Scottish Catholic Archives

Another of my visits before Christmas (and before all the delays because of bad weather to which I was to become very accustomed to) was to the Scottish Catholic Archives in Edinburgh. David had organised for me to meet Andrew Nicoll, Keeper of the Records but my visit was going to be a flying one as Andrew and his colleague Caroline were due to have Christmas lunch with the Bishop later that morning.

The Scottish Catholic Archives moved to Columba House in Edinburgh’s New Town district in 1958.  The building itself was a house at one time with two levels below the entrance level. First of all, Andrew showed me their reading room and as himself and Caroline were leaving early, there were no readers to be seen! He showed me an example of a parish handbook from Uist, which detailed parish information spanning one year. This included a biography of who the Priest/Priests were at the time, when Communion took place each week, what time Sabbath School took place and a brief history on the Church itself.

Before I left, Andrew showed me a book which the archives service had managed to get published recently and which was available to buy. It was “Monastries and the Reformation in Scotland” by Mark Dilworth OSB who was a monk and latterly became Abbot of Fort Augustus Abbey.

 The manuscript of the book was found in Mark Dilworth’s papers after his death in February 2004 and since it was the 450th aniversary of the reformation in Scotland, the Archives Service thought it appropriate they publish his work.

 After a short hour, my visit was over. A thank you goes to Andrew for showing me around and to David for organising it for me! Hopefully, another visit can be organised where we have more time to have a look around!

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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