Rev. George McLatchie

Rev. George McLatchie (1757 - 1833)

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Reverend George McLatchie D.D.  1757 - 1833  Minister of Mearns Parish

This head stone in Mearns Kirkyard commemorates the Reverend Doctor George McLatchie.

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George McLatchie was born on 5th April 1757, the eldest son of Robert McLatchie, a schoolmaster. Graduating M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1774 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow on 2nd December 1778. In 1786, he came to Mearns as assistant minister to the Rev. Alexander Cruikshanks and succeeded him on his death in 1791.  In 1808, he was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Glasgow.

To put Dr. McLatchie into a historical context, he was 19 when the American Colonies declared independence, 32 when the Bastille was stormed and 35 when Louis XVl and Marie Antoinette were executed by the revolutionaries in Paris.

As the Parish Minister he was responsible for writing the First Statistical Account of the Parish. It was published in 1796 and is the first written record which fully describes all aspects of the parish. Given the times he lived in it must have been with some relief that he described the people of the parish as follows:

“The people of this parish are sober, industrious and economical; respectful to their superiors and uncommonly friendly and obliging. They are rational in their religious sentiments, and moderate in their religious zeal. All of them are strongly attached to our present  civil constitution and cautiously avoid giving countenance to any change or innovations in it. It is happy for them that they mind the duties and business of their own station and wish to enjoy with thankfulness and peace the many blessings which a kind providence bestows on them.”

Dr. McLatchie also described his own situation in the Account:

“....The stipend is five chaldres* of meal and £27.13s sterling of money. No augmentation of this has ever yet been demanded. The glebe consists of about 4 acres of arable land. A very good manse was built in 1789 and the church was fitted up in a very neat and commodious manner in 1792”

* A chalder was a Scottish dry measure containing 16 bolls, equivalent to 12 imperial quarters. It was originally used in weighing grain.

Although well provided for by Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall who was his patron, Dr McLatchie augmented his income by tutoring young men who were aspiring to gain a university education. For a fee, these boys boarded at the manse in the healthy environment of Mearns and received a classical education. One of the boys was John Wilson, the son of a wealthy Paisley merchant. After tuition from Dr. McLatchie, John Wilson studied first at the University of Glasgow and then in 1803 he attended Magdalen College, Oxford University where he graduated with first class honours in 1807. He later attained a law degree and was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University in 1820. He  wrote using the pen name Christopher North and his reminiscences of idyllic days in Mearns were collected in volumes entitled "Recreations of Christopher North", published in 1842.

Dr McLatchie’s tombstone carries the following inscription:

“He was beloved as a Pastor and regretted by all who knew him”

 

 


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