About us

The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels has its origins on the east side of the River Ness, as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the Maggot Green.

 

It began In 1877 when Canon Edward Medley, newly arrived on the staff of Inverness Cathedral, noticed "the overwhelming respectability of the congregation of the Cathedral, with scarcely a poor person amongst its numbers".

 

He decided that something should be done and so, with the encouragement of Bishop Robert Eden, he began a church school in a rented cottage on the Maggot Green. Soon the cottage and an adjacent one were purchased as so many children wanted to come to the classes. By 1881 a chapel had been created in one of the cottages and the Bishop gave it the dedication of “The Mission Chapel of the Holy Spirit”. Five years later, in 1886, a stone church was built in Factory Street, close to the Maggot Green and, around the same time, Canon Medley left Inverness to return to Norfolk.

 

His work was continued by the clergy who followed him at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit - Bishop Eden himself after he retired in 1886 as Bishop of the Diocese; Father William Wilson; Father John Fergus and Father William Lachlan Macintosh, who began his 35 year ministry here in 1891.

The area around the Maggot Green was subject to flooding from the River Ness and gradually the people moved to drier ground on the west bank of the river. In 1902 it was decided that the church too should move. Between 1903 and 1904 the building was dismantled stone by stone and taken across the river, where it was rebuilt and consecrated as Saint Michael and All Angels.

A new High Altar, with its riddel posts topped by gilded angels, was designed by Sir Ninian Comper, as was the font with its high cover. The well-known church architect took an interest in Saint Michael's as his father had been a priest in Inverness.

 

More than twenty years later Sir Ninian made further extensive improvements to the Church. The East Window of the Archangels and the Golden Tester above the High Altar are memorials to Canon Mackintosh, who is shown kneeling beside the Archangel Gabriel in the window.

 

Sir Ninian's influence is much in evidence throughout Saint Michael’s. His famous signature of a strawberry is seen in window of the archangels, at the bottom right corner, and is also carved on the wooden font cover. He chose the strawberry as his signature in honour of his father who died whilst distributing strawberries to the poor of Aberdeen.

 

Since its move across the river Saint Michael's has had seven Rectors, three of whom each served the parish for more than 30 years - Canon William Mackintosh, Canon Reginald Butchart and Canon Len Black. Father Len became Rector in 1981 and resigned in 2011 on entering the Roman Catholic Church's Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

 

Priests with a shorter tenure at Saint Michael's have been Father Percy Young, Canon Iain MacLeay (later Dean of Argyll and the Isles), Father John Crook (later Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithess), Canon Michael Hunt and Father Gerald Stranraer-Mull (Warden of the Community of Our Lady of the Isles in Shetland and Dean Emeritus of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney).

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