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Loch Morar

The first attempt to start a seminary on Scottish soil was opened in Glenlivet as early as 1699, before the bishops had even conceived the idea, and was really the private initiative of one far sighted priest; it closed almost before it had started when he was called away to Paris.

The second was opened by Bishop Gordon in 1714 on Eilean Bàn, an island on Loch Morar (above) in the Western Highlands. It lay ‘among friends’ in Clanranald country, and might have been long lived but for the Jacobite Rising of 1715. That year the clan chief Alan Clanranald, whom the bishops considered the Church’s greatest champion, was mortally wounded at Sheriffmuir and his mainland seat Caisteal Tioram destroyed by fire. By the following spring the cause was lost and the West had become a no-go area overrun by Government troops. The little seminary now found itself unprotected and a prime target.

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