The History of Leith

April 13, 2005

The Maclagan Window.(South leith Parish Church)

(In North Aisle.)
ln some ways this is the most interesting Window in the church, because it recalls the members of a family which has given so many distinguished sons to the service both of Church and State. The inscription runs thus :—‘ In memory of Margaret Dalziel Pearson, wife of John Thomson Maclagan. Born 13th August 184]. Died 12th June 1877.”
The Father of Mr J. T. Maclagan, Dr. David Maclagan, was born in 1787. Entering the Army, he served with the 91st Regiment in the ill-fated Walcheren expedition. Only one company was left of the regiment. He married at Ayr a granddaughter of Dalrymple mild,” the well-known parish minister of that town who baptized Robert Burns. Shortly afterwards he went as a doctor to the Peninsular War, being present at the famous fights of Badajos, Salamanca, and Vittoria After he died in 1865. the following testimony was borne to his personal worth, “ The good old man who never made an enemy and never lost a friend, the valued family doctor and friend, the public-spirited citizen, the genial companion of our best men for fifty years.”
He brought up seven Sons, all of whom reached manhood and adorned their respective stations in life. Three of them followed the profession of their father—one on Tyneside, another at Berwick. while another became Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Edinburgh University and was well known as Sir Douglas Maclagan. Another brother still was an Insurance manager. Perhaps the best known of all was first a soldier, then Bishop of Lichfield, and ended his career as Archbishop of York. The family showed great variety in their Church connection, some going into the Free Church and the English Presbyterian Church, and others clinging to the Church of Scotland.
John Thomson Maclagan was born in 1828, After being educated at the Royal High School, gained business experience both in his native city and in London. He spent the years 1854— 1863 in India. Returning home, he gave up the latter portion of his life to Church work. He became very much attached to Dr. Mitchell and joined South Leith Church, and very soon the Kirk Session of South Leith. He was Session Clerk from 1880 to 1889.
Mr Maclagan realized, more than many men of our day as well as his own, the service he could render to the Kingdom of God in the Sabbath School. For long he was superintendent of South Leith Sabbath School. He also took to do with the starting and continuance of the Morning Fellowship Association. Some addresses of his were published entitled “Sunday Thoughts of a Guildsman.” But his ecclesiastical and philanthropic activities were not confined to South Leith. He was Secretary and Home Agent of the Foreign Mission Committee from 1873 to 1877. In that year he was also appointed Treasurer, and continued in both offices until failing health compelled him to resign. He had to do with the Life and Work Committee, and especially with the well- known magazine, Life and Work, published by that Committee. He was Collector of the Widows’ Fund about the year 1878. In 1874 he was also identified with the Longmore Hospital and with the Indigent Gentlewomen’s Fund. This is a record of service which the members of his family who survive, and the few friends who are spared to cherish his memory, may well hold dear.
His second wife, Margaret Dalziel Pearson, was a sister of the late Lord Pearson. She died at the early age of thirty-five. She was a devoted mother and wife, gentle and shy in disposition and manner. She is remembered as possessing a quiet gift of humour.
source-South Leith Records 1922

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