Duror – History

Duror of Appin is part of the heartland of the old non-juring Episcopal Church, and in 1846 ground was given by Charles Stewart of Ardsheal for building a parsonage, for a clergyman to minister at Duror and Portnacrois, and, if need be, for a church too. By 1848 both were completed by craftsmen of the congregation at a cost of £800. The parsonage was later extended. The church originally had an earth floor and was seated for 80 people. There was no chancel. In 1885 a handsome carved oak reredos was added.

Bishop Chinnery-Haldane, in 1905, preached his last sermon here before his death, and in his memory the beautiful chancel and pulpit were added in 1911, with east window tracery shaped like a thistle.

The little organ, which was restored in 1978, is a great treasure. Built by Snetzler in Germany in the early eighteenth century, it is said to have been played by Handel. It was brought to Leith, and has since been to Dundee and to Aberdeen. From about 1840 – 1880 it was in the Rosse Episcopal Chapel, Fort William, before being given to St Adamnan’s.

The school, which was behind the church, was originally the temporary iron Episcopal Church at Portree, which was removed to Duror in 1886, after St Columba’s, Portree, was built. The school was financed entirely by Bishop Chinnery-Haldane, and after his death and the subsequent closure of the school, the building was moved to Kentallen as a private hall, where it still stands opposite the now disused Episcopal Church.

The congregation was run jointly with Portnacrois until 1878 and the two were reunited in 1903.