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Home | Books | Other Publications | West Highland Notes & Queries | Links | Breacachadh Castle & The Project Trust | West Highland Research | Join the Society | Trace your ancestors.
Telford's Highland Churches Telford's Highland Churches by Allan Maclean

Allan Maclean, Telford’s Highland Churches (1989). The distribution of the population of the Highlands, thinly scattered over a wide area, has been a major factor in the social history of the region. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the history of the Church. Before the Reformation there were many parishes each with a church, varying in size. There were also many small chapels, the relics of an earlier non-parochial system. With the Reformation the scarcity of Gaelic-speaking clergy followed by the change from an Episcopalian to a Presbyterian system of church government made the situation ever more problematic: ancient parishes were suppressed or amalgamated and the area for which a parish minister became responsible for was vast. It was only after the Napoleonic wars that a major drive was made to build more churches and manses. The man chosen to carry out the scheme was Thomas Telford. He was already Surveyor in the Highlands to the British Fisheries Society and he was determined to improve the lot of his fellow men not only by creating useful buildings and bridges but to ensure that they were beautiful. This is his remarkable story.

 

OUT OF PRINT

 

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Published 1/1989

Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair - The Ardnamurchan Years Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair - The Ardnamurchan Years by Ronald Black

Ronald Black, Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair: The Ardnamurchan Years (1986). ‘To English speakers, he is Alexander MacDonald. To a Macdonald critic, he was a poet second to none that Great Britain has produced…. But to Gaelic speakers, he was, is, and always will be simply Alasdair, mac Mhaighstir Alasdair: ‘Alexander, the son of Master Alexander’. To most people little else is known of this literary colossus save that he was a schoolmaster in Ardnamurchan from at least 1729 until 1745, and that he took part in the rising of ’45 as a captain in the Clanaranald regiment. Ronald Black now attempts to put the record straight in what it is hoped will be the first of two biographies – the second is to be  ‘Prince Chearlie’s poet’.

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Published 1/1986

Hebridean Decade, Mull, Coll and Tiree 1761 - 1771 Hebridean Decade, Mull, Coll and Tiree 1761 - 1771 by Nicholas Maclean-Bristol

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol, Hebridean Decade, Mull, Coll & Tiree 1761-1771 (1982). Highland lairds in the late eighteenth century, have been accused of deserting their people, their race and their culture and becoming mere landlords in the Southern mould. Our author argues the opposite. He takes the example of three islands in examining the pressures facing them as the population of their islands soared dramatically, whilst the land to support them did not. He draws particular attention to the young Maclean of Coll who, to quote James Boswell was determined ‘to improve his father’s lands without hurting the people or losing the ancient Highland fashions’.

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Published 1/1982

Iona through the ages Iona through the ages by Alan Macquarrie

Alan Macquarrie, Iona through the ages (1983). Our author outlines the history of the Hebridean island of Iona from the time its settlement  from Ireland in the fifth century AD to 1979 when it was sold by tenth duke of Argyll and then given to the Scottish nation by the Sir Hugh Fraser Foundation. Although it rightly concentrates on the time of Saint Columba and his successors it gives space to the less well-known story of the medieval monastery and the rivalry of Campbells and Macleans before and after the Reformation. It also draws particular attention to Roderick Maclean, a Maclean of the Kingairloch family, who was bishop of the Isles and commendator of Iona from 1544 to about 1553. His Latin poem ‘The prophetic Foreknowledge of the blessed Columba of Iona’ published in Rome in 1549 reveals considerable classical scholarship. It is perhaps the most extensive work of its kind to appear in the Western Isles at this period.

 

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Published 1/1983

Iona through the ages, 2nd edition Iona through the ages, 2nd edition by Alan Macquarrie & E Mairi Macarthur

Alan Macquarrie & E Mairi MacArthur, Iona Through the Ages. 2nd Edition. The first edition of this little booklet by Alan Macquarrie was kindly received and the exhaustion of the original print run provided a welcome opportunity to bring out a new edition. It is intended to serve as a brief, readable introduction to the people and institutions which have shaped Iona’s history. For this second edition the author has had the collaboration of E Mairi MacArthur whose father is a native of Iona.

 

 

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Published 1/1992

The Raising of the 79th Highlanders The Raising of the 79th Highlanders by Loraine Maclean of Dochgarroch

Loraine Maclean of Dochgarroch, The Raising of the 79th Highlanders (1980). The 79th Highlanders, or Cameron Highlanders were one of the Highland regiments raised in 1793 for the war with France. Unlike other Highland regiments, which were raised by noble landlords or a clan chief, its ‘Colonel and Sole Founder’ Alan Cameron of Erracht was neither;  as our author, who is his great, great, great, grand-daughter proudly writes, he was a ‘private gentleman’ who ‘brought to the ranks of the British Army more men than any other who, like himself, was commissioned to raise regiments’. Many of them came from the Isle of Coll.

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Published 1/1980

Taming the Rough Bounds - Knoydart - 1745 - 1784 Taming the Rough Bounds - Knoydart - 1745 - 1784 by R.W.Munro

RW Munro, Taming the Rough Bounds Knoydart 1745-1784 (1984). Knoydart is the peninsular between Skye and the waters of Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn. It consists of 85 square miles of some of the roughest country to be found in Scotland. It was once part of the vast island and mainland territories of the descendants of Somerled who came to hold their land from the Scottish crown in the thirteenth century. Part of Knoydart formed the disjointed estate of Barrisdale whose notorious proprietor was forfeited after the Jacobite Rising of 1745-46. It was not returned to the family which had owned it until 1784. What it was like and how its people fared during the period under Government control is the subject of this study by one of the most knowledgeable experts on West Highland history.

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Published 1/1984

Tiree Bards and their Bardachd Tiree Bards and their Bardachd by Eric Cregeen and Donald W. Mackenzie

Eric Cregeen & Donald W Mackenzie, Tiree Bards & their Bardachd: the Poets in a Hebridean Community (1978). The bards of Tiree deserve a place in the understanding of the western isles if only because of the commanding influence which they exercised on the life and society of a Hebridean island. Most of the poetry discussed in this booklet were composed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As our authors point out: ‘oral transmission has ceased to operate with any vigour …Yet the “quick vein of poesy” still exists in the island and among its emigrants, and it is perhaps only awaiting a rekindling of interest in the language and the tradition to flourish once again’

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Published 1/1978

The Life and Troubled Times of Sir Donald Campbell of Ardnamurchan The Life and Troubled Times of Sir Donald Campbell of Ardnamurchan by Alastair Campbell of Airds, Unicorn Pursuivant

Alastair Campbell of Airds, Unicorn Pursuivant, The Life and Troubled Times of Sir Donald Campbell of Ardnamurchan . This account of his ancestor, who is said to have been ‘Fleshed in Blood from his Verie Infancie’, is a daunting task even for Airds. The latter points out that although he is only a descendant through the female line, Sir Donald made Aird’s male ancestor his heir and was thus the founder of the fortunes of his branch of Clan Campbell.  Sir Donald an illegitimate son of Campbell of Cawdor,  rose to be the confidant of two successive Chiefs of his clan and one of the most powerful leaders of Clan Campbell at the height of the Great Civil War of the seventeenth century.

 

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Published 1/1970

The Founding of Tobermory The Founding of Tobermory by Jean Munro

Jean Munro, The Founding of Tobermory (1976). The development of Tobermory, begun in 1786, was one of the first initiatives of ‘The British Society for Extending the Fisheries and Improving the Sea Coasts of this Kingdom’. The Society aimed to raise money for buying land to lease to fishermen and for building storehouses, piers and sheds to encourage settlements. The choice of Tobermory as one of its first projects was an obvious one. The bay sheltered by Calve Island was already a popular anchorage for as many as sixty or seventy vessels at a time sailing from the Clyde, Campbeltown and even the west of England, as much of the trade between Bristol and the Baltic, especially during war with France,  passed through the Sound of Mull.

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Published 1/1976

The Kirk on the Hill The Kirk on the Hill by Nicholas Maclean-Bristol

Nicholas Maclean-Bristol, The Kirk on the Hill: The Story of the Church in the Isle of Coll AD 550-2007 (2007).

This booklet,which was written to celebrate the centenary of the present Parish Church. It tells the story of the church on the island from the earliest recorded times to the present day; through the Reformation when the old church at Kilunaig was abandoned, the ‘Glorious Revolution’ when the Episcopal regime was overthrown, the triumph of Presbyterianism, the Disruption in 1843 and the building of new Parish Church at Arinagour led by the untiring efforts of the Reverend Dugald MacEachern.

 

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Published 1/2007

The Isle of Coll in 1716 The Isle of Coll in 1716 by Nicholas Maclean-Bristol

Produced to give a background to the Isle of Coll for Project Trust volunteers, this is a useful snapshot of life in a Hebridean community in 1716.  It was published by the Project Trust in 1989 and is lavishly illustrated in pen and ink drawings by Kate Beckmann.

It covers every subject, from life at Breacachadh Castle to the effects of sandblow and working the land. It also covers custom and superstition, and ends with the mainland influences of the time.

Although this was cheaply produced it shows a deep knowledge by the author of the way of life at the time. This period of Hebridean history is often forgotten against the more recent history of the 19th Century where records are more easily available.  This booklet gives an insight into a way of life which changed in the next hundred years and then vanished for ever.

 

 

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Published 1/1989


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