Erchless Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland at Erchless was built in 1839 with funds supplied by The Chisholm.  Although the majority of the Clan Chisholm had retained their Catholic beliefs following the Reformation, the Clan Chiefs had become Protestant during the 18th Century as an act of self preservation for fear of losing their estates due to the Catholic faith being linked with Jacobitism.

Up to this time the nearest established churches were at Kilmorack and Kiltarlity both a long journey for worshippers from Strathglass.  The new church appears to have been served by visiting Ministers for many years as the first appointed Minister was Rev. James Fraser in 1881.  A ‘Quoad Sacra’ Parish (‘Sacred thus far’ – an ecclesiastical body not affecting the civil parishes) was created in 1884 to encompass the entire Chisholm estate.

A manse for the church was built for £2000 at church expense around the time of Rev. Fraser’s appointment almost certainly designed by Alexander Ross of Inverness and seating up to four hundred.

In 1929 the merger of the Church of Scotland with the United Free Church largely reversed the Disruption of 1843 and reunited much of Scottish Presbyterianism.  At Struy the combined congregations were now established as Erchless Parish of the Church of Scotland.

The former United Free Church at Struy built in 1897 now became the place of worship with the now vacant Erchless Church and Manse sold off later to the owners of Erchless Castle.

The church, now currently suffers the indignity of being used as a barn while the Manse, a ‘B’ listed building, has suffered from neglect and is now derelict and obscured from view by years of unchecked vegetation.  You can see the old church just off the A831 adjacent to the Cnoc Hotel while the manse is a little behind but well hidden by shrubbery.

In 1979 the parish combined with that of Kilmorack to form the Parish of Kilmorack & Erchless Church of Scotland centred on Beauly.

The Church now a barn.

The Manse in earlier days.

The Manse derelict in the 1970s.