top of page

  Church in Uig before 1824  

“Baile na Cille”means farm, settlement or village of the church.
Other spellings include;


Balnakeilly ~ (Perth)
Balnakilly ~ (Perth)
Balnakeil ~ (Sutherland)



See Ian Armit’s “The Archaeology of Skye and the Western Isles” p211 for the evolution of the “baile” as farming settlements of the 18th century.

The RCAHMS website tells us;

“An old churchyard, beside the highest point of which stood a church built in 1724. The site was occupied by the earlier church. ‘Capail Mor’ – Big Chapel’ – the foundations of which are said to be traceable in the spring. To the south of it is the site of Capail Beag – ‘Little Chapel’ – possibly a still earlier church. ‘Capail Mor’ was a sanctuary. (One of these, probably ‘Capail Mor’), is presumably the pre-Reformation ‘St Christopher’s Chapel in Uge’ noted by Martin).”



Old churchyard, Baile na Cille cemetery photograph from John Macleod’s ‘A Brief Record of the Church in Uig’

...and located as per the map



1572 Rev Ronald Anguson

1726-1741 Rev John Macleod

1742-1777 Rev Norman Morrison

1749 – Rev Morrison writes giving an account of the parish at that time, see;

1778-1823 Rev Hugh Munro


As ‘The North British Intelligencer or Constitutional Miscellany’,

Volume V, Wednesday, April 23.1777 (page 127);


In Rev Munro’s time the thatched church was located adjacent to the old cemetery near Baile na Cille manse.

The above photo shows the overgrown footing of Rev Hugh Munro’s church from John Macleod’s ‘A Brief Record of the Church in Uig’

Whilst this presentation was 15 April 1777, some 2 months after his predecessor’s passing, Rev Munro does not appear to have reached Uig until the following year.

1796 – Rev Munro provides an account of the parish; (Link)

In the words of John Macleod (of Carishader) about Rev Munro;
“The overall impression is that of a kindly generous worthy gentlemen liked and respected by his Parishioners; of upright conduct and character, whose preaching was orthodox, in tune with MODERATE standard of his day and time, but lacking the evangelical zeal so abundantly evident in his successor.”

1823 –

Following the passing of Rev Munro it seems that a Duncan McCaig was intended to be the next minister at Uig, however, this did not happen.

“The following notice appeared in the Edinburgh Gazette on 2 July 1823:


‘The King has been pleased to present the Reverend Duncan M’Caig to the church and parish of Uig, in the presbytery of Long Island and the county of Ross, void by the death of Reverend Hugh Munro.’ Rev McCaig didn’t take up the post, for reasons unknown …” (Link)

Other research found the following;


A reference to a book called “Trial of the Rev. Duncan McCaig, minister of the Gaelic Chapel, Edinburgh”

“Duncan McCAIG a convict on the Circassian VDL 16 Feb 1833. ……. He was a Presbyterian Minister sentenced in June 1831 in Edinburgh to fourteen years transportation for stealing books from several shops. He was thirty-seven years old and unmarried, of good character and respectable connections. As an educated convict, he was sent to Port Arthur. On 16 September 1833, Booth recommended him for the position of schoolmaster, mentioning a favourable report from Rev. J. A. Manton, and McCaig’s “quiet and submissive conduct while here” (CSO 1/659/14786) In May 1835, as a Police writer, McCaig was found guilty of having a part of one or more bed ticks in his possession and again sent to Port Arthur. He received a ticket of leave in 1839 and a conditional pardon in 1841” (Link

The ‘Edinburgh magazine and literary miscellany, Volume 92’, October 1823, page 504 which lists the following; “- The Re, Duncan McCaig, Minister of the Gaelic Chapel, Edinburgh, having declined accepting the Crown presentation, some time ago issued in his favour, to the Church and Parish of Uig, in the Island of Lewis, this Majesty has been since pleased (on the recommendation of Seaforth) to appoint the Rev. Alex. McLeod, Minster of the Gaelic Chapel at Cromarty, to the vacancy.”

There is as yet no conclusive evidence linking the McCain references.

bottom of page