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Bishop Hugh MacDonald after the '45

March 6, 2018

 

After the Battle of Culloden, Bishop MacDonald decided it was wise to accept a place on a ship going to France, and there he stayed for about eighteen months before returning. In 1755 his whereabouts were made known to the authorities and he was put on trial in Edinburgh, not for his involvement in the ’45, strangely, but for the crime of being a Catholic priest present in Scotland. He was found guilty and banished from the kingdom under pain of death if he returned. He managed, however, to slip back to the north and lodgings were found for him at Shenval in the Cabrach, where the young John Geddes, newly ordained, was to share a house with him. This was outside of his Highland District, but he was able to direct things from there within the limitations of the times and circumstances. He was never quite able to operate openly again before his death in 1773. He was buried at Kilfinnan, Invergarry, Inverness-shire. In the year of his death, James Watt was proposing the construction of a canal through the Great Glen and in 1803, Thomas Telford began the project, finishing in 1822. One consequence of the earthworks and changes to the countryside was that the graveyard at Kilfinnan was submerged, and Bishop Macdonald’s grave is lost to us. A memorial was later erected in a new graveyard locally.

 

The photo is a view of Loch Morar which was Bishop MacDonald's home country and where he joined the seminary on an island in the loch;

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