THE KINTYRE
ANTIQUARIAN and
NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY
MAGAZINE

Taken from
Issue Number 52 Autumn 2002

CONTENTS

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THE REV ALEXANDER STEWART (1755-1798) OF THE KINTYRE 'PARK' STEWARTS: FACTS AND HEARSAY
David Jackson

A few years ago when investigating my Kintyre Stewart ancestors I was shocked to learn not only that the early church records of Killean and Ki1chenzie Parish had been irretrievably destroyed in the late 18th century, but also that one of my early Stewart relations was somehow involved in their destruction! That relation was the Rev. Alexander Stewart (1755-1798), son of Andrew Stewart in Park or Skeroblinraid (1715-1790) and Barbara McVicar (1715-1799). He was then minister of Killean and Ki1chenzie combined parishes, having previously served as an army deputy-chaplain of the 42nd Highlanders (the 'Black Watch' or Royal Highland Regiment). Though hearsay and scandal are not normal subjects for local history, I can perhaps be forgiven for presenting here all that I could subsequently learn about Alexander Stewart's life and deeds - rumoured bar sinister and all. (1)

Most of the details about the life of the Rev. Alexander Stewart are provided in a brief biographical sketch contained in the official Scottish Church History, the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae. (2) I quote that account here, filling in some abbreviations (my additions appear between square brackets):

ALEXANDER STUART, born 1755, second son of Andrew S., farmer at Park, in the parish; educated at Univ. of Glasgow, licen. by Presb. of Islay 5th April 1780, ord[ ained] by it 18th April 1782, as deputy-chaplain of the 42nd Highlanders; adm[itted] to Jura and Colonsay 22nd Sept. 1786; pres[ented] by John, Duke of Argyll, Oct. 1790; trans[lated] and adm. 15th June 1791; died 22nd Dec. 1798. He man. 21st Aug. 1788, Margaret (died 6th Sept. 1832) daugh. of Robert Thomson, his predecessor, and had issue - Robert born 6th June 1789; Charles born 5th March 1791 [both these sons were officers in the army and fought at Waterloo]; Andrew born 9th April 1792; James born 10th April 1794; Alexander McDonald, born 16th Feb. 1797. Publication: Account of the Parish (Sinclair's Stat. Ace., xix.)

Thus the Rev~ Alexander began his ecclesiastical career at Islay in 1780, after he had completed his studies at the University of Glasgow. Then in 1782 he was ordained as assistant chaplain of the 42nd Regiment, which was the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada. His period with the Black Watch was 1782-86, and the regiment was in Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton) from 1782-1789.

After four years in Nova Scotia, he returned to Scotland. He ministered at Jura and Colonsay for about four or five years (1786-1790/91) and then at the combined parishes of Kil1ean and Ki1chenzie for seven years (1791-1798). He wrote the Statistical Account for the parish of Killean and Ki1chenzie in 1797. During his term, the parish records were destroyed by fire, and experts on local history repeat the oral account that this event was connected with his having found a bar sinister in his tree!

The implication of this rumor is that Alexander found in the parish birth records evidence of iIIegitimacy in his own family tree and so burnt the entire book just to get rid of one entry. For me the theory sounds far-fetched, since there should have been easier ways to efface a single entry than consigning the entire volume to flames. But perhaps Kintyre historians have more evidence of Alexander's blundering short-sightedness. Or was this to be understood as an unpremeditated crime of passion - for a crime it would have been - committed in a pique of offended honour by the community's chief opponent of 'natural' (or 'unlawfully born') children? Even assuming that the rumour is correct, Alexander should have known that more than one Stewart noble line issued originally from the 'natural son' of a less-than-matrimonial union.

Or could the illegitimate birth have been on his maternal side, in the ancestry of Barbara McVicar? Barbara was, I think, the granddaughter of Bailie Patrick McVicar and Barbara Campbell and thus would have been great-granddaughter of Major John Campbell (d. 1685). This John Campbell, according to tradition, was the unacknowledged son of one of the Earls of Argyll. (3)

Though the contemporary baptism records of Killean and Ki1chenzie were thus forever lost, one of Alexander's successors did add the following records for the children of Alexander and his wife Margaret Thomson (d. 1832) to the subsequent parish records: Names of the Children Lawfully born to the Rev. Alex. Stuart late Minister of Killean and Margaret Thomson his spouse:

  • Robert, born in Jura 6th June 1789
  • Charles born at RosshiII [now Rosehill] 5th of March 1791
  • Andrew born at ditto 9 of April 1792
  • James born at ditto 10 April 1794
  • Alexander Donald born do. 16th July 1797.
It is interes

ting to note that the mother of Alexander's wife was Elizabeth Stewart, oldest daughter of the Rev. Charles Stewart (1682-1765), a minister from another of the al1ied Stewart families in southern Kintyre in the 18th century. Charles Stewart's life has been investigated by the late Mr. Ian Stewart in two previous issues of this journal. (4)

Descendants of Alexander Stewart

As for the Rev. Alexander's sons, the eldest of whom was just nine at his father's death, most went on to lead a military life. As far as I could determine, none of his descendants followed in his footsteps and chose an ecclesiastical career. A little more could be learned about his sons:

  • (1) Robert Thomson Stewart, b. 6 June 1789, Lieu1. 28th Reg1. of Foot & at Waterloo in 1815. Married 1. Agnes Fish. 2. Harriet Campbell (c. 1791 - 26 July 1880). In 1851 Census residing with Harriet and daughter Jessie at Grassfield, Tarbert. Robert Thomson Stewart died 28 Jan. 1870, at Princes S1., Campbeltown (record 507 228).
  • (2) Charles Stewart, b. 5 March 1791, said by family tradition to have been an 'officer in army and at Waterloo, 1815'; in Gortanane, Killean and Ki1chenzie, 1841 Census, where he is said to be 50 years old, Army, 71st.
  • (3) Andrew Stewart, b. 9 Apr. 1792
  • (4) James Stewart, b. 10 ApI. 1794, according to family tradition: 'an officer in army and at Waterloo, 1815'.
  • (5) Alexander McDonald Stewart~, b. 16 Feb. 1797; in Gortanane, Killean and Ki1chenzie, 1841 Census, 40 years old, Marines.

Robert Thomson Stewart was named after his maternal grandfather, the Rev. Robert Thomson. He belonged to the 28th Regiment, which was the Gloucestershire Regiment. In the Waterloo Roll he is mentioned as 'Robert Thomson Stuart 28 (or North Glos.) Reg1. of Foot Ensign 5 Aug 1813.' On his death record (Campbeltown, 507 28) it is stated that he was 'Lieutenant 28th Foot (half pay)'. The death record of his second wife, Harriet Campbell Stewart (Campbeltown, 507 143) states that he was 'Lieutenant H.M .. Bart'.' The same record reveals that her parents were John Campbell, Commander H.M. Revenue service (deceased) and Mary Hewitt (deceased).

The entry for Robert Thomson Stewart's second marriage, in the Campbeltown O.P.R., reads: 'Robert Stewart lieutenant of [illegible] regiment of foot and Harriet Campbell, both of this parish were married 13th June 1831.' One can see that Harriet was not the mother of his daughter Jessie (c 1818 - 1899). This second marriage evidently resulted in' no issue, or at least none that survived. But his first marriage, to Agnes Fish, produced more than one child. These seem to have included:

  • (1) Jessie Stuart, b. c. 1819; d. 10 March 1899, Greenock, rec. no. 564/2 160), never married.
  • (2) ?Charles, b. c. 1826
  • (3) ?Margaret, b. c. 1826
  • (4) Andrew Charles James Stewart; b. 10 May 1829, bapt. 7 Aug 1829, Campbeltown O.P.R.

Jessie was living with her parents at Grassfield, Tarbert, in the 1851 Census. The same daughter, Jessie, was living 40 years later at 51 Union St., Greenock, at the time of the Census of 5 April 1891. She was listed there as cousin of the head of household, Elisa Robertson (age 66, b. Greenock). Jessie was then 71, living on 'private means', born Campbeltown. Her death record (d. 10 March 1899, Greenock, rec. no. 564/2 160), gives the information that her mother was 'Agnes Stuart m. Fish (dec)'.

Three further children, one or more of whom were probably Jessie's siblings, were: Charles Steuart, age 15, b Argyll; Margaret, age 15, b. Argyll; and Andrew, age 12, b. Argyll. These Stewart children are listed consecutively in the Census of 7 June 1841 on the farm Gortanane, Killean and Ki1chenzie, appearing just before their paternal uncles Charles and Alexander Stewart. The latter two brothers of Robert . Thomson Stewart are here said to be, respectively: 50 years old, 'Army 71st', born Argyll, and 40 years old, 'Marines', born Argyll. The main farmer of Gortanane at the time was 'Mrs. Stewart' (Agnes Clark, widow of Peter Stewart [1790-1835], son of William Stewart [farmer Calliburn] and Mary McConachy).

That one or more of the three children were children of Robert is supported by the fact that the 12-year-old Andrew on the farm perfectly matches the 'Andrew Charles James Stewart' who was born 10 May 1829 and bapt. 7 Aug 1829, Campbeltown. The Old Parish Record described him as 'lawful son of Lieutenant Robert Stewart and Agnes Stewart'. Moreover, it is otherwise known that Robert was renting 'Gortanane House' from MacDonald of Largie in 1848. The archives in Lochgilphead contain records of Robert then paying the annual rent of £13 5s and record that he was then £11 17s 6d in arrears from the year before. (5)

Lieutenant Robert Stewart died in 1870 and his grave monument is found in Kilkerran. It reads: 'Sacred to the memory of Robert Thomson Stuart late Lieut. in H.M. 28th Regiment of Foot who died 28th January 1870, in his 81st year And his wife Harriet Campbell who died 26th July 1880 in her 89th year Also his daughter Jessie Stuart died 10th March 1899 in her 81st year.'

So far I have been unable to trace further Robert Thomson Stewart's brother (3) Andrew Stewart, b. 9 Apr. 1792 (died young?) or (4) James Stewart, b. 10 Apr. 1794, the second of whom was likewise, according to later American family tradition, an 'officer in army and at Waterloo, 1815' .

Concluding Remarks

The above lines are presented as a preliminary report. I confess that I have not yet scoured all relevant church and military records in search of further clues - a blot on the honour of a historian almost as great as a bar sinister. I am sure more could be found out about Rev. Alexander and his kin if the right sources could only be traced.

Unlike many of the 'Park' Stewarts, Rev Alexander Stewart did not live to old age. He died at the age of just 41 or 42, before his youngest son had reached the age of two. Could a difficult situation at home after his death have encouraged his sons to enlist in the army? Their father, the former army chaplain and Kintyre minister, might well have guided them in other directions had he been granted a longer span of years. Such speculations aside, it would be fascinating to learn more about what happened to those priceless parish records and Alexander's role in the matter. Any ideas?

Notes:

  • 1. This is one of two articles on Kintyre Stewarts dedicated to the memory of Mr. Ian Stewart, Campbeltown, who was a great inspiration and help.
  • 2. Scott, Hew, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Vol IV, Synods of Argyll, and of Perth and Stirling; Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1923, p 60. I am indebted to Mr. Ian Stewart for pointing me toward this indispensable source.
  • 3. See the article devoted to him by AIB Stewart, 'Major John Campbell ob. 1685', The Kintyre Magazine, no 29, pp 15-20. See also AlB Stewart, 'Bailie Patrick McVicar and His Issue', The Scottish Genealogist, vol 35-4 (Dec 1988), pp 162-169.
  • 4. See A I B Stewart, 'James Stewart - Fact or Fiction; Another Dunaverty Mystery', The Kintyre Magazine, no:16, pp 17-20 & 9, and 'Sons of the Highland Manse', The Kintyre Magazine, no 17, pp 17-20.
  • 5. I am indebted to Mr. Donald Stewart of Lanark for several details about Lt Robert Stewart and his descendants.

The compiler o/the above article would appreciate hearing from anyone interested in Rev Alexander Stewart or related Kintyre Stewarts. His address is: Kirchenstrasse 1, 22869 Schenefeld, Germany.

BURGH POLICE COURT .... On Saturday, John Kane, master of a vessel in the harbour, was sentenced to pay a fine of £3 3s or go to prison for 42 days, for taking away sand from the Dorling. Courier, 29/9/1882.
SADDELL ABBEY
Frances Hood

On 23 August 2002, after more than 15 years of campaigning by this Society, the newly restored Abbey was officially opened to the public. The carved stones had been cleaned and erected in a new shelter.

This Cistercian monastery is unusual in that it was the daughter house of the Irish monastery at Mellifont, and the architects, builders and the founder-monks may have come from there. All the other Cistercian establishments in Scotland came from bases in Europe, mainly France.

Somerled is credited with the founding of the Abbey in 1160, but as he was killed at the Battle of Renfrew in 1164, his son Reginald was responsible for the building after the ground was consecrated with soil from Rome.

Somerled had risen to become the most powerful leader in Argyll and the west of Scotland and is credited with having freed Argyll from Norse rule. His grandson Donald was the progenitor of the MacDonald clan.

The Abbey is situated in a sheltered spot on the south side of the mouth of Saddell Glen between Saddell River and Allt an Manach (Stream of the Monks). The ground is fertile and a short distance to the east is . Saddell Bay and the Kilbrannan Sound.

Cistercian monasteries followed a basic design - an aisle less church on the north side of a cloister which was enclosed by east, north and south ranges and a north and south transept.

The Cistercians lived a simple life as farmers and cattle-breeders. They were known as the 'Grey Monks' due to their plainly-woven white robes with black hoods.

The Abbey is ruinous owing to neglect and many stones having been removed for the buildings surrounding Saddell Castle, constructed for the Bishop of Argyll in 1508, and possibly for the 18th century Saddell House.

The carved stones were gathered by a previous laird from beside Sad dell River and lay within the walls of the Abbey for many years. About 30 years ago, the Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society, with the help of Argyll & Bute Council and Dr Kenneth Steer of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, moved the carved gravestones into a shelter near the entrance. This monstrosity became known as the 'Petrol Filling Station' and only served the purpose of eroding the stones further, as they were still exposed to all weathers.

Some of these medieval slabs had been carved locally, but others were of lona stone. Other fragments of carved stones lying in the grounds were taken to Campbeltown Museum, and the Abbey itself is surrounded by burials from the 18th century up to the present day.

Very little is known historically about Saddell Abbey, although over the years some papers have turned up in the Vatican, in which it is said the monks still pray for their brothers at Saddell. When King Haakon's fleet was anchored off Gigha, before the Battle of Largs in 1263, the Grey Monks came to Haakon to ask for protection, which was granted. Haakon's priest, Simon, took ill and died and the Grey Monks covered him with a silk cloth and buried him, presumably at Saddell.

Over the last 20 years, the Society had written to Historic Scotland complaining about the state of the walls of the Abbey and also the neglect in other chapels in Kintyre, namely Killean, Southend and Kilkivan.

We then tried the Adopt-a-Monument Scheme, started by CSA (Council for Scottish Archaeology) to secure funding to transfer the stones to a better shelter. For several years, various bodies took an interest. PHT Consultants did a feasibility study; the Countryside Trust, then CAKE (Campbeltown and Kintyre Enterprise) took over; but it wasn't until Brook Mullen Peden Architects were commissioned to prepare a management plan in 1995 that things slowly began to happen.

The Saddell Abbey Trust was formed, in January 2000, from various interested parties, including the Antiquarian Society, and with Heritage Lottery funding amounting to a massive £365,000, work finally started in 2001. A team of experts cleared, consolidated and re-mortared the remaining walls of the Abbey, finding another 14th century gravestone in the process. An archaeologist was appointed to oversee the work.

Graciela Ainsworth, a stone expert, removed all the carved stones to Edinburgh for cleaning while the new shelter was built and a small car-park formed at the 'entrance to the village, with interpretative plaques throughout. The stones will never again be seen in the condition that Captain White drew them over 100 years ago, but at least a small part of Kintyre's history has been preserved for the future. 18 September, 2002

THE WRECK OF THE BEN-MY-CHREE. The sale of this wreck took place on Wednesday at Peninver, under the direction of Mr. John Muir, Lloyd's agent. The entire wreck, including chains, anchors, etc., only realised a little over £48. Since the wreck the crew have been staying with Mr. Charles McConachy, Ardnacross, whose son first gave the alarm and assisted the rescue of the men. Courier, 24/2/1883.


APPRECIATIONS

VICTOR E CLARK JR was a warm and enthusiastic man, eager to learn all he could about his own family heritage, and to help others to pursue their own quests.

I first made his acquaintance some time in 1986, while he was preparing the first issues of Argyll Colony Plus. These were simple mimeographed pages, punched for insertion into a three-ring binder. He had seen one of my queries, concerning a Clark in South Carolina (not one of his relatives, by the way) and one discussion led to another. Before long I was typing and/or indexing almost everything that appeared in his magazine.

Vic lived in Dallas, Texas, at that time with his second wife, Bonnie. A veteran of World War II, his health had been precarious, and he had had a heart bypass at some time before I met him. However, his enthusiasm for searching out nuggets of information on the North Carolina Scots was his strongest drive. He made several long visits to North Carolina to visit friends and family, explore historic sites and acquire boxfuls of old papers. One of his greatest prizes was an unpublished manuscript of the history of the Scots in North Carolina, complete with the permission to put it into print.

Over the years the appearance and quality of the magazine improved, and it won a number of awards. During that period, Vic coaxed authors on both continents to submit for publication fine articles on the Kintyre Scots who settled in North Carolina, on their descendants and on their origins in Scotland. Vic also delighted in his participation in the annual Highland Gathering, bringing each year speakers and honorees who could further Americans' understanding of their Scottish heritage. He strongly encouraged descendants of the North Carolina Scots to visit Kintyre.

In 1993 Vic and Bonnie divorced and he moved to North Carolina to be near his relatives. Within a year or two, however, he moved again, to be near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In spite of his declining health, his enthusiasm for the underlying purpose of his magazine remained undiminished, even as he passed the editorship on to a younger man.

Lt Col Victor E Clark Jr died on October 29, 2001. He is survived by an uncountable number of Americans whose pride in their Kintyre origins has never been greater.

Louise Davis Curry, Snow, Oklahoma.


ANGUS MAC VICAR.

It was only in the last dozen or so years of his life that I came to know Angus MacVicar really well. I had always known of him, for his name appeared often in the local and national press. Also, I am old enough to remember The Lost Planet series and the stories of The Glens of Glendale. I had always known of the author, playwright, storyteller - legend in his own time in Kintyre and beyond. But when I was first attached to Southend Church, shortly after I started to train as Reader in the Church of Scotland, I came to know and to appreciate the sterling qualities of the man behind the name.

Although Angus was brought up with early 20th century ideas of the Presbyterian Church, he was very much a person of the late 20th century in that he accepted so-called innovations in the Kirk - like women in roles of ministry and the eldership. Although he looked away back to the ministry of St Columba, he yet accepted the different ministry offered to him in the late 20th century, and compared that ministry - sometimes favourably - with that of Columba. His greatest compliment at the church door after morning worship was to say, 'Columba could have preached a sermon like that.'

I appreciated his support of my ministry as a Reader in Southend. Many times, when I stood trembling and fearful at the church door before a service, he would put his hand on my shoulder and say in that deep voice with its wee impediment, 'It'll be all right, Agnes.'

Of course, he did not always agree with what I - or anyone else - said from the pulpit. Many times he said, 'It was a good enough sermon; but I don't agree with you.' But, then, it would be a dull world if we all agreed with one another all the time.

When, in the course of pastoral duties in the church, I visited him at Achnainara, he would say, once I had settled in a chair in his study, 'We'll have a wee dram now.' And out would come a bottle of very respectable malt whisky. Over the years, and over many 'wee drams', we came to a mutual respect and regard, though he could never understand my lack of interest in football.

I was more than grateful for Angus's support of my ministry in the two difficult years before the coming of Martin Forrest. I'm glad that Angus saw the start of Martin's ministry in Southend, for I believe that the fact that there was a new minister in the parish gave Angus the courage to relinquish his fragile hold on life.

And I like to think that as he stood trembling on the threshold of a greater life, a hand was laid on his shoulder, and a loving voice said: 'It'll be all right, Angus. Southend is safe. You can come home.'

Agnes Stewart, Campbeltown.


ARCHIE MCMILLAN (28 August 1923 - 11 November 2001)

With the death of Archie McMillan last year, Campbeltown lost not only an affable repository of local lore, but also a talented landscape painter.

His mother, Flora Logan, belonged to Imeraval, Port Ellen, and it was on Islay that Archie spent the first four years of his life, before arriving in Dalintober in 1927. Archie's father, Peter McMillan - of local 19th century Irish migrant stock - was a painter with Galbraith and Cochrane, and met Flora while working on the island. Gaelic was Archie's first language and he and his brother Donald had stones thrown at them in the streets of Campbeltown for speaking it. As Archie himself reasoned, Gaelic, to his persecutors, would be as much 'gibberish' as tinkers' cant. In time, Archie lost all fluency, though his speech to the last carried with it certain Gaelic indicators - 'stick', e.g., was always pronounced 'shtick'.

Peter McMillan's First World War experience with the Argyll and Bute Mountain Battery included the disastrous Gallipoli campaign of 1915, and Archie too saw active service during the Second World War. From 6 August 1942 until 17 October 1945, he was a wireless operator in the Royal Tank Regiment, first in North Africa and then in Italy. From tanks, he was transferred to the Queen's Bays and served as Post Corporal at Barnard Castle until demobilised on 6 June, 1947.

On 29 June, 1946, Archie had married Edna Martin in her home town of Snodland, Kent. Edna's father, a Royal Navy Reservist, was stationed in Campbeltown, and it was in the Mayfair Cafe, in 1942, that Edna and Archie first met. They had a daughter, Jean, and a son, Rodger, who gave them three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Most of Archie's working life - from 1957 to 1982, when he retired early through ill health - was spent as a postman, in which capacity he became a popular figure - cheery and helpful - not only in Campbeltown, but also in the rural communities to which he delivered by van.

Archie's mind ranged widely and his opinions were both deeply considered and tenaciously defended. His greatest passion, however, and the accomplishment by which he will best be remembered, was painting. He took it up about the time of his marriage and attended evening classes in Campbeltown. In 1963, for a harbour scene titled 'Messing about in Boats', Archie won the prestigious Mickleborough Trophy, awarded for the best painting at the annual exhibition of the Post Office Art Club of Great Britain.

His sensitive and impeccably-executed watercolours hang in many Kintyre homes, each one, I'm sure, cherished as the unique expression of one whose natural modesty belied a real artistic commitment.

Angus Martin, Campbeltown

ARCHIE MCMILLAN (cont.) Archie was a member of an evening class in the Old Grammar in the '50s. I remember he showed me what he had been doing himself at home - strong black-ink highly stylised cartoons. He was just full of enthusiasm to draw. But I think he very soon started landscapes.

I was little in touch with his painting until coming home again to Kintyre in '85, by which time, I think, he was 'concentrating on watercolour, gradually using less linear detail of fences, etc., to create depth, and using tone and light instead. He was an honest painter, lacking pretension or superficiality and relying on his own observation and handling of a difficult medium to create delicate studies of our local scene, particularly the calm atmosphere and soft light.

He was not complacent and was continuing to develop in his own way. One does not often find expression undeterred by outside influences. It is sometimes overwhelmed and lost if exposed to formal tuition. He was a very able painter, touching the observer gently with what he valued and enjoyed as he journeyed around Kintyre.

Lily Cregeen, Ballochgair ,Cottage.


MACHRIHANISH: WHAT'S ITS MEANING? I was recently asked for a translation of the place-name Machrihanish and consulted The Place Names of the Parish of Campbeltown (1943), which directs the reader to Professor W J Watson's great work The Celtic Place-Names of Scotland (1926), from which - PP 506-7 - I quote below. Ed.

'Machrihanish in Kintyre is for Machair Shanais, "plain of Sanas"; near it is Loch Sanish, on Blaeu's map "Loch Sannaish". An alternative name for it - perhaps the earlier name - was Magh Sanais: an elegy on "Niall Óg Mhachra Shanuis" contains the lines "sgaoil a fhréimh ó chi an fa Shanuis," "his root (ancestors) spread from of old about Sanas," and "chaochail Magh Sanuis gu mór," "the plain of Sanas has greatly changed." There was another Magh Sanais in Connaght. Sanas, mas. or fem., ordinarily means "a whisper, a hint, a secret, a warning," and it may mean so here, but in some instances it seems to denote some kind of plant: gass sanais is "a stalk of sanas"; in the tale of the Battle of Ventry it is said "we would form a druidical host around thee of the, stalklets of sanas" (do na geosadánaibh sanaisi). It is difficult to say whether the meaning here is "whispering stalks" or "stalks of a plant called sanas,' and I find nothing really decisive: Loch Sanais may mean "whispering loch," and the plain may have been named after the loch.'

Copyright belongs to the authors unless otherwise stated.

The Kintyre Antiquarian & Natural History Society was founded in 1921 and exists to promote the history, archaeology and natural history of the peninsula.
It organises monthly lectures in Campbeltown - from October to April, annually - and has published its journal, 'The Kintyre Magazine', twice a year since 1977, in addition to a range of books on diverse subjects relating to Kintyre.

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