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Margaret MacDougall tells the history of the Episcopal Church St. Michael and All Angels

By Staff Reporter

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St Michael and All Angles Church, Inverness.
St Michael and All Angles Church, Inverness.

St Michael’s is the youngest of the three Episcopal churches in Inverness but its history is as interesting as that of any other church in town.

In 1877 [Edward Shuttleworth] Medley was struck by the fact that the cathedral did not seem to number among its congregation any very poor people. He found that the Maggot was a very populous district where no religious meetings were held and which was very seldom visited by an evangelist. Thereupon he decided an Episcopal mission should be opened in the district and he rented an empty thatched cottage on Wright Lane. Here Canon Medley held successful week night meetings.

Rectory plans from 1911.
Rectory plans from 1911.

[By 1880] a suggestion was made that a new chapel might be erected. The last service in the old thatched cottage was held on November 28, 1886. On November 30 the new chapel was opened. The opening of the Mission Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Factory Street was entirely due to the energy and enthusiasm of Canon Medley.

On October 4, 1891 the Rev WL MacKintosh began his ministry as Priest in Charge. From this day onwards Canon MacKintosh devoted all his labour and energy to the chapel which he later so generously endowed.

Shortly after his appointment, Mr MacKintosh began to look for a better site for the chapel. The changing conditions within the town had resulted in the migration of many residents from the Maggot to the West side of the river.

The autumn of 1903 was planned for the removal of the Chapel. The scheme proposed and carried out was to remove the Chapel stone by stone to the new site [on the corner of Abban Street and Lochalsh Road]. Six months later the work was completed and all plans carried out without a hitch. The roof was taken down in sections and floated across the river on rafts.

The opening ceremony of the new church was performed by Bishop Kelly and the name altered to St Michael and All Angels.

The next big step was the building of the rectory which began in May 1911. This was erected by Canon Mackintosh from his own design.

Despite ill-health Canon Mackintosh devoted all his time to the church he loved and to his congregation. He sought to make his church a bright and beautiful place of worship. He was liberal with his gifts and the endowment of the church was largely due to his generosity. In April 1926 he died and his passing was a severe blow to the congregation which he had served so well for over 30 years. ‘The Canon’, as he was affectionately called, had been in poor health for many years, but despite his many illnesses he never faltered in his many duties.

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