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Gairloch in North-West Ross-Shire
Appendices F


EXTRACTS from the Records of the Presbytery of Dingwall relating to the Parish of Gairloch.

I.—Minutes referring to the Inaccessibility of Gairloch.

At Kilmorack, 8th August 1649.

"The Brethren tacking to their consideration the expediencie of visiting the Hiland Kirks and the ordinance made thereanent formerly, appoynts to tacke journey (God willing) upon Monday nixt, and to visit the Kirk of Kintaill upon the Wednesday, the Kirk of Lochalsh upon the Thursday, and the Kirk of Lochcarrin upon the Fryday immediately following; and ordaines Mr Do<* M c Rae to advertise them conforme, and to writt to Mr Alex'. M c Kenzie, minister of Lochcarrin, requiring him in the Presbyteries name to advertise Mr Rorie M c Kenzie at Garloch and Mr Dod. Ross at Lochbroome to meete with them at Lochcarrin the said Fryday for appoynting dyats for visiting their Kirks."

At Lochcarron, 17th August 1649.

"The visitation of Gairloch and Lochbruime continewed [postponed] by the way not rydable and inabilitie of brethren to goe afoote."

At Dingwall, 14th August 1650.

"The Brethren considering the condition of the Kirks of Lochbroom and Gairloch and the expediency of visiting them (not being visited the last yeir with the rest), appoynts all the brethren to meete at Lochbroome for visiting the kirk thereof, the 10. day of Septr. next, and at Gerloch the Fryday thereafter."

At Dingwall, 8th June 1672.

"No report from the Hyland Ministers except from Mr Rorie Mc Kenzie of Gairloch, who wrott a letter off excuse which was not judged relevant at that tyme, bot is continewed till his coming, and another letter from Mr Murdoch Mc Kenzie, who declared he could not meet for fear of caption," i.e. arrest.

At Dingwall, 10th July 1672.

"The Presbytery considering that though the Ministers off the Highlands was reannexed to the Presbytery of Dingwall by appointment and ordinance of the Bishop and Synod, and that now they had written to them and acquainted them to meet with them two severall diets, and yet none of them came:—They appoynt and ordaine that they be the third tyme written to, to come (as they will be answerable to the Bishop and Synod)."

At Dingwall, 4th September 1683.

"No exercise in regard Mr Jon. Mc Kenzie, Minister at Lochbroom, who should have exercised, and the rest of the brethren of the Highlands were annexed to the Presbytery of Chanonry." [Note,—The Highland churches were the west coast parishes, including Gairloch. There are other minutes showing the irregular attendance of the Highland ministers, and making continual complaints against them on account of it.]

II.—Minutes relating to the Wars of Montrose against the Covenant.

At Dingwall, 8th January 1650.

"Received two letters from the paroch of Gerloch, one from Mr Rorie Mc Kenzie, Minister yr [there], importing that he had made intimation to the Lard of Gerloch to compeir before the Presbyterie this day, but withall testifieing that he was very infirme and unable to come; and the other letter was from Gerloch himselfe importing the same and withall that he would, health serving, be heir thenixtday" [i.e. at the next meeting]. [Note.—This Laird of Gairloch was Kenneth Mackenzie, the sixth laird ; he was a "malignant," i.e. on the side of the Marquis of Montrose, called in the following minutes James Grahame, without his title.]

At Dingwall, 22d January 1650.

"Compeired Kenneth Mc Kenyie of Gerloch, confessed his accession to Ja: Grahames rebellion and to the late rebellion in the North, professing his griefe for the same and desyreing to be received to the covenant and satisfaction; who is continewed till Furder tryall, and is ordayned to be heir the next day."
"Compeired Kenneth Mc Kenyie there who confest his accession to the late insurrection in the North, who is remitted to the Session of Gerloch to be furder tryed and received according to the maner prescryved in the act of Classes." [The Act of Classes specified the punishment to be inflicted on malignants.]

At Dingwall, 4th February 1650.

"Kenneth Mc Kenyie of Gerloch found accessorie to Ja. Grahames rebellion and the late insurrection in the north. [At the same meeting Kenneth Mc Kenzie of Assint, near Dingwall, Rorie Mc Kenzie of Davachmaluag, Kenneth Mc Kenzie of Scat well, and Rorie Mc Kenzie of Fairburn, were also found guilty.] Therefore the brethren considering the foresaid persones severall guiltes, and that all of them were eminentlie active in the late rebellion in the north, being urgers and seducers thereto, plotters and pryme promovers thereoff, doe therefore ordayne them to repaire forthwith to the Commission -of the General Assemblie sitting at Edinburgh in this present month of Febry. to make satisfaction as there they shall be appoynted, with certification if they faile to be immediately processed."

At Dingwall, 19th February 1650.

"That day was presented a supplication by Kenneth Mc Kenyie of Gerloch and Kenneth Mc Kenyie of Assint, that by the lawes of the kingdome, horning and captions is obtained against them for Seaforth's debts, so that personailie they cannot repair to Edinr. unbeine [without being] incarcerat; and therefore they petition the Presbytrie that their process be suspended till they obtayne the Commission of General Assemblies answer anent their satisfaction. Wheruppon the Presbyterie assignes them this day six weeks to report their last diligence and bringing to the Presbyterie a satisfactorie answer from the Commissione, with certification if they fayle, to be thereafter immediatlie processed."

At Dingwall, 9th April 1650.

"Received a letter from the Moderator of the Commission of the General Assemblie advysing the continewation of Assint and Gerloch's process till the next quarterly meeting in May."

At Dingwall, 16th April 1650.

"The Brethren being informed of Ja: Grahms landing in Caithnes with forces and coming forward for furder supplie for carrieing on his former bloodie rebellious and perfidious courses, .... they doe therefore for preventing anie associations, considerations, or correspondence with the said excommunicated bloodie traytor or his forces, Ordayne all the brethren to make intimation out of their severall pulpits that anie who shall associat or correspond with the said Rebell or his forces shall be sentenced with excommunication summarlie.'

At Dingwall, 28th May 1650.

"The Brethren report that they kepied the Thanksgiving for. the Victorie at Carbisdell obtained against James Grahame and other enemies to ye cause and people of God, his adherents."

At Dingwall, 16th July 1650.

The minister of Gerloch ordained to send in a list of his "malignants," and to summon them to appear at next meeting.

III.—Minute shewing the Wide Scope of the Presbytery's Jurisdiction.

At Dingwall, 13th November 1655.

" Duncan Mc Murchie vie Cuile in the Parochin of Garloch regraiting his wife to have deserted him being referred to the Presbyterie from the Sessione of Garloch compeired befoire the bretheren, and being asked in the cause of ye desertion, declaired .... was repudiated by his wyf, and deserted him and went to hir parents."

"Agnes Kempt in Garloch being maried uppon the said Duncan, compeired professing her unwillingness from the beginning to marie the said Duncan, bot moved and threatned by the superior of the land, acknowledging hirselfF to be free from any carnall dealing with the said Duncan, ever to this tyme. Or-daineing some of the brethren, such as Mr George Monro, Mr Donald Macrae, with certain other frends met with the foresaids at Logie, to see what they can work upon these maried persons, to agree them, and advyse them in thair christiane dutie towards each other." [On 8th January 1656 it was proved to the Presbytery that Agnes Kemp (who was no doubt a daughter of one of the Letter-ewe ironworkers) never consented to the marriage but was forced into it by her laird.]

IV.—Minutes relating to Sacrifices of Bulls and Restoring the Sick.

"At Appilcross, 5 Septemb 1656. " Convened, Mr Jo" Mc era, Moderator ; Mr Jon Monro, Mr Thomas Hogg, Mr Jon Mc Killican, Mr Donald Fraser, Mr Donald Mc era, Mr Rorie Mc Kenzie, Mr Alex? Mc Kenzie, and Mr Donald Ross.

"The name of God Incalled. Inter alia, The Minister being inquired be his brethren of the maine enormities of the parochin of Lochcarrone and Appilcross, declaires some of his parochiners to be superstitious, especiallie in sacrificeing at certaine tymes at the Loch of Mourie, especiallie the men of Auchnaseallach ; quho hes beine summoned, cited, bot not compeiring, execution is lawfullie given be the . . . kirk officer of Loch Carron, quhose names ar as followes:—Donald Mc conillchile—Murdo Mc Ferqre vie conill eire—Wm Mc conil eire, Gillipad-rick Mc rorie —Duncan Mc conill uayne vie conill biy—Alexr Mc finlay vc conill diy—Donald Mc eaine roy vie choinnich—Johne Mc conill reach—Murdo Mc eaine roy — Murdo Mc eaine voire vc eaine ghlaiss — Finlay Mc Gilliphadricke — Ordaines the kirk officer to chairge these againe to compeire at Dingwall the third Wednesday of October nixt—recommend that thaire Minister compeire the said day at Dingwall, and that he preach at the vacand kirk of Urquhart, the ensuing Lord's day he is in the country.

"The said day the presbyterie of Dingwall, according to the appoyntment of Synode for searcheing and censureing such principalis, and superstitious practices as should be discovered thaire—haveing mett at Appilcross, and findeing amongst uther abhominable and heathenishe practices that the people in that place were accustomed to sacrifice bulls at a certaine tyme uppon the 25 of August, which day is dedicate, as they conceive, to Sn Mourie as they call him ; and that there were frequent approaches to some ruinous chappels and circulateing of them ; and that future events in reference especiallie to lyfe and death, in takeing of Journeyis, was exspect to be manifested by a holl of a round stone quherein they tryed the entering of their heade, which (if they) could doe, to witt be able to put in thair heade, they exspect thair returning to that place, and failing they considered it ominous ; and withall their adoring of wells, and uther superstitious monuments and stones, tedious to rehearse, Have appoynted as followes—That quhosoever sail be found to commit such abhominationes, especiallie Sacrifices of any kynd, or at any tyme, sail publickly appear and be rebuked ... six several Lord's dayis in six several churches, viz., Lochcarron, Appilcross, Contane, Fottertie, Dingwall, and last in Garloch paroch church; and that they may, uppon the delatatione of the Sessione and minister of the paroche, he sail cause summoned the guiltie persone to compeire before the pbrie, to be convinced, rebuked, and there to be injoyned his censure, And withall that the session sould be charged to doe thair dewties in suppressing of the foresaid wickedness, and the foresaid censure in reference to thair sacrificing to be made use of in case of convict, and appeiring, and evidences of remorse be found, and failing, that they be censured with excommunicatione. Ordaines the minister to exercise himself with his people in such manner as at his coming to Appilcross, once in the five or sax weekes at each Lord's day of his coming, he stay thrie dayes amongst his people in catechising a pairt of them each day, and that he labour to convince the people of their former error, by evidenceing the hand of God against such abhominations as hes beene practised formerlie. Appoynts Mr Allexr Mc Kenzie to informe the presbi-terie of any strangers that resorts to thease feilds as formerlie they have to their heathenishe practices, that a course may be taken for their restraint."

"At Kenlochewe, 9 Septr 1656.

"Inter alia, Ordaines Mr Allex Mc Kenzie, minister at Lochcarron, to cause summond Murdo Mc conill varchue vie conill vie Allister in Torriton, and Donald Smyth in Appilcross, for sacrificing at Appilcross—to compeire at Dingwall the third Wednesday of October, with the men of Auchnaseallach.

"The brethren taking to their consideratione the abhominationes within the parochin of Garloch in sacrificing of beasts upon the 25 August, as also in pouring of milk upon hills as oblationes quhose names ar not particularly signified as yit— referres to the diligence of the minister to mak search of thease persones and summond them as said is in the former ordinance and act at Appilcross 5 Sept: 1656, and withall that by his private diligence he have searchers and tryers in everie corner of the countrey, especiallie about the Lochmourie, of the most faithful honest men he can find ; and that such as ar his elders be particularly poseit, concerning former practices in quhat they knowe of these poore ones quho are called Mourie his derilans* and ownes thease titles, quho receaves the sacrifices and offerings upon the accompt of Mourie his poore ones; and that at laist some of thease be summoned to compeire before the pbrie the forsaid day, until the rest be discovered ; and such as heve boats about the loch to transport themselves or uthers to the lie of Mourie, quherein ar monuments of Idolatrie, without warrand from the superiour and minister towards lawful ends ; and if the minister knowes alreaddie any guiltie, that they be cited to the nixt pbrie day, and all contraveners thereafter, as occasione offers in all tyme comeing. The brethren heiring be report that Miurie hes his monuments and remembrances in severall paroches within the province, but more particularly in the paroches of Lochcarron, Lochalse, Kintaile, Contan, and Fottertie, and Lochbroome, It is appoynted that the brethren of the congregationes heve a Correspondence, in trying and curbing all such, within their severall congregationes. And for thease that comes from forren countreyis, that the ministers of Garloch and Lochcarron informe themselves of the names of thease, and the places of their residence, and informe the pbrie thereof, that notice may be given to those concerned."

"At Dingwall, 6 August 1678.

"Inter alia, That day Mr Roderick Mackenzie minister at Gerloch, by his letter to the prebrie, declared that he had summoned by his officer to this prebrie day Hector Mackenzie in Mellan in the parish of Gerloch, as also Johne Murdoch, and Duncan Mackenzies, sons to the said Hector—as also Kenneth Mc Kenzie his grandson, for sacrificing a bull in ane heathenish manner in the iland of St Ruffus, commonly called Elian Moury in Lochew, for the recovering of the health of Cirstane Mackenzie, spouse to the said Hector Mackenzie, who was formerlie sicke and valetudinairie :—Who being all cited, and not compearing, are to be all summoned againe pro 20. "

* Mr William Mackay, of Inverness, points out that this word is misspelt by Dr Mitchell, who makes it " devilans. In the original record, which Mr Mackay has examined, the word is "derilans," which is probably an old Gaelic word signifying the "afflicted ones" (or lunatics), from "deireoil," used in Kirke's Gaelic Bible for "afflicted."


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