Macphail, James Calder (1821-1908)

Born near Loch Broom, Wester Ross. Studied at Aberdeen University and at Divinity Hall and New College Edinburgh. Participated in the Disruption in the Church of Scotland and the subsequent founding of the Free Church in May 1843. He was ordained a Free Church minister in Aberdeen East in 1849 and in 1868 was appointed minister at Pilrig, Edinburgh. He is known to have been an active photographer later in life and his photographs appear in a privately published account of a journey to the Holy Land. Macphail was an authority on Gaelic literature and was heavily involved in training Gaelic-speaking students for the ministry. He was appointed a senior minister in 1898. He was acquainted with James Dunlop and it is possible that they may have travelled together in Italy and Malta in the late 1840s. He was a friend of Dunlop’s uncle, Alexander Earle Monteith and assisted Cosmo Innes in his antiquarian research.