Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Maclagan, Christian
MACLAGAN, CHRISTIAN (1811–1901), Scottish archaeologist, born at Underwood, near Denny, Stirlingshire, in 1811, was daughter of George Maclagan (d. 1818), distiller and chemist of good education, by his wife Christian, daughter of Thomas Colville, printer, of Dundee. Her great- great-grandfather, Alexander Maclagan (1653-1722), was parish minister of Little Dunkeld, Perthshire, and was succeeded in that charge by his only son, Alexander Maclagan (1694–1768), a strong Hanoverian in a Jacobite parish. Her grandfather, Frederick (1738–1818), who just outlived her father, was ordained parish minister of Melrose in 1768, and she was engaged on a life of him at her death.
Christian was brought up by her mother at Underwood, and at Braehead Farm, Stirlingshire. After the disruption in 1843 she joined the Free church, and built a mission church in St. Mary's Wjmd, Stirling; but having quarrelled with Dr. Beith, the Free church minister, she joined the established church, and transferred the building to that denomination; it is now a quoad sacra parish church.
In later life she resided at Ravenscroft, near Denny, and devoted much time and money to the removal of slums in Stirling, providing houses for the working-classes outside the burgh. Her father and grandfather had both been interested in Roman forts in Scotland, and this subject engrossed the greater part of her long life. Her researches in prehistoric remains in Scotland are valuable, though her conclusions and theories have not been generally accepted. She was made a lady associate of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1871, and her name remained on the roll till her death, although she wished to withdraw because the society refused her the rights of a fellow. Miss Maclagan was an artist of ability, although her right hand was rendered useless by a bone-disease and she could only employ her left hand. She devised a special method for taking rubbings from sculptured stones, and exhibited the results of her work at the Glasgow Exhibitions of 1888 and 1901, but she never disclosed the secret of her plan. In consequence of her dispute with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, she sent all her rubbings from stones to the British Museum.
Her published writings, all relating to prehistoric studies, were : 1. 'The Hill Forts, Stone Circles, and other Structural Remains of Ancient Scotland,' Edinburgh, 1875. 2. 'Chips from Old Stones,' published privately, 1881. 3. 'What mean these Stones ? with Plates of Druidic Stones in Scotland,' Edinburgh, 1894. 4. 'A Catalogue Raisonné of the British Museum Collection of Rubbings from Ancient Sculptured Stones,' Edinburgh, 1895. She contributed papers to the Stirling Natural History and Archæological Society in 1882 and 1893, showing rubbings of sculptured stones at Islay and Ardchattan priory, prepared by her method. She died at Ravenscroft, Stirling, on 10 May 1901, and was buried in Stirling cemetery.
[Scotsman, 13 May 1901; Sentinel (Stirling), 14 May 1901; Athenæum, 18 May 1901; Scots Magazine, 1818; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scot.; notes from Miss Maclagan's MS. autobiography, supplied by J. W. Barty, LL.D.; notes from W. B. Cook, Stirling; private information.]