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Bishop Hugh MacDonald

Attitudes were beginning to change on both sides about the time of the disastrous 1745 Jacobite Uprising. It set back the cause of Catholic Emancipation several decades. It brought great retribution to the Highlands and to the emerging, reviving Church, as was feared by Bishop Hugh Macdonald, Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District, who blessed, albeit reluctantly, the Prince’s standard at Glenfinnan. (The monument at Glenfinnan is pictured above.) He had tried to put Bonnie Prince Charlie off but to no avail. It was ten years later before the bishop was arrested and put on trial in Edinburgh for being a priest present in Scotland, although his part in the Uprising was the "elephant in the courtroom". His sentence was banishment from the kingdom for life, under pain of death if he returned, but he managed to slip back north and run his Highland Vicariate from Shenval in the Cabrach, a remote exposed highland area of moorland between Huntly and Tomintoul, although actually situated in the Lowland District. It was so renowned for its bad weather that it became an unpopular posting for clergy, who nicknamed it “Siberia”!

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