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
"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
"The visitation of Gairloch and Lochbruime
continewed [postponed] by the way not rydable and inabilitie of
brethren to goe afoote."
At Dingwall, 14th
"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
"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
At Dingwall, 8th
"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
"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
"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
"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
At Dingwall, 9th April
"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
"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
The minister of Gerloch
ordained to send in a list of his "malignants," and to summon them
to appear at next meeting.
the Wide Scope of the Presbytery's Jurisdiction.
At Dingwall, 13th November
" 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
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
"At Kenlochewe, 9 Septr
"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
"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."