Parish of South Knapdale

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: South Knapdale
1834-45: South Knapdale

Knapdale, South, a parish in Knapdale territorial district, and in Argyll -political district, Argyllshire. It contains the post-town and harbour of ardrishaig, the post-office hamlet of Achahoish, and part of the post-town of Tarbert; and it enjoys from these places regular steamboat communication. Formed out of the large old parish of Knapdale in 1734, it is bounded N by North Knapdale and the Crinan Canal, and S by Kilcalmonell and Kilberry. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 17 miles; its utmost breadth is 7 miles; and its land area is 52,560 acres. Several islets lie off the W coast; and, though uninhabited, afford good pasturage. The E coast, with an extent of 12 miles, presents a slightly undulated shore-line, and a pleasantly-diversified, hilly seaboard. The W coast is distinguished chiefly by the ascent from it of Loch Caolisport up the boundary with North Knapdale; has several fine bays, which afford safe anchorage; and presents shores and seaboard, partly bold and partly gradual. The interior, for the most part, is rough upland. A range, called Sliabach-Goail, extends right across it; contains the highest ground, with mountain elevation above sea-level; and commands one of the most extensive, varied, and grandly picturesque views in Great Britain, from Islay to the Perthshire Grampians, and from Mull and Ben Cruachan to the North of Ireland, with everywhere a crowded intervening space of lofty heights and belts of sea. Other hills, less lofty and interesting, extend parallel to this principal range, and are separated from one another by deep, well-sheltered vales. Burns and torrents are numerous, and the larger ones are subject to such winter floods as render them in many parts impassable. Five or six fresh-water lakes lie in hollows; but, with one or two exceptions, they can be seen only from the summits of the highest hills; and they add very little to the beauty or interest of the landscape. The extent of arable land bears but a small proportion to that of waste and pasture lands, and is very much intersected by hills and marshes. The soil, on some of the low grounds, is loamy; on most of the other arable grounds, is of a mossy nature, incumbent upon sand. Wood, both natural and planted, covers a considerable area. A lead mine was for some time worked on Inverneill estate. Antiquities are remains of three, and the sites of four, pre-Reformation chapels. Mansions, noticed separately, are Auchendarroch, Barmore, Erins, Inverneill, Ormsary, and Stonefield; and 7 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 9 of between £100 and £500, 5 of from £50 to £100, and 30 of from £20 to £50. Giving off the whole of Ardrishaig quoad sacra parish and portions of those of Tarbert and Lochgilphead, South Knapdale is in the presbytery of Inveraray and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £234. There are two parish churches, the one at Achahoish, near the manse; the other at Inverneill, 6 miles distant. Both were built in 1775, and each contains 250 sittings. Free churches are in Ardrishaig, Lochgilphead, and Tarbert; and two public schools, Inverneill and Ormsary, with respective accommodation for 34 and 69 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 17 and 18, and grants of £29, 2s. and £25, 13s. Valuation (1860) £7357, (1883) £13,111, 3s. 11d. Pop. (1801) 1716, (1831) 2137, (1861) 2519, (1871) 2695, (1881) 2536, of whom 1447 were Gaelic-speaking, and 453 were in South Knapdale ecclesiastical parish.

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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