Parish of Kilninver and Kilmelfort

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: Kilninver and Kilmelfort
1834-45: Kilninver and Kilmelfort

Kilninver (Gael. ' church at the river's mouth '). a hamlet and a parish in Lorn district, Argyllshire. The hamlet lies on the right bank of Euchar Water, just above its influx to salt-water Loch Feachan, 8½ miles S by W of Oban, under which it has a post office. The present parish, comprising the ancient parishes of Kilninver and Kilmelfort-the former in the N, the latter in the S-is bounded N by Kilmore and Kilbride, E and SE by Kilchrenan and Dalavich, S by Craignish, and W by Kilbrandon and the Firth of Lorn. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 12½ miles; its utmost breadth is 9¼ miles; and its area is 32, 391½ acres, of which 3032/3 are foreshore and 833½ water. From a point 9 furlongs WSW of its head, Loch Feachan winds 3¼ miles westward along the boundary with Kilmore and Kilbride; Loch Melfort, on the S side of its outer part, touches the boundary with Craignish; and a line of hill watershed forms most of the boundary with Kilchrenan and Dalavich. The coast, if one follows its ins and outs, has an aggregate extent of 14 miles, more than 6 of which are on Loch Melfort. It includes in its northern part two high rocky promontories, in its southern a very rugged reach of frontage, dangerous to shipping, though its numerous bays and inlets afford safe anchorage; and from Seil and the other islands of Kilbrandon parish it is separated by only a series of narrow straits. The eastern and central districts, with a general upland character, comprise four ranges of hills, striking laterally from the watershed on the boundary with Kilchrenan and Dalavich, and extending somewhat parallel to one another from E to W. They include the glen of Euchar Water, another glen called the Braes of Lorn, and some minor vales, and culminate in the summit of Ben Chapull (1684 feet), which commands a very extensive and superb view. Of a number of fresh-water lakes, dotted over the interior, the largest are Lochs Scamadale (15/8 mile x 22/3 furl.; 221 feet) and Tralaig (1¼ mile x 2½ furl.; 470 feet); and many of these lakes, and of the burns or torrents that issue from them through narrow ravines or over precipitous rocks, exhibit no little beauty. A tract of about 3 miles of arable land extends along the seaboard, and, consisting of clayey soil and black loam, incumbent on sand or slate, is in a state of high cultivation. Slate, sandstone, and dykes of trap are the predominant rock. A cave, traditionally said to have been inhabited by the first settlers in Lorn, is on the N side of Loch Melfort; a sepulchral tumulus, associated with the name of a Scandinavian princess, stood till 1813 in the immediate vicinity of Kilninver hamlet; a cairn, commemorating the assassination of an ancestor of the Duke of Argyll, occupies a conspicuous site on the old line of road from that hamlet to Loch Awe; a very ancient watch-tower, of unknown origin, called Ronaldson's Tower, stands on the coast; the ruins of an old castle or old monastery are on an islet in Loch Pearsan; and cairns and ancient standing stones are in various places. The Earl of Breadalbane and the Duke of Argyll are the chief proprietors, 1 other holding an annual value of more than £500, 2 of between £100 and £500, and 2 of from £50 to £100. Kilninver is in the presbytery of Lorn and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £231. One parish church, at Kilninver, was built in 1793, and contains 450 sittings; another, at Kilmelfort, is a very old building, with 250 sittings. There is also a Free church; and two public schools, Kilninver and Kilmelfort, with respective accommodation for 58 and 68 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 16 and 26, and grants of £22, 14s. and £33, 18s. Valuation (1860) £5642, (1883) £5426, 5s. 3d. Pop. (1801) 1175, (1831) 1072, (1861) 800, (1871) 759, (1881) 405, of whom 340 were Gaelic-speaking.—Ord. Sur., shs. 44, 36, 45, 37, 187683.

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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