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Home | Books | Other Publications | West Highland Notes & Queries | Links | Join the Society

The Society of West Highland & Island Historical Research, which was founded in 1972, aims to encourage research into the history of the West Highlands & Islands of Scotland and to make this research available to the general public

Its main publication is West Highland and Islands Notes & Queries. These are only available as electronic copies - paper copies are no longer available.  

Over the years some of the most distinguished and knowledgable historians have contributed to West Highland Notes & Queries, sometimes to try out a theory but always to enhance our knowedge of the west Highlands and Islands.  Others, not necessarily professionals,  have contributed to see if anyone can help out with their question. All have added a depth to this extraordinary archive which goes back forty odd years.

Subscribers are encouraged to add to this archive of knowledge. If you are doing research, and you want to find out if anyone knows anything more about your subject, write an article. If you think you know the answer to a Query, write a Reply. And if you have done some original research and welcome others to read it, write a Note.  All contributions, from historians and interested amateurs are very welcome, and the Editor will add them to an issue of West Highland Notes & Queries when he has space.

All we ask is that your contributions are not too long and you follow the style of the existing copies. 

There is a wealth of other material available: in particular we would commend our 'glossy' booklets about the area, all written by historians about the west Highland and islands.  See the 'other publications' section of this website.


Nicholas Maclean-Bristol


James Petre 

Ronald Black

David Caldwell

Hector MacQueen

Aonghas MacCoinnich

Rev. Allan Maclean of Dochgarroch

Secretary: Viv Sutherland-Kemp,  [email protected]

Treasurer: Tòmas Macailpein,  t[email protected]

Editor: James Petre,  [email protected]

The Society’s postal address is:

Ms Viv Sutherland-Kemp, Secretary,

SWHIHR, 57 Belmont Road, Portswood,

Southampton, SO17 2GD, Hampshire



Ronald Black (Raghnall MacilleDhuibh) was trained in Celtic Studies in Glasgow and Dublin, following which he held a research assistantship in the National Library of Scotland and lectureships in Celtic in the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. He is Gaelic editor of The Scotsman and author or editor of numerous books and articles, including anthologies of Gaelic verse, folklore collections and a new edition of Johnson and Boswell's tour of the Hebrides. He is currently working on a study of the Campbells in the eighteenth century.

Dr David Caldwell After graduating with a degree in archaeology from Edinburgh University Dr Caldwell spent 38 years working for the National Museums of Scotland, latterly as keeper of two of the curatorial departments – Scotland and Europe, and Archaeology. He has a strong interest in the history and archaeology of the West Highlands and Islands. From 1990 to 1997 he directed excavations at Finlaggan, Islay, and has published extensively, including A Historical Guide to Islay, Jura & Colonsay (2001 and 2011); Islay The Land of the Lordship (2008 and 2017); and (with M A Hall and C M Wilkinson) The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked (2010, 2011). He has served as President of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology and as President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is chair of Fife Cultural Trust and a board member of the National Trust for Scotland.

Dr James Scott Petre FCIS, FSA Scot, has degrees in History from the University of Wales and (King’s College), London and a Ph.D. in Archaeology from Cardiff. He held senior positions in statutory, regulatory bodies, principally in London and is now retired. A number of his works appertaining to West Highland history have been published in leading journals, notably Historical Research and the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He has also contributed to the Society’s Notes & Queries. His most recent book – Tiree and the Dukes of Argyll 1674 – 1922 (Donington: Shaun Tyas 2019) was recently published. His other interests are Crusader Cyprus on which he has published extensively and castellologie. He is currently developing a history of Roxburgh castle and is working with UHI on the MacDonalds in Wester Ross and their castle of Strome. He became editor of Notes & Queries in 2021 on the retirement on Nicholas Maclean-Bristol.

Hector MacQueen CBE, FBA, FRSE, has been a member of the Edinburgh Law School staff since 1979, having also taken his LL.B and Ph.D at Edinburgh. Appointed to the Chair of Private Law in 1994, he was Dean of the Law School 1999-2003, and Dean of Research and Deputy Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science in the University 2004-2008. He was a Scottish Law Commissioner 2009-2018.  Professor MacQueen's research and teaching focus on three major areas: (1) the history of law (in which the history of Celtic law is a particular interest); (2) the private law of obligations; and (3) intellectual property.  His university website is

Aonghas MacCoinnich is a lecturer in Celtic History at the University of Glasgow. He has published on various aspects of the history and culture of Gaelic Scotland, 1400-1700. Recent publications include an article, ‘Maritime dimensions to Scotland’s Highland Problem, 1540-1630’ (2019) and a monograph, Plantation and Civility in the North Atlantic World. The case of the Northern Hebrides, c.1570-1639 (2015).


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