Catholic Chapel

From Moriston Matters Issue 1 June 1977


A phase in the history of the Catholic Community in Glenmoriston has just come to an end, with the chapel at Torgoyle no longer being used. The building - chapel and priest's house combined - was erected in 1841 but ceased to have a resident priest in 1850. In 1854, Fr. Donald MacKenzie took up residence in what is now the Old Convent at Fort Augustus (though Fort Augustus was in another bishop's territory) and from there he travelled to Torgoyle and Stratherrick on each second and fourth Sunday respectively. At this time the Glenmoriston congregation numbered 80.

In December, 1859 a chapel and priest's house were opened in Stratherrick. Fr. MacKenzie went to live there but continued to serve Torgoyle. This arrangement lasteed until the Catholic hierarchy of bishops was re-established in 1878. Fort Augustus was now with Glenmoriston in the diocese of Aberdeen, so the priest there once more took charge of Torgoyle. Since 1890 the parish priest has been a monk of the Abbey.

The Torgoyle chapel house is interesting, as it shows what a humble dwelling was like in the 1840s. It is also interesting because of its ghost, the 'cailleach bheag, or 'little old woman'. The story runs that the priest's house-keeper opened the door one night to a passing tramp and was murdered, and she can still be heard, over a century later, coming down the stairs at night.

Some years ago, as the upper glen continued to empty and Invermoriston village to grow, the Catholics began to have Mass in the hall at Invermoriston. This will continue as before: at 9 a.m. on the second Sunday of each month.