Bishop James Maguire
St Margaret’s most illustrious son in the past hundred years was Bishop James Maguire.
James Maguire, son of John Maguire and Bridget Clark was born in Loanhead on 29th August 1882. He was educated at Blairs College, Aberdeen, and in France at Issy-les Moulineaux and Paris before his ordination in Edinburgh on 22nd July 1906.
Most of his priestly life was spent in Fife, apart from a few years as parish priest of Lennoxtown and St. Andrews, Ravelston, Edinburgh. In the parishes where he served, he won the love of his people without seeking it, because of his complete sincerity and unassuming piety, his real and friendly interest in their well-being, an interest which made him their natural champion in all their difficulties. While in Fife, he became a member of the Local Education Authority after the passing of the 1918 Education Act. It is perhaps for his work in the field of Catholic Education that he is best remembered. He quickly mastered the details of the new Act and played an invaluable part in securing the full benefits to Catholic schools from that important statute.
Outside his priestly work, his chief interest lay in the study of Scottish Church history. Old books and letters, directories and trust deeds were his favourite field of research. Few had his knowledge of the vicars apostolic, bishops and priests of Scotland since the Reformation. He collected many of their pictures, which he annotated with biographical details gleaned from his wide reading. Because of his interest in the past, Archbishop McDonald handed over to him the diocesan archives for assortment and documentation.
In October 1939 he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Dunkeld with the right of succession to the aged Bishop Toner. On the feast of St. Andrew, the 82 year old Bishop consecrated his Coadjutor and successor in the presence of large numbers of miners and their wives from towns and villages in Fife, where Fr. Maguire had worked for many years and from Loanhead, his birthplace. Alas, however, Bishop Maguire only lived a few years, dying at Dundee on October 10th 1944, almost five years before Bishop Toner himself.