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The Darroch Ministers

Mulmorich Darroch was born in 1575. There were two Darroch ministers who preceded him.. William Darroch was, according to Black, 'reidare at the Kirk of Muir in 1574'. This was probably near Glasgow. He could have been Mulmorich's father. Robert Darroch, according to Hew Scott, was presented to the parish of East Kilbride1584. He was born in 1559, so would have been only sixteen years old at the time of Mulmorich's birth. He may have been related, maybe an uncle or older brother. East Kilbride is south of Glasgow. Mulmorich was minister at Clachan in the parish of Kilcalmonel in Kintyre and also at Kilberry in Knapdale. Kilberry is seven or eight miles from Clachan if one takes a boat across West Loch Tarbert. By road around the end of the loch it is about twenty-five miles. Mulmorich Darroch went to Clachan in 1614 and remained there, apparently untouched by the insurrections around him, until his death in 1638. During this time the church in Scotland changed its form from time to time as the winds of politics blew, but he was apparently highly thought of according to the inscription on his gravestone.

Mulmorich Darroch's father, possibly William must have been influenced early by the teachings of John Knox, and passed on his dedication on to his son. Mulmorich's wife was Finuall Carmichael. He was probably married for some time before he came to Clachan because he was a witness to the marriage agreement of his son, John Darroch in 1632. The Carmichael name is of old Scottish origin. There are a number of sources. That in Kintyre could be from the Gaelic MacGillemichael or M'A'Levechel, when it was fashionable to to anglicize the Gaelic names. In those days there were few ministers in Western Scotland. Some who were there were charged with 'scandalous drunkenness and negligence in discharging ministerial duties'. Of a very different type were Mulmorich Darroch and his sons. Dr. Smellie of Carluke in 'The Men of the Covenant' described one of his characters as 'the short man who could not bow'. Mr. Budge of such stuff was the Reverend John Darroch of Jura in 1632 and it accurately describes a latter day member of his family (if our presumptions are correct), John Darroch of Harriston, Canada.

In the years from 1632 untill 1641 the Reverend John Darroch, M.A. was minister in Jura, which included Gigha and Colonsay. From Jura he was translated to Southend near the Mull of Kintyre in 1641. Five years later, having confessed himself guilty of 'being for long time preacher to the rebels' (Montrose's men) was deposed from office. He applied for re-instatement to his status as minister on the 11th of March, 1648. He declared his 'unfeigned sorrow for his miscarriage in being with the rebels' ( Montrose's men ) was deposed from office. He applied .for re-instatement to his status as minister on the 11th of March 1648 He described his 'unfeigned sorrow for his miscarriage in being with the rebels. ( His whole congregation were probably rebels. ) In October of that year he was licensed to preach and appointed 'to ' repair to Aran to Kilmorie Kirk now vacant and to preach there and to receive a chalder of victual, and also to preach at Gya (Gigha) and receive the tiends thereof'. His death took place about that time because under the same date, 11th October 1648, Henry 'son of the late John Darroch' appears in a list of boys to whom the Synod of Argyll awarded grants from their special fund for education. On may 9th, 1649, his widow, Margaret Campbell, for 'herself and her fatherless children' ( note children ) was ordained by the Synod to get a chalder of victual of the vacant stipend of Arran, apparently Kilmorie, for crop of 1648, and on October 15th, 1651, 12 bolls of the meal of Gigha. A boll was about six bushels and a chalder was twelve bolls. That's a lot of porridge!

John Darroch was minister in Jura and elsewhere in Argyll during those stirring times when the government of the day was doing its utmost to destroy the power of the Macdonalds of Islay. There were men of Jura with the forces of Colkitto and with his son Alisdair Colkitto, who fought so admirably with Montrose. Being a Darroch, John's sympathies were with the Macdonalds and not with the Campbell clan. Yet his wife was a Campbell and he probably owed his appointment to his parishes to the Protestant Campbells. It was also typical of the times that his widow, who could probably trace her ancestry back to the same source as the Earls of Argyll, and whose father was a prominent land-owner in Islay, was forced to rely on the charity of the Synod for her subsistence. What we would consider the direst poverty to-day was the way of life for most in the Highlands.

The Reverend Dugald Darroch, M.A. succeeded Mulmorich Darroch in the parish of Kilcalmonell and Kilberry on the latter's death in 1638. We can assume that he was Mulmorich's son and brother to John Darroch of Jura. It was customary for sons to succeed their fathers in such positions and he was referred to in McKerral's 'Kintyre in the 17th Century' as a 'member of an ecclesiastical family' and John Darroch as 'another of this family'. In 1642 he was called away from Kilcalmonell to be chaplain to the regiment of the Marquis of Argyll. John Darroch was one of the ministers delegated to preach in Kilcalmonell during his absence. Dugald may have been on duty with Argyll's army at the disasterous defeat at Inverlochy on February 2, 1645 by the army of Montrose. Argyll narrowly escaped capture by spending the night on his ship on the Loch and sailing away when the attach came in the morning.. Thus, Dugald Darroch was on the Campbell's side in this instance; how willing is another matter. He returned to Kintyre and was assigned to Lochhead ( now Campbeltown ) in July 1645

To quote McKerral;

In 1644 began the Colkitto raids (Coll Ciotach - left-handed Coll) when the whole country was thrown into confusion and sessions and presbyteries ceased to function. In the opening years of the next decade, 1650 to 1660, matters were worse still and Mr. Darroch, (Dugald) of Lochhead appears for a time to have been the only placed minister in Kintyre. The most glaring instance was the parish of Southend which was vacant from 1646 to 1672, a period of a quarter of a century. (They had deposed John from Southend in 1644). The Church, however, kept a vigilant eye on the vacant stipends and these were devoted to the training of young men for the ministry.

This was no doubt the source of the money 'fortie marks' given to Dugald Darroch for the education of a boy (his son?).

The Synod of Argyll was formed in 1639 and its minutes from formation to 1661 are fairly complete and were published by the Scottish History Society in two volumes about 1930. In most of the meetings Dugald Darroch took a prominent part. He was the moderator a number of times and was often one of several appointed to investigate lapses of duty among the clergy and their flocks. John Darroch graduated from Glasgow University in 1625 and Dugald in 1638, in time to succeed his father. In those days there was no mention of a Bachelor of Arts. A 'bachelor' was an undergraduate and probably took three years to become a 'master'. It was a skimpy education, mostly Latin and Greek, and far inferior to the present-day high school, but quite an accomplishment in the days when few could even read or sign their names.

Dugald Darroch also married a Campbel. Possibly Campbells were the only ' quality ' available in those parts, and ministers were considered ' quality '. Even the Macdonalds of Sanda and the Macdonals of Largie married Campbell women.Dugald's wife was Aylis, the daughter of Mathew Campbell, the Captain of Skipness. His army rank was major but Captain here indicates he was the Chieftan of the Campbells of Skipness. Skipness is in the north-eastern tip of Kintyre a few miles below Tarbert on Loch Fyne. The walls of Skipness Castle are still almost intact and well worth a visit. It is fully described with plans and pictures in the volume 'Argyll 1, Kintyre' published by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in Scotland. Dugald Darroch was deprived of his ministry by Act of Parliament in 1662. The Marquis of Argyll was beheaded in 1661. No one seemed immune from offending the powers in those days. Dugald died shortly after possibly in 1664.

The next John Darroch was probably the boy educated by Dugald Darroch in 1660. He was instituted (maybe ordained) in 1669. He too was deposed. (You couldn't win in those days!) It was probably by the Test Act in 1681. He was back and forth from Argyll to Ireland several times in the next ten years. While he was in Ireland he apparently adopted the Irish spelling of the name and was known as John Darragh.There was quite a migration from Kintyre to Ulster about this time. It was comparatively peaceful then. He was translated to Craignish in 1692, possibly through the influence of his mother's people. He was still in Craignish in 1706 because there is a record that on June 7th, 1706, Lachlan McLain of Kilorie in Scarba and Margaret McLain, his spouse, had their child, Hector, baptised by Mr. John Darroch, minister of Craignish.

John Darroch of Craignish had a son, William, born about 1675. He was educated at the University of Glasgow and was described in the records as, 'William Darroch, Scoto-Hibernus'. He was ordained in 1701 and assigned to Kilchrenan which is in northern Argyll. He also was deposed in 1710 for 'neglect of family worship'. He must have been a scoundrel and of low taste because it is recorded that 'he lived chiefly among the tenantry and often walked to and from London'.

At the same time as William at the University of Glasgow were four other Darroch students who seemed to succeed one another at the proper intervals to have been brothers in the same family. They were also described as 'Scoto-Hibernus' in the University records. They were John, Archibald, Robert, and Dugald. These names seemed to run in this family. In 1702 John and Dugald were reprimanded by the Faculty of the University for fighting on a Saturday night. Swords were drawn and a man was wounded. Swords indicated 'gentlemen'.

Thus ends the story that can be pieced together from the records found so far. There is seldom mention of direct descent among thesepeople but it seems likely that they were related. These people were all highly educated for their times and must have been greatly respected. Even if they were deposed now and then, many others lost their heads. They certainly, according to the records, made a great contribution to the communities in which they lived in very troublesome times.

The only other record of Darroch names that was found from the early eighteenth century was an indictment on Sept. 23, 1725, of 'James and William Darrochs (sic) Thomas Syme, George Johnston, Robert Long, William Lang, James Graham, James Barnes James Falconer, Janet Hill and James Readie, for being disorderly, riotously, and tumultuously assembled, declaring that they would oppose the levying of the Malt Tax, threatening vengeance against Mr. Daniel Campbell of Shawfield. The mob broke into his house, destroyed furniture, robbed and pillaged, broke windows and consumed wine, etc.' The records did not say what happened to these miscreants but the resulting damages of 6,000 pounds awarded to Mr. Campbell by the City of Glasgow, enabled him to buy the Island of Islay in 1726 from the Campbells of Calder. (No relation).

 

 

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