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Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander Chapter X. - The Unwieldy Parish Divided into Three


A SHORT time before my birth, and a good many years after Mr Macara's death, the latter's dream of ecclesiastical reform was fulfilled by the erection of Glenlyon and Rannoch into quoad sacra parishes. Each of them got a minister and kirk session of its own, a manse and glebe, a new church and an en- dowment of 120 a year out of the thanksgiving parliamentary grant made after the long struggle with Napoleon. It was complained at the time that the Church of England got much more than its fair proportionate share of that grant, but, at any rate, the portion of it given to the Church of Scotland did a vast deal of good in the Highlands. The parish of Fortingall, formed soon after the Reformation, was properly and legally styled the united parishes of Fortingall and Killichonain, which meant Rannoch. The patronage of the former be- longed to the Earls and Dukes of Atholl, and of the latter to the Knights and Baronets of Weem, and the joint patrons exercised their rights by turns; and it is only just to say that the ministers presented by them were, upon the whole, good workers who were worthy of their vocation. Duncan Macaulay, the first Protestant minister of Fortingall, was appointed by the Crown. He lived in peace with his Catholic predecessor's curate, who was allowed to retain manse, glebe, and other perquisites till his death about 1580. Mr Macaulay was an active promoter of Reformation doctrines and organisation, who often preached at Kenmore, Dull, and Killin, until these parishes got Protestant ministers of their own. His influence also extended to the lower part of Rannoch, but although supported by the Weem family, who owned the ''Slis-miu," styled in charters the Barony of Rannoch, the sons of misrule connected with Lochaber and Clan Gregor raiders were then, and for a hundred years to come, beyond the control of ecclesiastical and feudal authorities. There as everywhere the "broken men," who, when Stuart kings ruled, were denounced arid hunted down as thieves, cut-throats, and outlaws, and who, when caught, were executed, exiled, or transported to the colonies, suddenly blossomed into extreme Jacobite loyalty when rebellions and civil broils promised spoils and opportunities for displaying the martial qualities in which they undoubtedly excelled. It required the military pacification which came after Culloden, and all the efforts of resolute Mr Macara and his groups of elders and catechist-schoolmasters to put a final end to the disorders which, with a short exception in James the Fourth's reign, had been chronic in the braes of Rannoch from the murder of James I. downwards.


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