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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Coll, an island and a parish in the Hebrides of Argyllshire. The island lies parallel with the NW coast of Mull, 7½ miles WNW of Callioch Point, 16 of Tobermory; and by a steamboat route of 57½ miles, communicates with Oban, under which it has a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments. It is 12¼ miles long from ENE to WSW, whilst its breadth varies between 1 and 3½ miles. The coast, in general, is bold and rocky; and the interior is diversified with eminences, but nowhere exceeds 326 feet above sea-level. Mica slate is the predominating rock. Eight or nine lochs yield capital trout-fishing, and the shooting also is good. 'Reaping, mowing, and thrashing machines are common,' says Mr Duncan Clerk, ` and the lands are managed in accordance with the most improved method of culture. The manufacture of butter and cheese is carried on extensively and successfully, some dairies keeping upwards of 80 Ayrshire cows. The pasturage is said to be rich in milk-producing qualities; and considerable numbers of pure Highland cattle are bred on several of the farms. Sheep-Cheviots, blackfaced, and crosses-are kept, the number of them in 1877 being 6718, of cattle 1147, of horses 121, and of pigs 164. ' Antiquities are the burying-grounds of Crosspoll and Killunaig, the latter with a ruined chapel; two standing-stones, 6 feet high; vestiges of eight Scandinavian forts; and, at the head of a southern bay, the castle of Breacacha, said to have been built by one of the Lords of the Isles. Conflicts between the Macneils and Macleans, the Macleans and Macdonalds, make up the history of Coll, which in 1773 received a week's visit from Johnson and Boswell. John Lorne Stewart, Esq of Breacacha Castle (b. 1837; suc. 1878), is almost sole proprietor, holding 14,247 acres, valued at £4118 per annum; and there are eight chief tenants. The parish, annexed to Tiree in 1618, but reconstituted in 1866, comprises the pastoral isles of Gunna, Eileanmore, Soay, and Oransay. It is in the presbytery of Mull and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £168. The parish church (1802; 350 sittings) stands near the middle of the island. There is also a Free church; and two public schools, Acha and Arnabost, with respective accommodation for 72 and 49 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 35 and 22, and grants of £41,16s. and £32,13s. Valuation (1881) £4180,13s. Pop. (1801) 1162, (1851) 1109, (1861) 781, (1871) 723, (1881) 643.

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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