ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A discovery!

On the 15th May Loz Kaye and I were given a tour of Iochdar by Mairi MacInnes and Mary Schmoller (see the blog). Among the places we visited was Ardivachar Cemetary, where Angus, along with his father, sisters and other close relatives, was buried. Together we looked for his grave, and Mairi asked several people if they knew where it was. We all searched up and down the few rows of grave stones but, not finding any, concluded that Angus's grave was unmarked and lay next to that of his sister Peigi.

One paragraph in Roger Hutchinson's book The Silent Weaver puzzled me however. He writes near the end of the book of the cemetery 'where a spit of green land nudges into the Atlantic Ocean on the westernmost edge of Iochdar machair. A modest headstone was placed on his grave." 

So today I visited again, and searched once more. Within 10 minutes I came across it:

How we all missed it before I can't imagine. The headstone looked new, but it was highly unlikely that it could have been placed there in the two weeks since we visited. Anyway, here it was - next to that of his older sister Patricia, whereas we had been looking for it next to the headstone of his sister Margaret (Peigi). Fois Agus Sith = Rest in Peace. Apologies for having mislead anyone.....

Note, too, the spelling as Angus MacPhee rather than McPhee. Since I started researching his story I've come across both spellings (Joyce Laing uses McPhee), but throughout Roger Hutchinson uses MacPhee and so I shall, from now on, taking the family gravestone as definitive, adopt that spelling too.

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