Bishop Hugh MacDonald


A name mentioned in the passing in a recent post was Bishop Hugh MacDonald. He was born at Moeble on the southern shore of Loch Morar, Western Highlands, in 1699. He was one of the original students at the seminary on Eilean Bὰn, an island on Loch Morar, the first seminary on British soil. It was one of the victims of the destruction wrought in punishment for the 1715 Jacobite Uprising, and he became one of the original students at the new seminary at Scalan in 1716. He was one of the very few who actually fulfilled the desire of Bishop Gordon that candidates for the Priesthood would be trained completely at Scalan for ordination. He was ordained there on 18 September 1725, in the very humble chapel which formed part of the original daub-and-wattle building which was situated above the Crombie Burn, above the Bishop’s Well, on the flat piece of ground which runs from the tree on the left of the photos where old stones are to be found in a small pile – remnants of the original Scalan?


Hugh MacDonald was one of the “heather priests”, trained completely in Scotland, an honourable title still rightly claimed by some priests today, as opposed to the “Romans”, The “Spaniards” (sometimes the “Noble Spaniards”), or the “Frenchmen” who went to the respective colleges abroad. Your correspondent is a "noble Spaniard" but he recognises the honour due to the "heather priests".

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