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The Isle of Bute in the 
Olden Time 

The Isle of Bute in the 
Olden Time 





VOL. I. 





All Rights reserved 





THIS work embodies the results of some studies of the 
history of the Isle of Bute, suggested to me here by 
visible relics of the olden time. It is the product of 
the few leisure hours which could be gathered up for 
several years out of a busy clerical life. As a labour 
of love it has been executed with much difficulty, since 
so important a subject demanded much research among 
authorities, manuscript and printed, in the National 
Record Offices and great libraries, access to which is 
not easy to students in the country, who have a limited 
time at their disposal to ransack rare and expensive 

In writing I have kept in view the purpose of pro- 
ducing a readable book, as much as possible free from 
technical phraseology, so that the ordinary reader may 
not be wearied with multitudinous details which the 
pure antiquary considers imperative ; and I have en- 

viii Prt/ate. 

deavourcd to strike the golden mean without defraud- 
ing the subject of its primary demand for definite 

It will have fulfilled my design if it causes those 
who arc privileged to breathe the fragrant air of Bute 
to take a protective interest in those fascinating frag- 
ments preserved here, and if it draws upon these relics 
the attention of others who love antiquities. 

Bute has already been fortunate in having local 
historians who have made good use of the scanty 
materials available for the more modern epochs of 
history. Their labours will be more fitly acknow- 
ledged, and a bibliography of their works given, in 
the second volume. Recent research, however, has 
opened up richer treasure-houses to the chronicler, 
and invested the decaying memorials of eld with a 
new romantic interest. 

Merit I venture to claim for this new work in 
respect of the exquisite architectural illustrations of 
St Blaan's Church prepared by Mr William Galloway, 
architect, who has laid me under deepest obligation 
by permitting reduced copies to be taken of his draw- 
ings of that interesting edifice, and of the similarly 
fine work of Mr James Walker, architect, Paisley. 
I have to thank the Society of Antiquaries of Scot- 

Preface. ix 

land for the use of several engravings of objects found 
in Bute. The minor illustrations have been prepared 
from drawings by my own pen. 

I have also to acknowledge obligations to the Rev. 
J. B. Johnstone, B.D., Falkirk, author of ' Place- 
Names of Scotland'; the Rev. John Dewar, B.D., 
Kilmartin ; and the Rev. D. Dewar, Applecross, who 
have kindly given me valuable aid in reference to 
the "Appendix on Place- Names," for which, as it 
stands, I am entirely responsible : as well as to Mr 
James Kay, forester, Bute ; the Rev. John Saunders, 
B.D., Kingarth ; and the Rev. Peter Dewar, M.A., 
North Bute, who have kindly assisted me in my 

The second volume will contain chapters on the 
Homes and Haunts of the Stewarts, the Roman and 
Reformed Churches, the Burgh of Rothesay, the 
B randan es, the Barons of Bute, and the House of 
Stuart, and will be illustrated. 


THE MANSE, ROTHESAY, September 1893. 



i. WHAT'S IN A NAME? ...... i 




CHURCH, ....... 84 

V. THE IRISH CHURCH, . . . . . .107 

VI. THE HERMITS, . . . . . . .122 








LINE), ....... 236 




i. mt BUB or CUMBRAE, . . . . .281 


uninr, . .284 


WESTERN ISLES, 1 ...... 285 


: : \s: . . . . . . . .287 


ERRATA, . . 300 

INDEX, . . 301 




MAP, EOT SIVE ROTHERSAY, . . By J. K. Hewison, Frontispiece 


u ii . Vignette 




CRANNOGES IN DHU LOCH ) . . By Mr John Mackinlay, "j 

r r 44 

AND LOCH QUIEN, ) . .By Mr James Kay, ) 

DUNAGOIL FORT, . . . . . . .54 

MICHAEL'S GRAVE, ....... 66 

CARNBAAN, ... . . By J. K. Hevuison, . 74 



ii ii INTERIOR, . . . . .114 



BEFORE 1874, ....... l66 


THE ORIGINAL CHURCH, . By Mr Wm. Galloway, . 175 


In u . l8o 


xiv List of Illustration*. 

tr mum's CHURCH 

i/r It'*. Gmfomy, . 182 


I . 184 



> <t loo 


GENERAL VIEW PROM S.W., . By Mr Jamtt Walker, . 192 


I By Mr If m. Galloway* . 200 





it AULTMORE FORT. . . 5' 

















List of Illustrations. xv 



KILMACHALMAIG CROSS, . From Photo by Miss S. Macrae, 116 



NOCK, . . 135 




THE BELL OF ST FILLAN, ...... 197 










GRAVE-SLAB AT KILBLAAN, . . . . . .221 



From Photo by Miss S. 


Macrae, . . .226 




" The wandering mariner, whose eye explores 
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores, 
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair, 
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air. " 


JO obtain material from which may be formed a 
historical survey of the Isle of Bute, in that dis- 
tant epoch when it first came under the influences 
of Christian civilisation, it is necessary to press 
into our service not merely the data of the indispensable 
chronicler, but also lingering folk-lore, now attenuated to the 
vanishing-point; the evidence of ruined structures which 
confess from their moss-grown faces their hoary antiquity ; 
the testimony to growing intelligence from the relics of 
industrial arts ; and such primitive ideas having historic sig- 

VOL. I, A 

2 fluff in the Olden Time. 

nificancc as may be found embalmed in the names of places 
and of individuals, and in customs dead or dying. These relics 
are monumental. The synthetic method of reuniting these 
broken fragments in order to form a symmetrical work which, 
like a symbol, may represent in miniature the results of the 
successive streams of life which once pulsated in the individ- 
uals, tribes, and nation of Alban, must not be finally applied 
until, after accurate scrutiny, these fragile survivals prove so 
homogeneous as naturally to fuse into a unity. This is im- 
perative where, as in the case of Bute, historic record is 
canty, local legend is sorely dctritcd, and the linguistic 
impressions, from the moulds in which the early races cast 
their thoughts, have been as rudely broken by foreign in- 
vaders as their homes and temples by ruthless iconoclasts. 
Though delicate its work, Archicology, like every other exact 
science, is not now content to sec its peculiar field only 
garnished with gossamers, which no explorer's foot dare break, 
nor its dear stones left under a mantle of moss to be scorned 
into oblivion. Its tool is no hammer to break, but the light 
hand whose magnetism subtly picks from out the rust of 
ages an enduring body, in lack only of the re-inspiration of 
its departed spirit. As that boon companion of the Celtic 
missionary the Anmchara> or soul-friend carried in his 
breast the other's confidences, so must the student of Eld 
bear in himself the genii of his silent teachers of the moun- 
tain and the muirland, so that when, in his love, he touches 


" Worn faces that look deaf and blind, 
Like tragic marks of stone," 

they may utter the weird talc of a wondrous past to him. 
Bute has had a romantic history, which is largely accounted 

What's in a Name? 3 

for by its geographical and ethnographical position. By its 
situation in the Firth of Clyde it was on the highway of the 
sea-going nomads and nations on their northerly march of 
conquest through Caledonia ; and being no mean " coign of 
vantage," in course of time the isle became a debatable land 
among the roving races. The Isle of Bute lies between the 
county of Ayr on the east and the county of Argyle on the 
north and west; is 15^ miles long, and varies in breadth 
from \% to 6% miles. It contains (without Inchmarnock, 
6/5.054 acres) 31,161.421 acres, or over 49 square miles 
(North Bute Parish, with Inchmarnock, 15,546.012 acres; 
Rothesay, 6,624.575 ; Kingarth, 9,665.888). Of the aborig- 
inal inhabitants few traces remain; and, indeed, were it not 
for the references to the early Church in the Irish annals of 
the eleventh century, there would be no clear historical 
record as to its separate existence till the time of the later 
Norse invasions. Situated between the domain of conquer- 
ing Romans and that of receding Caledonians, then between 
the Brythons of Strathclyde and their Goidelic opponents in 
the west, between these Brythons and the main body of the 
Dalriadic Scots who swarmed out of Erin in the fifth century, 
between these Scots and the redescending Picts of North 
Caledonia at one time, and piratical Norsemen or Angles at 
another, Bute seems to have been turned into a blood-stained 
arena for warfare. 

It is not to be wondered at that in the perplexing mazes of 
Western geography Ptolemy and other early navigators either 
omitted Bute or confounded its identity. Ireland and its 
neighbouring isles were definitely known, and seem to have 
been a source of interest on account of the alleged barbarity 
of the inhabitants. Strabo informs us that, according to 

Rute in the Oldtn Time. 

travellers, they had then an easy method of Home Rule in 
Erin by devouring their fathers before assuming paternal 
Ittponsibilities. 1 

Ptolemy (A.I). 140), in his description of Britain, attaches 
five islands, called " Tht Eboudai" (*Eov&u), to the map of 
Ireland ('\o\npvia), north of that country and between the 
Hibernian Sea and the Dcucalcdonian Ocean.' He desig- 
nates them Ebouda, Ebottda, Hrikina, Makos, Epidiou. 
Malcos lies north of the others, which are all placed on the 
same degree of latitude. Another island, called Afonaoida, is 
placed south of these. Dr W. F. Skcne, after a careful col- 
lation of texts, reads them Afa/fus, Ebuda, Ebuda, Engari- 
cenna, Epidium, and Monarina, and states his opinion that 
the two Ebudai were probably Isla and Jura, Scarba was 
Engarifcnna', Lismore was Epidiutn, Arran was Monarina, 
corresponding to the group in the Irish documents, " Ara, 
lit, Rathra aats innsi ore/if ana," that is, Arran, Isla, Rachra, 
and the other islands.' Dr Reeves identifies the Hrikina 
('I'fxiVa) of Ptolemy with Rathlin the Rictua of Pliny and 
Ret /train of Tighcrnac. 4 

Pliny (23-79 A - D ) enumerates among the British Isles " the 
H.x-budcs, thirty in number; and between Hibcrnia and 
Britannia the islands of Mona, Monapia, Ricina, Vectis, 
I.imnus, Andres."' 

It is possible that Engaricenna was meant for Bute, and 
that it is a form of a simple name such as Ngari or Gari, 

Sirabo, i. bit. iv. f ch. v. | 4, p. 399. Kohn. 

' Clwrfii Ploienuri Gcographiit.' Ed. \VUbcrg, Eaeoduc, 1838, p. 103. 

Celtic Scocknd,' Skeoe, vol. i. p. 68. Edin., 1886. 

' Ecd. Amiq. Down/ p. 288. Dublin, 1847. 

Ntf. Hi*.,' bk. hr., cb. x*x., voL i. p. 351. Bohn, 1887 

What's in a Name? 5 

which, signifying a mountain (ghari, gkerry, Sanscrit), is 
common from the Himalayas to the Congo still retained 
in a corrupted form in Kingarth. In the Sclavonic tongue 
gora is a mountain. And as in the Teutonic language burg, 
a burgh, is related to berg, a mountain, so in Russ the word 
for a burgh is gorod (Novgorod, new town), and in Polish grod. 

I have also examined various editions of Ptolemy, and 
found divergences of readings. A map of Britannia, from 
Ptolemy, published in Bonn in 1462, gives Postmalos, to the 
south of which are Ebuda, Engaritena, and Postepidu, and 
beneath these Monarma. 1 Any one conversant with the 
difficulties of transcribing ancient manuscripts knows how 
easily a writer to dictation transposes, omits, or repeats 
letters, syllables, or even phrases, and how even two words 
are slid together to form one. Engaricenna has the appear- 
ance of an undesigned combination, as I shall try to show. 

The earliest written reference to Bute is found in 'The 
Annals of Tighernac ' of Cloinmacnois, who died in the year 
1088, where, among other events connected with Ireland and 
its Dalriadic colony, the deaths of " Daniel, Bishop of Cind- 
garadh" and "John, Bishop of Cindgalarath" are chronicled 
under the years 660 and 689 A.D. ' The Annals of Ulster,' 
dating from 1498, refer also to these and other abbots of 
Cinngarad, as is shown in a succeeding chapter. 2 There can 
be no doubt that the monastic establishment of Kingarth 
one of the two parishes of Bute is the abbacy meant. 

The place-name has usually been associated with the 
Gaelic words Ceann-garbJi, signifying " the rough headland," 

1 Nordenskiold's 'Facsimile Atlas,' Stockholm, 1889. 

" Chap. xi. 'Chron. Picts,' pp. 71, 73, 76, &c. Ed. Skene, 1867. 

6 Hute in the Olden Time. 

a designation truly descriptive of the southern shore of Bute, 
now called Garroch Head, part of which is known in Gaelic 
as Roimn-dmmhach, the feathered point But the body of 
the word Cind-garadh is identical with the Celtic term for an 
enclosed place, gairadkigurrdh.garrd (Gaelic, garadh, a dyke), 
a word which passes into the Teutonic garth > and the English 
gardtn. Ci*d or Ciati is the Gaelic ceann, head or chief. 
So Cind-garadh signifies the head or headland enclosure, 
or the eminence of the enclosure, as Kennavara, the high- 
est site of Tircc, is the Ctann-na-Mara, " the eminence of the 
ea." I have afterwards to point out that this headland was 
enclosed with a wall or sanctuary boundary from sea to sea 
by St Blaan, so as to form the church's " garth " ; but there 
may also have existed near at hand a fortified enclosure 
now the vitrified fort of Dunagoil (fort of the strangers) 
before St Blaan's day. 

When the Irish strangers (Goill) held this enclosure, rath 
(Goidclic for earth-fort), it is easy to sec how the place-name 
was turned into Cind-gala-rath. The old parish school of 
Kingarth stood on a field called Buttgarry, near Kilchattan 
church, two miles from St Blaan's Church. Old Gaelic people 
in Bute still call Kingarth Kennagairy. Thus, it is possible 
the primitive word sounded to the Greek sailors' ears Ngari 
or Engari, and on being repeated assumed the form of En- 
gariktnna, or, on being written, was conjoined with the name 
of the island of Canna, or the other Rikina. 

In a ' Description of Britain,' composed in Latin, and dating 
from the twelfth century, there is enumerated twice among 

Gvnh Uryncich," Bcmicia's thraldom = Bamburough Castle. St Patrick 
fcmihled at Hoaiaagaradh a church which was then called Kill garadh (Oran, 

What's in a Name? 7 

other isles in Scotland one bearing the name of Gurtk : 
" Albania tota, que modo Scocia vocatur, et Morouia, et 
omnes insule occidentales occeani usque ad Norwegian! et 
usque Daciam, scilicet, Kathenessia, Orkaneya, Enchegal, et 
Man et Ordas, et Gurth, et cetere insule occidentales occeani," 
&C. 1 Dr Skene in his History says : " Ordas and Gurth are 
probably intended for Lewis and Skye."' J In 1887 I ven- 
tured, however, to draw the attention of this distinguished 
Celtic scholar to my theory that Gurtk was no other than 
Kingarth or Bute, and received the following reply : " The 
names of Ordas and Gurth occur twice in the tract you refer to. 
First, as ' Ordasiman, Gurth ; ' second, as ' Man et Ordas et 
Gurth.' I take ' Ordasiman ' to be simply a misreading for 
' Ordas et Man,' so that the two are substantially the same. 
I have no doubt, looking to the mistaken forms of some of 
the other names, that Ordas and Gurth are corrupted read- 
ings of names a little different ; but looking to their being 
conjoined with Man, and distinguished from Inchegall a 
name which embraced all the Western Isles, which the Nor- 
wegians had occupied I think the probability is that Arran 
and Bute are meant. . . . The oldest form of Kingarth is 
Cinn-garadh, and it is repeatedly mentioned in this form in 
the Irish annals. Garadh in old Irish is any enclosed place, 
and passes readily into Gurth. This I believe to be the true 
meaning of the name, and to suppose that the second syllable 
is 'garbh,' rough, I consider quite inadmissible." In the 
seventeenth century Ninian Stewart granted a tack of the 
teinds of Inchgarth (united to Rothesay) to Stuart of Askeoge. 3 

1 'Chron. Picts,' pp. 153, 154. 2 'Celtic Scot.,' vol. i. p. 396. 

3 Scott's ' Fasti, ' vol. v. p. 29. 

8 Rule in the Olden Tinu. 

By this is probably meant Inchmarnock or " The Inch," as it 
is commonly spoken of, whose church was probably served 
from the Garth of St Blaan the original parochia, parish, in 
Bute. Not far from St Blaan's Church, and within its 
"garth," stands the old mansion of Garrachty (Garadh-tigh), 
in medieval times known as Garach. 1 One of the hills above 
it is called the " Harr " or head. 

I imagine, then, that the parish got its descriptive name 
from this Barr or hill (gnri), probably then the fortress on the 
headland, which afterwards was supplanted by Dunagoil ; 
and the name, having lost its original meaning, became asso- 
ciated with the church enclosure. An instance of a similar 
transformation of a word is found in Kelts, the scat of the 
ancient monastery in the parish of the same name in County 
Meath. Its early Irish name was Ccanannsa, Cenannus, 
which means head-abode. In Columba's time its site was 
called " L)un-chuile-sibrinnc," the royal dun of Diarmait Mac 
Ccrbhaill. Columba marked off and blessed the site of the 
town as Blaan set off Kingarth. The next form of the name 
was Cenn-lios (lies, Irish for a stone fort), then Kenlis, and 
finally Kelts. Hence Baron Kenlis of the British peerage is 
known as Headfort in the Irish peerage. 1 

Several centuries elapse before the isle is designated Bute 
or Kothcsay. Early writers considered Rothisay the older 
name of the isle. John of Fordun, whose local knowledge is 
generally so very accurate as to suggest that he had per- 
sonally visited the Western Isles, thus refers to the Isles of 
Albion : " But the first leader of those who inhabited them, 

1 'Excbeq. Roils,' vol. v. p. 79. 

* AiUmnan 'Columba,' cd. Kccvcs, Introd., p. li. 

What 's in a Name ? 9 

Ethachius Rothay, great-grandson of the aforesaid Simon 
Brec, by the interpretation of his name gave a name to the 
island of Rothisay, and it bore this name indeed for the space 
of no little time, until, when the faith of our Saviour had been 
diffused through all the ends of the earth and the islands 
which are afar off, Saint Brandan constructed thereon a booth, 
in our idiom, bothe that is, a cell whence thenceforth and 
until our times it has been held to have two names, for it is 
by the natives sometimes called Rothisay i.e., the isle of 
Rothay as also sometimes the Isle of Bothe." 1 In enume- 
rating the Scottish isles, cut off from the Orkneys, the same 
writer mentions " the isle of Arane, where there are two royal 
castles, Brethwyk and Lochransay ; the isle of Helantin- 
laysche (Lamlash) ; the isle of Rothysay or Bothe, and there 
a castle, royal, fair, and impregnable ; the isle of Inchmernok, 
and there a cell of monks." 5 ' The Chronicle of the Scots ' 
(1482-1530) similarly declares : " Alsua ye first yat comme of 
Mare Scotland in ye lesse yat now is ouris be ye grace of God 
was callyt Rathus Rothia, eftir quhomm is callit ye lie and 
ye Castell of Rothissaye, quhilk now is callit Bute eftir Saynte 
Brandan." 3 ' The Metrical Chronicle,' written by William 
Stewart, rector of Quodquen in 1530, which is not, strictly 
speaking, a translation of Boece, but is founded on the ' Chron- 
icon Scotorum,' in reference to the Irish king Rothus has : 

" Syne callit it to name B. . . . 
The Yle of Bute, as my Author [say] 
Efter his name gart call it Ro[thissay]." 4 

1 'Chronica Gentis Scotorum,' lib. i. cap. 28 (vol. i. p. 24, Skene's ed.) 

2 Ibid., lib. ii. cap. x. (vol. i. p. 43, Skene. ) 

3 ' Chron. Picts and Scots,' p. 380. 

4 ' The Bulk of the Croniclis of Scotland," vol i. p. 27. London, 1858. 

io Rule in the Olden Tim*. 

In John Major's time (+1550) the isle went under both 
names. 1 Holinshcd ( + 1 580), following the common romance, 
designates " Rothesay, the son of Notafilus," as the mythical 
pre-Christian hero, who " named that isle which he first began 
to possess Rothesay, after his own name. 1 There was an 
interesting variant in the form But/iania : " Buthania quae 
Rothsay prius vocata," apparently preserving a trace of a 
time when Bute was governed by a thane. 8 

But both Rothesay and Bute arc names apparently of a 
Norse origin, Bute being the first mentioned in Norse records. 
It has been attempted to trace Bute to a Celtic root biadli, 
food (Old Irish biad, Greek /&OTOV) ; but there is no mention 
of this "island of food," in historical times, to corroborate 
this good description of its fertility. Dr John Macpherson 
thus refers to the probability of Bute being Epidium : " Cam- 
den thinks that the ancient Epidium is the same with I la ; 
M altos, Mull ; the Western Ebuda, Lewis ; and the Eastern 
Ebuda, Sky. But if Kicina is the same with Arran, it is far 
from being improbable that Epidium is the island of Bute, 
which lies near it : Ey-Bhoid that is, the Isle of Bute, in the 
Gaelic language being much more nearly related to Epidium 
in its sound than I la. I have no objections to Camden's 
opinion with regard to Alaleos and the larger Ebuda. . . . 
It would therefore be equally proper with Camden's etymon 
to call them Ey-budh in the British or Ey-bltoid in the Gaelic 
that is, the islands of corn, or metaphorically the Isles of Food. 
The truth is, neither Camden or I can give any satisfactory 

1 'Greater Britain,' p. 37. S. 11. S. L, 1892. 

1 lloluubed, 'Chron. of England, 1 &c., p. 5. London, 1577. 

' ' E&ttacU c variii Cronkis Scock,' Tutnbull, p. 5. 

What's in a Name ? 1 1 

etymon of the Ebudes" l In Johnston's ' Place Names of 
Scotland' (p. 48) we find: "Bute. Norse Chron., c. 1093, 
Bot ; 1204, Bote ; 1292, Boot; in G. Boite. Some think 
G. bot, the hut or bothy (of St Brendan) ; but Dr M'Lauchlan 
says (Hist, p. 316) fr. Bsete of Bute, son of Kenneth III., 
who lived early in eleventh century." In Blain's ' History of 
Bute ' (pp. 6, 7), reference is made to Boot or Bote y signifying 
compensation, or an equivalent, and to Bute or Beute, signify- 
ing spoil, as possible roots for the name. An analysis of the 
oldest forms of the word may elucidate its meaning Its 
present designation in Gaelic is Bold or Bbit (f.) One of the 
headlands is known as Rhubodach (RudJia, a point ; Bbideach 
or Bbiteach, of Bute). Rothesay is also called in the same 
language Baile* Bhoid or Mhoid. How long these Gaelic 
names have existed cannot be determined, since it is only 
in modern times they appear in written form. And the pro- 
nunciation of the genitive forms of two distinct words being 
identical, it is thus difficult to settle whether the name was 
derived from bbid, a vow, votive - offering, oath, or from 
mod, moid, the Court of Justice or Mote, held in Rothesay ; 
or again from a simple root Bot, of foreign origin, with a 
meaning of its own. In this last form it is found in the 
Islandic Sagas recounting the exploits of the Northmen in 
the West. 

To the Vikings the isle had the significant appellation 
of Boty Bdtar (probably a plural form), Boot, Boet. Among 
the documents seemingly taken by King Edward I. of 
England from the King of Scots' Treasury at Edinburgh, 

1 'Crit. Dissert, on the Origin, &c., of the Ancient Caledonians,' pp. 235-240. 

London, 1768. 

1 2 Mute in the Olden Time, 

and vidcd in 1282, was one marked "A Charter of the 
King of Norway concerning the Isle of Hot and certain 
others conceded to the King of Man." 1 Sturla (1214- 
1284). the Norse historian of Haco, in the Saga giving 
an account of the assault of the Norwegian fleet on a 
castle in Bute, Botar ( M ok svd inn til B6tar "),*' The Account 
of Haco's Expedition against Scotland, 1263,' mentions Bute, 
/'./, /.Wir, seven times, and as a substantive thus : " ))a gcrdi 
hann fim skip til Ik>tar" i.e., he (Haco) also ordered five 
ships for Bute. 9 In the charter of Alan the Steward dispon- 
ing Kingarth church and lauds to Paisley Priory in 1204, the 
isle is called Bott ; and in the Register of the House it 
reappears as Suit and Buyt " Fcrchardo de Buit," " Nigil de 
Buyt" * In a map of 1300, rcpublishcd by the Ordnance 
Surveyors, I>ott is marked. Baliol included the isle in the 
shcriftdom of Kintyre in 1292 as Boot (Act Pad., i., p. 44). 
In Latin letters sent to Edward I. in 1301, Buth and Bwte 

1 ' Robertsoo'i Index,' p. xxiii : "Charta regis Norwague super tnsula de Bot 
c( (|uibuscum aliis conceals regi Manniae." 

* ' Islandic ScfMi* voL il p. 147. The references to Bute in the ' Island ic 
Sagas' tic UMK: 

' Ok va inn til Botar. Ok \*x satu Skotar i Kastulum ; ok var stivartfr fyrir, 
cinn af Skotum." ' Ilakonar Saga,' ch. 167 (421). 'Isl. Sagas,' vol. U. p. 147. 
KulN Series. Edit, by Godbrand Vigfusson, M. A. London, 1887. 

" Hann gurOi fimtin skip til Botar." Ibid., chap. 320, p. 335. 

" |>cir vkyllilu fara til Botar," &c, Ibid., ch. 321, p. 338. 

" Hann ^otlisk xtt-borinn til B6tar." Ibid. 

" lU'.t af ing>njtutn." Ibid. 

" |vir allir taman Norflrocnn, cr K v6ru i Bot." Ibid., p. 339. 

"Var )t B6t, ok Henry, ok Kumreyjar." Ibid., ch. 322, p. 340. 

" pa let kooungr flytja lik frara holms inn til Botar ok var hann \s jarflaS." 
Ibid., ch. 326, p. 349. ' Anecdotes of Olavc,' &c, by the Rev. Jamo JohnstOM, 
p. 14 : * Antiq. Cello- Norman,' Ac, p. 31, ed. 1786. f 

* Johiutooc's edit, 1782, p. 48. 

4 ' Reg. Moo. de PaswlcV p. 15, pp. 127, 128. 

What's in a Name? 13 

are mentioned. The Exchequer Rolls of 1329 have Boyet 
and Boct. It appears in 1375 as Bute; in 1501, Butt, The 
Martyrology of Aberdeen gives Boit and Bute ; other Latin 
writers Buta, Botha, Buthania, Dean Monro, 1597, Butt; 
MS. Description of Scotland, 1580, Boyd. George Buchanan, 
in his 'History of Scotland,' 1582, gives in connection with 
Boot this interesting fact : " It hath but one town in it, bear- 
ing the name of the island ; and in it an old castle called 
Rothsey.' Blaeu's Atlas, 1662, has Boot and Buthe. In the 
vernacular of Ayrshire Bute is known as Bit ; and an ex- 
pression of a Lowlander's contempt for a pure Celt was 
" a rank Hielan'man frae the isle o' Bit." This was per- 
haps a reminiscence of the days when the Scots harried 

The name Bot may be fitly associated with the beacons 
raised by the northmen in time of war. Snorre the historian 
(1178-1241) points out that Haco had stringent laws regard- 
ing beacons, by means of which he was able to flash 
messages over his kingdom in seven days. In the Laws 
of Magnus, King of Norway, a chapter is found dealing with 
the " Fire-watch " " Um vita-vaurd," wherein authority is 
given to the royal procurators to compel the bondsmen to 
raise the watch-tower, gather the fuel, and light the beacon 
on sighting the foe, under severe penalties. 1 Olaus Verelius, 
in his ' History of Gotric and Hrolf,' Kings of Westro-Gotia, 
in explaining the fire-watch, observes : " Vitararz piles of dry 
wood which are lit on maritime rocks for the purpose of an- 
nouncing the approach of enemies ; they are also called bcetar 

1 ' Magnus Konongs Laga-Bseters Gula-things-Lang,' Harvise, 1817, p. 85 ; 
quoted 'Archoeo. Scot., 'vol. iv. p. 171. 

I 4 Rule in the OUU* Time. 

* pan/ briar? In the same author's 4 Index of the Scytho- 
Scandinavian Language,' we find the entries: M Bota, eld 
Tanda up eld. Igncm acccndcns Troj. S. ; " also, M Vard, ward, 
wacht. cxcubix, custodia, vigilia. Byaward, Strandavard, 
botaward. cxcubix circa pagos, in litore, in promontoriis ad 
strucs lignum inccndcndos visa classc hostili," &c That is 
to say, Bota are lights, and Botaward is the fire-watch at the 
fiamrrr OH the maritime rock, when a hostile fleet is in view. 

In the Suio-Gothic glossary of John Ihrc the word is fully 
explained, and is no other than the old English word bole, a 
live fagot, which the English beet to beet a flame is con- 
nected with.* 

No finer example of a beacon-rock or pharos could be 
found than that on the south-west coast of Bute called 
Dunagoil, the fort of the strangers, which, when fired, was 
visible to many forts on Bute, in the neighbouring isles, and 
on the mainland ; and which, besides, is vitrified by the 
action of fire. It may have given Bute its second name of 
"The Beacon" in the olden time. 

Rothcsay, as a place-name, is apparently Norse. The ter- 

1 'lint Gotrici ct Hrolfii,' Upsala, 1664, quoted 'Archxo. Scot.,' voL IT.: 
Vitar wot iriliriUHi lignorum strucs quae in maritimis scopulis inccmluntur ad 
ctgnificandoin bostium adventum ; vocantur etiam bartar ct vanf-tartar." 

' ' Index. Ling. Vet. Scrtho-Scandicac sive Gothicx,' &c., ed. 1691. 

* '(ilouarimn Suio Gothicum auctore lohannc Ihrc,' Upsalix, MDCCLXix., 
vol. i. pp. 254. 255. " Bota, accendere ignem. Alexander b6d et bdl oppbota. 
Hist., Alex. M. khjrthmica. Alex, jusstt prram accendi. Belg., fvier bate* ; 
A.S., AT/AM; Angl., Atari; Galli otim boater dixere unde bout c feu ; Ital., buita- 
/**, noliii fyrbStare qui ignem accendi t, metnphorice qui ducordias ferit Ostro- 
batmemibm alias bete mtmAim ugnificat ncscio, an phari montilnis impocili 
ikaoniinattooi occaMoni dederint." The ' New English Dictionary ' defines bolt 
as "some kind of tool"! 

What's in a Name ? 15 

mination of the word, " ay or " ey," signifying, in Norse, an 
island of the second magnitude (ey, a, oe, ay), is common in 
the names of the Western Isles as, for example, Cumbrae, 
Sanday, Molasey (Holy Isle, i.e., Lamlash), Herrey (Arran), 
Islay, Dyrey (Tiree). As before stated, Bute and Rothesay 
were synonyms. In 1594 Dean Monro mentions "the round 
castle of Buitt, called Rosay of the Auld." l During the Norse 
invasions the castle does not appear to have had any desig- 
nation, and is simply referred to as a " castle " (kastolum) in 
B6tar. 2 Consequently we may surmise that the name was 
given subsequent to the raids of the Vikings and the invasion 
of Haco, else so important a hold would be named in so full 
a work as Sturla's contemporary ' Saga of King Haco/ in 
which there are seven references to Bot and Botar. In the 
'Chronicle of Man' Rothersay appears. In 1295 the con- 
tracted form Rothir 1 is met ; later, 1283-1303, come Rothyrsay, 
Rotliirsai, followed by Rothesey and Rothesai (1404). In 1367 
the "Castrum de Raythysay" is mentioned. From 1397 
downward "Rosay" is the vernacular form. Wyntoun has 
Rosay. The ' Metrical Chronicle ' refers to " the young 
prince of Rosay." Martin (1703) takes a note of Rosa? 

In the genealogical tree which the flattering medieval 
chroniclers presented to the proud Scottish kings when the 
independence of their realm was called in question by " the 
auld enemy," among other nebulous monarchs appears Rothir, 
Rether, or Rothrir a descendant of Symon Brek ; and to 
some such great hero the founding of Rothesay, on Rother's 
Isle, was attributed. Martin says, " The people here have a 

1 See Appendix. 

2 "Hakonar Saga," ' Islandic Sagas,' vol. ii. p. 147. London, 1887. 

3 See Appendix. 

1 6 R*tc in the Olden Time. 

tradition that this fort was built by King Rosa, who is said 
to have come to this isle before King Fergus the first" 1 R60i 
is the name of one of the sea-kings found in the Norse 
1 Rhymed Glossaries.' But it is to be taken into considera- 
tion that the Butcmcn formerly preferred to call their burgh 
" Bailc-a-mhoid " instead of Rothcsay, as Dr Maclea pointed 
out a century ago: "The etymology of Rothcsay is not 
fully ascertained. Some suppose it Danish. It is of Gaelic 
origin ; the most natural and probable etymology of it is 
Riogh suidht that is, the king's seat, perhaps from there 
being an old castle in it the castle of Rothcsay, sometimes 
the residence of certain of the kings of Scotland. By those 
who speak the Gaelic language the parish is always called 
Cilia bhruic, or Sgireachd B/mrie, that is, St Brake's parish. 
And the town of Rothcsay is called Bailea Mhoide, or the 
town where the court of justice is held. The island of Bute 
is itself called in that language Oilcan a' mhoidt, or the island 
where the court of justice sits." 8 

In 'The New Statistical Account,' Dr Maclea's successor, 
the Rev. Robert Craig, while ignorantly declaring that " Cilia 
Bhruic" "is no better than a nickname," derives Rothcsay 
from Rot/t-suid/u, a "circular scat," which, he thinks, is a 
reference to the round artificial mounds on which the law 
courts Laws or Motes were held. 8 

Rothcsay Castle is a round fortress, and, as suggested in 
Mackinlay's history of the castle, may have been founded on 
a primitive Irish fort or rat/t, from which it took its name. 
" Rothcs may just be a corruption of G. rath, a fort." 4 It is 

1 Sec Appendix. * 'Sut. Ace.,' vol. i. p. 301. 1791. 

* ' New Stal. Ace.,' p. 95- 1841. 

Johnston, ' PUce Names of Scotland,' p. 212. 

What's in a Name ? 17 

a significant coincidence that the diameter of this circular fort 
is 140 feet, and that is said to have been the measure given 
by an angel to St Patrick for the cashels or outer walls he 
erected round his chapels. 1 But there are many place-names 
of the same build and feature originating out of different 
ideas. Rhos or Ros in Cymro- Celtic signifies a maor, as 
Rkoscollen, the meadow of hazels ; Rhos-du, the black moor. 
In the Cornwall dialect Ros signifies a valley ; Rosvean, a 
little valley ; Roskilly, a wooded valley. Ros in Goidelic 
signifies a promontory or isthmus e.g., Rosscastle, Rossbegh, 
the birchen peninsula. It is noteworthy that the lands of 
Rossy lie close to the island of Saint Braoch (Brioc) in 
the South Esk near Montrose, while the lands nearest St 
Brioc's Church in Rothesay are designated Rosland. The 
mainland of Orkney is called Hrossey (horse-isle). Rothy 
is a common prefix to place-names in Scotland, as, for 
example, Rothy-brisbane, Rothy-norman, Rothie-may, &c. ; 
Rothus-holm (Orkney). Aberdeen has its Rother's-toun. 
Rudri (Latin, Rothericus)^ was a very ancient name among 
the Brythons, and we see it descending to the famous Rudri, 
whom we shall afterwards find claiming Bute from the Norse- 
men as his " birthright." There is nothing improbable in the 
supposition that the fortress was called after him. 

However, I would suggest some connection between this 
compound place-name and the Lawthing or court, which 
must have been held in Rothesay by the Norse colonists. 
The fortress or Mote of Rothesay may also have been the 
Moot-stead or meeting-place of the court. According to the 
writer of the ' Statistical Account of Scone,' the Moothill 

1 Petrie, 'Round Towers,' p. 441. 
VOL. I. B 

I g Bute in the Olden Time. 

there was known locally as Boot/till, and in Gaelic Tom a 
Mhoid. The Norsemen, though holding the principle of 
monarchy, were ruled by democratic assemblies called Things, 
which exercised judicial and legislative power. These assem- 
blies were national, district, or clanThing. M6t, and Hus- 
thing, and had their own especial functions assigned to 
them. The Thingvbll (Thing-plain) was the place of assem- 
bly, and in its vicinity was the Thing-brckka, or Thing-hill, 
from which the decisions were promulgated. 1 Cases were 
also discussed within the ddmhrings, or circles of large stones, 
which were also set apart for religious functions as well as for 
duels. The assemblies were assisted in their deliberations by 
lawmen or logmen, who, like the rabbis of old, were learned in 
law and usage, and held their position by hereditary right, or 
were chosen by the assembly. The lawman was chairman of 
the Thing, and came to have great influence and power. 2 
From being originally a title of office (Lagamadr=juriscon- 
sultusX it became the name which some powerful possessor 
of it handed down to his lands and clan in Cowall and Bute, 
namely, Ardlamont and Kerrylamont (district of Lament ; 
in 1488 Kcrclawmond). 'The Four Masters' refers to these 
Lagmans as a tribe of Norsemen from the Innsi GalL or 
Western Isles of Scotland, the first mention of them being 
under the date of 962 A.D. (960, 4 M), when their fleet 
plundered Louth. Magnus, "son of Aralt, with the Lag- 
manns of the islands," plundered Inis Cathaigh, and carried 
off Ivar, Lord of the foreigners of Limerick, A.D. 974 (972, 

1 I'ont, in hi* nap of Bute, marks on the Ardbeg shore a site called Rillevoil 
(Hcilig-voll ?) beyond the old place of execution, the Gallows Koowc. 

' The Viking Age,' by Da Chaillu, ToL i. chap. junri. ft *y. London, 1889. 

What's in a Name ? 19 

4 M). The representative of this functionary in the fifteenth 
century was Lawmondson, the Coroner of Cowall, who paid 
the dues to the Crown. In Orkney and Zetland the juris- 
diction of this lawman and the authority of the primitive 
Norwegian law were maintained till comparatively modern 
times. And at the head court or Law ting the lawman or his 
substitute, the head fold or foud, was assisted by assessors, 
or, more accurately, jurors, called " Roythismen" or " Rotliis- 
men." 1 The term Rothismen is evidently derived from the 
Icelandic raedi, defined by Vigfusson as " rule," " manage- 
ment," connected with Icel. r/ttr, right, and was applied to 
the old odallers, or free men, who alone had a voice in the 
Thing. The descendants of these Rothismen in Bute may 
have become those hereditary landholders, or odallers, who 
were granted feu-charters as vassals by King James IV. in 
1 506, and became incorrectly known as " Barons of Bute." 2 
Thus Bute Rothesay Burg in particular was probably 
the very centre out of which the lawman issued his edicts in 
the district over which the Thing presided ; so that the Gaelic 
names for the isle and town, Baile' MJioid and Eilean a 
Mhoid, would represent the same idea as the Norseman had 
when he called the mote or moat on its isle Rothis-ay the 
rule-isle, or the isle of management. 

1 'Spalding Club Miscell.,' vol. v. p. 37. 

2 See Appendix in vol. ii. for this charter. 




For when the world was new, the race that broke 
Unfathered from the nfl or opening oak, 
Lived most unlike the men of later times." 


[HE existence of that mysterious stone circus, 
adjacent to St Blaan's Church in the southern 
extremity of Bute, popularly designated " The 
Dcil's Cauldron," to which rustics and scholars 
have assigned so many strange names and uses, naturally 
suggests that the history of Bute extends to a past period 
so remote as to be almost lost in oblivion. It is of the class 
of mcgalithic structures found in many countries far separated 
from each other, and usually referred to the workmanship 
of a prehistoric race remarkable for architectural skill and 
physical capacity. The silent masonry may yet divulge the 
secret of its origin and purpose, together with the names 
of its venerable builders. Meantime our historical data do 
not warrant a precise delineation of the sequence of the 
phases of civilisation witnessed here, in such terms as these : 
" In the scale of the former occupants of Western Europe 
we have, first, the flint folk of the geologist, then the reindeer 
folk in a hunter state, then the polished-stonc-using folk 




Prehistoric Inhabitants. 2 1 

(or pastoral), then the Celts, and lastly, the Teutons." Had 
the relics of past ages not been ruthlessly obliterated, the 
contents of mounds and graves cast away without being 
described, and primitive implements thrown aside, it might 
be otherwise. Still a few objects of interest survive, however, 
to illustrate several of these peoples and periods. While we 
may infer that the primitive race or races which held the soil 
passed through the three different phases of civilisation, 
the hunting, the pastoral, and the agricultural, the work- 
men who built this may be referred to so high an antiquity 
as to warrant the earliest consideration of them at this 

The singular features and situation of the structure afford 
a monument of a rude powerful paganism in retreat before 
the irresistible force of a newer civilisation. For there is 
a well-defined aim carried out in the form as well as in the 
site selected. It is a massive circular wall from 9 to 10 feet 
in thickness, composed of huge unhewn blocks of stones, 
enclosing an oval space 33 feet 7 inches in the larger diameter, 
and 31 feet in the smaller. The height of the wall still ranges 
from 6 feet to n feet. A narrow doorway, 4 feet broad at 
the entrance, and more contracted as it enters, pierces the 
wall at the S.S.E. aspect. One of the stones forming this 
entrance is 9 feet long and 2 feet thick. In structures of this 
kind sometimes the entrance was also low, necessitating the 
visitors to crawl in or stoop. Other huge stones, singly set 
on end or built on each other, form a zigzag avenue up to the 

The inner surface of the wall (Plate III.) displays remark- 
able polygonal masonry, formed of large smooth-faced stones, 
whose irregular joints and courses are neatly fitted into one 

22 llute in the Olden Time. 

another without a binding medium, and present an even face 
in the interior of the edifice. What remains of the wall is not 
hollow, like other similar works in Scotland called Brochs, 
which are generally placed on sites commanding a wide 
outlook. The hollow portion of the walls, however, may 
have been overturned. But this example is peculiar in 
being cunningly disposed behind and beneath a precipitous 
ridge, 70 feet in height, and in being built into this ridge 
on the west out of the wild rocks that have been weathered 
off the brow of the precipice which overlooks the circle. The 
ridge itself is a natural citadel easily held on all sides, and 
its strategic position could be rendered impregnable by such 
strong outworks as still remain in their ruined condition. 
The foundations of an outer defensive wall of similar con- 
struction, 6 feet thick, are visible and run parallel to the 
ridge on the cast so far, then sweep round so as to enclose 
a large space beneath the ridge. 

It is plain that the work is the product of fear rather than 
of faith, and the final retreat of some tribe having reason 
to shun observation, on account of a superior assailant. 
When screened by brushwood, the hold would afford both 
effective shelter for men and cattle and storage for valuables. 
Fcrgusson, in ' A Short Essay on the Age and Uses of the 
Brochs/ while attributing these strange buildings to a Nor- 
wegian origin, says : " For all purposes of active or offensive 
warfare the Brochs arc absolutely useless," yet " for passive 
resistance they arc as admirable as anything yet invented." 
" The Dcil's Cauldron," then, was the robber-proof " safe " ; 
the overhanging eminence, the final stand at arms. No 
ecclesiastical purpose can be quite suitably assigned to it, so 
it must be referred to a very distant era, coeval probably with 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 23 

the magnificent works in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Italy 
of a similar character and construction. 

The natives of Bute, in continuing to call it " The Dreamin' 
Tree Ruin," preserve both its Celtic name and the memory 
of an ancient superstition. The "Dreamin' Tree" is no 
other than the Celtic words Druim-en-tre, the little ridge- 
dwelling ; while the custom itself is clearly a survival of 
tree-worship practised by the same race who piled up the 
Circus. 1 Till very recently there flourished within its 
area an ash (some say a fir) which was " made for 
happy lovers." Standing together they plucked its leaves 
and ate them, believing this act to produce pleasant dreams 
wherein were revealed their intended spouses and true fates. 
Latterly, the tree had to be climbed together to obtain the 
prophetic philter so eagerly coveted. 

Several weighty considerations deducible from relics of 
language, remains of megalithic erections popularly known 
as Druidical temples and Pictish buildings and stone imple- 
ments, tend . to prove that long before the Celtic people, 
either Goidels or Brythons, occupied Britain and Ireland, 
another great branch of the human family of non-Celtic 
character had overrun Europe as far as Alban, carrying with 
them an advanced knowledge of a practical rather than of 
an intellectual type. Even Herodotus in his day does not 
locate the Celts so far west as a tribe he names Kynetes, 
or dog-men, whoever they were. 

The so - called Turanian people (which is a convenient 
name only for this particular type of people), as some eth- 

1 Druim, Drom (Goidelic) ; Dram (Cym.-Cel.), a ridge; Tre, Tref (Cym. - 
Cel.), a dwelling. This fate-making tree, sacred to the pagan Goddess of Love, 
gradually stripped of its summer glory, withered and died, within memory. 

24 Hutc itt tlu Olden Time. 

nologtsts recognise them, emerging from Asia, were of a 
restless, energetic, nomadic disposition, and having no equals 
in architectural skill, left their impress in those huge struc- 
tures of uncemcnted stone which arc called Cyclopean or 
Pclasgic work. In the neolithic age their implements were 
stone. The same characteristics which distinguish the 
masonry of the primitive inhabitants of Egypt, India, China, 
Mexico, who were not Celts, arc found in many buildings 
in Scotland, and especially where the mysterious Picts are 
known to have lived. Eventually these wandering Orientals, 
in an Iberian type, small, dark-skinned, curly-headed, long- 
skulled, represented by the early tin-workers and traders of 
ttritain, and probably the race in Ireland called Firbolg* 
migrated to Alban. They are still represented in Europe 
by the Magyars, Lapps, and Finns, although in Alban they 
gradually became lost beneath the stream of Aryan life 
namely, the Goidels and Brythons. In a late period, illus- 
trated by Greek, Roman, and Irish chroniclers, we discover 
these two branches of the Celtic race closely contending with 
an ancient people, of different language and customs, till 
they, pressed northward and westward, disappear in Cale- 
donia. In other lands the same race in the tug-of-war gave 
in to the Aryan, so here duly the Pict succumbed to the 
Goidcl. This survival of the fittest was natural. The 
Turanian was a pilgrim people, with no cohesive power to 
underlie political and social life, so without literature and 
a national spirit they were dispersed, leaving scarce a monu- 
ment Similarly, the Picts have left so few memorials that 
we must revert to the family stock to discover their real 
character and habits. 
Speaking generally, these pilgrims were nature-worshippers, 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 25 

assigning deities, who were formerly human, to visible objects 
and places ; were venerators of trees and sacred animals ; 
adored the sun and stars ; had ideas of spiritual develop- 
ment through the transmigration of souls ; and sacrificed 
even human beings to appease their deities. Religion of 
this kind is similar in its main features to the Druidism 
practised by the Gauls, and recalls the occult intimacy with 
the deities in nature which the Caledonian Picts in Columba's 
time pretended to have. Their literature was only oral, and 
their records were kept in very simple signs or symbols, and 
consequently vanished. Their art was practical and even 
beautiful, but conveyed the idea that the proof of physical 
greatness was man's highest attainment. Some survivals of 
this primitive spirit long lingered in Bute and the West Coast. 
There is a remarkable harmony in Irish ethnologic legends 
in attributing an eastern origin to the primitive conquering 
races in Ivernia or Erin. , They variously trace to it succes- 
sive migrations from Scythia, Egypt, Greece, through the 
Mediterranean and Spain, through Gaul, or round by the 
North Sea. Except in one particular, Bute is not much con- 
cerned with these legends. But from the internal shiftings 
of races and tribes in Erin, this general deduction may be 
drawn ; that the aboriginal people, who were not Celtic, were 
slowly cornered by the Goidels into north-east Ireland, or 
Uladh i.e., Ulster or forced into the Western islands and 
Caledonia, whither their kinsmen in Britain were also driven. 
The distinctive features, customs, and ideas of the conquered 
race remained long after their mother-tongue gave place to 
that of their conquerors, just as in Bute, families of pure Celtic 
origin, whose parents spoke Gaelic fifty years ago, can only 
speak English now. 

26 H*tt in tlu Olden Time. 

These Ulidians, Picts, or Cruithnigh, occupied Bute, then 
were disturbed by the Brythons, and finally amalgamated 
with the Goidcls from Ireland. They obtained the name 
Crttithni (Latinised Picti, painted) from their custom of paint- 
ing the forms (Crotha) of beasts, birds, and fishes on their 
faces and bodies. 1 

To these non-Celtic emigrants settled in Alban the Pictish 
Christian missionaries first came from Minister, where the 
Firbolg settled, and Ulster, as will be noticed again. 

It appears from a mythical account of these early migra- 
tions that, after the defeat of a people known as Firbolg, by 
others styled Tuatha DC Danann, the former overran the 
Western Isles, whence later the Picts expelled them. They 
were credited with being descendants of Symon Brck, of 
.Thracian origin, whom the Greeks had enslaved, forcing them 
to dig earth and carry it in leathern sacks or bags (in Irish, 
bolg\ They revolted, and turning their bags into coracles, 
escaped to Ireland. To Hibernian moralists they had a bad 
character, as shown in these lines : 

" Every blustering, vicious man . . . 
Every gross, lying, unholy fellow 
Remants these of those three peoples 
Of Gailitfin, of Fir Bolg, and of Fir Domnann. 

Three remarkable traditions which have a family resem- 
blance to this myth still survive in Bute. Perhaps the myth 
is only a popular description of the practical work of the 
primitive Ivcrnians, who mined for minerals and excavated 
for their cyclopean buildings. 

On the western shore of the isle, near Scarrcl Point, exists 

1 Prof, kliys ' Celtic Britain,' p. 240. 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 27 

a cave designated " The Piper's Cave," which the natives be- 
lieved to be the opening to a subterranean passage through 
Eenan Hill to Carnbaan or Achavulig (Ach-a-bhuilg), where 
its exit was. Supernatural beings inhabited this dark retreat, 
which no mortal dared enter. A bold piper essayed this for- 
lorn-hope, and was heard by his friends gaily piping under- 
ground until his slogan became hushed in the depths of the 
mountain. As he passed under the hearthstone of Lenihall 
farmhouse, he was heard lamenting that he had not a sword- 
hand as well as two for his pipes, and he would have routed 
the ogres and demons attacking him ("Da lamh air son a 
Phiob agus lamh air son a chlaideamh."). Then the music 
ceased for ever. 

Within a short distance of the scene of this exploit is a 
series of underground buildings, like huge cists, called Carn- 
baan, which also require consideration hereafter. 

When St Blaan, whose imcle, St Catan, and mother, Ertha, 
were Dalaradian Picts, after being educated by SS. Comgall 
and Kenneth, also Picts, returned to Bute, he brought with 
him holy earth, which the tradition says he had transported 
from Rome. As he carried his precious burden up from Port 
Lughdach, through Glencallum, to the site of his chapel, the 
" rigwoodie," to which the creels of earth were suspended, 
from his neck, broke. He implored a native woman, then on 
her way to the shore to collect " moorach," little shell-fish, 
to assist him, only to meet a refusal, however. The irritated 
saint replied to the disobliging dame : 

"An uair a theid thu do an traigh 

Biodh am muir Ian ann," 
z'.e., Whenever you go to the sea-shore may there be high tide. 

And after his church was erected he broadened this curse by 

28 Hulc in the Olden Tim* 

enacting that no women were to obtain burial in his cemetery 
beside the men. An adjoining piece of ground was assigned 
to females ; and this custom of separate burial survived till 
1661, when it was stopped by an injunction of the Presbytery 
of Dunoon. This association of St Blaan with a basket or 
bag is thus suggestive of the popular description of the race 
he sprang from. 

The medieval Castle of Rothesay, with its perfect Norman 
masonry, is a circular fortress, and supposed, on account of 
its form, to have superseded a Celtic Rath, and to have been 
built by Rothir, a descendant of Symon Brek. The tradition 
among the Gaelic-speaking natives was that " a race called 
Pcchs " built it with stone from Mountstuart, and that every 
stone was handed from hand to hand by a line of " Pcchs " 
extending from the quarry to the fort This myth, reduced 
to its elements, may perpetuate an important circumstance 
corroborative of the activity of the original inhabitants of the 
isle, who were not Aryans, or waggon-men, able to transport 
stones by wheels, nor yet sea-dogs, like the Vikings, carrying 
material by ships, but simple manual workers, of one family 
with the Bag-men. 

THE LANGUAGES OF ELD. Were a scientific analysis 
and classification of the place-names of Bute to be under- 
taken, it would in all probability be found that, as in the 
excavations of ancient cities like Rome and Jerusalem, 
layers of dt'bris of one period arc found covered by those 
of a later, and even the work of a departed generation is 
intermingled with that of its successor, the surviving traces 
of one dead language containing memorials of its immediate 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 29 

Generally speaking, the Goidelic branch of the Celtic tongue 
(as a spoken tongue) has held the field in Bute not less than 
thirteen hundred years, since the sons of Ere established 
themselves in the West. Consequently, in every quarter, we 
find a preponderance of purely Goidelic nomenclature, where 
one might otherwise have expected to discover reminiscences 
of a prehistoric people of a different race. The hill-tops, the 
prominent ridges, the striking features of the land, the lochs, 
the quarterings of the land, the villages, the churches, with a 
few exceptions, have been designated by Goidelic descriptive 
names. In other districts it is common to notice the traces 
of a conquered people in the popular names which linger in 
the memory in reference to places esteemed by the conquered 
or despised by the victor. Here it is otherwise, although 
there is great reason to suspect that many of the place-names 
have an origin with the primitive folk who preceded both 
Brython and Goidel in Bute. (See Map, frontispiece.) 

The paucity of the Brythonic or Cymro - Celtic names, 
together with the situations in which they are found, leads 
me to infer that the first people call them Picts, Cruithni, or 
Ivernians, were driven out of the isle, northward, long before 
the Dalriadic Scots or Goidels swarmed out of Ireland i.e., 
the fifth century. Or it might even be that the Brythons 
drove these Goidels west into Ireland, and that they after- 
wards re-emigrated, like the Ivernians before them. Be that 
as it may, I have afterwards to show (chapter v.) that there is 
a reasonable ground for supposing that Pictish missionaries, 
like Finnian, Faolan, Catan, Colman, and others Irish 
Picts brought the Gospel specially to these primitive folk 
in the West. And it was because broken families of them 
lingered in the Western Isles and dales of the mainland that 

3O flute in the Oldfn Time. 

the Dalaradian pioneers of Christianity found their incentive 
to mission-work here. 

The Appendix of Place-names will more fully illustrate 
this subject. 1 Achavnlig (Ach-a-bhuilg) contains a word 
which might be identified with Mg, a name in various com- 
binations found in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Role was 
an epithet of the early Pictish king Gartnail, and among the 
Pictish names of witnesses to a benefaction of King I fungus, 
given in the Legend of St Andrew, Bolgc appears. The 
" Firbolg " were, according to the chroniclers, a people of 
Ireland who "took possession of Manand and certain islands 
in like manner Ara and Ila and Rccca." * 

In Kerryffrn (Ceathramh fern, the alder-tree quarter, &c. ; 
Goidclic, fcdrna, s.f.) is preserved a word fern, which is the 
Pictish equivalent for anything good. I am not aware that 
the district known as Kcrryfern on the west side of Bute was 
ever noted for alders ; and although the prefix is pure Goi- 
dclic, there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the 
idea "fern? which gave this district its name, was a primitive 

Those obstinate words which cannot be interpreted, after 
the solvents of the Brythonic, Goidclic, and Teutonic tongues 
have been applied to them, might be set aside as a residuum 
in which philologists are to seek for survivals of the primitive 
tongue. I have already tried to show that Kingarth is a word 
of primitive parentage, which now exists in a more modern 
garb ; and there may be others which have assumed new 
meanings by being found identical in form in two languages, 
the first of which was strangled by its conquering successor. 

1 Appendix I. * ' Chron. Picts and Scots,' pp. 23, 27, 187. 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 31 

THE BRYTHONIC LANGUAGE is still represented by a few 
names, which resisted the interference of the Goidelic in- 
vaders of the land. The test-words of the Cymric language 
are not all illustrated ; but of bryn, a brow, we have a survival 
in Barone Hill ; of pen, a head (Goidelic, ben or cenn), in 
Penycahil ; and of tre, a dwelling, in " Druim-en-tre ruin " (cf. 
Cymric, dram, a ridge), the circular building at Kilblaan. 

If scholars are right in associating the name of the Cumbrae 
Isles (Kymry-eyiar, Norse) with those Brythons called the 
Cumbras, the Cumbri, or Kymry, who possessed Cumbria or 
Cambria a name which signified felloiv-countrymen, and was 
applied to the scattered septs of the Brythons wherever found 
then Bute may retain a reminiscence of them in the district 
called Cummermennoch, Cumer, maen (Cymric, mm, men, 
maen, a high rock ; ng]i, high), the high brow of the hill of the 
Kymry, which might apply either to the fort on Barone or 
on Dunallunt, between which the district lies, or to the now 

dismantled Cnoc-an-Coigreaich. In the 'Saxon Chronicle' 
we find Cnmerland, Cumberland, Cumbraland, for Cumbria. 1 

Llan, an enclosure, later the sacred enclosure or church, is 
a Cymric word, apparently appearing in St Kruisklands 
Church, and in Plan (Cym.,pwl, a marsh), the farm lying south 
of St Blaan's Church and above the marshy ground of 
Bealach Dearg Bog. In Rothesay, Rosland, in the vicinity 
of the church, may be connected with Cymric Rhos or Ros, a 
moor, and llan, the church. 

Dal, a meeting-place, is probably found in Dunburgidale, 
a fort ; Ardroscadale, a fort ; Birgidale. 

There are several prefixes and suffixes almost identical in 

1 Cf. 'Celtic Britain,' Rhys, p. 144. 

32 Bute in the Olden Time. 

both branches or the Celtic language which arc well illus- 
trated here, such as 

Dun (Gym. <////), a hill -fort DunaJlunt, Dunagoil, Dun- 
stronc (Goidclic, sron; Cym. trwyn or tran, a pro- 

Terr (Cym. twr), a mound, conical hill Torrwood, 
Torachrcw, Torachapplc. 

7, land Achantirie ( Tir-ith, land of corn). 

Teach and Tigh (Cym. (?), a house Teyrow, Tcyntudor, 

Ard t a height Ardmolcis, Ardroscadalc, Ardscalpsie. 

Cam or Cairu, a heap of stones (Cym. karn, kern Carn- 
baan, Carnahouston. 

Dair (Cym. dar\ an oak-tree Bardarach. 

/finis (Cym. ynys\ an island Inchmarnock. 

Hut the preponderance of the place-names arc of Goidclic 
origin a fact not to be wondered at, seeing that, until half 
a century ago, the Gaelic language was native in the isle. 
For example, Achadh (ach, agh, aitch, augh\ a field, plain, 
or meadow ; BaiU (bal), a place, home, town ; fiarr, a 
summit ; I-lur, a plain or battle-field ; Ccann, a head or 
headland ; A'//, a church ; Cnoc, a hill ; Cul t a back or corner ; 
Ctathramh (Kerry), a quarter ; Dntim, a ridge ; Lean, Leana, 
meadow, a swampy plain ; Learg, the slope of a hill ; Rath, 
a round earthen fort ; Suid/if, a seat ; are words of frequent 
recurrence. Thus we have Achamore, Achawillig, Acholter, 
llalianlay, Balccaul, ttarr Hill, Bardarach, Blarsgadan, Blar- 
mcin, Ccanngarad, Kilblaan, Kilchattan, Knocanrioch, Meek- 
nock, Culcvin, Culdonais, Druimachloy, Drumavaincran, 
Kcrrycroy, Kcrrymcnoch, Lcancntcskcn, Balilonc, Largi- 
brachtan, Largizcan, Cnocanrath, Suidhc Chattan, Suidhc 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 33 

Bhlain, and others. On the farm of Greenan (grianan, a 
sunny spot) the fields were named in Goidelic, until the last 
generation, when English designations superseded them. 
This is a very good example of the change which has 
taken place : 

Blar-sgadan, battle-field of Misfortune (burial-cairns found 
not far off). 

Glas-trom, grey (blue or green) elder-tree. 

Shan-tallon, seann, old ; talla, hall. 

Cnapach, hilly, lumpy. 

Reiliglas, reilig, a burial-place the green burial-place. 

Reilig-nerget, burial-place of Nerget 

Reilig-vourkie, burial-place of Vourkie. 

At what period the Goidels divided the isle into districts 
(ceathramJi) is not determined ; but of this division there are 
traces in those place-names Kerrycroy, Kerrymoran, Kerry- 
neven, Kerrytonlia, Kerrylamont, Kerrymennoch, Kerryfern, 
Kerrycrusach. The appearance of Lamont (Norse, lagamadr, 
law-man) in conjunction with Kerry would signify a period 
contemporary with the Norse possession for the origin of 
that word. 

The Goidels called the district occupied by a family or 
tribe (Cine) a Tuath. Each Tuath had a church, chief, and 

The tribe (Fine) held the tribe-land, the arable part of 
which was set off in shares to the free members of the tribe ; 
the pasture-land being grazed upon in common. 

The Flaith or nobles of the tribe held the inheritance land 
(Orbd) as a personal possession, and under them were tribes- 
men and stranger serfs. The Tuath was made up of Raths 
or homesteads, each surrounded by its earthen rampart. 

VOL. i. C 

34 Bute in the Olden Time. 

This word is preserved in North Bute in Cnoc-an-rath 
possibly also in Rothcsay. The burgh of Rothcsay still 
possesses a part of the old Fccht-fint or tribe-land at Wcstland 
and Ardbrannan. The leader or Toiseck of the tribe was 
elected from the nobles, and was supported out of the tribe- 
land. The Neils or Macneils of Kilmoric long held office 
as Crowncrs of Bute, a function which in other places came 
through appointment as a Toiseck-Dior, or leader in regard 
to the law. When the tribe-land became the property of the 
Crown, the Toiscch was called a Thane, and Bute is once 
mentioned as Buthania. The word Tosh (now M'Intosh), 
as a family name once so common in Bute, is said by Sir 
John Skene to be the equivalent of T/tanus. 1 

The Tuath was divided into townships, Dailes, Bals, of 
which there were Ballentua, Balicurich, Baliochdrach, Bali- 
anlay, Balicurry, Balicaul, Balilone, Balnakelly, Bailc' Mhoid ; 
and into homesteads, tighs, of which several have been 
already mentioned. 

The use of the word Butt a small field, a word of un- 
certain origin in this sense to designate a small parcel of 
land, is evidently much more modern than that of those 
above specified. We have Butt Glencallum, Butt n' tuilk, 
Buttblair, Buttnamadda, Buttnamcnna, Buttnaflorin, Buttin- 
luck, Buttbruich, Buttcurry, Buttgarry, mostly in the parish 
of Kingarth. 

The Northmen have left fewer linguistic proofs of their 
prolonged domination over Bute than the student would 
expect The survivals, however, are definite. Ay or Ey, an 
island, appears in Rothcsay, Cumbrac, probably also in 

1 ' Rcgiam Majcstatcm,' bk. iv. c. 31. Cf. Skenc's ' Fordun, 1 vol. ii. p. 447. 

Prehistoric Inhabitants. 35 

Scalpsie ; burg or borg, in Dunburgidale, Birgidale, prob- 
ably also in Ambrisbeg, Ambrismore ; haugr, a heap or 
mound, Ayshaug, Cuochag, Bruchag, Ascog ; wick or vig, 
a bay, Ettrick ; strad (A.S.) stroede, a row or street, The 
Straad ; /ms, a house ; ton or tun, an enclosure, Carnahouston, 
Langill in combination with chorad, quochag, &c. lang, 
long; gil t a glen with a stream flowing through it. 

It will thus be seen that the Goidelic language has, at 
least in place-names, held its own throughout the ages, and 
in all the more prominent features of the land is likely to 
continue into the remotest future. 1 

1 Merely for convenience, I use the terms Goidel and Goidelic in reference to 
the Celts both in Erin and Alban in the earliest times, and Gael and Gaelic to the 
Celts of Scotland only in our own day. 



" flow many different rites have these grey old temples known ! 
To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone ! " 

D. F. M'CA*THY. 

[HE history of the early races who inhabited Bute 
has to be painfully deciphered from such memo- 
rials as their weapons, graves, memorial struc- 
tures, forts, and dwellings in their now time-worn 
condition afford us. Those periods into which antiquaries 
divide prehistoric time, according to the character and 
materials of which weapons and tools were made viz., the 
Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages, are sufficiently well illustrated 
here to show that the same civilising movements which in- 
fluenced other places influenced Bute in their respective 
successions. The smallness of the area under investigation 
makes it impossible to obtain very rich relics from which to 
form generalisations. As is natural to suppose, men at first 
used their hands, and then the rude natural objects that 
seemed fitted to effect their ingenious purposes, a fact borne 
out by the observations of all who have studied the subject, 
so that even the Latin poet, Lucretius, could write 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 37 

" Man's earliest arms were fingers, teeth, and nails, 
And stones, and fragments from the branching woods ; 
Then copper next ; and last, as later traced, 
The tyrant iron." 

Of the very early ages when uncivilised man supported him- 
self by fishing and hunting and by herbs, roots, and fruits, or 
even later, when he gathered the refuse of family and tribe 
into " kitchen - middens," we have no memorials in Bute. 
Having no protecting medium, the human bones have dis- 
solved. No bone or wooden implements have survived. I 
have been informed of the finding of undressed flint arrow- 
heads, but one cannot determine whether these have de- 
scended from the Palaeolithic or Primitive Stone Age or 
were a later product. 


I. PIT-DWELLINGS : Barmore Wood and Hill; Barone Hill; Dunal- 
lunt Hill. 

II. CRANNOGES: LochQuien; Loch Dhu. 

III. i. EARTH FORTS (Duns or Raths) : Dunallunt (No. i) (Blain, p. 

117), round; Cnoc-an-Rath or Tom-en-raw (Blain, p. no), 
round ; Nether Ettrick (?), oval ; Nether Ardroscadale, 
round ; Ardnahoe, oval. 
2. STONE FORTS (Duns or Burgs) : 

1. Solid Walls: Dunstrone of Lubas (BL, p. 71), oval; Carna- 

houston (BL, p. 37), round (?); Dun of Scalpsie (Bl., p. 34), 
oval ; Clachcarnie (BL, p. 35), oval ; The Fort, Mecknock, 
removed (BL, pp. 91, 117); Castle Cree (Mackie's or 
Macrae Castle) (BL, p. 91), oval; Bicker's Houses, oval; 
Dunallunt (No. 2), round; Aultmore (Kilmichael), semi- 
circular ; Cnoc-an-coigreaich (Auchantirie), round ; Ardma- 
leish (BL, p. 114), removed, round ; Barone Hill (BL, p. 86), 
oval ; Drumgirvan (BL, p. 35), irregular circle ; Balilone 
(BL, p. 35), oval. 

2. Hollow Walls .' Dunbtirgidale. (Probably also Cree's Castle 

38 KnU in the Olden Tim*. 

and The Dreamin* Tree Broch at St H loan's Church, 

3. Vilrijitd Walls: Dunagoil (Bl., p. 75; Reid, pp. 15, 16), 
irregular, to suit ground ; (One of the Burnt Islands) 
Eilean Iluidhc (III., p. 116; Reid, pp. 15, i6\ round. 
(CASTLES: Kelspoke; Kilchattan; Wester Kames ; Kames; Castle 

Crcc (see above) ; Rothesay ; Meikle Kilmory ; Ascog.] 

1. Cists without urns: Dunagoil (Bl., p. 78), bones, parts of skulls; 

St Illaan's Churchyard, bones ; Craigbiorach (M acconachic 
MS.); Bruchag, Kerrylamont, bones and ashes; Cnoc-nn- 
coigrcaich and Mid-field, Auchantirie, skulls and ashes; 
Rhubodach, skull. 

2. Cists with urns : Straad (Ord. Surv.), urn ; Nether Ardroscadale 

(III., p. 92), urn; Hill of VVindyhall, several urns; Mount- 
stuart, urn, trepanned skull, beads, bronze, 1890; (S.-E. of) 
Mickle Kilchattan, urn. 

3. Barrows: (Carnbaan) ; Kerrylamont (2); Calmorayin; Mount- 

stuart, removed (Bl., p. 59) ; Kerry tonlia (2\ largest mound 
opened, found empty; Watch Hill, Upper Ardroscadale, 
bronze weapon and cist. 

4. Cairns with cists: (N. of) Bruchag (Maccon. MS.), 1817, orna- 

mented urn; Scalpsie, oval (Maccon. MS.), several urns; 
Ilreckoch (Bl., p. 85), urn; Reiligxdain, 19 cists, i urn, 
removed (see chap, viii.) 

5. Cairns or barrows unopened: Rudhabodach ; Kerrycrusach 

(S.S.E. of): Ardroscadale (No. 2); Scalpsie; (Ayshaug) 
Stravannan; Inchmarnock; Undraynian Point; Kerry- 
tonlia; Ballycurry; Dunagoil. 

6. Graveyards with cists : Kilblaan ; Inchmarnock; Stravannan. 

7. Disappeared burial-places : Kilmachalmaig ; Reilignerget ; Reilig- 

glas; Reiligvourkie ; Reiligvdil; Clachieran ; Gallachan (?). 

1. Dolmens: Bicker's Houses ; Kilmichael (Michael's grave). 

2. Passage Graves (?) : Carnbaan (Lenihuline, Bl., p. 100). 
VI. STONE CIRCLES: Blackpark, Kingarth ; East Colmac. 

VII. MONOLITHS : Largizean (3); Craigbiorach; Acholter (W. of); 
East Colmac (S. of); Ardmaleish (N. of), Skippers Wood; 
(Kilwhinleck, removed; Ballycurry, removed, BL, p. 91); 
St Ninian's Point 

Monuments of Unrecorded r fimes. 39 

VIII. SCULPTURED CROSSES: Rothesay Churchyard (Kilwhinleck ?) ; 

Rothesay Castle (St Brioc's Church?); East Colmac 

(Colman's?); Inchmarnock (2) ; (Guthleik's ? and another). 

Rude stone implements : arrow-heads, Loch Fad ; flints, New Farm ; 

(flints in Cumbrae). 
Polished stone implements: Ambrisbeg Hill (Lochend, Greenan, 

Loch Greenan, lost). 
Querns : Loch Fad ; Kilblaan (2) ; Rothesay Castle ; Barone Park ; 

Crossbeg (1891) ; Scalpsie (1891); Kingarth (1893). 
Weapons : bronze swords, Upper Lubas ; Ardroscadale. 
Ornaments : (undistinguishable) reputed tomb of St Blaan. 
Vessels: craggans in Rothesay Castle ditch. 
Rings: Plan Farm. (See fig., p. 82.) 
Fillets : Plan Farm. (See fig., p. 82.) 
Coins : Plan Farm. 
" Treasure-trove" : on shore opposite Millbank, Ascog. 

DWELLINGS AND FORTS. In prehistoric times the resi- 
dences of the unsettled and uncivilised tribes were, like the 
wigwams of the American Indians, or the huts formed of 
branches and reeds by the Africans, of such an evanescent 
and slim character as necessarily to have perished now. 

Where natural caves, wave-worn in cliffs, or formed by pro- 
jecting rocks, afforded places of shelter and concealment, 
primitive men sought their first home. There exist a few 
such on the rocky shores of Bute, which, even to this day, are 
frequented by "tribes of the wandering foot." But their 
debris gives no indications of their prehistoric occupants. 

The next form of habitations were pits, or shallow excava- 
tions in the soil, of a round or oblong form, about 7 or 8 feet in 
diameter, with a turf or earth ring round each of them, to sup- 
port the slight roof-trees, covered with sods, heather, or rushes, 
which kept out the wind and water. They were frequently 
on slopes. A small aperture behind afforded entrance to the 

40 Jiuie in the Olden Time. 

dweller and egress for the smoke from the hearth, composed 
of three or four flat stones. On these floors arc found the 
charred remains of fuel and of food ; but when undisturbed 
they are discoverable by the richer greenness of the turf 
covering the pagan's homestead. In some places they are 
found in clusters and not improbably the earthen ramparts 
(duns or raths) which crest our hills gave protection to groups 
of these simple dwellings. Four excavations, over 6 feet in 
diameter, on the north side of Dunallunt Fort, might with 
safety be taken as indications of human habitations of this 
type. But of these pit-dwellings I have not been able to 
inspect an example which might be viewed without doubt as 
to its original purpose. On Barmorc Hill and in the wood 
several scooped-out hollows are seen, but these may have 
been the hearths of the charcoal-burners of a modern day. 
An aged native informed me that, in his boyhood, there were 
similar stances of these so-called British houses on the north- 
ern face of Baronc Hill. These I have not been able to 

One of the most interesting survivals of unrecorded ages 
is the Crannog (Celt, crann, beam, tree), or lacustrine house, 
built of wood on small, oftentimes artificial, islands, or on 
piles, near the shores of lakes. In some cases these crannoges 
are entirely constructed from the water's edge upward, stone, 
clay, and wood being utilised, and the edifice was protected 
by a circular wooden stockade; in other cases, a basis of 
stones, on an island or peninsula, was made the foundation 
of the wooden superstructures. In early times they were the 
regular dwellings of a fisher population ; in later days they 
became refuges and retreats. Herodotus (450 U.C) first 
draws attention to these lake-dwellers on Lake Prasias in 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 41 

Thrace, whose descendants to this day live in houses perched 
over the water. 1 It is in connection with the instructions of 
the Persian king, Darius, to his general, Megabazus, in Thrace, 
to clear out the Pseonians. 

" Those who inhabit Lake Prasias itself were not at all subdued 
by Megabazus. Yet he attempted to conquer those who live upon 
the lake in dwellings contrived after this manner : planks fitted on 
lofty piles are placed in the middle of the lake, with a narrow en- 
trance from the main land by a single bridge. These piles that 
support the planks all the citizens anciently placed there at the com- 
mon charge ; but afterwards they established a law to the following 
effect : whenever a man marries, for each wife he sinks three piles, 
bringing wood from a mountain called Orbelus ; but every man has 
several wives. They live in the following manner : every man has 
a hut on the planks, in which he dwells, with a trap-door closely 
fitted in the planks, and leading down to the lake. They tie the 
young children with a cord round the foot, fearing lest they should 
fall into the lake beneath. 

" To their horses and beasts of burden they give fish for fodder ; 
of which there is such abundance, that when a man has opened his 
trap-door he lets down an empty basket by a cord into the lake, 
and after waiting a short time, draws it up full of fish." 

The excavations of these lacustrine abodes in Switzerland, 
Ireland, and Scotland prove, by means of the stone imple- 
ments exposed in them, that they have existed since the 
Stone Age there being found " dug-outs," or canoes from a 
single bole, querns, hammer-stones, celts, whorls, bone tools, 
and other primitive utensils. 

These island refuges, however, have been utilised in com- 
paratively recent times as strongholds in face of an invading 
foe. In 1005 the great Irish hero, Brian Boroimhe, invaded 

1 Bk. v. cap. xvi. 

42 Bute in the Olden Time. 

the Western Isles, and the chronicler says: "By him were 
strengthened also the duns, fastnesses, and islands, and cele- 
brated royal forts of Mumhain." 1 In the seventeenth century 
the Scottish Highlanders fled to crannoges with their valu- 
ables in times of danger. Two crannoges exist here, in Loch 
Quien (Gael, cuithc, a little trench or mound, a cattle-fold) 
and in Loch Dhu. As Mr John Mackinlay had an oppor- 
tunity in a dry season of examining these strange structures, 
I give in full his descriptions of them : 

" The ' crannoge ' of which I am now to give an account was 
discovered by me in the summer of 1812, and is thus described in 
a letter, dated 1 3th February 1813, which I wrote to the late James 
Knox, Esq., of Glasgow, who immediately sent it to his friend, 
George Chalmers, Esq., author of ' Caledonia ' ; and this letter led 
to my having a long correspondence with him relative to the 
antiquities of Buteshire. The following is an extract : 

" ' There is a small mossy lake, called Dhu-Loch, situated in 
a narrow valley in the middle of that strong tract of hill-ground 
extending from the Dun-hill of Barone to Ardscalpsie Point, to 
which valley it is said the inhabitants of Bute were wont to drive 
their cattle in times of danger. I remember, when a schoolboy, 
to have heard that there were remains of some ancient building in 
that lake, which were visible when the water was low ; and happen- 
ing to be in that part of the island last summer (1812), I went to 
search for it I found a low green islet about 20 yards long, which 
was connected with the shore, owing to the lowness of the water, 
after a continuance of dry weather. Not seeing any vestiges of 
stone foundations, I was turning away, when I observed ranges 
of oak piles, and on examination it appeared that the edifice had 
been thus constructed. 

41 'The walls were formed by double rows of piles 4^ feet 
asunder, and the intermediate space appears to have been filled 
with beams of wood, some of which yet remain. The bottom had 

1 ' Wan of GaedhU,' p. 140. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 43 

been filled up to the surface of the water with moss or turf, and 
covered over with shingle, or quarry rubbish, to form a floor. The 
ground-plan was a triangle, with one point towards the shore, to 
which it had been connected by a bridge or stage, some of the 
piles of which are still to be traced. There is reason to believe 
that the space between this building and the shore of the lake was 
much deeper, or else was so soft as not to bear a person's weight, 
which it can scarcely do yet. The foundation was secured by 
a bank about 6 or 8 feet broad, formed with small piles, filled up 
with moss ; and when the superstructure had decayed to the high- 
water level, the gravel of the floor burst out and covered part of this 
bank, which gave the islet its present shape. The water of tne lake 
is of a dark colour (as its name imports), owing to the bottom being 
wholly moss, and this circumstance has prevented the decay of the 
piles as high as the water reached, as they still continue in the state 
of moss-oak, many trees of which are to be seen in the bottom of the 
lake when the water is clear. This uncommon building was perhaps 
the pr&torium of this extensive natural fortress, formed by a double 
range of hills which seem anciently to have been covered with 

" At the south end of the lake there are several large roots of 
oak-trees still fixed on the ground where they grew : the stems had 
decayed down to the roots, where they were about 3 feet in diameter, 
and the roots were preserved by a coating of moss-earth. 

" I revisited this islet in the summer of 1826, which was un- 
commonly dry, and the water in that lake was consequently much 
diminished. On that occasion I observed an extension of the fort 
at the south-east corner, formed by small piles and a framework of 
timbers laid across each other, in the manner of a raft. It seems 
to have formed the foundation of some wooden erection which was 
destroyed by fire, as the tops of the piles were charred ; those piles 
(as well as the framework) were only about 4 inches in diameter. 
I took out one of the larger piles of the original edifice, which 
was 5 inches in diameter, and the point seems to have been cut 
by a celt, or stone axe, as the cuts were hollow, or as it were 

" There is another insular fort in Loch Quein, which loch is 

44 /?*/* in the Olden Time. 

situated near the south end of the valley between Rothesay and 
%Tl!p^ft Bays. And it also may be described as a crannogc, in the 
wider sense of the term. 

" I visited it in the summer of 1814; but owing to the water 
being pretty deep, and there being no boat on the lake, I could not 
get upon the islet to measure and examine it more closely ; but 
when viewed from an adjacent height, it appeared to be an oval of 
60 or 70 feet in its longest diameter. The islet (which is on the 
south-west side of the lake) seems to be natural, or the wall of stone, 
or stones and turf, follow its shape. The wall appeared to be 2 or 
3 feet thick, and about a foot in height remained. There arc two 
rows of piles extending obliquely to the shore of the lake, which 
cither supported a bridge or a hand-rail ; Ix-twecn the piles the 
ground is covered with flat stones, not raised like a causeway, but 
rather seeming to have been used as stepping-stones. The depth 
of the water here appeared to be about 2 feet ; at another place it 
seemed not to be above 18 inches; but the bottom is soft and 

" In the north end of this lake there is a conical pile of stones 
like a cairn, 9 or 10 feet in diameter, at the level of the water, which 
is there about 5 feet deep. The use of this pile of stones I cannot 
conjecture." f 

Crannog in Loch Quicn. After a personal visit I find that 
Mr Mack inlay's account is quite conjectural. The island is 
of a pear-shape, lying 100 feet from the west side of the loch, 
and is surrounded by 2 feet of water. It is composed of a 
dark vegetable soil filled with stones broken from the hillside 
and water-worn stones, and without doubt is artificial. The 
centre of the isle is 2 feet 3 inches above water-mark. Huge 
blocks round the edge of a circular mound seem to be traces 
of an encircling wall An excavation among some scattered 

1 ' Proceeding* of the Soc of Antiq. of Scot.,' vol. ii. pp. 43-46. Read iSth 
January 1858. " Notice of two ' Crannoges,' or Pallisaded Islands, in Rate, with 
TUns." By John Mackinlay, F.S.A. Scot. 





ytle row oF Piles with stories bebvirf 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 45 

stones in the centre of the mound exposed some flat stones 
which had been subjected to fire. A complete excavation 
would prove satisfactory. 

The isle had been connected with the mainland by a cause- 
way about 7 feet broad, laid with small flags between two 
rows of oak-posts, and fragments of ten of these substantial 
trees are seen in the water still projecting from the mud. 
One black oak-post, 6 feet long and 6 inches in diameter, 
with tool-marks on the cut ends, lies on the causeway. 

The other cairn referred to is a mere congeries of stones, 
about 60 feet in diameter, and 2 feet above the level of the 
loch. Here I found a smooth stone, like a grain-pounder, 
having two parallel incisions upon one face. 

FORTS. Nearly every commanding and impregnable emi- 
nence in Bute seems, at one time or other, to have been occu- 
pied by a fort composed either of a rampart of earth or a 
stone wall. These I treat of from their simple up to their 
complex form. 

Dunallunt (Dun-allerd), or Cnoc-an-dune (342 feet), is a 
grass-grown hill, whose top is entirely enclosed within an 
earth-built fort, 120 feet in diameter. The steep slopes on 
the north and east sides are cut by a ditch, out of which an 
earthen fence has been raised, apparently as an outer defen- 
sive circumvallation. The earth wall on the top is consider- 
ably flattened down. Within the circle on the north side four 
hollows appear as if they indicated the sites of primitive 

Cnoc-an-rath, or Tom-en-raw (the hill of the rath or fort), 
is a circular earthwork thrown up on the ridge, at North Bute 
Church (122 feet), between Ettrick Bay and Kames Bay. It 

46 flute in the Olden Time. 

is still entire, is surrounded by a stone wall built by Lord 
Bannatync, and is planted with firs, among which is the tomb 
of a former proprietor. 1 The fort is an irregular circle, 88 feet 
and 91 feet in diameter. The fosse is 10 feet deep. In early 
Celtic times a homestead was called a Rath, because within its 
enclosing wall, rath, the house and cattle-houses were built 

Aitrick (Atrig, Athriochg, Ettcrick (Pont has Ettricks), or 
Cnoc-an-Rath, Ordnance Survey), is a huge lovely green 
mound, situated in the valley of Drumachloy, 180 yards west 
of the farmhouse of Nether Ettrick, at the junction of Drum- 
achloy and Ettrick Hums. It has every appearance of 
having been formerly a fortified place. According to Mr 
Lyttcil (' Landmarks/ p. 300), " Great quantities of the stones 
which formed the ramparts have been removed within the 
memory of persons still living in the island. From north to 
south the fort or palace would be about one hundred paces in 
length, and the breadth from cast to west about fifty-four 
paces." The upper surface of the mount is oval in form, and 
is 60 feet above the level of the burn at its western base. No 
traces of stone having been utilised in the ramparts arc now 
visible, which leads me to think the circumvallation was of 

Nether Ardroscada/e.On the crest of the ridge above, 
and north-west of this farm exists the outline of a circular 
fort of a simple character, the circumvallation being of earth, 
unless the stones have been totally removed. It is 80 feet 
in diameter. The walls of what may have been folds to the 
south of this circle, composed of huge stones, arc still lying 
partly in situ. 

1 "James Hamilton of Kameft, tx>ra 141)1 July 1775 ; died 5th January 1849." 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 47 

Upper A rdroscadale Watchhill is in reality a burial-mound, 
and as such is treated of elsewhere. 

Dunalhmt (No. 2). The scanty remains of a circle, 80 feet 
in diameter, composed of stones and earth, are visible on the 
brow of a rocky ridge 50 yards above the road, direct west of 
Largivrechtan farmhouse. 

Dun Scalpsie (pronounced locally Scaupsay) is reared on a 
bold precipitous rock overlooking the Bay of Scalpsie, and 
having an aspect towards Carnahouston, the Dunstrone of 
Lubas, Dunagoil, and other forts in Arran. It is also a dry- 
built, irregular, circular structure, composed of the stones 
lying at hand, some of which measure 3 feet by 2 feet. Some 
parts of the wall are still in situ, and the walls of the door- 
way remain 4 feet high, being composed of large stones. In 
the larger diameter, north and south, it measures 87 feet ; 
south and east only 77 feet. The internal diameter is 54 feet. 
The walls vary in thickness, on the south-east side about 9 
feet ; north-west, at doorway, 14 feet 6 inches ; north side, 
where the stones are piled 5 feet high, the breadth appears to 
have been 20 feet. The doorway piercing the wall at the 
north-west is barely 7 feet at the outer entrance and 10 feet 
at the inner. There is no appearance of wall-passages. The 
south-east slope is defended by two fosses. 

Ardnahoe is an irregular oval plateau crowning a high con- 
glomerate rock facing Scalpsie Bay, and measuring about one 
quarter of an acre. On the land side it has been defended by 
a substantial rampart, 126 feet long, semi-oval in form, and 
composed of earth and stones, few of the latter remaining. 

Carnahouston, on the confines of the farms of Ambrismore 
and Ardnahoe, was formerly a stone fort raised on the plateau 
overlooking Scalpsie Bay, and opposite Dun Scalpsie. All 

48 Bute in the Olden Time. 

that remains of it is an irregular circular mound about 70 feet 
in diameter, on which a few stones lie scattered (Rlain, p. 37). 
The stones were removed for building purposes in the begin- 
ning of this century. 

Clachcarnie, or Clachan Ard, on Ardscalpsic farm, is a small 
fortified enclosure on a bold rock looking down on the sound 
between Bute and Inchmarnock. The wall is a semi-oval 
work defending the S.S.E. side, and with a natural breast- 
work on the opposite side enclosing an oval space, in the 
longer diameter 72 feet, in the shorter 54. The wall, now 
cast down, has been 12 feet thick, and formed of the big 
stones plentifully lying at hand. 

Dunstrom is a high rock surmounting the Sound of Bute, 
on the same ragged ridge as Dunagoil. Its eastern side is a 
wild precipitous cliff; the western is a steep grassy slope; 
the northern is a red sandstone cliff; the southern is steep 
but accessible, and by it is access to the top. The crest was 
crowned by an oval stone fort, measuring- 77 feet by 42 feet 
in diameters. The wall seems to have been 4 feet thick. The 
contour of the western face is fortified by a strong dry-built 
outwork, now thrown into confusion. Parallel to this, farther 
down the slope, at distances varying from 9 feet to 4 feet, is 
a second wall, and many of the stones of both walls arc yet 
;// situ. 

The forts of Dunagoil, Ardnahoc, Carnahouston, Scalpsic, 
and Baronc are in view of Dunstrone. 

Mecknock^ according to Blain (p. 91), " was a stone encamp- 
ment on the confines of the farms of Nether Kilmory and 
Meek nock, which went by the name of The Fort : its materials 
were removed not many years ago towards building dykes on 
the first-named of these farms." 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 


Castle Cree is a remarkable stronghold perched upon a 
huge clay-slate rock, almost perpendicular on three sides, 
which rises 50 feet above a meadow close to the west shore 
of Bute upon the farm of Upper Ardroscadale. On the fourth 
side the rock is separated from the high ridge east of it by a 
deep natural fosse, not exhibited in the following illustration. 
The top of the rock slopes to the west, and round a large 
portion of its rugged irregular brow the walls of the fortifica- 
tion have been deftly built, wherever a foundation was secure, 
so as to include as much free space on the crest as possible. 

Ground-flan of Castle Cree. 

A view of this almost heart-shaped site leads me to suppose 
that the configuration of the ground suggested a name for the 
castle, Crid/ie, which is pronounced Cree, being the Gaelic 
for a heart. Parts of the walls are thrown into confused 
heaps, but at the eastern apex (the easiest assailed portion) 
the building is quite entire, and gives proof of the immense 
strength of the fort, that section of wall being over 20 feet 
thick. Here, within, three portions of the wall still stand, 
to the height of 4 or 5 feet, being substantially built of 
moderate-sized stones cleft from the adjoining rocks, ap- 
VOL, i. P 

5O Bute in the Olden Time. 

patently forming a chamber (or a tower 1 1 feet in diameter 
internally). These walls all round are 1 1 feet thick, and 
have no cementing medium. Without excavating I cannot 
determine exactly whether the fort covered the entire rock 
or only a part of it, being oval in form, but I incline to 
the latter idea. The accompanying plan will illustrate the 
present condition of this interesting ruin. It is also called 
Macrae Castle (' Landmarks/ p. 303) and Mackic's Castle 
(Blain, p. 91 X 

Bicker's Houses. On a ridge of the heathy muirland between 
Barmore Hill and Kilmory Hill, looking down upon Loch 
Quien and Scalpsic Bay are remains of what evidently has 
been an oval fort. It has not hitherto been mentioned by 
writers on Bute, or marked on the Ordnance Survey. In its 
internal diameter, from north to south, it measures 116 feet; 
from east to west, 99 feet Both on the northern and southern 
segments the walls are distinctly visible, and in the southern 
part, where the doorway has been, two or three courses of the 
wall are still standing. Here the wall is not so thick (4 feet) 
as on the northern side, where it is 8 feet thick. Such dimen- 
sions lead to the conclusion that it had been a fort. Strong 
walls in the vicinity have probably used up the larger stones 
of which it was composed. 

Aultmorc (great stream) is a stronghold or place of refuge, 
singularly situated on the south side of the precipitous 
declivity overlooking the gorge of Aultmore burn in Kil- 
michael farm. A strong dry-stone wall, now overgrown with 
grass, brackens, and whins, 76 feet long, forming the arc of a 
circle, cuts off an irregular oval area, quite inaccessible on the 
other segments of the circle. This wall is 12 feet 9 inches 
thick on the south side, where it is fully exposed. At the 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 5 1 

distance of 30 feet from the northern extremity it has been 
pierced by a doorway, to all appearances 3 feet wide. Lying 
in this doorway is a magnificent micaceous schist monolith, 
8 feet 7 inches long, tapering from 22 inches to 18 inches 
broad, and 8 inches thick. In the middle, evidence of an 

Ground-plan of Aid (more Fort. 

attempt to halve the stone by cutting are visible. The 
diameter of the area, north-east and south-west, is 60 feet ; 
south-east and north-west, 50 feet. On the south side the 
wall is nearly 6 feet above the level of the fosse. 

Cnoc-an-coigreaich (hill of the strangers) was a circular stone 
fort on Auchantirie farm, removed about fifty years ago to 
build dykes and drains. The stance is visible yet, and the 
plough sometimes turns up the " founds." A tradition says 

52 Bulc in the Olden Time. 

a chapel stood here. In the same field several cists contain- 
ing skulls have been found. 

Ardmaleish Fort was a dry-stone fort in sight of Eilcan 
Buidhc, which formerly stood on a crest between the farm- 
house and Ardmalcish Point. According to Blain (p. 1 14), it 
was removed to build dykes : " Among the ruins were found 
two pairs of querns or handmills, indicating that the aborigines 
were not only acquainted with the raising of corn but knew 
how to convert it into meal towards their subsistence. The 
only other discovery worthy of remark was a few of the lower 
steps of two stairs, provided for the convenience of the people 
when they had occasion to ascend the wall." The circular 
foundations are partly visible, and it seems to have been So 
feet in diameter. 

Drumgirvan, according to Blain (p. 117), was an oblong 
war-station a mile south-cast of Baronc Hill. On a rocky 
ridge overlooking Baronc farm and Loch Fad, on the boundary 
of Auchamorc wood, arc the distinct remains of walls built 
on the rocky ground as a defence to what seems to have been 
a " fank " or " stcll " for cattle. On the west side there is a 
deep trench behind the wall. The circular wall round the 
fold has been of turf. From the irregular outline of these 
works I conclude that this place of retreat had been im- 
provised in a hurried manner, perhaps in more modern times. 
The Ordnance Survey omits it. 

Barone Fort. The crest of Baronc Hill (529 feet) is en- 
circled by the remains of a very strong fortification, dry-built 
with the stones easily procured out of the slate -rock of 
which the hill is composed. The stronghold has enclosed 
an oval area, 200 feet in diameter east and west, and 145 
north and south. The wall has varied in thickness from 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 53 

10 to 12 feet. While the greater part of it is dismantled, a 
good specimen of it is afforded on the south-east side, where 
the massive stones remain in situ to the height of over 3 feet, 
and give indication of an attempt to vitrify them. The steep 
rocky ascent on the northern face rendered a wall so heavy 
less necessary, and in consequence the foundation of it there 
is less distinct. 

An outer defensive wall, of no less massive proportions, had 
been thrown round the fort in the shape of a lozenge, so as to 
completely utilise the natural strategic position of the rocky 

To this secure retreat, as afterwards falls to be narrated, 
the burgesses of Rothesay and their families fled in times 
of hazard. 

Dunburgidale (Dun, Goidelic, a hill-fort ; Burg, Teutonic, a 
fortified place ; Dal, Cymric, a folk-mote, or Dail, Goidelic, a 
valley). This compound word gives traces of the successive 
occupants of the stronghold Brythons, Goidels, and North- 
men. It is a circular stone fort situated in a hollow on the 
ridge of hills overlooking the valley of North Bute and the 
Bay of Rothesay. It lies above Acholter farm. It occupies 
a naturally round rock with steep grassy approaches, and is 
in view of other forts on the island and mainland. There are 
no outer defences. The walls are dry-stone, built with the 
material scattered in the vicinity, but are much thrown down, 
without, however, destroying the outline of the fort. The 
stones are not larger than those used in ordinary dykes. 
On the north side a portion of the wall, 6 feet high, is still in 
good condition. The N. and S. diameter is 90 feet ; E. and 
W. 93 ; the inner 67. The walls measure from 10 to 14 feet 
thick, and are tunnelled on the west side by a passage 2 feet 3 


BmU in the Olden Time. 

inches broad and still 2 feet 6 inches deep. This passage was 
exposed on the fort being carefully opened by the Marquess of 
Bute. The doorway pierces the E.S.E. wall, which is 14 feet 
thick, being in the inner side 6 feet broad, in the outer about 
10 feet broad The illustration will better explain this inter- 
esting fort, which is similar to a brock 

of DumburgidaU Fort. 

Balilone is marked on the Ordnance Survey as a circular 
cairn on the crest of the peninsula which juts into the north 
end of Loch Fad. At no distant date this peninsula was an 
island. In wet seasons it is so still. It was eminently suited 
for a stronghold, being a steep rocky ridge on three sides, 
about 40 feet high. The fort, for such it was, is of oval shape, 
to suit the ground, and, roughly speaking, measures 84 feet 
from north to south, and 60 feet from cast to west. Parts of 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 55 

the walls are still in situ, and seem only to have been about 
4 feet thick, but in places are built to the edge of the rock. 
Traces of small houses or built-retreats are visible within the 
wall : to obtain a proper estimate of the fort an excavation is 
necessary. On the west or land side of the island, where the 
natural defences are weakest, two very strong parallel walls, 
composed of huge stones, run southward for over 100 yards. 
Across the middle of the island another strong wall is seen, 
meeting a wall running south on the east side. These enclo- 
sures bear signs of cultivation in former times. According to 
the Ordnance Survey a quern and arrow-heads were found on 
this spot. A little west of the fort is the stance of a steading 
overshadowed by three old sycamore-trees, which Dr Maclea 
in his Visiting Book for 1774 marks as " Baileanloine waste " 
and tenantless. 

Dunagoil Fort. The south-west point of Bute is a very 
rugged and precipitous ridge of porphyritic trap running 
parallel to the coast -line, N.N.W., and, at that part called 
Dunagoil, terminating in a small grass - grown plateau, 
rising above the sea 100 feet, and on three sides quite 

On the north a face of perpendicular rock, columnar in 
formation, sinks into a little grassy dale, once enclosed 
with walls, wherein remain two cairns and two prehistoric 
graves, opened and found to contain human remains in the 
beginning of this century. 1 The westerly front drops sheer 
down upon the rough coast-land. The side extending to 
the S.S.E. is more of a rocky slope stretching downward 

1 Blain's ' History of Bute,' p. 78* 

56 Bute in the Olden Titne. 

to the parallel crest of rugged rocks, swilled by the sea ; at 
the point there a capacious cave, yielding no "finds" as 
yet, pierces the headland. 

The access to the crest was apparently from the cast- 
most corner, but on the southern side facing the sea the 
wall is pierced by a gateway 8 feet broad. This indicates 

I'ifiv of Dmuigoil (front the wttt), 

that here was the access from or egress to Port Dornach 

The upper contour of the side running to the S.S.E. is 
guarded by the crumbling ruins of a wall, which gives evi- 
dences of having been vitrified from end to end, although only 
here and there the vitrified portions are still /// situ. The 
slope beneath is confusedly covered with the fragments of 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 57 

rocks and such debris of the fused wall as has not rolled into 
the hollow beneath. 

The form of the crest within the fort is seen from the 
accompanying plan. (See Plate VI.) 1 A rich dark soil 
covers the crest, and in the scooped-out stances of former 
dwelling-places nettles grow in wild profusion. 

The wall itself, laid down in the shape of a bow, measures 
285 feet in length, and generally speaking is 6 feet in thick- 
ness, the greatest height of any part remaining being a little 
over 4 feet. This wall is built of the stone of which the rocky 
site is composed, and a few gathered stones. Some of the 
blocks in the wall measure over 2 feet long. Some of them 
bear no trace of fire-action, others are reddened, many are 
reduced to scoriae or slag, while the remainder are roasted, 
glazed, or fused singly, or bound into solid masses through- 
out the line of the wall. At the south-west side, where the 
doorway is, the remanent stones have least felt the fierce 
fires of the vitrifying builder ; but below this portion, on the 
slope, are scattered the roasted lumps of vitrescible matter 
defying disintegration. 

The most intact part of the wall, at the western extremity, 
is not vitrified through and through, but the fused part juts 
into the loose masonry which forms a backing to it the 
vitreous stream having run into the interstices of the dry- 
built wall to form holdfasts, or simply penetrating like a 
wedge. Consequently when the front face is undermined, by 
the weather eating away the mould, or cattle displacing it, 
the vitrified blocks above being left to rest on movable foun- 
dations, are easily detached, and by their centres of gravity 

1 By Mr James Kay, forester to the Marquess of Bute. 

58 Hutc in tlu Olden Time. 

becoming displaced arc toppled over. This accounts for the 
destruction of the upper portions of building otherwise so in- 
destructible. Fortunately some of the lower parts of the wall 
arc preserved, and from it we sec that the fusing fires have 
only put a hard face upon the rampart. I am indebted to Mr 
Honey man, architect, for two sketches of sections of the wall 
at Dunagoil, exhibiting the union of the vitrification to the 
unccmentcd masonry. 1 

The fusing has been most effective at the western extremity 
of the wall, and this I account for by the fact that, when the 
prevailing wind here the south-west wind was utilised to 

Sutittu of Vilrijud Wall, Dmtagnl. 

feed the fires playing on the outer face, the direction of the 
tongues of flame would be the same as that in which we find 
the vitrifacturc greatest. Indeed, where the flame of this hot- 
blast terrific at times, if so needed was blown right through 
the angle of the wall at the westerly point, there the vitreous 
infusion is deepest, the vitrifacturc most complete, and the 
material most compacted. This western part of the wall is 
47 feet long. At its broadest portion it measures 5 feet 
6 inches of solid vitrification in breadth, and 4 feet 4 inches 
in height At the back of this mass lies a regularly built 

1 ' Note on a Vitrified Fort at Rhufrcsan, Ardmarnock, Argyllshire.' By John 
Hoocyman, F.K.I.U.A. 1886. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 59 

wall 3 feet 6 inches broad, the stones of which have also been 
subjected to fire, however without being fused. These stones 
resemble in size those used in ordinary dyke-building. The 
interstices between them are now filled with earth. I observe 
in the Eilean Buidhe Fort (see below) a similar proof that 
the vitrifaction is greatest exactly at those points where 
the strongest wind in this instance the south-east wind, by 
the reason of the situation of the hills, blown up the Kyles as 

West View of Vitrified Wall at Dunagoil. 
(Traced from a photograph. The under portion represents grass-grown rock.) 

through the nozzle of a bellows impinged upon the wall ; an 
observation which may also account for the imperfect fusion 
of parts of the structure. 

Eilean Buidhe (the yellow isle), one of the Burnt Islands, 
lies to the north of Bute in the Kyles of Bute, and is crowned 
with the remains of a vitrified fort. The islet, composed of 
gneiss, is 21 feet above sea-level, and covered with scanty 
vegetation upon the summit only. The fort is a complete 
circle, 67 feet in diameter from crest to crest of the ruined 
wall, which in many parts is quite levelled and overgrown 
with rough grass, through which the fragments of the vitrified 


Jiutc in the Olden Tint*. 

work appear. At other points the wall is in good preserva- 
tion, showing at the north-cast a face 4 feet high and 5 feet 

K/MM */ Htn/StJ Wall on Eitean BtuJlu (noriktm ttgmenf). 

thick, and also on the south-cast a solid mass of vitrification 
over 5 feet thick. 

What is a remarkable feature of this fort is the apparent 

Ground -plan of VHrifitd Fort on Eilean BuUht. 

stances of four towers at the cardinal points of the compass. 
Unless the upper portions of the wall in toppling over had 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 6 1 

occupied the ground in such a way that the material was 
ready to be utilised in later times for these little breastworks, 
a look of the ground is sufficient to suggest that there existed 
four little towers 14 feet each in diameter. And unless the 
south-west wall in falling only rolled down the bank a few 
feet, there has been an outwork on this, the most assailable 

The doorway has been through the wall at the E.N.E. point, 
where the defence was strongest. 

It is noticeable that the vitrification is best illustrated on 
the eastern half of the circle, and at those points where the 
blast, confined within the throat of the Kyles, was blown from 
the south-east with pointed, concentrated, and penetrating 
violence upon the masonry. It would be significant if the 
outer part of the wall on the south-east, and the inner part of 
the wall on the north-east, showed more traces of liquefaction 
than other portions, since at Dunagoil the most vitrified ma- 
terial is found in the direction of the prevailing wind. 

In the body of the wall are seen stones which have not 
yielded to the fire, but, rendered friable, have been banded to 
the vitrescible stones by the vitreous stream. 

How or when these vitrified structures came into existence 
we have no historical record. The methods employed by the 
fort builders in vitrifacture are also unknown. Blain declares 
that at Dunagoil fragments of charcoal were found in the in- 
terstices of the fused material. There can be no doubt what- 
ever that the ancients thoroughly understood the smelting of 
mineral and the fusion of igneous material, and that they 
applied this knowledge to the class of structures under our 

Vitrified building was long a mystery to both the scientific 

62 Bute in the Olden Time. 

and antiquarian worlds* Mr Williams, a mineral surveyor, 
drew attention to the subject over a century ago, and came to 
the conclusion that the vitrification was intentional, so as to 
form a cement to strengthen the structure, an opinion homol- 
ogated by Dr Maculloch. Mr Pennant ascribed them to 
volcanic origin : Lord Woodhouselce, who made an exhaust- 
ive study of the subject, thought the fusion was the result of 
accident in an assault by fire upon the forts: Sir George 
Mackenzie attributed them to the effects of beacon-fires. 

Dr Hibbert, in a learned paper, after a full investigation 
into the subject, came to conclusions which may be simplified 
thus : ' 

1. That vitrification is neither the result of volcanic agency 

(i>., the theory of Pennant, West, Barington) nor the 
result of a regular fabrication to form a cement 
(Williams, 1777). 

2. That Lord Woodhouselee's theory (1787), that vitrifica- 

tion may have resulted from conflagration of wooden 
ramparts, is not established. 

3. That the number of vitrified sites is referable to an 

extravagant consumpt of fuel when Scotland was 
densely wooded. 

.}. That if vitrification resulted from fires used in national 
observances, the vitrified sites will bear diversified 

5. Some vitrified sites were popular rendezvous in times of 

war and peace. 

6. Many vitrified sites were the effects of beacon-fires, 

formed by piles of wood (Sir George Mackenzie). 

1 ' Arducol. Scot./ vol. iv. pp. 179, 180. fciiiu, 1857. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 63 

7. Fires on religious or festive occasions may have produced 


8. Most of the oldest Duns exhibit no vitrification ; vitri- 

fication is not confined to areas bounded by stone 

9. The vitrification, in some instances, is almost invisible ; 

in others incredibly continuous and intense. 

10. The term Vitrified Fort is frequently erroneous, since it 

cannot be proved vitrification is confined to fortified 

11. That since vitrification is an incidental, not a designed 

effect, Vitrified Forts should be termed Vitrified 

The Neolithic or later age of stone, distinguished by its 
graves, cromlechs, dolmens, passage-graves, cists with bodies 
unburnt, and pile-dwellings, is more fully illustrated. By 
this time men had discovered the method of polishing their 
stone implements and giving them a fine finish. A few of 
these have been found and preserved. An exquisite specimen 
of a stone axe was found by Mr N. Duncan on Ambrisbeg 
Hill in 1870. It is now in the possession of Mrs Wm. Hunter, 
London. It measures 10^ inches long, 3^ inches broad at 
its broadest part, the face is 2^ inches broad, the thin end I 
inch broad, it is 2 inches thick, and 10^5 inches in girth at the 
broadest part. It is composed of diorite. Others have been 
found at Lochend, Greenan, and Loch Greenan, but have 

Many kistvaens, or stone chests, have been opened through- 
out the island, but unfortunately no accurate account of their 
contents exist, and it is impossible to state which of them 

6 4 

Bute in the Olden Tinif. 

belonged to the Neolithic, which to later ages. They are, 
however, arranged as far as possible, previously, in a table, 
and appear to have existed, for the most part, since the Hronzc 
and early Iron Ages. Generally speaking, in the Neolithic 
Age the body was buried in a kist in a sitting or contracted 

Stone Axe found on Ambritbtg Hill. 

posture ; in the Bronze Age it was cremated and the ashes 
placed in an urn ; in the Iron Age it was laid at length. 

In the hollow between Harmorc Hill and Kilmory Hill 
what seems to have been a dolmen (Celt, daut, a table ; tnafti, 
a stone table-stone) or table, composed of two large unhewn 
stones, supporting a flat stone, is visible at a place called 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 65 

Bicker's Houses. It stands, as figured here, on a bracken- 
covered mound among a congeries of stones of all sizes, like 
the rubbish-heap of a quarry, which, despite the confusion in 
which they lie, indicate they have been formerly used in some 
strong edifices. At one part it seems as if there had been a 
wall not less than 8 feet thick, at another about 4 feet. In 
the southern foreground a rifled sepulchral cist, 3 feet 6 inches 
long and 2 feet broad, is found. The table-stone itself is a 
rugged oval, now resting on the western point of its longer 

View of Dolmen at Bickers Houses. 

diameter, which measures 7 feet, with 6 feet for the shorter. 
It is a huge flake of the slate-rock cropping up around, and is 
21 inches thick. The stone which now supports it is 42 
inches long, 28 inches broad, and 24 inches thick. Close by 
are the silent ruins of human habitations, beside the sheep- 
folds constructed of the stones so conveniently gathered by 
the men of a past age, who then largely populated this retired 
quarter. The fort on the hill-crest was their warlike work. 
Memorial Stones (Celt., menhir maen, a stone ; hir, long. 
VOL. I. E 

66 Bute in the Olden Time. 

Scandinavian, Hautastonts). Of upright stones, probably 
reared to perpetuate the memory of some now forgotten 
famous personage or striking event, still a few arc left at 
Largizcan (3), Craigbiorach, Acholtcr, East Colmac, Ardma- 
leish, St Ninian's Point, Skipper's Wood, Aultmorc. None 
of them are marked with runes or cups, and neither history 
nor tradition breaks their silence. 

Michael's Grave, as it is locally known, is undoubtedly 
the ruined remnant of a very fine dolmen. It consists of a 
mound some 10 feet high, on the brow of a field, 600 yards 
south of Kilmichael farm, in the field adjoining the chapel, 
in North Bute, crowned by large clay-slate stones, evidently 
the pedestal of the table-stone now lying beneath them (in 
the foreground of the illustration). On the south side these 
stones arc five in number and placed side by side, nearly cast 
and west, the largest being 4 feet 3 inches high. On the north 
side one much smaller stone is /';/ situ, the rest have been 

The table-stone is an irregular oval, 6 feet 9 inches by 4 
feet 6 inches and 9 inches thick. The mound has apparently 
been rifled when the table-stone was overthrown. 

Various theories prevail as to what these Dolmens (or 
Cromlechs *>., circle or crooked stones) are. Sir Daniel 
Wilson says : " We have no satisfactory evidence that these 
are Celtic monuments. The tendency of our present re- 
searches leads to the conclusion that they are not, but that 
they are the work of an elder race, of whose language we 
have little reason to believe any relic has survived to our 
day." ! Formerly antiquarians supposed that these dolmens 

1 ' AiducoL and Prehist. Ann. of Scot.,' p. 68. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 67 

were the altars on which the victims were sacrificed by the 
Druid priests : 

" Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone, 
As a star from afar to the traveller it shone ; 

And the warm blood of the victim have these grey old temples drunk, 
And the death-song of the Druid, and the matin of the monk." 

Now, however, one prevailing opinion is that their use as 
sacrificial slabs was a development of their original purpose 
as sepulchres a perfect type of which tomb was a cist or 
chamber (formed like a rude house from which the spirit had 
escaped), covered with a mound, and surrounded by a ring 
of great stones. Sometimes this symbolical house of the 
dead was left open, and the cist was near at hand. At 
Bicker's Houses the exposed cist is 20 feet from the Dolmen. 
There is, however, nothing improbable in the supposition 
that even in the Viking age the Norse colonists may have 
erected or utilised this as a Jwrg or altar built of stones, 
which, generally speaking, was reared on a sacrificing mound 
or height. Thus the Saga narrates how 

" He made me a horg 
Reared of stones ; 
Now have these stones 
Become gler [as glass]. 
He reddened it in 
Fresh ox blood. 
Ottar believed 
Always in Asynjur." l 

The very name Bicker's Houses, the history of which I 
have not traced, has a Norse ring about it. The Northmen 

1 ' The Viking Age,' Du Chaillu, vol. i. p. 356. 

68 Bute in the Olden Time. 

also broke the backs of their human victims on a stone called 
11 Thor's Stone," or the " blood-stone." To later times super- 
stitious people have retained some primitive custom of 
passing through the apertures in these dolmens in the belief 
that this form of piety would ward off* the visitations of evil 
spirits, and provoke the grace of a happy Providence for the 

Tlte Bronze Age, especially the later portion of it, is not 
without representation in the barrows, stone cists with their 
urns, and the bronze weapons which have been discovered in 
Bute. Of the earlier period when stone was giving place to 
metal, and when the dead were laid singly unburnt in cists 
under round or oblong barrows, the want of accurate in- 
formation regarding the graves opened leaves nothing to be 

The Watchhill on Upper Ardroscadalc was, on excavation 
a few years ago, found to be a grave-mound, composed of 
stones from the shore and earth, in the centre of which was 
a cist containing fragments of bones, and what seems to have 
been, from its description, the remains of a bronze sword. 

The most interesting grave of this early period is that 
exposed, on 23d March 1887, within Mountstuart policies, 
close beside the West Lodge, above Kerrycroy burn. In 
a letter to Dr Anderson of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, the Marquess of Bute writes regarding the 
discovery : 

"The surface presented some irregularities which I had always 
looked on as a natural hillock, hut which, I am now inclined to 
think, must be the remains of a tumulus. About 18 inches below 
the surface the men came upon a large rough slab of red conglom- 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 


erate substance, 5 feet long by 3 feet 3 inches wide and about 6 
inches thick. It must have been brought from the sea-shore, about 
a quarter-mile distant. It rested upon six weather-worn flattish 
stones set upon their ends two at the head, two at the feet, and 
one at each side. Although the actual receptacle for the corpse 
was thus not entirely defended, it was very partially filled. When 
I looked in at first it appeared to be about three-quarters filled with 
sea-worn pebbles and sand. At the north-east corner appeared one- 
half of a funeral urn, which had fallen over eastward, and towards 
the south-west corner the face and left brow of the skull. We care- 
fully removed the urn. There 
was nothing in it but pebbles 
and sand and a small piece of 
cinder. We then took away 
the large covering - stone and 
endeavoured to move the body, 
but hardly anything remained 
of it, and what there was came 
to pieces in our hands. The 
teeth are very fine. You will 
notice a peculiar perforation in 
the left temple, which I opine 
may mark the place of the 
wound by which the deceased 
was killed. Close to this per- 
foration is some hard black adherent matter which I do not under- 
stand. The head lay on its right cheek, looking eastwards, or rather 
turned eastwards, and looking a little upwards. At this end the grave 
was filled with sand and pebbles, in which I am inclined to think the 
head had been purposely pillowed and partially embedded. The 
grave itself measures internally about 4" feet 2 inches by about 18 
inches wide. The corpse had lain upon a prepared floor of sea- 
pebbles, sand, and gravel. There were one or two pieces of 
something burned under the upper part. It had been curled up, 
the thigh and shin bones being very close together. The remains 
of the decomposed bones were adhering to a great many of the 
pebbles with which the grave was nearly filled. Near the feet and 

Cinerary Urn found at Mountstuart. 

70 Bute in the Olden Time. 

again near the head we found what seemed like the remains of 
a pin or skewer. The um was at the north-east comer. In the 
place where the hands had been, in front of the chin, there was 
a very small piece of corrupt bronze, perhaps the remains of a ring. 

Jtt Nttklatt found at Mount tttiarl. 

Under where the neck had been, we found i oo jet beads of different 
sizes, along with six larger pieces which had gone to make up the 
necklace. There must have been four rows in the outer divisions of 
this ornament and eight in the central. There is also one small 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 7 1 

perforated triangular piece of jet. The large stone on the east side, 
which lay almost in the lap of the corpse, may, I think, have been 
pushed forward in process of time by the pressure above and 
behind." l 

At a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, held on I4th 
December 1891, Dr Munro, the secretary, read a paper upon 
these remains, which he referred to the early Bronze Age : 

" The bones having been submitted to Dr Beddoe, he gave it as 
his opinion that they were those of a young woman. The skull has 
a small perforation on the left side of the frontal bone about an inch 
from the outer angle of the eye-orbit. The exterior edge of the 
cavity, which measures about an inch in diameter, is slightly raised 

Trepanned Skull found at Mountstuart. 

above the normal surface of the surrounding bone, this feature being 
the result of a pathological process which could only take place in 
the living body. The actual perforation, which does not exceed 
three-quarters of an inch in diameter, takes the form of a bluntly 
defined triangle bounded by thin edges. The conclusion is that 
this perforation had been intentionally performed on the living 

1 ' Glasgow Herald,' March 25, 1887. 

72 Bute in tht Olden Timt. 

subject, and that the subject survived the operation Tor a consider- 
able time, probably for many yean. The generalisation which it 
was the object of the author to establish viz., that trepanning the 
human skull for therapeutic purposes was not an uncommon surgical 
operation among the neolithic inhabitants of Europecould only 
be established on a number of examples widely distributed. To 
this Scottish example he therefore proceeded to add about twenty 
Continental examples distributed over almost the whole of Europe. 
In the course of this description the curious fact was noted that the 
pieces cut out of the skull were worn as amulets. Professor Struthcrs 
agreed with Dr Munro that the skull from Mountstuart was that of 
a female, and that the perforation was made during life. Professor 
Duns exhibited the skull of a man of mature age from an ancient 
grave, which had been trepanned" ! 

I examined, on April 10, 1889, two cists in the Mid-field, 
Auchantiric, close to each other on the crown of the field 
beside Cnoc-an-Coigreaich. They both lay exactly east and 
west in their greatest length. The top slab of the first 
measured 3 feet 6 inches by 3 feet ; the slabs forming the 
sides were 31 inches inside and 14 inches; the cist being 
13/4 inches deep. What seemed burned ashes alone strewed 
the bottom. A heart -shaped slab covered the other cist, 
which measured within 28 inches by 19 broad, by 13^ deep. 
The brown dust betokened cremation, but the perfect skull 
of a young person gave no similar indications. The upper 
jaw contained a few back teeth, under which new teeth were 
found projecting out the old. No implements were found. 
The adjoining field contains many cists of the same kind. 

> 'Scotsman,' isth December 1891. Cf. ' Fortnightly Review,' February 1893. 
On August 9, 1892, at the meeting of the British Association in Edinburgh, Dr 
Howdcn read a paper supplied by Dr Robert Munro on the subject of "Trepan- 
ning the Human Skull in Prehistoric Times," and referred to the Moontstuart 

Momunents of Unrecorded Times, 73 

Tumuli, or mounds of earth, or cairns of stones covered 
with earth, a few in number, remain undisturbed by the 
ruthless ploughshare, and still possessing their hidden con- 
tents. These represent labour, and as only the influential and 
mighty could command this, we may conclude that all these 
mounds and cairns cover a popular personage, or a leader of 
men, in 

"A little urn a little dust inside, 
Which once outbalanced the large earth, albeit 
To-day a four-years' child might carry it." 

These tumuli are tabulated at the beginning of this chapter. 

There are several important monuments of a prehistoric 
age which might with propriety be referred to the earliest 
epoch, including the stone cells at Lenihuline, as well as the 
stone circles at Blackpark-Kingarth and Colmac, all of which 
give proof of the dexterity of the aborigines in handling huge 

Carnbaan, or white cairn, is one of the most remarkable 
relics of a bygone age which exist in Bute. It is to be found 
in the south-east corner of South Lenihuline Wood, close to 
the stream. We are indebted to Mr Blain (pp. 100, 101) for 
a long description of it, as it appeared at the beginning of 
this century, in these terms: 

" A pile of stones thrown together in a rude manner along the 
surface of the ground in the form of a cross, the body whereof has 
been about 168 feet long by about 15 in width, and the transverse 
about 75 feet or thereabout. Of this last little now remains, as the 
fence of the wood has been cut alongst it, and the most of the 
stones of which it was composed carried off to help in facing up the 
enclosure there, and in its neighbourhood. The shaft of the cross 
was all along formed below into cavities or chests by the placing of 
large broad stones at the sides, end, and bottom of each, or where 

74 Bute in the OMtn Time. 

stones of sufficient sue were not at hand, it was done of common 
masonry, without any sort of mortar ; all of them had l>ccn covered 
with other flat stones. They were discovered on taking away mate- 
rials for the ncighlxniring fences, when many of them wen destroyed 
or filled up. A few, after having been looked into, remain unfilled, 
and were left uncovered until about a dozen years ago, that the 
farmer, finding some of his sheep occasionally fell in, and, not being 
able to extricate themselves, perished by famine, he filled them up 
or had them destroyed, except one left for a specimen, but so far 
covered as to prevent the sheep from entering. The dimensions of 
it arc about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide, the depth at present about 
30 inches ; it may have been deeper, though now filled up with rub- 
bish. . . . The people in the neighbourhood regard it with some 
degree of awe, and I was told by a farmer that apparitions arc some- 
times seen about it. When I questioned him concerning their form, 
and whether he had seen any, his answer was that they resembled .1 
sail set upon a vessel, but added honestly that for his own pan he 
had not beheld it He told me that considerable numbers of adders 
lurked in the cairn." 

After speculating upon the various uses it might have been 
put to, Mr Blain concludes it was " a fanciful work of some 
hermit who had chosen that neighbourhood for his retire- 
ment," and that it was a Christian cross. 

In 1858 Mr John Mackinlay thus described it: 

"This cairn, called 'Cairn-baan,' />., the White Cairn is 
situated in the east end of the south wood of Lcnihulinc the 
Field of Hollies in the north end of Bute. It consists of a mound 
of stones 200 feet in length, lying east and west, and from 15 to 24 
feet in breadth. Near its east end there is a transverse piece, like 
the transom of a cross, 47 feet in length. When the wood was 
enclosed, many years ago, the portion of the stem of the cross 
(about 25 feet in length) above the transom, which projected beyond 
the line of fence of the wood, was removed, and its materials were 
used in the construction of the fence ; but the form and extent of 
the part removed was (and I believe still is) perfectly distinct, its 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 75 

outline being defined by a line of small debris. At the west end of 
the stem of the cross there is a cell, 4 feet 6 inches long by 2 feet 
3 inches wide and 3 feet deep, the top, sides, and ends of which 
are formed of flags of schistus. The country-people believed that 
there was a series of such cells all along the body of the cross ; 
and in order to ascertain this point I took a labourer with me in 
summer 1833, and opened up the top of the mound all along at 
short intervals, and found that the whole of the mound was com- 
posed of shapeless lumps of wacken, schistus, and quartz, about the 
size of a man's head, and apparently brought from the channel of the 
burn at the bottom of the bank on which it is placed ; and I could 
find no trace of any cells, or any flags capable of making them, 
except one or two near the intersection of the cross, where it is said 
that a cell or cells were found at the time the east end was removed. 
" It may be inferred, from its being made in the form of a cross, 
that it was constructed after the introduction of Christianity, as a 
penance for some grievous offence ; and that the cell at the west 
end, which the top flag only partially covered, leaving an opening 
wide enough to let a man creep in, was a place of penance, in 
which the offender might crouch while reciting his penitential 
prayers. At least this cairn does not seem capable of being used 
for any other purpose." 1 

The writer here refers to the Borras or Borradhs in Kilfinan, 
as explained in the 'Statistical Account,' vol. xiv. p. 257. 

I am able, after several inspections of the cairn, to supple- 
ment and correct these details. 

The cairn is now a long congeries of moss and grass grown 
stones, broken from the slate-rock cropping up in the vicinity, 
and extends within the wood 165 feet, varying in breadth 
from 15 feet to 19 feet over its irregular ridge, and 5 feet 
high. The Ordnance surveyors make the cairn terminate in a 
circular mound within the fence, which, as Blain states, severed 

1 "Description of a Cairn on the Island of Bute." By John Mackinlay, Esq., 
F.S.A. Scot. Read I3th December 1858. ' Proc. Soc. Ant,' vol. iii. p. 180-182. 

76 Bute in the Olden Time. 

the cross-head ; but beyond this fence and fosse a slight mound, 
some 20 feet in diameter, is still visible at the cast end. 

The cairn declines westward. At its W.S.W. end it termi- 
nates in a circular congeries of stones, moss and grass grown, 
22 feet in diameter (as shown in the illustration), in the centre 
of which remains a cell, partly covered with a flagstone. The 
cell in its greater length lies E.N.E. and W.S.W. It is com- 
posed of four great slabs set on edge, which measure as 
follow : 

E.N.E. 3 ft 2 in. high X 3 ft. 4 in. broad at floor. 

S.W.S. 3 .1 OH .. X 3 5 .1 n 

N. 3 n ii n n x 4 M 4 M n (in middle). 

S. 3 n o n n x 4 n 8 M n n (n in. thick). 

The lid measures 5 feet 9 inches long and 5 feet broad, and 5 
inches thick. The aperture is I foot 10 inches long and I foot 
broad. All these stones are blocks of the natural rock, in no 
way dressed, and irregular in shape three of the side slabs 
terminating in points on which the lid rested, and probably 
swung. The bottom of the cell is overlaid with a layer of vege- 
table mould, but is floored with thin flags about I foot square. 

At a distance of 30 feet from the cast end another quite 
intact oblong cist is exposed at the south side of the main 
body of the cairn, its greater length being at right angles to 
the direction of the cairn. It consists of four slabs set on 
edge, and measures internally 3 feet long, 2 feet broad, and 2 
feet deep. The covering, which is a ragged triangular slab, 
measures 5 feet 6 inches long, 4 feet 6 inches broad (at the 
broadest part), and 5 inches thick, and rests partly over and 
upon the cist 

No fewer than fourteen cavities exist along the length of 
the stone-formed ridge, but it would, in their present confused 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 


and ruined condition, be hazardous to infer whether these 
were each an independent cist, or only parts of a continuous 
passage throughout the cairn. The stones lying in these holes 
vary in size from I foot to 3 feet and more. 

Plan of Cist or Cell in Carnbaan. 

The purpose for which Carnbaan was gathered, and the 
two cists still left intact were set up, I think cannot be far 
to seek. It is a sepulchral monument. 

Tacitus informs us that the Germans had underground 
dens into which they fled for safety from their enemies, to 
escape the cold, and wherein they stored their fruits. 1 

Diodorus Siculus says of the ancient Britons : " They 

1 Tacitus, ( De Moribus Germanorum,' cap. xvi. : "Solent et subterraneos 
specus aperire ; eosque multo, insuper fimo onerant, suffugium hiemi, et recepta- 
culum frugibus, quia rigorem frigorum ejusmodi locis molliunt ; et si quando hostis 
advenit aperta populate, abdita autem et defossa, aut ignorantur, aut eo ipso 
fallunt quod quasrenda sunt." 

78 Bute in the Olden Tim*. 

dwelt in mean cottages, covered for the most part with 
reeds or sticks. In reaping their corn they cut off the cars 
from the stalk, and so house them up in repositories under 
ground ; thence they take and pluck out the grains of as 
many of the oldest of them as may serve them for the day, 
and after they have bruised the corn, make it into bread." ! 

Unless the shaft of the cairn had originally been a con- 
tinuous passage, there is no suitability in this mass of small 
stones for so useful a purpose as a granary. The lid of the 
greater cist is so large that one implies it was not meant for 
frequent moving, which would be necessary if the cell was 
only a lurking-place in times of danger. From Blain's 
account it would appear there had been several others of 
a similar form throughout the cairn. These must have been 
much smaller in dimensions, as no very large stones arc 
visible now. Both cists arc after the type of burial-cists. 

It is possible the cairn was a tribe burial-place in the early 
period of Christian civilisation, while the pagan form of burial 
still lingered side by side with belief in the cross. 

The Circle in Blackpark, or Langalchorad, plantation, 580 
yards distant from Kingarth Parish Church, is now (as in 
Blain's day, p. 67) represented by three huge stones, one 
being a reddish conglomerate, the others being whin. They 
form a segment of a circle which must have been 86 feet in 
diameter, and, at the same ratio of distances between the 
remaining stones, must have been bounded by nine stones. 
From the middle stone the other two are respectively 28 feet 
and 30 feet distant They measure in height, respectively, 
7 feet (i>, the conglomerate), 8# feet (the middle stone), and 

1 Bk. v. cap. ii. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 79 

7 feet. The middle stone, as shown in the illustration, is split 
into two halves. I have been informed by an aged lady, 
lately deceased, that in the beginning of this century one of 

View of Stone Circle at Blackpark, Kingarth. 

the stones rocked. There is a small excavation in the middle 
of this circle, the object of which is not ascertained. 

We may say of these stones what Matthew Arnold says of 
" the giant stones of Carnac " : 

" No priestly stern procession now 

Moves through their rows of pillars old ; 
No victims bleed, no Druids bow 
Sheep make the daisied isles their fold. 

From bush to bush the cuckoo flies, 

The orchis red gleams everywhere ; 
Gold furze with broom in blossom vies, 

The bluebells perfume all the air." 

80 Bute in the Olden Time. 

While the purposes of these circles have long occupied con- 
sideration, and the result has been to assign them various 
Ml as temples, courts of justice, burial-places, it may not be 
far from the truth to view them in relation to the worship of 
the sun. 1 Developments might arise. A pure sun-worship 
might be associated with or give place to the worship of 
ancestors when their burial-places were surrounded with a 
circle. There too sacrifices, even human, would be acceptable, 
and the altar become a bloodstone as among the Northmen. 
The use of criminal victims might suggest its fitting nature 
for courts of doom and trial ; and when all these purposes 
were superseded, the circle remained in use to mark the tomb 
of the honoured dead, with whom in most instances it was 

On Largizean farm, adjacent to the sea-shore, three large 
whinstone boulders arc reared in a line, about 10 feet from 
each other. They measure respectively 5 feet 2 inches high 
by 4 feet 2 indies broad ; 5 feet 6 inches by 3 feet 4 inches ; 
7 feet 3 inches by 4 feet 10 inches. What object they served 
has not been demonstrated, and it would be idle to conjecture 
whether they were grave-stones (bautasteinar), landmarks for 
boats, or altars (stalli). 

In the same field, at the northern fence, several spear-heads 
were found. 

The bronze weapons found on Lubas by the Rev. Mr 
M'Gill are thus described in the ' Proceedings of the Society 
of Antiquaries ' : " Three bronze broad daggers or sword- 
blades, with rivet-holes at their broad extremities for fasten- 

1 Rhys, Lect. ' On Origin and Growth of Religion as illustrated by Celtic 
Heathendom,' pp. 191-197. Load., 1888. Hibbctt Lectures, 1886. 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 


ing the blades to the handles ; they are from 10 inches to 
13^ inches in length, and 3 inches in breadth at the base 
or widest part next the handle. One of them is much 
corroded. Found along with two others in the parish of 
Kingarth, Bute." 1 

Kilmachalmaig Circle. Almost in the centre of the lovely 
fertile strath stretching between North Bute Church and 
Ettrick Bay, exists a circular beech plantation, 460 yards 
direct south of South St Colmac farmhouse. Encircling 
almost the whole area of the plantation are the stones, which 

A 9 


Ground-plan of Stone Circle at Kilmachalmaig, 

Distance from 

To centre 

centre of 




A, Broken 




B, Broken 




C, 7 ft. 3 in. 


4 ft. 

2 in. broad, 







D, 6 ft. 7 in 





6 in. 






E, Broken 




F, Broken 





G, 5 ft. 3 in. 

high, 2 ft. 

6 in. broad, 


6 in. thick 





H, 5 ft. 9 in 

high, 3 ft. 



8 in. 


H to 




1 'Proc. Soc. Antiq. of Scot.,' vol. iv. p. 396, loth February 1862. 
VOL. I. F 


fiittf in the Olden Time. 

originally formed a ring 45 feet in diameter. Of these, two 
on the north side arc quite entire, and also two on the south 


GoU Kings, Fillets, and Bar of Siher found on Plan Farm, 1864. 

side, one of which, however, is displaced from the circle. 
Other four stones arc visible above the grass ; but having 

Monuments of Unrecorded Times. 83 

been of the slate-rock of the district, have been broken 

The stone H has evidently been displaced a little. The 
circle when complete consisted of nine stones, and the 
diameter of the circle would consequently be 45 feet. No 
tradition nor name attaches to the circle, but it may have 
given part of the name to the adjoining farms of Kneslag- 
vourathy, Kneslaglone and Kneslagmory (Crioslach, Goidelic, 
a circle), and, indeed, the vourathy of the first place-name, if 
it could be interpreted, might throw light on the subject. 

Finds. The rings, fillets, &c., referred to in the Table of 
Relics, as found at Plan, are thus described in the Catalogue 
of the National Museum of Antiquities, in which they are 
kept : " From near St Blane's Church, Bute viz., penannular 
ring (190 grains) ; small ring of twisted wires (202 grains) ; 
fillets or bands with punctulated ornamentation ; small bar 
of silver (228 grains), found with pennies of David I. of Scot- 
land, Henry I. and Stephen of England Treasure Trove, 

8 4 



" O melancholy brothers, dark, dark, dark ! 
O battling in black floods without an ark ! 

O spectral wanderers of unholy night ! 
My soul hath bled for you those sunless years, 
With bitter blood-drops running down like tears : 
O dark, dark, dark, withdrawn from joy and light." 

" B. V." 

|T the time when Christianity began to contend 
with heathenism in the British Isles, the abo- 
riginal inhabitants, wherever existing, practised 
those rites of Druidism described by Csesar in 
his description of the Gauls, and by Tacitus in relation to the 
Brythons of Mona. Human sacrifices to the gods, and the 
search for auguries in the entrails of the sacrificed victims, 
with other detestable superstitions, characterised the Druidism 
practised in the dark oak-groves. 1 

The Celtic Brythons seemed to have been polytheists of a 
more refined type, as Professor Rhys points out, worshipping 
great deities, corresponding to the Mercury, Apollo, Mars, 

1 Tac, 'Ann.,' xiv. 31. 

The Introduction of Christianity. 85 

Jupiter, Minerva, Dis of the classical Pantheon, as well as 
minor deities, divine mothers and virgins, spirits, and heroes, 
who were given " local habitation and a name " in prominent 
places and useful objects. 

The Goidels in Erin introduced Druidic customs into their 
religion, and retained the " Drui," the " Gall-Drui " (the foreign 
Druid), who acted as a priest and wizard, and pretended to 
have a supernatural influence with the gods and over the 
elements. These Goidels, in St Patrick's day, were wont to 
worship Cromm Cruaich, a god represented by a gold idol 
surrounded by twelve other stone idols, and sacrificed their 
children to it. They also venerated the Side, who dwelt in 
mounds, and especially the spirits in wells, to which propitia- 
tory gifts were offered. 

" The honouring of sredhs and omens, 
Choice of weather, lucky times, 
The watching the voice of birds 
They practised without disguise." * 

The Drui wore a white vestment and had his head tonsured 
from ear to ear, a custom borrowed by the priests of the Celtic 
Church till it conformed to the Roman usage. Cursing, spells, 
change of person into the form of animals and hags, also 
formed part of their creed. 2 

In the struggle between Christianity and these heathenish 
beliefs the worship of the deities gradually disappeared, but 
many of the superstitions lingered to influence the popular 
mind and even to form the bases of mythical stories. In Bute 
and Arran native farmers have scrupulously prevented the 

1 ' Chron. Picts and Scots,' p. 42. 

- ' Trip. Life of St Patrick,' vol. i. clviii. By Whitley Stokes. London, 

86 liutc in l/te Olden Time. 

opening of mounds supposed to be sepulchral, on account 
of some regard for the departed spirits ; and fairy talcs 
arc not yet extinct among the older natives, especially in 

A tradition assigns to invisible spirits the ruining of a 
cottage built in Glcncallum by one Malcolm Mackay, who 
married a Boyle of Lubas. The offended Feys carried house 
and inmates off bodily, and dropped only the lintel of their 
door in Bransar Bog, where it was found. 

One myth, associated with the birth of St Blaan, is that his 
unknown father was a Sith or fairy, who dwelt in "The Holy 
Well," or " Blaan's Well," beside his chapel. This well is also 
credited with a virtue, remedial of sterility, when the spirit 
is propitiated with an offering in silver or gold, an exercise 
in faith very recently observed in more instances than one. 

In Irish legend the usurper of kingly authority is repre- 
sented as a cat-headed monster, himself dogged with mis- 
fortune and his kingdom with misery until the lawful ruler 
obtains his sway. A Cairbrc Cinnchait (cat's head) or Cait- 
chcnn (cat-headed), whom the later writers identify with the 
leader of the servile classes who rebelled and overcame their 
aristocratic masters, is believed by Professor Rhys to be 
simply the " Culture-Hero " of Celtic religion, making warfare 
against the evil powers of darkness and winning a victory 
over them. 1 

One of the panels of the antique cross standing in Rothcsay 
churchyard contains the figure of a cat-headed monster, with 
a crowned head. There waves over its back a tail terminat- 
ing like a trident This figure may allegorise the struggle 

1 Rhy*. Hibbert Lcct ,' p. 313. 

The Introduction of Christianity. 87 

with the powers of Hades, and be a visible memorial and 
survival of a primitive myth. (See illustration, chap, xii.) 

Myths die hard, and this one may have retained its popular, 
educative significance to that late period of the Celtic Church, 
the tenth century, when the sculptured high crosses were 

I have searched diligently to discover if the Dalriadic Scots 
had left in Bute any products of the folk-fancy of their native 
land, especially any stories of Finn and his heroic band. As 
yet I have been without success, owing, no doubt, to the fact 
that generations ago Butemen lost their purely Goidelic in- 
stincts, although for fashion and politic purposes they clung 
to their moribund language. There still exist several place- 
names into which lively imagination might read Fenian 
tradition, but the attempt to do so has no corroborating 
warrant. For example, Dunagoil might be interpreted as 
the Dun or fort of Goll, the great, squint-eyed, heroic swords- 
man of the Fian band, of whom Dunbar wrote : 

" My fader, meikle Gow MacMorne, 
Out of his moderis wame was schorne ; 
For littleness was so forlorn, 
Siccan a kemp to beir." 

Similarly Craigagoul might be the rock of Goul ; Beallach- 
derg may mean the pass of Dearg, another Ossianic hero ; 
Bronoch and Branzet might have a real or fanciful connection 
with Bran, the famous dog of Finn. Into Kilwhinlick, in its 
old form of Kilconlick, as it appeared in 1440, the partial Gael 
might read the name of Conlaoch, the son of Cuchullin, 
whom his father slew in a javelin fight. But no tradition 
now clothes these spectres of imagination with historical 

88 Bute in l/t OlcUn Tinu. 

substance, and consequently one cannot conjure them up 
to illustrate the fancy of the old-time folk. 

The stone quarry of Craigmalinc on Ambrismorc was 
credited with being the habitat of witches, and a hollow 
sound heard when tapping the road near the spot indicated 
their subterranean abode. It is told that an old laird of 
Ambrismorc had disappeared for four days, having been 
spirited away to this darksome cavern. But coming to him- 
self he had drawn his "joktalcg, or lang-kail gullcy," and 
driven it into the door-lintel, and the sight of gleaming steel 
had undone the uncanny spell, so that he emerged scathlcss. 

It was a nice fancy the Celts had which permitted them so 
inoffensively to describe how their local "Tarn o' Shanter" 
passed a witching time among the spirits. 

Down to the seventeenth century, witchcraft had its ill- 
fated votaries and victims in Kingarth and Rothesay, and 
their pranks in the " turning of the riddle " fall under obser- 
vation in the later ecclesiastical history of the Isle. 

When, how, or by whom the knowledge of the Christian 
faith first reached Britain is not determined. The growth of 
Christianity has shown features so unique that it is hazardous 
to dogmatically dismiss those discredited traditions which 
bring some of the apostles and first converts so far west. 
Clement of Rome, Bishop of the Eternal City, writer of the 
first century, and possibly the friend of St Paul mentioned in 
the Kpistle to the Philippians, thus refers to the apostle's mis- 
sionary enterprise : 

" Because of envy, Paul also obtained the prize of endurance, 
having seven times borne chains, having been exiled, and having 
been stoned After he had preached the Gospel both in the East 
and in the West, he won the noble renown of his faith, having 

The Introduction of Christianity. 89 

taught righteousness to the whole world, and having come to the 
Limit of the West, and borne witness before the rulers. Thus he 
was freed from the world, and went into the holy place, having 
shown himself a pre-eminent example of endurance." l 

The mystery shrouding St Paul's movements does not per- 
mit any emphatic belief that he ever reached Spain, or in 
Cadiz, that famous emporium for traders, planted a church 
out of which pioneers might have ventured with the merchants 
to Ireland. The beautiful story of the friend of St Paul 2 and 
the poet Martial, Pudens, marrying in Rome the graceful 
Claudia Rufina, "sprung from the painted Britons," and of 
the return of her father Caractacus, as a Christian, in 58 A.D. 
to rule over Siluria, and to become the British ancestor of 
the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, is even 

The likeliest channel for the transmission of the Gospel was 
through the Roman armies or the energetic merchants who 
profited by their victorious advances. It must not be over- 
looked, however, that the Pentecostal power of the first Church 
was not suddenly and without results obliterated, and who 
can say how far it reached ? According to Tertullian, it pene- 
trated where never a Roman blade caused fear. 

By the end of the first century the Romans were well ac- 
quainted with the coasts of Britain, their coins of date 70 A.D. 
having been found also in Ireland. Agricola himself made a 
flying visit to see the situation of the Western Isles. So what 
men of war achieved was equally easy for men moved by the 
Spirit of God. Indeed an Irish tradition maintained that 

1 Ep. I ad Cor. 5 (Lightfoot's ' Epistles of Clement,' pp. 46-52). 

2 Some say Pudens was half-brother of St Paul. 

Mute in the Olden Time. 

Altus a soldier present at the Crucifixion, being converted, 
came to Erin to preach the crucified Redeemer. 

The Roman practice of enlisting conquered peoples into 
the auxiliary legions made it possible for the British, and also 
the Caledonians, to become early acquainted with " the foreign 
superstition." Some of these were stationed in Pamphylia, 
where Paul and Barnabas first touched Asia after leaving 
Cyprus, as well as in other Roman colonies. When invalided 
and discharged they might easily have become vehicles of the 
new faith. From inscriptions and official lists of regiments it 

CHurfh of tk* Cbnjluns 9n 


appears that these provincial troops were through time even 

trusted to serve in the districts whence they had been drafted. 

In the third century, during the Roman occupancy of 

Britain, the Christian religion, according to Bede, had taken a 

The above illustration is copied from a plate in Sammc's ' Antiqua Illustrata,' 
Ind., 1676, vol. i. p. 212, which is said to represent the church built by Philip 
the Deacon at Ineswithren or Glastonbury. Sir Henry Spclman took the measure- 
ment* from an old plate preserved after the destruction of Glastonbury : length 
60 feet ; breadth 26 feet 

The British Church. 91 

deep root there, and had its testimony sealed by the blood of 
native martyrs. During the next century its influence was 
distinctly felt in Alban, as we may infer from the origin of St 
Ninian, also of St Patrick, in Christian homes there. At two 
Councils held in the fourth century Aries and Ariminum 
British bishops were present, and possibly also at that of 
Sardica. In 386-400 A.D. the Church was settled in Britain, 
had chapels, altars, Scriptures, and discipline, and held the 
Catholic faith. 1 

The writings of Bede (673-735) indicate that he wrote from 
selected material with such care as was possible to a historian 
of his age. It is not to be forgotten that the spread of Chris- 
tianity was combined with great intellectual activity, especially 
in Ireland, two of the results of which were the transmission 
of the Gospels in lovely MSS., and the recording of the not- 
able sayings and doings of the distinguished Celtic teachers. 
The preservation of some fragments of St Patrick's writings, 
and the acknowledged use by Adamnan in the life of Colurnba 
of biographical material, handed down by his predecessors, 
go to show that early writers, who may have occasionally 
lapsed into the error of recording insufficiently attested facts, 
and however much they may have adorned their tales as the 
fanciful medieval monks did, were not without good founda- 
tions for their literary work. 

Scientific archaeology, working upon the architectural, 
monumental, literary, and traditional relics of those early 
times, will soon be able definitely to illustrate how these 
early teachers, now attenuated to shadows on the horizon of 
history, were once substantial personages, and to resolve the 

1 Hadclan and Stubbs Cone., vol. i. p. IO. 

92 ttute in tlu Olden Time. 

incredible accretions in their biographies into the proofs that 
the mythical accounts of them were agreeable to the popular 
mind, which would not readily let such great men die. And 
even in this exact age, we must treat traditions tenderly, lest 
scepticism may extinguish too hastily the last flicker of some 
expiring truth which a kindly memory has tried to preserve 
from destruction. All traditions arc not myths : all extraor- 
dinary events not untrue. 

Pilgrimages of British converts to the holy places in Pales- 
tine and to the tombs of the martyrs were not infrequent. 
Theodoret, the profound Bishop of Cyros (-4-457), wno wrote 
the life of Symeon Stylites, informs us that among the pil- 
grims who visited Antioch to hear the ascetic Symeon's fiery 
preaching from his pillar, 36 yards high, were Britons. 

Jerome mentions how Christian pilgrims were noted for 
vending news ; and as, at first, the Gospel story passed from 
mouth to mouth, like the talcs and ballad histories of our 
country, it spread rapidly. Missionary enterprise was per- 
sonal The rapid successes of Ninian, Patrick, Columba, and 
Kentigern, who often at a single interview mollified a pagan 
tribe, incline me to believe that Christianity had previously 
filtrated among the northern heathen folks, requiring only its 
latent power to be set in motion by a dauntless missionary. 

With the time came the man, Ninian. Bcde thus refers to 
Ninian : 

"In the year of our Lord 565, when Justin the younger, the suc- 
cessor of Justinian, had the government of the Roman Empire, there 
came into Britain a famous priest and abbot, a monk by habit and 
life, whose name was Columba, to preach the word of God to the 
provinces of the northern I'icts, who arc separated from the southern 
parts by steep and rugged mountains : for the southern I'ict? , who 
dwell on this side of those mountains, had long before, as is re- 

The British Church. 93 

ported, forsaken the errors of idolatry, and embraced the truth by 
the preaching of Ninias, a most reverend bishop and holy man of 
the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in 
the faith and mysteries of the truth ; whose episcopal see, named 
after St Martin the bishop, and famous for a stately church (wherein 
he and many other saints rest in the body), is still in existence 
among the English nations. The place belongs to the province of 
the Bernicians, and is generally called the White House (Whitherne, 
or Candida Casa, Galloway), because he there built a church of 
stone, which was not usual among the Britons." * 

To Ailred, Abbot of Rievaux (c. 1150 A.D.) we are indebted 
for the preservation of more than the saintly man's biography. 

Ninian, born 360 A.D., was the son of a British chief or 
prince in the Roman province of Valentia, who was a Chris- 
tian. But the people he settled among were the deadly 
enemies of the Brythons the Niduari Picts, or men of the 
Nith, who occupied the district of the Solway between the 
Nith and Loch Ryan, and were included in that province. 2 
And it may be remarked that few churches dedicated to St 
Ninian are found in the Western Isles, which in Ninian's 
time were being overrun by Irish Celts, as if his sympathies 
lay rather with the primitive folk from the Mull of Galloway 
to Dunrossness. 

It was easy for Ninian to go to Rome, where he probably 
arrived when Damasus was Pope, 385, for a Roman road 
led direct from Valentia to the imperial city. After conse- 
cration to his episcopal office, and to service in his native 
land, he returned about 397, coming by way of Tours, 
where St Martin resided. From him he got two masons to 
erect the church at Whithorn, which was not finished when 

1 Bede, Hist.' Bk. iii. cap. iv. 2 Ibid., ' Life of St Cuthbert,' cap. xi. 

94 Bute in the Olden Time. 

news of Martin's death arrived. Ninian dedicated the church 
to the memory of his friend according to others, his uncle. 
During this time Ninian lived in a cave, long pointed out by 
tradition at Glasscrton, which has lately yielded many proofs 
of the saint's humble residence there. 1 To the school built 
along with this church pupils thronged, until Rosnat was 
known as " The Great Monastery," from which many preachers 
and monks issued to the mission-field, among the number 
being Finnian, the teacher of Columba. 

The numerous churches bearing his name, nearly seventy 
in number, testify both to his own restless energy and to the 
affection which his brave and devout life inspired in his pupils. 
For, as a general rule, early Celtic churches retain the names 
of their builders or founders, although it was also customary 
for missionaries to dedicate newly planted churches to their 
spiritual teachers or favourite saints. How far he wandered 
from "Alba," or "The White House," is unknown. The 
kingdom of Strathclydc, whose capital was Alcluith or 
Dunbrcatan, now Dumbarton, was evidently awakened by 
his missionary fervour, and its blind King Tuduvallus or 
Totail had his sight miraculously restored by Ninian. The 
marvellous results of the spiritual education of barbarians 
were easily mistaken for miracles. The tale of the saint's 
pastoral staff illustrates this tendency to magnify the strange 
influence of the new religion on rude minds. One of his 
pupils, fearing castigation, purloined the master's pastoral 
staff, and with it entered a wicker-woven coracle to make off, 
without perceiving that the skin covering of the boat was 

1 'Proc. Soc. Antiq.,' 188485, TO!, vii. ; 'Arch, and Hist. Coll. relating to 
Ayrshire and Galloway,' vol. v. p. 6, 1885. 

The British Church. 95 

absent. Water poured through the crazy frame so as to 
imperil his safety. The ingenious youth applied the staff 
to stop a hole, when instantly the danger ceased, the waters 
quelled, and the boat made headway ; for the staff acted as 
mast, sail, and rudder, and then as anchor, when the boat 
came safely ashore. The astonished truant wisely betook 
himself to prayer, and the staff, which he had driven into 
the earth, grew into a tree, beside which arose a living spring 
of water. In gratitude he reared a memorial chapel there, 
which he dedicated to his teacher. This myth evidently 
arose out of an allegory intended to suit the ideas of a 
marine people, who associated with it a story of a gospel- 
voyager's escape, and the custom of planting the church 
near spots and objects worshipped by the heathen wells 

A ruined chapel and well dedicated to St Ninian are pre- 
served on the Isle of Sanda ; and on St Ninian's Point, Bute, 
the ruins of an antique church, near which a never-failing 
well is found, are memorials of the mission of the saint in the 
west. The simplicity of the latter edifice suggests that it 
is coeval with Ninian. The stone church, erected by Ninian 
and named after his uncle, Bishop Martin, stood on a small 
peninsula known as the Isle of Whithorn. 

Similarly this one stands on a narrow promontory, called 
St Ninian's Point, on the west coast of Bute and on the 
northern shore of St Ninian's Bay. On the occasion of very 
high tides or wild storms this promontory is turned into an 
islet, like Lindisfarne and St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness. 

The walls still standing, about 2 feet high, show a rect- 
angular building, composed of small rough flat stones 
gathered on the rocky shore, and compactly bound by red 

96 Bute in the Olden Time. 

clay. The church stands W.N.W. and E.S.K. It measures 
externally nearly 32 feet long and 2 1 feet broad ; 4 feet thick 
in the gables, and 3 feet 6 inches thick in the side walls ; 
internally, 23 feet long, and from 13 feet 6 inches to 14 feet 

At a distance of 1 3 feet from the cast end the foundations 
of a wall appear as if a square chancel existed. A break on 

Ground-plan of St Ninian't Chunk and " Casket." 

the southern wall of the nave indicates where the door opened 
on a pathway still visible. The foundations of a " cashcl " or 
circular wall, originally about 3 feet thick, composed of large 
blocks, also bedded in clay, forming an oval enclosure So feet 
in the N. and S. diameter, 72 feet in the E. and W. diameter 
round the church, are plainly visible ; and the remains of two 
other walls running cast and west from the " cashcl " to the 
sea are traceable. Traces of the stances of other buildings 
on the point yet exist. On dilapidating the eastern gable 

The British Church. 97 

to obtain material for a garden wall, a few years ago, a man 
discovered human bones, and happily desisted from further 
desecration of the sacred spot 

About 50 yards beyond the enclosure, and but a few feet 
above tide-mark, a modern crystal well proffers its cool re- 
freshment ; but no tree lives to memorialise the miracle of 
him whom Sir David Lyndsay styled " Sanct Ringan of 
ane rottin stoke." 

No history attaches to the church, and we can only con- 
jecture that Ninian himself reared it. It was in the zone of 
his immediate missionary influence, and it is very improbable 
that the Goidelic abbots and bishops, before or after Columba, 
would there dedicate a church to the Brytho-Pictish teacher. 
In 400 A.D. Bute -men may still have been the primitive 
Ivernians, with or without a mixture of the Brythons from 
Strathclyde. In Bute traces of the Brython people are not 
so numerous as those of the Goidels. But doubtless the 
Cumbras, Cumbri, or Kymry overran Bute as well as the 
Cumbraes, leaving their language impressed in place-names, 
such as Barone Hill, Cummermenoch, Plan, St Cruiskland, 
Penycachil, and others, as mentioned in the second chapter. 

Wherever these Kymry, or countrymen of Ninian, were 
settled, Christianity would be propagated. So we may look 
upon St Ninian's Church as the outcome in the west of the 
vitality of the early British Church in the fifth century. 

After converting the Southern Pictish kingdom to Christ, St 
Ninian retired to his White House to die, and the i6th of 
September 432 A.D. is accepted as the day of his death. An 
Irish Life, cited by Archbishop Usher, records that he departed 
life in a monastery he had founded at Cluayn-coner, now 
Cloncurry, in Kildare, 

VOL. I, G 

98 Bute in the OUUn Time. 

As to an estimate of his missionary work little can be said, 
since it could only be the work of the pioneer preparing the 
way for other preachers to the fickle pagans. Then, the 
Christian life was only an interlude between the sports of 
war. Consequently after Ninian's death we find the influence 
of the Church in Strathclydc somewhat retrograding through 
the political exigencies of the time. His immediate succes- 
sors and pupils did not succeed in capturing popular favour 
so as to leave memorialised by the names of their churches 
in their spheres of influence those deep impressions made 
by them. The security of Roman patronage and toleration 
had departed with the legions recalled home in 41 1 A.D., and 
among the unloosed races the spirit of peace was little wel- 
come. Hence a great blank occurs in the record of the 
Church in Strathclydc, for about a century, till the patron 
saint of Glasgow, St Kentigern, in the time of Roderick the 
Liberal, Rhydderch Hael, restored the prestige of the Church 
collaterally with St Columba. But before his appearance the 
fervour caused by the rise of the heresy, called Pelagianism, 
in the British Church, gave an impulse to Cymric missionaries 
to visit the outposts among " the apostate Picts." 

In order to stifle this native heresy assistance was invoked 
and received from the Church in Gaul, and St Germanus, 
Bishop of Auxerrc, an eloquent defender of the faith, was 
sent in 429, and again in 447, to oppose the heretics. 

Out of the wild west there came a pupil to him, Brioc or 
Brieuc by name. He was a Brython of noble birth. His 
parents, Cerpus and Eldruda, were idolaters, in the province 
of Corriticiana, now Cardigan. Brieuc, having followed Ger- 
manus into Gaul, was trained to the priestly office, and re- 
turned to his native land to convert his parents and his idol- 

The British Church. 99 

atrous kinsmen. He built at least one church, and educated 
several disciples in Britain. Brieuc is also numbered among 
a famous band of Celtic teachers who issued from the monas- 
tery of Iltut, at Llan-Illtyd in Wales, and on the pressure of 
the Saxon invasions crossed the sea to Brittany. This makes 
him contemporary with Germanus of Paris, however, and 
renders it difficult to date his career. In Armorica he founded 
the famous monastery and church in the town which still 
bears his name, Brieux, which was instituted into a bishopric 
in 844 by the Pope. The medieval chroniclers adorn his life 
with many miracles. He died about the year 500 in his nine- 
tieth year. The hagiologists assign the ist of May for his 

According to Gildas the historian, it was the joy of the 
Britons to plough the seas, and there is nothing improbable 
in the supposition that Brieuc visited the northern Church to 
fan into life the flickering embers left on the altar of St Mar- 
tin's, at Whithern. This visit would naturally explain why 
the church of the ancient parish of Dunrod, on the shore of 
Wigton Bay, opposite Whithorn, bore a double dedication to 
St Mary and St Bruoc. A similar association distinguishes 
the parish church of Rothesay. As has already been pointed 
out in Chapter I. p. 16, Rothesay church was called by the 
inhabitants, last century, " Cilla'bhruic," and the parish 
" Sgireachd Bhruic." The ruined chancel, or chapel, in the 
churchyard, is now called St Mary's chapel or church. This 
structure is usually assigned to the thirteenth century, but 
the lower portions of the walls bear evidence of a remoter 

Before the old parish church was removed in 1692, Timothy 
Pont noted " Lady Kirck " on his map. The Chronicle of 

ioo Bute in the Olden Time. 

Man ( 1 200- 1 37<5X recording the burial of Alan, Bishop of Sodor 
and Man, M in the church of the blessed Mary at Rothcrsay in 
Bute" in 1320, and also that of Bishop Gilbert M'Lclan, in 
the same place, a few years later, does not refer to St Brieuc's 
Church. 1 These omissions prove nothing, however. The older 
dedication may have fallen into abeyance under Romanising 

It is generally believed that a resuscitation of dedications 
to old Celtic saints whose names had been omitted from the 
calendars since the time Queen Margaret tried to reform "the 
barbarous rite " of the Columban Church, took place through 
a Celtic movement to counteract the Anglicanisation of the 
Scottish Church through the use of " the Sarum Service," 
This restoration of the festivals of the Celtic saints found 
greater favour during the times of the Wars of Succession. 
Then, not infrequently, to satisfy opposing clerical parties, a 
double dedication, to a great Roman saint associated with a 
local one, was sanctioned. But, unless there was some local 
connection with this British missionary, there appears no rea- 
son for the resuscitation of his name in Bute. A fair is still 
held in Rothesay on what is called " Bruix Day," which falls 
on the third Wednesday of July. But formerly a fair was also 
held on the first Wednesday of May (' New Statistical Ac- 
count,' p. 117)1 This lends corroboration to the opinion that 
St Brieuc was honoured here specially. 

But Mr J. C. Roger, in a notice of the ancient monuments 
in St Mary's, asserts that "the only foundation for the name" 
is the popular designation of the midsummer fair of Rothesay, 

1 'Antiq. Cdto. Norm.,' by Rev. J. Jobostone, 1786; ' Chroo. Man.' 
p. 46. 

The British Church. i o i 

instituted by charter of James VI. in I584-85. 1 The author 
of the ' Statistical Account ' of Rothesay, the Rev. Robert 
Craig, made a more egregious blunder in asserting that 
" ' Cilia Bhruic,' said by him [Dr Maclea] to be the name given 
to that church by the Highlanders, is no better than a nick- 
name, there being no such saint in the Romish Callendar." 2 
The charter in question, however, appoints two fairs to be 
held, on the 22d day of July and the 2$d day of October, an- 
nually, without mentioning either as Bruix Day. Scepticism, 
as well as faith, must be reasonable. It was customary in the 
Celtic Church to assign more than one day for the commemo- 
ration of a great saint. For example, for Finnian of Clonard 
three days were marked in the calendar. The tradition of 
the natives, and the recorded opinion of the gifted Gael, Dr 
Maclea, are not unharmonious with the checkered history of 
the primitive Church. At St Breock, Cornwall, the parish 
fair is held on the ist day of May. A little church dedicated 
to Brieuc stood on the island of Inchbraoch, in the South 
Esk, near Montrose. From the 'Register of Aberdeen' it 
appears that in 1328, when witnessing a charter regarding the 
adjoining lands of Rossy, John de Cadiou designates himself, 
" Rector insule Sancti Braochi" 

The parish of Craig, in Forfarshire, is made up of the two 
old parishes of Inchbrayoch or Craig, and St Skeoch (Skaa 
or Skay) or Dunninald (Doninad). The church of St Skay 
stood on a cliff overlooking the mouth of the South Esk. 
Rothesay also has its Skeochwood, without a clerical dedi- 
cation. It is a remarkable coincidence. 

1 ' Proc. Soc. Antiq.,'vol. ii. p. 466. Edin., 1859. 

2 ' The Statistical Account of Buteshire,' p. 102. Edin., 1841. 

IO2 Bute in the OltUn Timt. 

Why St Brieuc should be honoured in the far-off country 
of the Vcrnicomcs (the MeaUe or non-Celtic aborigines) in 
Northern Pictland. and also in Galloway and Bute, unless the 
missionary, sprung from the idolatrous primitive folk, had 
penetrated (as St Blaan in the next century also penetrated) 
their retreats to preach in a dying tongue, is difficult to under- 
stand. His name, doubtless, represents some interest the 
British Church had in the Christianising of Caledonia, espe- 
cially that very part where St Ninian laboured long before. 

Further, St Ninian's influence was not local merely, but 
extended to Erin, which, according to some, he visited, where- 
in, according to others, he died. There the activities of the 
British Church commingled with those of the native Church, 
and a free intercourse and migration of pupils between their 
respective seminaries of learning arose. This was more 
especially the case after the death of St Patrick, when the 
Welsh Church sent missionaries to the Irish, "who had lost 
the Catholic faith," and introduced the Order of Mass used 
by SS. David, Cadoc, and Gildas about 544-565. The fame 
of "The Great Monastery" was worthily sustained by its 
wise master, Nennio (Monennus, Manccnnus, or Mansenus), 
who crossed the Irish Channel, and in the sister isle roused 
the fervour of the Pictish and Goidclic youth in the sixth 
century. Among the students who sought his monastic 
discipline were Tighernac, afterwards Abbot of Clunes ; Enda 
of Aran, whom St Brendan visited ; Eoghan of Ardrath ; 
and the still better known Finan or Finnian, the founder of 
Maghbile. But a slender link, almost one invisible, connects 
this Finan or Finnian with the Isle of Bute. 

According to Blain's ' History of Bute ' (p. 398), a chapel 
formerly stood on the farm of Kilwhinleck. In Dr Maclea's 

The British Church. 103 

Glossary of Place-names, appended to Blain's ' History ' (p. 
445), Kilwhinleck is interpreted to mean " Cillchumhangleag 
Cell of the narrow flag or stone." (Other forms of the 
name are Brythonic, Kilqukenlik, Kilquhandy. The Goideli- 
cised form is (1440) Kilconltck, Kilfeenleac.*) Tradition points 
out the spot where the chapel stood beside the original farm- 
steading. Nothing of it remains, not even the font which lay 
there neglected till within living memory. The lovely site, 
about two miles from St Ninian's Church, is in a district 
specially reminiscent of Irish history, where the Neills long 
held sway over the Mac-gill-chiarans and others, beside Kil- 
keran and Kilmorie. But Dr Maclea's derivation is not 
satisfactory, if for no other reason than this, that Celtic 
churches bore a founder or a patron's name, while the idea 
under "cell" is misleading. Who then planted Kil-quhin- 

When it is recollected that Gw in Welsh corresponds to F 
in Gaelic, the transformation of the name of Finan into Wynnin 
by the Brythons in Bute, as in Kilwinning, is seen to be easy. 
Some pronounce it Kil-feen-leag, which induces the suggest- 
ion that the name memorialises " the stone church of Finan 
or Wynnin," or the " church of the flagstone of Finan." In 
the early Irish Church the slab, leac, on which the patron 
saint was born, or slept, or under which he lay buried, was 
held in reverence, and pointed out in the church dedicated to 
him. In pre-Reformation times Rothesay parish was attached 
to Kilwinning Abbey, and till 1639 was included in the Pres- 
bytery of Irvine. 1 A family called " Makgylquhynnych," 

1 " Carta to the Abbacy of Kilwinning, of the ad vocation of the Kirk of Rosay, 
by James Stewart, grandson to the king (i.e., Robert III.)." Robertson's ' Index,' 
p, 140, No. 42. 

104 ft*tt in tltt OleUn Time. 

who in 1 506 were infcft in the lands of Cawnoch, or Tawnic, 
in Bute, seem to bear the patronymic of the saint ; while 
Winnyhill (now Windyhall, with its traditional graveyard) 
and Langrewinnog (Font's Atlas) may retain traces of the 
honoured name of Winnin. 

Finan or Finnian, Bishop and Abbot of Maghbilc, now 
Movillc, in the county of Down, was a prince of the house of 
Dalfiatach, and was born about the beginning of the sixth 
century. His birthplace was in Dalaradia, that district of 
north-west Ireland which sent so many missionaries of Pictish 
blood into Caledonia. He was therefore a Ulidian, or Non- 
Celt, with all the restless energy of his race. In the opening 
stanza of an ancient Irish poem in the ' Saltair na Rating 
Finan of Movillc is mentioned as the patron saint of Ulidia, 
and Columba of the Clan Neil. H is parents, Cairbrc (Corprcus) 
and Lassara, early intrusted his education to distinguished 
teachers, Colman of Dromore and Caylan, both of whom had 
studied under Ailbe, the pupil of St Patrick, and of Mediae 
of Noendrum. Caylan or Mochae directed Finan to the 
monastic school of Ncnnio at Whithorn, after which he went 
to Rome for three months, and on the completion of his 
studies there became a priest. Finan brought with him 
from Rome a copy of the Bible, partly translated, partly 
corrected by St Jerome. Columba, having stealthily tran- 
scribed this precious book, originated a dispute, the final 
result of which was the voluntary exile of Columba to Alban. 
Columba's copy of this manuscript and its casket, called the 
"Catliach " or Battler, after a most romantic history, has become 
the property of a representative of the original keepers, Sir 
Richard O'Donnell of Newport, Mayo, by whom it is ex- 
hibited in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. When 

The British Church. 105 

opened in 1814 it was found to contain the manuscript of a 
portion of the Gallican Psalter, as corrected by St Jerome 
from the Hexaplar Greek of Origen. 

A fuller account of this wonderful episode will be found in 
Bishop Healy's ' Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum.' 1 

On his return to his native land, Finan founded the famous 
school of Maghbile, about the year 540 ; and afterwards 
that of Driumfionn, Dromin. At the former he taught the 
quarrelsome boy CrimtJian (wolf), afterwards renowned 
Columba (dove). 

He has been by some identified with St Frigidianus, Bishop 
of Lucca in Italy, a contemporary Irish missionary. The 
Irish chroniclers say he died and was buried in Maghbile 
about the year 576-579, the loth September being observed 
in his honour. To him they assigned the fame of being the 
" first who carried the Mosaic law and the whole Gospel into 

Scottish tradition, crystallised in the ' Breviary of Aber- 
deen,' makes Finan a contemplative student and a skilful 
artificer, who provided himself with a mission-ship in which 
he and other teachers set out for Alban. 

After many hardships they at last landed at the mouth of 
the Garnock, in Cunningham, Ayrshire. Miracles duly fol- 
lowed. An angel, in a vision, directed Finan to build his 
church on the spot where the ruined Abbey of Kilwinning 
now stands. He next made the dark grove of Holywood, 
near Dumfries, his retreat. Thereafter, according to Bishop 
Usher, he " died in great opinion of sanctity, and was buried 
at Kilwinning." 

1 P. 248. Dublin, 1890. 

106 Bute in the Olden Time. 

How far the influence of St Finan or Wynnin penetrated 
can only be guessed at by marking the diffusion of churches 
and holy healing wells dedicated to him tg., Kilfinan 
parish in Argyllshire. And none of these are beyond the 
sphere of the efforts of the preachers issuing from St Ninian's 
monastery. A St Finan was also known as Findbarr or 
White-head, and under this name we find traces of him in 
the west, in Kintyrc, where also was Winnin's healing-well ; 
in Barra ; in Ross ; in Barr parish, Ayrshire, where stood 
Kilbar. A peculiar corruption of his name is also found in 
Kirkgunzcon in Kirkcudbright 

Whatever may have been the aim of St Finan's mission 
to Strathclyde, we may associate his work with that of the 
British Church, which, in the west, was gradually being over- 
lapped by that of the Irish Church, stimulated by the spirit 
of St Patrick and of his distinguished successors. Most prob- 
ably, too, the kindred of the Cruithni or primitive folk at 
home delighted to hear in Alban, from St Finan, the Gospel 
in their Pictish tongue. 

As to the extent and results of missionary enterprise, 
emanating from the British church at Whithern, we have 
scarcely the slightest trace left us whereby to form any 
conclusions. It may, however, be taken for granted that it 
was not the work of merely isolated wanderers, to-day in one 
vale, to-morrow in another, but rather the extension of 
mission settlements in heathendom, under fearless preachers 
like SS. Ninian, Finan, Faolan, whose stations were linked 
to each other by pilgrim preachers coming and going. This 
will account for the penetrative energy of the British Church. 




Not as the conqueror comes, they, the true-hearted, came ; 
Not with the roll of the stirring drums, and the trumpet that sings of fame ; 
Not as the flying come, in silence and in fear ; 

They shook the depths of the desert's gloom with their hymns of lofty cheer." 


'HE western coasts of Scotland have a double 
interest in the remarkable life and work of St 
Patrick, inasmuch as probable tradition assigns 
to them the place of his nativity, and they very 
early felt the power of the Christian activities he set in 
motion in Ireland. It was in "the Britains," his native land, 
Patrick was reared by his father, Calpurnius, and mother, 
Concessa, who tilled a little farm beside Bannauem Tabernise, 
in some Roman colony. Calpurnius was also a decurio, or 
local magistrate, and united to his secular office the spiritual 
one of deacon in the church. His father, Potitus, was a 
priest, and the son of Odissus, a deacon. From this Christian 
family Patrick, or, as the Celts styled him, Succat, sprang 
about the year 373 A.D. His capture by Irish pirates in his 
sixteenth year, his sale to Miliuc, a chief in the Braid valley, 
near Slemmish (Ballymena), where he was set to herd sheep 

io8 Bute in tlu Oldtn Time. 

or swine, his escape to his parents in Britain, are accepted as 
historical facts, which go along with tradition to prove that 
it was in the Cymric district of Dumbarton Patrick was born. 
The memory of his experiences became Patrick's call to a 
mission among the heathens of Ireland. After betaking 
himself to the best colleges, perhaps at Whithcrn, and prob- 
ably in Gaul and Italy, and one account takes him to the 
famous monastery of Lerins in the Mediterranean, he became 
a priest, and about the year 397 returned to Ireland. 

Dr Whitley Stokes, in order to reconcile the discrepancies 
in the Lives of the saint, 1 suggests that Patrick at first had 
no commission from Rome, and after labouring for thirty 
years among the pagan tribes without much success, went 
back to Gaul in 427 A.D. to obtain episcopal ordination 
and Roman authority, to the want of which he attributed 
his small success. When studying under St Gcrmanus of 
Auxcrrc he heard of the death of Pal 1 ad i us, who had been 
sent by Pope Celestinus, in 431, to "the Scots believing in 
Christ," and was directed by St Germanus to take up the 
mission of Palladius. Consequently Patrick, without pro- 
cccding to Rome, received episcopal consecration from 
Bishop Matorix, and returned to Ireland in the year 432. 
He was then sixty years old. As a Gallic missionary he was 
accompanied by assistants from Gaul, and also strengthened 
with funds for the work. Under him the advance of the 
Church throughout the land can only be likened to a 
triumph, the result of which was the rearing of numerous 
churches, the conversion of tribes totally, and the education 

1 The Trip. Life of Patrick, 1 by Whitley Stoke*. London, 1887. VoL L p. 

The Irish Church. 109 

of very many priests and teachers, who disseminated the 
Gospel far and wide. 

After sixty years of missionary enterprise, he died, it is 
said, on the i/th March 463, aged ninety years, and was 
buried in Downpatrick. 

The phenomenal reverence in which St Patrick's memory 
was held in early Ireland and Caledonia can scarcely be 
sufficiently appraised now, and this affection was expressed 
in the phrase, " Sanctus Patricius Papa noster," and in the 
custom of naming churches and wells after the saint. 
Whether in Alban this originated in the personal intercourse 
of the saint Manxmen declared Patrick was their first 
preacher or in the gratitude of pupils, cannot be ascertained. 
The inhabitants of Muthil until very lately (i.e., about 1835) 
held St Patrick's name in so high veneration, that on his day 
"neither the clap of the mill was heard nor the plough seen 
to move on the furrow." l 

His power in Erin was even more commanding. He cast 
a spell over the land, till his disciples, with " a roving com- 
mission" to carry the Gospel, swarmed everywhere. The 
fame of St Patrick penetrated to the East as well, and crowds 
of foreign ecclesiastics Egyptians, Romans, Gauls, Britons, 
Saxons came to Erin to be taught by him or his disciples. 

Without a doubt these preaching pilgrims, men and 
women, were borne, in the fifth century, over the Irish 
Channel along with the hordes of marauders " Hibernici 
Grassatores" who were colonising the Western Isles. It 
was their mission to the pagan islesmen. It was congenial 
work for kinsmen, too. 

1 ' New Stat. Ace.,' Perth, p. 313. 

1 10 Bute in the Olden Time. 

So we find the alleged mission to Caledonia of Palladius 
the martyr carried on by a branch of the Irish Church 
ministered to by Picts, the disciples of St Patrick, who had 
pushed up the valleys as far as Abcrnethy, the capital of the 
Pictish kingdom. Bute was on the route of this and succes- 
sive migrations. And in Bute dedications to saints, who 
were highly esteemed in northern Pictland, are found. 

It is a noteworthy fact that the early Irish chroniclers and 
hagiologists do not make St Patrick the first bishop ordained 
by the Roman Church to carry the Gospel into Erin. In 
a MS. Life of Ailbc, afterwards the famed Bishop of Emly, 
it is recorded that this youth was converted by a " Christian 
priest" who had been sent direct from the Roman see to 
disseminate the Gospel. 1 To St Patrick, however, is generally 
assigned the honour of teaching Ailbc, and consecrating him 
the first Bishop of Minister, with his seat at Cashcl, during 
the reign of Aengus(-f 490). Of his pupils much in reference 
to Bute can be said. But before touching upon this connec- 
tion it is necessary to allude to two contemporaries of St 
Patrick, who, according to Dempster's 'Menologium Scoti- 
cum, 1 were honoured specially in Bute. 

In the Calendar, under April 1 1, Dempster gives : " In the 
Isle of Bute [the festival] of Macocus, priest, disciple of St 
Patrick, the apostle of the Irish." 2 The same authority 
associates the $th October with his day at Dunkeld. Came- 
rarius, in his Calendar, under 7th October, improves upon 
Dempster by recording that " St Macceus came out of Scotia 
[i>., Erin] with St Patrick." s The identification of this 

1 ' De Script. Hibcrni.T,' Jac. \Vaneo, p. i. Dublin, 1639. 

* " Insiila Data Maccd vatis S. Patricii Hibcmorum Apostoli discipuli B." 

' " Sanctus Macccus cum Sancto 1'atricio Scotia egreuus." Forbes Gil., p. 241 . 

The Irish Church. 1 1 1 

preacher is somewhat difficult, some considering him to be 
Mahevv of Kilmahew. He may have been no other than the 
Pictish youth Mochoe or Mochay, of Dalaradia, whom Patrick 
educated to the priesthood and saw settled as the Abbot and 
Bishop of Antrim, who died 23d June 497. 

The Antrim families who colonised the west coasts may 
have carried his cult here, there being no more feasible reason 
for the local reverence shown to him. The once powerful 
family of Maccaws of Garrachty bear a name not unlike 
that of this forgotten bishop. No trace of his residence 
survives, however. 

The rapid spread of Christianity after the time of St 
Patrick renders it credible that his disciples migrated even 
to the remotest isles in our northern archipelago, where they 
erected those primitive cells whose ruins are yet to be found 
in unlooked-for places. What authority Dempster had for 
numbering Machilla among these voyagers is not implicitly 
reliable. Under October 4 of the Calendar he gives : " In 
Bute [the festival] of St Machilla, who veiled St Brigid ; " and 
again, under February i, " In Scotia [the festival] of Brigid 
the Virgin, who, having been deceived by an earthly spouse, 
took the veil of virginity, in the Scottish Hebrides Isles, from 
St Machilla, in whose testimony the dry wood of the altar, 
on her touch, became green again." 

Camerarius, without mentioning Bute, assigns the pth of 
October to Mathilla. 

There is evidence in Dempster's statement of a confound- 
ing of two bishops, Maccaldus of Man and Maccaleus of 
Cruachan Brigh-eile, and of a too ready acceptance of irre- 
concilable traditions. The bishop who veiled St Brigid at 
Usny Hill (Westmeath) was Maccaille, the son of Caille or 

1 1 2 Bute in tlit Olden Time. 

Cuillc (Macelcus, Maccleus), and was a pupil of St Patrick, 
consecrated to his episcopate about 465 A.D. Another of the 
same band, who is also called a Bishop of the Isles, was 
Hybar, or Iborus, who was visited by the virgin Mod wen na, 
a contemporary of Brigid. 

The annals of " The Four Masters " record that this Bishop 
Maccaile died in 490. 

Did he visit the Bute churches in his day? We know 
of the restless desires of his famous contemporaries to seek 
retreats, Ailbe yearning to sail to far-off Orkney, and Enda 
actually accomplishing his aim in the Aran Isles, while Brigid 
herself roamed everywhere in her " parish " or mission-field, 
"spread over the whole Hibernian land." 1 

The diminutive church, called Kilmichel (pronounced by 
old natives Kil-muchil), whose ruins in the lonely churchyard 
on the north-west coast of Bute still happily remain, may, 
with little impropriety, be associated with the name of St 
Patrick's pupil. The period in which it was customary, in 
the British and Irish Churches, to dedicate to St Michael is 
so much posterior to the date to which we might be war- 
ranted in assigning the erection of this primitive edifice, that 
the presumption in favour of the Irish missionary is worthy 
of consideration. 

Indeed, the field adjoining Kilmichel contains a tumulus 
surmounted by a dolmen, which is known popularly as 
" Michael's Grave," thus indicating that the local patron was 
not looked upon as of celestial origin. And down to the end 
of last century several families of Mac-gill-mhichclls kept up 
in Bute the trace of this patronymic. 

1 Cogitosus, ' Prol. Tr. Thaum,' p. 518. 

The Irish Church. 113 

Worship seems to have been kept up here till into the 
eighteenth century. Martin, in his ' Description of the 
Western Islands of Scotland,' says of Boot : " The churches 
here are as follow, Kilmichel, Kilblain, and Kilchattan in 
the South Parish ; and Lady Kirk in Rothesay is the most 
Northerly Parish : all the inhabitants are Protestants." l 

" Far on its rocky knoll descried 
Saint Michael's chapel cuts the sky." 

Kilmichel is now a roofless, but otherwise well-preserved, 
fane. The sea-smoothed stones from the beach beneath it 

Ground-plan of Kilmichel. 

compose its walls, which are bound together with earth. The 
building is rectangular in form, and lies oriented, measuring 

VOL. I. 

1 See Appendix. 


1 1 4 Bute in the Olden Time. 

externally 25 feet 4 inches in length and from i8# feet to 
19 feet in breadth ; and internally, 19 feet 2 inches by 12 feet 
9 inches. The side walls are still 6 feet 9 inches high, nor 
seem to have been higher. A narrow doorway, 2 feet 6 
inches, breaks the north wall 

A rough slab, apparently the altar, remains in situ in the 
eastern end. The altar-stone measures 4 feet 4 inches long, 
2 feet 4 inches broad, and 5 % to 6 inches thick. The sup- 
ports arc respectively 20 and 21 inches above the earthen 
floor. The sill of a small window, high on the south wall, 
is visible. Two aumbries appear in the west and south 
walls. The curves on the west gable corners indicate that 
the roof was of a beehive type, but the presence of a few 
thick slates, pierced for pins, lying on the clay floor, rather 
opposes this idea at first. There is no record of any services 
held here in Protestant times, and the chapel may have 
been repaired with slates, during the " resurrection scare," 
for a ward-house. The ancient burial-ground, still utilised 
occasionally by families on the Argyleshirc coast, is sur- 
rounded by a circular wall, measuring 84 feet and 78 feet 
in its diameter. A holy or lover's well also exists close by. 

There are in Bute two dedications to St Brigid, the pupil 
of St Maccaile, the one at Kilbride in Glenmore, about three 
miles from Kilmichcl or a less distance over Torran Turach 
Hill ; and the other at St Bride's Hill, Rothesay, now covered 
by the museum. Of St Bride's chapel and cemetery at the 
former place not a trace now remains, save in the name of 
the farm of Kilbride, the hill above it called Kilbride Hill, 
and the farm in the vicinity, Drumachloy (Drum-a-chlaidh), 
ridge of the churchyard. 

To the latter (Rothesay), which was used as a place of 

The Irish Church. 115 

worship down to the period of the Reformation, reference 
will be made in connection with the Roman Church in a 
succeeding chapter. 

This romantic virgin, St Brigid, was a Ulidian by birth, 
being a native of Fochard, near Dundalk, about the year 453. 
From her youth, under the influence of the Church organised 
by Patrick, she increased her reputation for sanctity and holy 
works, so that her fame was wellnigh equal that of the apostle 
of the Irish. As stated before, she was consecrated by 
Bishop Maccaile, and gathered round her crowds of virgins 
and widows for Christian education. The establishments 
she founded were subsequently governed by bishops under 
a regular rule. Her famous community at Kildare, founded 
in 490, became an influential colony in a prosperous town, 
richly endowed on behalf of her pupils and the poor. Among 
her more distinguished contemporaries, and also pupils, was 
St Brendan the Voyager, who went to St Brigid in search 
of instruction. St Brigid's nuns spread over Ireland and 
Scotland, and their cells and churches were affiliated with 
the mother-house. So great was the honour in which she 
was held that she was known as " the second Mary " and the 
" Mary of the Irish," and both Marys were invoked in prayer 
for protection. She died in the year 523. It is natural, then, 
to suppose that the Scots, who were then firmly established 
in the Western Isles, had carried her cult with them ; and her 
pupils, following the track of the Ulidians into Pictland, 
founded the establishment at Abernethy, where her relics 
were preserved, perhaps setting up on their march the 
many chapels which bore the name of Kilbride. Dr Mac- 
pherson even associates her name with the name of the 
Hebrides Isles, 


Bute in tht Olden Time. 

As has been previously mentioned, one of the teachers of 
St Finnian was St Colman, Bishop of Dromorc, who was a 
Dalaradian Pict, educated in Antrim by Caylan, and in 
Munster by Ailbc. He flourished early in the sixth century. 

He appears to be remembered in the name of Colmac 
(Calmac) farms in North Bute, which till recently went under 
the more correct designation of Kilmachalmaig. There are 
now no remains of the chapel which stood on East Colmac, 1 

1 It was utilised for building the steading by the fanner one hundred years ago. 

The Irish Church. 1 1 7 

and the traces of the cemetery, visible in the end of last 
century, are totally obliterated now. One relic of this seat of 
worship alone survives in the massive flat-faced boulder of 
trap, with its deeply incised cross, preserved in a field. It 
measures 3 feet 7 inches high and 19 inches broad, and is of 
varying thickness. The circle in which the cross is cut 
measures 12^ inches. This church was used for divine 
service till long after the Reformation. In 1591 we find 

Figure of Swastika on Kilmachalmaig Cross. 

Patrick M'Queine, pastor of Kingarth, has Killumcogarmick 
(Kilmhichoarmick) added to his charge. 1 

Of this Colman's residence in the new colony of the Scots 
nothing is known. Tradition, however, declares he lies buried 
in Inchmacome, formerly Inchmocholmoc, the church dedi- 
cated to him in the lake of Menteith. And his festival is 
kept on the 7th of June. 

1 Scott, ' Fasti Eccles. Scot.', Part V. p. 29. 

1 1 8 Bute in tlte Olden Time. 

He was apparently one of many missionaries, like Fillan 
and Kessog, who came from south-west Ireland to minister 
among the primitive folk, with whom their kinsmen were 
coming into closer alliance in Caledonia. And it is quite 
probable that these little-known preachers were only casual 
visitants, bishops-errant, like Tight-mac, "the man of two 
districts," and Bcrchan, " the man of two portions," passing 
as it suited them to the various stations in the mission-field. 

As it is, their work sufficiently illustrates the fervour caused 
by the Irish Church of Patrick and his immediate successors, 
down to that period when their kinsfolk had founded a secure 
kingdom over the sea. They were the pioneers of the Colum- 
ban institution, and prepared the way for that rapid diffusion 
of the Gospel which characterised the ceaseless movements 
of the monks from lone lona. Far too little credit is given to 
these dauntless missionaries who threaded kyle and forest, 
and marched over moor and mountain, with no armed escort 
save the thrice-armed spirit dwelling in the sacred Gospel 
they carried in their satchel, probably because their vagrant 
ministry looks of little value in the bright light that reveals 
the wonderful work of Columba. They first scattered the 
seed ; lona had the garnering of the harvest and the glory 

An inquiry as to the teaching and polity of the Church 
these missionary bishops represented may be fitly introduced 

The differentiation of the early Irish Church from the 
British Church, if at all appreciable, lay more in its ecclesias- 
tical polity and liturgical forms than in the substance of the 
teaching of the Gospel. But it is nearly as difficult to settle 
definitely now whether the Celtic Church, in either branch, 

The Irish Church. 1 1 9 

acknowledged any delegation of authority from the Roman 
See, or considered itself absolutely independent, as it would 
be for an intelligent Englishman to conclude whether or not 
those remote parishes to which the General Assembly has 
occasion to send commissions are connected with the Church 
of Scotland, whose edicts are not observed within their pro- 
vince. No British liturgy exists ; the Irish liturgy can only 
be guessed at from fragments of it preserved in early books. 

We are dependent upon 'The Tripartite Life of St Patrick' 
for definite information regarding the teaching and modes 
of worship in the Church in his day. It is clear the early 
teachers faithfully maintained the Holy Scriptures as the 
rule of faith, and used the version of the Bible prepared by 
St Jerome. There are substantial reasons for believing that 
they also possessed a vernacular version, if not of all, of some 
of the books of the Bible, the Greek portions of which were 
studied by the more famous evangelists, like St Brendan. A 
liturgy was also used, and from surviving fragments it appears 
to have been related to the " Ephesine " rather than to the 
" Petrine " family of liturgies that is to say, it was different 
from the Roman, and if not identical with the Gallican liturgy 
was similar to it. 1 

Of the coequality of the Trinity they had no doubt. In 
' The Tripartite Life,' Baptism and the Eucharist are men- 
tioned as Sacraments, but Penance, Marriage, Holy Orders, 
and Extreme Unction are not referred to as Sacraments ; 
while Confirmation, if not accepted as of divine institution, 
was esteemed to have an imperative importance. There is 
only a slight trace of the honours paid to the Virgin Mary in 

1 'The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church.' F. E. Warren. Oxford, 1881. 

1 20 Bute in the Olden Tinte. 

the same work. According to the editor, " The Blessed Virgin 
Mary is never mentioned cither by Patrick or Sccundinus, 
Muirchu or Tircchan." 1 

Communion was partaken of in both kinds, the wine being 
mixed with water in the chalice, and sucked through a fistula. 
Prayers and fasting on behalf of thodcad were indulged in, 
and much virtue was attributed to severe fastings and ascetic 
mortifications of body and soul. One saint went so far as to 
recognise a redemptive power in the painful burrowing in the 
flesh of a dainty beetle ; others practised philanthropy more 
humanely by ministering to lepers ; still others sealed them- 
selves up in silent cells (deiscirt, desert) to be alone with God. 
Every day was consecrated to unremitting labours in the 
Gospel. Sabbath was indeed a day of worship, divided into 
eight watches, like the other days of the week, and was fully 
observed in the saying of Mass, the chanting of the 150 
psalms, and preaching to the people. The clergy, deacons, 
presbyters, and bishops, were married. A notable feature of 
the consecration of bishops was the practice of consecration 
by a single bishop, sometimes at a leap, without the candi- 
date having received orders as a deacon or priest. 

The first Irish bishops were not invested with a territo- 
rial jurisdiction, but each usually exercised his mission in 
the tribe or sept which had invited him into residence, and 
acquired the authority which was permitted to him in the set- 
tlement of priests and churches, over which he remained as 

Priests and virgins had a "roving commission" to "sing 
and say" over the land. It is interesting to find that the 

1 WhiUcy Stokes, 'Trip. Life,' p. clxv. 

The Irish Church. 1 2 1 

catacombs in Rome have preserved the monuments of " vir- 
gines peregrinae," like those of the Celtic Church. 

The size, importance, and influence of a complete ecclesias- 
tical establishment (inuintir), such as that presided over by 
St Patrick, may be inferred from the functions of the twenty- 
four persons who were in office along with him viz., bishop, 
priest, judge, bishop-champion (polemic), psalmist, chamber- 
lain, bell-ringer, cook, brewer, two waiters, charioteer, firewood- 
man, cowherd, three smiths, three artisans, and three em- 
broideresses. To these has to be added, probably, a " Culdee 
of his household, Malach, the Briton," whom the saint on one 
occasion invited to restore a dead boy to life, so that we ima- 
gine he was the "medicine-man" of the colony. To this 
monastic system I shall revert when dealing with the remains 
of the abbacy at Kilblaan in a succeeding chapter. 




" The bravely dumb that did their deed, 
And scorned to blot it with a name, 
Men of the plain heroic breed, 
That loved I leaven's silence more than fame." 


NE of the immediate effects of the teaching of men 
of the type of Patrick and Ailbe was a strong 
part of some of the converts 
to the faith to separate themselves entirely from 
the world, and endeavour to live the new life of purity and 
holiness unhindered by social claims and unmolested by 
common temptations. In some sweet or stern retreat, 
according to the romantic or stoical texture of his soul, in 
darksome cave, sequestered glen, or precipitous isle scarce 
accessible save to the surges and the wild birds, the Christian 
recluse chose to sit apart, " a melancholy man," engaging 

"In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer, 
Pleased and blessed with Cod alone." 

Whether this practice was a spontaneous outcome of the 
influence of Christianity on certain retiring dispositions', or 

The Hermits. 123 

was the result of an imitative contagion spread from the 
far East, it is not necessary here to inquire. Enough it is 
to know that the same features which distinguished the 
customs of the Anchorites in Syria were illustrated in Ire- 
land, and the Celtic hermits abandoned themselves to a 
severely solitary life, to be quit of the restraints of our com- 
mon lot. They formed a third class of saints, according to 
a very ancient catalogue disinterred by Archbishop Usher. 


" The First Order was in the time of St Patrick. They were all 
then great and holy bishops filled with the Holy Ghost, 350 in 
number, the founders of churches, worshipping one head namely, 
Christ ; following one leader, Patrick ; and having one tonsure and 
one celebration of Mass and one Easter, which they celebrated after 
the vernal equinox ; and what was excommunicated by one Church, 
all excommunicated. They did not reject the service and society 
of females, because, founded on Christ the Rock, they feared not 
the wind of temptation. This order flourished during four reigns 
that is, during the reign of Laeghaire, son of Niall (A.D. 432), who 
reigned thirty-seven years, and of Ailill Molt, who reigned thirty 
years, and of Lugaid, who reigned seven years. And this order 
continued to the last years of Tuathal Maelgarbh (A.D. 543). They 
all continued holy bishops, and they were chiefly Franks and 
Romans, and Britons and Scots by birth. 

" The Second Order of Saints was as follows. In the Second 
Order there were few bishops, but many priests in number 300. 
Whilst worshipping God as their one head, they had different rites 
for celebrating, and different rules of living; they celebrated one 
Easter on the 1 4th moon ; they had a uniform tonsure, videlicet, 
from ear to ear. They shunned the society and services of women, 
and excluded them from their monasteries. This order also flourished 
during four reigns i.e., during the last years of Tuathal Maelgarbh, 

1 24 Bute in the Olden Time. 

and during the thirty years of Diarmait's reign, the son of Ccarbhall ; 
and during the time of the two grandsons of Muiredach, who reigned 
seven years; and during the time of Ardh, son of Ainmire, who 
reigned thirty years (A.D. 597). These received their rite for cele- 
brating Masses from the holy men of Britain, from St David and St 
Gildas and St Docus. And the names of these are Finnian, Enda, 
Colman, Comgall, Aidus, Ciaran, Columba, Brandan, Birchin, Cain- 
ncch, Lasrian, Lugcus, Barrind, and many others who were of this 
Second Order of Saints. 

" The Third Order was of this kind they were holy priests, and 
a few bishops, one hundred in number, who dwelt in desert places. 
They lived on herbs and the alms of the faithful ; they despised all 
things earthly, and entirely avoided all whispering and detraction. 
They had different rules [of life], and different rites for celebrating ; 
they had also a different tonsure, for some had the crown [shaven], 
but others kept their hair on the crown. They had also a different 
paschal solemnity ; for some celebrated it on the fourteenth, but 
others on the thirteenth moon. This order flourished during four 
reigns that is, from the time of Aedh Slaine, who reigned only 
three years ; and during the reign of I>omhnall, who reigned thirty 
years ; and during the time of the sons of Maelcobha ; and during 
the time [of the sons of] Aedh Slaine. And this order continued 
down to the time of the great plague (in A.D. 664)." 

(Then follows a list of their names.) Then the writer 

"Note that the First Order was most holy, the Second holier, 
and the Third holy. The First glowed like the sun in the fervour 
of their charity ; the Second cast a pale radiance like the moon ; 
the Third shone like the aurora. These Three Orders the blessed 
Patrick foreknew, enlightened by heavenly wisdom, when in pro- 
phetic vision he saw at first all Ireland ablaze, and afterwards only 
the mountains on fire; and at last saw lamps lit in the valleys. 
These things have been extracted from an old ' Life of Patrick,' " * 

1 Quoted from the Salamanca MS., j>. 161 (published l.y the Marquess of Bute), 

The Hermits. 1 2 5 

Among the anchorites enumerated by this catalogue one 
bears the name of Ernan, of whom more anon. 

In the monastic system of the Celtic Church, however, 
many of these anchorites submitted themselves to the juris- 
diction of the superior of the monastery, and consequently 
we find their cells forming part of the establishment. Of St 
Molaise, founder of the monastery of Daimhinis, St Cuimin 
of Connor wrote : 

" Molaise of the lakes loves 
To be in a prison of hard stone, 
To have a guest-house for the men of Erinn 
Without refusal, without a particle of churlishness." 

The isolated oratory or hermitage was called desertum, in 
Goidelic, deiscirt, also carcair, cell, and clochan. This cell or 
desert was a voluntary retreat for prayer, as well as a place 
of penance for infringement of the monastic rules, or other 
sins. Some recluses elected a life of perpetual incarceration, 
living in dependence on their fellow-Christians. When built 
of stone, clochan, and attached to a church, this cell, with one 
small bole whereby to introduce the Sacrament, a second for 
handing in his eleemosynary meal, and a third for granting a 
glimpse of day to a sealed-in hermit, was verily a miserable 
residence. I have visited, in Ratisbon, a very good example 
of such an oratory, called " the Chapel of the holy Scot Mer- 
chertach, in which he lived as a recluse (indusus) for fourteen 
years," in which he died (1080 A.D.), and lies buried. It had 
formerly no door. One window looked into the Obermunster 
Church, to which the cell was attached ; another gave light ; 

by Dr Healy, ' Insula Sanctorum,' &c., pp. 160, 161 ; Usher, ' Brit. Eccles. Antiq.,' 
cap. xvii. vol. vi. p. 478 ; Lanigan, ' Eccl. Hist. Ireland,' vol. ii. p. 330. 

1 26 ftutt in the Oldtn Time. 

the third was used for taking in his food. I was glad to leave 
its musty sanctity for sweeter air in a freer life. It is quite 
possible that the circus at Kilblaan " The Drcamin* Tree 
Ruin " was latterly used as a place of retreat for recluses. 

I have previously alluded to an instance where the inmate 
of a dtiscirt or cell was a Culdcc, and the reference is one 
of the first importance, in so far as it suggests a different ex- 
planation of the special functions of that order from what is 
generally accepted by historical students. From ' The Tri- 
partite Life* of St Patrick it appears that, in a missionary 
journey, he found that one Ailill's son had been devoured by 
swine, all but his bones. These the saint had gathered, and 
ordered " a Culdec of his household (Ct'li n Dt dia Muintir) 
namely, Malach, the Briton, to bring him to life," Malach 
refused. Whereupon St Patrick laid terrible curses upon 
the house of Malach (deiscirt, cell Malaich\ and asked his 
attendant bishops, Ibair and Ail be, to raise the youth. On 
their united prayer, the dead son of Ailill came to life. 

This call of the Culdee from the solitary life of the desert, 
where, cut off from all human interests, the life of another 
was of small moment to him, to undertake humane work in 
its most difficult form, prompts the inquiry whether or not 
the Culdees were not the Christianised successors of the 
Druada, or priestly magicians, who pretended to possess mi- 
raculous powers. (See chapter iv.) Their conversion would 
loose them from their self-deception regarding sorcery and 
spells, and inspire them to use the righteous methods of the 
Christian " medicine-man." Studied seclusion is the univer- 
sal attribute of the family of the witch of Endor in the rudest 
or the most advanced nations. That feature may have sur- 
vived in the case of Malach till, by failure, his pretended 

The Hermits. 127 

power was banned away. In time, with chastened and cur- 
tailed pretensions, the Culdee, spouse of God, betook himself 
to the office of alleviating the miseries of the poor and of 
healing the sick, when called upon to manifest his peculiar 
skill and love. 

Then we notice them growing into communities like a 
higher order of the " Brothers of Misericordia," sustained by 
the faith that they had power over the frailties and diseases 
of men, and united by a common humanitarian aim. Thus 
they had gradually developed out of retiring soothsayers into 
the Hospitallers of the Celtic Church, a useful community 
of " Servants of God," living under their own monastic rule, 
but living to succour the infirm, the sick, and the dying. If 
any reference could correct the popular ideas regarding these 
Culdees, who are commonly equated with the ordinary monks 
and bishops of the Irish and Caledonian Churches, it is found 
in the 'Annals of Ulster,' where, narrating the ravages of the 
Norse invaders, in 92 1 A.D., they note how " they saved the 
houses of prayer, with their people of God, the Ceilean De, 
and the sick." Thus it was to the poor and the distressed 
the Culdees had their mission, and they were not invested 
with a cure of souls whatever. 

" Servants of God ! or sons, 
Yours is the praise, if mankind 
Hath not as yet in its march 
Fainted, and fallen, and died." 

Among those providers for and caretakers of the poor was 
one Ernan. 1 There were many famous Ernans or Marnans 
in the Irish Church. There was Ernan a priest, already men- 

1 Ernan =dear or little Ern : Mernan = Mo-Ern-an, my dear Ern. 

1 28 Bute in the Olden Time. 

tioncd in the Third Order of Saints, and another of the same 
name was abbot in Tory Island. One of the twelve disciples 
who accompanied Columba into Alban was Ernaan.or Ernan, 
his maternal uncle. The saint had also a nephew of the same 
name. He was selected by Columba to be overseer of the 
favourite monastic retreat of that saint in an island called 
Hinba, which has hitherto remained unidentified. Lanigan 
was of opinion, considering that George Buchanan refers to 
Inch-marnock as Mernoca, while a Columban house stood 
on the isle, that this Hinba might be Inchmarnock. 1 It is 
more likely, however, that Hinba was nearer to lona. Dr 
Skcnc identifies it with one of the Garvclloch group. Here 
Columba was visited by four renowned founders of monas- 
teries, Comgall, Cainncch, Cormac, and Brendan the Voyager. 
In the words of Adamnan, Columba's biographer: "They 
chose with one consent that St Columba should consecrate 
the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist in the church in their 
presence: . . . and there, while they were celebrating the 
solemnities of the Mass, St Brenden Mocu AIti, as he after- 
wards told Comgcll and Cainncch, saw a certain comet-like 
fiery globe, and very luminous, on the head of St Columba, 
who was standing before the altar and consecrating the holy 
oblation ; and (it continued) burning and ascending upwards 
like a column, until they finished the most holy mysteries." 1 
In the same place he also received wonderful visions and 
visitations from heaven. 

There was another Ernan, Ernaine mic Crcsenc.or Mcrnoc, 
whose name, according to Dr Reeves, is preserved in Kilmar- 

1 Lanigan, ' Eccl. Hist.,' vol. ii. p. 168. 

* Atlaronan'* 'Columha,' lib. iii. cap. 17. Reeves' ed., pp. 219-222. 

The Hermits. \ 29 

nock and Inchmarnock. He was a servant-boy in the monas- 
tery of Clonmacnois when Columba visited that school about 
the end of the sixth century. Perceiving him touching the 
hem of his garment, Columba seized the boy and looked at 
him. The bystanders asked the saint to pay no heed to "the 
unfortunate and naughty boy," and were answered by this 
prophecy : " This boy, whom ye now despise, will henceforth 
be very agreeable to you, and will improve from day to day 
in good conduct and virtue ; and will be gifted by God with 
wisdom, learning, and eloquence." 

In the Aberdeen Breviary, St Marnan or Marnock is re- 
ferred to under the date March I, A.D. 625 ; in the Irish 
Calendars the festival is placed at August 18, and the saint 
identified with Ernin of Rathnew in Leinster and Kildreen- 
agh. 1 As a preacher he became venerated as a God on earth 
"tanquam Deus in terris." He appears to have come to 
Banffshire, where, at Aberchirder, he died at an advanced 
age, and was buried. At least his relics were deposited there. 
The saint's head was brought out periodically with great 
solemnity to be washed, and the water used for that purpose 
was dispensed for the healing of maladies. Accompanied by 
the clan Innes, the head was carried in public perambulations 
around his church at Aberchirder, and oaths were frequently 
taken and bargains made in its presence. 

Of this Ernan the Felire of ^Engus says : 

" Mac Cresini Mernoc 
Morais Fradait fairind," 

i.e., Mernoc, son of Cresen, magnified the Lord with numbers. 

1 ' Brev. Aberd.,' pars hyem. fol. Ix. b. Ixi. ; ' De Scot. Fort.' (Paris, 1631), pp. 
108, 109 ; Marian Gorman, ' Cal. Dungall,' p. 223. 

VOL. I. I 

1 30 Bute in the Olden Time. 

The 'Annals of Tighcrnac* chronicle his death at ist March 
625 M Quies Ernainc Mic Crcscnc " ; but other annalists, 
whom Usher follows, assign his death to 635 A.I>. 

It is to none of these evangelists I venture to assign the 
honour of impressing his name in public memory in reference 
to the Inch. In a list of saints whose natal days were un- 
known, Dempster gives " Ernanus, Abbas in Buta in Scotia." ' 
This shows that Dempster dissociated Ernan from Marnock 
of Kilmarnock, whose day he gives, and from other Ernans, 
who were priests or bishops. That Inchmarnock sheltered 
a community of regulars is evident from the words of 
Fordun : " Inchcmernoc, sive insula Sancti Mcrnoci et ibi 
cclla monachorum " Inchemernoc or the Isle of St Mernoc, 
and there a cell of monks. 2 In the Life of St Brendan we 
seem to light upon a trace of the founder of this retreat, and 
to him our western shores arc indebted for attracting the 
great gospel-voyager here in his quest for Elysian fields. 

One evening when St Brendan was " in his warfare " in 
south-west Ireland, his nephew Barinthus, a scion of the 
southern house of Niall, came to him in much mental distress, 
but with prayerful spirit. St Brendan inquired why he should 
thus be sad, when Barinthus replied : " A disciple of mine, 
Mcrnocatus by name, procurator for the poor of Christ, has 
fled from my sight, and has wished to become a solitary, and 
he has discovered an island beside the mountain Lapiflis, 
called ' the delicious island.' After a long interval it was 
reported to me that he had several monks, and that God had 
displayed many miracles through him. And so I determined 

1 ' Mcno. Scot.' 

* ' Scotich.,' ii. cap. x. Ed. Goodall, vol. i. p. 45 ; Skcnc's ed., vol. ii. p. 39. 

The Hermits. 1 3 1 

to visit my pupil." The narrative tells how, after a three 
days' voyage, master met pupil, accompanied by his brethren 
in the work of the Gospel. Their habitation was spacious. 
Their food was apples, nuts, roots, and herbs. Mernocatus 
then embarked with Barinthus to exploit a lovely land " the 
land of the promise of the saints," he called it lying to the 
east, bathed in light, rich in fruitage, gay with flowers, and 
glistering with precious stones : Christ was its light alone, 
and it lay open for the inheritance of His saints, some of 
whom were already in possession to greet the visitors. 

After a stay of forty days, in which they were nourished 
by no earthly food, the explorers returned to Mernock's isle, 
to be welcomed by their brethren, who recognised from the 
fragrance of their garments that the voyagers had been 
lingering in Paradise. 

On hearing of this singular experience, St Brendan, with 
whetted curiosity, determined also to set out in search of this 
promised land, so that the flight of Mernoc was the origin of 
the many strange quests in early and in medieval times for 
the Isles of the Blest. Mernan's name is fixed in Ardmar- 
nock, Tighnabruaich, and in Kilmarnock near Toward, Cowal. 
In Kilbarron, the church of Barinthus near Tralee, we find 
a word very like Barone Hill. 

The scene of the legendary exploits of St Brendan is, with- 
out doubt, laid in the western seas from Brittany to Orkney, 
and, though often confused, the local character of the wild 
isles in the Caledonian sea cannot be mistaken. If, with one 
MS., we read for Lapiflis, " montem Lapidis" the mountain 
of stone we could locate the isle at Ailsa Craig, or " Paddy's 
Milestone," a landmark to guide the mariner to the " delicious 
isle" of Inchmarnock, which, always fertile, was formerly 

132 Bute in the Olden Time. 

covered with a luxuriant forest of oaks and nut-trees. That 
Inchmarnock was formerly prolific of nuts was remarkably 
illustrated a short time since when the present tenant of 
South Park was draining in a moss, which is also full of 
magnificent oak-trees. He alighted upon a bank of nuts, 
about 3 feet in thickness, all of them preserved by their peaty 
envelope. Arran had the poetic name of Kamain Abhlach, or 
K a mania of apple-trees : 

" The applcy Emhain of the yews. 
Smooth top-coloured are its trees." 

Alban itself might be the mythmaker's "land of promise," 
open to the coming Goidclic saints, since early geographers 
always placed it east of Erin. 

Romance, then, may be fitly wedded with fact in the 
selection of the prayerful pupil of Harinthus as the recluse 
who first set foot on Inchmarnock, and founded the little 
oratory " Kildavanach " church of the monks which Hlacu 
in 1662 fixes on his map. At first he would be alone, like 
Cieran and Catan, Molios and other hermits : 

" His dwelling a recess in some rude rock ; 
Book, beads, and maple-dish his meagre stock ; 
In shirt of hair and weeds of canvas dressed, 
Girt with a bell-rope that the Pope has blessed." 

But clamorous converts would invade his solitude, and per- 
suade him to become their "papa" or spiritual father. A 
church and its accompanying settlements arose. Blain men- 
tions that in his day "the island was also furnished with 
a devil's cauldron situated near the south corner," but I have 
not been able to regain traces of this " desert " or " carcair " 
to which the eremites retreated. How, when, or where Ernan 
died cannot be ascertained. As the birds hush their songs 

The Hermits. 133 

and drop unseen in the forest, so has evanished the hermit of 
the Inch. He must have undertaken his pilgrimage before 
530 A.D., when St Brendan began his wanderings, as Kessog, 
the hermit of Luss, did out of the same province of Munster. 

The only visible remains of this interesting settlement are 
the extra verdant turf of the cemetery, now converted into 
a stack-yard, and a single slab or cross-shaft carved with 
three small crosses on one face, and a larger cross on the 
reverse. A few of the ancient cists still lie under ground 
unmolested. The churchyard, which had attained no small 
repute "in the isles around," continued to be used within the 
memory of the last generation. Another graveyard known 
as " The Women's Burial-place " was traceable in a field 
adjoining the church about thirty years ago. 

The church existed into the eighteenth century. The 
stones of it were sacrilegiously applied to build the adjoining 
farmhouse ; but the tenant, Alexander M'Donald, afraid or 
conscience - struck, wrote the Rev. Dugald Stewart, parish 
minister of Rothesay, detailing the affair, and offering to 
make a money atonement for the grave offence. The minute 
of session, of date 24th April 1718, runs thus : 

" The minister reports he had the other day received a letter 
from Alexander M'Donald in Inchmarnock bearing : That lately, 
when his house was a-building, the masons, without his knowledge, 
had carried away sundry stones out of the chappell, and put them 
in the walls of the house ; and when the same came to his know- 
ledge, he was highly displeased, and caused a mason value what 
stones were so misapplied, and in consideration for the said stones 
taken out of the chappell to build his house, he sent ten pounds 
ten shillings Scots to the session, to be by them applied to the 
behoof of the poor as they thought meet, which letter and money 
the minister presented to the session ; and the letter being read 

1 34 Rule in the Olden Time. 

eoram, the tension appointed the treasurer to take the said ten 
pounds ten shillings and charge it with the ordinary collections." 

More than a hundred years afterwards some of the grave- 
stones were utilised as " bissen-stoncs " in an adjoining cow- 
house. Soon a mysterious malady destroyed the cattle. The 
unhappy victim is said to have reverted to an old custom, 
once prevalent in the Highlands, for appeasing the offended 
deity, and offered a burnt-offering of a sheep or cow upon 
the sea-shore. There still exists a doggerel diatribe, called 
Inchmarnock Churchyard, or the Gall's Sang," which was 
sung through the Rothcsay streets in 1829, in reference to 
this incident. 

The medieval history of Mernoc's Isle is, as yet, in- 
volved in obscurity. A single relic of Norse occupation was 
brought to light in 1889 in the old churchyard by Mr Charles 
M'Phee, the farmer. It is the fragment of a rune-inscribed 
cross-slab, of schistose slate, forming that part where the 
arms of the cross unite with the shaft The mutilated in- 
scription runs: "... KRUS . THINE . TIL GUTHLE . . ."- 
*>., This cross to Guthleif or Guthlcik. Nothing is known 
of its associations or the person it commemorated. 1 (See 
chap, xiv.) 

The inhabitants of Inchmarnock have from time imme- 
morial recognised the jurisdiction of the church of Rothesay 
parish till the isle was incorporated in the parish of North 
Bute in 1844. What grounds there were for supposing that 
it was extra farochiam, and attached to the lands maintaining 
the Cistercian Monastery of Saddell, I have not found out 

1 " Notice of a Fragment, Ac.," by G. F. Black ; Proc. Soc. Antiq.,' vol. wL, 
new series, pp. 413, 4J8-443- 

The Hermits. 135 

It is said to have been granted to the monastery by Roderick 
of Kintyre, a grandson of Somerled of Man, about the year 
1 220. No trace of such a gift appears among the charters of 
the house still extant. Perhaps the awkwardness of collect- 
ing the teind sheaves gave rise to the idea that, like the lands 
of the Cistercians, it was exempted, by a Papal constitution, 
from paying dues. 

Head of Cross -with Runic Inscription found on Inchmarnock. 

The Celtic evangelists and hermits went when and where 
the spirit moved them. After throwing a twig in the air the 
pilgrim marked the direction it pointed to, as it lay on the 
ground, and followed that till he found a desirable cell. At 
first he was more scantily provided for than the islander 
hermit (eremita insulanus) of Inchcolm, who was "content 
with such poor food as the milk of one cow and the shell and 
small sea-fishes which he could collect." 

136 Bute in tht Olden Time. 

St Catan, who gave his name to Kilchattan liay, Little 
and Mickle Kilchattan farms, and Suidhe Chatain Hill in 
Bute, was a contemporary of Ernan, according to the most 
trustworthy accounts. 1 Unfortunately the biographies of two 
pilgrims of the name of Catan, Cathan, Kcddan, or Caddan 
have been intermixed. In the Irish and Latin ' Life of St 
Patrick/ Catan is mentioned, along with Acan or Brogan, as 
a presbyter whose duty, among the domestic ministers of 
St Patrick, was the care of the guests.* 

When St Patrick was engaged preaching in Northern 
Ulster "a son of light" was born to Madan, a Dalaradian 
Pict of royal lineage. This youth, Catan by name, was 
educated by the aged St Patrick in the last quarter of the 
fifth century, and by him set apart as a bishop. Being of 
the First Order of Saints, A.ix, 440534, who were bishops, 
he neither despised the services nor the society of women. 
His intense religious enthusiasm showed itself in frequent 
fasting. It grew into the yearning for the solitary life, for 
which he relinquished the activity of the episcopal office.* 

So, accompanied by his sister Ertha or Bertha, he sought 
retirement and a cell in Bute, somewhere beneath the shadow 

1 " 17 May. Insula Buta Cathani episcopi qui S. Blani ex Bertha sororc avun- 
culus unde Kilcathan locus diet us. Gcorg. Newton." 'Menolog. Scot.' 'Act* 
Sanctorum/ by John Colgan, pp. 233, 235. Lourain, 1645. 

* The Egcrton MS. ' Life of St Patrick ' gives : " Cruimthir Catan ocas Cruim- 
thir Acan a da foss" Presbyters Catan and Acan, his two waiters; "Catanus 
presbyter ct Ocanus pnesbyter duo hospitalarii sivc hospitum ministri," ibid. 
The ' Hook of Lecan,' as cited by O "Donovan, ' Four Masters,' A.t>. 448, has 
" Cruimthir Cadan 6 Tamlachtain Ardda, > Cruimthir m Brogan a da fosmesi : " 
Trip. Life.' W. Stokes. Vol. L p. 265; 'Tria. Thaum,' Colgan, p. 167. 
(Lovani, 1647.) 

* George Newton, Archdeacon of Dunblane, says : " Sanctus Catanus Epts- 
copus, ut solitarix riuc impcnsius vacarct." 

The Hermits. 137 

of the hill which retains his name, and, as one tradition points 
out, on the southern side of Kilchattan Bay. No visible 
trace of his oratory survives. Here the fair name of Ertha 
and the holy fame of the saint were stained by the birth of 
Blaan, whose paternity Ertha attributed to the spirit in a 
local fountain, as we shall shortly have occasion to mention 
again. 1 Other narrators tell how King Aidan of Dalriada 
was his father. 2 This is a manifest anachronism. 

From the ' Life of St Molios of Glendalough,' who was the 
son of Gemma, daughter of King Aidan, it appears that Blaan 
was the uncle of Molios. And it is not very probable that a 
son of the sister of a pupil of St Patrick (died 463 or even 
493) could have been born so late as to be the son of Aidan 
(532-606) ; and yet that pupil, Catan, is said to have educated 
Blaan as well. 3 There is evidently a confusion of facts. The 
Irish honoured Catan on the 1st February ; the Scots on i^th 
May. The Irish Cadan may have been the hospitaller of St 
Patrick's hospice, whose tomb is still shown outside the 
church at Tamlacht Ard, Londonderry. The other, our 
local Catan, was probably that Pict whom we find penetrat- 
ing northward, planting a church in Gigha, the possession of 
the clan Neil, passing on to Colonsay and lona, and at last 
settling at Scarinche in Lewis, where tradition says his 
remains were preserved. Macleod of Lewis, gratified by the 
conduct of Abbot Maurice at Bannockburn, requested him 

1 This well, still called St Catan's well, is pointed out on the farm of Little 
Kilchattan, and it is most probable it was beside the original church. The well 
is carefully built, and is approached by some ten stone steps. It is now covered 
but still in use. 

2 Colgan, 'Act. Sanct. Hib.,' vol. i. p. 234. 

3 " In festilogiis enim nostris S. Cathanus, S. Blani educator appellatur." 

1 38 Mute in the Olden Time. 

to come to Scarinchc, where Maclcod had erected a church 
in honour of St Catan. It was then affiliated with the Abbey 
of Inchaffray. 

But Dempster, Camcrarius, and others maintain that this 
hermit rests in Bute. 1 Still another account makes the 
mother of Blaan a daughter of King Aidan, which would 
make Catan a son of the celebrated conqueror of the isles. 1 
Catan is also placed with SS. Columba, Comgal), and Cain- 
nech at the school of Clonard. 

Whatever these discrepancies show, it may be accepted 
that one of the earliest of the Celtic missionaries was this 
retiring bishop, who, upon his lofty scat, in devotion, drank 
in the loveliness that lay on land and sea between him and 
his far-off* Dalaradian home, and in his lowly cell schooled 
the wonderful boy, whom, in his anger, he cast adrift with his 
mother, but who was destined to outrival his fame. 

During the last century several families in Bute bore the 
honoured name of Mac-gill-chattan son of the servant of 
Catan ; and on account of the frequent occurrence of names 
similarly connected with those of saints who had churches 
dedicated to them in this vicinity eg., Mac-gill-munn, Mac- 
gill-chiaran, Mac-gill-mhichcll, and connected with church 
offices .g. t Mac-gill-espy (bishop), Mac-gill-Christ, &c, I 
am inclined to trace its origin to the bishop rather than to 
the chieftain, who is credited with giving his name to the 
clan Chattan the older chiefs of the clan being probably 
the "Coarbs" of St Catan, as falls to be afterwards ex- 

1 Brockie MS., p. 8319, quoted in Gordon's ' Keel. Chron. for Scot.,' p. 275. 
* Rcerw.'Culdew/p. 46. 

The Hermits. 1 39 

The reference to that prolific clan, the Mac-gill-chiarans, 
brings up the name of a distinguished visitor in Bute. Last 
century that ancient family lived in every farm and cot in 
the district of the Neils, and had their own burial-ground at 
Clachieran (Claodh Chiarain), near Glechnabae. Now they 
prefer the common name of Sharp. In the very heart of the 
land of the Neils, and not far from the ruined fortalice of 
Nigel, the hereditary crowner in Bute, stood an old chapel 
bearing the name of Cilkeran. Faint traces of it existed in 
the time of Blain (p. 92). 

The Ciaran, whose name was esteemed second to none 
among the Celts, was the spotless youth, Ciaran Mac an 
t-saoir (Macintyre) the son of the artificer whom Columba 
sang as the "lamp" of Erin, and Alcuin called "the glory of 
the Scottish people." He never looked upon a woman nor 
told a lie, 'twas said. With Columba and Brendan, probably 
Blaan also, he had his place among the Second Order of Saints 
z>., the Columban type. This class consisted mostly of 
priests, admitted diverse liturgies, had a British Mass, served 
various rules, and excluded women from the monasteries and 
service. As his name implies, the dark-complexioned man, 
Ciaran, though born in Meath, was of Dalaradian extraction, 
and was born about the year 515. At Finnian's great school 
at Clonard he was associated with Columba, Brendan the 
Voyager, and other celebrated men whose names are house- 
hold words. He placed himself under the discipline of 
famous abbots, and served their houses with the greatest 
humility and sanctity. Shortly before his untimely death 
by pestilence, on 9th September 549, he founded the mon- 
astery of Clonmacnois, which had a most eventful history. 
Scottish tradition makes him seek a temporary retreat or 

140 Bute in the Olden Tint*. 

"desert" in a cave in the neighbourhood of Campbcltown, 
Kintyrc, the Gaelic name of which is Kilkcrran or Cill- 

He is also commemorated in Kilkcrran in Ayrshire, and 
other places in the west. In the absence of historical data, 
and not underrating the value of tough tradition, I sec no 
insuperable difficulty in believing that Ciaran, among the 
many pilgrims, sought a short retreat from his abbatial 
'labours in Bute, hallowed as it was with the work of St 
Ninian. Here then, in honour of him, admirers built the 
now forgotten chapel and called themselves by his now 
forgotten name. But long after his departure his spirit 
remained enshrined in the hearts of his enraptured associates, 
and we read of St Columba carrying from his grave, in Erin, 
some dust which he cast into the devouring whirlpool of 
Corryvrcckan to transform its ragings into peace. Of the 
intermittent efforts of such missionaries, unhappily, we have 
now no record. 



" A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard 
In spring-time from the cuckoo bird, 
Breaking the silence of the seas 
Amongst the farthest Hebrides." 

HEN the rough Kerry shepherds gathered round 
"The Wedder's Well" (Tubber na molt) in the 
Clachan of Tubbrid near Ardfert, and, in A.D. 
484, heard that an infant son had come then 
to Finlogha, of the tribe of Hua Alta, of the celebrated stem 
of Fergus Mac Roy, it is scarcely probable that they could 
perceive the growing halo with which imaginative monks 
have invested the life of Brendan. Yet round this well to 
this day the peasantry gather on St Brendan's Festival in 
honour of him. His birth was according to the horoscope of 
St Patrick, by that time resting in the grave. He had pro- 
phesied in the rushy swamps of Kerry that the great patriarch 
of monks and star of the Western world would arise into 
the light in West Munster. Such a reading of the stars was 
the best blessing he could leave to the Church of south-west 
Ireland, which he and Ailbe, Bishop of Emly, had long and 
lovingly fostered. And very timely came this wandering 

142 Rtc in t/ic Olden Timt. 

star which was to shed the heavenly light when the greater 
luminaries were hidden from the darkness resting on the 
isles of the Western seas. The story of his life, conceived 
from such a miraculous introduction, had the necessary foun- 
dation for a superstructure so overloaded with romantic 
absurdities as to threaten destruction to the real facts of a 
wonderful career. But the tenacious hold of his memory by 
the baysmcn and Ulcsmcn, from the sunny south of .Europe 
to the ice-cooled shores of the north, and probably to the 
New World as well, is a sufficient recognition of the existence 
of a hero, who fearlessly ploughed the sea in Christ's name, 
and whose adventures could not be adequately illustrated to 
rude but pious ages without the aid of the myths which 
now obscure the fame of the voyager. His life and travels, 
written in many languages, circulated widely in the middle 
ages throughout Europe, and nearly every great library 
possessed some antique manuscript, in prose or verse, of 
the "Acts of S. Brendan." From the siftings of these the 
story which follows is pieced together. 1 

The precise place of Brendan's birth was Alttraighe Caillc, 
situated in Ciarraighe Luachra />., between Ardfert, Fcnit, 
and Tralce. 1 

1 For the lire of St Brendan the following works may be consulted : ' Pertgrinatio 
Sancti Brandani abbatis' included with a Latin and three German texts in 'Ada 
Sancti Brendani,' by Right Rev. P. K. Moran, D.D. : Dublin, 1872. 'Sanct 
Brandan,' by Dr Carl Schroder: Krlangen, 1871. ' St Brandan : A Mediaeval 
legend of the Sea, &c.,' by Thomas Wright : Ixmdon, 1844 (Percy Society, vol. 
xiv.) ' La Legende latine de S. Brandaincs,' by Achille Jubinal : Paris, 1836. 
4 The Hermits,' by Charles Kingslry : London, 1890. ' Notes on Irish Architec- 
ture,' by Lord Dunravcn, vol. I : London, 187$. ' Acta Sanctorum Holland,' 
Mai iii. 599 ff; cf. Juni ii. p. 229. Adamnan't 'Columba,' by Reeves p. 221, 

* Book of Lismore,' fol. 72. 

The Christian Odyssey. 143 

The parents of Brendan, Finlogha and Cara, committed 
their son to the pious charge of his relative, the youthful 
virgin Ita (+570). She was a daughter of a princely house 
in Munster, and from her infancy was imbued with Christian 
principles, so that she was considered the St Brigid of Munster 
by the pupils who frequented her nunnery. 

Thereafter Brendan came under the tuition of St Ere 
( + 512), also a Munster man, probably Bishop of Slane, 
with whom he remained till he was ready to study theology 
at Cluainfois, under St Jarlath of Tuam. From St Ere he 
afterwards received the priesthood. The distinguished mon- 
astic school of Clonard was then attracting students north- 
ward to the banks of the Boyne, and St Finnian the abbot, 
himself a pupil of the great British teachers, was inspiring the 
youth of Erin with his own enthusiasm. 

St Finnian combined with great learning, especially in the 
Scriptures, a touching simplicity of character and a severe 
abstinence in the way of living. Mother-earth sufficed him 
for a bed and a stone for a pillow. He was content with 
bread and herbs with a cup of water for his food, with occa- 
sionally the luxury of a fish accompanied by a little whey or 
native beer. He died about 552 A.D. Among his 3000 
scholars were the twelve apostles of Ireland, of whom Ciaran, 
Brendan, and Columba brought greatest fame to this " doctor 
of wisdom." 

The biographers next convey Brendan to Britain or 
Brittany on a pilgrimage undertaken, on the advice of St 
Ita, as an atonement for the death of a person by drowning, 
of which Brendan accused himself of being partly a cause. 
Here he met St Gildas, probably in his monastery of Llan- 
carfan in South Wales. In Britain he instituted a school, 

144 /?/? in tht Olden Time. 

thereafter returning to his native land, about the year 540 or 
550 A.D. How long Rrcndan remained in Britain can only 
be conjectured, but it seems to have been on his return that he 
founded several churches and the famous monastery of Clonfcrt 
in Galway, of which he was abbot 1 Three thousand monks 
flocked to be under his rule at Clonfcrt and its dependent 
houses for it was said an angel brought him his Rule from 
heaven. Nor did he neglect female education, but set up a 
nunnery at Enach-duin, now Annadown, Galway, and installed 
his sister Briga as the abbess of it 

From Adamnan's ' Life of St Columba,' we also find him, 
along with other renowned abbots, visiting St Columba in 
one of the Western Isles, as before mentioned. 2 At last his 
pilgrimage ceased, and he found rest within his sister's house 
at Annadown, on Sunday, the i6th May 577 A.D., in his 
ninety-fourth year. His remains were buried at Clonfert 

The feast of St Brendan is marked in all the ancient 
martyrologics at the i6th of May. Dav. Camcrarius has : 
" Sanctus Brandanus Abbas, Apostolus Orcadum et Scoti- 
c.irum insularum." St /Kngus, in his Fcstology under that 
day, says : 

" The summons of Brendan of Clu.tin 
Into the victorious eternal kingdom." 

The gloss explains " />., the calling of Brendan of Clonfcrt 
to the kingdom of God." Marianus O'Gorman styles him, 
" Brendan without a particle of pride ; " Sclbhach refers to 

1 "557, Brendinus ccclcsiam in Ouain fcrtha fundavit." 'Ann. Ulster.' 
Ware dates foundation 558 ; ' Four Masters,' 553 ; 'Annals of InnUfallcn,' 562. 

* In a poem attributed to Columha his old friend sings (Adamnan's 'Columha, 
Reeves, p. 287} 

" It it in the Wet tweet Brendan K" 

The Christian Odyssey. 145 

his "penitential countenance;" and the poet St Cuimin of 
Connor, in his eulogy of the Hibernian saints, recounts 


" Brendan loved perpetual mortification, 
According to his Synod and his flock ; 
Seven years he spent on the great whale's back : 
It was a distressing mode of mortification." 

The Latin Life of St Brendan ( Vita S. Brendani), edited 
by Dr Moran from the Liber Kilkenniensis, treats of his life 
in twenty-nine chapters, thus : 

" i. Birth of St Brendan. 2. The sanctity of St Brendan fore- 
told by Becc Mac De. 3. Baptism of St Brendan ; he is placed 
under the care of St Ita. 4. St Brendan educated by St Ere. 5. 
St Brendan accompanies St Ere in his missionary visitations. 6. St 
Brendan by a miracle saves the life of a fellow-traveller. 7. A 
fountain of water issues forth at the prayer of St Brendan. 8. 
Through the prayers of St Ita and the exhortation of St Brendan, 
St Colman embraces a life of perfection. 9. St Brendan visits St 
Jarlathe of Tuam. 10. St Brendan writes his Religious Rule. u. 
St Brendan restores a dead youth to life ; is ordained priest by St 
Ere; founds monasteries in his native district. 12. Three thousand 
religious serve God under the rule of St Brendan ; he visits St Ita, 
and founds the monasteries of Inishdadromm and Clonfert. 13. 
St Brendan miraculously frees the town of Bri-uys, in Munster, from 
a plague of insects. 14. One of St Brendan's religious, through 
obedience, exposes himself to death. 15. St Brendan, by the 
counsel of St Ita, sets out on a penitential pilgrimage to Britain ; 
his visit to the monastery of St Gildas. 1 6. Miracles performed by 
St Brendan at the monastery of St Gildas. 17. St Brendan com- 
mends the patronage of St Brigid, whose soul was at all times 
absorbed in God. 18. St Brendan erects a cell in Inis-meic- 
ichiund ; the King of Connaught makes a gift of the island to 
St Brendan. 19. St Brendan restores to life one of the religious 
of Inisadromm. 20. St Brendan restores to liberty a man sorely 
distressed in captivity. 21. St Brendan, in his seventy-seventh year, 

VOL. I. K 

146 Bute in the Olden Timt. 

founds the monastery or Clonfcrt ; one of its religious restored to 
life. 22. St Ita, on Christmas night, receives the Holy Communion 
from St Brendan. 23. Miracle of the Holy Virgin St Chiar. 24. 
St Brendan visits the holy saints of Mcath. 25. St Brendan ex- 
plains to his religious how intolerable arc the pains of hell. 26. St 
Brendan exhorts his religious to confide in the providence of God. 

27. St Brendan saves the province of Connaught from an invasion. 

28. St Brendan visits his sister, St Bryga, and makes arrangements 
for his interment in Clonfcrt. 29. Death of St Brendan in his 
ninety-fourth year." 

In the same work Dr Moran publishes " Oratio Sancti 
Brendan!" (from two MSS., one in St Gall, the other in 
Bibliotheca Sessoriana, Rome), "Vita Mctrica Sancti Bren- 
dan!" (Cotton MSS., Brit Mus.), and the "Navigatio Sancti 
Brendan! " (Colbert MSS., Paris), all three in Latin. 

The halo of romance lingers round the name of St Bren- 
dan in connection with the marvellous sea voyages he was 
credited with making in search of the land of promise. Any 
reputation he may have gained by his adventurous spirit in 
the carrying of the Gospel to little frequented shores, where 
he reared his wattled or beehive churches, was lost in 
admiration of the impossible phantasies revealed by his life. 
The hard and bitter facts of his brave mission experience 
have been refined away into the misty visions of sickly 
souls, so that in the " Legends of the Saint " we have only a 
ghost of one of the greatest missionaries of the West. Fired 
with a like enthusiasm, his fellows betook themselves over 
land ; Brendan, like Torannan and Columba, sought his 
destiny in the sea. No doubt, long before his day, the talc 
of many an Odysseus, pagan and Christian, had reached the 
mount of Brendan, from whose top the pilgrim looked over 
his Kerry home into the silver sea. It is said that before he 

The Christian Odyssey. 147 

undertook his great voyage of discovery he made a short run 
to visit St Enda, in the isles of Aran. 

His pilgrimage was a young man's dream rather than an 
old man's hope. So I would date the beginning of his adven- 
tures before he crossed over to Brittany, and I would circum- 
scribe their locality to the Western Archipelago of Ireland 
and Scotland. If his pilgrimage occurred after his adventures 
in Brittany, he would have learned good ship-craft from the 
bold Bretons. He is made in " The Acts " the hero of his 
own enterprise, and easily found in adventurous comrades. 

" He put so much of soul into his act, 
That his example had a magnet's force, 
And all were prompt to follow where he led." 

The vision of St Mernoc's land filled his soul (see above, 
chap, vi.) ; and imagination set the light of Paradise over the 
prow of his boat. His fourteen monks and he had framed 
its well-ribbed sides, and covered them with oxen hides, well 
tanned in oaken bark, and smeared at every crevice with 
good Irish butter. With "a wet sheet and a flowing sea," 
a keg of butter to tan fresh skins, and food for forty days, 
the mission-ship took the water, " in the name of Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit." Away they ploughed with curving sail 
for fifteen days into the north-west, when the master called 
them to the irksome oars, for lack of wind. The provisions 
ran out just as they approached an almost inaccessible isle, 
very precipitous, like Ailsa or St Kilda. A dog gave them 
welcome to a town wherein was a luxurious home richly 
prepared for the voyagers' comfort. This the saint soon 
discovered to be a temptation of the devil, and under his 
spell one of the monks died there. 

148 Bute in the Olden Time. 

After other incidents, with favouring breeze they set out 
again, and reached an island whose many fountains swarmed 
with fish, and whose fields were white with sheep as great as 
oxen. It was the eve of Easter. A man they encountered 
told them no man milked the ewes, and winter never pinched 
them, hence their size. It is well to recollect that there is a 
Sheep Isle near Pladda, and that one of the Orkneys is called 
Shapinsha, or the Sheep Isle. The Northmen also called the 
Faroes "Sheep-isles" (Faer-eyiar). 

This man also told the visitors where they were to spend 
Easter, on an isle beside the " Paradise of Birds." To it they 
came a queer stony land, without port or beach or turf. 
The saint kept to the anchored boat, while his messmates 
sang Masses and began their cookery ashore. As the fire 
kindled and the pot boiled over, the island rustled and 
moved and took to flight in the ocean, with the flaming 
lighthouse on his back. To his terrified friends, saved by 
the skin of their teeth, the master explained how that was 
the greatest of oceanic monsters Jascon by name and his 
life-work was to try to grasp his tail in his mouth, a feat of 
marine dexterity which the grossness of his body prevented 
him always accomplishing. 1 

1 In BUin's ' History* (pp. 437-443) are preserved the remarkable depositions 
of Captain Robert Jamieson regarding the appearance in the Western seas of an 
island a mile and half long and 30 feet high, and also of another between Bute 
and Arran. Of the latter he said : " I have heard people mention a like appear- 
ance in the same place, but do not know whether this was at the same time. 
Had I key been able to flat e fire nfon it, tkey say it womU kave remained akovt 
Ike -t-attr." Blain also refers to a similar mirage seen between Ardlamont and 
Skipness : " Tkt country people gn* it tke name of tke Green liland" These 
coincidences, taken in connection with the story of Mcrnoc and Brendan, arc very 
striking. According to Dr Healy (' Insula Sanctorum,' p. 214): "To this day 

The Christian Odyssey. 149 

At a later stage of their peregrinations they came back 
and kept Easter on Jascon's back, " a difficult mode of 
piety," as an Irish writer of old said, and the leviathan gaily 
carried the mission over to the Paradise of Birds. 

Thereafter they visited an isle grassy, full of flowers and 
trees. A snow-white bird flew with tinkling wings to meet 
the saint, and tell him how the snowy birds they saw were 
spirits of the dead. And there they sat and sang and praised 
the Deity with the sweet rhapsody of their wings. The vocal 
bird also foretold how Brendan had to wander seven years 
in his quest o'er the main. After many romantic adventures 
they reach the " Isle of the family of Ailbe," where Christ- 
mas was spent among the Silent Monks, who had been there 
since the time of St Patrick and St Ailbe. It was a weird 
company. For these monks never grew older, never changed, 
never spoke, never cooked earthly food, for God cherished 
and nourished them. 

The story proceeds and evidently relates to adventures 
among the crystal icebergs of the ocean and the volcanic 
appearances of Iceland. These may have been additions 
from the " Lives " of other saints who penetrated into the far 
north long after the time of St Brendan. 

One of his discoveries was the infamous Judas, whom he 
discovered sitting on a craggy rock, in mid-ocean, with a veil 
flapping him on the face as the waves beat on or around him. 
Matthew Arnold, in his beautiful poem of " Saint Brandan," 
thus describes the scene : 

the existence of O'Brazil, an enchanted land of joy and beauty, which is seen 
sometimes on the blue rim of the ocean, is very confidentially believed in by 
the fishermen of our Western coasts. It is seen from Aran once every seven 

1 50 Rule in tht Oldtn Tim*. 

" Saint Brandan sails the northern main ; 
The brotherhood of saints are glad. 
He greets them once, he sails again ; 
So late ! such storms ! The saint is mad ! 

At last (it was a Christmas night; 
Stars shone after a day of storm) 
He sees float past an iceberg white. 
And on it Christ ! a living form. 

That furtive mien, that scowling eye, 
Of hair that red and tufted fell- 
It is oh where shall Brandan fly? 
The traitor Judas, out of hell ! 

Palsied with terror, Brandan sate ; 
The moon was bright, the iceberg near. 
He hears a voice sigh humbly. ' Wait ! 
By high permission I am here." 

He cried anon, "I am miscrablcst Judas, of bargainers the 
worst ; " and he went on to acknowledge how that flapping rag 
was a special mercy of Christ sent as a luxury amid his fiery 
torments, which were spared him on the great festival days. 
At other times, with Herod, Pilate, Annas, and Caiaphas, he 
agonised in hell. The demons who come to take Judas back 
to his torments were cursed and rebuked by the saint, and 
then the story leaps away to tell of an old graved igger of St 
Patrick's monastery, who lived on an isle in a cave upon 
water, and was found by the voyagers. 

After being piloted to the Isle of Birds by their old friend 
Jascon, they are guided south by a resident of that isle, after 
a voyage of forty days, to the Promised Land. Darkness in- 
vested it But a light soon illuminated its shore. They wan- 
dered in its fragrant orchards in the luscious tide of autumn. 
Forty days without a night passed by. They admired the 

The Christian Odyssey. 151 

mighty river in the land. Its fruits and gems they gathered 
to show their wondering friends at home. So setting sail 
once more they reached " The Isle of Delights," and the stout 
company disbanded to less romantic toils which ofttimes, no 
doubt, were lightened by the memories of the perils of the 

The romance of Brendan was long accepted as a truthful 
narrative, in so far, at least, as the Land of the Promise of the 
Saints was concerned. The Isle of Brendan became the quest 
of navigators. The King of Portugal looked upon it as one 
of his possessions, and down to 1721 expeditions were sent 
out specially to seek it. 

Since this chapter was written, the Marquess of Bute de- 
livered a lecture to the Scottish Society of Literature and 
Art in Glasgow on ipth January 1893, upon " The Fabulous 
Voyage of Brendan," in which he suggested that Brendan was 
of a hypnotic temperament, highly sensitised, restless, and 
impelling him to migratory efforts on behalf of the Church. 
The founding of Clonfert Monastery was the chief act of his 
life. This learned paper has been published in ' The Scottish 
Review' (vol. xxi., No. xlii.) It concludes with the following 
passage : 

" I look upon Brendan's wanderings in the Western Isles soon 
after his ordination, in search of a place wherein to found a monas- 
tery, as the only scrap of historical basis, at any rate as far as he 
was concerned, which the romance possesses. The Life says that 
he reached many islands, but instances only two, one of these being 
the so-called Land of Promise as above, and the incidents are not 
of a very startling character. No one on the other hand will deny 
that the Voyage narrates a series of incidents of a very startling 
character indeed, and it seems to me beyond possibility that some of 
them, such as the Judas episode, can have even a legendary basis, 

152 Bute in the OUU* Time. 

or be anything but pure, unmitigated, intentional, avowed, undis- 
guised fiction, like the incidents of any novel of the present day. 
It seems to me that there is in the romance more resemblance to 
Lucian's ' Traveller's True Tale ' than is likely to be accidental, and 
the Land of Promise indeed occupies a position somewhat similar 
to that held by the Islands of the Blest in that remarkable skit. 
Again, I think that the Burning Island with its forges, and its 
monstrous inhabitants hurling rocks into the sea after the voyagers, 
and the great black volcano piercing the clouds, is very suggestive 
of Etna and the Cyclopes at described in the Odyssey. It must be 
remembered that Greek scholarship was a good deal cultivated in 
ancient Ireland. My own impression is that the author, whoever 
he was, was a very pious man, who had read Homer and Lucian, 
and to whom it occurred that it would be a nice thing to write an 
imaginary voyage which might unite similar elements of interest and 
excitement with the inculcation of Christian, religious, and moral 
sentiments. For his own purposes he plagiarised them a little, and 
I am very far from wishing to contend that it is impossible that he 
may also have worked in some vague accounts of the wonders of 
the Western and Northern seas, and possibly of America, which 
had reached his ears from the adventurous voyages of the Norse- 
men, if indeed his date were late enough, possibly of even earlier 
navigators, now to us unknown. But as an whole, I look upon the 
' Fabulous Voyage' as a composition which is really only differentiated 
by the elements due to the time and place of its birth from religious 
novels such as those which enrich the pages of the ' Leisure Hour ' 
or the 4 Sunday at Home,' " 

Many churches and places retained the name of the saint, 
as in Kilbrannan Sound ; churches in Mull, St Kilda, Seil, 
Isle of Man (Kirk Braddon), Birnic, where his bell was ; and 
numerous fairs at Banff, Kirkcaldy, Kilbirnie (with its Brin- 
nan's Well), and other places kept up his memory. His cell 
is still preserved on Inisglora island of purity. 1 

1 Dunrmvcn'i ' Notes on Irish Architecture, ' vol. i. p. 43. 

The Christian Odyssey. 153 

If the 'Martyrology' of Aberdeen is to be credited, Bute was 
par excellence the scene of his cult ; and here " the natal day 
of St Brendan, abbot at the royal isle of Bute, and the abun- 
dant acts and stupendous miracles of his life, and pilgrimage 
by sea and land," were celebrated on the i6th day of May. 1 

From time immemorial the natives of Bute have called 
themselves " Brandanes," apparently after the saint. Fordun 
declares that the serfs of the Steward took their name from 
Brendan, and the isle its title from the voyager's booth or cell 
" Brandani scilicet de Botha." 2 No trace nor tradition of 
the booth now survives. Aidan, the King of Dalriada, had a 
heroic nephew and general named Brendinus, who fought in 
Mannan in 582, also a son named Bran ; but while his fol- 
lowers might have assumed his patronymic, there is, on the 
whole, a fitting connection between the islesmen of Bute and 
the saintly sailor Brendan. The MS. Annals of MacFirbis 
state that, up to the year 700 A.D., " the clergy of Ireland 
went to their Synods with weapons and fought pitched battles, 
and slew many persons therein." The "Brandanes" may thus 
have been the Hibernian colonists and seculars of Bute who 
followed King Aidan in his heroic campaigns in Alban, under 
the leadership of the " Coarb," or ecclesiastical successor of St 
Brendan (or St Blaan), an office probably conferred on " The 
Steward," whom the Brandanes followed at a later date. 

1 " In Scocia natalis Sancti Brandani Abbatis apud regulam insulam de Bute 
cuius vite et peregrinationis marisque et terrarum copiosa jesta et stupenda mira- 
cula enarrare nemo mortalium de facili possit que non sermonibus explicanda sed 
gloriosis signis quibus indies claret comprobandis." ' Martyr. Aberd.,' xvii. Kl. 

2 Fordun, 'Scot.,' xiii. cap. 32 ; Goodall, vol. ii. p. 315. 



" Darts shall boand front the edges of shields 
With him shall go forth his grey men, 
The rider of the swift horse, no lie, 
Shall traverse Erin in one day. 

He was a sage, be was a prophet, he was a poet, 
1 le was a wise one of the Son of the God of heaven, 
He was a hero, he was a cleric, pure, austere, 
He was a son of virginity, he was a priest." 1 


| N this strain, some sixty years before the events, 
did St Berchan, according to the credulous 
monks of the eleventh century, prophesy the 
advent of the two most remarkable heroes who 
appeared in the West in the sixth century Aidan, the first 
King of Alban, and Columba, the royal Abbot of lona. St 
Berchan, in his ecstasy, declared of Columba that " Heaven 
and earth were full of him." The subsequent fame of the 
missionary vies with this striking prophecy throughout the 
page of history. An admirable biography, compiled from 
contemporary sources by Adamnan, a successor in the abbacy 

1 'Chroo. Rets and Scots,' pp. 83 and 79. 

Belted King and Royal A bbot. 1 5 5 

in lona (679-704), keeps green the laurels nobly earned by 
the dauntless pioneer for Christ. But, as I have before in- 
dicated, Columba was far from being "the first who ever 
burst into that silent sea." The white sail of Gospel-voyager 
as well as of Ulidian buccaneer was well known in every bay 
and shelter on the Western coast, generations before his time. 
Almost as nebulous as the Orion of the heavens is the 
Nimrod of Leven Saint Kessog who is depicted with bow 
and arrow ready for the chase. This patron saint of Cumbrae, 
and formerly of the warriors of Leven, peregrinated from 
Munster to the Moray Firth. Faolan the leper retreated into 
the wilds of Perthshire, around Dundurn, to teach the Picts 
of the Earn. Others, such as Modwenna the Virgin, recounted 
the wondrous works of St Patrick throughout Galloway and 
the Lothians. Nor were the isles left unvisited by Hybar 
and Maccaile, and probably even by St Brigid herself. The 
British Church had also left a trail of glory to guide Columba 
in the pagan darkness. 

The age, however, had fast ripened into readiness for the 
reception of Christian morality and truth, and as part of the 
great movements then occurring is noticed the fusing of the 
incoherent colonies of Hibernian invaders in maritime Cale- 
donia into a union of petty states under a powerful king. 
These Dalriadans, from the northern districts of Ireland, 
having, after two centuries of foray, firmly established them- 
selves in Kintyre, Argyleshire, and in the adjacent isles 
Inchegal were, like true Celts, too restless and pugnacious 
to settle down to the gentle art of fishing, when they had 
neighbours to spoil. They penetrated northward, menacing 
the kingdom of the northern Picts, then ruled by Bruide Mac 
Maelcon. These incensed Cruithne, in turn, fell upon the 

1 56 ttttte in the Olden Tim*. 

foreigners and killed their king, Gabrain, son of Domangart, 
in 560 A.D. Emboldened by their success, they further 
repelled the marauders within the confines of Kintyrc and 
Cowal to that stretch of territory between the fort of Dunadd 
or Dunmonaigh, near Ardrishaig, on the west, and the hill of 
Dunoon on the east. Gabrain was meantime succeeded by 
his nephew Conall, son of Comgall, who, as king of the New 
Dalriada, ruled over the united lands of Gabrain and Comgall, 
now Kintyrc, and " Cowal with its islands " Bute, doubtless, 
among the number. 

It was three years after this reverse, 563, that Columba, 
"with twelve disciples, his fellow-soldiers, sailed across to 
Britain." It was the night of Pentecost he landed happy 
omen for pagan Caledonia ! His interest there was direct and 
potent for royal blood as much as Gospel grace gave the 
new-comer his overmastering influence among his Dalriadic 
kinsmen. The blood of " Conn of a hundred battles " was in 
him. The litheness of forty-two years, and the well-trained 
acuteness of a mind, royal in faculty as in origin, made 
Columba a masterful personage. He was of the reigning 
house of Ireland the Nialls and within a measurable dis- 
tance of the throne itself. When he was born, on the 7th 
day of December 520 A.D., at Gartan, in County Donegal, 
they called him Crimthan a wolf. Christianity was to 
tame him. The two renowned Finnians, of Movillc and 
Clonard, taught him ; a native bard, Gcmman, poured melody 
into his soul, whose echoes he afterward consecrated to the 
Church ; Etchen, Bishop of Clonfad, ordained him priest, 
the simple office he retained as Abbot of lona. Moved with 
the missionary spirit then prevalent, he resolved " to seek a 
foreign country for the love of Christ," and left the churches 

Belted King and Royal A bbot. 1 5 7 

and seminaries he had reared in his native land. He made 
his way to King Conall's camp, and when among his kinsmen 
there, described a battle in Erin, which in his vision he saw 
there and then proceeding. This incident shows the inter- 
esting relationship still subsisting between colony and father- 
land, and Columba made this bond the basis of his mission- 
ary enterprise. According to Adamnan, he received the grant 
of lona from his relative, King Conall ; according to Bede, 
from the Pictish King Bruide. Probably both claimed suzer- 
ainty over its debatable land. 

The faint remembrance and association of the name of 
Columba in place-names and in fairs, at Caolisport, in Arran, 
Cumbrae, Largs, Rothesay, may be the memorials of his resi- 
dence in Dalriada. Adamnan gives no reference to the 
saint's visits to Cowal nor Bute, and, what is very remark- 
able, makes no mention of local contemporaries like Catan, 
Blaan, and Molaise. Nor is there any dedication of a church 
in the immediate vicinity to any of the twelve followers of 
Columba. "In 1516 King James V. granted to Sir Patrick 
Makbard the chaplainry of Saint Columba in the Isle of Bute, 
with liberty to discharge the due burdens and services either 
personally or by substitute." 1 Monro, in 1549, refers to a 
chapel "under the castle of Kames," which doubtless was 
that at St Colmac in North Bute, where formerly stood the 
church of that name, not far distant from Kildavannan, which 
might be associated with Adamnan, since these two dedica- 
tions are often found together. 2 Otherwise the site of St 
Columba's church has not hitherto been identified. 

1 'Orig. Paroch.,' vol. ii. p. 224, quoting ' Reg. Sig.,' vol. v. fol. 57. 

2 See Appendix. 

*> "$?*! 

158 flute m the Olden Time. 

Hlain records (p. 82) that a chapel formerly stood in Glen. 
callum, having been erected as a mark of gratitude by a pious 
mariner saved from shipwreck. The district of Columshill, 
near St Hrigid's Chapel, Rothcsay, may have some connection 
with the honoured missionary's visit 

It is not to be assumed that Columba exercised no local 
influence nor displayed his spiritual powers in the southern 
parts of Dalriada. Being more intensely occupied in spread- 
ing the light in more benighted heathendom, he was not 
required to plant churches in a region favoured by the visita- 
tions of British teachers, and, as we see, ministered to by the 
relatives of King Aidan himself. That the field was occupied 
is somewhat corroborated by the absence of any reference to 
the church in Bute in the Annals recording the work of the 
monks of lona, until fifty years after the death of King 
Aidan, when, in 660, the family of Loarn sat on the throne 
of Alban. 

About 505 A.D., Columba advanced boldly through Pict- 
land as far as the scat of Bruide's sovereignty at Inverness, 
where he converted that monarch. The Gospel had early 
fruition. War upon the Christian Scots lulled. The slogan 
was exchanged into the melody of the mission bell ; the clash 
of blades into the music of the Mass. But Celt and Pict 
would not be tamed, though converted rti bloc by order of 
their kings. 

In 574 King Conall died, and the same year his hosts, led 
by Duncan his son, were destroyed at the battle of Delgen in 
Kintyre. It is said the king perished there as well. This 
opened the throne to Aidan, Edan, or Edom. Where he and 
his four brothers had been awaiting this turn of affairs is not 
known. It was likely among the Britons in his mother's 

Belted King and Royal Abbot. 159 

country. Columba, who was called in to consecrate Aidan as 
king, refused, " because he loved Jogenan his brother more," 
until, after some salutary inflictions by an angel, he was soon 
brought to a better state of mind. This was, perhaps, only a 
euphemistic way of declaring that the man of peace feared 
" the little firebrand" as Aidan's name implied a name his 
after-career did not belie. The Cymric bards even went the 
length of calling him "Vradog," or the false one. With the 
aid of this angel's " glassy book of the ordination of kings," 
Columba ordained Aidan king in lona, this being the first 
consecration of a Christian king in Britain. 

The evolution of political events in Britain, Alban, and Erin, 
had opened up a brilliant destiny for the proper man. Aidan 
was the man of destiny. His lineage was right royal. On 
his father's side he had the blood of the Nialls in his veins ; 
on his mother's that of " Old King Coyl." Through Lleian, 
daughter of King Brychan, who gave his name to Brecknock 
in South Wales, he was connected with one of the three holy 
families of Britain, and also with many powerful reigning 
families among the Cymry and Gael who had married out of 
Brychan's house. These " Men of the North," "Gwyr y Gog- 
led," as the Cymric bards styled these chieftains, afterwards 
became the allies of Aidan when he combined Dalriads and 
Brythons against the Picts in the north, and the pagan Angles 
in the south of Strathclyde. 1 At this epoch the Brythons in 
Alban were divided into small independent states ruled by 
their own petty kings, who, with Aidan, claimed descent from 
Maxim Guletic, or the Emperor Maximus, who obtained 

1 The country between the Ribble and the Clyde, except Pictish Galloway, was 
called by the early Welsh writers "Y Gogled." Sometimes it referred only to 
the Brythonic country north of the Solway. 

160 Bute in the Olden Time. 

command of the Roman forces in Britain, and was proclaimed 
Emperor in 383 A.D. After the departure of the Roman 
soldiery the office of leader of the British forces, " Dux Bri- 
tanniarum," was retained by a powerful general, styling him- 
self the Gwlcdig or over- king. This office Aidan seems to 
have inherited or assumed, and to have exercised in the great 
struggle between the Roman or Christian party, and the 
Anglic or pagan party, which culminated in the victory of 
Ardderyd, near Carlisle, in 573, when the former prevailed. 
The result of the battle was that Ryddcrch was established 
as King of Cumbria or Strathclyde, over the consolidated 
states of the Cymry, with his scat of government at Alclud or 
Dunbrcatan, now Dumbarton. Where Aidan held sway is not 
certain, but Dr Skenc thinks that Aidan was a petty king 
before this for five years, " among the nations south of the 
Friths of Forth and Clyde, and seems to have had claims 
upon the district of Manan or Manann, peopled by the Picts." 
His policy illustrates the spirit of a Crusader rather than that 
of an adventurer. His blood made him cosmopolitan, his 
faith statesmanlike. Of purpose, or unwillingly, he fulfilled 
the so-called prophecy of St Bcrchan : 

" He is the first man who shall possess in the East 
After the vexation to the Cruithnigh. 
He was a red flame, he awakened battle. 
The anxious traveller." l 

As soon as he had inaugurated his government he crossed to 
Erin, accompanied by his Anmcara, soul-friend, Columba, \o 
make terms as to paying tribute to the mother country. At 
the Convention of Drumceatt, in Londonderry, in 575, the 

1 'Chron. Pict* and Scots,' p. 82. 

Belted King and Royal Abbot. 1 6 1 

eloquence of the royal monk settled the independence of 
colonial Dalriada, and Alban was turned from a tributary to 
an ally, to be united with Erin only in hostings and reciproca- 
tion of hospitality. 

The "anxious traveller" returned to carry his "red flame" 
in every direction. He ranged from the Orkneys to the Bor- 
ders, now assisted by Ulster auxiliaries against the Picts on 
the banks of the Forth, now chasing the Angles back into 
Bernicia, anon campaigning in the Isle of Man. For twenty 
years victory followed the soldiers of the Cross. But in 596 
a woful disaster befell the king. Aneurin and Taliessin, who 
were Cymric bards coeval with Aidan, tell the harrowing tale 
in the " Gododin Poems." Their hero is known as "Mynyd- 
dawg," or the mountaineer. The poet depicts the gay host 
circling the bivouac, listening to the minstrel's song, and 
drinking the enervating wine, before the battle of Catraeth : 

" Together they drank the clear mead 
By the light of the rushes : 
Though pleasant to the taste, its banefulness lasted long." 1 

They had drawn their blades, " white as lime," in defence of 
the faith " blades full of vigour in defence of baptism," and 
wearing their golden torques, had rushed into the unequal 

Overcome in their wassail, " their life was the price of their 
banquet of mead." 

"Though they went to church to do penance, 
The inevitable strife of death was to pierce them." 

The poem describes how the body-guard of three hundred 

1 ' Four Anc. Books of Wales,' vol. i. p. 374 et seq. 
VOL. I. L 

1 62 Bute in thf Olden Time. 

heroes, the armed muster of the Clan Gabran numbered 
three hundred, 1 were all slain, Aidan alone escaping : 

" Of the retinue of Mynyddawg there escaped none 
Except one frail weapon, tottering every way." 

This battle of Catracth was apparently the same as that of 
Chirchind, fought in 596, in Gododin, a district near the Forth, 
held by the Monti, at which Aidan's four sons, Bran, Domhan- 
gart, Eochaidh, and Arthur fell. " Ring the bell," said Columba 
in far lona, and as the monks ran to prayers, he cried, " Now 
let us pray the Lord earnestly for this people and Aidan the 
king, for at this hour they go into battle." So they prayed. 
Thereafter the visionary looked into the sky, and exclaimed, 
" Now the barbarians are put to flight, and to Aidan the 
victory has been given, but it is a sad one."* 

But the aged hero was not daunted. He hated the pagans 
heartily. Again we see him, in 603, leading an allied force of 
Scots, Picts, Brythons, and mercenaries or clansmen from 
Ulster, down to the Borders, to humble the ambitious king 
of the Northumbrians, Ethclfrid. Bcdc thus refers to it : 
" Hereupon, /Edan, king of the Scots that inhabit Britain, 
being concerned at his success, came against him with an im- 
mense and mighty army, but was beaten by an inferior force, 
and put to flight ; for almost all his army was slain at a famous 
place called Dcgsastan, that is Dcgsastone." * Later writers 
made this break his brave heart 

1 " Th armed roaster of the Cinel Gabran, three hundred men." 'Chron. Picts 
and Scots,' p. 312. "The Cinel Gabran, five hundred and three score houses in 
Kintyrc, the district of Cowall with the islands. Twice seven benches to each 
twenty houses, their sea muster." P. 314. 

Reeves' Adamnan, ' Life of Columba,' pp. 33, 36. 

* Bede, Eccl. Hist.,' bk. i. c. 34. 

Belted King and Royal A bbot. 163 

That was the last of his valiant enterprises. His success 
had been the security of the Western Church, and in his reign 
flourished Brendan, Columba, Catan, Blaan, Molaise, and 
Kentigern. He was the founder of the Scottish monarchy. 
He survived by three years his old ally Rhydderch, and by 
nine the saintly abbot who placed the crown on his head. In 
606, at the ripe age of seventy-four, the sceptre fell from his 
hands, after he had reigned thirty-eight warring years, of 
which he was for thirty-two years King of Alban. 1 Of his ten 
children Arthur, Eochaidh Fionn, Domhangart, Eochaidh 
Buidhe, Tuathal, Bran, Baiothin, Conang, Gartnait, Maith- 
gemm four were slain in battle in 596 viz., Arthur, Eochaidh 
Fionn, Domhangart, and Bran ; and Conang was drowned in 
622. Eochaidh Buidhe succeeded to the crown, and died in 
629 A.D. 

The place of his death is not mentioned by the Irish annal- 
ists, but John of Fordun records that he died in Kintyre, and 
is buried at Kilkerran, where none of his predecessors had 
been interred. 2 According to Father Hay, " Convall, a pupil 
of Kentigern, lived att Inchinnan, some 7 miles from Glasgow, 
and made the funerall discourse att King Aidanus Buriall." 3 

But Bishop Leslie, in his History, mentions, without citing 
an authority, that King Aidan was buried in lona. I suggest 
Bute as his resting-place on the following grounds. Above 
Ardbeg Point there lies a little farm, now designated Ruli- 
cheddan, but a century ago noted in Dr Maclea's Visiting- 
Book as Reiligeadhain, which signifies the burial-place of 
Eadan reilig being the Gaelic form of the Latin reliquia or 

1 ' Chron. Picts and Scots,' p. 68. ' Ann. Tigh.' 

2 'Chron.,' lib. iii. cap. xxxi. vol. i. p. 117. Skene's ed. Edinburgh, 1871. 

3 Hay, ' Scotia Sacra,' MS. Adv. Lib., p. 30. 

164 Bute in the Olden Time. 

rcliqnium. On part of the farm, close to the highway where 
Eilyer Cottage now stands, on a mound beside the Point 
House Burn, there existed till about twenty-five years ago 
an immense cairn, some twenty feet high, which was only 
a portion of a larger cairn which was used as a convenient 
quarry. In ' The Statistical Account of Buteshire,' published 
in 1841, the following footnote is found : "A tumulus on the 
side of a small stream near the Point House has been par- 
tially opened, and is found to contain many human bones 
mixed with the stones. It is said to have been the scene of 
a bloody battle between the Bannatyncs of Kames and the 
Spenccs of North Kamcs." 1 In 1858, when the stones were 
being removed, it was discovered to be a place of prehis- 
toric burial, and eighteen cists, each about 30 inches square, 
containing in some cases black dust, in others sepulchral 
urns, were laid bare round the circumference of the cairn.* 

Again, at the final removal to obtain material to build 
the dykes round Kames Bay, a cist now built into the 
wall at Kames Castle Gate was found in the centre of 
the cairn. The cist was about thirty inches square, and 
contained dark, apparently burnt, ashes, together with a 
rudely ornamented urn, which on being handled broke into 

The form of burial was evidently that of the pagan or early 
Christian era. To add to the historic interest of the spot is 
the Gaelic tradition lingering there. 8 Wilson, in his ' Guide 

1 Stat Ace.,' p. 103. 

* My informant is Mr Duncan Keith, Kothesay, an eyewitness who assisted at 
the work. 

' My informant is Mr Malcolm MacKinnon, Kames Castle Lodge, who opened 
the cist. 

Belted King and Royal A bbot. 1 65 

to Rothesay,' * gives a different version of the tradition, in 
which Spens, a young laird of Wester Kames, was the luckless 
hero, but this is not in keeping with the age of the cists found 
in the cairn. 

" The cairn covered the remains of a great hero. He was 
wont to wear a belt of gold, which, being charmed, protected 
him on the field of battle. One day, however, as he rode a- 
hunting accompanied by his sister, the maid, coveting the 
golden talisman, prevailed upon him to lend it to her. While 
thus unprotected he was killed, whether by enemies or mis- 
chance the attenuated tradition does not clearly indicate ; 
and this cairn marked the warrior's grave." 

This allusion to a belted hero has a great significance when 
it is recollected that a gold belt was the insignia of office of 
each of the " Duces Britanniarum " the three military com- 
manders of Roman Britain. This badge or girdle was assumed 
by the native successor of this duke, who took the name of 
Gwledig, and with it the authority of an over-king among 
the Kymry. 2 

Birth, as well as martial prowess, seems to have been King 
Aidan's right to wear this belt, as has been previously pointed 
out ; one account making him a descendant of Maxim Guletic, 
another of Ceretic Guletic, whom Dr Skene identifies with the 
very Coroticus who held the Christians in subjection in the 
time of St Patrick. 3 

This place-name Reilig-Aedhain may thus be our last 
memorial of the tomb of this brave and noble Christian king, 
who may have rested from his labours there when Bute 

1 P. 60. Rothesay, 1848. 2 Rhys, ' Early Britain, ' p. 119. 

3 'The Four Anc. Books of Wales,' W. F. Skene. Edinburgh, 1868. Vol. ii. 
p. 455. C. S. Vol. i. pp. 158, 160. 

1 66 fiute in the Olden Timt. 

part of the realm of Kintyrc was the brightest emerald in 
the diadem of Dalriada, and here 

" Thy mourners were the plaided Gael ; 
Thy dirge the clamorous pibroch sung." 

With the enterprise and phenomenal success of Aidan's 
royal contemporary, Abbot Columba, among Scots and Picts, 
this history is not designed to deal. Suffice it to say that the 
best proof of the rapidity and thoroughness of the propaga- 
tion of Christianity at this epoch is found in the numerous 
dedications of churches bearing Columba's name there 
being thirty-two among the Scots and twenty-six among the 
Picts. His personal influence and the influence of the Church 
which owned his special rule and polity arc appraised in 
the fulfilment of the saint's own prophecy regarding lona: 
" Small and mean though this place is, yet it shall be held in 
great and unusual honour, not only by Scotic kings and 
people, but also by the rulers of foreign and barbarous 
nations, and by their subjects ; the saints also, even of other 
Churches, shall regard it with no common reverence." 







' ' At eve, within yon studious nook, 
I ope my brass-embossed book, 
Portray'd with many a holy deed 
Of Martyrs crown'd with heavenly meed ; 
Then, as my taper waxes dim, 
Chant, ere I sleep, my measured hymn." 


'UBRICIUS, Kentigern, and Blaan of Kingarth 
were sons of virgins. 1 Mystery hung over their 
cradles if they had such luxury at their romantic 
births. Ertha or Bertha a maid from Erin was 
residing with her holy brother, Catan, in the vicinity of the 
tawny shore of Kilchattan, when the misfortune of Blaan's 
birth occurred. It was a rude age, and she laid the blame of 
her sin upon an unknown Apollo ; it was a heroic age, and 
some attributed his fatherhood to Aidan the king; it was a 
superstitious age, and the neighbours were afterwards pleased 
to believe that the potent spirit who haunted the holy well of 
St Catan was the sire of the boy who brought renown to their 

1 The Gaelic-speaking natives pronounced Blane's name Blawn. 

1 68 Bute in the Olden Time. 

It was the Celtic custom then to expose frail maids and 
their offspring in a skiff made of a single hide to the mercy 
of the sea. To this fate the irate priest cast the babe and his 
mother. However, a counteracting Providence gently guided 
the coracle to her native land, where, warned by some pre- 
monition of the advent of a great personage, at a place called 
Beuthornc in north Ireland, the two renowned Pictish bishops, 
Comgall and Cainncch, were waiting to receive the child. 1 
In other words, the friends of Catan, Comgall, founder of the 
monastic school of Bangor, and Cainncch, founder of Aghaboe, 
with whom it is said Catan and Columba were at the school 
of Clonard, were intrusted with the education of Blaan for 
seven years. He returned to Bute with his mother in his 
youth, in a boat without oars or sails, of course, and was then 
honourably received by his uncle. Catan brought him up to 
the service of the Church. Soon he displayed miraculous 

1 This Comgall, one of the fathers of the Irish Church, was of distinguished 
family in Dalaradia, and was born about the year 517.' After completing his 
studies in Britain, he founded the monastery of Bcnchor, in the now insignificant 
village of Bangor, near the Bay of Carrickfcrgus, in 558. He composed a Rule for 
his house which was rery strict and exacting. The devotion of his community 
attracted so many pupils that it was necessary for their superior to build addi- 
tional houses and cells for their accommodation. It was said three thousand 
lived under his rule, and these were divided into seven alternate choirs, of three 
hundred singers each, who adored in song the Deity, night and day. This school 
was a university devoted to varied studies, as may be proved by the refined 
scholarship of the great Columbanus of Bobbio, who shed such lustre on this 
monastery, where he was educated. St Comgall, like his pupil St Columbanus, 
followed the liturgy used by St Patrick, called the " Cursus Scottorum." He died 
in 601. Cainncch, the friend of Comgall, Brendan, and Columba, also a Pict, 
born about the same time as Comgall, was educated in Britain under Docus, and 
returned to Ireland to found Aghaboe, at least before 577. He died in 599. 

Both of these holy men came to help Columba in his Pictish mission in the 
Western Isles, Comgall founding a church in Terra llttk or Tircc. 
1 Mooulembert, ' Monki of the Wat,' voL ili. p. 94. 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 169 

propensities. One day while they were busy psalm-singing, 
the fires, which were left in charge of Blaan, all went out. He, 
wishing no one to incur the blame of the saint, offered up 
prayer, whereupon fire sparkled from his finger-tips like 
flashes from a flint when it is struck. Catan realised his 
superior grace, prophesied his fame, and ordained him to the 
priesthood. He proceeded next to exercise priestly functions 
among his nearest neighbours, presumably at Kilblaan. 

His biographers, as well as local tradition, transport him to 
Rome, there to receive a richer grace, and a securer badge of 
his episcopal office at the hands of the Pope. 

" From his native hills 
He wandered far; much did he see of men, 
Their manners, their enjoyments, and pursuits, 
Their passions and their feelings ; chiefly those 
Essential and eternal in the heart, 
That 'mid the simpler forms of rural life, 
Exist more simple in their elements, 
And speak a plainer language." 

Nor is there anything improbable in such an enterprise of 
faith. It was as safe and easy to go to Rome then as now, 
the well-paved highway leading from Strathclyde direct to 
the Eternal City. And intercommunication was frequent. 

As mentioned previously, southern ecclesiastics had been 
attracted to Ireland by the fame of St Patrick and his schools 
long before the successive colonies of Irish monks began to 
seek their homes in the warmer climes of middle Europe. 
The mission-ship as well as the trading vessels crossed the 
ocean, and in the latter were stowed away the pale-faced cap- 
tives who soon won the heart of Gregory the Great, as these 
Angles stood like " angels " in the slave-mart of Rome. 

1 70 ttutc in the Olden Time. 

Columbanus, for example, who was a contemporary of St 
Hlaan in the end of the sixth century, circa 589, left Bangor, 
the same school at which St Hlaan was taught, and sowed the 
seed of the Gospel between the Vosges and the Alps, and be- 
tween the banks of the Loire and the Danube, successively 
preaching to Franks, Burgundians, and Lombards, till the 
Scottish order of monks achieved a fame second only to the 
Benedictines. Columbanus finally settled at Bobbio in Lorn- 
bardy, not fifty miles from the Gulf of Genoa. His white 
marble sarcophagus, with its historical bas-reliefs, his horn- 
handled iron knife, and wooden drinking-cup presented to 
him by Pope Gregory the Great, on the consecration of the 
monastery in 612, and his little bell, as well as the tombs of 
his fellow-missionaries, are still preserved at Bobbio. 

A visit to Rome was an education which Blaan could not 
fail to profit by. In his epoch Christianity, rcinspired with 
new vigour, was sanctifying the decayed grandeur of pagan 
civilisation, till the times, rapid of change, were ripening for 
the masterly policy of Pope Gregory the Great, the friend of 
Columbanus, patron of learning, promoter of monasticism, 
and the astute leader of the Church, who founded the tem- 
poral, and established firmly the ecclesiastical, power of the 

At this very time the hapless Benedictines had been driven 
by the Lombards from their embattled hill of Monte Cassino 
to seek a home in Rome. And one of the latest and most 
important accessions to their Order was this rich prator of the 
city, Gregory, who devoted his wealth and life to Christ, and 
raised the monastery of St Andrew on the Ccelian Hill in 575, 
the same year Aidan's kingdom of Alban was declared inde- 
pendent Every one knows the beautiful story of this Italian 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 1 7 1 

monk seeing the Anglo-Saxon slaves from Deira in the 
market-place, and never rinding peace till, as Pope, he sent 
from his own monastery the famous St Augustine and his 
forty companions to undertake the conversion of England, 
about 590 A.D. These great movements were transpiring in 
the reign of Scottish Aidan, and St Blaan felt their impetus. 
No Christian pilgrim could leave such scenes without being 
fired in imagination, and carrying in his memory impressions 
from great functions, the models and practique of architecture, 
patterns of learning, and examples of living, of a kind far in 
advance of anything known or dreamt of in his native Alban. 
Indeed, tradition here avers that the enthusiastic monk 
brought with him consecrated earth to found his monastery 
upon, to which it is necessary to refer more fully afterwards, 
when dealing with the women's cemetery at Kilblaan. 1 

He returned on foot. When passing through Northumbria, 
he heard two royal parents mourning for their dead blind son. 
Touched with pity, the pilgrim raised him to life, at the sign 
of the cross, and presented him safe, sound, and seeing to his 
parents. His name was Columba. Out of gratitude they 
presented Blaan with lands there, and on that account the 
church of Dunblane continued to possess, down to 1296, the 
manors of Appilby, Congere, Troclyngham, and Malemath. 
He seems to have founded a church too at Kilblain, near 
Dumfries, and impressed his name by the way home at 
Strathblane, Sutheblan, and Auchenblain, near Crossraguel, 
in Ayrshire. 

Travel and varied experiences, such as these, refined Blaan's 

1 St Molaise of Daimhinis went to Rome, about 570, to bring back relics and 
consecrated clay. MS. Irish Life. 

172 Bute in the Olden Time. 

nature conspicuously above that common " when wild in wood 
the noble savage ran." Before distinguished as " fortis in 
bcllo," he became known as " Blaan the mild of Ccnngarad," 
as the Martyrology of Acngus notes with the gloss './., 
" Bishop of Cenn-garad />., Dunblane is his chief city, and 
he is of Ccnn-garad in the Gall-Gacdcla " (/>., the Scottish 
islands). 1 

In connection with these facts it may be stated here that 
the Litany of Dunkcld enumerates Blaan among the abbots, 
and Camcrarius designates him "Blanus Episcopus Sodo 
rcnsis" />., Blane, Bishop of Sodor, a title out of keeping 
with these times.* 

Other writers make Blaan a Culdee abbot or bishop, about 
the year 1000, in Dunblane. 8 Of Blaan's life in Bute we know 
absolutely nothing. His life by George Newton, archdeacon 
of Dunblane, is lost. Tradition maintains he lived and died 
at the church which bears his name, and overshadows his 
existing tomb. And Fordun has formed the tradition into 
history when he wrote : " Columba in Dumblan et Blanus in 
Botha tumulantur" Columba is entombed in Dumblan and 
Blaan in Bute. 4 

There is a striking probability that St Blaan may have 
left Bute to visit his uncle's churches, or, on a mission, to 
follow on the old track of the early Pictish missionaries who 
had penetrated up the Earn and settled among the Cale- 
donians. In Kintyre, the parish of Southend is made up of the 

1 ' Martyr. Christ Church,' Dublin, Uviii. 

3 "iiij Idas August!. In Insula de Boit Sancti Blani cpiscopi ct Confcssoru." 
' Mart. Abcrd.' " Augustus 10 Die. Sanctus Blanus Episcopus Sodorensis." 

1 " Aug. 10. In Scotia Blaani EpUcopi et Confessoris, qui circa annum mil- 
Icsimnm vivebat K.B.T." ' Menol. Scot' 

4 'Scotichron.,' xi. at, Goodall, vol. u. p. 160. 

' ' Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad. " 173 

original parish of Kilblane, Kirkblane, or Kilblaan, in which 
Pont and Blaeu mark the sites of churches dedicated to Blaan 
and to Cathan. The monks of Whithorn also held lands in 
Kilblaan in connection with the chapel of Ninian. 

Blaan's own teacher, Cainnech, had crossed the wild back 
of Alban before him. Hence we find a Kilblain in Greenock, 
the Strath of Blane, a church in Strathearn, and finally the 
Dun of Blane, all in the direction he was likely to take. On 
the south-west shore of Loch Earn, about a mile from Loch 
Earn Head, and near the pelasgic remains of Craggan, there 
exist the ruins of a little building, called St Blaan's chapel. 
Its foundations are of rough boulders. It is duly oriented. 
It measures 45 feet by 18 ; and to the east end what seems 
to have been an apse or a chancel, 6 feet long, also remains. 
The traces of a cashel, or surrounding wall, are also visible. 
It has the characteristics of one of the primitive churches of 
the time of Blaan, and may have been reared by himself 
when on his mission to the Ivernians. Now all its history 
is in its name vox et pr&terea nihil. 

Dr Reeves inclines to the opinion that Blaan personally 
exercised the function of abbot and bishop over a small 
fraternity at his church at Dunblane, which afforded both a 
name and a cathedral to the diocese, which was erected either 
by King David or Gilbert Earl of Stratherne, the latter of 
whom endowed it with a third of his earldom, before 1210. 
This diocese was coterminous with the earldom. Accord- 
ing to a note annexed to Henry of Silgrave's Chronicle 
(1272), the Keledei, or secular priests, were the religious 
society of the Church, who were thus raised in diocesan 
importance. 1 

1 Reeves, ' Culdees,' pp. 32, 46, 47. 

1 74 Bute in the Olden Timt. 

On Blaan's return to Bute he fixed upon a nook among 
the southern hills wherein to found the church that bears his 
name, and to rear the monastic establishment over which he 
presided. The site is cunningly disposed to bask in sunshine, 
while it has a prominent outlook over hill, dale, and sea. 
Behind is Suidhc Chatain (516 feet), before uprcars the 
grassy Suidhc Bhlain (400 feet), the favourite scat of the 
abbot, and near which, on the north slope, the country people 
pointed out a hollow in a stone, which they said was the 
impression of his foot (Blain, p. 82). Around it arc the 
rolling fields, once covered with flocks and fruit-trees. A 
lovelier or serener site could scarce be found in any land. 
The monastery itself was embowered beneath the wind- 
shelter of a rocky ridge which looks down on the vitrified 
fort of Dunagoil. Its extensiveness may be inferred from 
the structural remains still in evidence. These may be 
classified as defensive, domiciliary, and ecclesiastical works, 
and I treat of them in this order. 

The existence of the Drcamin* Tree edifice and other cy- 
clopean walls, described in chap, ii., suggests the idea that 
Blaan sought protection for his church in the district fort. 
The earliest Celtic churches were built within the fortified 
enclosures of the chieftains who were converted to Christ, and 
who thereafter patronised, endowed, and protected the church. 
There are many recorded instances of this custom, which 
came to modify the external surroundings of the church. If, 
as is supposed, the castle of Rothcsay was first a Celtic 
" caisel " or " rath " a circular fortified enclosure, the 
chapel of St Michael, within the court, is an illustration of 
this custom, rendered necessary by the disrespect shown to 
the struggling Church. 



f ^ 


^<r'-i, : 

- ' ' 


^.^^ . 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 175 

After the necessity passed away, the combination, however, 
long survived, till the plan of enclosing the ecclesiastical 
edifices within a substantial rath or cashel became general 
in Ireland and Scotland. Remains of these are visible at 
St Ninian's, Kilmory, and St Blaan's. There were three 
concentric walls at St Blaan's one confining the primitive 
buildings beneath the ridge, another including these and the 
present church, and a third bounding the abbey land from 
sea to sea. This latter is referred to in the charter by which 
Alan the Steward, in 1204, disponed of St Blaan's Church to 
Paisley Priory : 

" Besides, I myself, for the soul of King David, also for the soul 
of King Malcolm, and for the soul of my father, Walter, together 
with that of my mother, Eschene, and for the salvation of our Lord 
the King, William of Scotland and his heirs, and for the salvation of 
myself and my heirs, give, dispone, and by this my charter confirm 
to the same superior of Passelet, and to the monks serving God, at 
the same place, the church of Kengaif [Kengarf?] in the isle of 
Bote, with all the chapels and with the whole jurisdiction [parish] 
of the same isle, and with the whole land which St Blaan, it is 
said, formerly girded across country [or, by a syke\ from sea even 
to sea, by boundaries secure and visible^ so that freely and quietly 
as any church in the whole kingdom of Scotland it shall be held 
more free and peaceable." 1 

This disposition of Kilblaan does not appear to have 
been acted upon. At least, in 1224, when the monastery of 
Paisley was taken under the protection of the Pope, all the 
lands connected with it are mentioned in the bull, and Kin- 
garth is not among them. 2 Nor is it mentioned in the 

1 'Reg. Mon. de Passelet,' p. 15. See Appendix. 

- Theiner's ' Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum,' p. 23. 1864. 

1 76 Bute in the Olden Time. 

general confirmatory charters granted to the abbey by the 
kings of Scotland, nor in the ecclesiastical deeds relating to 
the right of the abbey in its dependent churches. This 
Walter died in 1177, a monk of Mclrosc, to which house he 
had been a liberal benefactor. 1 

From this charter it appears that the abbey land of Kil- 
blaan was an extensive possession in the saint's lifetime, and 
clearly designed from sea to sea, while all the other chapels 
in the isle were dependants (dalta) upon his parent church 
(annoit). The shortest distance between sea and sea in that 
district between Kilchattan and Lubas measures one mile 
and one-sixth. That encloses the twenty -pound land of 
Kingarth, part of which still has the significant name of 
Margnaheglish, or the Kirk Glebe. Within it formerly 
resided most of the population. On the hill overlooking the 
church to the north, the cattle-markets were held till last 
century. A few years ago the Marquess of Bute had the 
socket of the market cross exposed to view : 

" For the cross o'er the moss of the pointed summit stood." 

A strong wall runs down to Glcncallum Bay from the 
church, seemingly beginning at the northern end of the 
ridge, and I have partly made out its course in the opposite 
direction towards Dunstrone. 

So large a property must have been a substantial grant to 
Catan or Blaan by a chieftain, probably their reputed rela- 
tive King Aidan. Chieftains often gave large gifts of land 
for Christian service ; and these, designated " termon-lands," 
were exempted from taxation, marked out for a "right of 

1 ' Reg. If 00. de Paaclet ,' p. XT, note. 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 177 

sanctuary," and were bequeathed by the possessing abbot 
to his personal heirs, " according to the ecclesiastical law of 

"The coarb that is to say, the ecclesiastical successor of 
the original founder in the headship of the religious society, 
whether bishop or abbot was the inheritor of his official in- 
fluence, while the descendants in blood, or founder's kin, were 
inheritors of the temporal rights of property and chieftain- 
ship." ! A lay family thus succeeded to abbey lands on be- 
coming the hereditary possessors of the first abbot's pastoral 
staff or crosier. The Duke of Argyll possesses the staff 
(bachul more a veritable blackthorn) of St Moluag of Lis- 
more. The parent monastery from which pupils emerged 
to plant new churches always retained spiritual jurisdiction 
over its clerical progeny and the community these served. 
Columba in lona thus ruled his own churches in Ireland ; 
and the monastery of Bangor supervised Kilblaan. Hence 
in ecclesiastical phraseology a parochia, or parish, at this 
time, was the jurisdiction of a Superior (Abbot, Father, 
Senior) over the churches and monasteries of the same Rule 
sprung from his House. The " parish " of Blaan appears to 
have extended through Northumbria as far as Lindisfarne, 
and northward as far as Dunblane. 

As regards the walls, the foundations of these defensive 
walls, composed of huge boulders without any cementing 
medium, are 6 feet broad, and run some distance nearly 
parallel with the ridge, then stretch away southward. It is 
not clear now. however, how much space they enclosed, as 
the continuity of the lines is lost. 

1 Anderson, ' Scot, in Early Christian Times,' p. 233. Edinburgh, 1881. 
VOL. I. M 

1 78 Bute in the Olden Time. 

With regard to the Domiciliary Remains, the stances and 
foundations of edifices are distinctly visible, although now 
it is impossible to fix the character and use of these. Some 
were of stone, others of wood. They, without doubt, included 
the full complement of a Celtic monastic establishment or 
mutHttr, " the great house," ! kitchen, 1 pilgrims' house,* refec- 
tory, 4 dormitories for the scolocs or pupils, the school, the 
workshops, barn, cattle-sheds, mill, hermitage, 4 &c. The 
church, 6 chapels, 7 and graveyard 8 also were within the outer 
wall. If these buildings were of the usual Scotic construc- 
tion, wattle-woven or wooden, or even built of small stones 
available for subsequent wall-building, their total disappear- 
ance is easily explained. In the course of the excavation 
here two small granite quern- tops were disinterred: the 
upper millstone was uncovered in the women's cemetery, 
where it was converted into a socket for a cross ; the font 
was also found in the rubbish of the church.* 

In the ground between the ridge and the church, locally 
called M the orchard," now shaded by magnificent ashes, at the 
base of the ridge is found " St Blaan's Well," also known as 
44 The Holy Well," and " The Wishing Well." It is dry-stone 
built, is 3 feet broad and deep, and has been partly covered. 
It was suitable for well-baptism as practised in the Celtic 
Church. Popular tradition asserts it to be the local habita- 

T(k-mor. Cult or cuuenn. * Tctk-H-tiguL * PraitutUtk. 

Diurt. CfU, Uus t Umjml. r NemtJ, dattrtetk. Rtfo, mam. 

Broken grey granite quern-top, pierced diameter, 10 inches; thick, 3#; 
diameter of hole, 2 inches. Grey granite quern-top, crested, not pierced 
diameter, l6# inches; thick, 2%. Red sandstone font, pierced external 
diameter, 28 inches; thick, 7%; diameter of basin, 17 inches; deep, 4; 
diameter of hole, 3 inches. These relics are preserved at Mountstuart. The 
upper millstone is 33 inches in diameter and 12 inches thick. 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 


Foot-font at Kilblaan. 

tion of a slth or spirit, who, when propitiated by the offering 
of a coin, is wont to give the faithful drinkers of its limpid 
spring a blessing, which cures sterility. Within the last 
decade believers in this extra- 
ordinary superstition have been 
known to visit the well with the 
requisite propitiatory oblations. 
A few yards distant from the 
well lies the stone lavatory 
wherein the pilgrims' feet were 
bathed, an irregular, hollow, 
sandstone block, over whose 
rim a runnel is cut. 1 Or the 
stone may have been the font used for the washing of the 
feet of the newly baptised. 

The ceremonial washing of the feet or "pedilavium," not 
found in the Roman office, was common to the early Gallican 
ritual of baptism, arid is thus referred to in the ' Stowe 
Missal ' : 

" Tune laiiantur pedes eius, accepto linteo accepto. 
Alleluia. Lucerna pedibus meis uerbum tuum, domine." 

South of the welt a small recess is pointed out as "the 
priest's house." To this Blain apparently refers (' Hist.,' p. 73) : 
"The minister's house stood in a sequestered spot particu- 
larly well calculated for contemplation and to excite devo- 
tion. One end was close to the precipice, and here a hermit 
might find a most eligible situation for his abode." 

As I have before indicated, " The Deil's Cauldron " was 

1 Oval lavatory, 28 inches and 31 inches diameter; basin, 18 inches, and 19 
inches diameter ; depth of basin, 7J^ inches; thickness, n inches. 

i So Bute in the Olden Time. 

originally a " broch " or place of refuge, but it is possible that 
it was in the Christian ages found suitable for a hermitage 
in connection with the monastery. Tradition characterises 
it as a place of penance. It might thus be enumerated 
among those primitive structures called Chchans or Carcairs, 
which formed part of the Celtic monastic settlements, and 
were set apart for cells for undisturbed devotions, or for the 
suffering of punishment enjoined in terms of the monastic 
rule. 1 It was a desert or solitude within the abbacy. Some 
eremites, as cited p. 125, preferred internment till death 
within " a carcair of hard stone " to the regular life. Of 
Enda of Aran the poet wrote : 

" Enda of the high piety loved, 
In Ara, victory with sweetness, 
A carcair of hard narrow stone, 
To bring all unto heaven." 

Some of these cells were of the beehive type, others open 
to the sky, like the circular - shaped enclosures, called 
prosfucJur, or places of prayer, of the Jews.* The hermitage 
of St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, was, according to 
Bedc, of the latter type. This primitive monastery, built on 
Fame in A.D. 685 by St Cuthbert, was enclosed by a circular 
wall, 4 or 5 perches in diameter, constructed of earth and 
stones, some of the stones being large. The wall was high, 
so as to limit a prospect to the heavens overhead. Within 
this enclosure or " cashcl " were formed, partly by scooping, 
partly by building, a little oratory and a house, both of which 
were roofed with rough planks and hay. Outside this cashcl 

1 Skene, TO), ii. p. 245. 

See Acts of Apostles, xri. 13 ; Farm's ' Life of Si Paul,' ch. 

K jBiytnec'S 

' ' Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 1 8 1 

was a house of rest for pilgrims (hospitium), and not far off 
sparkled a well. 

This, then, was the type of the Celtic monastery a circu- 
lar wall, originally for defence, enclosing a house of prayer 
and a dormitory, with a guest-house for visitors or pupils, 
beside an unfailing spring outside the wall. From this type 
arose the extensive monastic settlements such as those of 
lona and Kingarth. Here at Kilblaan are illustrated all the 
stages of this growth in the surviving edifices, though ruined, 
and the transition from one phase of ecclesiastical life to 
another, until now the holy fane has become a retreat for 
those who enjoy an al fresco holiday. 

The picturesque ruins of the church of St Blaan rise over 
a verdant mound, whose peculiar situation between two 
rough ridges leads me to think the mound is a natural 
tumulus, arrested and left hanging on the brink of the 
declivity, over which the waters roared to the sea, on either 
side, from the sweet little valley behind. It may afterwards 
have needed trimming by monkish hands, as God's acre be- 
came more populated round the consecrated walls. 

Did St Blaan first enclose it and place his primitive church 
there ? is a natural inquiry. Good reasons exist for believing 
that he did. The architectural features of the building 
produce them. At first sight, the appearance of the Norman 
masonry, with its regular and unbroken courses, and the 
precise and workman-like fitting of the vertical and horizontal 
joints, together with as lovely a Romanesque chancel arch 
as our country can boast, would lead a visitor to conclude 
that he had stumbled upon one of those early Norman 
churches which King David, "the sair sanct for the Crown," 
planted, as the chronicler said, as thick as lichens over the 

1 82 Bute in the Olden Time. 

land. Then when, through neglect or destruction, it came 
to need repair in the thirteenth century, the eastern gable 
was pierced with the two neat First Pointed windows, and 
two similar lancet -windows were inserted in the chancel 
walls, which give that part of the building an Early Gothic 
character. Later, when more light was required, in the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century, a double-light window was 
inserted in the south chancel wall, over the sill and part 
of the rybats of the earlier window, which are still quite 
visible. The original building apparently was Norman. 

North wall. 


Ground-plan of St Blaatis Chunk. 

But a minute inspection determines that this is a wrong 
conclusion. This has been clearly pointed out by Mr 
William Galloway, architect, in a " Notice of the Chapel 
dedicated to St Blane at Kingarth in Bute," printed in the 
' Archaeologica Scotica,' ! wherein he dissents, with reason, 
from the common views of architects on the subject While 
unaware of this paper, I came to similar conclusions as to 
the prior antiquity of the eastern part of the chancel. Under- 
neath its various reparations, and behind the Norman facing, 

1 Vol. v., Part ii. Edio., 1880. 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 183 

is the nucleus of the church the small square basilica of 
St Blaan. 

The whole church as it stands consists of a nave and a 
chancel, which has been extended either eastward or west- 
ward. Its total exterior length is 85 feet 8 inches ; interior, 
80 feet 2 inches. The nave, of Norman masonry, measures 
56 feet 8 inches without and 51 feet 2 inches within in 
length, and 22 feet 31^ inches without and 16 feet 7^ inches 
within in breadth. The west gable is 3 feet 2 inches thick ; 
the nave walls, 2 feet 10 inches thick. The gable dividing 
the nave from the chancel stands about 26 feet high, and is 
pierced by the lovely chancel arch. Mr Galloway thus 
describes it 1 : 

" It is in two orders, the first carried on jamb-columns having 
each of the arch-stones decorated with a simple form of the beak- 
head. In the second, carried on detached columns, the shafts of 
which are gone, each arch-stone is carved both on the soffit and 
exterior face, with a division of the double-rolled zigzag or chevron 
meeting at the apices, and so forming a very rich example of this 
characteristic ornament. In section the label is semi-hexagonal. 
In the centre there is a small Greek cross inscribed in a circle 
about four inches in diameter, the rest of the stone on either side 
being striated rather than moulded, with lines following the curve 
of the arch and terminating abruptly without any reference to the 
adjoining decoration. The ornament on the remaining part of the 
label forms a peculiar and by no means common variety of that 
well-known feature in Norman work the lozenge, the pattern in 
this case being brought out by a series of alternate sinkings of a 
triangular form. . . . The capitals of the columns present con- 
siderable variety in their modes of decoration, each one being 
different from the others. The abaci are continued as a string 
round the interior of the nave ; this string, together with that on 

1 'Arch. Scot.,' vol. v., Part ii., pp. 329-331. 

1 84 Rutc in the Olden Time. 

the outside or the chancel, being carved on its principal face. The 
abaci over the jamb-columns arc notched vertically on each side for 
a rood-screen, and the sockets still remain at the base of the columns 
into which the uprights were fixed. In the chancel, the atari of 
the columns arc also continued as a string along the centre gable, 
dropping on the north and south sides of the chancel nearly two 

There was also a plain external string. Mere traces of the 
positions of the Norman windows exist, and the mullion of 
probably the east gable window is built into the south chancel 
wall. The chancel doorway measures 9 feet 6 inches in 
height ; the arch is 4 feet 6^ inches in diameter. 

As to the chancel the Norman masonry is continued 
half-way into the chancel />., about 1 3 feet, when it is met 
by an older form of building, which is overlaid with Norman 
and later masonry. The whole chancel in length measures 
29 feet without, and 26 feet I inch within ; in breadth, within, 
at the west end, 13 feet 6 inches, at the cast end, 13 feet \o% 
inches; at the west end of the older part, 14 feet 2] inches. 
The lower part of the wall i.e., of the older portion is 
2 feet 5 inches thick, being a few inches less than the Nor- 
man work. The older part has thus been probably a badly 
set off building of a little more than 14 feet square, and with 
walls 8 feet high, which have been broken for the aumbry 
in the gable, the piscina in the south wall, and the lancet 
windows in the walls. It was extended westward into the 
Romanesque building. Its cast gable was heightened, and 
now stands pierced by two lancet-windows. 

Mr Galloway thus refers to this primitive portion of the 
church : " In the under part of the east wall, and consider- 
ably more than the under half of the side walls, we have a 
rubble masonry, in the great body of which, with exception 


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" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 1 85 

of the splayed base course, and one or two fragments which 
may be accidental or otherwise, the only materials employed 
are the natural undressed trap abundantly supplied in the 
immediate neighbourhood." x Then he proceeds to show that 
over this rises a few courses of masonry identical with that 
of the nave, while on the outside of the gable the older 
portion is actually faced with the same kind of work. Then 
over both of these is superimposed the freestone masonry of 
a later day, and of a much inferior style of workmanship. 
The trap-rubble masonry, he insists, is the primitive building; 
and he further maintains that it is not likely that if the 
original building had been Norman, it would have been 
placed, as we find it, with the nave overhanging a precipitous 
bank, while there was abundance of room on the eastern side 
of the mound. With these views I entirely concur. Mr 
Galloway also points out that this primitive building, like 
that of St Catan's in Colonsay, has been bound together 
with lime with somewhat of a vitrified character about it. 

And these facts open up the question as to the real 
antiquity of the primitive building. Could it be contem- 
poraneous with St Blaan? I think so. 

The first Celtic churches were very modest structures, 
built of moist earth or wood, and devoid of decoration. 
The Britons during the Roman occupation were not builders 
in stone. St Ninian built the first stone church in Alban 
with the aid of two masons he procured in Gaul. The 
oratory of Gallarus appears to be older than the time of 
St Patrick, but to St Patrick himself is attributed the first 
use of stone in the erection of the Irish churches. It is 

1 'Arch. Scot.,' ibid., p. 321. 

1 86 Rule in the Olden Time. 

stated in Tircchan's annotations on the ' Life of St Patrick ' 
that " when Patrick went to the place which is called 
Foirrgea of the sons of Awlcy, to divide it among the 
sons of Awlcy, he built there a quadrangular church of 
earth, because wood was not near at hand." 1 The earth 
churches were called Cabbals in the Isle of Man ; were 
erected on an artificial mound surrounded by a circular wall 
of earth (in some cases with three concentric walls) ; and 
were diminutive, measuring about 12 feet long, 9 feet broad, 
and 5 feet high. The Scots preferred, for centuries, build- 
ings of wood, called Duirtcaclts, Dertluachs, which signified 
14 houses of oak." These oratories were formed of rods of 
wood wattled together, or of sawn planks, roofed with moss, 
rushes, or heather. St Columba, both in Erin and lona, built 
with timber and wattling. So did Finan in Lindisfarne in 
A.D. 651, "after the Scotic fashion;" also St Kentigern at 
St Asaph. 

But these were gradually superseded by stone edifices, 
called Datnliliags in St Patrick's day, who seems to have 
laid down uniform plans for his churches. They were built 
of stones and earth, or without a cementing medium, or with 
lime like St Kicnan's, according to circumstances. Each was, 
as a rule, a small oblong building, rarely exceeding 18 feet 
in length by 13 feet 6 inches in breadth a breadth identical 
with that found at Kilmory, St Kruiskland, and St Ninian's. 
Some were larger, having a second storey, like St Michael's 
Chapel in Rothesay Castle. There was a low doorway in 
the centre of the west wall, and a single window in the centre 
of the east wall over the altar. Those of the beehive type, 

1 ' Book of Armagh,' foL 14, b. 2. Pctric's ' Round Towers,' mult. Uc. 

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" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 187 

as seen in the Western Isles, were finished with dome-shaped 
roofs constructed by laying flat slabs on each other. There 
were, of course, modifications. The introduction of a quad- 
rangular building, called a Basilica, either as a chapel or as 
an addition to an existing church to form a chancel, was 
an innovation betokening Roman influences after the sixth 

Stone building, however, was not common in the Celtic 
Church till the ninth century. From facts like these it may 
be inferred that there is no antecedent impossibility of St 
Blaan personally erecting the primitive church whose ruins 
we still possess. Dr Petrie confidently states, and learnedly 
illustrates, the fact that there was a Romanesque form of 
architecture, of Gaulish origin, prevailing in Ireland long 
before the Norman Conquest. 1 He instances the case of 
Templepatrick, where the church had a nave, chancel arch, 
and small square chancel, and this is supposed to have been 
built by pious Gauls who came to be missionaries under St 
Patrick. Mr Fergusson also alludes to Ireland possessing 
" what may properly be called a Celtic style of architecture," 
and inclines to the theory that " her early Christianity and 
religious forms were derived from Greece by some of the 
more southerly commercial routes." 2 It would be an extra- 
ordinary conclusion if it could be proved, in the absence of 
historical record, that also those beautiful portions of St 
Blaan's Church assigned to the Scoto-Norman period were 
actual monuments of native Celtic skill and art. Mr Gal- 
loway does not consider such a possibility. He elaborates 

1 ' Round Towers,' p. 284. 

2 Fergusson, J., 'Illust. Handbook of Architecture. ' London, 1855. Vol. ii. 
P- 915. 

1 88 Bute in the Olden Time. 

with considerable cogency the theory that this Norman work 
arose in the peaceable reign of Olave the Red, King of Man 
and the Isles, 1103-1153, who was a contemporary of Alex- 
ander I. and David I. of Scotland, and a munificent patron 
of the English Church. In another section this idea will be 
dealt with ; meantime I may suggest that the English Fitz- 
Alans, who became the Stewarts, were also contemporary 
with this period of benefactions to the Church, and had 
arrived in Scotland. 

Before leaving the site of the church, the two cemeteries 
on its south side are worthy of notice. They are rich in 
primitive monuments, some of them elaborately sculptured, 
others being neat little Celtic crosses, while others arc huge 
slabs filling hog-backed tombs. The graves in the upper, or 

Men's," burial-place are cists formed of stones set on edge 
and covered with slabs, like the graves at Inchmarnock. 

Lying close to the south chancel outer wall at the doorway 
is the reputed boat-shaped sarcophagus of St Blaan, now 
preserved in a bronze casing since the Marquess of Bute in 
1874 had this romantic spot judiciously trimmed and en- 
closed. This stone coffin measures 6 feet 4 inches in length, 
with the coped lid 2 feet $% inches in depth, and from 

1 foot 7 inches to 2 feet 2 inches in breadth. Its hollow 
cavity would contain a body 5 feet II inches in stature. 
When opened it was found to contain only a layer of dust, 
and two pierced pieces of bronze, which may have been part 
of a pectoral cross (" cross cruan moithni" cross of red bronze, 
' Life of St Patrick ') or other ornament 

There is nothing improbable in the tradition its antiquity 
I have not traced that St Blaan was buried in a stone coffin 

l~^y :V^iL| .-,] r-'-.^l- HI 

;?, Y ; <M;1^y*S^ ; 

AVi .if. r.fAi '(I. * r* * A HTiXir 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 1 89 

of this description. St Cuthbert ( + 687), during his life, re- 
ceived a gift of a stone coffin (sarcophagus) from Abbot 
Cudda ; and, by his own direction, was wrapped in fine linen, 
and buried in it, " at the south side of my oratory, opposite 
the east side of the holy cross which I have erected there " 
in the cell. Afterwards St Cuthbert's remains were placed in 
a shrine above the pavement. 

By means of a flight of steps, between two walls, access 
from an upper graveyard to a lower, called the " Women's 
Burial-Place" or "Nunnery," is obtained. This lower grave- 
yard is 6 feet beneath the level of the higher or " Men's Burial- 
Place." The original stone steps are in situ. Within this 
lower precinct are found the stone foundations of a small 
building, rectangular, earth-bound, and oriented, 23 feet in 
length and 17 feet in breadth. A doorway pierces the south 
wall. The floor is occupied with eight slabs, two of which 
are sculptured. 

The reputed curse of Blaan ordained that women were only 
to receive burial in this disjoined cemetery. 1 But these divi- 
sions were not uncommon in the early Celtic Church. The 
second class of Irish saints, including Columba. and the dis- 
ciples of Bangor, did not encourage the near proximity of 
female establishments to their celibate settlements. Bede 
narrates how in 676 A.D., when a pestilence fell upon the 
monastery of Barking, and the sisters of the adjoining monas- 
tery, " in which God's female servants were divided from the 
men, were concerned where they who fell of the pestilence 
should be buried, a resplendent light from heaven appeared, 
and, like a sheet, spread itself over a spot to the south side of 

1 See before, p. 27. 

190 Bute in the Olden Time. 

the monastery, that is, to the westward of the oratory," and 
this indicated the female burial-ground. 1 In county Sligo, on 
the island of Innismurray, is the monastery founded by St 
Molios of Lamlash, where, outside the Men's Cashcl, is found 
a women's cemetery enclosing a little chapel. A similar 
arrangement appears at Inniscleraun, in Lough Ree. Inch- 
marnock also had a "women's graveyard." 

So here at Kilblaan, the survival of the name M Nunnery " 
and the custom of separate burial may suggest the existence 
of a separate female monastery in the olden time. The 
second order of the saints Catholic Presbyters, A.D. 534-572 
" refused the services of women, separating them from the 
monasteries." Or, at least, down these steps came the priest 
to the tiny oratory where women were permitted to pay their 
adorations, and to say prayers for the dead. 

The people of Bute superstitiously believed that if they 
broke the injunction of St Blaan by burying a woman in the 
upper graveyard, her body could not rest overnight there, 
but would be found next day contumeliously cast out of and 
beyond the ground consecrated for men alone doubtless by 
the agency of the offended saint ! 

When the Presbytery of Dunoon made their customary 
visitation to the parish of Kingarth, on 9th August 1661, they 
found this primitive custom of separate burial still in vogue. 
The ciders were duly questioned as to the behaviour of the 
parish pastor, the Rev. Alexander M'Lean, and satisfied the 
inquisition, while he, in turn, was invited to report upon the 
clderate. The minute of the Presbytery runs thus : 

" The elders having rcmovit, and he being enquired anent their 
1 Bedc, book iv. chap rii. 

" Blaan the Mild of Cenngarad" 1 9 1 

behaviour in their charge, declared their concurrence with him, onlie 
wishit them to be admonishit in these things 

" ' i. Slackness in censures of some vices which would require 
greater sharpnes, which they declin to exercise. 

" ' 2. Neglect of familie worship in some of themselfs. 

" ' 3. Carelessnes to persuad the people of their severall quarters 
to attend weeklie sermons. 

" ' 4. Ther tollerating the people in a superstitious custome, 
viz., of burying their men and women in two diverse churchyards, 
the first rise quhereof wes superstitione, and contineweth to be so in 
many of the people's mind hitherto.' 

"Parties having been recalled, the Presbytery intimated the fol- 
lowing injunction : 

" ' Wheras ther hath bin a custome of burying men and women 
in two diverse kirkyards, the people refusing to 

Act against the * 

superstitious cus- bury promiscouslie in anie one of them, and that 

tome of burieing in ...... 

the kirkyard of Kin- this is done superstitiouslie, therefor it is ordained 
that men and women shall be promiscouslie buryed 
in the Vpper Kirkyard, and for the Laigh Kirkyard where onlie 
women were befor buried that none such shall be now, but men 
may bury there if they please, and if want of roome in the other 
yard be required, and to rnak this Act effectuall the minister is care- 
fullie to attend burials for a seasone and if anie shall offer to bury 
contrar to this act, he is to put to his hand for the resistance of 
them, and they are to be sumound to the Presbytery as Scandalous 
persons to be censured, and this act to be publishit on Saboth, to- 
gedder with ane act of the sessione declaring the penaltie that shall 
be exacted from every transgressor of this Act.' " x 

The enforcement of this Act ultimately stopped the antique 
custom. The church of Blaan was used as the parish church 
of Kingarth down to the eighteenth century. The last burial 
in the upper graveyard took place in 1892. 

1 Presbytery Record, vol. i. pp. 266, 267. 




" Ha<l thou and I been, who knows but we ourselves had taken refuge from an 
Evil Time, and fled to dwell here, and meditate on Eternity, in such fashion as we 
could ? " CARLYLE. 

N this tender strain Carlyle wrote concerning St 
Edmundsbury, whose old walls were not peopled 
with fantasms, he said, but with painful living 
men working out their life-wrestle "looked at 
by Earth, by Heaven and HeH. Bells tolled to prayers ; and 
men, of many humours, various thoughts, chanted vespers, 
matins ; and round the little islet of their life rolled for ever 
the illimitable ocean, tinting all things with its eternal hues 
and reflexes, making strange prophetic music." l 

The pilgrim to Kilblaan found a similar assiduity as soon 
as he passed the cross which stood, as its socket now proves, 
at the eastern abbey gate. "The strict, holy, laborious" 
Rule of Bangor permitted no droning there. Adamnan's 
1 Life of Columba' illustrates how restless, intense, and devoted 
the life of a Celtic missionary and abbot was in executing 

1 ' Past and Present,' bk. ii. chap, it 

x^| - ff; ?yz 

w3*sm *& 

i *J* i^/^Vc'X.v* -Au.iS^y i 

The Consecrated Colony. 193 

"the hard and laborious monasterial rule" of obedience, 
self-denial, and fasting. 

The name of the farm of Plan, on which St Blaan's Church 
now stands, is evidently an ecclesiastical survival cf. Latin 

Socket of Cross at Kilblaan. 

planum, a cultivated spot (according to Ducange = cazmiterium), 
transformed into Celtic llan, a church the earlier meaning of 
which is a fertile spot. 

The mission implied labour. Instead of a holy hush 
brooding, there was a lively hum sweeping over the religious 
colony (congbhal). The presbyter-abbot superintended all 
within the walls, and only gave place to the resident or 
visiting bishop when the latter celebrated the Eucharist and 
conferred ordination. The church, cells, barns, and other 
edifices were to erect, add to, and repair, and busy were the 
monks carrying stones or bustling in from the woodlands 
with the wattles and planks on their backs. The fields were 
to plough and the shares to be made ; the grain was to be 
gathered and beat, and the little kilns, like that at Kelspoke, 
were to be reared and fired till provision was made for man 
and beast. Here a monk was hammering a granite boulder 
into a quern (bro\ or driving it while he sang ; there a brother 

VOL. I. N 

194 Rut* ** *fo Olden Time. 

was busy clinking a little iron bell, smelted on the hills of 
Cowall, or other metal-work for the house and the church. 
Another had to fabricate the fishing-boat and tackle, or the 
mission-ship. Honoured of all the family was the learned 
scribe (scribhnidh or scribhneoir) in his quiet cell, carefully 
handling his painted pen, and producing those copies of the 
Scriptures and missals which were the glory of the Celtic 
Church, and still arc marvels of art. The leathern cases, 
polaires, in which they were carried, were deftly embossed 
by his or other cunning hand. The Celts were ingenious 
artificers in the precious metals, in stone, and wood. Their 
art may have travelled from the East In this connection 
it may be noted that a piece of polished and wrought 
syenite, now lost, was found among the debris of St Blaan's 

Livelier the school where the shaggy scolocs or pupils, for 
whose maintenance the lands of Scoulag in Bute may have 
been dedicated, were poring over their religious tasks under 
one of the seniors (Rector, magistcr scolantnt, Feirleginn), 
who also devoted their own time to reading and writing. 

There was no lack of service for genius of every kind. 
Heforc the abbot had seen the great kitchen smoke, and 
the brewer draw the Pictish ale, and the board of the 
dining-house spread for the pilgrims, or his weary family 
(filiolf) returning each night from the brown or yellow fields 
of Bransar and of Garachty, he had no little care never to 
consider the weightier offices of his abbatial ministry, which 
lay closest to his heart. It is to be regretted that St Blaan 
inspired no Boswell, as Columba inspired Cuimenc and 
Adamnan, to record his work. In Bishop Mochta's mon- 
astery of Lughmagh 

The Consecrated Colony. 195 

" Three score psalm-singing seniors 
Were his household, royal the number, 
Without tillage, reaping, or kiln-drying, 
Without work except reading." 

But we can only surmise the importance of Kingarth from 
its being mentioned among other great monasteries of the 
seventh century, and from the fact that St Molios, the grand- 
son of King Aidan, was sent to his uncle, St Blaan, to be 
educated there. 

This famous abbot, Laisren or Molios, who left his name 
imprinted in Lamlash, " Eilean Molaise " probably also in 
Ardmoleis and his cave and well cut out of Holy Isle, was 
of royal extraction, being the son of Caireall, an Irish noble, 
and Mathgemm, daughter of Aidan. 

^Engus the Culdee thus celebrates this melodious monk : 

" Molaise, a flame of fire, 
With his comely choristers ; 
Abbot of Rathkill and king of fire, 
Son of Mathgemm of Monadh." 

He went twice to Rome. Pope Gregory the Great ordained 
him priest. He was made abbot of old Leighlin on his 
return. On his second visit to Rome Honorius I. consecrated 
him bishop. He strenuously helped the Roman party, as 
against the Celtic party, to effect the computation of Easter 
after the Roman mode. He died i8th April 639, and was 
buried at Leighlin. There were other Laisres too. A 
reputed effigy of Molios long lay in Cesken churchyard, 
Arran, but was in 1889 transferred to St Molios' Church. 
It is a medieval monument, however. 

While the monastery was primarily a place for self- 
instruction and worship, it was also a centre (annoif) from 

1 96 Bute in the Olden Time. 

which emerged those qualified to preach the Gospel at those 
dependent chapels (deltas) referred to in Alan's Charter. 
Kingarth appears to have been one of those chief houses 
among the Scots which Bcdc says were independent of the 
jurisdiction of lona. Bangor was the parent house. 1 

There is no evidence that there was daily celebration of 
the Communion there, but it was celebrated every Sunday, 
on saints' days, and on such occasions as the abbot decreed, 
usually very early in the morning, and after fasting. There 
was sometimes a second Eucharist Vigils and vespers were 
observed, when beautiful hymns were sung. At lona 
Wednesday and Friday were partially set apart for fasting, 
and there were other special fasts before Easter, the Feast 
of Ascension, and the consecration of churches. Christmas 
was observed as well. 

Here is a specimen of an early Celtic Calendar : 

1 Feb. Fcl [festival] Brige. 

2 H Fel Muire. 

6 Mar. Fel Ciarain Saigre. 

9 M Fel Senain. 

17 ii Fel Padruig. 

15 Mai Fel Brenaind. 

9 Jnn. Fel Colaim Cille. 

20 Jul. Fel San Mairgreg. 

15 Aug. Fel Muire. 

8 Sept Fel Muire Mor. 

12 ii Fel Molaise. 

29 .1 Fel Michil. 

12 Dec. Fcl Finden. 

A tiny little hand-bell (doc) called the colony to worship. 
Public worship was conducted in Latin, not in the vulgar 
tongue, although the Lessons may have been taken from a 
Celtic translation of the Scriptures.* The services were 

1 Bede, bk. iii. chap. Hi. " St Columba had no more jurisdiction in Lismore 
than in Applecrost or Kingarth." Adamnan's 'Coluraba,' Reeves, p. xliii, 
Note u. 

* ' The -Scots Magazine/ vol. iv. No. 22, p. 285 ; Warren, p. 94. 

The Consecrated Colony. 


entirely choral. From fragments of, and references to, the 
early liturgies, one can infer that the order of worship was, in 
the main, according to the following arrangement : Call to 
Prayer ; Litany ; Prayer ; 
Hymn ; Collect ; Lesson 
from Prophets ; Collect ; 
Epistle (St Paul to the 
Corinthians); Canticle with 
Antiphons " The Song of 
the Three Children ;" Col- 
lect; Gospel; Collect; Ser- 
mon ; Anthem ; entrance 
of celebrating priest and 
deacon, with elements ; 
Offertory of the People ; 
Intercessions, with com- 
memoration of dead, whose 
names are sung out ; Eu- 
charistic Prayer and Act 

of Consecration ; Fraction of bread ; Benediction ; Immission 
of consecrated particle into the chalice ; Creed ; Lord's 
Prayer; Communion of Clergy Anthem; The Kiss of 
Peace; Communion of People (in both kinds) Anthem; 
Thanksgiving Hymn " Gloria in Excelsis " ; Thanksgiving 
Prayer. 1 

1 'The Stowe Missal,' which partly dates from the ninth century, and incor- 
porates in an early Celtic liturgy additions from the Roman, has the following 
order of the Mass : Litany of the apostles, holy martyrs, and virgins ; Prayer of 
Augustine (prayer of celebrant ascending altar) ; "Gloria in Excelsis ; " Collect ; 
Prayer of Peter ; Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians ; Collect ; Litany of St 
Martin ; Collect ; Preparation of chalice ; Lesson from St John's Gospel ; 
Prayer ; Nicene Creed ; Full uncovering of chalice ; Collect of oblation of paten 

The Bell of St Fillan. 

198 Rule in the Olden Time. 

The Communion-table, or altar, formed of wood or stone, 
and covered with a purple pall, stood under the window in 
the eastern gable of the church. The white-robed deacon 
brought in the bread and wine, and also the water for the 
mixed chalice, from the sacristy. 1 The celebrating presbyter 
or bishop accompanied him, and stood facing the altar. He 
wore an embroidered alb, or white under vestment, and over 
it a chasuble, or roomy mantle of purple, or other rich colour, 
with appropriate embroideries, and probably fastened at the 
neck with a Celtic brooch. A little breastplate, like Aaron's, 
glittered on his breast. A crown of gold, instead of a mitre, 
gave Blaan a regal aspect The modest church was bright 
with the white vestments of the choristers, monks, and 
students, which were a contrast to the black veils of the 
female communicants, who were, by the first order of 
Catholic saints, permitted to join in the worship. 1 From 
the fragments of the Celtic Liturgy, we can gather it was a 
most solemn and beautiful service which first sounded in 
Kilblaan, and was not by any means identical with that in 
use in the Church under Roman rule. 

The points of difference between the Celtic Church and 

and chalice ; (Offertory ; ) Intercessions for departed and living ; Sursum Corda ; 
Preface ; Gelasian Canon ; Recitation of names of living ; Consecration ; Inter- 
cession of Saints, &c ; Prayer of Ambrose ; Oblation lifted over chalice, and half 
of bread into chalice ; Fraction of bread and blessing of chalice ; Confession of 
Faith ; Lord's Prayer; Collect ; Kiss of Peace ; The Commixture ; The "Agnus 
Dei"; (Communion of Clergy;) Communion Hymns; Formula of ad ministra- 
tion in both kinds to j>coplc ; (Communion ; ) Communion Anthems ; Formula 
of Thanksgiving ; Post Communion ; Prayer and Thanksgiving. 

1 The bread was unleavened ; the chalice was formed of glass, bronze, silver, 
gold, wood, or stone. 

1 M.S. 'Catal. Sanctorum HibernU-,' &c. ; Warren, ' Liturgy of Celtic Church, 
p. 8a 

The Consecrated Colony. 1 99 

that of Rome have been summed up by Mr Warren under the 
following heads : I. The Calculation of Easter ; 2. Baptism ; 
3. The Tonsure ; 4. The Ordinal ; 5. Peculiar Mode of Con- 
secrating Churches and Monasteries ; 6. The Liturgy and the 
Ritual of the Mass. 1 

In the calculation of the day Easter was to be celebrated 
on, the Celts, abiding by the ancient method, long preferred 
the tradition of their own Church to the " decrees of the 
Apostolic See." 2 As to baptism, they practised single, not 
trine, immersion, omitted the unction, and practised the 
Pedilavium, or ceremonial washing of the feet after baptism. 
The Roman tonsure was coronal; the Celtic, of Druidic 
origin, was effected by shaving the forefront of the head 
from ear to ear. There were striking divergences, too, in 
the ordination of bishops, deacons, and priests. In the 
Celtic Church, a single bishop sufficed to ordain a bishop. 
The readings selected for the ordination services did not 
coincide with those found in the Roman Ordinal. The 
hands of deacons and priests were anointed, and other minor 
rites observed, by the Celtic bishops. They also dedicated 
their churches to their living founders, and consecrated them 
after prayer and long fasting. 

The Liturgy used in the Scottish Church was of the family 
of liturgies called Ephesine, rather than of that called the 
Petrine, the former being traditionally ascribed to St John 
the apostle. It was represented by at least three branches 
the Mozarabic or Spanish Liturgy, the Gallican, and the 
Celtic. According to the Marquess of Bute, " The Celtic 

1 Warren, 'The Liturgy,' &c., p. 63 et seq. 

2 Bede, bk. iii. c. xxv. 

2OO ftutc in the Olden Time. 

Liturgy as imported by Patrick into Ireland and by Columba 
into Scotland was undoubtedly Galilean in form." ' 

Amid these surroundings, during the secure reign of fiery 
Aidan, his father or friend, the mild brave abbot, governed 
his consecrated home until its stately shrine was famed 
throughout the land and became the " Glory of the West," 

" Where once came monk and nun with gentle stir, 
Blessings to give, news ask, or suit prefer." 

Happy was he to see the sanctuary enlarged with grateful 
gifts, full of rapture to join in the melodious litanies that 
refreshed the drooping life-blood of his fellow -labourers, 
piously joyful that every task was fruitful of good ; but he 
soon felt the soul fretting itself through the brittle clay. 
At last it broke the darkness of that hermitage, and burst 
into the Eternal Light a new-born saint. His natal day 
was, it is said, the loth of August They laid him on the 
sunny side of the chancel wall, and sang his requiem there 
if tradition is correct. More likely he was laid to rest near 
the altar itself, as St Cuthbert was. 

1 Art. " Liturgy," Chambers 's ' Encyclopaedia.' 




' ' Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, 

If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, 
Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault, 
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; 
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd, 

Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre." 


j|N the shadow of the eastern gable of St Blaan's 
Church, under a flourishing thorn which almost 
symbolically pierces the ruined wall of the silent 
fane, and where the altar formerly stood, lie side 
by side seven grey sepulchral slabs. 1 They are similar in 
every respect to those found in the oldest Celtic cemeteries. 
They are dressed, but not carved nor engraved. Conse- 
quently they are dumb relics of a pious past, found, where 
undisturbed they lie, after the clearance out of the church 
of its accumulation of debris in 1874. 

1 There is a small slab forming an eighth stone in the row is it Teimnen, the 
clerk's ? 

2O2 Bute in the Olden Tint*. 

Who arc the seven sleepers who repose in such place of 
honour? we would inquire. Without a doubt, men great 
and good higher than their fellows i For such alone was 
the altar's quietude disturbed in reverent days. And on that 
very spot St Blaan, probably also his uncle St Catan, and his 
nephew St Molios, may have dispensed the bread of life to 
the keen Dalriadic soldiers of King Aidan, who had sheathed 
those " lime - white blades " they had so often drawn in 
defence of the faith. If these grey memorials betoken such 
high antiquity, may they not cover the seven fathers of the 
Church, who reared, and by their holy lives defended, the 
banner of the Lord in Bute ? 

History divulges the names of seven only, strange to say 
Catan, Blaan, Daniel, Johann or lolan, Ronan, Maelmanach, 
and Noe. (The obit of Tcimnen, a clerk of Cillcgarad, is 
also chronicled.) And such a number is quite sufficient to 
fill up the years between the first bishop A.D. 570 say and 
the last abbot A.D. 790. 

Some authorities arc definite in recording, at least, that 
Saints Catan and Blaan are both interred in Bute, and there 
is nothing improbable in supposing that the remaining five 
were buried beside them. Unfortunately, the Irish annalists, 
to whom we arc indebted for the mere preservation of their 
names, leave these five abbots and bishops sleeping in as much 
obscurity as these graves afford. The notices of their deaths 
thus appear in the ' Annals of Tighernac ' (MLXXXVIII.) : 

"660 K. Obitus Finain Mac Rimeda Eptscopi 7 Daniel Episcopi 


689 Kl. Johann Episcopus Cindgal.irnth obit. 
737 Kl. Bass [death] Konain Abbatis Cindgaradh." 



AUOT OR BiNor or' 





Loam Mor-f 501 
Frrgas Mor 
Domhanput - 508 


B. Ca tan + 600? 

Columha (563 + 597) 

Comghall + 538 

Gabhran >- 560 
Conall + 574 


A. Blaan + 630? 

Baithene + 600 

Aedan 606 


Laisren + 605 

Eochaidh Buidhe -f 629 

Fergna 8111 + 623 

Cooadh Cerr 4 630 


Seghine + 652 

Fcrchar + 637 
Domhnall Breac-f 642 
Conall Crandhama + 660 


B. Daniel + 660 

Cuiminc Ailbe + 669 

Failbhe -t- 679 

Domhnall Donn, exp. 680 


B. Johann or Iolan + 689 

Adamnan, born 624 + 704 

Maeldnin -t- 689 


A. Ronan-f737 

Conamhail + 710 
Dunchadh + 717 
Faclcu + 724 
Cillene Fada + 726 
Cillcnc Droictcach -t- 752 

Ferchar Fada of Lx>rn + 697 
Eochaidh Rimeaval 
Ainbhellach, exp. 698 + 719 
Selbach + 730 
Muiredhach Uaigneach + 733 


A. Maelmanach + 776 

Slebhine + 767 
Suibhnc + 772 

Aedh Finn Mac Ecdach + 778 


A. Noe + 790 

Breaial + 8oi 

Fergus + 781 
Donncorci + 792 


)F PlCTS. 



Maelcon + 505 

Patrick + 493 

Brigit + 523 

Kessog ? 520 

Enda + 540 

Roderic, King of Strathclyde + 6oi 

Ciaran + 544 

Maelcon + 584 

yEthelfrith, King of Northumbria + 6i7 

Brendan of Birr + 573 

Brendan of Clonfert + 577 


Finnian + 579 

Augustine + 589 

Moluoc + 592 

Solon, King of Britons + 613 

Fintan Munnu + 592 

Columba + 597 

Cainnech + 600 


Eadwine, King of Northumbria + 633 

Kentigern + 6oi 

Comgall + 602 

Adamnan, born 624 

Columbanus + 618 


Oswald of Northumbria + 642 

Molaise of Lamlash 

Oan, King of Britons 



Gureit, King of Britons + 658 

Finan : Colman : Maelrubha of Applecross 


Osuiu of Northumbria + 670 


Egfrid of Northumbria + 685 

Cuthbert + 687 

Domhnall MacAuin of Alclyde + 694 

3ile + 693 



Aldfrid + 705 

Servanus of Fife 

Osred + 7i6 


Kenred + 7i8 

Dunchadh, King of Kintyre, 721 

Osric + 731 

Bile Mac Elfrine of Alclyde + 722 

Ceolnuf + 738 

Teimnen + 732 


Ven. Bede + 735 

Ethelbald + 765 


Alcred + 774 

Ethelred, 778 

Alfwold + 789 

+ 782 

Osred + 792 

Vikings, 794 

The Seven Sleepers. 203 

In the 'Annals of Senait Mac Manus,' commonly called the 
'Annals of Ulster' (MCCCXCVIII.), they stand: 

"660. Kal Ian. 4. f. 1. 13. Anno Domini Dclg. Obitus Finnani 

Episcopi filii Rimedo et Daniel Episcopus Cinngarad. 
689. Kal Ian. Anno Domini Dclxxxviij. lolan Episcopus Cinn- 

garat obiit. 
(732. Kal. Ian. Anno Domini Dccxxxiii. Teimnen Cillegarad re- 

ligiosus clericus quievit.) 
737. Kal. Ian. Anno Domini Dccxxxvj. Mors Ronain Abbatis 

790. Kal Ian. Anno Domini Dcclxxxix. Mors Noe Abbatis Cinn- 

garadh, vel hie Bellum Conaill 7 Constantin secundum alios 


Dr Reeves gives in his ' Chronicon Hyense ' : 
" 776. Mors Maelemanach, Abbatis Cinngaradh (An. 660)." 

The silence after 790 is ominous. At this date we begin to 
read of the sea-robbers of the western seas e.g., " 794. The 
devastation of all the isles of Britain by the Gentiles ; " " 795. 
Devastation of lona of Colum-cille ; " " Burning of Rech- 
rainne, and its shrines violated and spoiled." Doubtless 
Bute shared the same misery. In absence of local details, 
we can only make a general survey of the stirring events 
which were also taking place in the other adjoining princi- 
palities and kingdoms, the influence of which must have 
been felt in Dalriada. The subjoined table will help in 
the retrospect. 

I have thus suggested that only seven clerics ministered 
in Kingarth from the foundation of the church to the hapless 
time when it suffered temporary eclipse on the appearance 
of the Northmen, and disappeared for four centuries from the 
page of history ; also that Blaan survived through the first 
quarter of the seventh century. And these are not violent 

2O4 Bute in the Olden Titnc. 

stretches of imagination, when it is known that since the 
Reformation seven ministers of the parish of Rothesay 
omitting one only in the succession held office for 235 

Moth saints and sinners kept the people lively in the 
seventh century. Racial differences made the maintenance 
of peace impossible. The wild Picts swooped out of their 
Highland fastnesses upon the warriors of Kintyrc ; and the 
Northumbrian Angles, after their great victory over Aidan 
and the Northern Britons at Da.-gsa.stan in 603, threatened 
with their keen bronze blades the western kingdoms of 
Strathclydc and Cumbria 1>., from the Clyde to the Dee. 
These fierce foreigners still worshipped Woden and Thunder 
with bloody rites. Then the Britons quarrelled with their 
old allies of the west, and humbled in war the Scots of 
Dalriada. In turn both of them were completely over- 
mastered by the Northumbrians under King Osuiu, so that 
during this whole century the sword never seemed to lie in 
its scabbard, and blood ran like water. 

Presuming that St Blaan lived a quarter of a century after 
his reputed father, King Aidan, we see him contemporary 
with those epoch-making kings in England, yEthelfrith, who 
consolidated Northumbria, and Eadwinc, who succeeded him 
on the throne in 617. The victories of the latter over Saxon, 
Briton, and Pict made him ruler of all England, save Kent 
and Cumbria ; while so completely was his throne established 
from Eadwine's burgh on the Forth to the English Channel, 
that, as was the boast, " a woman with her babe might walk 
scatheless from sea to sea in Eadwine's day." It was in his 
court the picturesque figure of Paulinus, one of the followers 

The Seven Sleepers. 205 

of Augustine, appeared in 628, with the happy result that 
Eadwine and his kingdom were converted to Christ. In 
633 Eadwine fell before the heathen Penda and the Briton 
Caedwalla, and there ensued a reaction in favour of the 
pagan creeds. Meantime noble Northumbrian exiles fre- 
quented the religious schools of Dalriada, but their faith was 

Though Eanfrid, the eldest son of ^thelfrith, forgot the 
faith, his brother Oswald, who, in his exiled youth, had also 
found shelter and comfort with the monks of lona, called in 
the moral power of the Gospel, when he mounted the throne, 
to uphold his government in Northumbria, 634-42. He in- 
vited the Irish monks to his assistance. Seghine was then 
lona's abbot. Daniel the bishop was ministering in Kin- 
garth in room of Blaan. 

Both Picts and Britons round Dalriada had their chronic 
bouts of fighting in this period ; and, as if to maintain some 
kind of harmony with them, the ecclesiastics expended their 
pugnacity in the controversy which tried to settle the true 
date of keeping the Feast of Easter. In a word, the Roman 
Church had changed the method of computing the date of 
the Feast of the Resurrection ; the Celtic Church retained the 
old Jewish and Christian custom. To obtain conformity was 
the task in which the Roman party ultimately succeeded. 

The first monk who came from lona to Northumbria had 
no success in his mission. St Aidan, however, who super- 
seded him, took up the discredited work, and fixing his seat 
at Lindisfarne, soon made the Church a power in the realm 
of saintly Oswald. Both Church and State began again to 
extend their borders. The Church was monastic in its gov- 
ernment, like that of lona, and soon smaller scholastic settle- 

206 Bute in the Olden Time. 

mcnts and churches were opened everywhere, with teachers 
faithful to the Celtic model at their head. Oswald died in 
642, and was succeeded by Osuiu ; Aidan also departed, and 
Finan sat in the bishop's scat in 65 1 a year before Seghinc 
of lona died. King Osuiu, restless and ambitious, although 
a professing Christian, succeeded in overcoming the Picts of 
Galloway, the Britons of Strathclyde, and the Scots of Dal- 
riada a political circumstance which had no bearing on the 
government of the Church in Bute. Finan, indeed, had been 
sent by the Scots to Northumbria, and when he died in 660, 
the annalist notes that Daniel, the Bishop of Kingarth, died 
in the same year. His day in the Calendar is the i8th of 

Finan's successor was Colman, who seems to have been 
sent direct out of Scotia />., Ireland to his see. In 661 
Cuimine, the Abbot of lona, goes on some errand to Ireland, 
the nature of which is not particularised. 

Dr Skene thinks that, " as Bede says of Finan that he was 
ordained and sent by the Scots, while, in the case of Colman, 
he uses the expression that he was sent out of Scotia, or 
Ireland, this rather confirms our suspicion that the bishops 
called in to consecrate these Northumbrian missionaries were 
the bishops of Kingarth, and that the death of Bishop Daniel 
in the same year rendered an appeal to Ireland necessary." * 
There is no proof, as Dr Skene states, 2 that Kingarth was 
subject to lona, and it is probable, since Blaan was honoured 
in Cumbria and Northumbria for his alleged miracles there, 
that missionaries issued direct from Bute. When the Kingarth 
bishop was dead, Bangor, the mother house, would assume 

1 'Celtic Scot.,' roL il p. 163. Ibid., voL ii. p. 157. 

The Seven Sleepers. 207 

jurisdiction, and its head would consecrate the bishops of 
Lindisfarne and of other Northumbrian houses. 

Daniel's crosier fell to Johann or lolan, of whom we know 
nothing, save that he was a bishop, and held office till 689, 
being contemporary with Abbot Adamnan of lona. In his 
time also Cuthbert preached, and Caedmon sang the Gospel 
to the Angles. 

Colman the Celt found his task in a foreign land no easy 
one. The Southern British Church, owning allegiance to 
Rome, was at variance with the Celtic Church in regard to 
the date of Easter, the circular tonsure, and the supremacy in 
the Church. The two parties, Roman and Celtic, wrangled 
the matter out. Abbot Wilfrid of York, an indefatigable 
schemer, brought the dispute to an issue by persuading King 
Osuiu, who held a council at Whitby in 664, where Colman 
and he pleaded their causes, that the Roman party had the 
best authority for their views. 

The sturdy Celt fled the scene. He preferred the traditions 
of the Church, the opinion of Columba, and his own inter- 
pretation of Scripture to the doctrine of Rome. Quitting 
Northumbria with his compatriots, bearing the relics of Aidan 
and other saints, he repaired to lona. By what route did he 
come ? Would he not likely visit Bute by the way, in order 
to inform lolan and his family of the disaster which had 
fallen on their Order ? It might even be possible that the 
old church of Colmac bore his honoured name in memory of 
his visit. In time his opponent Wilfrid extended his diocese 
of York as far as the territory of Dalriada during Osuiu's 

Before lolan died, in 689, he and the Celtic party at least 
had one satisfaction in seeing the Anglic yoke over Dalriada 

208 Bute in tlu Oldtn Time. 

broken at the battle of Dunnichcn in 685, and the restoration 
of this part of Alban to independency. 

Before this the renowned Adamnan had been elevated to 
the abbacy of lona, which he ruled till 704. Unless we asso- 
ciate his name with the church of Kildavannan, there is no 
evidence of his connection with Bute, although he played a 
most important part in the history of the Columban Church. 
He was of the royal blood of Tirconnell, and a relative of St 
Columba. Little is known of him. Bode says he was "a 
man good and wise, and pre-eminently versed in the know- 
ledge of Scripture." In his forty-eighth year he was raised 
to the abbatial chair, in 672 A.D. Both in Ireland and in 
Northumbria his influence was great Aldfrid of Northum- 
bria, who in his exile in Ireland became a friend of Adam- 
nan's, being known as his foster-son. He visited this king 
at Bamborough to obtain release of some Irish captives, and, 
according to Bcde, was so impressed with the canonical rites 
of the church there, that he acknowledged that both the 
Paschal observance and the circular tonsure which obtained 
in the Roman Church were right On his return to lona he 
in vain sought to induce his family to depart from the Col- 
umban usage. Not till twelve years after his death did they 
harmonise with Rome. His success in Ireland with this new 
propaganda was more speedily effected. There in political 
crises his opinion more than once carried great weight In 
his retirement in lona this abbot composed, about 692, the 
magnificent biography of St Columba, ' Vita Sancti Columbae,' 
without which we would have but a meagre view of the rise 
of the Church in Scotland, and also the ' DC Locis Sanctis,' or 
an Account of Holy Places given to him by a pilgrim named 
Bishop Arculf, who had visited the East He died in 704. 

77ie Seven Sleepers. 209 

Several churches in Ireland and Scotland were dedicated to 
him, and the names Tennant and Maclennan are survivals of 
his name. 

Kilddvannan chapel is little more than a name. The 
faintest traces of the foundations of a building remain on 
Cnocdavannan Hill, 300 yards above the farm of Kilda- 
vannan. They measure over all 19 feet long and 15 feet 
broad. It is interesting to note, however, that these founda- 
tions are oriented a little north of east. According to some 
curious observations communicated to the Anthropological 
Institute by Mr T. W. Shore, several of the oldest churches in 
Hampshire are oriented 20 north of east, a fact he attributes 
to Celtic influences. This orientation is thus on the line of 
the old May-day sunrise, a position reverenced by the Celts. 

The origin of the name Kildavannan is still left in ob- 
scurity, but I would suggest an association of it with Adam- 
nan, Abbot of lona. His name, Adam-nan little Adam 
through time assumed many and curious forms, such as 
Aunan, Eunan, Onan, and Ounan, as well as Theunan^ 
Skeulan, Teunan, and Fidamnan. The hill above the old 
chapel is known as Eenan Hill. Since Kingarth was within 
the sphere of Adamnan's influence, it is not a hazardous con- 
jecture to assign this chapel as a memorial of his important 
work in the seventh century. 

Abbot Ronan of Kingarth had succeeded to the chair 
vacated by lolan, and held office fifteen years before Adam- 
nan died. But it is a most remarkable fact that Adamnan 
never refers, in the Life of Columba, to the sister monastery in 
Bute. It may still have remained conservative and Celtic 
until this very Ronan brought it into harmony with the 
Roman Church. This Ronan is generally associated with 

VOL. I. o 

aio Bute in the Olden Time. 

another restless individual named Modan, since both their 
names arc found in churches situated near each other, and in 
proximity in the Calendar, early in the month of February. 

There is no memorial of Modan in Bute, unless it is found 
in the name of a remote spot in the wilds of North Bute, 
Glcnvodian, which might have been a fitting retreat for so 
pronounced an abstainer and vegetarian as Modan was. But 
across the Kyle in Glcndarucl he had his church at the 
clachan of Kilmodan, and found his resting-place at 

They belonged to the new party, and seemed to have pere- 
grinated freely in the west Ronan especially impressing his 
name and memory at many places in the Western Isles. On 
North Rona certain scratching* on the rocks were pointed 
out as the marks of the devil's claws, when this puissant saint 
was expelling him thence. >Engus places Ronan's name at 
the 9th of February, and commemorates him as " Espuc 
Ronain rigda" (Bishop Ronan the kingly), upon which is the 
note " i. Lissmor Mochuda ata" (In Lismor Mochuda he is). 
Adam King, in his Calendar, makes him a bishop and con- 
fessor under King Malduin, which is quite possible, that king 
dying in 689. 

During Ronan's term of office very important events 
occurred, and doubtless the ministers of religion were much 
perplexed at the uncertain state of affairs prevailing in the 
west The crown of Dalriada had passed for a time to the 
Loarn family, although it returned again to the Gabran 
family, but not without the spilling of blood, both on sea and 
land. The Picts had expelled the Columban monks from 
their territory, and their king, Nectan, following the example 
of Selbach, King of Dalriada, himself became a cleric of the 

The Seven Sleepers. 2 1 1 

new order. The ancient grudge between Picts and Dalriads 
again broke out, and in 736 CEngus Mac Fergus, King of the 
Picts, laid waste the Dalriadic kingdom following that with 
another " percussion " a few years later. This CEngus was 
the Aidan of the Picts, who carried fire and sword every- 
where against Briton and Angle, as well as against Scot. 
Bede calls him "a sanguinary tyrant." He placed his heel 
on Dalriada, and Bute with it came under Pictish domination 
for a time. 

Abbot Maelmanach, who died in A.D. 776, and Abbot Noe, 
who died in 790, were the abbots who presided over the 
destinies of Kingarth in this unhappy epoch, when the native 
Scots had to forsake their burning hearths and seek other 
homes. Then the very relics of the founders of the colony, 
the three sons of Ere, were removed from lona to Ireland. 
The sceptre of Dalriada was broken. Of the personal history 
of those two last abbots we have not a vestige left. All we 
might venture to say of them is 

" Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, 
Their sober wishes never learned to stray ; 
Along the cool sequestered vale of life 

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way." 

Noe just lived to the verge of that miserable age which 
Abbot Breasal of lona saw, when the western seas began to 
be troubled, and the Church to be terrified, by the blood- 
thirsty Vikings. Their descent was like a deserved judgment 
on these unhappy peoples, who would not accept the peace 
proffered to them on the acceptance of Christ. 

In what condition Kingarth and its dependent chapels were 
found by the piratical Northmen in search of the spoils of the 
altar is unknown. It is evident from Alan the Steward's 

2 1 2 Bute in tlie Olden Time. 

charter to Paisley, that the parent house had several depend- 
ent chapels in the island. Some of these have been particu- 
larised. There are vestiges of others which may have been 
founded even so early as this date, and also the remains of 
CTOMCt, which, however, may be referred to the period under 
Norse influences. These form the subject of the succeeding 




" I do love these ancient ruins ; 
We never tread upon them, but we set 
Our foot upon some reverend history. 
And questionless, here in this open court, 
Which now lies naked to the injuries 
Of stormy weather, some who lie interred 
Loved the Church so well, and gave so largely to't, 
They thought it should have canopied their bones 
Till Doomsday." 


HE moss-grown relics of the Celtic Church are 
numerous, and are interesting in the highest 
degree. They are discoverable in every quarter 
of the isle, often, too, in places where one least 
expects to find traces of primitive churches or memorials of 
an early piety. In some instances nothing but the surviving 
place-name is a proof that among these grey and lichen- 
covered ruins in the dim past holy rites were observed, and 
the lamp of Christian truth and love kept burning. 

By far the most remarkable survival is the chapel of St 
Michael, in North Bute, already described, where the rude 
masonry, formed of gathered stones, weather and water 

2 1 4 Bute in the Olden Time. 

worn on face and edge, recalls the simple art of the first 

It is fortunate that, despite the ruthless hands of ignorant 
and careless visitors, there is just enough of the gables re- 
maining to show that they sloped in curves towards the roof, 
or at least to the tops of the gables. The remanent walls arc 
too perpendicular to admit of the conclusion that they like- 
wise sloped and converged to the roof, like the well-known 
oratory of Gallarus, 1 but the arrangement of the stones in the 
west gable indicates that the plan was some modification of 
this primitive form. 

The preservation of the rude altar-stone resting upon its 
two equally rude stone supports, on its original site in the 
eastern end of the sanctuary, as illustrated here, is, I believe, 
unique in Scotland. 

There are, strange to say, no sculptured grave-slabs of an 
early period here, although the graveyard has long been held 
in favour by the inhabitants of the opposite coasts, whose 
frequent interments would have laid bare any memorials of 
eld had they existed. The oldest monuments are rude slate- 
slabs not touched by the chisel. 

It is quite different when one enters the sacred precincts 
of St Blaan, within which there remain many interesting 
relics of Celtic monumental art. The strangest survival is 
the graves themselves. In the Upper burial-ground many 
if not all of the graves are cists about 2 feet deep, formed of 
long slate or other flags, set on edge, and each covered with 
a long slab, narrower at one end than the other. 1 On these 

1 See Early Christ. Art in Ireland,' by M. Stokes, p. 39. 
' A cist -burial took place here in 1892. 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 2 1 5 

covering-lids are engraved curious signs, different in size and 
form, but all bearing some resemblance to the letter H turned 
the wrong way. 

Marks on Grave-slabs in Kilblaan Churchyard. 

No. I. Length of stem, 10 inches ; head and base, 7 inches. 
No. 2. 7^ inches ; base (semicircular), 

8 inches. 
No. 3. ,, 8 inches ; head, 8 inches ; base, 

8 inches. 
No. 4. 5 inches ; head, 7 inches ; base, 

8 inches (incised ^ inch). 

Had these marks not been incised so prominently on the 
faces of unhewn grave-slabs, one might recognise in them only 
the marks of operative masons. 

2 1 6 Bute in ttu Oldtn Tim*. 

Carving on stones, from simple up to complex forms, is a 
characteristic of all nations, who seem constitutionally im- 

Afarts on Gravt-tlabt at KilMaan. 

pcllcd everywhere to produce signs and symbols similar in 

Just as the Red Indian has his totem or mark of his race 
and personal mark, the South Sea Islander his tattoo- pattern, 
the Arab his tribe-sign for setting on the places he has 
visited or on the property he owns, so our own farmers have 
their own keel-mark for their flocks. Among the northern 
nations as well, cup-shaped indentations, rings, crosses, and 
variations of these in combinations, were the sacred signs in 
their pagan worship of nature the sun, moon, and other 
powers of nature. 

Were these H-shaped signs a survival of pagan worship, 
or only clan-marks to differentiate the graves? Up till the 
present date the inhabitants of Rothesay bury according to 
their families in distinct portions of the graveyard, but no 
similar marks are noticeable on the oldest monuments yet 
found in Rothesay. 

It is quite possible that these slabs are the most ancient, 
and bear a trace of the moon-symbol in the semicircular 
limb on the sign, or have survived from the Scandinavian 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 2 1 7 

invaders, on whose antiquities sun and moon symbols are of 
frequent occurrence. 

Among the debris cleared out of St Blaan's Church were 
two small pieces of red sandstone, on which curious incised 
figures of similar pattern 
appear. The stone here 
represented is 10^ inches 
long, 6^ inches broad, and 
i y z inch thick. 

There are several head- 
stones in St Blaan's church- 
yard distinguished by cup- 
shaped cuttings. All the 
stones are of soft yellow 
Cumbrae sandstone. The 
simplest is a small circular 
head, of 10 inches diameter, 
rising from a small pedestal 
placed in the ground. The 
four cups are found at the 
points of a square, but the 
stone is too much weathered to allow any inference as to 
whether a cross also occupied the face of the stone, as is 
seen in some forms of the sun-marks originating in the ring- 
cross. 1 

A similar simple example with a longer pedestal is 

A development from this form by the introduction of oval 
cups, so as to bring out the symbol of the cross, is observable 

Gravestone found at Kilblaan. 

1 See ' Industrial Arts of Old Denmark,' by Worsase, p. 1 14. 


Bute in the Olden Time. 

on several stones. In some cases both sides of the stone are 
similarly carved. 

Gravestcmes at 

The placing of the oval cup-cuttings on the edge of the 
circle produced the beautiful forms of the cross illus- 

Gravtttotus at A'i/Maan. 

trated above. The cross appears on both sides of the 
stone illustrated by the smaller woodcut. (Height of 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 219 

pedestal, 23 inches ; thickness, 4 ; height of head, 10 ; 
breadth, 9^.) 

A small fragment of the head of a cross, probably a high 
cross, indicates the use of the oval 
form cutting into the inner edge of 
a circle. 

The fragment of the head of 
another cross found in Kilblaan, 
and long preserved at Plan, indi- 
cates a cross of the simple lona 
type. The stone is a red sand- 
stone. The circular head has been 
17^ inches in diameter and 6j^ 
inches thick. A fragment of a 

Head of Cross found in 
Kilblaan Churchyard. 

small Latin cross-head is also preserved in the churchyard. 

A pretty little headstone, 16 inches high, 12 broad at the 

base, with a circular head n inches in diameter, gives an 

Gravestone at 

Ornament inscribed on 
Grave-slab at Kilblaan. 

example of a cross formed like the sun-wheel by the four 
spokes radiating from a round centre. This cross is in bas- 

In the Women's Cemetery at Kilblaan there exist two 
slabs with examples of the interlaced ribbon. 

The one has the cross intersecting two concentric circles. 

Bute in the Olden Time. 

The other, lying in the area of the ruined building, though 
somewhat effaced, has been an exquisite specimen of geo- 
metric interlaced work in relief. Five flat circular bosses 
form the sign of the cross within the cross. 

Ornament inscribtd on Grave-slab at fCilblaan. 

One of the foot-worn clay-slate slabs lying at Kilblaan is, 
from its appearance, the shaft of a cross, one side of which 
only has been sculptured. The upper portion of the shaft 
has been occupied by interlaced work now entirely defaced. 
At the distance of 1 5 inches from the base there rises a small 
representation of a grotesque animal browsing under what 
appear to be two trees. But the sculpture is very much 
detrited, and one of the trees might represent a bird. The 
slab measures 6 feet 3 inches in length, 19 inches in breadth 
at the base, 16 inches at the top, and 4 inches thick. 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 221 

The most unique stone at Kilblaan is a small sandstone 
slab 30 inches high, 10 broad, and 2^ inches thick, one side 

Grave-slab in Kilblaan Churchyard. 

only of which is sculptured. It lies broken in three pieces. 
In its original state it had been divided into panels. The 
upper panel contains a rider on horseback. 
A helmet covers his head : a spear rests 
on his foot : a strange figure, not now 
intact, but probably a bird in flight, is 
carved in front of his face : a club-shaped 
thing rises between the fore-legs. The 
whole representation is cut in bas-relief. 
The under panel is filled with diagonal 
cheques, and in the centre of each cheque 
there has been a cup-shaped indentation ; 
but these with many of the cheques are 

Grave-slab at Kilblaan. 

nearly defaced. 

It is quite possible that on this stone' there lingers a trace 


Bute in the Olden Time. 

of the mythology of the Scandinavians, and that the horse- 
man is none other than the All-Father Odin. He is usually 
depicted with a helmet, as he sits mounted on his famous 
horse Slcipncr, carrying in his hand the terrible spear Gung- 
ner, and preceded by his two Ravens. He fought his last 
battle on the Last Day (Ragnarok) with the Fenris- wolf and 
the Worm of Midgarth, deep down in the Underworld. The 
club-shaped ornament might thus fitly 
represent the Worm attacking Sleipncr. 
If this interpretation be accurate, the 
sculpture is an interesting reminiscence 
of that period when the doctrine of Odin, 
after coming to its highest development, 
became a basis on which Christianity set 
itself firmly to overcome the myths of the 
pagan North, and to show that in the 
Gospel of the Nazarene the mythical 
struggle between darkness and light, win- 
ter and summer, evil and good, had the 
only happy solution in the revelation of 
the will of a God of love. 

We are indebted to Mr Charles M'Fie, 
Mid park, for preserving a few very inter- 
esting remnants of monuments found in 
the neighbourhood of the burial-ground of St Marnock's 
Church. Some of the uncut slate slabs are engraved with 
rude examples of the Roman cross, T, cut by a primitive 

One of these, as here figured, was found by Mr M'Fie in 
1891, in the ground still called the " Women's Burial- Place," 
adjoining the site of the church, and consists of a blue slate 

(jiavtto*t found in 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 22, 

223^ inches long, 6y 2 broad at the broadest part, and about 
2 inches thick. The cross has been incised in the natural 
face of the stone. 

On the opposite side of the road, close to where this stone 
was found, a row of ancient cists are quite visible, the tops 
of the small thin stones forming their sides appearing a few 
inches above ground. They measure about 3 feet 6 inches 
long and 2 feet broad. 

Another fragment of what seems to have been the shaft 
of a cross composed of slate, is still preserved in the wall 
adjoining this churchyard. It measures 26^ 
inches long, n inches broad, and 3 inches 
thick. Three crosses of the Saint Andrew 
pattern are carved neatly on one face, and in 
bas-relief. Two of them are within an incised 
panel 6 inches broad. On the other side of 
the cross what may have been the shaft of a 
cross, or the blade of a sword, runs the length 
of the stone in relief, but the head or handle is 
broken off. 

The most interesting of Mr M'Fie's " finds " Gravestone found 
is the fragment of the head of a Rune-inscribed 
cross-slab which he turned up in 1889 on the west side of the 
road, 50 yards north of the graveyard, and just beside where 
the cists are still visible. 

This fragment measures 7^ inches in its greatest length 
and 8J/2 in its greatest breadth, and is the terminal of a small 
cross formed out of a flake of schistose slate. The cross is 
engraved in relief over an incised circle. On the transom of 
the cross are clearly inscribed in later Scandinavian runes 
the following letters :". . . KRUS-THINE-TIL-GUTHLE . . ." 

224 Bute in the Olden Time. 

The termination of the name GUTiiLE is awanting, but the 
full name was cither Guthlcif or Guthlcik, which were com- 
mon names among the Northmen, as we find in their Sagas. 
The subject of the monument, however, is unknown. It is 
an interesting link between the Celtic Church and the pious 
Northmen, who in a later age succeeded the piratic spoilers 
of her fanes. (See illustration, p. 135.) 

It is fully described by Mr G. F. Black in the Proceedings 
of the Antiquarian Society, and conjoined with a notice of 
the famous Marnock, whose name I have good grounds for 
not associating with " The Inch," as chapter vi. narrates. 

Mr C. M'Fic also found a piece of the shaft of a cross 
formed out of yellow sandstone beside the Runic cross. It 
measures 17^ inches long, 12 broad, and 2% thick. The 
ornament seems to spring out of a series of small concentric 
rings, and runs away either in ornamental geometric figures 
or in intertwined figures of animals, to meet other similar 
rings, the stone, being too friable to stand the weather, 
leaves the ornament very uncertain. It is, however, not 
unlike some of the ornaments found on fibula of the earlier 
iron age of Scandinavia. 

The hardness and the hugeness of a whinstonc boulder, 
which probably frustrated the execrable dcsccrators who 
extinguished St Colmoc's antique church and graveyard, have 
preserved for us an example of a lovely cross. 

In the centre of the cross a wheel is cut in relief, and 
within it appears the " Swastika " or so-called sacred sign for 
Thor, the God of Thunder. 1 (See illustrations, pp. 1 16, 117.) 

1 Tbb symbol, "La Creix Gammtt ou TJtrturtlt" (Anglo-Saxon, Fylfot; to the 
Hindus and Buddhists Svajfita), is found in nearly all lands with few exceptions. 
'LaMigrationdesSymbolc*,' par Lc Com pte Goblet D'Alviclla, p. 41. Paris, 1891. 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 225 

" Within the field where this cross stands, five stone coffins 
were dug up about thirty-five years ago [1805 ?] by the present 
tenant, Mr Hunter." J 

For many years there lay almost unnoticed, except by those 
who had a patrimonial interest in it, covering a grave in the 
parish churchyard of Rothesay, a rudely carved tombstone. 

Up till the present time an interesting vestige of the clan 
system lingers in the custom which old native families of 
Bute retain in having their relatives buried in sections of the 
churchyard allocated to their names, such as the Neills (Mac- 
neils), Stewarts, MacAlisters, Mackurdys, MacGilchiarans, 
MacConachys, Bannatynes, M'Gilchatans, M'Gilmuns, and 
other families whose antique interesting names have unfor- 
tunately been Anglicised; and even incomers bearing any 
of these names have maintained some traditional right of 
sepulture with their clans there. 

On the clan (or family) grave of the MacAlisters the slab 
was lying, and amid the profusion of grass the now worn 
traces of its beautiful interlaced ornamentation were scarcely 
visible. It appeared to be only a rough, crooked, silver-grey 
stone split from the finely grained mica-schist in which the 
northern part of the Isle of Bute abounds. So far, fortu- 
nately, it was the reverse, or less carved side of the slab which 
lay exposed to the weather, and thus left it unnoticed ; but 
when I had it cleaned and turned over, its elaborately sculp- 
tured face indicated that it was none other than the shaft of 
a cross. 

1 Wilson's ' Guide to Rothesay,' p. 65. Rothesay, 1848. 
VOL. I, P 


Bute in the Oldtn Time. 

Lengthwise the stone measures 5 feet 7 inches ; in breadth, 
tapering from io# inches at the base to 13 inches at the top ; 

Crvts i* Rtthttay Churchyard. 

and in thickness, varying from 3}^ inches to 3^ inches. It 
also retains the slight natural curve of the bed from which it 
has been split. 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 227 

The most remarkable, if not unique, feature of the cross- 
shaft, however, is the existence of a tenon at its upper and 
broader extremity, indicating that the capital had been a sep- 
arate piece, fixed by means of a mortice-joint, so as to form 
along with two quadrants below let into carefully bevelled 
sockets, still visible in the sides of the shaft a high cross, 
somewhat like that of Tuam (M. Stokes, ' Early Christian Art 
in Ireland,' p. 138). This tenon measures 8 inches long, i^ 
inch high, and i ^ inch thick. The socket on each side is cut 
jYz inches from the base or neck on which the cross-head 
rested. Each socket measures 3^ inches long, i^ inch broad, 
and is cut with a bevel 2 inches deep. 

The obverse of the shaft is divided into three compartments 
the traces of a plain, flat moulding, about i inch broad 
round each panel, being still visible. There may have been 
formerly a fourth compartment, where the base is now fixed 
into a built foundation, but no trace of carving existed on the 
lowest part when examined by me. Each of these three 
panels contains a subject carefully carved in relief, despite the 
hardness of the quartz and mica field. The lowest panel ap- 
pears filled with a Latin cross, rising out of a cushion or base, 
and is surmounted by two well-shaped crested birds, which 
resemble doves. The finials of this cross terminate in oval 

The middle panel displays a grotesquely shaped, cat-headed 
quadruped in the impossible attitude of walking in a forward 
direction with the club-hoofed fore-legs of an animal, and in 
the opposite direction with the legs of a man. Vestiges of 
eye-sockets remain. Three upright ears (unless they form a 
crown) complete the head, and match the three prongs of a 
tail which flourishes over its rounded back. 

228 Bute in tht Olden Time. 

The uppermost panel, which is much wasted by lamination 
caused by the weather, contains the figure of a horse, or more 
likely an ass, walking, and ridden by a man. When first ex- 
posed, the delineation seemed to be that of a rider in the act 
of falling from or leaning upon the haunches of an ass. Since 
exposure the figures have become less distinct 

The reverse of the shaft is considerably weathered and worn 
by passing feet It has been divided into three panels, the 
upper and under being filled with interleaved ornamentation 
of a simple character. The middle panel displays, cut in 
relief, a well-shaped horse, with a rider evidently carrying a 

No inscription, in any characters, is visible on the stone. 

When I had the cross turned over, it was found to be 
broken into two pieces. After receiving the consent of the 
family who have a patrimonial interest in it, I had it securely 
reunited, set firmly into a substantial socket, and re-erected 
on the spot where it was uncovered in November 1886. 

I have since had some difficulty in tracing its history out of 
conflicting traditions. It is apparently a pilgrim. The most 
trustworthy account of its migration is that " a Mac Alistcr of 
Ascog brought it from ' t/ie other side ' to Ascog Farm, and 
desired it to be laid on his grave after his death." 

Varying versions associated its stance with Crossmore, a 
prominent cross -site about one mile south of Rothesay 
Church ; with Kildavannan, the site of a Celtic church in North 
Bute ; and with Meiklc Kilmory farm, which for generations 
has been partly tenanted by MacAlisters. No traces of a 
connection of this family with the two sites first mentioned 
are discoverable by me. 

The Rev. William Lytteil, when prosecuting his philological 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 229 

studies in Bute for his ' Landmarks of Scottish Life and Lan- 
guage' (Edinburgh, 1877), noted in his Journal, at date April 
3, 1873 : "Cross-shaft from Ascog farm. ... It is about two 
hundred years since it was found on Ascog. It lay at Ascog 
farmhouse for about one hundred and fifty years." This 
author kindly appended to the extract this note : " The 
Journal makes mention of the figure of 'a man on horse- 
back,' 'of a sword,' '2 birds, I think,' 'something like a 
mythical animal or dragon/ ' something like a deer at the 

This form of the tradition does not coincide with the other 
that it was brought from " the other side," meaning the west 
side of Bute, which was well supplied with Celtic chapels and 

The clearest tradition asserts that it was transported to 
Ascog. I know of no traces of oratories or cemeteries near 
that farm. And there appear to have been flittings from 
Meikle Kilmory farm to Mid Ascog, and vice versd, in past 
times, by tenantry named MacAlister. Last century there 
was a family of that name in Crioslagmhoire, another at 
Stewarthall, another at Kilchattan, &c. On Meikle Kilmory 
Brae (Blain, p. 92) " a small circular spot formerly enclosed 
[was] known by the name of Cil-keran, inducing a belief that 
it had been used as a place of sepulture." This was probably 
the little church of Ciaran, whose name was last century pre- 
served by over forty large families (especially in this quarter 
of the isle} viz., the Mac-Gill-Chiarans, now Sharps. Kil- 
mory is in the Kerryfern quarter, formerly the possession of 
an ancient family, the Neills, or Nigels, of Bute. On an ad- 
joining farm is the ruin of Kilmory Chapel, on another the 
site of Kilwhinleck Chapel. 

230 />'/ /'/* the OUm Time. 

Every place-name near savours of early Irish history. Over 
this whole district towers Barone Hill. According to Blain 
(p. 86):- 

" Near the roadside (going towards Kilmory), at the foot of 
Barone Hill, is shown a spot where a pillar, 9 feet high, [was] 
ended several ages ago as a monument of a barbarous murder 
committed there on a laird of Kilwhinlcck, by one Ntcol Mackeown, 
commonly known by the name of Willie Nicrbal, who took the 
laird's widow to wife, expecting by that means to secure to himself 
the estate also." Nicrbal himself met a foul end ; and a posthumous 
son was born to the murdered laird, so that " the estate descended 
by that circumstance in the right line." We are told Nierhal's body 
was buried after his death at the place where he murdered Kilwhin- 
leck. The monumental stone was removed by the late James 
Stewart, 1 proprietor of that place, and laid by way of a bridge over 
a brook at Rothesay. There had been some rude carving on one 
side ; the figure of a griffin was visible, but it is not known whether 
there was ever any inscription.* 

The indcfiniteness of the above narration leads me to sus- 
pect that Blain had neither seen the monument, nor knew its 

1 The James Stewart mentioned here was the eccentric minister of Kingarth 
from 1740 to 1755, for whose convenience that parish was kept vacant for sixteen 
years. He was laird of Kilwhinlcck, and died about 1780. His manse for the 
new kirk at Mountstuart was situated on an eminence over half a mile beyond 
Ascog, and in proximity to the farm of Mid Ascog, in Kingarth parish, the resi- 
lience of the MacAlistcn. After being deprived of his charge, James Stewart 
came to reside at Kilwhinlcck, in the new mansion he erected there in 1760, 
called Stewarthall. 

* Reid, in his ' History of Bute,' p. 32, adds to this account a sentence, appa- 
rently taken from a MS. of Blain's History, that the Kilwhinleck stone was 
" afterwards put to a similar use as part of the covering of a sewer going off from 
near the well in the High Street, opposite the entry to the New Vennel, where it 
may possibly still remain." But, as if doubtful of this, he proceeds to show some 
similarity between this stone and the cross-shaft now in Rothesay Castle. The 
latter, however, was brought from the Chapel of St Mary when repaired in 1816, 
according to Dr Stuart in his ' Sculptured Stones.' 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 231 

resting-place. There is a small brook crossing the road to 
the parish church, which is covered over with schistose flag- 
stones, which is the only likely place for its being utilised. 
Had it been accessible, Blain would have inspected it. So I 
would assume that it had been removed before Blain came to 
Bute in 1760, and that he only narrates the hearsay on the 

From the Rev. Dr Maclea's Parochial Visitation Books for 
1 774- 1 776, it appears that at or near Kilwhinleck resided 
Robert M c Alester, his wife, and a family of four girls, de- 
signated as from " Kingarth." A John M'Alister, who is 
credited with being born at Ascog, before this had a brother 
Robert, who latterly resided at Kilchattan Bay. Now it is 
very improbable that any M'Alister would remove a large 
monument from a farm he was vacating, say Meikle Kil- 
mory, far, in Bute especially. As instances prove, there was 
a superstitious dread of molesting such memorials, and such 
an act would not only have been deemed sacrilegious, but, as 
in the case of the spoliation of St Marnock's Chapel in 1718, 
would have subjected the offender to the discipline of the 
kirk-session. On the other hand, if a similar stone was re- 
moved from his estate at the instance of the reverend and 
ambitious laird of Kilwhinleck, who had long been a source 
of irritation and trouble to the kirk-session and presbytery of 
the bounds, and who, anxious to found a great house, neither 
relished being childless, as he was, nor yet the romance, likely 
mythical, connected with that monolith, then who would be 
so likely to be asked to remove it as this Robert M c Alester, 
who, to his own credit be it said, with rare good sense, con- 
served this antique relic ? Through him it might reach 
Ascog. Speculation aside, the Kilwhinleck monolith has 

232 Bute in tlu Olden Timt. 

not been traced since it was removed a hundred years ago. 
Yet there is nothing incompatible between the connection of 
this relic of the Celtic Church in Bute with its subsequent 
monumental usefulness in relation to the murdered laird, be 
he a subject real or mythical. 

Being a cross, and with a circle connecting the arms, it 
must be enumerated among the High Crosses ; and its Celtic 
art and symbolism would, from their execution, lead us to 
date the work, not too early, say the eleventh century. But 
it might be earlier still, since the position of Bute, between 
Dalriada and Northumbria, made it susceptible of all new 
influences. The dedications in the island, such as to Ninian, 
Brioc, Catan, Marnoc, Blaan, and many others, illustrative of 
the influence of British and Irish Churches, prove the favoured 
situation of Bute. 

The church of Kihvhinlcck, now obliterated, may indicate 
the influence of the famous Irish Finnian of Moville, teacher 
of Columba, but who, as a pupil of Nennio at Whithorn, was 
better known to the Cymric Britons, who preserved his name 
in Kilwinning, in its Cymric form, Wynnin. 

In the "Grant by James IV. to the landholders in the 
Island of Bute, dated i6th August 15060 Reg. Mag. Sig.,' xiv. 
300), we find mentioned, 'Johanni Makgylquhynnych, terras 
de Cawnoch.' " This family name, Mac-Gill- Whinnich, like 
Mac-Gill-Chatan, Mac-Gill Chiaran, Mac-Gill-Mun, Mac-Gill- 
Mhichcll, and others in use here till the beginning of this 
century, prove the connection of Butemcn with the early 
Celtic Church. 

But in the absence of historical records, our survivals, like 
this interesting cross, can only be the subject of happy and 
reasonable speculation. 


Moss-grown Relics of t 'he Celtic Church. 233 

CROSS IN ROTHESAY CASTLE. Two fragments of a white 
sandstone slab, beautifully sculptured on one face and the 
two edges, are now preserved in Rothesay Castle. According 
to Dr Stuart, who has illustrated them in the ' Sculptured 
Stones of Scotland ' : " The stone here figured was found 
about the year 1816 in clearing out the rubbish from St 
Brieuc's Chapei. It has lain in the courtyard of the castle 
since that time." x This is a reference to the repairing of St 
Mary's Chapel in 1817 by the Marquess of Bute. The lower 
half measures 3 feet 4 inches long, 19 inches broad at the base, 
and 20 inches broad where the slab is broken : the upper part 
measures 2 feet 9 inches long and 20 inches broad. The slab 
is 5 inches thick the edges being engraved with interlaced 
ornamentation. It has the appearance of having been a 
memorial slab rather than a cross. It may have covered one 
of the bishops laid to rest in St Mary's Church early in the 
fourteenth century, but in all probability is a relic of a still 
earlier epoch. 

Kilmorie (Church of Mary) is built upon the rocky face of 
the hill, 220 yards south of Little Kilmory farm, a short 
distance above the highway, and is a ruin still well defined 
since the Marquess of Bute had the hidden site excavated. It 
is a rectangular building, composed of small stones split from 
the surrounding rocks, and bound with clay. It is oriented, 
but not exactly. Its external measurements are 35 feet by 17 
feet 9 inches at the west gable, and 17 feet 6 inches at the 
east; its internal, 30 feet by 13 feet 6 inches and 13 feet 9 
inches. The gables are 2 feet 6 inches thick ; the side walls 

1 Vol. ii. p. 36, plate Ixxii. Spalding Club, 1867. 

234 Bute in the Olden Time. 

2 feet thick and about 2 feet 6 inches high. The north wall 
is broken at 18 feet 6 inches from cast gable, probably for a 
door. Directly opposite is a similar break. The north gable 
is pierced to form a runnel for the water gathering on the 
floor the bare rock. At a distance of 30 feet from the 
church are the remains of the circular stone "cashcl," or 
wall of circumvallation. About half a century ago, while the 
road here was being repaired, a lead coffin and cists were 
exposed, and an iron or bronze hammer-head found. The 
latter was lost The Exchequer Rolls in 1440 refer to 

Cranslagvourachy, Crioslagi'ourathy (circle of Vourathy), 
from its name, may have been an oratory dedicated to an 
Argylc Culdcc Saint, Murcdach, 1 but there is no tradition 
regarding this supposition. 

Cranslaginoric, Crioslagwory in former times had a chapel 
dedicated probably to the Virgin Mary. The site of it was 
in what is now known as " the Chapel-field " on the farm of 
Acholtcr (field of the altar, achadlt, altair\ where occasionally 
yet the plough exposes the foundations of a building. 

Cruiskland Chapel (Blain's 'Hist.,' p. 398) is a strongly 
built edifice of a rectangular shape, picturesquely situated 
under a high rock on Nether Ardroscadalc farm, on the level 
ground stretching down to the shore, about a mile north of 
St Ninian's Chapel. The north wall measures externally 36 
feet 6 inches; the south, 35 feet 6 inches; the gable walls 
each 21 feet 6 inches broad; internally respectively 31 feet, 

i " Oct. v. In Argadia Murdoch! Culdci, cognomcnto Bardi." ' Menologium 

Moss-grown Relics of the Celtic Church. 235 

30 feet 6 inches, and 14 feet 6 inches. The walls remain 
from 3 to 4 feet high, and from 3 to 3 feet 6 inches thick. 
Clay is the cementing medium of the stones. The door was 
in the middle of the south wall. The church is oriented a 
little north of east. Blain narrates that a century ago the 
hallowed ground was then marked out ; to-day the huge 
stones of a former enclosing wall are still visible. Two aged 
ashes growing in the ruins mark the time which has elapsed 
since the fane was deserted. A well bubbles up above the 
chapel. To whom it was dedicated is not known. From 
the composition of the name of the district Ard-rosca-dale 
we might expect some connection between rose or drosc 
and Kruisk-llan, or Kruisk-church. 

Baileachaibil, or Chapeltown, was a cluster of houses on 
the west bank of Loch Fad, the ruins of which are still visible 
under the shade of old plane-trees. Its name associates it 
with some chapel, which must have existed prior to the 
parish church in the immediate vicinity, if we are to account 
for its necessity, or which was a memorial chapel that fell 
into desuetude. There is a substantially built well at the 
spot. Two ranges of edifices seem to have existed, and this 
fact corresponds with the notes in Dr Maclea's Visiting- 
Book, that two families of sixteen persons lived here in 
1774; in 1814, one family of two persons. A circular well- 
built wall encloses an empty space on the south side, over- 
shadowed by ash-trees, where the chapel may have stood. 
North of these foundations is seen a small grass-grown circle 
1 8 feet in external diameter, 8 feet in internal diameter, 2 
feet in height, evidently the foundations of a round stone 
edifice, the nature of which I have not discovered. 

St Mary's Chapel and St Bride's will be described in vol. ii. 




" Sir Ralph the Rover tailed away, 
He scoured the seas for many a day 
And now, grown rich with plundered store, 
He steers his course for Scotland's shore." 


HE northern nations of Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden, having felt the impulse given to cul- 
ture by the restless conquering nations of the 
South, began themselves to ferment and de- 
velop, so that it became imperative for them to find outlets 
for their energies. These were got in two directions : inter- 
nally, by the development of personal and national faculties 
in trade, art, science, and literature ; and externally, by the 
overflowing of the population into the channels of martial 
colonisation. The time usually assigned to these movements 
lies between 700 A.D. and 1000 A.D. With both movements 
Scotland, with Bute, has a concern. Driven from home, as 
well by the lack of food as probably by the tyranny of 
masters and rulers, the Northman was not without the genius 
to turn his fearless and adventurous spirit to the best account. 
From infancy familiar with the sea, he soon learned the art 

The Northmen and Vikings. 237 

of boat-building, and became expert in facing the deep with 
seaworthy ships, manned by daring crews. The coasting ex- 
peditions of the Danes were soon changed into bold descents 
upon England, France, and the sunny shores of the Medi- 
terranean. The men of Norway (" the Noregs - Vaelde ") 
seemed to have tended in a westerly direction, and found 
their way to the Shetlands, Orkneys, and other isles, from which 
they ultimately swept out into the Hebrides and southern 
isles, which they called the " Sudreyjar," and therein met 
the fleets of Danish sea-rovers arriving by the southern 

What at first was only the adventurous voyage of a " Sir 
Ralph the Rover," became soon an organised expedition of 
fleets of fierce-looking craft, which arrived in the summer and 
harvest-time, in search of spoil as well as glory. Out of 
Sumarlidi, or Summer- Wanderers, they developed into con- 
quering settlers. 

The likeness to their native land of the western seaboard 
of Scotland, with its fertile isles, sheltered lochs, and creeks, 
where their ships could ride secure, and safe and tempting 
friths and kyles, through which they could skim like sea- 
birds, so charmed the Northmen, that each successive visit 
excited the desires of their countrymen to see this happy 
hunting-field ; and in consequence the descents of the north- 
ern baysmen, " Vikingr," became of such national importance 
as to necessitate the control of them under law. The visitors 
soon became colonists, and mixing with the dispossessed 
inhabitants, formed new settlements of their own in their 
adopted land. 

To the Christian Celts of the west they bore the distinctive 
name of "Gentiles" the Norwegians being called "azure 

238 Bute in tlte Olden Time. 

Gentiles," and the Danes "black Gentiles." In the Irish 
Annals and the Welsh Chronicles the date of the first ap- 
pearance of these Gentiles is the year 794 A.D. : 

"794 Kal. Ian. Anno Domini Dccxciij. Vastatio omnium insolarum 
Britannic a gcntibus." ' 

The next year we find them infesting the Hebrides, spoiling 
lona, spying out the coasts of Ireland, and in 798 wasting 
by fire and sword St Patrick's Isle off the coast of County 
Dublin, and the other isles between Erin and Alban. Prob- 
ably then the light of St Blaan's altar at Kingarth suffered 
extinction, as that of Columba in lona did four years later. 

In 802 the Danes burnt the sacred edifices of lona to the 
ground, and rendered that monastic retreat so insecure that the 
monks, for the most part, fled with the relics of the founder to 
Ireland. The absence of these treasures may have been the 
reason why, in 806, the ruthless Danes murdered the whole re- 
maining community of sixty-eight persons. Not merely the 
greed of plunder, but a deeply imbued spirit of revenge for the 
cruelties perpetrated upon the subjects of King Siegfried by 
Charlemagne, was the motive of the pagans for this wicked 
conduct. They wrecked the churches everywhere, slew the 
men, enslaved the women, and, until their own conversion 
to Christianity, became the insolent tyrants of Alban and 
Erin. At last they turned their swords upon themselves, 
and also upon their native land, which they revisited to 

Space does not permit of the narration of the events by 
which, early in the ninth century, the Northmen had ob- 

'Ann. UUtei.' 

The Northmen and Vikings. 239 

tained a secure settlement on the mainland of Ireland, and 
how, later, King Olave the White established the Danish 
kingdom of Dublin. From that centre he issued on many a 
bloody expedition to the Western Isles, and as far as Dum- 
barton, which he utterly destroyed. In the train of his 
triumph were borne away much spoil and crowds of captives 
from Strathclyde, Pictland, and the Isles, notwithstanding the 
close alliance of Olave with the Pictish king, Kenneth, whose 
daughter he had married. Olave's successors were also given 
to similar filibustering in the West. 

In 883, Harald Harfagr, or The Fairhair, then in his 
thirtieth year, and a petty king in Norway, established him- 
self as ruler of a united kingdom. As a result of this, his 
vanquished opponents fled into the Orkneys and Shetlands, 
from which they issued on piratical raids of retaliation upon 
the mother country. Unable to tolerate these irritating ex- 
peditions, Harald, at the head of a well - equipped fleet, 
pounced down on the Orkneys and Sudreys, and, wiping 
out the Vikings, established his monarchy as far as the Isle 
of Man at the close of the ninth century. He left behind 
him Jarls, or petty kings, to secure his conquests and levy the 
tribute which he exacted. 

After his death, in 936, there developed a complication of 
movements of a political character, involving the various 
nationalities in Alban, Erin, and Britain in bloody conflicts, 
all of which made for the ultimate consolidation of these 
kingdoms under single kings of native birth. The Isles 
assumed a king of their own, who ruled the Inchegall, or 
islands of the Strangers, and their mixed population of Gall- 
gaidhel. It would be difficult to say whether Bute at this 
particular period was included in the possession of the Nor- 

240 Bute in the Oldtn Time. 

wegian King of Man, the King of the Isles, or of the King of 
the Scots. At any rate, it was harried frequently by the 
Northmen out of Man and Dublin, as well as by the no less 
ruthless fleets of the Gallgaidhcl, with both of whom the Scots 
as yet were not able to cope in marine warfare. 

The men of Cowal the Lagmanns in the end of the 
tenth century, with their fleet scoured the seas as far as 
South Ireland. They again, under Godred, King of Man, 
have to reckon with Sigurd, the brave Earl of Orkney, who 
swept all before him in the west, and there collected tribute, 
both for himself and his superior, King Haco. 

While Malcolm, the son of Kenneth, sat on the throne of 
Scotia (1005-1034), and Brian Boru held the sceptre in 
Ireland, the question of a foreign occupation had ripened, 
and the time had arrived when the Goidels were ready to 
cast out the Northmen. The two parties, Irish and Danish, 
armed and gathered for a final struggle. The men of Alban 
joined Brian, the Islesmen under Sigurd swelled the foreign 
host, and we reckon Bute sent its quota of warriors. They 
met on Clontarfs bloody field on Good Friday, 1014. The 
Danes were completely overthrown, and Erin recovered her 
freedom. Sigurd was among the slain, and thereafter his 
father-in-law, King Malcolm, appears to have obtained 
allegiance from some of the chiefs of the Western Isles. 

According to the 'Chronicle of Man,' Godred Crowan of 
Man, in 1068, " humbled the Scots to such a degree that no 
shipbuilder dare insert more than three bolts in a ship or 

The ' Originates Parochiales,' quoting " Memoir prefixed 
to Bute Inventory," informs us that " Walter the first, Steward 
of Scotland, who died in 1093, is said to have obtained Bute 

The Northmen and Vikings. 241 

from King Malcolm II." l There is room for gravely doubt- 
ing this statement, since, in the charter conferring the office of 
Seneschal of Scotland upon Walter, the son of Alan Dapifer, 
granted by Malcolm IV. in 1158, he is infefted in the lands 
disponed to him by King David I., and Bute is not mentioned 
among the number. This Fitzalan of Shropshire probably 
entered the service of Malcolm III., or, still more likely, 
joined the retinue of David, who had been so long resident 
in England, as will be more fully elucidated in a succeeding 

The Irish annalists paint the Vikings with a broad brush 
and the darkest colours. They were a fierce and impetuous 
race, who showed their worst characteristics in the marauding 
expeditions led by restless warriors. But at home, and in 
times of peace, they enjoyed the fruits of a high state of 
civilisation. Their works of art, especially metal-work, with 
its very artistic ornamentation, their seaworthy ships built 
with much skill, their precious codes of laws, their customs 
and their literature, show that the Northmen were naturally 
a clever people, who were, according to the times, in an ad- 
vanced condition of civilisation. In Sir George Dasent's 
preface to 'The Story of Burnt Njal ; or, Life in Iceland at 
the end of the Tenth Century,' is to be found a vivid and 
interesting description of the Northmen at home, which can- 
not fail to impress the reader with a better opinion of the 
Northmen than we can form from the acts of selfish and 
cruel Vikings on the war-path. In their home dealings they 
were honest and affable, kind to their friends and considerate 
to their inferiors. They were bluff and blunt, but had a 

1 Vol. ii. Part i. p. 224. 
VOL. I, Q 

242 Bute in t/te Olden Tinu. 

special horror of truce-break crs and talc-bearers. In war 
they were as resistless as the storm. 

Their civilisation had been influenced by that of Rome. 
Consequently they were in the enjoyment of arts and trades 
which were unknown in the countries they overran. Their 
embossed coinage, founded in the Western Isles, was in use 
long before Scotch kings had a royal mint. They were law- 
abiding citizens in their own realm ; and to the system of 
government which the Northmen set up in their colonies we 
arc not a little indebted to the popular form of our own. 

In every colony there was set apart either a natural or 
artificial Thingmote, judgment-hill, on which the judges and 
leaders of the people were seated, above the surrounding 
meeting-place where the freemen determined measures of 
peace and war, which were proclaimed from the top of 
the hill. 

In the Isle of Man till this day no enactment of the Parlia- 
ment (the House of Keys) becomes law until it is duly pro- 
claimed from the Tynwald Hill. A similarity to many other 
motes throughout the country has suggested to me the pos- 
sibility that the hill on which the Museum of Rothesay 
stands was used for such a purpose. 

During all these troublous times the Northmen practised 
their own pagan rites, apparently unaffected by the religion 
of the monasteries they plundered. However, in 995 Olaf 
Tryggvason, King of Norway, who had been baptised in the 
Scilly Isles, converted the whole of his countrymen by a 
coup dc main, a change which had little or no effect upon the 
sea-rovers in their hunger for the relics of the Christian 
Church. The Colonial Danes in Dublin had about the tenth 
century abandoned the pagan rites in favour of the Christian 

The Northmen and Vikings. 243 

religion, and this may have been the case in other districts 
where the Northmen had really settled themselves in prox- 
imity to the ancient churches. 1 

The Northmen also had an elaborate system of religion, 
which permitted of every householder or head of a family 
being his own priest as well as the absolute master of his 
own household. Their religion was somewhat similar to 
those of Greece and Rome. Odin was the all-powerful 
Father and God of War. There were under him yEsir or 
lesser gods ; and over all was Fate. There were also the 
customary spirits or wraiths, flitting about especially over 
grave-mounds, whose ministry seemed indispensable in pagan 
religions. When describing their temple (Hof) Dr Dasent 
says : 

" These buildings consisted of two parts, a nave and a shrine, 
which last is expressly compared to the choir or chancel of Christian 
churches. It was built round and arched. In it, in a half-circle, 
stood the images of the gods, and before them in the middle of 
the half-circle was the altar (stallt). On it lay the holy ring (baugr), 
on which all solemn oaths were sworn ; and there, too, was the 
blood-bowl (hlaut-bolli) in which the blood of the slaughtered 
victims was caught, and the blood-twig (hlauttvein)^ with which 
the worshippers were sprinkled to hallow them in the presence of 
the almighty gods. On the altar burned the holy fire, which was 
never suffered to be quenched. The worship of the gods consisted 
in offerings or sacrifices (blot-form) of all living things, sometimes 
even of men. These for the most part were criminals or slaves, 
and therefore, in the first case, these human sacrifices stood in the 
same position as our executions. 

" Near every Thing-field, a spot closely connected with the 
temples, stood the stone of sacrifice, on which the backs of those 

1 ' Orkney inga Saga,' Preface, xxi ; Stokes, 'Hist.,' Lee. xiii. 

244 /?/< in the Olden Time. 

victims were crushed and broken, and the holy pool in which 
another kind of human sacrifices were solemnly sunk." ' 

Captives taken in war, called " thralls," were also immolated. 
On momentous occasions, when fortune was supposed to have 
forsaken the king or people, a special human sacrifice was 
demanded, and for this purpose the people rose and burned 
King Olaf, offering him to Odin ; King Ann sacrificed 
seven sons to prolong his life, and Hakon Jarl gave up his 
seven-year-old son, Erling, to turn the luck in battle. 

" On Thorsncss there was a very holy place (htlgi-stad) ; and 
there still stands Thor's stone, on which they broke [i>., the 
backs of] those men whom they sacrificed, and near by is that 
dom-ring where they were sentenced to be sacrificed." J 

The rcintroduction of these hateful bloody ceremonies 
came like a blight upon the Celtic Church, and in many 
places the Christian altar became the centre of pagan satur- 
nalia, and the site of human sacrifices. But wicked as these 
Northmen were at first, they too had to succumb to the soft- 
ening influences of the Gospel truth, and, by the tenth century, 
to illustrate again how " Thou hast conquered, O Galilean ! " 

The Northmen in the Viking period frequently buried their 
dead with great solemnities, including the sacrifices of human 
beings and animals, all of which were burned to ashes on a 
pyre, before being deposited in an urn under a mound or in a 
simple grave. The ashes of those of ordinary rank were de- 
posited in a clay urn, and sometimes in the stone cooking- 
kettle belonging to the departed. Frequently their favourite 
weapons were laid beside their dust. 

4 Burnt Njal,' Preface, xxxvii, \c. 
* ' Viking Age,' vol. i. p. 369, quoting ' Landnama,' voL ii. c. 12. 

The Northmen and Vikings. 245 

It was customary also to bury the dead unburned under a 
mound. Warriors were entombed in boats or ships, in which 
their weapons, utensils, treasures, and even followers, were 
placed at their side, so that they might have pleasing asso- 
ciates in the unseen world ; then all were covered with a 
mound of earth and stones. 

Weirder still were the obsequies when a dead or dying 
hero, laid upon a pyre on his own deck loaded with weapons 
and his dead or dying mates was launched back into the 
deep, and the burning ship v/as cast adrift in all her bravery 
of full-set sail. 1 

There have been no discoveries in Bute which can clearly 
be associated with the occupation of the Northmen except 
the rune-marked cross already mentioned, 2 and consequently 
there is no necessity for fuller illustration of the manners, 
customs, and products of the Northern settlers. 

The daring enterprise of Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway 
(1093-1103), in the Sudreys, brought Bute into greater promi- 
nence on account of its strategic position in the Scottish realm. 
Godred Crowan (1070-1095) had seated himself on the 
thrones of Dublin, Man, and the Isles, in the reign of Malcolm 
Canmore, and the sovereignty of Norway was in abeyance. 
Magnus, however, in 1093, made a triumphal expedition, with 
an irresistible fleet, from Orkney to Anglesea, and by fire and 
sword again made good his claim to empire in the west. As 
Snorro relates, an arrangement was made with the King of 
Scots that all the isles of Scotland towards the setting of the 
sun, round which a ship might be steered, were to be ceded 
to Norway. Kintyre, almost an isle, was cut out by this cun- 

1 ' Viking Age,' vol. i. p. 333. 2 Chaps, vi. and xii. 

246 Bute in the Olden Time. 

ning provision. The Vikings, not in love with the stormy 
Mull of Kintyre, had been accustomed to drag their galleys 
over the neck of land at Tarbcrt to facilitate their bloody 
raids on the Clyde. Magnus adopted the same expedient, 
and seating himself at the helm, with the tiller in his hand, 
he steered his bark, which his crew dragged over the 
isthmus, and Kintyre was declared an isle of Norway. 1 No 
incident could better occupy a canvas. Snorro describes this 
mighty king going into battle, in which he fell in Ulster a few 
years later. His head was helmet-clad. His blood-red shield 
bore a lion in inlaid gold ; over his glittering armour a silken 
cloak of scarlet, blazoned with another lion, floated around 
his shoulders. Ry his side hung his trusty weapon, a terrible 
tool of death, by name Leggbitr, or leg-biter, whose ivory 
handle and interlaced golden hilt belied its ugly purpose. 
Withal as comely a hero as the azure eye of Gentile might 
look upon was whilom Lord of Bute. 

Godred Crowan was succeeded by his sons Lagman and 
Olaf. Olaf, surnamed T/u Bitting^ died in the same year as 
King David I. of Scotland, in 1 153, after a long reign, seem- 
ingly independent of Norway. King David is said to have 
seized Bute and the Clyde islands during Olaf's reign, but 
there is no evidence of it. although it is exactly what one 
would expect from a king who had returned from England 
imbued by feudal ideas, and accompanied by Norman swords- 
men ready for any enterprise demanding prowess. Though 
David was Prince of Cumbria, " he did not rule over the 
whole of the Cumbrian region," according to the ' Chartulary 

1 ' Antiq. Cdto-Scandicx,' p. 236. 

The Northmen and Vikings. 247 

of Glasgow,' and doubtless his anxiety would be to secure the 
debatable lands on the insular borders, which were " coigns 
of vantage " to his kingdom. 1 Whether as allies or subjects, 
the " Insulani," or Islesmen, formed a portion of the ill-fated 
Scots army, which, under David, entered England, and were 
defeated at the battle of The Standard in 1138. 

In this period arose into distinction and power the family 
of Somerled of the Innsi Gall, or the isles west of Argyle, the 
stem of the Lords of the Isles in after-days, who traced their 
line back into the mists of the heroic past of the Scoto-Celts. 
Their native right to possession and rule in the west cannot 
now be shown. Somerled, or Sumarlid, the masterful ruler 
of Argyle, however, had strengthened his position by mar- 
riage with Ragnhild, a daughter of Olaf Bitling, King of 
Man. Both Somerled and his family play a very important 
part in regard to the history of Bute, after the consummation 
of this alliance. 

Olaf the White, like David, was a patron of the Church, 
and had endowed a Cistercian monastery at Russin, over 
which an engaging monk called Wimund was set. The fas- 
cinating manners and looks of this Skyeman so captivated 
the Manxmen that they clamoured for his enthronement as 
bishop. That elevation scarce proved high enough for him. 
Throwing aside his disguise, or his veracity, he announced 
himself as Malcolm Mac Heth, Earl of Moray, and rightful 
King of Scots, then made espousals with a daughter of Somer- 
led. The alliance was fruitful of war, and with mailed hands 
they clutched at the crown. Somerled and he, with fleets and 

1 'Chart. Glas.,'p. 4. 

243 Bute in the Olden Time. 

soldiery, harried the Scottish lands. But at last David cap- 
tured Wimund, and cast him into prison. His cowl alone 
preserved his head. Ultimately he was brought back to his 
proper monastic cell. David died, leaving Somcrlcd to pur- 
sue his ruthless animosity towards the Scottish monarchy, 
under Malcolm, and his aggrandising policy against Godrcd 
of Man, whom Somerlcd drove into exile in Norway. Bute 
and the Sudrcys then fell into the hands of Somcrlcd (1156- 
58), who did not rest till, with a fleet of 160 galleys, he gaily 
sailed up the Clyde as far as Renfrew in 1164, in order to 
subdue Scotland. There, in defeat, his troublous life was 
taken, in all likelihood, by the followers of Fitzalan, the 
Steward of Scotland, who surprised the " band of roystcrers," 
as an old historian called them. At this juncture, as a grate- 
ful reward, Walter the Steward may have received a grant of 
Bute from King Malcolm IV. 

The death of Somerled occasioned the partition of his 
lordship among his sons, the securer part in the north falling 
to the eldest living son, Dugall (founder of the Macdugall 
house of Argyle and Lorn) ; Isla, Kintyrc, and probably half 
of Arran, to Reginald (founder of the house of Isla, through 
Donald his son) ; and Bute, with the other half of Arran, to 
Angus. Reginald and Angus soon quarrelled ; and Angus 
and his three sons were killed in 1210, thus permitting Dugall 
and Reginald to apportion their lands again, the Isles being 
held from the King of Norway, the mainland from the King 
of Scotland. 

In this way Bute was granted by Reginald to his son 
Roderick, Rory, or Ruari, without regard to the fact that 
Angus had left a granddaughter, Jane, who was to marry 

The Northmen and Vikings. 249 

Alexander (Fitzalan) son of the High Steward of Scotland, 
then in possession of Bute. 

Somerled + 1 164 = Ragnhild, dr. of Olaf Billing. 




, &c. 

of Isli 


I, &C. 

of Bu 

+ i 

te, &c. 


of Lewis. 

+ 1230. 

Rory 01 



+ 1 




ic = Alexander 

Dugald Alan. 
+ 1268. 

This triple disputed claim wrought much woe to the fair isle 
itself, the only part of which was free from bloodshed being 
the churches, whose sanctity all parties observed. In King 
William the Lion's reign Alan the Steward maintained his 
precarious possession of Bute, and very probably erected the 
circular part of the present castle of Rothesay for the garrison 
who defended it for the Scottish king. 

The pretensions of the Somerledian princes kept the 
Western Isles so unsettled that both the kings of Norway and 
of Scotland determined to obtain their definite and secure 
allegiance, while the King of Norway tried to supersede his 
vassals by a governor who would show respect to the Crown. 
Uspak, the grandson of Somerled, a man of years, was chosen 
to reduce the Sudreys to Norway, and in order to dignify his 
power was promoted to the status of a king, with the com- 
plimentary title of Uspak-Hacon, in 1230. His fleet was not 
long in reaching the west, and in scattering the forces of his 
warlike relatives. When the expedition rounded the Mull of 
Kintyre on the way to Bute, Uspak was in command of 
eighty galleys. 

250 Bute in the Olden Time. 

In Bute they found a castle (kast'dlutn) commanded by the 
Steward (stivarir). In all likelihood it was Rothcsay rather 
than the equally strong fortress of Castle Crec. 

" The Norwegians sat down before the fortress, and gave a hard 
assault Hut the Scots fought well, and threw down upon them 
boiling pitch and lead. Many of the Norwegians fell, many also 
were wounded. They therefore erected over themselves a covering 
of boards, and then hewed down the walls, for the stone was soft, 
and the rampart fell with them ; they cut it up from the foundations. 
That Master of Lights, called Skagi Skitradi, shot the Steward dead 
while he was leaping upon the ramparts. Three days did they fight 
with the garrison before they won it There took they much wealth 
and a Scots knight, who ransomed himself for three hundred merks 
of fine silver. Of the Norwegians there fell Sweinung the Swarthy, 
and in all about three hundred men, some of whom were l>clonging 
to the South Isles. They here met a great storm, and lost three 
ships with the men and all that was on board." ! 

Uspak-Hacon himself was mortally wounded by a stone, 
but survived till he reached Kintyrc, whence his body was 
borne to lona. 

Olave the Black was King of Man and the Isles till 1237, 
and was succeeded by Harold, Reginald, and Magnus, his 
sons, who respectively died in 1248, 1249, and 1265. Alex- 
ander II. of Scotland, bent on obtaining the Western Isles, 
sent envoys to the King of Norway, first asking their cession 
on the ground that they were wrongfully acquired by con- 
quest, and afterwards offering to purchase them. I laco the 
king, in reply, reminded Alexander that it was not from 
Scotland that King Magnus Barefoot had won the Sudreys, 
while his own lawful possession was guaranteed by a treaty 

1 Johnstonc'* ' Anecdotes of Olave the Black,' p. 37. 

The Northmen and Vikings. 251 

with the Scots king. Nor was he so needy of money as to 
sell his heritage. 1 Alexander, fired like his greater name- 
sake, vowed he would seize them and plant the Scots Lion 
on Haco's farthest isle, and indeed set out to accomplish 
his vain boast. The fever of war was soon turned into a 
mortal one, and he expired in the Sound of Kerrera in 1249, 
leaving his sword to a minor. The vexed question of the 
sovereignty of the Isles slumbered for fourteen years, till 
Alexander III. reached his majority, and determined to fulfil 
his father's vow. 

Magnus was now on the throne of Man : Eogan, or John, 
his father-in-law, had held Argyle ; but Dugald, the son of 
Ruari, the second cousin of John, was acknowledged sole 
King of the Sudreys, and a vassal of King Haco, and his 
father Ruari laid claim to Bute, which he, after the battle of 
Largs, obtained from King Haco. 

In 1262, while King Haco was enjoying the peaceful 
government of his own realm, and with his cultured Court 
was encouraging trade, art, and literature, news reached him 
that the Sudreys were again in a warlike ferment. His mind 
was harrowed with details of brutal outrages perpetrated by 
the mainland Scots on his vassals, whose helpless children 
were being used as playthings cast from Highland spear to 
spear, and whose churches blazed as beacons of war. It was 
rumoured that Alexander was secretly preparing to subdue 
the west, and the Scots Lion was about to spring on its 
unoffending prey. The exiled Butemen, with ruthless Ruari 
at their head now an accepted subject at Haco's Court, and 
a revengeful villain to boot and the other resident dis- 

1 ' Chronicon Mannioe, ' Munch, p. 20. 

252 Bute in the Oldtn Tintt. 

possessed Celtic chiefs, did not minimise the impending 
danger. Haco's council declared for open war, and military 
and marines were summoned to meet the king at Bergen 
early in the summer of 1263. 

In forge and shipbuilding-yard the noisiest preparation 
was heard all winter, as the hammers clinked together the 
" sea-borne wooden coursers of Gcstils," and riveted the grey- 
steel cuirasses and helmets of bronze. A man-of-war was 
specially built for the king. " It was constructed entirely 
of oak, and contained twenty-seven banks of oars. It was 
ornamented with heads and necks of dragons, beautifully 
overlaid with gold." The bulwarks hung with burnished 
shields. Although he had been six-and-forty years their 
king, Haco roused the national enthusiasm by announcing 
he would himself sit upon " the stern of his snorting steed 
adorned with ruddy gold." He boasted he knew the Western 
Isles and Kyles full well as any of his admirals. Fair and 
ruddy of countenance, he sat above his gallant men. 

The Abbot of Holm, four royal chaplains, the officers of 
state, scions of noble houses, and hostages from Western 
chiefs in all, two hundred men formed the gay retinue and 
crew of the royal galley. With the sunshine and breeze of a 
July day falling on the fleet of one hundred vessels, no wonder 
the poet described the scene as like the flight of " the sky- 
blue doves with their expanded wings," as the ill-fated arma- 
ment ploughed out of the haven of Hcrlovcr into the glory of 
the setting sun. 

A similar activity prevailed in Scotland, especially on the 
threatened seaboard, and every stronghold from the Mull of 
Galloway to Inverness was rcfortificd and stored with muni- 
tions. The Steward no doubt saw that the breaches on 

The Northmen and Vikings. 253 

Rothesay caused by Uspak-Hacon were securely repaired, and 
that the stores of pitch and lead and stones were available for 
the battlements, but he himself was with the army of the Scots 
now concentrating in Ayrshire. The castellan, being either a 
traitor or a coward, soon capitulated, as is afterwards related. 

Early in August, Magnus King of Man met Haco in Skye, 
and a little later Dugal and the clans of the Hebrides proved 
their allegiance at Kerrera. These local fleets swelled the 
Armada to 160 sail. Then Kintyre fell into the invader's 
hand ; but the king endeavoured to restrain the indiscriminate 
ravages of his greedy troops on its often harassed lands. 

From Kerrera " he also ordered five ships for Bute : these 
were under the command of Erlend Red, Andrew Nicolson, 
Simon Stutt, Ivar Ungi Eyfari, and Gutthorm, the Hebrid- 
ean, each in his own ship." This squadron he afterwards 
reinforced from Gigha. 

" King Haco, however, made Andrew Pott go before him south 
to Bute, with some small vessels, to join those he had already sent 
thither. News was soon received that they had won a fortress, the 
garrison of which had capitulated, and accepted terms of the Nor- 
wegians. There was with the Norwegians a sea-officer called Rudri. 
He considered Bute as his birthright ; and because he had not re- 
ceived the Island of the Scotch he committed many ravages, and 
killed many people ; and for that he was outlawed by the Scottish 
king. He came to King Haco and took the oaths to him ; and with 
two of his brothers became his subjects. As soon as the garrison, 
after having delivered up the stronghold, were gone away from the 
Norwegians, Rudri killed nine of them, because he thought that he 
owed them no goodwill. Afterwards King Haco reduced the island 
as is here said (by Sturla in the Raven-Ode) : 

' The wide-extended Bute was won from the forlorn wearers of rings 
By the renowned and invincible troops of the promoter of conquest ; 
They wielded the two-edged sword ; the foes of our Ruler dropt ; 
And the Raven from his field of slaughter winged his flight for the Hebrides.' 

254 /?/* in the Oldtn Time. 

" The Norwegians who had been in Bute went to Scotland, where 
they burned many houses and several towns. Rudri, proceeding a 
great way, did all the mischief that he could, as is here described : 

' The habitation! of men, the dwelling* of the wretched flamed. 
Fire, the devourer of halls, glowed in their granaries. 
The haplets thrower* of the dart fell near the Swan-frequented plain, 
While KNith from oar floating pines marched ft host of warrior*.' * 

A little later we find Allan, this bloodthirsty ruffian's son, in 
an expedition of sixty ships, under King Magnus, and, along 
with his brother Dugal, scouring Loch Long. Near Tar- 
bet they drew their light galleys over to Loch Lomond, 
burning, desolating, and murdering as they went still further 
inland. Allan was the marauder, and drove before him 
" many hundred head of cattle." The saga idolises him 

*' Our veterans fierce of soul, feeders of wolves. 
Hastened their wasteful course through the spacious districts of the 


Allan, the bravest of mortals at the fell interview of battle, 
Often wreaked his fatal vengeance on the expiring foe." 

In ' The Dean of Lismore's Book ' there is an old Gaelic 
poem, with the title " A houdir so ym bard roygh finlay " 
The author of this is Finlay, the red-haired bard. 1 It begins 

thus : 

" The one demon of the Gael is dead, 
A tale 'tis well to remember, 
Fierce ravager of church and cross, 
The bald-head, heavy, worthless boar." 

It proceeds to refer to Allan Mac Ruaric from the ocean far, 
of whom the poet says, " first of all from hell he came," then 
* ravaged I (lona) and Relig Oran." Dr M'Lauchlan was of 

1 Dr M'Lauchhn's edition, pp. no, 143. Edinburgh, i86a. 

The Northmen and Vikings. 255 

opinion that Allan Mac Ruari lived in the fifteenth century. 
The poem would equally well describe the ruthless work of 
Haco's ally. 

Early in October raged wild tempests of hail and rain, 
wrecking many a brave galley, so that the Northmen thought 
the troubled floods bewitched and the deep horridly en- 
chanted. The masses said by Haco's priests could not exor- 
cise them. They saved Scotland in her extremity. Mean- 
time fruitless negotiations as to an amicable settlement of the 
dispute proceeded between the two kings. Each would have 
or keep the isles Alexander insisting especially upon pos- 
sessing Bute, Arran, and the two Cumbraes. Haco then gaily 
sailed past the Cumbraes and found anchorage in Rothesay 
Bay, where he awaited the turn of events. The storm inter- 
fered with Haco's plan of an orderly assault on his foe. The 
Scots army was massed above the town of Largs, under Alex- 
ander of Dundonald, the Steward of Scotland. On Monday, 
October I, they had exciting skirmishes with the men of 
some of the ships which had been wrecked. Next day the 
Northmen stood in to Largs with reinforcements in small 
boats, and hand-to-hand bouts, desperate charges and rallies 
were made. Both sides boasted of their victory, but, after all, 
the battle was a small affair, in which few of the more distin- 
guished invaders fell. The tempest raged the while. The 
storm-stayed and battered squadron of Magnus, probably filled 
with spoil and with Highland neat, returned from Loch Long. 
They carried with them Ivar Holm, who had died of disease. 
On Wednesday the Northmen returned to land, and gave 
their fallen comrades Christian burial in a neighbouring 
church whether at Largs, Cumbrae, or Bute is not men- 
tioned. Still King Haco hung around two days, till on 

256 Bute in the Olden Time. 

Friday night, accompanied by Magnus and the Somcrlcd 
princes, he set sail and anchored in the bay of Lamlash. 
" The king then ordered the body of Ivar Holm to be carried 
to Bute, where it was interred." This honour to his brave 
captain, without doubt, would be paid at St Hlaan's. As the 
funeral-galleon returned to the retreating fleet, the Scots saw 
the last sail of the terrible Northmen in the waters of Bute. 
The allied vassals then sought their various homes confirmed 
in their honours. Rudri was invested in Bute, Margad in 
Arran, Dugal in Kintyrc. The attenuated fleet steered for 
Orkney, where unfavourable winds kept it. In Kirkwall 
Haco sickened, and on the i$th December died. His atten- 
tion to religion, his consideration to his brave followers, and 
his tenderness to the grieving attendants of his death-cham- 
ber, show that Haco was worthy of the love his subjects gave 
him. In spring of 1264 his body was conveyed to Bergen, 
and round his tomb a nation wept 

The Scots, overjoyed at their good fortune, attributed their 
victory and deliverance to a special Providence in the storm. 
They followed up their advantage by launching out expedi- 
tions against the Isles, which, from Caithness to Man, King 
Alexander speedily reduced to allegiance to his crown. 

Negotiations were begun anew between Magnus IV., the 
successor of Haco, and Alexander for the settlement of their 
dispute. These ultimately ended in the making of a treaty 
in 1266. Its terms were to this e fleet : The Scottish Isles, 
with the exception of Orkney and Shetland, were to be ceded 
to the King of Scots, without prejudice to, however, or inter- 
ference with, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction and metropolitan 
rights of the Norwegian Archbishop of Nidaros ; Alexander 
agreeing that in return the Crown of Scotland would pay to 

The Northmen and Vikings. 257 

the Crown of Norway, for all time, annually 100 merks ster- 
ling, not later than July i, in the cathedral of Kirkwall, 
also 4000 merks in four annual instalments ; it being also 
mutually agreed that the violator of the treaty should pay 
10,000 merks sterling, upon the order of the Apostolic See, 
their mutual referee. 

Thereafter the former Norwegian vassals made peace with 
Alexander, and the descendants of Somerled, including 
Allan, were granted lands in the north-west, far from their 
much-loved Bute. And in the Parliament of Scone, in 1284, 


" Alexander the king wes deid, 
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid," 

we find bloody Ruari's son Alanus films Roderici one of 
the Scots barons who solemnly bound themselves to acknow- 
ledge King Alexander's granddaughter the infant Maid of 
Norway as their sovereign, should the king die without 
another heir. 

Thus the Northmen ceased from troubling ; and no more 
of the Celtic maids, of the rich spiral rings of gold, and of the 
lovely webs for which the Sudreys were famous, were borne 
over the seas to whet the envy of the dreaded Vikings. Bute 
at least rested till " our auld enemy " appeared from England. 


VOL. I, R 

Bute in the Olden Time. 

! I 



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King of Man and the Isle 
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" The great of old, the meteors of an age 
The sceptred monarch ami the mitred *age ; 
What are they now ? The victims of decay 
The very worm hath left its noisome prey ! " 

IARGE dioceses were of earlier formation in 
England than in Alban, or as it long after- 
wards came to be called, Scotland. The unique 
system of the Celtic Church permitted a bishop 
to have his jurisdiction practically anywhere he was favoured 
with a charge, and in consequence his diocese might be 
movable, enlarging or decreasing, there being no fixed see. 
Generally speaking, however, the bishopric was the scene 
of the activity of the bishop, who stationed himself among 
a sept or tribe, in a clachan, or in a town-land. 

The head of an abbacy or monastery presbyter or bishop 
exercised authority in various dioceses, wherever the 
churches or houses originating from, dependent on, or 
affiliated to that monastery were situated. Thus Columba 
ruled in lona, Alban, and Erin ; the Abbot of Bangor in 
Kingarth ; the head of Kingarth probably in Dunblane and 
in Northumbria. 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 261 

All this incohesion and overlapping of influences was 
changed by the growth of the organised episcopal system 
with a metropolitan at its head, which was gradually effected 
by ecclesiastical movements from the south. The extension 
of the kingdom of Northumbria into the heart of Scotland, 
and the ultimate subjection of its Celtic Church to the 
English Church, were the foundation for the claim of the 
Archbishop of York to be considered Primate of the Church 
in North Britain. During the time of Bede there were four 
Saxon bishoprics in Northumbria viz., York, Lindisfarne, 
Hexham, and Whitherne and York was the archbishopric 


Pope Gregory at this time proposed that twelve suffragans 
in the north should acknowledge the archiepiscopal dignity 
of York. 

The Northumbrian Church almost disappeared during the 
distressing anarchy resulting from the Scandinavian invasions ; 
but again reviving, only to backslide again, it was in danger 
of serious decadence when King William and his resolute 
Norman warriors appeared in 1066. 

William made short work of the native bishops, and en- 
throned in the vacant sees Norman nominees of his own, 
who would homologate the regal will notably Lanfranc, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, an Italian ; and Thomas of 
Bayeux, Archbishop of York. The patriotic English nobles 
fled in great numbers into Scotland, and settled in the 
southern counties, where they were a menace to England. 
William came himself to smite the Scots and their English 
refugee allies with his rod of iron in 1072. Thomas con- 
sidered himself their Primate. 

The Isle of Man had never been incorporated in any of 

262 Bute in the Olden Time. 

the Anglo-Saxon dominions, but retained its Celtic character 
until it was subdued along with the Western Isles by the 
Northmen. Its Church organisation was of the simple type 
prevalent in Erin and Alban, out of which from the earliest 
times its ministry had been drawn St Patrick himself, ac- 
cording to tradition, having preached there. Among the 
missionaries credited with having exercised episcopal func- 
tions in Man are Amphibalus (360), Germanus (447), Conin- 
dicus, Romulus, Machutus (Machilla) (498), Conan (648), 
Content us, Hindus, Malchus, Ceode (712), Torkinus (889), 
Finghin (966). It is not in the least likely they ex- 
tended their labours beyond that isle, in times when the 
seas were scoured by ruthless sea-robbers who had not yet 
been mollified by Christian virtues. 

It is open to grave doubt what Worsaae, the distinguished 
Danish archaeologist, states in ' An Account of the Danes 
and Norwegians in England, Scotland, and Ireland,' * that 
a distinct bishopric of the Sudreyar was founded in 838. 
Until a regular government of the Western Isles, under the 
Jarl or petty king whom King Harald Harfagr (p. 239) ap- 
pointed after his conquests in the Sudreys, had been firmly 
established, it is most improbable that a Bishop of Sodor 
either existed or exercised authority over the Churches. A 
Bishop of Man may have existed. The times were scarcely 
ripe for the domination of the Roman Church over the whole 
Celtic Church in the Isles under Bishop Torkinus, who is 
mentioned as " Episcopus Sodorensis " in the year 889. 

The Danes of Dublin were not converted to Christianity 
till the tenth century, and until the twelfth century in Ireland 

1 P. 288. London, 1852. 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 263 

the dioceses were generally tribal. 1 In Norway till the be- 
ginning of the twelfth century bishops had no fixed dioceses. 
The bishopric was probably founded before Man was governed 
by its own independent kings, and no likelier epoch could 
be suggested than that when Olaf of Dublin, the rebel Danish 
King of Northumbria, was formally acknowledged by King 
Eadmund of England on condition that he became a baptised 
Christian. King Olafs reign ended in 943. His successors 
were somewhat pagan in their character, and their visits to 
the shrines were oftener for than with gold and silver. Con- 
sequently we find that ' The Chronicle of Man ' only places 
two bishops in the see before the settled times of King 
GodredCrowan (+ 1095) namely, Roolwer (Hrolfr), evidently 
a Northman from his name, and William. On the other 
hand, the Icelandic Annals do not recognise any Bishop of 
Man before Ragnald, who died in 1170, a fact explained by 
reference to the bull of Pope Anastasius IV. in 1 1 54, which 
transferred ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Sudreys from the 
Metropolitan See of York to that of Nidaros in Norway. 
These Annals further assert that after Ragnald's death a 
vacancy of forty years occurred, during which the Bishop 
of Nidaros did not consecrate a successor. Then Koli, the 
Nicolaus of the Chronicle, assumed the mitre. Meantime, 
however, a complication of a most peculiar character seems 
to have originated, by which either rival titular bishops 
were appointed, or the diocese was divided into Man and 

The Chapter of York, the Monastery of Savigny, and 
afterwards its daughter -house of Furness, and the king, 

1 Stokes, ' Ireland and the Celtic Church,' p. 275. 

264 Mute in the Oldtn Time. 

* an d people of Man, all claimed the right of appoint- 
ing the bishop. 

A pretty little intrusion scandal arose, no doubt, when two 
or three bishops found themselves with a single episcopal 
seat Wimund, John, and Nicholas being bishops at the 
same time as William and Gamaliel. Information regarding 
them is very scanty*, but from the places of their nativity, the 
houses out of which they arc elected, and their burial-places, 
we can conclude there were three parties the native Celtic 
party, the Norse party, and the English or York party all 
patronising the Manx diocese about the same time. 

Thomas, the energetic Primate of York, before his death in 
1114, had consecrated to the See of Man the Skye priest, 
Wimund, who, as we have seen, aspired to royal honours in 
Scotland, and falling into the hands of King David, was 
submitted to such indignities as to prevent any other 
impostor of his blood rising to claim the throne. 1 After 
his captivity in Roxburgh Castle, he was liberated and 
sought a retreat in Byland Abbey, in Yorkshire, where, with 
evident delight, he used to recount his adventures to his 
fellow-monks, jocosely boasting that " God alone had been 
able, through the faith of a simple bishop, to vanquish him," 
but had he been left his eyesight, his enemies would have 
had less to boast of.* William of Newbury, in Yorkshire 
(1136), probably a contemporary writer, gives a circum- 
stantial account of this unscrupulous character, and he is 
referred to by Matthew of Paris and by Fordun as Malcolm 
Mac Heth. 

1 Stubbs, 'Act* Pontiff Eboracens* (Twysdcn, p. 1217); Matt Paris. 
* ' GoL Ncubrig. Hist,' &c., voL i. William says Wimund was " obscurrissimo 
in Anglia loco natus." 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 265 

According to Matthew of Paris, the successor of Wimund 
was John, a monk from the Cistercian Monastery of Savigny. 
About 1130, Nicholas, a monk of the Abbey of Furness, was 
elected bishop, but his elevation does not seem to have been 
agreeable to the Primate of York, for in the ' Chronicle of 
Man,' Gamaliel, an Englishman, is mentioned as if the former 
had been set aside. Depositions at the point of the sword 
were not infrequent then, and arguments in favour of Ultra- 
montanism were answered with cold steel. 

About a year after the Nidrosian metropolitan see was 
erected (1152), whereby the jurisdiction of York was set 
aside, we find Ragnald or Reginald, a Norwegian, entering 
into the See of Man, and, probably supported by King 
Godred, who had just returned from Norway with confirmed 
regal authority, obtaining valuable concessions of the fruits 
of the benefices. Godred and his episcopal confessor had 
soon to reckon with Somerled of the Isles, who drove them 
both into exile. 

There was not lacking a religious spirit in that masterful 
Gael, however thin the veneer of his piety was, which afforded 
itself some satisfaction by having or seeing another Argyle- 
shire man, Christian, placed in the bishop's chair. His place 
of sepulture in Bangor, Ireland, probably indicates the 
seminary where Christian was educated, as well as the 
tendency in Somerled to have the Church governed after 
the time-honoured Celtic model. Somerled himself, however, 
soon fell, and under the changed regime a Manxman, named 
Michael, was appointed bishop ; but he is not mentioned by 
the Islandic writers, proving that English influences were at 
work, or that irregularities of consecration, which the Arch- 
bishop of Nidarb's complained of to the Pope about 1204, 

266 Rule in the Olden Time. 

then existed. The diocese at this time was called Episctyatus 
Suderticnsis, alias Mantnsis, and later, Insnlanns. 

Nicholas, another Argylcshirc man, seems to have been 
regularly consecrated, and is mentioned under the name of 
Koli. He was buried in Bangor in 1217. His immediate 
successors, Reginald and John, apparently owed their con- 
secration to York, and accordingly were not recognised by 
the chapter at Trondhcim. Reginald, a scion of the royal 
house of Man, was buried in Russin. John perished by fire, 
and was laid to rest at Jarrow-on-Tyne. 

In Bishop Simon, consecrated in 1226 by Peter, the Arch- 
bishop of Nidaros, was found an able ecclesiastic, who 
strengthened the episcopal position by building the Church 
of St German as the Cathedral of Man and the Isles, and 
appointing a chapter in connection with it. The synodal 
statutes promulgated by him are extant, but of little value. 
He died in 1247.* 

On Simon's death the chapter appointed the Archdeacon 
Lawrence in his room, but this step gave rise to popular 
dissatisfaction, and before Lawrence had received conse- 
cration, he was drowned in the voyage to Norway in 
1248. To him succeeded Richard, an Englishman, who 
was consecrated in Rome by Sorli, the Archbishop of 
Nidaros, in 1253, and ruled the diocese till his death in 

It was during Richard's tenancy of office that the fateful 
battle of Largs was fought, and subsequently, in 1266, 
" Magnus IV. of Norway, King of Man and the Islands," 
ceded the Sudrcys to Alexander III. of Scotland, "together 

1 ' Manx Soc Publications,' voL ix. 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 267 

with the right of patronage of the Bishopric of Man," the 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Nidaros being retained. 

In the Treasury of Durham Cathedral is preserved an 
Indulgence from Richard, Bishop of the Isles, to pilgrims 
visiting the Feretory of St Cuthbert and the Galilee (Misc. 
Chart, No. 814). It is dated at Durham, Nativity of St 
John the Baptist, the first year of his episcopate (1253). 
The seals of the bishop are attached. An oval seal, 2 inches 
by i%, shows the bishop in the attitude of benediction, hold- 
ing the crosier in his left hand, with title 

". . . DI EPI SODOR EN MANEN . & IN. . . ." 
[Ricardi Episcopi Sodorensis Mannensis et Insulani.] 

The counter-seal, a rounded oval, seven-eighths of an inch 
by six-eighths, bears a chimaera with the motto 


The Columban Church throughout Scotland did not at 
once, and universally, accept and practise the usages of the 
Roman Church, which were recognised by the Celtic Church 
in Northumbria immediately after the great disputation at 
Whitby. The country was too unsettled for any conjoint 
action which could have uprooted the stubborn regard of 
the northern races for their first Church, with its rites and 
doctrines. One result, however, of the defeat of the Celtic 
by the Augustinian ecclesiastics was the assumption, at a 
late date, by the Archbishop of York of jurisdiction over the 
bishops of Scottish Northumbria. 

The See of Galloway alone submitted itself to this new 
jurisdiction, and its bishop, down to the fourteenth century, 
was consecrated by the Archbishop of York. 

268 Bute in tlie Olden Time. 

The Scots Church was monastic rather than episcopal in 
its form of government until the twelfth century, King 
David finding only three bishoprics in Scotland on his 
accession to the throne namely, Dunkcld, St Andrews, and 

In the Western Islands, many of them remote from the 
centres of Roman and English influences, there was a greater 
likelihood that the characteristics of the early Church would 
be long retained. But from the eighth century till the 
twelfth, two great influences which were brought to bear 
upon the Church in Bute must be noted, the one external 
and the other internal, which could not fail to make a 
deep impression on its life and work. The one was for a 
time subversive and destructive, the other partly destruc- 
tive, but on the whole reformative. 

The one was the deformation by the Northmen, the other 
was the transformation by the Church of Rome an influence 
at work from within the Church, changing still more the 
character of its organisation, so that, thereby weakened, it 
had to succumb to the more powerful Church of the south. 
When the abbots had to flee the monasteries, carrying with 
them the shrines of their patrons, the abbey lands were seized 
and retained by laymen. The peculiar law by which the 
succession of abbots in the early Church fell into the hands 
of the heir of the founder of the Church, or of the tribe who 
had granted the land, led to the usurpation of the possessions 
of the Church by lay-chieftains. 

The lay-abbot did not take orders, but employed a regular 
ecclesiastic to perform his functions. The church frequently 
vanished except in the title borne by the lay appropriator. 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 269 

While these changes were developing, the Roman Church 
was extending its influence more and more throughout 
Scotland by subordinating the Church under a hierarchy 
of secular clergy, as those who do not live under monastic 
rule are at present. Meantime the Columban monks were 
becoming more and more attached to Roman usages. 
Sometimes they joined together to form a small society, 
like that on St Serfs Island, which was suppressed by 
King David I., by being placed under the canonical rule 
of St Regulus. Ultimately all the " Culdee " communities 
were suppressed. 

By the changes of dynasty and the forfeiture of the lands 
of the defeated, the Church lands also were sometimes left 
without owners. These were granted to the favourites of the 
king. However, in 1204, Alan, the son of Walter, was some- 
how able to dispose of the Abbacy of Kingarth, with all 
its lands and dependent chapels, to the Cluniac Monastery 
of Paisley. In this gift is to be noticed the two great 
movements operating in the Scottish Church from with- 
out and from within viz., the Church lands falling into 
the hands of lay -abbots who retained their patronage, and 
the gradual disintegration of the Columban Church, with 
its subsequent amalgamation with the monastic Church of 

The Cluniac order of monks settled in Paisley and St 
Blane's were a reformed order of the Benedictines, founded in 
912 at Cluny, in Burgundy, by Berno, Abbot of Gigny. They 
were strictly monastic, having no bishop within their walls, 
wherein they laboured in silence, saying the Psalter at work, 
and attending two masses daily. They were a strict and 

270 Bute in the Olden Time. 

studious order. It was not until the monasteries became 
corrupt that the satirist had cause for declaring that 

" The Friars or Fail drank berry-brown ale. 

The best that ever was tasted ; 
The Monks of Melrose made gude kail, 
On Fridays, when they fasted." 

The Cluniacs were under the jurisdiction of an abbot and 
prior, and the mother-house of Wenlock in Shropshire, out of 
which the priory of Paisley was supplied, owned the jurisdic- 
tion of the Abbot of Cluny. Their monastic habit was a 
black frock over a white, sleeved tunic, and a black cowl to 
cover the head. What form the monastic establishment at 
Kingarth now took does not appear, and when it developed 
into one of the simple parish churches, which were for the 
first time recognised in David's reign, is not known. 

During the same century Reginald, son of Somerled, King 
of the Isles, Lord of Argyle and Kintyre, founded at Saddell 
a Cistercian monastery of reformed Benedictines, whose 
mother -house was Citeaux, founded in 1098. They had 
eleven abbeys in Scotland (including Deer, Dundrcnnan, 
Glenluce, Melrose, Sweetheart). These monasteries were 
placed in retired spots, and were dedicated to the Virgin 
Mary. To Saddell Reginald gave the twenty-merk lands of 
Ccsken. 1 

Hut simultaneously with this foreign movement there was 
a reaction of native origin which had a considerable effect in 
retaining some of the characteristics of the early Church. 
Some of the Scottish chiefs who were not educated in Eng- 
land, or still retained a patriotic regard for national " use and 

1 ' Reg. Mag. Sig.,' lit xiv., No. 408 ; Spottiswood's ' Religious House*.' 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 271 

wont," resented the revolutionary measures affecting the 
Church. Chief among these was Malise, the Earl of Strath- 
erne the only county palatine in Scotland. He was of the 
ancient Scottish blood, and, becoming leader of a Celtic 
party, began to resist the innovations of the English and 
Norman colonists, whom David I. patronised. His family 
has the sole honour of having endowed a bishopric on an 
old Columban foundation viz., that of Dunblane, whose 
church dates back to the seventh century, and seems to 
have been an offshoot from Kingarth. 1 

All the efforts of this Celtic party, however, could not re- 
suscitate the Celtic Church, whose last remnant in the Cul- 
dees eventually disappears before the irresistible forces of the 
powerful orders of the South. When King David gave Loch- 
leven to the Augustine monks, in the Culdee library were 
found a few books, sixteen in number, three of which were 
the Pastoral, the Gradual, and the Missal in use in the 
Celtic Church. Before David died he saw the Irish Church 
accept the full Roman service ; and in Scotland the Liturgy 
used in Salisbury Cathedral, which was called Osmund's 
' Ordinal,' or ' The Sarum Service,' was being used in Glas- 
gow Cathedral by Herbert, 1 1^7-6^? Although this Celtic 
movement was not able to counteract the Anglicanisation of 
the Church, it had one good result in causing the resuscita- 
tion of dedications to old Celtic saints, whose names had 
been omitted from the Calendars since the time Queen Mar- 
garet tried to reform " tJte barbarous rite " of the Columban 
Church. The restoration of the anniversary festivals of these 

1 ' Liber Insule Missarum,' Pref. iii. ; Skene, vol. ii. p. 402. 

2 'Aberd. Brev.,' Laing's Pref. 

272 Bute in the Olden Time. 

saints found greater favour when the wars of succession 
began. In that period it was not uncommon to satisfy both 
clerical parties by a double dedication, where a famous 
Roman saint was associated with a local one, with claims 
to popular regard. In the ' Register of the Priory of St 
Andrews,' p. 346, instances of this kind arc given, in the 
association of St Lawrence with St Coman at Rossieclerah, 
and of St Stephen with St Moanus at Portmoak. 1 

We have another illustration of no little interest to us in 
the double dedication of Rothesay Church to St Mary and 
to St Brioc, which perhaps helps us to limit the period within 
which this church was erected. 

As has been already pointed out, the churches and Church 
lands in Bute had, in 1204, been attached to the Monastery 
of Paisley by Alan, son of Walter the Steward. As no 
Antitjna Taxatio, or ecclesiastical rent-roll of the Isles, is 
now extant, it cannot be stated what the fruits of the bene- 
fices were, or to whom they were paid. Paisley docs not 
seem to have drawn the rents at any time. 1 

While Scottish influences prevailed, five Scots priests in 
succession received the episcopal dignity, and ruled over 
the churches of Sodor and Man. 

A native of Galloway, by name Mark, after the customary 
disputings, in 1275 occupied the bishop's chair, and proved 
himself not only to be a practical man but a patriotic Scot. 
He rose to be Lord Chancellor of Scotland, suffered much 
for his loyalty to the Scottish Crown, and was taken prisoner 
to London by Edward I. 8 He died blind in 1299, after being 

1 a. Forbes't 'Cdeodan,' Prcf. xxil 

* ' Reg. de Putlet,' pp. 67, 68. * Gordon's ' Ion*.' p. 99. 

The Bishops of So dor and Man. 273 

for twenty-four years in office, and was buried in St German's. 
The synodal statutes he promulgated are also preserved, and 
one of them is thoughtfully practical in its injunction upon 
married persons not to sleep with their children lest they 
should smother them. His seal is also preserved in a docu- 
ment in the Chapter-house, Westminster. Under a Gothic 
niche is the figure of a bishop vested, and in the act of 
benediction. The inscription runs : " S. Marci Dei Gratia 
Sodoren Episcopi." 

The Scots bishops apparently selected St Brioc's Church, 
Rothesay, for their cathedral ; St Mary's Chapel, which was 
probably rebuilt in this epoch, served as their place of 

< The Chronicle of Man ' states that after Mark, " Alan, a 
native of Galloway, ruled the Sodorian church honourably, 
died on the I5th of February 1320, and is buried in the 
church of the blessed Mary of Rothersay in Buth." This 
Allan or Onachus was consecrated by lorund at Drontheim. 
The Chronicle further informs us : " To whom succeeded 
Gilbert Mac Lelan, a native of Galloway. He was the 
bishop of Sodor for two years and a half, and is buried 
in the said church of Both." 

Gilbert, like his predecessors, was a man of figures, and 
appears in 1326 auditing the books of the constable of Tar- 
bart Castle. He seems to have been a favourite of King 
Robert Bruce, and in constant attendance upon him in differ- 
ent parts in Scotland, as we gather from the Exchequer 
Rolls. 1 The same year his lordship pays a tax in barley 
to the king, and saw that his clergy did the same, for 

1 Vol. i, 
VOL. I. S 

274 Bute in the Olden Time. 

after his death in 1327 the ^ penny of Man is not being 

In the accounts for 1329 an entry stands, from which we 
can infer that Gilbert was a staunch supporter of the Bruce's 
throne: 1 " Et Cudbcrto, frater domini Gilbert!, quondam 
Episcopi in pattern cxpcnsarum factarum circa sepulturam 
cjusdcm, iiii lib." To Cuthbert, brother of Lord Gilbert, 
formerly bishop, towards the expenses incurred in his burial, 
4. It is a pity that this monument, partly erected by 
King Robert to his faithful bishop, is no longer distin- 

The next bishop was the Chancellor of Scotland under 
Robert the Bruce, Bernard de Linton, who had been appointed 
Abbot of Aberbrothoc in 1211, an office he held till the 
spring of 1 328, when he was elected to Sodor. Bernard was 
a patriotic Scot, an esteemed adviser of his sovereign, and an 
able administrator. 2 

In the 'Book of St Thomas of Aberbrothoc' is found a 
deed of gift assigning to Bernard a pension out of the bene- 
fice, and in laudatory terms declaring how he had "lived 
well, laudably, and honestly," prudently and circumspectly 
ruled the house, and had expended the fees of his chancellor- 
ship in repairing and maintaining the abbey.' 

In 1328 King Robert grants him ,100 "for his expenses 
about the business of his election," probably incurred in going, 
like his predecessors, to Trondheim for consecration. The 
following year he also receives a small gift of 6, 133. 4d. 
So well did the Bruce love his bishops. 

1 Exchequer Rolls, vol. L p. 152. * Ibid., pp. 59, 114. 

3 ' Liber S. Thome,' &c, n>L i., No. 358. Bann. Club. 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 275 

Bishop Bernard, after four years' service, was laid to rest in 
Kilwinning. His successor, Thomas, another Scot, according 
to the Chronicle was eighteen years bishop, died on the 2oth 
September 1348, and was buried in Scone. But he could only 
have been fifteen years in the office, since we find his succes- 
sor, William Russell, in the summer of 1349, returning from 
Avignon, where he had been consecrated bishop by Bernard, 
Bishop of Ostia. Pope Clement VI., in confirming this appoint- 
ment, directed letters, among others, " to his beloved son, the 
noble man, Robert, called Stuvard, the Senescall of Scotland, 
Lord of the Isle of Bute, in the Diocese of Sodor." l William 
was a Manxman, and had been Abbot of Russin for eighteen 
years. After an episcopate of twenty-six years he died, and 
was buried in Furness. 

The same year, 1374, the clergy of Man elect another 
native to the vacant see John Donkan. He had previously 
been the Archdeacon of Down, and held the responsible posi- 
tion of papal Nuncio and collector of the papal revenues. 2 
His commercial methods had not given satisfaction to his 
superiors, and the Chronicle notes how he was cast into prison 
at Boulogne until he was redeemed for 500 merks. Simon 
de Langham, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury, invested 
him with episcopal authority in 1374 at Avignon. Pope 
Gregory XI. confirmed the appointment, and wrote, among 
others, to King Robert III., and to the Metropolitan of 
Nidaros, informing them of his choice. He died in 1380. 
The ' Chronicle of Man ' breaks off without acquainting us 
of his end. 

1 Munch, 'The Chronicle of Man,' p. 166 ; ' Diplomatorium Norwegicum,' vol. 
vii. pp. 218-221. 

2 Ibid., p.>82, 

276 Bute in the Olden Time. 

In 1380 the Bishop of Man voluntarily separated his 
diocese from the other Sudrcys, but subsequent bishops have 
assumed the ancient title of Sodor and Man. In the line 
of episcopal succession came Bishops Robert Waldby, John, 
Michael, Angus, John (1442), Angus, Robert (1492), John, 
George Hepburn, John (Roderike Maccalistcr), Fcrquhard 
Maclaghlan, Roderick Maclean, Alexander Gordon, John 
Campbell, John Carsewell (Andrew Knox, Protestant prelate). 

In 1542 the diocese of Man was legally annexed to York 
by Act of Parliament (33 Henry VIII., cap. 3i> The Scot- 
tish Church, however, continued the succession of bishops 
until the abolition of Episcopacy at the Revolution, and in 
Rothesay churchyard is to be seen the tombstone of Robert 
Wallace, who died in 1675, the inscription on it beginning: 
" Hie Jacet Reverendus Robertus Wallas, Episcopus Sodo- 
rcnsis," &c. 

The following is a translation of the part of the Latin 
' Chronicle of Man ' relating to its bishops : ! 

"These were the bishops who filled the episcopal see of Man 
from the time of Godred Crouan and some time before. 

"The first existing before Godred Crouan began to reign was 
Bishop Roolwer, who lies in the Church of Saint Machutus. Many 
bishops indeed existed from the time of the blessed Patrick, who it 
is said first preached to the Manxmen ; but from that period it 
suffices to begin a retrospect of the bishops. It is sufficient, we 
say, because who or what bishops existed formerly we know not, 
since we neither find written materials nor have we learned from 
the accurate accounts of the Fathers. 

" After Roolwer existed Bishop William. 

" After William, in the days of Godred Crouan, Hamond the son 
of lole, of Manx extraction, undertook the episcopal office. 

1 Edited by P. A. Munch. Pp. 28-31. Christiana, i86a 

The Bishops of S odor and Man. 277 

"To him succeeded in the diocese Gamaliel, an Englishman, 
who is interred at Peterborough in England. 

"After this bishop, Ragnald, a Norwegian, undertook the 
ecclesiastical government. To him the Thirds of the churches of 
Man were first conceded by the clergy, so that thereafter they might 
be freed from episcopal exactions. 

"Cristin [Christian], an Argyle man, succeeded him in the 
bishopric, and is interred in the monastery of Bangor. 

"After him Michael, a Manxman, revered in life as a monk 
honourable and gentle in act and inclination, undertook the sacred 
office ; he, after ending his life in a ripe old age, was honourably 
buried at Fountains [Abbey.] 

"Nicolaus, an Argyle man, succeeded him. He lies in the 
monastery of Bangor. 

"After him Reginald, a noble man, of royal extraction, was con- 
secrated bishop, and with vigour ruled the church. He was daily 
exhausted by weakness, although he was not always lacking in spirit. 
In the act of praise to God, in a good confession, he breathed his 
last, and is buried in the Abbey of Saint Mary of Russin. 

" His successor in the bishopric was John the son of Hefare 
[John M'lvar], who, through some miserable accident, and the 
carelessness of his servants, met his death by fire. He lies at 
Jerewos [Jarrow?] in England. 

" After him Simon, an Argyle man, highly discreet, and erudite in 
Scripture, ruled the church of Sodor. He departed life in a good 
old age at St Michael's Church, and is interred in the Church of 
Saint German, which he had begun to build. After his demise the 
see was vacant for nearly six years. 

" After Simon, truly the venerable Bishop of Sodor, Richard, an 
Englishman, who had been consecrated at Rome by the Archbishop 
of Nidaros, ruled the church for twenty-three years. While he was 
coming from a General Council, A.D. 1274, he died at Langalyver 
in Copland, and is buried in St Mary's Monastery at Furness. 

" After him Mark, a Gallovidian, ruled the church of Sodor for 
twenty-four years most excellently. He was exiled by the Manxmen, 
for which reason the island was under interdict for three years. 
Afterwards, however, having been recalled, he returned, and for the 

278 Bute in the Olden Time. 

relaxation of the aforesaid sentence they [the people] gave a penny 
from every smoking hearth, which donation through ancient practice 
is paid to each successive prelate on returning from the visitation of 
the Isles. 

"This Mark, liberal and urbane, died blind in a good old age, 
and is buried in the Church of Saint German in the Isle of Holm. 

"After him Alan, a Gallovidian, ruled the church of Sodor 
honourably. He died on the 1 5th day of the month of February, 
A.D. 1320, and is interred in the church of the blessed Mary of 
Rothersay in Buth [Bute]. 

" Gillebert Mac 1 .clan, a Gallovidian, succeeded him. He was 
Bishop of Sodor for two years and a half, and is buried in the afore- 
said church of Both [Bute]. 

"Afterwards succeeded Bernard, a Scotsman, and is buried in 
the monastery of Kilwynyn in Scotland. He lived in the diocese 
four years. 

"To him succeeded Thomas, a Scotsman. He lived in the 
diocese eighteen years, and is buried in Scone in Scotland. He 
died, however, on the aoth day of September, A.D. 1348. He was 
the first to exact twenty soldos from the churches of Man under the 
name of charges, as well as the tithes from all the foreigners engaged 
in fishing, from the rectors of the island, taxed for first-fruits. 

"In A.I). 1348, William Russell, by nation a Manxman, Abbot of 
St Mary's Monastery at Russin, was elected by the clergy of the 
Isle of Man to the pastorate of the church of Sodor in the Cathedral 
Church of Saint German in Man in Holm, and was consecrated at 
Avignon by Pope Clement VI., and was the first bishop-elect of the 
church of Sodor who was consecrated and confirmed by the Apostolic 
See, for all his predecessors had been customarily confirmed and 
consecrated by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Nidaros. He also 
died on the 2ist day of the month of April 1374, at Ramsheved 
[Ramsey (?)], and is buried in the monastery of Saint Mary, at 
Furness. Indeed he was Ablxjt of Russin eighteen years, and lived 
twenty-six as Bishop of Sodor. 

"On the day before the month of June, a Thursday, and the 
festival of Corpus Christi, A.D. 1374, John Donkan, a Manxman, 
was elected to the church and bishopric of Sodor by the clergy ; and 

The Bishops of Sodor and Man. 279 

on the following festival of St Leonard was confirmed at Avignon by 
Pope Gregory XI., while on the following festival of St Catharine 
at the Friars Preachers [monastery there] was, along with other eight 
bishops, solemnly consecrated by the Cardinal of Praeneste, formerly 
Archbishop of Canterbury. On the festival of the Conversion of 
St Paul, A.D. 1376, and in the third year of his consecration, he was 
solemnly installed in his own cathedral church aforesaid, and on 
that day, at his first pontifical mass, was presented with the hand- 
somest offerings, for meantime he had been taken at Boulogne in 
Picardy, cast into prison and into shackles, but afterwards redeemed 
for 500 merks. . . ." 



A DETAILED account of the Cumbraes, Great and Little, does not 
lie within the scope of this work, although through their very close 
proximity to Bute they were associated with the latter isle in nearly 
all events of historical importance. As has already been alluded to 
(p. 31), the name Cumbrae reveals a connection with the Brythonic 
family of Cumbri, fellow-countrymen, who were in prehistoric times 
located in Strathclyde. 

The Rev. W.> Lytteil, in a very interesting ' Guide-Book to the 
Cumbraes,' 1 says : " It may here, however, be stated that the name 
of Cumbrae, or 'The Cimbraes' [Kim'raes], has evidently its true 
origin in the Kimmora or Keil-Maura, a compound name which 
signifies the Church of Maura." I prefer the reference to the 

There remain but few memorials of the important part these isles 
played in the heroic past. There are a few prehistoric graves, the 
remains of forts and of a vitrified edifice, the traces of early ecclesi- 
astical buildings, and the fragments of several antique crosses and 
grave-slabs. Attenuated traditions regarding the Norse invasion of 
Haco flit around the supposed graves of the heroes of Largs, at 

1 Carlisle, 1886, p. 8. 

282 Appendix. 


/M-fraijf is situated on the west side of the (ircal Cutnbrac 
(Lytteil, p. 25). 

" Kenitara Brougk, or Tht Lornc" (Lyttcil, pp. 5, 16, 33, 121), 
now removed, was situated on the most southerly point of the Great 

DouHtraig, situated " Inrhind the ferry house opposite to the west 
end of Largs, has been a vitrified structure." See 'Transactions of 
the Glasgow Archaeological Society,' Part I., pp. 236-238 (Glasgow, 
1 868), for article " On the Remains of a Vitrified Fort, or site, in the 
Island of Cumbrae, &c.," by \Vm. Keddie, Esq. 

On Little Cumbrae: Millar-fort (Lytteil, p. 131), irregular en- 
closure. Tfu Castle (Lytteil, p. 132). 


The Leaddy, near Toumantenn. 
Gouklan standing stone, 7 feet high (Lytteil, p. 106). 
Braighagh (removed). 

The Bel Stane on Little Cumbrae, with cup cut on face (Lytteil, 
p. 128). 


Tumulus at Portry (" Nouyorrach," Lytteil, pp. 22, 23), opened 
24th September 1869, covered four cists formed of red sandstone 
slabs. No. i contained small urn and burned bones ; No. 2 con- 
tained large urn and burned bones; No. 3 contained unburned 
bones ; No. 4 contained small piece of urn. See ' Transactions of 
the (ilasgow Archaeological Society,' vol. ii., pan ii., pp. 1 14-120, for 
paper read by John MacGown, Esq., M.I)., Millport, on "Ancient 
Sepulture in Cumbrae." 

Fintry Bay, tumulus, opened August 1873, covered three cists, 
with no urns nor fragments of bones (//'/</., p. 1 1 5). 

Toumantenn, two cairns, opened izth September 1878. No. i 
contained cist, urn, burned bones ; No. 2 contained cist and urn, 
also five large urns, flint arrowhead, burned bones. This latter 
grave is locally supposed to contain the remains of Haco's men. 

Santa / >v, two cists, rifled 

Afagga-tlagh or Sheannawally, cairns, opened 1813 (Lytteil, 

The Isles of Cumbrae. 283 

p. 131) Contained two swords, hauberk of scale armour, iron 
helm ; below these a cist, with urn, dust, and six teeth. 

The Garrison, cairns with cists, removed before 1807 (Lytteil, 

P- 57). 

Trahoun, stone coffin and cross (Lytteil, pp. 41, 77). 


Kilranny, near Ringan's Port, supposed site of church dedicated 
to St Ninian. 

Kirktoun, site of church dedicated to St Columba. 

Santa Vey, on Little Cumbrae, a chapel said to be dedicated to 
St Bey, has been a rectangular building 42 feet long by 20 feet 
broad externally. The foundations alone are visible. (Lytteil, 
p. 124.) Near this building are the foundations of a small circular 
building, enclosing a space 6 feet in diameter. The wall is 3 feet 
9 inches thick. 


1. Trahoun Cross, found on Trahoun in 1823, was apparently 
a high cross (Lytteil, pp. 41, 74). The head of the cross, com- 
posed of white sandstone, is now appreciatively preserved within 
the Cathedral Church in Millport. There are some indications of 
its surface having been carved with a checkered or interlaced 
pattern. It measures 17^ inches long and 19 inches broad. 

2. In the Cathedral is also preserved a very prettily executed 
memorial-stone or cross, with a circular head n inches diameter, 
shaft 14 inches long, 8^ broad, and 3^2 thick (Lytteil, p. 81). 
Both sides are incised. The obverse of the circular head contains 
a star (or cross) of six points ; the reverse a star (or cross) of four 
points. On the obverse of the shaft a cross of an elaborate type 
is incised, while on the opposite side circles have been cut. 

3. In the same place a small oval water-worn stone, composed 
of trap, with a cross potent incised on its face, is preserved. It 
measures about 15 inches by 12 inches diameter (Lytteil, p. 82). 

4. On a narrow slab of white sandstone, 18 inches long, 7^ 
broad, and 3 ^ thick also preserved here are traces of interlaced 
or checkered ornamentation. 

At Millburn House, the residence of the Rev. A. Walker, are 

a ; Appctt, 

carefully preserved several memorial-stones formerly removed from 
the ancient gutejaid of Columba's Church, Cumbrae (Lyttcil. 
P. 84). 

5. On the face of a white sandstone, 20 inches in height and 
13 inches broad, within a circular head 9 inches by 8 "4, a Greek 
cross with four oval holes Ixrtwecn the arms is cut 

6. The circular head of a memorial-stone 1 1 % inches high and 
9?4 broad, bears in relief on the white sandstone a well-executed 
1 ' 

7. A pear-shaped whinstonc, 1 7 inches high, and 1 1 broad over 
the top, has a Greek cross incised upon it. 

8. What seems to have been the shaft of a cross or a support 
of a table, 30 inches high, 13 inches broad, and 8 inches thick, is 
cut on one face with a parallel bar pattern and a row of beads. 

9. On a freestone slab, 3 feet 6 inches long and 14)^ inches 
broad, is engraved a sword, or St James's cross, resting upon an 
intertwined ornament. 

10. On a similar slab, 2 feet 9 inches long and n inches broad, 
is engraved a sword resting on a pentagonal ornament. 


Confirmatio de Fultonc et Donatio Efdesitt et Capellantm de BoU 
Cartam A/ani Filii W'altcri Fundatoris* 

Sciant presentcs et futuri, quod ego Alanus Filius Walteri, dapifcr 
Regis Scotiae, concedo et hac mea carta confirmo domui mci dc 
I'asselet et monachis ibidem Deo scrvientibus ct in perpetuum 
servituris, donationcm illam quam Hcnricus de Sancto Martino eis 
fecit per concilium meum ct voluntatcm, ct consensu Gilberti filii 
sui ct heredis, de tola terra suae inter Kert et Grif, in liberam et 
pcrpctuam elemosinam eis semper habenda, ita plene et integre, 
sicut idem Hcnricus dictam terrain plcnius et integrius tenuit vel 

1 ' Registrant Monasterii de Pauelet,' p. 15. Kdin.. 1832. Malt. Club. 

Western Isles of Scotland, called Hy brides. 285 

tenere debuit ex dono Walter! filii Alani patris mei. Preterea ego 
ipse pro anima regis David et pro anima regis Macolmi et pro 
anima patris mei Walteri et matris mei Eschene, et pro salute 
domini nostri Wilelmi regis Scotiae et heredum suorum, et pro 
salute meiipsius et heredum meorum, dono, concedo et hac mea 
carta confirmo eidem domui de Passelet, et monachis ibidem Deo 
servientibus, ecclesiam de Kengaif in insula de Bote, cum omnibus 
capellis et tota parochia ejusdem insulae, et cum tota terra quam 
Sanctus Blanissicum dicitur [Sanctus Blanus per sicum, ut dicitur ?] 
olim cinxit a mare usque ad mare, per metas certas et apparentes, 
ita libere et quiete sicut aliqua ecclesia in toto regno Scotia? tenetur 
liberius et quietius. Hiis testibus, Waltero de Costentin, Nigello 
fratre ejusdem, Roberto filio Fulberti, Petro fratre ejusdem, Galfrido 
de Costentin, Roberto Croc, Rolando de Mernis, Rogero de Nes, 
Macolmo Lockart, et multis aliis. 

THE YEAR 1594-' 'Miscellanea Scotica,' vol. ii. p. 115. 
Glasgow, 1818. 

ARRAN. Be north or northeist fra this ile (viz., Ailsa) twenty- 
four myles of sea, lies Arran, ane grate ile, full of grate montains and 
forrests, good for hunting, with pairt of woods, extending in lengthe 
from the Kyle of Arran to Castle Dounan, southwart to twenty-four 
myles, and from the Kyle of Drumdouin to the ness of Kilbride, 
sixteen myles of breadthe, inhabit onlie at the sea coasts. Herein 
are thre castils : ane callit Braizay, pertening to the Earle of Arran ; 
ane uther auld house callit the castil at the heid of Lochrenasay, 
pertyning likeways to the said Earle ; and the third callit castle 
Dounan, pertaining to ane of the Stuarts of Butes blood, callit Mr 
James ; he and his bluid are the best men in that countrey. In 
Arran is a loche callit Lochrenasay, with three or four small waters ; 

286 Apfxndix. 

two paroch kirks ; the ane callit Kilbridc, the uthcr call it Kylcmurc. 
Foment this ile byes the coste of Kyle, in the cast and sou t heist, be 
ten or twelve myles of sea in the north, Bute ; be eight mylcs of 
MA in the west, Skibncss, pertaining to the Earlc of Argylc. Uponc the shore of this iylc lyes Klada, ane 
little iyle full of cunnigs, with ane uthcr little ilc callit the ylc of 
Molft. quhcrin there was foundit by Johne, Lord of the lies, ane 
monastry of friars, which is dccayit. 

BUITT. The yle of Buitt lyes, as we have said before, eight myles 
of sea to the northeist of Arran, ane mayne iylc, eight mylc langc 
from the north to southe, and four mylc braid fra the west to the 
cist, very fcrtyle ground, namelic for aitts, with twa strengthes ; the 
ane is the round castle of Buitt, callit Rosay of the auld, and Bor- 
rowstonc about it callit Buitt. Before the town and castle is ane 
bay of sea, quhilk is a gude heavin for ships to ly upon ankers. 
That uther castle is callit the castle of Kames, quhilk Kames in 
Erishe is, alsmciklc as to say, in English the hay castle. In this ile 
thcr is twa paroche kirks, that ane southe callit the Kirk of Bride, 
the uther northe in the Borrowstone of Buitt, with twa chappells, 
ane of them above the town of Buitt, the uther under the forsaid 
castle of Kames. On the north and northwest of this ile, be half 
mylc of sea, lyes the coast of Ergyle ; on the cast sydc of it the coast 
of Cuninghame, lie six myle of sea. 

INCHE MEKNOCHE. On the west southwest of it lyes ane little 
iyle callit Inch Mcrnockc, twa mylc fra sea, low mayne ground, weill 
inhabit and manurit, ane mylc langc and half mylc breadthe. 

CUMBRA. On the eist and southeast lyes ane yle callit Cumbray, 
inhabit and manurit, three mylc in length, and ane myle in breadthe, 
with ane kirk callit Sanct Colmis Kirke. 

CUMBRA DAIS. Besides this lyes ane iyle callit Cumbray of the 
Dais, because there is many Dayis intill it. 

Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, 287 

GENT.' London, 1703, pp. 214-216. 

BOOT. The isle of Boot, being ten miles in length, lies on the 
west side of Cozval, from which it is separated by a narrow channel, 
in several parts not a mile broad. The north end of this isle is 
mountainous and heathy, being more designed for pasturage than 
cultivation ; the mold is brown or black, and in some parts clayie ; 
the ground yields a good produce of oats, barley, and pease ; there 
is but little wood growing there, yet there is a coppice at the side of 
Loch Fad. The ground is arable from the middle to the southward, 
the Hectic stone is to be had in many parts of this isle ; and there is 
a quarry of red stone near the town of Rosa, by which the fort there 
and the chappel on its north side have been built. Rothsay, the 
head town of the shire of Boot and Aran, lies on the east coast of 
Boote, and is one of the titles of the Prince of Scotland. King 
Robert the Third created his son Duke of Rothesay, and Steward 
of Scotland ; and afterwards Queen Mary created the Lord Darnley 
Duke of Rothesay, before her marriage with him. This town is a 
very ancient royal burgh, but thinly peopled, there not being above 
a hundred families in it, and they have no foreign trade. On the 
north side of Rothsay there is a very ancient ruinous fort, round in 
form, having a thick wall, and about three stories high, and passages 
round within the wall ; it is surrounded with a wet ditch ; it has a 
gate on the south, and a double gate on the east, and a bastion on 
each side the gate, and without these there's a drawbridge, and the 
sea flows within forty yards of it. The fort is large enough for 
exercising a battallion of men ; it has a chappel, and several little 
houses within ; and a large house of four stories high, fronting the 
eastern gate. The people here have a tradition, that this fort was 
built by King Rosa, who is said to have come to this isle before 
King Fergus the First. The other forts are Down-Owle and Down- 
Allin, both on the west side. 

The churches here are as follow : Kilmichel, Kilblain, and Kil- 
chattan, in the South Parish ; and Lady Kirk, in Rothesay, is the 
most northerly parish. All the inhabitants are Protestants. 

288 Appendix. 

The natives here arc not troubled with any epidemical rl incur 
The small pox visits them commonly once every sixth or seventh 
year. The oldest man now living in this isle is one Homing, a 
weaver in Rothsay his neighbours told me that he could never 
case nature at sea who is 90 years of age. The inhabitants gen- 
erally speak the English and Irish tongue, and wear the same habit 
with those of the other islands. They arc very industrious fishers, 
especially for herring, for which use they arc furnished with alxnit 
80 large boats. The tenants pay their rents with the profit of 
herrings. They are to be had anywhere on the western coast. 

The principal heritors here are the Stuart of Hoot, who is heredi- 
tary Sheriff of this shire, and hath his seat in Rosa ; Hallantinc of 
Reams, whose seat is at the head of the bay of that name, and has 
an orchard by it : Stuart of Rscoick, whose seat has a park and 
orchard, and about a mile to the south of Rothsay. Next lies two 
isles called CUMBRAY, the greater and the lesser ; the former is 
within a league of Root. This island has a chappcl and a well, 
which the natives esteem a catholicon for all diseases. This isle is 
a mile in length, but the other isle is much less in compass. Both 
isles are the property of Montgomery of Skclmorly. 


ACHAMORE. Dr Maclea, " Achamor^ The great field." Gael., 

(uhadh-mor, large field. 1 
ACHOLTER. Dr M., " Achacholtoir, The ploughshare field." 1670, 

Auchiltir. Gael., achadh, a field ; a/tair, affair, an altar. See 

p. 234. 

AIRIDHNANGKATH. Shelling of geese, Gael., airidh, shelling; 

giadh, goose. 
AMBRISBEG. Dr M., "The little trough." 1440, Amriesbcg ; 

1 l)r Maclea's derivations of place-Dames are taken from an appendix supplied 
to Mr Blain for his ' History of Bute,' and now found in the printed work. To 
them are here added names omitted, corrections, and the etymon* as far as 
these are diCOWMt. 

Place- Names in Bute. 289 

1506, Almorusbeg. Gael., amar, channel, trough; beag, 


AMBRISMORE. Dr M., "The great trough." 1506, Almorusmore. 
ARDBEG. Dr M., "Ard-Bheag, Little height or rising ground." 

Gael., aird, ard, a height, head, promontory. 
ARDMALEISH. Dr M., " Ard-Ma-Ghil-Iosa, The point of Jesus' 

servant's son." 1400, Ardmaleish ; 1561, Ardmoleis. The 

height of Moleis, Molios (mo lios, my flame). See p. 195. 
ARDNAGAVE. The height of danger. Gael., gabhudh, danger. 
ARDNAHOE. Dr M., " Ardnahuath, The height above the cow 

[cave?]." 1440, Ardnahow ; 1506, Ardnehow. Gael., Aird, 

a height or promontory ; uamh, cave. 
ARDNLOT. Dr M., " The fail shillin houses." Gael, lot, a wound. 

The height of the wound. 
ARDROSCADALE. Dr M., " Ardroscadale, Rich or fertile height of 

the point." 1475, Ardrossigelle. This strange compound 

may be made up of words from the Goidelic, Brythonic, and 

Norse languages. Ard, Gael., height ; ros, Gael., promontory, 

or Rosca, Norse proper name ; dale, Norse, a little dale, or dal, 

Brythonic, a meeting-place ; or gelle, corrupt form of Norse 

gill, a defile or glen. On the ridge of Ardroscadale a circular 

fort is to be seen. See p. 46. 
ARDSCALPSIE. Dr M., " Ardscalasatg, Height or promontory of the 

bason." See Scalpsie. 
ASCOG. Dr M., "The cuckoo's retreat." 1503, Ascok. Norse, 

askr, a boat ; haugr, a mound. The boat-mound. 
AUCHANTIRIE. Dr M., " Achaindireadh, The field of the rising 

ground." In 1440 written Achanherve ; 1449, Achynhervy; 

1506, Auchintarve i.e., the bull's field (Gael., tarbh, bull). 

Gael., achadh-na-t\re : achadh, field; fir, land. 
AUCHAWILLIG. Dr M., " Ach-a-Bhuilg, The field of the belly or 

ridge." 1449, Awchywilk; 1506, Auchawolik, field of the 

womb, blister, or quiver. Might have connection with Bolg 

the Firbolg, see p. 26. 
AULTMORE. "The big burn." Gael,, allt, a brook; mor, great. 

BAIDLAND. The towers. Gael., baideal, a tower or pillar. 
BAILEAMHUILIN. The mill-town. Gael., bail, baile, hamlet, village ; 

muileann, mill, 
VOL. I, T 

290 Appendix. 

BALANLAV. Dr M., " Baile-Fhionlaidh, Finlay's town." Gad, bail, 

fault, hamlet, village, house. 
BAI.ELONE. Dr M., " Bailtanfoint, Town or hamlet of the 

meadow." Gael., /<>*, meadow. 
BAUCHAIBIL. Dr M., " Chapcltown, Baile-a-<haibil, The town of 

the chapel." 

BALICURICH. The champion's homestead. Gael., built, cvraidh. 
BALIOCHDRACH. The lower homestead. Gael., iothdarath, lower. 
BALIUACHDRACH. The upper homestead. Gael, ttaehdraeh, 

BALLACH NA MUICK. Dr M., " The sea-pigs' slap." Gael, btalath, 

pass ; muif, a pig. 
BALLACROIT. The town of the eminence. Gael., croit, a hump, 

eminence, croft. 

BALLENTUA. The town of the peasantry. Gael., tooth, tenantry, 
peasantry. This place is near the common lands of Burgh. 
See p. 34. 

BALLYCAUL. Dr M., " Balecatil, Strengthening ground." 
BALLYCURRY. Dr M., " Baile-Churaidh, The champion's town." 
BALNAKELLY. Dr M., " Baile-na-Choillt, The town of the wood." 

Gael, coillt, wood. 
BARDARACH. Dr M., " Bar-Darach, The oak top or point." Gael., 

barr, height ; darach, oak. 

BARLIA. The grey top. Gael., bar, a top ; Hath, grey. 
BARMORE. Dr M., " Barmor, The great top or headland." 
BARNAULD. Dr M., " Barnal, The apple top." 1440, Bernavil ; 
1449, Bcrnaull. Gael, btarn-avil, the gap of Avil, or barr-an- 
uilt, height of the glen, or bcarn-an-abhail, gap of the apple- 
tree. There is a deep wooded dell behind the farm of 

R A RONE. Dr M., " Meikle Barone, Ban-roin-mhoir, The woman's 
great share or division." 1419, Barrone; 1498, Laurone ; 
1513, Berroun. Gael, barr sroine, height with a nose ; or a 
form of the Brythonic word bryn, brow, hill ; or Barron, the 
hill of Barinthus. See p. 52. 
BEALLACH DERG. The red pass, or Deargfs (an Ossianic hero) pass. 

Gael, bealath, a defile ; dtarg, red. 

BIRCIDALE-CRIEFF. 1440, Brethadale; 1449, Brigadilknok and 
Brigadillowin ; 1534, Birgadillovyn. Teut., borg or burg, a' 

Place- Names in Bute. 291 

fortified place ; dalr, a dale ; dael, a little dale. Gael., crubha, 
shoulder of a hill. Cf. DUNBURGIDALE. 

BIRGIDALE-KNOCK. Dr M., " The hill covered with brushwood." 

BLARDIVE. 1449, Blardyve. Gael., blar, a plain, battle.-field, 

BLARMEIN. Gael., blar, field ; mein, ore, vein of metal. 

BOGANY. Dr M., " Both-an-Ach, The hut or cottage field." Gael., 
both, house ; gaothanach, windy. The windy house. 

BRANSARE. Dr M., " Branser, The farm with brittle ground." 
1440, Bransare; 1506, Bransier. Perhaps related to brean, 
stinking. Old Erse, bren ; Erse, br'ean ; Gael., breun, stinking, 
foul, is applied to marshy places. Cf. Breansha, near Tipperary 
(i.e., breansach, a stinking place). Cf. Maxwell's 'Studies in 
the Topography of Galloway,' p. 95, under Branyea. 

BRECKOCH. Dr M., " Tigha-Breachdaich, The house of the speckled 
field." Gael., breacach, speckled, brindled, broken. 

BRONOCH. The sorrow-field. Gael., brbn, sorrow : achadh, field. 

BRUACHNACAORACH. The sheep-ascent. Gael., bruach, a bank, 
short ascent ; caora, caorach, a sheep. 

BRUCHOG. Dr M., " Bruchait, A pleasant precipice." 1440, 
Bruchag ; 1509, Brothog. Gael., bruach, a brink or hill; 
brothog is a diminutive of old Gael, broth, a ditch. There 
was a tumulus here, and the word might be compounded of 
Teut. borg, burg, or brugh, and Teut. haugr, a mound. One 
of the old names of this district was Cuningburgh. 

BULL LOCH. The hill loch. Ger., buhil, hill. 

BULOCHREG. Dr M., " Buaile-chreig, The fold of the rock." 
Gael., buaile, a fold ; creag, rock. 

BUTEANLEANAIN. The meadow-butt. Gael., lean, a meadow. 

BUTTANLOIN. The marsh-butt. Gael., Ion, loin, marsh, meadow. 

BUTT-BLAIR. Dr M., " The plain butt." Med. Anglo-Latin, butta, 
division, measure of land ; Gael., blar, blair, a plain, a green. 

BUTT-CURRY. Dr M., " The Champion's butt." 

BUTTDUBH. The black butt. Gael, dubh, black. 

BUTTINLUCK. The mouse-butt. Gael., luck, a mouse. 

BUTTNACOILLE. The butt of the wood. Gael., coille, wood. 

BUTTNACREIG. The butt of the crag. Gael., creag, rock, crag. 

BUTTNAFLORIN, The butt of the flowerets. Gael., flulrein, 


BUTT-NA-MADDA. Or M., " The dog's butt" Gael, madadh, dog. 
BUTT-NA-MENNA. Dr M., " The mess butt." The kid's butt. 

Gael., mtann, kid. 
BUTT-N'-TUILK. Dr M., "The wet butt" Gael., /w/, tuilich, 

flood, deluge. 

CAOCHAG. Dr M., "The windy farm." Gael., caochag, a 

CLACHANUISAGE. Gael., clack, a stone, or dachan, a village ; *istag, 

a lark. The village of the lark. Or probably Visage is a 

proper name. 
CLACHCARNIE. Gael., clack, stone, or e/ndh, mound ; carnack, adj., 

rocky. See p. 48. 
CLACHIERAN. The burial-place of Ciaran. Gael., clndk, a mound. 

The Macllhcrans of Kilmorie were buried at this place. 

See p. 139. 

COILEVAN. Dr M., "The delightful hollow." See CULEVIN. 
COLMAC, See p. 1 16. 
CORLAICH. The corrie of mud. Gael., coire, a cauldron, dell ; 

salaick, dirt. 
COVIN HILL. Covin's Hill. Or Gael., gobkainn, the Smith's Hill. 

CNOC-AN-COIGREAICH. This is the name of a dismantled fort on 

the farm of Auchantirie. The word may signify The hill of 

the strangers. Gael., cnoc, a hill ; coigrcack, stranger. 
CNOCNABUCHAILLE. The hill of the shepherd. Gael., buachaille, 

a cattle-herd. 

CNOC NA FEARN. The alder-tree hill. Gael, fearna, alder-tree. 
CRAIGAGOUL. The Crag of Goll. See p. 87. 
CRAIGBIORACH. Dr M., " Craig Bhlorach, The pointed rock." 
CRAIGBUIDSICH. The witch's crag. Gael., buidsich, a witch. 
CRAIGMADDIE. The wolfs crag. Gael., madadh, dog, wolf. 
CRAIGMORE. Dr M., " Creag-Mhor, The great rock." 
CRAIG NA FEARN. Dr M., "The shallow marsh." Rather, Crag 

with the alders. Gael., fcarna, an alder. 
CRAIGUAIL. Dr M., " Creag-a-Ghuail, The rock of the shoulder." 

Gael., i/rt/7/, pride, fame. The rock of fame. 

Place -Names in Bute. 293 


CREAG A CHLAIDH. The rock of the sword. Gael., daidheamh, 


CREAG AN LEA. Dr M., " The grey rock." Gael., Hath, grey. 
CREATRIACH. A wilderness. Gael, creatrach, a wilderness; 

criadhadaireach, clayey. 

CROSSBEG. The little cross. Gael., crois, cross. 
CROSSMORE. The great cross. 
CUAGACH or CULLACH. Dr M., " Coalachadh, Lean or narrow 

field." 1506, Cogach. Gael., cuagach, curved. 
CULDONAIS. Dr M., " Cuil-Donais, The mischief corner." See 

luck corner. Gael., a'til, corner ; donas, mischief, bad luck, 

the devil. 
CULEVIN. The joyful corner. Gael., cuil, corner : aoibhinn, joyful, 

pleasant. 1506, Cowleing or Culavin. 
CULLAIVE. Dr M., " The back of the hand." At the back of the 

water. Gael., cut, back ; abh, water. 
CULNASHAMBREG. Dr M., " Cuil-na-Seamrog, The circular clover 

hollow." 1440, Cloynsamrag; 1506, Clonschamerag. Gael., 

cluain, meadow ; seamrag, clover. The clover mead or plain. 
CUNINGBURGH. 1478, probably a name of Scoulog. 


DRUMACHLOY. Dr M., " Drum-a-Chlaidh, The ridge of the church- 
yard." Gael., druim, back ; cladh, a mound, grave, trench. 

DRUMCHONEY. Dr M., " Drum-a-Chaoineadh, The lamentation 
ridges." Gael., caoineadh, pres. part, of v. caoin, to weep. 

DRUMMOR. The great ridge. 

DRUMTRODDEN. Dr M., " The quarrelsome height." Gael., druim, 
ridge ; trod, strife. The ridge of fights. 

DUBH LOCH. Dr M., " Dubh-loch, The black loch." 

DUNAGOIL. Dr M., "The foreigner's fort." 1440, Dunvilze; 
1449, Dungule ; 1506, Dunguild ; 1533, Dwngull. Gael., 
dun, a fort; gall, a foreigner. "This word was first applied 
by the Irish Annalists to the Danes or Scandinavians from 
their first arrival in the eighth century to the twelfth, when it 
was transferred to the English." ' O'Don. Suppl.' . Or it might 
signify, The fort of Goll. See pp. 55, 87. 

294 Af>f>e*di.\ . 

DUMALUNT. Dr M. f " DunaAn'Mii, The beautiful fort or hillock." 
1440, Dunanlunt; 1449, Downanlont ; 1498, Dunanland- 
Makgelmichaul ; 1 500, Dunallerd. Gad., dun, a fort ; 
a/utnn, fair. See p. 45. 

DUNBURGIDALE. This may IK a word composed of three words, 
each signifying a fort. Gael., dun ; Norse, bttrg ; Brythonic, 
ddl (a folk-mote). See p. 53. 

DUNSTRONE. The dun of the headland. Gael., sron, a nose, 
headland. See p. 48. 

EDEKBEG. Dr M., " An-Eadain-beag, The little face or front" 
Gael., fadan, face. 

EDENMOR. Dr M., " An Eadain mtor, The large face or front." 

EENAN HILL. Ecnan might l>e proper name; corruption of Adam- 
nan. See p. 209. 

ESKECHRAGGAN. Dr M., " Easfothragat'n, The frog wet ditch." 
1440, Ascragan ; 1449, Askachragan ; 1506, Escragane. 
Gael., eas-a-trtagain, waterfall from the little crag ; fas, water- 
fall ; erf again, little crag. 

ETTRICK. Dr M., " A trig, The shallow water." Gael., talhar, 
boat; Norse, vlk, a little bay. 

FAD, LOCH. Also called "Ix>ng Ix>iche." Gael.,/d</a, long. 

GALLACHAN. Dr M., "Where tussilage grows." 1440, Dalachane. 

Gael. gall, stranger ; achadh, field. 
GARACHTY. Dr M., " Garbh-thidh, The rough or rocky end." 1 440, 

Garach ; 1 498, " Le Gariteis " ; 1 506, Garachach ; 1510, Gar- 

ochty. Gael., garadh, a copse or den ; gdrradA, garden ; garth 

afh ttgh, house of the rough field. See p. 8. 
GARTNAKELLY. Dr M., " Gart-na-Coi/lt, Field or enclosure of the 


( 1 1. AST ROM. The grey ridge. Gael., g/as, grey ; druim t ridge. 
GLLANBUIDHE. Dr M., " Gleann-buidht, The yellow glen." 
GLF.CHNABAY. Dr M., ' Gltuf-na-Bdthe, The birch hollow or glen." 

1449, Glacknabechy. Clath-na-tKath^ rock of birches. Gael., 

heath, Mth, birch-tree. 
GLKNCALLUM. Dr M., " Malcolm's glen." 
GLENCHROMAG. Dr M., " Glcanthromaig> Glen of the little crook 

P lace-Names in Bute. 295 


or hook." Gael, crbm, a circle ; aig or ag, a diminutive ; or 

aig, Gael, for Teut. vik, a bay ; hence, Glen of the round bay. 
GLENDUIN. Dr M., " The steep glen "Glen of the forts. Gael., 

dun (pi. duin), fort. 

GLENMORE. Dr M., " Glean Mhor, The large glen." 
GLENVODIAN. Modan's glen, or The glen of vows. Gael., bold, pi. 

boldean, vow, vows. See p. 210. 
GORTANS. Ur M., " Goirteain, The small patches of land." Gael., 

goirtein, a little corn-field. 
GRENACH. Dr M., " Greanach, Shaggy." Gael., grianach, adj., 

sunny, from grian, the sun. Cf. Ir. grianog, sunny little hill. 
GRINAN MILL. Dr M., " Muilean-Ghrianan, The mill of the sunny 

place." 1400, Grenan. Gael., grianan, a sunny spot. 

KAMES. Gael., camus, a bay. 1475, Camys. 

KELLIELUPE. 1440, Kellielupe ; 1445, Kellislowpe; 1449, Kel- 

loup. Gael., caol, caoile, narrow; luib, creek, little glen. 
KELSPOKE. Dr M., " Kelspag, The burying point of land." 1506, 

Kellspokis. Might be Cill-espuic, The church of the bishop. 

It is near St Blaan's church. 
KERRYCROY. Dr M., " The hard quarter." Gael., ceithramh, 

quarter, division ; cruaidh, hard. Cf. cruaidh, a stone used 

for an anchor. 
KERRYCRUSACH. Dr M., "The gaping quarter." 1440, Kerbcreach ; 

1 449, Kervecresach ; later, Kerrycroisic. Gael., crosag, streaked ; 

croiseag, a little cross. Kerrycrusach might thus mean " The 

district of the little crosses," referring to Crossbeg and Cross- 
more, places in the immediate vicinity. 
KERRYFEARN. Dr M., " Ceathramhfern, The alder-tree quarter." 

Gael., fearna, alder-tree. See p. 30. 
KERRYLAMONT. Dr M., "Lament's quarter." See p. 33. 
KERRYMENOCH. Dr M., "The middle quarter." 1506, Keryman- 

ach, The monks' quarter. Gael., manach, a monk ; mead- 

honach, intermediate. 
KERRYMORANE. Moran's quarter, or populous quarter. 1527, 

Keremorane. Gael., mbran, multitude. 
KERRYNEVEN. 1527, Kerenevin, Neven's quarter. 
KERRYTONLIA. Dr M., " The low grey quarter." Gael., ceithramh 

Donulll, Donald's quarter. 

296 Appendix. 

KIANAGHARHAIN. Dr M., " Arabic spoU among rocks." Gael, 

ftitnH abkninit, source of two streams. 
KILBLAAN, KILBLAIN. Blaan's church. 
KILBRIDE Dr M., " Cill-a-BhriKMe, St Bride's cell." 
KILCHATTAN. The church of Catan. Sec p. 137. 
KILOAV ANNAN. I>r M., " Cill-4a-Mkanam % St Manan's cell." 1 466, 

Kilmavananc. Probably Adamnan's church. See p. 209. 
KILKERAN. The church of Ciaran. See p. 139. 
KILMACHALMAIG. Dr M., " CUl-math-Chalmaig, The Chapel of St 

Calmaig." 1475, Kyi macolmoc. Seep. 116. 
KILMICHEL. Dr M., " Cill-a-Mhicheall, Michael's Church." Sec 

p. 113. 
Kn.MokiK. Dr M., " Cilmhoire Chaibil, The Virgin Mary's burying- 

ground, with a chapel." 1449, Kylmorc and Killemorc. See 

p. 233. 
KILWHINLICK. Dr M., " Ci/khumhangltag, Cell of the narrow flag 

or stone." 1449, Kilconlick. Gael., all cumhain Ittu, or all 

chutnn (Conn) bat, cell of the memorial-stone of Conn, or 

cell of the memorial-stone of Winnin or Finan. There was 

a Conlaoch, son of Cuchullin, an Ossianic hero. See p. 

KNESLAGLOAN. Dr M., " Crioslachtanlaint, Border of the bog or 

KNESLAGVORY. Dr M., " Crioslachmhoire^ Virgin Mary's limit or 

border." 1670, Kncslag. 
KNESLAGVOURARTY. Dr M., " Crioslach-Mhuwhaidh, Murdoch's 

border or limit" 1449, Knersa ; 1506, Knaslagwerardy. 
KNOCANTIALT. The burn of the fairy knoll. Gael., cnof-an-sith- 

allt si/A, a fair)- ; a///, a brook. 
KNOCKANRIOCH. Dr M., " Cnocan-Riach, The grey eminence." 

Gael., riiil'hach, brindled. 
KNOCK-NA-ICANNUB. Dr M., " The hemp-hill." Gael., cnoc-Ha-fainb, 

hill on which hemp grows. 
KXOCNALULAIUHE. The treasure-hill. Gael., ulaidh, treasure. 

LANGILU Norse, ft'/, a narrow glen watered by a stream. The 
lang-gill of Kingarth seems to have l>ccn the glen beside 
Stravannan. The Langill lands were divided into six portions 
as under: 

Place- Names in Bute. 297 

LANGILBUINOCH. Dr M., " Lanbhiiinidh, The profitable field." 

1554, Langilwinox in Langilwunnan ; 1555, Langilbunnage. 
LANGILCHORAD. Dr M., "A plain fauld." 1664, Langlelorid. 
LANGILLCULCATHLA. Perhaps for Langil - Kilchattan. 1498, 

Langmyllculcathlane ; 1506, Langilculr(c)athla. 
LANGILLCULCREITH. 1525, Langilculcluth. 

LARGIVRECHTAN. Dr M., " Largivrechtan, The rocky declivity." 

1440, Largabrachtan. Gael., learg-a-bhreachdain, the slope 

covered with wheat, or Nechtan's slope. 
LARGIZEAN. Dr M., " Largihean, The Daisy field." 1506, Largil- 

yane; 1533, Largayan. 
LEANENTESKEN. Dr M., " Leanantshrasfona, Meadow or plain of 

the barren land." Gael., leana-na-f easgan, marsh with eels. 
LEANY. Dr M., "The wet field." Gael., leana, always implies a 

marshy field. 
LECHTAN. Dr M., " Leachdunn, Rocky steep or hanging ground." 

Gael., leac, leachd, declivity ; dun, mount. 
LEINHALL. Dr M., " Lean-a-Choill, The field of the wood." 
LENIHULINE. Dr M., " Lean-a-Chuillean, The field or plain of the 

holly. Gael., cuilionn, holly. 
LENIMOLACH. Dr M., " Leana-mholach, The rough field." Gael., 

leana molach, mead of rough grass i.e., abundant. 
LEPINQUHILLIN. Bed of hollies. 1449, Lapennycale. Gael., 

leaba, bed ; cuilionn, holly. 

LOCH NA LEICHE. Leitch's loch the physician's loch. 
LUBAS. Dr M., "A small bay." 1440, Lubas; 1449, Lowpas, 

Gael., tub, a bend ; eas, a waterfall. The bend or winding of 

the cascade. 

MARG-NA-HEGLISH. The church's portion of land. Gael., marg, 

portion ; eaglais, church. 
MEADOWCAP. The meadow freehold land. Ang. -Sax., mtzdu, 

meadow ; Scand., kaup, land, freehold land. 
MECKNOCH. Dr M., " Beachd-chnoc, The view-hill or hillock." 
MUCLICH. The pig's stone. Gael., muic, pig ; leac, a flat stone. 

NAHOIRAN. Dr M., " The sandy field." See TIGHNAHOIRIN. 


PENMAUCHRIE (Cumbrae). Head of the plain. Cym.-Ccl., /v, 

hill-top; Gael., magh, machairt, plain. 
PENYCAHIL. The lld summit. Cym.-CcL, fen, penni, hill-top; 

('erm., kaM, bald. 

PORT AN DoRNAicH. The boxer's port Or Gael, dorntag, stone. 
PORT LEITHNE. The broad port. Gael., leithnt, broad. 
PORT LUCHDACH. The loading port, Gael., luchd, a burden, load. 
PORT NA CAILUCH. The old woman's port. Gael, (aillcath, an 

old woman. 
PORT NA H'AILLE. Port of beauty; rocky port Gael., <////<% 

beauty ; a/7/, rock. 
PRASACK. Abounding in bushes. Gael., preasafk, furrowed, 

abounding in bushes. 

QUIEN. Dr M., " Cuithcan, A little trench or mound." 1449, 

Cuven, later Cowane, Cowan, (iacl., cuitht, a trench or pit 

REILIGEADHAIN. Now Kulichcddan. Gael., rii/ig, a grave; 

Eadhain, of Aidan. See p. 163. 
REILIGNERCET. Gael., rtilig-Ncrgct, Nerget's grave. 
REILJGVOURKIK. Gael., rtiJig-Mhurca, Murdoch's grave. 
RILLEUOIL. Tim. Font's map, 1657. Gael., rtiligi a grave ; mhaoil^ 

of the promontory. 
ROINN CLUMHACH. The rough headland. Gael., roinn^ a point ; 

diimhath, rough. 
ROSLAND. Dr M., "The land of the point." Rosland is beside 

the parish church. Cornish, ros, moor, meadow ; Bryth., //a, 

church The church of the meadow. A common phrase in 

Rothesay is to go up the meadow to church. See p. 31. 
RUDHABODACH. Dr M., " Row, Rudh, or Rudh-Mhoda<h, The 

Bute point" 
RUDHA N AM.MK. The promontory of the channel (amar). 

SAI.I.AN PORT. Salt port. Gael., saJann, salt. 

SCALPSIE. Dr M., "SfaJasaig, Small bason or bay." Norse, scdlpr^ 
a small boat or shallop ; the termination it or ay here is 
probably a corruption of bhai& aig, or ag, the Gaelic equivalent 
for Norse r/4, a creek or bay. Scalpsay would thus mean the 

Place- Names in Bute. 299 

shallop-bay the shallow bay of sand being only suited for 

small craft. 
SCARREL. Dr M., " Scetr-Gheal, The white shelvy rock." 1440, 

Scarale, The Skarellis ; 1506, Starraell. 
SCULOG. Dr M., " Sculaig, The natural harbour." This name may 

have some connection with the Scoloc lands (sgbl, Goidelic, 

a school), in connection with the Celtic Church. See p. 194. 
SHALUNT. Dr M., "The beautiful wood," or the woodland. 1449, 

Schenlont; 1506, Schawland (Tim. Pont, Shalma?). Perhaps 

Old Eng., schaw, scaga, Icel., skogr, wood ; lont, corruption of 


SHANTALLON. The old hall. Gael., scan, old ; talla, a hall. 
SKEOCH WOOD. The hawthorn wood. Gael., sgitheach, Erse, 

sceithwg, a hawthorn bush. 
STRAAD. Tigh-na-sraide, The street house. Gael., sraid, Ang.-Sax., 

strad, Scand., strade, street. 
STRAY ANNAN. Dr M., "The smooth -running, white -bottomed 

rivulet." 1440, Stramanane. Gael., srath, a valley. Manan's 

or Magnus's strath. 
STUCK. Dr M., " Stuick, The jut out." Gael, stic, a little hill 

jutting out from another, a peak. 

TAWNIE. 1440, Cawnoch (Tawnoch?). 

TEYNABENNY. Dr M., " Tey-na-Beinne, House of the hill or 

common." Gael., beinn, mountain. 
TEYNFLUICK. Gael., tigh-an-phluic, house of hill ; ploc, any round 

mass, or large turf. 
TEYNTUDOR. Dr M., " Tigh-an-Dudoir, The trumpeter's house." 

Gael., dudair, trumpeter. 

TEYROW. Dr M., " Tigh-an-Rudh, Point-house." 
TIGHACHNOC. The house of the knoll. Gael., tigh, house; cnoc, 

TIGHAGHAVIL. Dr M., " Tigk-a-Ghctvil, The stranger's house." 

Gael., gabhal, a fork. The house at the fork. 
TIGHANLUINN. The ale-house. Gael., leann, ale. 
TIGHGHAOILL. The house of the foreigner, or of Goll. See 

TIGHNACRAOIBH. The house of the tree. Gael., craobh, 


3<x> Appendix. 

TIGHNACOITH. The windy house. Gael., gaolh^ wind. 
TIGHNAHOIRIN. The hero's house. Gael., furniJh, hero. 
TIGHNAUEINE. I >r M., " TtgAan/famtn, The house on the plain." 

Gael, /fan, a meadow or swampy plain ; leann, ale. Hence 

TOM NA CRICHE. The knoll of the march. Gael., lorn, a knoll ; 

eriofh (cr'tftu, gen.), a boundary. 
TORACHREW. Torr a Chrutk. Gael., tbrr, hill ; cruih t a form, 

TORANTURACH. The towcry hillock. Gael., /i>rr, a hill ; titrtuh^ 

having towers. 

UAMH CAPUILE. The chapel cave. Gael., uamh, cave ; caibeal, 


UAMH PHADRAICH. Patrick's cave. 
UCHDIES. The steep place. Gael, uchdath^ ascent 


73. line 5, for " all," read " each of." 
i it 6, it " cover," read " covers." 
H 78, H 10, ii " implies." rtad " imagines." 
i 134, 16, H "M'Phee."r^a</"M'Fie." 
i 158, ii 1 8, . " 505," read" 565." 


Abbots and Bishops of Kingarth, 201-212 
table of contemporaries of, 203. 

Adamnan, St, Abbot of lona, use of pre- 
served historical materials, 91 life of, 
208 literary works, 208 chapel at 
Kildavannan, 209. 

yngus or CEngus, the Felire of, 129. 

^Ethelfrith, King of Northumbria, 204. 

Agricola, as a scout in the Western Isles, 
8 9 . 

Aidan, King, parentage of, 159 life of, 
160 battles of, 161 death of, 163 
burial-place of, 165 connection with 
Columba, 160 the Cymric Gwledig, | 
1 60 Aidan's sons, killed at battle of 
Catraeth, 161 other sons, 163. See 

Aidan, St, of Northumbria, 205. 

Ailbe, St, no. 

Aitrick, Fort, description of; Mr Lytteil, 
reference to, 46. 

Alan, Bishop of Sodor and Man, 100. 

Alan the Steward, 12 charter disponing 
of Kingarth to Paisley, 1 75, 284. 

Alban, old name of Caledonia, 26. 

Alexander II., King of Scotland, asks 
cession of Scotland from King Haco, 
invades Western Isles, 250, 251. 

Alexander III., King of Scotland, 251. 

Allan, son of Ruari, pillages Loch Lo- 
mond-side, 254, 257. 

Aneurin, the poet, 161. 

' Annals of MacFirbis,' 153. 

' Annals of Tighernac,' 5. 

' Annals of Ulster,' 203. 

Ardderyd, victory of King Aidan at battle 
of, 1 60. 

Ardmaleish, Fort, 52. 

Ardnahoe, Fort, 47. 

Arnold, Matthew, poem on Brandan, 149. 

Arran, ancient name of, 132. 

Aryan, the race, 24. 

Aultmore, Fort, 50. 

Bagmen, the, a race in Erin, 26. 
Baileachaibil, supposed site of chapel, 


Baile' Mhoid or Bhoid, Gaelic name of 
Rothesay, n, 16. 

Balilone Fort, 54. 

Baliol, included Bute in sheriffdom of 
Kin tyre, 12. 

Bangor, Rule of, at Kilblaan, 192. 

Barone, Fort, 52. 

Barrows, 38. 

Basilicas, Roman quadrangular churches, 

Beacons, the Norse, 13, 14. 

Bede, materials of his history carefully 
selected, 91 refers to St Ninian, 92. 

Berchan, St, prophecy of, regarding King 
Aidan and Columba, 154, 160. 

Bicker's Houses, Fort, description of, 50 
dolmen, 65. 

Bishops of Sodor and Man, 100, 260-279. 

Blaan (Blane), St, transports holy earth 
from Rome to Bute, 27 birth-place, 
167 teachers, 168 pilgrimage to 
Rome, 169 miracles, 169, 171 mis- 
sion to Picts, 172 at Dunblane, 173 
churches in Alban, 173 settlement 
at Kilblaan in Bute, 174 stone sarco- 
phagus of, 1 88 curse of, 190 vest- 
ments, 198 death and burial of, 200. 

3O2 Index of Subjects, Names, and Places. 

Blaaa, the parish of, 177 primitive 
church of, 177 ground-plan of, 182 
measurement* of, 1 83. 

Blaan's Church, Kilbuin or Kilblaan. 
See Kilblaan. 

Blackpark. See Stone circle. 

Blaeu, Atlas of, reference to Boot, I J. 

Brandanes, the, origin of, old name for 
Butemen, 153. 

Brendan, St. Bute called after his booth, 
9 birth-place, 142 authorities for life 
of, 142, footnote life, 143 voyages 
146 death, 144 churches of, 152. 

Brian Bora, King of Ireland, 240. 

Bride, St. See Brigid. 

Briga, Abbess, 144. 

Brigid, Si, veiled by Si Machilla, Ill- 
native of Fochard, founded community 
at Kildare, spread of her cult in Alban, 
115 churches in Bute, 114, 115 
chapel of, 235. 

Brioc, St (Brieuc, Bruoc, Broke), parish 
of Rothesay, called after him, lo isle 
of, 17 church in Bute, 99 churches 
i ut -Brui* Day, too. 

Brochs, 22. 

Bronze age, the, 68. 

Bruide, King of Picts, 155, 157. 

Bruix Day. See Brioc. 

Brythons or Britons, the, 23, 29 language 
of, 29, 31. 

Buchanan, (leorge, reference to Boot and 
Rothsey, 13. 

Burgs the, 37. 

Burnt Islands. See Eilean Buidhe. 

Bute, ancient names of isle of, 4 
(Bothe), 9, 10, ii (Bot, Botar), n, 
12 {Bole), 12 (Bute), 13, 16 abo- 
rigines, 3, 20-31 meaning of name, 13 
geographical portion, 3 acreage and 
size, 3 place-names in, 28-35, *88 - 
300 seixed by Northmen, 238 by j 
Magnus Barefoot, 245 by King David, j 
246 by Somerled, 247 given to the 
Steward, 248 by Uspak-IIacon, 250 
by King I laco granted to Reginald, 
to Angus, to Kuari, 248. 

Bute, Marquess of, letter on Mount&tuart 
cist, 68 on Si Brendan. 151. 

Buthania, old name for Bute, to, 13. 

Cabbals, earth churches in Isle of Man, 

Cairbre Cinnchait, or Caitchenn, the cat- 

headed monster on cross in Rothesay 

churchyard, 86. 
Cairns, 38. 
Camden, opinion regarding Ebudx, 10. 

Camerariu*. mention of Mat hi I la, ill. 

Capital of Ddriada in Alban, 156. 

Carnahooston, Fort, 47. 

Carnbaan, Cairnbaan; the white cairn at 
Ix-nihuline, 27, 73-78. 

CastleCree, 49. 

Castles, the. 38. 

Catan, Si, 27 a I'ictuh missionary, 29, 
136-138 church in Colonsay, 185. 

Catraelh, defeat of King Aidan at battle 
of, 162. 

Celtic Church, type of monastery, 181 
difference from Roman. 199 LllMg| t 
199 orientation of churches in, 209. 

Celtic churches, first were modest struc- 
tures, 185 in Ireland, Alban, and lUe 
of Man, 186. 

Celts, 23. 24, 29. See Goidcls. 

Chapeltoun. See Bailechaibil. 

Christianity, introduction of, into Scot- 
land, 8S--by merchants or invalided 
Roman soldiers, 89. 

' Chronicle of Scots,' o. 

Church, the British, 85-106 during Ro- 
man occupation of Britain, 90. 

Ciaran, St, supposed connection with Bute 
in Cilkeran chapel, 139. 

Cilkeran, 139. 

Cindgaradh, Cindgalaralh (Kingarth), 5, 

Cists, 38, 63, 68, 72. 

Clachcarnic, Fort, 48. 

Clontarf, battle of, 240. 

Cnoc-an-Coigrcaich, Fort, 51 cists at, 


Cnoc-an-rath, Fort, 45. 

Coarb, the, meaning of term, 1 77. 

Col mac. See Kilmachalmaig. 

Col man, St, 29, 206, 207. 

Columba, life, 156 place-names derived 
from, 157 chaplaincy of, in Bute, 157 
influence of, 158, 1 66 -death, 163. 

Columbanus, St, 170. 

Comgall, St, 168. 

Conall, King of Cowall with its islands 

Cowall, ruled by Dalriadic kings, 156. 

Coyl, King. iw. 

Craig, Rev. Robert, parish minister of 
Rothesay, reference to St Brioc, 101. 

Crannoges, meaning of word, 37 de- 
scription of, by Herodotus, 41 remain- 
ing in Bute, 42-45. 

Crioslagmory, chapel dedicated to Mary 
, 234- 

Crioslagvourathy, Muredach's oratory at, 


CruiskUnd Chapel, measurements of mins 

Index of Subjects, Names, and Places. 


Cruithnigh, the, a primitive people in 
Erin and Alban, 26, 155, 160. 

Cromlechs, 65-68. 

Crosses, Christian, preserved in Bute, 39 
at Inchmarnock, 135, 222 at Kil- 
blaan, 176, 219 in Rothesay church- 
yard, 225 in Rothesay Castle, 233. 

Culdees, origin of the order of, 126, 127. 

Cumbrae, isles of, 31, 281-284. 

Cuthbert, St, hermitage, 180 sarco- 
phagus of, 189. 

Dalriadans, Hibernian colonists in Alban, 


Damhliags, stone churches in Ireland, 

Danes, the. See Northmen. 

Daniel, Bishop of Kingarth, 202, 203, 

Degsastan, defeat of King Aidan at battle 
of, in Liddesdale, 162. 

"Deil's Cauldron," the, at St Blaan's 
church, the work of a prehistoric race, 
20 size, 21 probable purpose as a 
broch, 22 latterly place of penance, 
126 tree-worship at, 23 Celtic name, 

23, 174, 179- 
Dempster, no, in. 
Deserts, cells or hermitages, 125. 
Dhu Loch, Crannog in, 42. 
Districts in Bute, Celtic, 33. 
Divisions of land, Celtic, 33. 
Dolmens, at Bicker's Houses, 65 at 

Michael's grave, 66. 
"Dreamin' Tree Ruin." See "Deil's 

Druidism, similar to worship of aborigines 

in Alban, 25. 
Druids, 84 priests and wizards with 

pretended powers, 85 creed, white 

vestments, 85. 

Drumceatt, Convention of, 160. 
Drumgirvan, Fort. 52. 
Dugall, son of Ruari, King of Sudreys, 

248, 253. 
Duirteachs, wooden churches in Scotland, 

Dunagoil, Fort, 6, 14 description of, 55- 


Dunallunt, Fort, 45. 

Dunblane, church of, connected with St 
Blaan, 171 bishopric founded by Earl 
of Stratherne, 173, 271 St Columba 
buried here, 172 English churches be- 
longing to, 171. 

Dunbreatan (Dunbritton, Dumbarton), 

Dunburgidale, Fort, 53. 

Dunmonaigh, or Dunadd, site of, 156. 

Dunoon, castle-hill of, 156 Presbytery 

of, enactment forbidding superstitious 

burial at Kilblaan, 190. 
Duns, the, 37. 
Dun Scalpsie, Fort, 47. 
" Dux Britanniarum," a Roman military 

office assumed by British over-king, 


Eadwine, King of Northumbria, 204. 

Earth forts, the, 37. 

Edward I., documents referring to Bute 

in time of, II, 12. 
Eilean Buidhe, Fort, description of, 59- 

Engaricenna, Engaritena, supposed name 

of Kingarth in time of Ptolemy, 4, 5. 
Ere, St, 143. 

Ernan (Marnan, Marnock), St, 127, 130. 
Ertha, mother of St Blaan, 27, 136, 167. 
Ethelfrid, King of the Northumbrians, 


Faolan, St, a Pictish missionary, 29. 

Ferchardo de Buit, witness to charter, 12. 

Ferguson, James, on brochs, 22 on Celtic 
architecture, 187. 

Feys, invisible spirits carried off Malcolm 
Mackay in Glencallum, 86. 

Finan, Finnian, St (Wynnin), Pictish 
missionary, 29 life of, 102, 106 pil- 
grimages to Alban, 105. 

Finan, St, 203, 206. 

Finds, 39, 81. 

Finn, the heroic band of, not traced in 
Bute, 87. 

Firbolg, an early migratory race in Erin, 

Fitzalan. See Alan the Steward. 

Foreign ecclesiastics in Erin attending 
schools, 109. 

Forts. See Earth forts, Stone forts, 
Castles; also Dunallunt, Aitrick, Nether 
Ardroscadale, Dun Scalpsie, Ardnahoe, 
Carnahouston, Clachcarnie, Mecknoch, 
Castle Cree, Bicker's Houses, Ault- 
more, Cnoc-an-Coigreaich, Ardmaleish, 
Drumgirvan, Barone, Balilone, Dunbur- 
gidale, Dunagoil, Eilean Buidhe. 

Frigidianus, St, of Lucca, mistaken for 
St Finan, 105. See Finan. 

Gaels, Gaelic. See Goidel. 

Gallants, oratory of, 214. 

Galloway, Mr William, architect, descrip- 
tion of St Blaan's church, 183, Pref- 

Garth (Kingarth), isle of, 7. 

Gildas, St, 143. 

304 Index of Subjects, Names, and Places. 

Glattonbury, church of, 90, footnote. 
(.Icncmllum, ciiajxrl in, 158. 176. 
"Gododin Poems." the. 161. 
Oodud Crowan. King of Man, 245, 246. 
Godred, King of Man ( + 989), 240. 
CoMlh (Goflebc), the race of, 25. 26. 29 

language of, 29, 
Graveyards, old, in Bate, 38. 
Ciuyij, Pope, tee* Angle* in market- 

puce in Rome, 170 tends St Augustine 

to Britain, 171. 

Ilaco, King of Norway, Saga of, 12 
reply to King Alexander, 2$O prepares 
to invade Scotland, 252 hi* arma- 
ment. 252 in Rotbesay Bay, 255 
defeat at Largs, 255 return to the 
Orkney*, death there, 256. 

Ilaco'i Expedition, 12, 15 laws of bea- 
cons, 13. 

Haralti llarfagr, King of Norway, wipes 
out Vikings, 239. 

Hermits, the Irish, 122-140. 

Herodotus, 23. 41. 

" Hibernici Grassatores," the Dalriadic 
pirates and colonists of Allan, 109. 

II) bar, or I boms Bishop of the Isles, 
112. * 

Ihre, John, Suio-Gothic Glossary of, 14. 
Implements, 39. 

Inchegall, name of the Western Isles, 7. 
Inchgarth, supposed to be Inchmarnock, 


Inchmarnock, isle of, 3, 7,9, 128 monks 
of, 130 chapel at, 133 sculptured 
cross and stones at, 133, 222. 

Irish Church, polity, liturgy, iiS-ui 
creed, 1 19. See Celtic Church. 

Ile of Man, 4. 161, 240, 242, 258. 

Ivcmia, Ivernians (Erin), 25. 

Jogenan, brother of King Aidan, preferred 
as King of Dalriada by St Columba, 

Johann or Jolan, Bishop of Kingarth, 202, 

203, 207. 
John of Fordun, mention of Isles of 

Albion, including Kothesay and Bothe, 


Kames Cattle, 157, 164. 

Kentigcrn, St, labours in Strathclyde, 98. 

Kerry lament, district of, probably de- 
signated after the Lawman, 18. 

Ke&sog, St, 1 1 8. ISC 

Kilblaan, Kilhlain, St Blaan's Church, 20, 
174 defensive walls, 175- domiciliary 
remain*, 178 relics found at, 178 

foot font, 179 holy well, 179 
" Nunnery," 189 superstitious burial 
forbidden at, 190 Rule of Bangor ob- 
served, 192 description of mission- 
work at, 193 seminary, 195 public 
worship, 196 excavations at, 201 
monuments preserved at, 214 incited 
symbols, 215, 216, 217 gravestones 
with croasfi, 218, 219 crosses, 219 
interlaced ornamentation sockets for 
crosses, 176, 178, 193 sculptured 
gravestones, 217, 219-221. See Blaan 
and Kingarth. 

Kildavannan Chapel, 157, 209. 

Kilmachalmaig Church (Colmac), 8l, 
157 Circle, 8 1 Cross, 81, 224. 

Kilmichcl, situation of church, 113 
dedication to St Michael, 1 12 reference 
by Martin, 113 description of, 114 
ruins of, 213 altar, 214. 

Kilmorie, or Kilmory, measurements of 
ruins at, 233. 

Kilwhinleck, chapel at, probably con- 
nected with St Finan, 102 murder 
"f laird of, monument, 230 James 
Stewart of, 230, footnote. 

Kilwinning Abbey, connection with 
church in Bute, 103. 

Kingarth, ancient names of, 4, C 7 
church, 12, 175 sue of parish, 3 
charter disponing church of, to Paisley, 
284. See also Kilblaan. 

Kintyre, seat of Dalriadic kingdom, 155. 

Kistvaens. See Cists. 

Kymry, Cumbras, or Cumbri, a Brythonic 
people who overran the Cumbraes and 
left place-names in Bute, 97. 

Kynctes, a tribe mentioned by Herodotus, 
23, 28. 

Lagmanns, the, tribe of Norsemen in 

Western Isles, 1 8, 240. 
Lake-dwellings. See Crannoges. 
Laments, the, 18 { Lawmomkon), 19. 
Languages in Bute, 28. 
Ijuguean, standing stones at, 80. 
I jwinan, the, chairman of the Thing or 

judicial assembly, 18, 19. 
Ixrnihulinc cairn. See Carnbaan. 
Leslie, Bishop, 163. 
Lubas, bronze swords found at, 8a 
Lytteil, Rev. William, 46, 228, 281. 

Macccus, St (Mahew, Mochoe), priest 
in Bute, no Mochoe the Pict, ill 
Maccaws of Garrachty, family of, in 
Bute, lit. 

Macgilichattan, a family in Bute, probably 
called after St Catan, 138. 

Index of Subjects, Names, and Places. 


Macgillchiarans, a family in Bute, prob- 
ably deriving their name from St 
Ciaran, 1 39. 

Mac-gill-mhichells, 112. 

Machilla, St, festival in Bute, in. 

Mackinlay, John, history of Rothesay 
Castle, 1 6 description of crannoges, 
42 description of Carnbaan, 74. 

Maclea, Rev. Dr, parish minister of 
Rothesay, 101, 163, 231. 

M'Lelan, Gilbert, Bishop of Sodor and 
Man, 100. 

Mac Maelcon, king, 155. 

Macpherson, Dr, thinks Epidium was 
Bute, 10. 

Maelmanach, Abbot of Kingarth, 202, 
203, 211. 

Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, occu- 
pies Bute, makes Kintyre an island, 
death, 245, 246 laws of, regarding 
the Fire- watch, 13. 

Magnus IV., King of Norway, treaty with 
Scotland in 1266, 256, 257. 

Magnus, King of Man, meets Haco in 
Skye, 253. 

Major, John, 'Greater Britain,' 10. 

Malcolm II., King of Scotland, 240. 

Malcolm III., King of Scotland, 241. 

Man. See Isle of Man. 

Manan, a district south of the Forth, 160. 

Margaret, Queen, 100. 

Marnock, St. See Ernan. 

Martin, reference to Rosa, 15 mention 
of Kilmichel, 113 extract of ' Descrip- 
tion of Western Islands,' 287. 

Martyrology of Aberdeen, 13, 153. 

Mary, St, Chapel of, 99, 235. 

Mecknoch, Fort, 48. 

Memorial stones, stances of, 65. 

Merchertach, cell of, in Ratisbon, 125. 

' Metrical Chronicle ' (Stewart's), 9. 

Michael, St, Chapel in Rothesay Castle, 
1 86. 

Michael's Grave, dolmen called, 66, 112. 

Modan, St, 210. 

Molaise, St, grandson of King Aidan, 
nephew of St Blaan, 137, 195. 

Molios. See Molaise. 

Monoliths, still standing, 38. 

Monro (or Munro), Dean, reference to 
Butt, Buitt, Rosay, 13, 15 extracts 
from ' Description of Western Isles, ' 

Monuments of unrecorded times in Bute, 


Mountstuart, cist with trepanned skull 

found at, 68, 72. 
Munro, Dr, on Mountstuart trepanned 

skull, 71. 

VOL. I. 

Names connected with Celtic saints, 138. 

Neills, the, of Kilmorie, 103. 

Neolithic age, the, 63. 

Nether Ardroscadale Fort, 46. 

Nigil de Buyt, witness to charter, 12. 

Ninian, St, 92 life of by Ailred, 93 
sketch of life, 92-98 death, 97 chapel 
of, in Bute, 95. 

Noe, Abbot of Kingarth, 202, 203, 211. 

Northmen, n in Western Isles, Cowall, 
&c., 18 language of, in Bute, 34 
migrations of, 236 two kinds of, 237 
first appearance of, 238 settlements 
in Isles, 239 subdue Scots, 240 
civilisation, 241 religion, 243 cus- 
toms, 244. Vikings, piratical baysmen, 
come to Scottish Isles, 237 character, 
241. Danes, the, establish kingdom 
of Dublin, 239 become Christians, 

Nunnery at Kilblaan, 189. 

Odyssey, the Christian, 139-153. 

Olaf the White (or Red), King of Man, 

188, 247. 

Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway, 242. 
Olave the Black, King of Man, 250. 
Orders of Irish Saints, the three, 123, 


Osuiu, King of Northumbria, 204. 
Oswald, King of Northumbria, invites 

Celtic monks to Northumbria, 205. 

Patrick, St, 102 life of, 107, 109 mis- 
sionary efforts in Erin, 109 influence 
in Alban, no church at Foirrgea, 
1 86. 

Paul, St, in the West, reference by 
Clement of Rome, 88. 

Petrie, Dr, on Romanesque architecture 
in Ireland, 187. 

Picts, the, 23, 24, 26, 29 missionaries, 

" Piper's Cave," the, 27. 

Pit-dwellings remaining in Bute, 37. 

Place-names in Bute, 28-35, 288-300. 

Plan, finds at farm of, 81. 

Pont, Timothy, 99. 

Prehistoric inhabitants of Bute, 20-31. 

Ptolemy the geographer, mention of 
Eboudai, probably including Bute, 
3, 4- 

Querns, 39, 178, footnote. 
Quien Loch, crannog in, 44. 

Raths, the, 37. 

Ratisbon, Merchertach's cell in, 125. 

Reeves, Dr, on St Blaan, 173. 


306 Index of Subjects, Names, and Plates. 

Kc.l.geadbain. See Aidan, burial-place 

Rhubodach, point -(. in Bute, II. 

Roaani. the. in Wr%t Alban, the Islet, 
and Ireland. 90. 

Rooan, Abbot of Kingarth, 302, 303. 
309, l* 

Rothcsay, ancient name* of: (RothUajr). 
8 (Rothay), 9, to (Rothemy, Roth- 
in*), 15 (Row, Rotay), 15. 16 
meaning of name. 14-19 < mote), 17, 

Rot hen y Castle, mentioned by None 
nga.. writer*. 15 called after Rothir, 
38 taken t>v Uspak-llacon, 250 by 
otsadron of Haco fleet, 2<v 

Rot hesay Cross, in churchyard, 86 cros*- 
haft, stance, measurement, history, 
225-232. See Cairbre Cinnchait. 

Kothoay, MMI of Notafilu*, IO. 

Rothir (Rether, Rothiir), 1C, 28. 

Rothismen. the, assessors of Norse court* 
of justice, 19. 

Kuan. Roderick, or Raff, too of Reginald, 
obtains Bute, 248, 256 at Court of 
Norway, 251 accompanies Haco, 253, 
devastates Bute, 254. 

Rudri, claims Bute as birthright, 17, 253. 

Saddell, monastery of, 134. 

Scots, the, race of, 3. 87. 

Sigurd, Karl of Orkney, 240. 

Skene, Dr, reference to Kboudai, 4 

(iurth, 7 refers to Kingarth, 206. 
Skeoch, the wood of, probable allusion 

to St Skay, tot. 
Sn .rro, description of Ma gf*" Barefoot, 

Somerled. Lord of Argyle, rise of family, 

247 alliance with Bishop Wimund, 

247 ; seizes Bute, defeat and death at 

Renfrew, partition of his domains 

among his sons, 248 genealogical table 

of family, 249. 
'Statistical Account of Scotland,' 16, 

Steward, the, shot on Rothesay Castle, 

Stewarts, or Stewards, royal of Scotland, 

Sloans of Bute, origin of, 188, 240. 

Stokes, I>r Whitley. editor of ' Tripartite 

Life of St Patrick.' 108. 
Stooe circle at Blackpark, 78-at Kil- 

- : 

Stone forts, the, 37, 38. 
Sttabo, reference to Krin, 3. 

Sirathclyde, 98. 

Stuart, I>r, reference to ' Sculptured 
Stones," 333. 

Sturla, Norse saga-writer, mention* Bute, 
12, 15 the Raven Ode, in oraise of 
King Ilaco's expedition in 1263, 253. 

Table, showing contemporaries of Abbots 
of Kingarth, 202 genealogical, of 
King% of Man, 258 of Soroerledian 
line, 259. 

Taliessin, the poet, 161. 

Teimncn, Cleric of Kingarth, 202, 211. 

'Tighemac, Annals of, 5, I3a 

Turanian, the race, 23. 

Uladh (Ulster), 2$, 26. Uiidians, 104. 
Usher, Archbishop, 105. 
Uspak-llicon, King of Sudreys, takes 
Bute, 250. 

Verelius, Olaus, ' History of Gotric and 

Hrolf,' 13. 
Vikings, their name for Bute, II. See 

Vitrified structures, 38, 55-63. 

Waller the Steward, 175 monk of Mel- 

rose, 176. 284 the first Steward, 240. 
Watchhill, the, at Ardroscadale, 68. 
Weapons, 39. 
Whithcrnc (\\Tiilhorn), St Ninian's great 

monastery at, 93. See NinUn. 
Wilson'* 'Guide to Rothesay,' reference 

to tradition about the Laird of Western 

Kames, 164. 
Witches, 86 at Ambrismore, 88. See 

\N omen's burial-places, at Kilblaan, 189; 

Barking, Inchmarnock, 190. 
Wynnin. See Finan. 

"V Gogled," or Cumbria, 159, foot- 




(Scottteb eit Society), 


"It would be difficult to overestimate the value of the thorough and 
erudite introduction which the Rev. Mr James King Hewison has pre- 
fixed to the texts. . . . Mr Hewison deserves the gratitude of every 
student of the Reformation in Scotland for the painstaking diligence 
with which he has brought his scholarship to throw light upon this 
chapter of its history." Scotsman. 

"The result does high credit to his learning." Scotsman. 

"The memoir, introduction, notes, and glossarial index . . . are, 
each in their own way, a credit to Scottish scholarship." Glasgow 

" Gau's ' Catechism ' and this edition of Winzet are solid contributions 
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" One cannot fail to be struck with the vast amount of research the 
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"The Editor's introduction, appendix, notes, and glossary are all 
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"Alle friiheren Geschichtsforscher, die mit Winzet beschaftigt iiber- 
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Werken seines Helden voraussendet." Dr BELLESHEIM, in Historisch- 
Politische Blatter. 


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The Isle of Bute in the 
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