Hugh Munro was minister at Baile na Cille for 46 years, until his death on 1 May 1823. He was replaced the following year by Alexander Macleod, but there was nearly a different minister in Uig, which, given Rev Macleod’s strong attachment to and leading role in the evangelist movement that was just beginning to spread throughout the island, might have made for a very different history of the church in Lewis. 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, and the following appeared in the same paper on 20 September 1823.
The King has been pleased to present the Reverend Alexander Macleod to the church and parish of Uig, in the presbytery of Long Island and the county of Ross, void by the death of Mr Hugh Munro, late Minister there.
Rev Macleod was translated to Uig on 1 April 1824, with the approval of Lady Hood, Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth, who was herself interested in the evangelist movement. A letter from Macleod to Lady Hood gives an indication of the spiritual situation in Uig at the time, as he interpreted it.
Meanwhile there was a Rev Duncan McCaig at Muckairn, Argyllshire; and another Rev Duncan McCaig convicted in 1831 of stealing books in Edinburgh and transported to Australia. Which, if either, was presented to Uig?
Edit: According to a contemporary Inverness Courier, McCaig was inducted at Uig in July 1823 – but was evidently gone again by September. Investigation continues.
Edit2: It transpires that the report in the Inverness Courier of 23 July 1823 is nothing more than a repeat of the notice in the Edinburgh Gazette – that McCaig is presented to Uig, not that he ever appeared here. It seems he didn’t.