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Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire
Appendices A


EXTRACT from the "Geneological account of the Macras, as originally written by Mr John Macra, sometime minister of Dingwall in Ross-shire, who died in the year of our Lord 1704. Transcribed by Farquhar Macra of Inverinate in the year 1786. Printed, Camden, South Carolina, 1874."

The following are some passages in the life of a Highland minister, who was vicar of Gairloch for ten years in the seventeenth century. Note :—the title "Mr" is applied in old books and documents only to those who held the degree of M.A. "Saint Johns town " is the old name of Perth.

"Mr Farquhar Macra the second son of Christopher MacConnochie was born at Islandonan, anno 1580, being a seven months' child howbeit he became afterwards to be a man of a very strong body, and his father seeing his good genius for learning sent him to the school of Saint Johnstown, where he stayed four or five years and became a great master of the Latin language, as appears by some discoveries of his yet extant. From Perth his father sent him to the college of Edinburgh, where he became a pregnant philosopher beyond his condisciples, and commanded Master of Arts under the discipline of Mr Thomas Reid his regent, who afterwards became Principal of the College, all the members of which pitched on Mr Farquhar as the most accomplished and capable to take Reid's place as Regent. But Kenneth Lord Kintail, being then in Edinburgh, disapproved of the design, and prevailed with the members of the college to pass from Mr Farquhar, who himself preferred to be a preacher of the Gospel to any other calling whatsoever, and for that end had for some months preceding heard the lectures and lessons of Mr Robert Rollack, professor of divinity. So that omitting that opportunity of improving his great abilities he was brought by Lord Kenneth home to Chanery of Ross, where he was overseer of the Grammar school which then flourished there, and stayed for the space of fifteen months and passed his tryals. He became a sound, learned, eloquent and grave preacher, and was pitched upon by the bishop and clergy of Ross as the properest man to be minister of Garloch that he might thereby serve the colony of English which Sir George Hay of Airdry, afterwards Chancellor of Scotland, kept at Letterewe, making iron and casting cannon. Mr Farquhar having entered there did not only please the country people but also the strangers, especially George Hay. In the year 1610 Kenneth Lord Kintail brought Mr Farquhar with him to the Lewes, where he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants, who were great strangers to it for many years before, as is evident from his having to baptize all under forty years of age which he did, and married a vast number who lived there as man and wife thereby to legitimate their children, and to abolish the barbarous custom that prevailed of putting away their wives upon the least discord. This was so agreeable to the well thinking part of the people that my Lord Kintail promising to place such a man among them made them the more readily submit to him, so that all the inhabitants at this time took tacks from him except some of the sons of MacLeod of Lewes, who fled rather than submit to him. My Lord falling sick returned in haste home to Chanery of Ross where he died, and was the first of the family that was buried there, leaving the management of his affairs to Rory Mackenzie his brother, commonly called the Factor of Kintail, of whom are come the family of Cromarty. Mr Farquhar married Christian MacCulloch, eldest lawful daughter of MacCulloch of Park, on the first day of December 1611, dwelt at Ardlair, where several of his children were born.

"But Sir George Hay went from Letterew to Fife. He seriously invited Mr Farquhar to go with him, promising he would get him an act of Transplantation and his choice of several parishes of which he was Patron, and besides give him a yearly pension from himself and endeavour to get him ecclesiastical promotion. Mr Farquhar could not in gratitude refuse such an offer, and was content to go with him, was it not that Colin Lord of Kintail prevailed with Sir George to dispense with him, Lord Colin himself purposing to transplant him to Kintail, which was then vacant by the death of Mr Murdoch Murchison, uncle by the mother to Mr Farquhar, who accordingly succeeded his uncle both as minister of Kintail and Constable of Islandonan in the year 1618, as will appear by a contract betwixt Lord Colin and him dated at Chanery that year. Mr Farquhar lived here in an opulent and flourishing condition for many years much given to hospitality and charity..........

"Mr Farquhar being rich when he came from Garloch provided his children considerably well, having six sons and two daughters that were settled in his own life time, viz. Alexander, Mr John, Mr Donald, Milmoire or Myles, Murdoch, and John.............

"In the year 1651 Mr Farquhar, being old and heavy, removed from Islandonan by reason of the coldness of the air to a place called Inchcruiter, where he lived very plentifully eleven years; some of his grandchildren after his wife's death alternately ruling his house, to which there was a great resort of all sorts of people, he being very generous, charitable, and free-hearted.

"In the year 1654 when General George Monk passed through Kintail with his army, they in their return carried away three hundred and sixty, but not the whole of Mr Farquhar's cows, for which after the restoration of King Charles the II., he was advised to put in his claim; but his love of the change of affairs made him decline it, and at nis death he had as many cows as them, and might have had as many more were it not that they were constantly slaughtered for the use of the family when he had his grandchildren and their bairns about him. Being at last full of days, and having seen his children that came of age settled after he had lived fifty-four years in the Ministry, ten of which at Garloch, he departed this life in the year 1662, and the eighty-second of his age. He was buried with his predecessors at Kilduich in Kintail.

 


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