(Kintyre Peninsula)

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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Kintyre, the southernmost district of Argyllshire, consisting chiefly of a peninsula, but including the islands of Gigha, Cara, and Sanda, with several islets. The peninsula is prevented only by the narrow isthmus of Tarbert from being an island. From Knapdale it is separated by that isthmus and by East Loch Tarbert and West Loch Tarbert; it flanks the W side of Loch Fyne downward from East Loch Tarbert, and the W side of the Firth of Clyde all downward from the mouth of Loch Fyne; and it terminates, at the southern extremity, in a bold broad promontory called the Mull of Kintyre. It probably took its name (Gael. ceann-tir, 'head-land;' Cym. Pentir) either from that promontory or from its own position as a long projection southward from the Scottish mainland; it measures 42½ miles in extreme length from N by E to S by W, whilst its width varies between 4½ and 11½ miles. A chain of hill and mountain, culminating in Ben-an-Tuirc (1491 feet), runs along its middle, with varied declivity on either side to belts of low sea-board; and it presents, from end to end, a considerable variety and large amount of pleasing landscape, containing a greater proportion of cultivated land than almost any other district of equal extent in the Highlands. Visited by Agricola in the summer of 82 A.D., Kintyre became the cradle of the Dalriadan kingdom, and competed in a measure with Iona as a centre of missionary establishments. From the time of Magnus Barefoot till the 17th century it ranked as part of the Hebrides, and figures in history till then as if it had been an island, always forming part of the dominions of the Lords of the Isles. In the 15th century it was an object and a scene of great contest between the Macdonalds and the Campbells; and, in 1476, it was resigned to the Crown. The Mull of Kintyre, which was known to Ptolemy as the Epidium Promontorium, to the Romans as the Promontorium Caledoniæ, is the nearest point of Great Britain to Ireland, projecting to within 13 miles of Tor Point in the county of Antrim. It presents a strong front to the waves of the Atlantic, and in time of a storm exhibits a wild and sublime appearance, being overhung by Beinn na Lice (1405 feet), which commands a magnificent view. A lighthouse, built in 1787 on a point of the promontory called Merchants' Rocks, rises to a height of 297 feet above the level of the sea at high water; and shows a fixed light, visible at the distance of 24 nautical miles.

The presbytery of Kintyre, in the synod of Argyll, comprehends the quoad civilia parishes of Campbeltown, Gigha, Kilbride, Kilcalmonell, Killean, Kilmorie, Saddell, and Southend, with the quoad sacra parishes of Brodick and Skipness; and its court meets at Campbeltown on the last Wednesday of March, April, June September, and November. Pop. (1871) 19, 201, (1881) 19, 421, of whom 2418 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878.-The Free Church also has a presbytery of Kintyre, with 2 churches in Campbeltown, 8 at Kilberry, Kilbride, Kilcalmonell, Killean, Kilmorie, Lochranza, Shiskan, and Whiting Bay, and 2 preaching stations at Carradale and Gigha, which 12 together had 3314 members and adherents in 1883. See Southend, Campbeltown, Killean, Saddell, and Kilcalmonell; Cuthbert Bede's Glenereggan (2 vols., Lond., 1861); and Capt. T. P. White's Archæological Sketches in Kintyre (Edinb. 1873). Kip, a rivulet of Innerkip parish, Renfrewshire, winding 4 miles westward till it falls into the Firth of Clyde 3 furlongs WSW of Innerkip village. In its lower course it traverses a wooded glen; and it contains good store of trout, but is strictly preserved.—Ord. Sur., shs. 30, 29, 1866-73.

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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