Kilchoman Cross

Kilchoman Cross, Plate XXXIV, <em>Sculptured Stones of Scotland</em>, Vol. 2, 1856.
Kilchoman Cross, Plate XXXIV, Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Vol. 2, 1856.

This parish [Kilchoman] consists of the south-west portion of the island of Islay, known as the Rinns. The church, apparently dedicated to St. Comghan, stood on the west coast, to the south of Loch Guirm. In the surrounding graveyard the present cross stands. Near to it is a fragment of another cross, and in the neighbouring fields are two small crosses of a peculiar type, said to have been two of three crosses which marked the limits of the sanctuary. There are five churches in ruins, to each of which a burying-ground is attached, in some of which specimens of the sculptured slabs so common on the west coast are to be seen. There are also several unsculptured obelisks in the parish, and many fortified sites. Two gold ornaments were found under a large pillar near to Sunderland House, which weighed 22 ½ sovereigns. About thirty years ago several stone coffins, of from 2 ½ to 3 feet in length, were discovered in the conical hills below Sunderland Farm. Some of them contained one or two clay urns; others contained skulls and other human bones.

This monument, which is of the Campbelton type, has on the east face a representation of our Lord on the cross, surrounded by four figures within the disc, and an angel in each arm of the cross. Near the top of the shaft are two figures under a cusped arch, and beneath them an inscription in fourteen lines, mostly illegible. Towards the bottom is a horseman under another arch of like form. The west side is covered with foliated patterns on the shaft, with knot-work on the arms of the cross.

Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Vol. 2, 1856.

Kilchoman Cross in the churchyard, behind the ruins of Kilchoman Old Parish Church.
Kilchoman Cross in the churchyard, behind the ruins of Kilchoman Old Parish Church.

This beautiful cross measures 8 feet 4 inches in height, and with the exception of the inscription it is in a very perfect state of preservation, though the design is in places obscured by lichen. An illustration of it appears in Dr. Stuart’s Sculptured Stones of Scotland.

Beginning with the east face we find on the circular head a representation of the crucifixion. The upper part of the cross head is filled with plaited scroll-work, in each of the arms is the figure of an angel, while to the right and left of the crucified Saviour are four figures in the attitude of adoration. The upper figure on the right is winged and below it is a fragment of scroll-work like that at the top. Below this group and at the top of the shaft are two figures in a niche, and these have probably some connection with the inscription immediately below them. The same arrangement of niche and lettering is to be seen on the Campbeltown Cross with which this has many points of similarity.

Diagram of Kilchoman Churchyard from The Carves Stones of Islay. The Kilchoman Cross still stands at the position marked 39.
Diagram of Kilchoman Churchyard from The Carves Stones of Islay. The Kilchoman Cross still stands at the position marked 39.

I think the following can be fairly made out of the inscription. The illustration shows all that can be obtained from a photograph of the cast. The cast itself is naturally easier to make out, though extremely difficult at the best.

Below the inscription there is foliated scroll-work surmounting another niche which contains a mounted figure, and below that again there is a panel of simple but effective interlaced bands.

Inscription on the east face of the Kilchoman Cross, Islay.
Inscription on the east face of the Kilchoman Cross, Islay.

The reverse of the cross head is singularly rich and the combination of bands more elaborate than is generally to be met with. A sketch is given on the next page to show the way in which these bands interlace.

It will be seen that the design consists in part of a series of circles each complete in itself: there are five of these counting from top to bottom, six counting from arm to arm. Again there is a continuous band crossing in the centre and forming four heart-shaped loops, in the direction of the circular segments of the cross head. Again, close to these segments and forming the outer part of the design are eight more loops complete in themselves, not circles this time, but arranged to work into the geometrical pattern already arrived at; within the scolloped pattern formed by the inner edges of these eight loops there is another complete band of an octagon form. The whole design is completed by the scroll which forms into loops at the extremities; this can be traced working its way in and out through the maze of circles and loops about half-way between the octagon band and the edge of the design. It will thus be seen that no less than twenty-three different bands are introduced into this elaborate composition.

Diagram showing scrollwork on the head of Kilchoman Cross, west face.
Diagram showing scrollwork on the head of Kilchoman Cross, west face.

The cross-shaft is adorned with foliated scroll-work which springs from the tails of two animals at the base.

The cross still stands in its original three-stepped pedestal of which the two lower steps are protected with concrete; but the top one is untouched, and at its angles may be seen four curious depressions varying greatly in depth, as one is only a slight hollow while another goes through the entire thickness of the stone.

A pear-shaped stone which tradition says was used to form these depressions is kept at the manse. At one time it lay in one of the holes, but it has had many vicissitudes. Once it was thrown into the sea but in a short time was found again lying on the shore. At another time it was buried in a grave, but before many years had passed it had found its way to the surface. What the object of these holes was is unknown, but a local tradition gives the curious explanation that they were made by expectant mothers anxious to secure male offspring.

— Robert C. Graham, The Carved Stones of Islay, 1895.

Slane at the Feild of Flowdane

Sir Duncan Campbell, 2nd Laird of Glenorchy (1455-1513), as depicted in the <em>Black Book of Taymouth</em>. Sir Duncan was buried not at Kilmartin, as the caption indicates, but alongside his kinsman, Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll, at Kilmun, as in the text below.
Sir Duncan Campbell, 2nd Laird of Glenorchy (1455-1513), as depicted in the Black Book of Taymouth. Sir Duncan was buried not at Kilmartin, as the caption indicates, but alongside his kinsman, Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll, at Kilmun, as in the text below.

Sir Duncane Campbell, eldast and lauchfull sone to the foirsaid Sir Colene, succedit secund laird of Glenvrquhay, as said is.

The said Sir Duncane mareit Margaret Dowglas dochtir lauchfull to the Erle of Angus, on quhome he begat thre sones: The eldast callit Sir Colene: The second namit Archbald: The thrid Patrik, quha deit being ane young man in the Ile Badchelich: And ane dochtir callit Elizabeth Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Monivaird.

The said Sir Duncane eftir the deceis of his said first wyffe he mareit Margaret Moncreiff, dochtir to the laird of Moncreiff, on quhome he begat ane sone callit Maister Jhone Campbell (quha wes secund bischope of the Iles of the hows of Glenvrquhay), and tua dochtiris: The eldar callit Katherine Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Tullibardin: The other nameit Annabill Campbell, quha wes mareit on the laird of Merchistoun.

The said Sir Duncane levit laird threttie thre yeiris, induring the quhilk tyme he obtenit tackis of the Kingis landis in Braidalbane, and of the thee Chartirhows landis lyand within the same, the takis of the tuelf markland of Cranduich.

Item, he conquesit the heretable tytill of the baronie of Finlarg: Quhilkis takis and heretabill conques for said, togidder with the bailyerie of Discheoir, Toyer, and Glenlyoun, tane of the King, he annexit to the hows.

Item, he conquesit the threscoir markland of the baronie of Glenlyoun, quhilk he gaiff to his secund sone Archbald Campbell forsaid, togidder with the twenty-four markland of the thrid of Lorne, quhilk he tuke fra the hows.

Item, he conquesit the eight markland of Scheane in Glenquoich, quhilkis he gaiff to his brother Jhone Campbell of Lawiris, to be haldin of the hows.

Item, the said Sir Duncane excambit the thrid of the landis of Dolour and Aucharnsyde, etc., with the landis of Kilbryde lyand on the side of Lochfyne.

The said Sir Duncane biggit the laich hall of Glenvrquhay; the great hall, chapell, and chalmeris, in the Ile of Lochtay.

The said Sir Duncane was slane at the feild of Flowdane, with King James the ferd, the 9 of September anno 1513.

And wes bureit with his chief Archbald Campbell then Erle of Ergyle in Kilmown, because in the forsaid field that deit valiantlie togidder.

Black Book of Taymouth.

To Confound the Druids

St. Columba, Bishop's House, Iona.
St. Columba, Bishop’s House, Iona.

By virtue of his prayer, and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he healed several persons suffering under various diseases; and he alone, by the assistance of God, expelled from this our island, which now has the primacy, innumerable hosts of malignant spirits, whom he saw with his bodily eyes assailing himself, and beginning to bring deadly distempers on his monastic brotherhood. Partly by mortification, and partly by a bold resistance, he subdued, with the help of Christ, the furious rage of wild beasts. The surging waves, also, at times rolling mountains high in a great tempest, became quickly at his prayer quiet and smooth, and his ship, in which he then happened to be, reached the desired haven in a perfect calm.

When returning from the country of the Picts, where he had been for some days, he hoisted his sail when the breeze was against him to confound the Druids, and made as rapid a voyage as if the wind had been favourable. On other occasions, also, contrary winds were at his prayers changed into fair. In that same country, he took a white stone from the river, and blessed it for the working of certain cures, and that stone, contrary to nature, floated like an apple when placed in water. This divine miracle was wrought in the presence of King Brude and his household. In the same country, also, he performed a still greater miracle, by raising to life the dead child of an humble believer, and restoring him in life and vigour to his father and mother. At another time, while the blessed man was yet a young deacon in Hibernia, residing with the holy bishop Findbarr, the wine required for the Sacred Mysteries failed, and he changed by his prayer pure water into true wine. An immense blaze of heavenly light was on many and wholly distinct occasions seen by some of the brethren to surround him in the light of day, as well as in the darkness of the night. He was also favoured with the sweet and most delightful society of bright hosts of the holy angels. He often saw, by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, the souls of some just men carried by angels to the highest heavens. And the reprobates too he very frequently beheld carried to hell by demons. He very often foretold the future deserts, sometimes joyful, and sometimes sad, of many persons while they were still living in mortal flesh. In the dreadful crash of wars he obtained from God, by the virtue of prayer, that some kings should be conquered, and others come off victorious. And such a grace as this he enjoyed, not only while alive in this world, but even after his departure from the flesh, as God, from whom all the saints derive their honour, has made him still a victorious and most valiant champion in battle.

— St. Adomnán’s Vita Columbæ, Book I, Chapter i.

Your Lofty, Bedizened Stilts

William Thomas Beckford by John Hoppner, oil on canvas, 124 x 99 cm, Salford Museum and Art Gallery.
William Thomas Beckford by John Hoppner, oil on canvas, 124 x 99 cm, Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

The time is not far distant, Mr. Gibbon, when your almost ludicrous self-complacency, your numerous, and sometimes apparently wilful, mistakes, your frequent distortion of historical truth to provoke a gibe or excite a sneer at everything most sacred and venerable, your ignorance of the Oriental languages, your limited and far from acutely critical knowledge of the Greek and the Latin, and in the midst of all the prurient and obscene gossip of your notes, your affected moral purity perking up every now and then from the corrupt mass, like artificial roses shaken off in the dark by some prostitute on a heap of manure; your heartless scepticism, your unclassical fondness for meretricious ornament, your tumid diction, your monotonous jingle of periods, will be still more exposed and scented than they have been. Once fairly kicked off from your lofty, bedizened stilts you will be reduced to your just level and true standard. — W. B.

Conclusion of autograph note of William Beckford (1759-1844), written on the fly-leaf of his copy of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Such is Truly Demoniac, Blind, and Dumb

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy.
Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy.

Dæmonium enim habens, cæcus et mutus est, qui non credit Deo; et subditus est diabolo, qui non intelligit, et non confitetur ipsam fidem, vel qui non dat laudem Deo. S. Augustinus, Quæst. Ev., i, 4.

How the Galley for Lorne Came to the Campbells

Arms of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell; Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd & 3rd: Argent, a lymphad or ancient galley sails furled flags and pennants flying gules and oars in action sable (Lorne).
Arms of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell; Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Gyronny of eight or and sable (Campbell); 2nd & 3rd: Argent, a lymphad or ancient galley sails furled flags and pennants flying gules and oars in action sable (Lorne).

(These notes on the Galley for Lorne are based upon letters which appeared in the ‘Scotsman,’ signed “Ergadiensis,” “T.H.I.S.,” and “Mr H.D. Smith,” all of whom wrote in answer to letters from me in the  ‘Scotsman’ or ‘Glasgow Herald.’ — Ed.)

THE charter […] 1470 was no confirmation of the heiresses’ claim to Lorne, for none of the respective husbands ever made any claim through them; it was the sequel of a long tragedy. In 1463, John Stewart, Lord Lorne, was murdered at Dunstaffnage by a MacDougall, to prevent him legitimising his son Dugald; but he lived a sufficiently long time to marry Dugald’s mother.

For six long years there was a bloody struggle for the possession of Lorne, between Dugald and the Lorne Stewarts on the one side, and the MacDougalls, secretly helped by Argyll and Dugald’s, uncle Walter Stewart, on the other. In the year 1469, Dugald Stewart and the MacDougalls, being both exhausted, Mac Cailein Mòr got from Walter Stewart a resignation in his own favour of the claims of Walter, which he alleged he had in Lorne, and interfered actively in the quarrel. Neither Dugald nor his adversaries were able, after six long years of contention, to resist this powerful opponent, and he had to compromise his right to the whole of his father’s lands for Appin, and became the ancestor of the Stewarts of Appin.

After this compromise only, in 1469, Walter took seisin of Lorne, and granted it in pretended exchange for others to Cailein Mòr; and in 1470 this exchange was confirmed by the minor James III., at whose Court Argyll was supreme.

About the year 1388, the Galley, the family cognisance of the MacDougalls — the “Lords of Lorne of Auld,” as Sir David Lyndsay, Lord Lyon King-at-Arms calls them — a branch of the family of the Lords of the Isles, was quartered by Sir John Stewart on his marriage with a daughter and co-heiress of John MacDougall, Lord of Lorne; and three generations later it was assumed by Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, and Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, afterwards first Earl of Argyll, some time after their marriage with two of the daughters of Sir John Stewart, Lord of Lorne. Glenorchy, who married the eldest, also assumed the fess “checquy” of the Stewarts.

John of Lorne, having no lawful son (Stewart of Appin being a natural son), some years before his death executed a deed of settlement in favour of his own brothers, the Stewarts of Innermeath, as next heirs male.

The deed was confirmed by charter under the Great Seal, 1452; and on the death of the old chief in 1463, his eldest surviving brother, Walter, claimed and succeeded to the estate and dignity.

Argyll’s seal, appended to a charter dated 17th December 1470, granting to his uncle, Sir Colin of Glenorchy, a part of his recent acquisition of Lorne, in exchange for Glenorchy’s share of the Clackmannan lands, is not charged with the Galley (Laing’s ‘Ancient Scottish Seals’).

The three daughters1 were co-heiresses of the lands of Dollar and Gloom, but not of Sir John Stewart’s great baronies of Redcastle, Innermeath, and Lorne. The actual transaction by which these were transferred to Argyll was this: In 1469 the new chief granted an indenture binding himself to resign the lordship of Lorne in favour of Colin, Earl of Argyll, in exchange for the lands of Kildoning, Baldoning, and Innerdoning, in Perthshire; the lands of Culrain, in Fife; and Cutkerry, in Kinross: the Earl on his part binding himself to use his influence (which was very great) to procure for him another title — namely that of Lord Innermeath — which was done, and within a year the patent passed the Great Seal.

It is scarcely correct to say that the co-heiresses of the Clackmannan lands, one-third of which estates were appointed to each of the three heiresses, inherited only these lands; for the eldest, marrying Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy, 1448, carried to her husband a small grant of lands adjoining Glenorchy, extending to somewhat less than six2 merks out of the Lorne estates (Orig. Par. Sc.)

Such is the story of the “blazoning” of the Galley “For Lorne” on the shields of the Campbells of Argyle and Breadalbane.

1 The eldest married Glenorchy; the second, Sir Colin Campbell, first Earl of Argyll; the third, Arthur Campbell of Ottar.

2 Or as another authority says, an eighteen-merk land.

— Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).

The Laird of Achallader and MacIntyre

Ruin of Achallader Castle. The castle formerly rose to three storeys and a garret, well defended by shot-holes. Now only two walls, one with a trace of corbelling, remain, sheltering the farm buildings of Achallader Farm.
Ruin of Achallader Castle. The castle formerly rose to three storeys and a garret, well defended by shot-holes. Now only two walls, one with a trace of corbelling, remain, sheltering the farm buildings of Achallader Farm.

DUNCAN BÀN was forester in the upper part of Glenlochy (Gleann-lòcha). Achallader removed him thence, and put a friend of his own in his place. The bard was of course much offended, and consequently composed a bitter satirical song to his successor. This offended Achallader, who was resolved somehow to punish Duncan for it. Duncan Bàn attended Killin (Cillfhinn) fair, and Achallader saw him, struck him hard with his staff, and said to him —

“Make a song to that!”

“Well, Sir Achallader,” rejoined the bard, “I will do that, sir, as you have asked me to do so.”

Achallader was a thin, slender, ill-favoured, ill-formed man, and he squinted. Duncan sang extemporarily the following song:–

“Bha mi latha ‘siubhal sraid,
‘S fhuair mi tàmailt ro mhòr;
‘S ann o fhear na h-amhaich caoile —
‘S e Iain claon an Achaidh-mhòir.
“I was one day walking a street,
And a great insult I received;
‘Twas from the man of the thin neck —
Squint-eyed John of Achamore!
Fear crot-shuileach — haothaill-hothainn
Fear geoc-shuileach — hòthaill eo:
Gur coltach thu — haothaill-hothainn
Ri crochadair — hòthaill ò.”
A skew-eyed fellow — hooill-hothin —
A wry-eyed fellow — hohill yaw:
How like is he — hooill-hothin —
To a hangman — hohill aw.”

Written down as given by Catherine MacFarlane already mentioned.

HECTOR MACLEAN.

BALLYGRANT, ISLAY, November 23, 1883.

— Supplied by Mr. Hector MacLean, Ballygrant, Islay; Lord Archibald Campbell’s Records of Argyll (1885).