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Title: The Rev Dr Archibald MacLea of Rothesay
Posted by: Kyle MacLea
Date: 09 September 2006

I have been looking around to learn more about the McLeas of Bute, who I believe may be my family.  The famous minister of Rothesay, Dr. MacLea, may or may not be related to the other McLeas on the island (from which my family derives, having no obvious learned branch that I can find!).

I thought I would post a little more about the Rev. Dr. Archibald MacLea, who served in Rothesay for so long.  I have found some on him in addition to what I already mentioned in the Bute Monumental Inscriptions Thread.

He and the other McLeas of the island may not be well-remembered now, but back in the late 1800s, they were apparently still very well known.

From the book

The Isle of Bute in the Olden Time
With Illustrations, Maps and Plans

James King Hewison, M.A., F.S.A. (Scot.)
Minister of Rothesay

Vol. II

Published in 1895, by William Blackwood and Sons
(and available on for reading) 

This excerpt comes from a section on the history of the reformed church on Bute and the ministers who served in Rothesay over the years.

"1765.  Archibald MacLea, minister of Kilarrow and Kilchoman, was presented by the Earl of Bute, and admitted on 31st October 1765.  The present parish church was built in 1796.  He was made D.D. of Glasgow in 1801; wrote the first "Statistical Account of Rothesay"; lived to be father of the Church of Scotland, in 1818.  He married, on 29th March 1787, Isabella, daughter of Roderick MacLeod, W.S., Edinburgh.  He was an  exceedingly able and successful parish minister, his name being still a household word in Bute.  The following is the epitaph on his monument behind the parish church:--
"Sacred to the memory of the Reverend Archibald Maclea, Minister of Rothesay, and of Isabella Macleod his wife, daughter of Roderick Macleod, Esq., and of Isabella Bannatyne, only daughter of Hector Bannatyne, Esq. of Kames and Bannatyne.  As private individuals, happy in their warm attachment to each other, and equally possessing the esteem of all who knew them.  In that public situation as minister of Rothesay, which he held for 59 years, the exemplary fidelity with which Dr. Maclea discharged his duties will be long gratefully remembered by the inhabitants of this large and populous parish, while the manly zeal he, on all occasions, manifested for the interest and honour of the Church of which he was a member recommended him to the general regard and esteem of his brethren, to which it gave him so just a claim.  Mrs Maclea died on the 11th day of May 1812, aged 74; and Doctor Maclea on the 11th day of April 1824, aged 86 years and 6 months."

Interesting guy!  Anyway, since he comes to us from the "Account of MacLea" ( ) I thought I would learn a little more about him!


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