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The history of Manish Free Church
The history of Manish Free Church
In the video below, Hamish Taylor outlines the history and design of Manish Free Church in Harris, and points out architectural similarities with other churches in the islands (in Gaelic).
A transcription and loose translation into English are provided above the video link.
"A' chiad eaglais shaor a chaidh a thogail sna Hearadh 's bha sin deich bliadhna an dèidh an sgaradh a thug an Eaglais Shaor a-mach às an Eaglais Stèidhtche ann a 1843. Agus an eaglais seo a tha air ar cùlaibh, bha Gobha na Hearadh ... bha e gu mòr an sàs innte. Tha sinn a' tuigsinn gura docha gur a h-e ... a bha an urra ris an obair a dhèanamh, ach cuideachd tha fhios againn gun do rinn e oidhirp mhòr air airgead a thogail, a dhèanamh cinnteach nach robh fiachan orra nuair a bha i crìochnaichte. Agus chuir e cuairt sìos air bàta na h-Eaglais Shaoir, Am Bràid Albainn, chuir e cuairt sìos a Ghlaschu agus a Dhùn Èideann agus a Dhùn Omhain agus tha fear de na laoidhean aige, Cuairt Cuain tha mi a smaoineachadh gur e an t-ainm a th' air a' laoidh, far a bheil e ag innse mu dheidhinn na cuairt a bha sin a rinn e agus cho fialaidh 's cho coibhneil 's a choinnich daoine ris air a' chuairt.
Tha togalach anns a' Phloc a tha, tha mi a' tuigsinn, uabhasach fhèin coltach ri seo, le ceann dùbailte oirre. Tha an eaglais seo, agus feumaidh gu bheil an tè a th’ anns a’ Phloc cuideachd, gu bheil iad dìreach mar a chaidh an togail. Tha Eaglais an Tairbeirt, on an taobh a-staigh, air an aon stoidhle ach 's e aon cheann a th’ oirre ach chan eil fios agam an robh i mar sin o thoiseach no nach robh. Ach tha an eaglais seo na broinn, tha i mar eisimpleir air deagh ailtireachd ... eaglais agus togalach a chaidh a chur ri chèile gu math cùramach agus le deagh shùil air cò air an robh feum aig an àm, agus tha i fhathast, air an taobh a-staigh, air a dealbh dìreach mar a bha i o thoiseach, agus tha i fhathast uabhasach fhèin feumail agus uabhasach fhèin goireasach airson a cleachdadh mar eaglais."
"This was the first free church to be built in Harris and that was ten years after the split from the Established Church in 1843. John Morison (The Harris Blacksmith) was very involved in the creation and construction of the Church behind us. We believe he was responsible for completing the work and we also know he made an effort to raise money for the church to ensure there were no debts outstanding on completion of the building work. He sailed to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dunoon on the Free Church vessel Breadalbane to raise funds and one of his hymns, Cuairt Cuain (Ocean Journey), tells of how generous and kind were those he met on the journey.
There is a church building in Plockton which I am told is very similar to this one, with a double gable end. This church, and the one at Plockton must be the same, they are just as they were when they were constructed. Inside, Tarbert Church is in the same style, but with a single gable end, but I am not sure whether or not it was like that originally. The inside of this church is an example of fine architecture ... a church and building that were put together with a lot of care, and with attention to what was needed at that time, and the interior design is still as it was originally, and it is still highly suitable and convenient for use as a church."