29 March 2016
I have been alerted by Ishbel McGillivray McGregor (the UK Clan Commissioner appointed by the late Col. George Macgillivray) to the sad news that the Clan Church at Dunlichity is to close. The links between the Church and the Clan goes back over 100 years. The Association has contacted the Minister who confirms that it does appear likely and, indeed, seems a certainty. The graveyard will be the responsibility of the local Council as will the Chiefly Enclosure. There are many MacGillivrays from local families and from further afield buried in the graveyard and, of course, Chiefs in the Enclosure. The handsome gates were gifted by the late Colonel George Macgillivray and the Clan MacGillivray International Association was responsible for the installation of a number of the plaques commemorating former Chiefs including John William, X111. More recently the Association met the cost of a new notice board in the Chiefly Enclosure which was the result of a joint co-operation between Bruce McGillivray (the American Commissioner) who designed the updated information poster, George Downie, at that time in the South of England, one of our Association Committee members who sourced the handsome case and Elizabeth McGillivray's part was to get the poster printed and laminated and then it was all installed. Elizabeth traveled up to Dunlichity to inspect everything before last year’s Gathering and all were able to see how splendid it looked. Good work on the part of the Association. At the Gathering in 1997 a plaque commemorating the body of Col. Alexander being taken to Auld Petty Church after Culloden was installed and that is thanks to the generosity of Mary McGillivray Cox who will be attending the forthcoming Family Convention and who, like many, has been a great supporter of the International Association.
The church is important to Clan MacGillivray as many of those who fell at Culloden are buried there. The church is on a a very ancient site and it is believed that St Finan preached here. In 1643 an effigy of St Finan was taken from Dunlicity and burnt at the Mercat Cross in Inverness. The present church dates from 1757 when reconstruction was ordered and a westward extension by 12 feet was added. There were later repairs in 1826 and an extensive repair by architect William Lawrie in 1859.
Some notable features at Dunlichity include the marks on the wall where swords were sharpened; the old Watch house, built in 1820 for the guarding of the graves, and a very interesting burial ground. The graves record the old families of the Strath, including the burial enclosures of the MacGillivrays and the Shaws. On a rocky hillside beside the church there is a baptismal stone –believed to have been the original stone used in baptisms in the area.
Some photos of the church gate, graveyard, plaque paid for by the Association and closeup of the gate.