MHG31392 - Lochcarron Kirkton (Old Church), graveyard


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Type and Period (3)

  • CEMETERY (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TABLE TOMB (19th Century - 1819 AD to 1819 AD)
  • TABLE TOMB (Erected, 18th Century - 1774 AD to 1778 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NG94SW 2 9140 4123.
Church (NAT) (Ruins of) OS 6"map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1905)

The ruins of parish church erected 1751 and abandoned about 1845 when modern church built.
The church of Lochcarron was dedicated to St. Maelrubha and girth or sanctuary was known as 'Chombrich Mulroy' - the girth of Maelrubha, but exact site of this early church is not known. (For a possible alternative site for St Maelrubha's Church see NG94SE1)
Name Book 1875; W J Watson 1926; Orig Paroch Scot 1855. <1>-<3>

The walls of this 18th century church still stand to roof height with exception of N side wall which has been entirely removed taking with it part of the gables. No further info was obtained regarding St.Maelrubha's Church.
Visited by OS (W D J) 19 October 1966.

'Wester Ross Monumental Inscriptions', pre 1855
Monumental inscription survey completed by Alastair G. Beattie & Margaret H. Beattie. The survey may not include inscription information after 1855 and each inscription transcribed does not give the full details that appear on the stones, abbreviations used. Some ommissions and inacuraciesmay be encountered. First published 1987, reprinted 1991, 1996 & 1997, with corrections. <4>

Graveyard lies on rising ground around the church which is now marked as dangerous. A variety of tombs some tipping over. Walled enclosure around suffering from tree damage in places, see photo. <5>

Visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust. Ruinous parish church of 1751 surrounded by historic graveyard on the north shore of Lochcarron. There is a wide range of gravestones within this site, table tops, uprights and a few early 20th century. The ground is uneven and slopes up gently northwards. This site fell out of use as a parish church when the church to the east, Lochcarron Parish Church, was built c.1840. <6><7>

Paul Swan submitted a photograph and information about the tabletop grave slab of the Rev. Lachlan Mackenzie, who "was the third Presbyterian minister of Lochcarron for some 37 years, from 1782 to 1819. He was much respected throughout the Highlands and known affectionately by one and all as “Mr. Lachlan”. It was said that he had the gift of prophecy or “second sight” (also see H.E.R. record MHG51412) and many stories & anecdotes are used to illustrate this.
For example, on one occasion at a packed Sunday service he announced to the congregation that five of the young men under 28 years of age present would be dead within six weeks! Sure enough, as predicted, five did die but within only five weeks (3 building the new road and 2 others in the parish). These events were all independently witnessed by the road contractor, an Easter Ross man, and must have taken place about 1816 as the road was completed in 1817." <8>

Paul Swan submitted more information and a local story about another of the grave slabs in this churchyard, that of the Rev. Eneas Sage, the first Presbyterian minister of Lochcarron:

"The Rev. Eneas Sage was the first Presbyterian minister of Lochcarron (his 48 year ministry was from 1726 to his death in 1774). This was a time of great civil unrest and heathen attitudes towards the church in this part of the Highlands, and in his early years he was constantly threatened with physical violence as ministers were thought of as agents of the government. For instance, the creel barn in which he spent his first night in the parish was set ablaze with him still in it! On another occasion a man was waiting to assassinate him in Strathconon when Eneas was on his way to Dingwall, but as he approached the man had second thoughts and put his dirk away.
It took him many years to win the parishioners around and there are many stories & anecdotes of how he achieved this, perhaps the most famous example comes from the ballad “Floraidh Bhuidhe” (Flora the yellow-haired) probably penned by the bard William or Alexander Mackenzie, a tale of arranged marriage, elopement and an island!
A beautiful young maiden by the name of Matheson, who lived on the south shore of Loch Carron, and a local young man fell deeply in love. They asked her father’s permission to marry. The young man was from a family of good rank and they did not anticipate any problem. However her father had already arranged for his daughter to marry an aged but wealthy man, and insisted that she obeyed him in this matter. The lovers were distraught and pleaded with him to change his mind. He would not listen to them, in fact he went ahead with the arrangements and fixed a day for the wedding.
The lovers, in their distress, went to Eneas Sage and explained their plight. He appealed to the father to do the right thing and allow the young couple to marry. However, the father would not relent. And so the couple took matters into their own hands and secretly made arrangements with Eneas Sage. They took a boat out to the tiny island of Sgeir Fhada which lies in the middle of the loch, and here the reverend married them.
This caused a great stir and the exasperated father reported the reverend to his superiors. However, several influential men of the area intervened and the case was quashed." <9>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NG 9139 4122 (68m by 68m) Surveyed
Map sheet NG94SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

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