Parish of Kilmallie

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: Kilmalie
1834-45: Kilmalie

Kilmallie, a Lochaber parish of Inverness and Argyll shires, the largest parish in Scotland. It contains the burgh of Fort William, and the hamlets of North Ballachulish and Onich in its Inverness-shire, of Ardgour, Banavie, Blaich, Clovulin, Corpach, Duisky, and Garvan in its Argyllshire, section. Bounded W by Ardnamurchan and Glenelg, N and E by Kilmonivaig, S by Lismore and Appin, and SW by Morvern, it has an extreme length from n by E to S by W of 291/8 miles, a varying width of 25/8 and 30¼ miles, and an area of 444 square miles or 284, 0601/3 acres, of which 177, 9101/3 belong to Inverness-shire and 106,150 to Argyllshire, whilst 17822/5 are foreshore and 8403¼ water. The northern boundary is partly defined by the last 15/8 mile of Gairowan river, flowing to Loch Quoich; by Loch Quoich itself (5¼ miles x ¾ mile; 555 feet); and by the first 3½ miles of its effluent, the Garry, on to the influx of the Kingie. The eastern, again, is partly defined by the lower 6 miles of Loch Lochy (95/8 miles x 1 to 9¾ furl.; 93 feet), and by its effluent, the river Lochy, winding 93/8 miles south-south-westward to the head of Loch Linnhe at Fort William; whilst all the southern boundary is traced by the Black Water or river Leven, flowing 137/8 miles westward, through a chain of four small lakes, to the head of salt-water Loch Leven, and next by Loch Leven itself (113/8 miles z 2/3 furl. to 2½ miles). To the Inverness-shire interior belongs fresh-water Loch Archaig (12 miles x ¾ mile; 140 feet), sending of the Archaig river 13/8 mile east-south-eastward to Loch Lochy; to the Argyllshire interior belongs salt-water Loch Eil (63/8 miles x 71/3 furl.), communicating by the Narrows, 2 miles long and 1 furlong broad at the narrowest, with the head of Loch Linnhe. Loch Linnhe itself, with a varying width of 5 furlongs and 17/8 mile, strikes 92/3 miles south-westward to Corran Narrows (1½ furl. wide); and thus far, often called Lower Loch Eil, it divides the Inverness-shire from the Argyllshire section of Kilmallie, the latter still fringing its western shore for 7¼ miles below Corran Ferry. The surface everywhere is grandly mountainous, chief elevations to the N of Loch Archaig being Meall Odhar (2971 feet), Scour Gairoch (3015), and Sgor Mor (3290); between Lochs Archaig and Eil, Beinn Bhan (2613), Meall Bhanabhie (1071), Druim Fada (2420), Gulvein (3224), and *Sgor Choileam (3164); to the S of Loch Eil, Stob Choire a' Chearcaill (2527), Sgur na h-Eanchainne (2397), and *Sgur Dhomnuil, where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish. To the E of Loch Linnhe rise huge *Ben Nevis (4406), *Aonach Beag (4060), Binnein Mor (3700), Am Bodach (3382), Sgor a' Mhaim (3601), Stob Ban (3274), Mullach nan Coirean (3077), and Beinn na Cucaig (2017), Such is a bare outline of the general features of this vast Highland parish, which is larger than Edinburghshire and eleven others of the thirty-three Scottish counties. Fuller details are furnished under Achnacarry, Ardgour, Caledon ian Canal, Cona, Fassifern, Glennevis, and other articles already alluded to. Gneiss and mica slate are the predommant rocks; but granite, syenite, porphyry, quartz, hornblende, and limestone are also common. Silurian rocks, too, occur. Fine-hued marble and roofing-slates have been quarried, the latter round North Ballachulish, where there are mountains of it; and several veins of lead ore, with a comparatively large proportion of zinc and silver, are known to exist. The soil, along parts of the margins of the lochs and of the bottoms of the glens, is mostly light, shallow, and sandy or mossy; and on the braes and mountains is mostly moorish. Not 1 acre in 300 is cultivated or capable of cultivation; but woods and plantations must cover a very large aggregate area, the old Loch Archaig native pine forest being from 8 to 9 miles in length. Four landed proprietors hold each an annual value of £2000 and upwards, 1 feuar holding between £100 and £500, 8 from £50 to £100, and 23 from £20 to £50. Giving off the quoad sacra parishes of Duncansburgh and Ballachulish and Ardgour, Kilmallie is in the presbytery of Abertarff and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £342. The parish church of Kilmallie was built in 1783, and contains 600 sittings. Its ancient predecessor was dedicated to some Celtic saint, whose name is not preserved in any calendar; for the rendering of Kilmallie by 'church of Mary' is wholly inadmissible. There is a Free church at Corpach; and other places of worship are noticed under Fort William and Ballachulish. Nine public schools-Ardgour, Banavie, Barmacfoldach, Fort William, Garvan, Kinlocheil, Achnacarry, Trieslaig, and Onich-North Ballachulish Episcopal, and Fort William Roman Catholic school, with total accommodation for 681 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 348, and grants amounting to £314, 11s. Valuation (1860) £10, 531, (1882) £24, 040, of which £6887 was for the Argyllshire portion. Pop. (1801) 4520, (1831) 5566, (1861) 4272, (1871) 4066, (1881) 4157, of whom 3393 were Gaelic-speaking, 2716 were in Inverness-shire, and 1417 belonged to Kilmallie ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 53, 62, 54, 1873-77.

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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