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George Hay and John Geddes

Bishop Hay was clandestinely consecrated Coadjutor to Bishop James Grant, the Vicar Apostolic of the Lowland District, in 1769, in the small upper room at Scalan and succeeded Bishop Grant in 1778. He lost no time in acquiring a coadjutor for himself, as the practice was, so that a successor was always in place and the vicariate would not be “widowed” by death or other eventuality. He found that the priests were equally agreeable to his choice of coadjutor – John Geddes – who was at that time in Spain, as rector of the Royal Scots College, Valladolid. Unlike Hay, Geddes was a cradle Catholic, born in 1735 in the Enzie, probably the best known of the Catholic strongholds. He had lived through the 1745 Jacobite Uprising and its aftermath, and at the age of fourteen, embarked on a four month voyage from Peterhead with William Guthrie, aged twenty, to Rome both to study for the Priesthood. Hay joined them a year later, to begin a friendship that was to last for forty years and bring great benefits to the Church in Scotland.

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