxious to himself and his people,
many of whom joined Montrose in the war to which
that bond gave rise, and in course of which Urquhart
was invaded by the Covenanting forces, and made
the camping ground of the Western loyalists. In
the midst of these troubles—in 1645—Mr Grant
died—spared the pain of witnessing the expatriation
of Montrose, the execution of the King, the rule of
the English sectaries, and the extinction for a time
of the hopes of the Episcopalians. He was succeeded
in 1647 by the Reverend Duncan Macculloch,
minister of the Second Charge of Inverness.
For Mr Macculloch’s unprofitable career in the
Parish he was himself to some extent to blame ; but
in a larger measure the responsibility for his failure
lay with the heritors and parishioners. The people
of Urquhart adhered to the party which their late
minister had favoured, and they had little sympathy
with the man who now came among them as an
avowed Presbyterian and Covenanter. Notwithstand­
ing discouragements, he began well. He strove to
remove certain irregularities which existed in con­
nection with marriages between his parishioners
and natives of Glengarry and Lochaber, “where
there is no minister, neither hath been since the

1 Moray Synod Records.


Reformation,”1 and where consequently banns could
not be proclaimed.2 He found that the lands which
belonged to the Church at the time of the Reforma­
tion, and which are referred to as church property
as late as 1574, had passed into the possession of
the Lairds, and that the Parish was without manse,
or glebe, or suitable provision for the minister’s
maintenance ; and he applied for a manse and glebe
and augmentation of stipend. The manse and glebe
were designated” early in 1650, but there was some
irregularity in the procedure ; and so no manse was
erected, while the minister was evicted from the glebe
in less than a year. Worse still, his stipend, which
was payable partly by the proprietors and partly by
the tenants, was entirely withheld. In April, 1651,
the attention of the Synod was called to his griev­
ances by Mr James Vass, Minister of Croy, and it
was ordained “ that quhen the Laird of Grant shall
come to Forres, Elgin, or Keith, the ministers at
the respective places shall represent to him Mr
Duncan McKullo his hard conditione, and desire
redresse thereof in the matter of his glebe and
provisione, and presse the same seriouslie upon
him.”3 Macculloch and certain of his brethren had
an interview with the Laird on 5th November, and

1 Moray Synod Records.

2 At a meeting held at Elgin in April, 1648, the Synod referred the
matter of the non-proclamation of banns to the General Assembly, “ and in
the meantime ordaines the said Mr Duncane [Macculloch] for the present to
cause proclame such persons in the Kirks of Urquhart and Abertarff, quhilk
are the Kirks neirest adjacent to these unplanted boundes” [of Glengarry and

3 Moray Synod Records.

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.               353

his glebe was probably restored—but by this time
he had become discontented, and soured, and
irregular in his ministerial carriage. He ceased to
attend the meetings of the Church courts, became
“ verie negligent in his chairge,” and was accused
of “ scandalous conversation.” At meeting after
meeting the charges against him were considered
and discussed, until, in 1658, the Presbytery visited
Urquhart, and, finding him “ worthie of depositione,”
deposed him accordingly.

For the next six years the Parish was without a
minister. During the vacancy — in 1662 — that
mixed form of Episcopacy peculiar to Protestant
Scotland was again established as one of the
results of the Restoration of the Stewarts ; and,
two years later, Mr Macculloch was restored to his
living. His temporary seclusion, and his conformity
to Prelacy, brought no improvement in his conduct.
He never attended Synod or Presbytery ; his neglect
of his pastoral duties was even greater than before
his deposition ; and the state of his flock became a
scandal to the Church. A dark picture is drawn
by Mr Thomas Houston, minister of Boleskine, who,
in August, 1671, reported to the Presbytery “ye
sad and lamentable stat of ye Parish off Vrquhart
in regard of Mr Duncan McCulloch, Minister there,
his slackness in discipline, and neglect of dutie in
many things, and absence from his church, quhereby
sin and iniquitie is abounding and increasing in ye
said Parish.”1 A visitation was appointed, and on

1 Inverness Presbytery Records.



5th September the brethren met within the church
at Kilmore.

Mr Macculloch opened the proceedings with a
sermon on the text “ Pray without ceasing.” There
was much need for prayer. Everywhere irregularity
and confusion and spiritual destitution met the
Presbytery. The session-book was found to be
“ not a register but a minut rather, and that it was
deficient, wanting three yeirs unfilled up.” For
“ this great oversight” Mr Duncan was “rebooked,”
and “ ordeaned by ye Moderator to exhibit a
register, and to see quhat was wanting therein, and
that against ye nixt presbyteriall meeting.” The
heritors and elders being “ asked anent the
minister’s doctrine, life, and conversation,” replied
that they “ were all weill satisfied with him as to
these, but withall they regrated that he used no
family visitation, nor prayed in their families when
he lodged in any of his parishioners’ houses ; and
that he did not catechise, nor administer ye sacra­
ment ever since his entrie to ye ministrie there ;
and that he is a reproach to ye ministrie and ye
Parish in going with so beggerly a habit ; and
though much of his stipend be areasted in ye
parishioners’ hands, that yet he hath no cair to
pay his debt or reliev ye gentlemen from hazard at
legal executions in their contrar [against them].”
Mr Macculloch having been “ sharply rebooked for
all these omissiones, and injoyned to mende these
things in tymes coming, and that sub periculo
gravioris censurej,”
was invited to state his griev-

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                 355

ances. “ Being asked anent his elders and gentlemen,
what satisfaction he had off them, he regrated that he
had neither countenance nor maintenance among
them, and that quhen he is wrongd or injured in his
person or meanes they have not that due regard to
him as to resent these wronges and injuries done to
him—quherfor he would demitt”—that is, resign.
The church officer was so “ slack” that he was
threatened with dismissal, and the windows of the
church were so defective that the session was
ordered to apply the fines paid by breakers of the
Seventh Commandment in repairing them.1

The Synod, on receiving the Presbytery’s report,
recommended the acceptance of Mr Macculloch’s
resignation. On 1st December he was met at
Doch-na-Craig (Lochend) by four members of the
Presbytery, and when the meeting was over he was
no longer minister of Urquhart and Glenmoriston.2

1  Inverness Presbytery Records.

2 Moray Synod Records. Macculloch’s demission is in the following terms :
—“ I, Mr Duncan Macculloch, Minister of the United Churches of Urquhart
and Glenmorestoune, for onerous reasons and causes knowen to my selfe and
to my reverend Brethren of the Presbytrie of Invernes, doe demitt, renunce,
and resigne my cure and ministrie at the forsaid Kirkes into the hands of the
right reverend father in God, Murdo, Lord Bishop of Murray, and give hereby
full way and heartie consent that hencefurth my cure may be declared vacand,
ay and quhill it please God to provid that people with a man that may have
more incouragment to serve among them than I have had dureing my service
in that place : In Consideratione quheroff I ever from the dait hereoff renunce,
discharge, and resigne my cure, stipend, manses, and gleibes thereoff in all
tym coming : In full testimonie quheroff I have both written and subscrived
thir presents with my hand at Davach-in-Craig, the first of December 1671
yeirs, befor Mr Alexr. Clarke, minister at Invernes, and Mr Hew Fraser,
minister at Kiltarlitie.
                                             Mr D. Macculloch.”

“Mr A. Clark, Witnes.
“ Hugh fraser. Witnesse.”


The Presbytery placed it on record that the
“ omissions ” of which Mr Macculloch was guilty
were the consequence of “ his manifold and heavie
discouragements in his Parochin through want of
maintenance and countenance, and by stealling and
robbing of the little he hath ;” and they were not
without good grounds for their conclusion. The
poor minister had been robbed and despitefully used
by both heritors and people. If they had paid his
stipend, and treated him with justice and respect,
the probability is that he would have efficiently
ministered to them, and paid his debts, and gone
about in decent attire. He is remembered in the
traditions of the Parish, not for his preaching or his
piety, but for his prowess in avenging a dastardly
outrage on two Urquhart young women. While
the girls were tending cattle in the shielings of
Corri-Dho, to which the tenants of Urquhart had
then a right, certain Glenmoriston men seized them
and cut off their breasts. The minister soon after­
wards met one of the dastards, and slew him on the

At a meeting of Synod held at Elgin on 9th
April, 1672, Mr Macculloch’s deed of demission was
presented to the Bishop, who thereupon required
the Reverend James Stewart, Chancellor of Moray,
and in that capacity patron of the living, to fill the
vacancy “with all conveniency.” The Presbytery
also exhorted the gentlemen and elders of the
Parish to co-operate with the Chancellor by using
“ all possible diligence to furnish a minister for

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                 357

themselves.” The gentlemen and elders were, how­
ever, in no hurry, and the state of the Parish was
the subject of the Presbytery’s anxious deliberations
on 14th August. “ The Presbyterie, considering
the sad conditione of the Parish off Urquhart, and
the manifold abuses committed there, and their
loose and unrullie walking through the want of
gospell ordinances amongst them, as also the little
care they have for providing a minister for them­
selves, have appoynted Mr James Smith, Minister
at Dorres, to goe to Vrquhart and preach to the
people the last Lord’s day of August instant, and
keep session there, and exhort the people to use all
possible dilligence for searching out for ane able
qualified minister settled for that place, and to that
effect that they would send some of their number
and meet with the Laird of Grant, the most con­
siderable heritor of the Parish, and Mr James
Stuart, Minister at Inveraine [Inveravon], Patrone
of the Parishe of Urquhart, for their help and
assistance in the work ; and till they be provided
the gentlemen to keep their people under them in
good order.” These directions were duly obeyed,
and on 27th November Mr James Grant, a young
unordained “ expectant,” appeared before the Pres­
bytery and produced a presentation from the patron,
together with a letter from the Bishop desiring the
Presbytery to put him “ to his tryells cum intuitu
ad locum
to the Church of Urquhart.” It may be
interesting to note what those “ trials” were. Mr
Grant read a “homilie” before the Presbytery on


8th January, 1673, on the text “ For God so loved
the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life ;” and the same was
“ approven.” On 26th February he satisfactorily
“hade his exercise and additione,” on Col. ii. 14—
“ Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that
was against us, which was contrary to us, and took
it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” He
“ hade his common head” on 12th March, his
subject being the Infallibility of the Church—
de Infallibilitate Ecclesiœ ;” after which he
delivered a thesis and “disputed” it with the
members of the Presbytery. At a meeting held
on the 26th he preached a “ populare sermon,” was
examined in “ the languages,” and underwent his
“ questionarie tryells.” Having successfully passed
through all these trials, he was (on the 26th)
“ remitted to the Bishope to receave ordinatione,
collatione, and institutione ;” and Mr Hugh Fraser,
minister of Kiltarlity, reported that he had preached
at Urquhart the last Lord’s day, and served his
edict ; and that John Grant of Corrimony appeared
for himself and the rest of the parishioners, “suppli­
cating the Presbyterie that they would send them
Mr James Grant, whom they are most willing to
receave as their minister, promiseing to him dutie
according to their power, and that in giveing him
countenance and maintenance, as also that they will
concur with him in discipline and what else may
contribute for helping on God’s service to God’s

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                 359

glorie, and to his encouragement.” On the 9th of
April Mr Grant attended on the Bishop and Synod
at Elgin and “ receaved collatione, institutione, and
impositione of hands, and the right hand of fellow-
shipe, with everything usuall in the like case ;” and
on 7th May the Presbytery recorded that “be
vertue of ane order from the Bishope of Murray, Mr
Hugh Fraser, minister of Kiltarlitie, went the last
Lord’s day to Urquhart, and preached to the people,
and admitted Mr James Grant to be future minister
there, haveing used all the ceremonyes usuall in the
like case.”1 The parishioners accepted him on the

1 What the usual ceremonies were may be gathered from the following
Presbytery minute describing the admission of Mr Gilbert Marshall to be one
of the ministers of Inverness in 1674 : —“The exercise prescribed the former
Presbytrie day was delayed till the next Presbytrie day, because that by the
Bishopes appoyntment Mr Gilbert Marshall, who is presented by the Lord
Kintaile to the vacant charge of Invernes, had his edict served to this day :
wherupon Mr Alexr. [
              ], Modr. preached conforme to the ordinance,

text Acts 20, 28 ; the sermon being closed, the edict being the second tyme
read, and being askedif their were any person or persons their present that
had aught to object against the admissione of the said Mr Gilbert Marshall,
at the most patent Kirk door, and thereafter at the severall heritors, magis­
trates, and others then present, all of them answered negativelie, and earnestlie
pressed his admissione ; whereupon the Modr. proceeded to the admissione by
delivering to him the Sacred Bible, the book of discipline, and the key of the
Kirk door, as is usuall in such cases, seriously exhorting him to pietie,
humilitie, fidellitie, and sedulitie in his calling, who, with his wholl remanent
bretheren, gave him the right hand of fellowshipe ; and immediatlie therafter
the heritours, magistrates, and others present did unanimouslie embrace him by
reaching forth their hands to him, declareing their acceptance of the said Mr
Gilbert for their minister, promiseing obedience, faithfullnes, and assistance
to him according to their severall stationes. Thereafter the said Modr. and
remanent brethren passed to the Manse and Gleibe somtyme belonging to the
late Mr James Sutherland, and gave the said Mr Gilbert reall possessione in
the same and locall stipend belonging thereto, dureing his ministrie and service
at the said Kirk of Inv’nes, which the said Mr Gilbert accepted, and tooke
instrument, ane or moe in Andrew McPhersone, Nottare Publick, his hand, as
the same at more length in itself doth proport.”


terms proposed by Corrimony, and so he became
their minister.

In his time the Bishop and Church courts of
Moray made some effort to extirpate Popery in the
province—but the more they persecuted, the more
numerous did the persecuted become. Many Pro­
testants joined the ancient Church, and had their
children baptised by the “seminary trafficking
priests” from Ireland and the shires of Banff and
Aberdeen, who “went up and down through the
parishes avowedly, confidently, and affrontedly.”1
In 1674, and again in 1679, the ministers were
ordered to bring in lists of all who acknowledged
the Pope within their respective parishes, and
against these church processes and sentences of ex­
communication were freely launched. Mr Grant was
comparatively happy. While the district of Comar,
just outside his Parish, is described as “ so pestered
with poperie that a total defectione is feared there
iff not speidily prevented,”2 he is able to grant the
following certificate regarding Glen-Urquhart :—“ I
Mr James Grant, Minister of Urquhart, doe testifie
and declare that (blessed be God for it) ther are no
Papists in this Paroch of Urquhart except Katherin
McDonald, Spouse to Jhon Grant of Coremony, qho
was both borne and bred among Papists, and one
Hector McLean, a young man baptised in our
Church, but bred among Papists since his youth,
but nether of these excommunicat ; qhich is verified
under my hand att Kilmore in Urquhart, 5 of

1 Inverness Presbytery Records. 2 Ibid.

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                 361

March, 1679.”1 Mr Robert Monro, who was at the
time in charge of Glenmoriston, had not so much to
be thankful for :—“ I, Mr Robert Monro, Minister
off Abertarf and Glenmoriston. doe testifie and
declaire these Papists did apostatize from the
reformed religion before my entrie, vizt. [here
are given the names of apostates in Abertarff], Alex.
McDonald in Achlean, his wyff and whole familie ;
Allan McDonald in Innervuick, his whole familie
(except his wyffe) ; Archibald McConchie Vc
Phatrick in Innervuick, but not his wyff nor
family. The excommunicat are, both for incest and
defection to Poperie, John Grant in Duldregin and
Katherine Fraser his wyff, and part of his familie.
This to be of truth I verify under my hand att
Invernes, March 5, 1679.”2

Ever after the Reformation the people of Glen-
moriston were left in a state of spiritual starvation :
there was no priest or parson in their own Glen, and
the visits of the minister of the Parish were few and
far between. The adjoining district of Abertarff or
Kilchuimein (now Fort­Augustus) was in the same
precarious state of dependence on the minister of
Boleskine. In 1675 an attempt was made to
provide those desolate places with the means of
grace. The ministers of Urquhart and Boleskine
joined in petitioning the Bishop, who was “ Patron
of Kilchuimen,” and the Chancellor of Moray,
“ Patron of Glenmoriston,” to have “ Mr Robert
Monro settled as minister and their helper in the

1 Inverness Presbytery Records.          2 Ibid.


said bounds of Abertarfe and Glenmoriston.” The
Petition, concurred in by the heritors of those
bounds, was in January 1676, submitted by Mr
Monro to the Presbytery, who referred it to the
Bishop and Chancellor for their decision. That
decision was favourable, and Mr Monro, having
gone through the customary trials, was ordained by
the Bishop on 2nd March, and, on the 12th.
admitted at Kilchuimein by Mr Houston, minister
of Boleskine, and Mr Grant, minister of Urquhart.1

The arrangement, however, did not give satisfac­
tion to all concerned. At a meeting of Presbytery
held at Kilchuimein in September, 1677, the Glen-
moriston elders—John McEvin in Invermoriston, John
McFarquhar and Donald McWilliam in Livishie,
and William McAlaster and James Grant in Inver-
vuick—complained that “ the new minister did not
keepe with them everie sabbath per vices.” His
excuse was that there was no church in Glen-
moriston, no bridge on the River Moriston, and “ no
boat to transport him to his charge.” The Presby­
tery did not expect him to swim to a church which
did not exist, and approved of his ministeriall
deportment ;” and, as his lot was cast near the
zealous Roman Catholics of Glengarry, he was
exhorted “ to studie the Popish controversie,
whereby he would be enabled to convince gainsayers
and reclame the astrayeing ignorant.” He was but
poorly supported in his work of reclamation, and his

1 Inverness Presbytery Records.



success was not great, among either Catholics or
Protestants. His income was not sufficient to
keep body and soul together, and, notwithstanding
that he eked it out by acting as clerk of the Presby­
tery, for which he annually received a “ rex dollar”1
from each member, his poverty increased, and he
was forced to beg for charity. In 1682 the Synod
urged the clergy of the diocese “ to mind a contri­
bution to Mr Robert Monro in regard of his present
straites and indigencies.” The contributions gave
temporary relief, but his impecuniosity returned,
and led him into irregularities. In November, 1687,
he officiated at a “ mock marriage” at Inverness, and
was suspended in consequence. On 4th April follow­
ing the suspension was continued by the Synod till
the first Sunday in May, on which day, in respect of
“ two other unorderly marriages ” confessed by him,
he was ordained to appear publicly in the church of
Inverness, and in face of the congregation to “make
humble and solemn acknowledgment of his offence
anent the said mock marriage, and his other
scandalls that accompany’d his miscarriages, craving
God pardon, and all whom he might thereby have
offended.” The order was obeyed, and he was
absolved, and restored to his charge.

His suspension brought no lasting improvement,
and, years afterwards, he officiated at one of the
most irregular and most extraordinary marriages on
record. The famous Simon Fraser, early in that

1 Rex or rix dollar : a silver coin of Denmark, and varying in value from
2s 6d to 4s 6d.


wild career in the course of which he won the title
and estates of Lovat, resolved to make Lady Amelia
Murray, Dowager Lady Lovat, his wife. The wooing
was short, and somewhat rough. Our criminal
records tell the story. “ Captain Simon Fraser
takes up the most mad and villanous resolution that
ever was heard of ; for all in a sudden he and his
complices make the lady close prisoner in her
chamber [within Beaufort Castle], under his armed
guards, and then come upon her with the said Mr
Robert Monro, Minister at Abertarff, and three or
four ruffians, in the night-time, about two or three
in the morning, . . . and having dragged out

her maids, Agnes McBryar and—Fraser, he

proposes to the lady that she should marry him, and
when she fell in lamenting and crying, the great
pipe was blown up to drown her cries, and the
wicked villains ordered the minister to proceed.
And, though she protested with tears and cries, and
also offered all promises of anything else, and
declared she would sacrifice her life sooner than
consent to their proposal, nevertheless, the said
minister proceeds, and declares them married
persons, and Hugh Fraser, of Kinmonavie, and the
said Hutcheon Oig, both of them thieves and
murderers, are appointed for her waiting maids.
And though she often swarved [fainted], and again
cried out most piteously, yet no relenting. But the
bag­pipe is blown up as formerly, and the foresaid
ruffians rent off her clothes, cutting her stays with
their dirks, and so thrust her into bed.”1

1 State Trials.

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                365

In the matter of marriage irregularities Mr Monro
could point to the example of his superior, the min­
ister of Urquhart. In October, 1682, the Reverend
James Grant was accused of “ ane irregular walking
in marrying two persons in another parish without
either license from the Bishope or proclamationes in
the church.” He confessed his guilt—“ although
urged thereto by the importunity of friends”—and
placed himself in the hands of the Bishop and
Synod. “ The Lord Bishope and brethern having
considered the offence doe suspend the said Mr
James from the exercise of his ministeriall function
during the Bishopes pleasure, and that Mr Hugh
Fraser [minister of Kiltarlity] is appointed to go to
Urquhart and intimat the said sentence.”1 The
suspension was but of short duration, and before
April Mr Grant again filled the pulpit of the Parish

This slight offence notwithstanding, Mr Grant
appears to have been a good man, and to have given
great satisfaction to his people. The report of a
Presbyterial visitation of the Parish in 1677 is
pleasant reading. The brethren met at Kilmore on
5th June, and were respectfully received by the
minister and elders and a “ populous meeting of
the hearers.” The list of elders is evidence of the
minister’s activity and influence :—Thomas Grant of
Balmacaan, John Grant of Corrimony, James Grant
of Shewglie, Patrick Grant of Inchbrine, Donald
Cumming of Dulshangie and James his son, James

1 Moray Synod Records.


Cumming in Pitkerrald, Farquhar Cumming in
Gartallie, William Grant of Achmonie, Alexander
and Robert Grant in Kerrowgair, Alexander Grant
in Balmacaan, Duncan Grant in Divach, Gregor
Grant in Pitkerrald, and others whose names are
not recorded. They all united in giving their
minister “ ane singulare applaus.” He was sound in
his doctrine, correct in his life and conversation,
frequently catechised the people, visited the sick,
prayed in the families, “was prepareing for cele-
brateing the Lord’s Supper, which he could not do
untill a period should be put to the harvest,” and
loyally preached yearly on the 29 th of May—the
anniversary of the Restoration of Charles the
Second.4 Of the elders the minister testified “ that
they were most faithfull, and that there was nothing
could encourage him in his ministeriall office, but
they were all most cordiall to strengthen his hands.”
Never before did the Church in Urquhart enjoy
such peace and prosperity ; and the moderator,
overcome with gratitude, “blessed the Lord for
the good applause the minister had of his elders,”
and for the “ sweet harmony” that prevailed. The
minister was, indeed, too good to he left in the
Parish. A cry soon reached him from another part

4 Inverness Presbytery Records. The 29th of May, says John Evelyn
(Diary, 29th May, 1661), was “appointed by Act of Parliament to be observed
as a day of general thanksgiving for the miraculous restauration of His Majesty :
our vicar preaching on 118 Psalm, v. 24, requiring us to be thankful and rejoice,
as indeede we had cause.” In England the day was for many years known as
Royal Oak Day, from the custom of placing oak branches in the churches in
memory of Charles’ escape from Cromwell’s soldiers by concealing himself
among the branches of an oak tree.

THE CHURCH IN THE PARISH.                  367

of the vineyard, and in 1685 he was translated to

His successor was Mr Robert Cumming, “ expec­
tant,” who appeared before the Presbytery on
14th July, 1686, with a presentation to the
churches “ of Urquhart and Glenmoristone, now
vacand,” and a letter from the Bishop recommending
him for the customary trials, prior to ordination.
At the next meeting (llth August) Mr Robert
Monro protested against the terms of the presenta­
tion, claiming that he himself was minister of
Glenmoriston. The protest was referred to the
Bishop and Synod, and found to be baseless, Mr
Monro being only in the position of “ helper ;” and,
in obedience to the Bishop’s instructions, Mr Fraser
of Kiltarlitie preached at Kilmore on Sunday, 24th
October, and admitted Mr Cumming to be minister
of Urquhart and Glenmoriston, “ confbrme to his
presentatione and collation.” The new incumbent
at once assumed jurisdiction over the delinquents in
Glenmoriston, and they were dealt with by the
“ Session of the united Parochins of Urquhart and
Glenmoriston”—Mr Monro’s claim and protest being
wholly ignored.

The persecutions which disgraced and discredited
the Episcopalian party in the South of Scotland
during the Killing Time were practically unfelt
within the bounds of the Presbytery of Inverness.
For years the members of that court were at one in
their devotion to Prelacy, and although they had a
field for mild persecution among the Papists of the


bounds, there were no Covenanters against whom
proceedings could be instituted. In 1687, however,
the Reverend Angus Macbean, of Inverness, who
had been ordained a few years previously by the
Bishop, “disowned the government of the Church
of Scotland as it is now established by law, by
Archbishops, Bishops, and Presbyters,” and declared
his conviction “that Presbitrie was the only govern­
ment that God owned in these nations.” Mr
Macbean was at first gently reasoned with ; but
without effect. Instead of returning to “ the Armes
of the Church, which were still open and ready to
receive him upon his repentance,” he “ publicly
demitted his charge of the ministry under the
present Government,” went to Ross-shire to preach
to the Covenanters of that county, and, returning to
Inverness, held a conventicle of his own, “ and so
began his schisme in one of the most loyall, orderly,
and regular cities in the nation.”1 Among his
brethren of the Presbytery there was not one to
follow his example. On the contrary, they joined
in urging the Episcopal authorities “ to use all
ordinar means for suppressing the schisme begun at
Inverness.”2 In February, 1688, he was summoned
before the Archbishop of St Andrew, the Bishop of
Moray, and other dignitaries, and invited to return
to the Episcopal fold. He refused, and was deposed.
His sentence was read from the pulpit of the High
Church of Inverness, “ for vindicating the Church’s
authority, and Terror of such Back-slyders.” But

1 Inverness Presbytery Records. 2 Ibid.

the Back­sliders were on the way to victory, and
refused to be terrified; and the end of the Church’s
authority was at hand. Before the close of the
year James the Seventh was driven from the throne ;
in July, 1689, Episcopacy was abolished by Parlia­
ment ; and in the following spring Presbyterianism
was re-established in Scotland.


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