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Churches and Schools in Harris, 1792

Churches and Schools in Harris, 1792

Rev John Macleod, Harris, gave the following account of churches and school in his parish for the Statistical Account of 1791-1799.

In this enormous parish there are seven stated places of public worship; the two nearest each other being 9 miles distant, and the two farthest removed 36. There is a missionary, supported by the committee of the General Assembly for managing the royal bounty, settled in the northern district, who has to officiate in three of these places. The fixed pastor has the other four to attend. There are two churches of stone and lime with slated roofs; the one repaired, and the other built, by the late Alexander Macleod, Esq, of Harris. The stipend is 1000 merks Scotch. The teinds were valued in 1754. The glebe is let at £5 a year. The present incumbent, Mr John Macleod, admitted 9th April 1779, accommodates himself with a comfortable farm house in lieu of a manse. Mr Macleod of Harris is patrol and sole heritor.

There is a parochial school at Rowdell, now attended by 30 poor children, the whole emoluments of which to the schoolmaster may be about £20 per annum. There is a new school soon to be set up in another district, on the establishment of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. The same benevolent and patriotic society have already erected at Rowdell a seminary of female industry. Unfortunately the people of this country are so detached from each other that there is really no fixing on a station in which any one public institution can be of universal benefit. This circumstance in their local situation is one great cause of the low state both of knowledge and industry in which we find them. Hence it is, that even in religious knowledge, the most important of all, many of them must remain deplorably deficient, while left dependent on the ministrations of one pastor, be he ever so zealous and diligent, even though commonly assisted by the labours of a missionary. It often happens that some of the poor people in the outskirts of the parish have no opportunity of hearing sermon throughout the whole year, except when influenced to come to the place where the sacrament of our Lord's Supper is usually administered. By an old standing regulation, the people of the two southernmost isles have a right to the attendance of the minister for pulic worship, only once a quarter; and the access to these islands, from the mainland of Harris, where he resides, is so difficult and precarious, that, in the winter season especially, they are frequently disappointed. An instance, well authenticated, has occurred, in which one of the predecessors of the present incumbent, having gone to preach in the Island of Pabbay, was storm-staid there for seven weeks, to the great detriment of the rest of his parochial charge...

Title: Churches and Schools in Harris, 1792
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Statistical Account
Date: 1792
Record Maintained By: HC
Subject Id: 58365