Rev Joseph Robertson Macgregor

28] Rev Joseph Robertson Macgregor came to Edinburgh from the Highlands and worked as a clerk in an upholstery warehouse.  Originally named Joseph Robertson, he assumed his mother’s surname, Macgregor, when the Proscriptive Act against the Macgregors ordered by James VI and I in 1603 was repealed in 1784[1].  So proud was he of his clan that on the day of the lifting of the ban, he paraded through the streets of Edinburgh dressed in the clan tartan. He made sufficient income to enable him to acquire a divinity qualification and he became a Lecturer and Catechist to Highland families before becoming the first minister to the newly established Gaelic Chapel on Castlehill.  His ministry was so successful that expansion of the Chapel became necessary, although the rebuilding did not take place until 1815, fourteen years after his death.  Kay records that ‘Being of a free, social humour, he was perhaps, more frequently called upon  than any other minister in the city to officiate at marriage and baptismal ceremonies; but unfortunately the sociality of his disposition paved the way to habits of dissipation,…’  

[1] On February 24, 1603 James VI forced the MacGregors to abandon their name or face death as punishment for an incident in which the MacGregors had attacked and slaughtered 140 members of the rival Colquhoun clan at the battle of Glen Fruin.  The clan chief, Alasdair MacGregor, and eleven of his followers were hanged at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh.