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Title: The religious and ecclesiastical life of the Northwest Highlands, 1750-1843 : the background of the Presbyterian emigrants to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Author: MacDermid, Gordon E.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1967
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In the first half of the nineteenth century, approximately 10,000 Presbyterian Scotsmen emigrated to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Counting among these pioneers my own forefathers and having been nurtured in the spiritual traditions which they brought with them, I have for some time been anxious to inquire about their religious roots in Scotland. This interest has inspired me to undertake that research of which the following thesis is the product. The early settlers came, for the most part, from that area which we have chosen to call the northwest Highlands. In terms of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, this region fell within the bounds of four Presbyteries Lewis, Uist, Skye and Lochcarron which, along with Abertarff Presbytery, constituted the Synod of Glenelg. In geographical terms, the area comprehends the Outer Hebrides, Skye, Wester Ross, and the parishes of Glenelg and Small Isles. Since, in the last half of the emigration period, the pioneers came principally from Lewis and Harris, we have given slightly more attention to the Outer Hebrides than to the other districts of the northwest. One historic landmark conveniently begins the main period we have chosen to review and another conveniently closes it: the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and the Disruption of the. Church of Scotland in 1843. The former inaugurated an era of changed social and economic circumstances; the latter brought to an end a season of discontent in things ecclesiastical. Between these two events there lies an important and fascinating period in Highland church history. It has been our purpose to begin by pointing out the significant developments which took place before 1750 and to continue by describing the salient features of religious and ecclesiastical life which obtained in the northwest during the near century that separates Culloden from the Disruption. One hopes that what he has accomplished will enable some Nova Scotians of Scottish descent to acquaint themselves with the religious rock from which they have been hewn, and one also hopes that this thesis will serve to expand, if only in a modest degree, the field of knowledge about Scottish church history in general. There are a number of people to whom I wish to acknowledge my appreciation for their support in this undertaking. First of all, I am greatly indebted to Professor J. S. McEwen. He has helpfully supervised my research work, and has afforded me his time and attention in a most generous manner. Of immense value to me have been his suggestions respecting the cultivation of a clear and vigorous style of writing. I desire also to express my thankfulness to the following: to Dr. John Maclnnes and Dr. T. M. Murchison for directing me to useful source material; to Rev. G. V. R. Grant for giving me access to the Lochcarron Presbytery and Glenelg Synod records; to the staffs of King*s College Library, Aberdeen, and the Register House, Edinburgh, for courteously responding to my requests; and to Mrs. Betty Wilkens and Mrs. Margaret Handsford for proof-reading the final copy of the thesis. Others have assisted in equally important ways. I am grateful to the Board of Governors of Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for providing that financial aid which, in a large measure, made this period of study possible, and to the Faculty of Pine Hill for their sustained interest and moral support. One is also mindful of those relatives and very kind friends in Canada who have demonstrated their affection and good-will in various ways during this time of physical separation. My deepest gratitude is reserved for my wife, Pamela, who shared this entire experience with me. With remarkable diligence she has typed the thesis in its several drafts, including the final one. Above all, her buoyant confidence that this project of research would be carried through to completion has encouraged me to achieve what I set out to do. Nor can I forget our children, Graeme and Heather, who, by their distracting light-heartedness, have brought me many moments of happy relief from the frustrations which inevitably arise in the course of one's labours.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available