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Parish of Craignish

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Craignish
1834-45: Craignish

Craignish, a South Argyll parish on the W coast of Argyllshire, adjoining the steamboat route from Glasgow, via the Crinan Canal, to Oban, and containing the hamlet of Ardfern, with a post office under Lochgilphead, 18 miles to the SE. It anciently was called indiscriminately Kilmorie and Craignish, and it retains a burial-ground and a ruined chapel, still bearing the name of Kilmhori. Its south-south-western half is peninsular, and its entire outline approaches that of a scalene triangle, with south-south-westward vertex. Its peninsula is bounded E by Loch Craignish and W by the Atlantic Ocean; on its other sides the parish borders on Kilninver, Kilchrenan, and Kilmartin. Its greatest length, from NNE to SSW, is 11 miles, and its average breadth is about 2 miles. The extent of coast is fully 16 miles. Loch Craignish, opening from the lower part of the NE side of Loch Crinan, penetrates 6 miles to the NNE, and diminishes in width from 3 miles at the mouth to 7 furlongs near the head, where it forms a commodious harbour, with good anchorage. Craignish Point flanks the W side of the loch's mouth, and terminates the parish's peninsula; and both that point and the small neighbouring island of Garbhreisa are faced with cliffs. A strait, called Dorusmore or the Great Door, between Craignish Point and Garbhreisa, is swept by a rapid tidal current, but has a deep channel, and is usually traversed by the steamers from Port Crinan to Oban. Abreast of the mainland, chiefly in the S and within Loch Craignish, are upwards of twenty islands and numerous islets and rocks, serried round with romantic cliffs. The peninsula commences, in the south-south-western extremity, in a near point; extends to a length of about 6 miles; widens gradually to 2½ miles; swells, on the eastern side, into numerous green eminences of 300 feet and less in elevation; has, along Loch Craignish shore, a narrow strip of land; and is cut there into numerous little headlands and winding baylets. A flat tract, less than ¼ mile broad, and very slightly elevated above the sea; extends from the western shore across the head of the peninsula to a rivulet in the E, running along the boundary with Kilmartin. The district N of that tract is partly a section of the valley of Barbreck, extending upward from the head of Loch Craignish, and mainly a rugged, heathy, hilly region, attaining an extreme altitude of 700 feet above sea-level, and commanding, from its higher points, extensive and diversified views. There are twelve lakes, many rills, and numerous perennial springs. The prevailing rock is clay slate. The soil of the arable grounds is principally a loamy mould, less fertile than it looks to be. Much good land, or land which might be profitably reclaimed, lies waste. Remains of a large, strong, mediaeval fortalice are near the north-western boundary; and vestiges of rude forts, supposed to be Scandinavian, are in eleven places. Craignish Castle, standing on the peninsula, 2¼ miles from the point, includes a strong old fortalice, which withstood a six weeks' siege by Colkitto, but is mostly a good modern mansion, rebuilt about 1832; its owner, Fred. Chs. Trench-Gascoigne (b. 1814), holds 5591 acres in the shire, valued at £1013 per annum. Other mansions are barbreck and dail; and the property is divided among 6 landowners, 3 holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500, and 1 of from £50 to £100. Craignish is in the presbytery of Inverary and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £215. The church, 8 miles NW of Kilmartin, was erected in 1826, is a neat edifice, and contains 500 sittings. There is also a Free Church preaching station.

Craignish public and Barbreck girls' schools, with respective accommodation for 85 and 41 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 35 and 33, and grants of £43, 10s. 6d. and £41, 4s. Valuation (1882) £3889, 12s. Id. Pop. (1801) 904, (1831) 892, (1861) 618, (1871) 481, (1881) 451.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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