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St. Gregory's, Preshome

Bishop Hay returned to Edinburgh in early 1779 from a round of negotiations in London to find himself standing on the edge of a crowd watching his new house and chapel being set of fire by protesters. Two priests had to escape over the rooftops. When he enquired what was going on, a woman in the crowd informed him: “We have set the popish bishop’s house on fire and we are looking for him to throw him on the flames!” Bishop Hay sought safety in Edinburgh Castle where he was joined by several Catholic businessmen whose premises had also been attacked. Robert Bagnall, an English Catholic who had brought his pottery business to Glasgow saw his livelihood destroyed about the same time by what was nicknamed “Bagnall’s Rabble”. Lord Gordon, who had instigated the London Riots, had successfully obstructed the passage of the law in Scotland, and it wasn’t until 1793 that a Relief Act for Scots Catholics was passed. However, the Catholics of the Enzie, growing in confidence, had already built the first publicly recognizable Catholic Church in 1790 at St. Gregory’s, Preshome, near Buckie . A thousand people attended its solemn public opening.

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