This day (Ed - Aug. 24th 1882) the grave in Dunblane
churchyard will close over the mortal remains of the Very Rev.
Mgr. MacLachlan, D.D., Vicar-General of the Diocese of Dunkeld,
who peacefully breathed his last about one a.m. on Tuesday last.
Father MacLachlan was in his 79th year, and had been a priest
for the period of 53 years. The deceased was born in Bellaknockan
Farm, Braes of Glenlivet, in the Highlands of Banffshire, in
1804. He was first educated at the school of his native district.
This locality has been remarkable for its persistent adherence
to the Faith rince the Reformation, and has proved itself so
fruitful nursery of devoted missionaries.
In his youth he was noted for his piety and precocious talents,
in consequence of which his ecclesiastical superiors requested
him to enter the seminary of Scalan, in Banffshire, where he
received his preliminary training for the holy orders of priesthood.
His literary studies being completed here, he went abroad to
pursue his theological studies in France chiefly in Paris and
in the Valley of the Medoc. To his latest day he had affectionate
reminiscences of the happy early years he spent here, and many
of the treasures of his extensive library were collected during
his sojourn in France, and subsequent visits to Spain.
He was ordained priest in 1831, and then returned to Scotland,
being attached to the diocese of Edinburgh. His first charge
of importance was the cure of souls in Campsie, Kilsyth, Stirling,
Falkirk, Alloa, and Linlithgow. Through this extensive district
he trudged and drove at regular intervals, and so successful
were his labours, that in 1838 a chapel was built in Irvine-place,
Stirling. Here he then transferred his headquarters from Campsie,
and the congregation being joined by a number of men in basiness,
all of whom are now dead but we believe one - Mr. James Kane,
Broad-street, he gathered in the scattered of the faithful.
His visitations over the district were continued for many years,
and about 1850 (ed - actually 1865) a priest was stationed at
Kilsyth, relieving Father MacLachlan.
At Linlithgow too, a chapel was much needed, and Fr MacLachlan
was transferred to Falkirk, to be nearer the advancement of
his desire. While there he built two chapels--one at Linlithgow
and one at Falkirk —and returned to Stirling, where the
church he had left so shortly ago soon required enlargement.
A school followed, and since their erection the chapel and school
have been enlarged thrice and twice respectively.
The arrival of a large number of Catholics at Doune turned
his attention to the western distict of Perthshire, and he added
that to the district he now supervised. When St. John's Episcopal
Church in Alloa was closed and the congregation had flitted
to the magnificent church built by the late Earl of Mar and
Kellie, he at once entered into treaty for their old church.
In 1869, St. Mungo's Chapel in Alloa was opened under the charge
of Father Murphy, a zealous worker among the extensive Catholic
population of the mining villages of Clackmannanshire.
During only one period of his lifetime up to this date, did
Father MacLachlan enter into any polemical disputes. He was
about the year 1846 attacked by the late Rev. Dr. Gilfillan,
and Sunday after Sunday the one preached the other down. Then
a newspaper war commenced, until the columns of the organ of
the Free Church party refused to admit his letters, and he took
to pamphleteering, followed by his able antagonist. Here the
In Stirling he was all along known as the gentle, courteous
gentleman. He devoted his life and great talents to the sacred
purpose to which they had been consecrated, and in the service
of the Church he lost no opportunities of doing good to her
children. Many and warm friends -did he make in his long journey
in Stirling. Pleasant moments have been spent of an evening
in his study, and his conversation was ample and brilliant,
for he kept himself fully informed of uhat was going on in the
world. This he could only do by wasting none of the moments
he could snatch from the important duty of his holy office,
and these he assiduously utilised.
The congregation at Donne and Deanston grew apace, and on the
7th of October, 1875, a pretty chapel dedicated to . St. Fillan
and St. Alphonsus was solemnly opened at Doune by the Right
Rev. Bishop Strain, of Edinburgh. Shortly after this he took
up his residence in Doune, and then Dunblane came more immediately
beneath his eye. About a year ago he bought a mansion at Dunblane,
and converted part of the building into a nice little chapel,
which would have been opened during the bygone week were it
not for his sudden illness. He preached his last sermon on the
5th Aug (Ed - 1882) and took to his bed on the 8th.
In 1878, the Pope (Ed - Leo XIII) conferred on him
the honour of Doctor of Divinity, and recently the dignity of
Domestic Prelate. The Bishop of Dunkeld appointed him VicarGeneral
several years ago. Monsignor MacLachlan, it will thus be seen,
was a most successful missionary power as well as a bright ornament
to the Catholic body in Presbyterian Scotland. When seized with
his last illness, he was engaged with arrangements to take charge
of the new mission station at Dunblane. His remains were interred
at Dunblane, within the Cathedral grounds, yesterday. High Mass
of Requiem was said in St. Fillan's Church at Doune, previous
to the funeral procession leaving for Dunblane. The solemn service
beginning at eleven o'clock a.m. The body was then carried from
the church and conveyed to Dunblane Cathedral churchyard for
By kind permission of The Tablet who republished
an article first written for The Stirling Journal 24th Aug 1882.