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Little is known about the first 400 years of Killean Church's history. The church at Killean - two miles north of the
present church at A'Chleit - was built in 1245 following its grant by Alexander II to The Bishop of Argyll. The name of
Killean Church sometimes appears as "Ecclesia Sancti Joannis" - The Church of St. John - as from 'Eoin' or 'Iain'.

A deed of Donald, Lord of The Isles, was witnessed by one Sir Archibald McGillivray, Vicar of Killean, sometime, it
is believed, between 1380 and 1423.

Nothing appears to say anything about Killean and the era of The Reformation the story of Killean can only be
reported from 1641 onwards.

In 1641 the parish of Killean was joined to that of Saddell of which parish Murdo McWhirrie (or McCurrie) was the
Protestant minister.

The times were troubled - A skirmish, rather than a battle, took place at Rhunahaorine Moss on Tuesday, May 25,
1647 between the retreating Macdonald's army and the vanguard of Leslie's advancing force.

The Macdonalds retreated to Dunaverty Castle and, when the garrison fell, more than 300 Macdonalds were put to the

From about 1672 until 1696, Killean's minister was one John Cunison, a Covenanting minister. Of him it was
remarked that "the frailty of ministers could not be attributed to him for he never canted nor recanted like some of his

In 1770, tradition holds, Killean's minister, Robert Thomson, made very clear to his congregation that they should
not attempt to enter the old Killean Church for the service that morning for he was fearful of danger befalling anyone
going inside.

Some later believed that an angel had appeared before Thomson to give warning but, in the course of a prayer, the
heavy freestone roof of the church fell in with a terrible crash. It would be 20 years before the congregation again
could worship inside a building - at Chleit.

In 1774, Flora Macdonald, she who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape and now aged 52, sailed with her husband,
Alan, for North Carolina, landing near Campbelltown, on the Cape Fear River.

Flora's mother was the daughter of the Rev. Angus Macdonald, his wife a lady of the family at Largie, beside
Tayinloan and Flora had indeed herself visited Largie for a year when younger.

In 1789, work started on the building of the new church at Chleit. Dogged by heavy rain and gales, buildmg work
continued throughout the winter in order to hawe the new church near complete for June 1st, 1790. The original
estimate had been for around £540 but the builder, Thomas Cairns of Campbeltown, seems to have been further
remunerated for his expenses - including having to daily bail out the stone quarry.

There is no record of when the first service was held at Chleit - Known only is that, on the death of the Rev.
Alexander Stewart, his assistant, Donald Macdonald, took over and was admitted as minister "in the new church
building at Chleit" on Wednesday, August 21st, 1799.

Chleit has no graveyard of its own so funerals go to the old church graveyard at Killean or to the cemetery on the shore
at Cladh Nam Paitean, it first reported to have been used in l699. So to 'The Annals of Killean'.

Just a mile to the south of Tayinloan, on the west side of Kintyre, lie the ruins of the church of Killean. Even though
roofless for a 100 years befare the new church at A'Chleit, two miles to the south, was built the successive ministers
continued, to dispense the ordinances in rain, snow and tempest in the ruined building unwilling to relinquish their
now ancient charge.

The story of Killean was set out by the Rev. D. J MacDonald in his "Annals of Killean", once published in 'The
Campbeltown Courier'. Some detail has been added to MacDonald's text and at the same time some omitted - in
particular the generally known Scottish history surrounding the period 1400 - 1650 which neither adds to nor detracts
from the story of Killean which appears mother church of Kintyre.

The church was granted by Alexander II to The Bishop of Argyll in 1243. - A "building not without architectural
finish was provided having a double light window in the east gable, a moulding carried above and a window, of the
Norman type, on the south. Here too is the burial vault of the MacDonald of Largie - "Here rest the Bones of the
House of Largie" being inscribed - slit-windowed and containing ancient tombs, sword-slabs with Celtic decoration and
at least two knightly effigies.

The name of the church sometimes appears as "Eecleaia Sancti Joannis" - The Church of St. John, as from 'Eoin' or

Of the first four hundred years of Killean's history there is little on record. Roderick, holding the Lordship of Kintyre
and Bute, some time before 1251, granted "five penny lands in honour of St Mary and St John - three from the Church
of St. John (Killean) and two from the Church of St. Mary (Kilmarrow).

It is said too that there is a deed of Donald, Lord of The Isles, which was witnessed by one Sir Archibald McGillivray,
Vicar of Killean, which must have been written sometime between 1380 and 1423.

Nothing appears to say anything about Killean and the era of Reformation which began around 1560 and the story of
Killean can only be reported from 1641 onwards. Records have been lost but not so many as to disturb the main thrust
of the history.

In 1641 the parish of Killean was joined to that of Saddell of which parish Murdo McWhirrie (or McCurrie) was the
Protestant minister. The charge required that the minister duly go to Gigha once every six weeks.

The following year, 1642, a change took place and Martin MacLauchlan, an Islay minister, was instructed to visit
Killean occasionally to administer the ordinances.

These were troubled times, injurious to the peace and prosperity of the Church in Argyll and Kintyre for Montrose had
made a rapid and unexpected descent from the north and "Kintyre became like a desert its few inhabitants became the
prey of a fearful pestilence which followed in the train of all their other calamities".

Church Synod records state that members could not attend the meeting scheduled to be held in Inveraray in 1644 and
in 1646 absentees were excused because of the country's troubles. The Presbytery of Cowal had sought shelter in The
Lowlands, the Presbytery of Kintyre, under rebel control, had no members resident in Kintyre - this too the case in the
Presbytery of Argyll and Lorn - and any presbytery members as might be found at all in the area were in shelter in the
A skirmish, rather than a battle, took place at Rhunhaorine Moss on Tuesday, May 25, 1647 between the retreating
MacDonalds' army and the vanguard of Leslie's advancing force - The MacDonalds retreated to Dunaverty Castle, a
grave blunder which ended with tragic results. Dunaverty's garrison fell and more than 300 Macdonalds were put to the

The first meeting noted in the Kintyre Presbytery minutes was held on Wednesday, August 15, 1655 in Campbeltown -
variously known as Lochead, Kinloch or Kilkerran. The Presbytery included Islay and Colonsay as well as Kintyre.
Among the members of the Presbytery were Dugald Darroch of Campbeltown, Martin MacLauchlan of Islay, John
Cunison of Kilbride in Arran and James Gardner of Saddell.

In October 1655, a complaint was made to the Presbytery about the numerous Sabbath-breakers. The desecration
existed in "people gathering nuts and berries on The Lord's Day and flocking to visit their friends" and Lord Neil
Campbell was recommended "to take some public course for punishing thereof within the bounds".

In 1656 Dugald Campbell of Inverawe appeared before the Presbytery "for himself and the remnant of parishioners of
Killean to prosecute a call to Mr David Simson for the work of the ministry among them" and made reference to "the
sad and deplorable condition of the people whereunto he is called" calling for Mr Simson's speedy admission to Killean
- This followed on Friday, July 25, 1656.

David Simson was a graduate of St. Andrews Universify. In 1660 he was appointed, along with many others, to
translate the Scriptures into Gaelic and was assigned for his part the First Book of Kings. Simson was undoubtedly
from "the north and on at least one occasion was excused by the Presbytery "for long absence having been very
necessarily been called to the north".

The laudable undertaking of The Synod to translate the Scriptures into Gaelic proved fruitless at that time because of
The Restoration and the work was delayed was nearly 150 years.

At this time English-speaking ministers were being settled in parishes which were subsequently made Gaelic charges.
This seems to have been the case in Saddell where the minister, James Gardner, "bad, for his learning and piety, been
appointed chaplain to the devoted Marquis of Argyll - He thus incurred suspicion which led to his ruin".

Gardner was summoned to appear before The Privy Council in Edinburgh with two other ministers in 1662 and had
sentence of banishment given against him. He was banished to Holland but later, privately, came back to Scotland and
died in Glasgow.

Dugald Campbell of Inverawe was ruling elder of Killean when he made his call for David Simson's appointment. Until
David Simson settled in the parish it was said that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" and Simson's Kirk
Session set to sort out the delinquents.

At a meeting in Killean on Friday, September 5» 1658, attended by Dugald Gampbell of Inverawe, Duncan Campbell,
Bailie of Kintyre and The Marquis of Argyll, David Simson requested help to clear the parish of trouble-makers and
Hugh Campbell of Inverawe and Duncan Campbell were authorised to impose fines - known then as 'mulets' - on the

Simson's charge of Killean also included that of Gigha. Some differences arose between the parishioners about the
building of a manse and the repair of the church building on Gigha. The Presbytery duly intervened and ordered "that
the parishioners of Gigha build or re-edify a sufficient church in the island; that they be relieved from contributing to
the building or re-edifying of the church building at Killean and, that after sending the proportion of the tiend to the
minister's chamber in Gigha, they were next to transfer the same to Killean side at their charges".

Gigha paid for the minister's travel to the island at its own expense cut the minister's return to the mainland was at
Killean's expense. Gigha was served every third Sabbath from March to September and every fourth during the winter
months. The elders, respectively, ordered the dates of meetings 'for the exact execution of discipline' and expenses for
the minister's travel to these meetings was as for his Sabbath attendances.

In 1658, after some 'inconveniences' which are not stated, a glebe of four acres of arable ground was designed for the
minister 'adjacent to Killean Church and towards the south-side thereof" giving "the sandy craigs of Killean on the east,
a little wood on the north, the highway and the rashy ground putting an end to the arable land on the other two sides".

The land was not drained and 'mots' were not cultivated, oats and corn and perhaps a little flax might have suited the
ground. "There were no fences except for some low and tottering dry"stone and turf dykes".

In 1660 the Stuart dynasty was restared to the person of Charles II and "in the latter end of March" the parliament
rescinded all the Acts which approved the Mational Covenant, the Solemn League and Covenant and the Abolition of
Bishops in Scotland and rescinded all parliaments since 1657 as wanting lawful authority only tolerating Presbyterian
government "during the king's pleasure''.

All ministers who did not conform were "outed" and deprived of their charges for refusing to conform to the system of
Church government then introduced. Those who persisted were punished with the loss of their liberty or evsn
their lives.

David Simson, minister of Killean, was "outed" in 1665 but seems some time afterwards to have been 'indulged' and
was translated to the parish of Southend. In 1685 his name appears in a list of undulged ministers who were ordered to
be liberated nn a bond of 5,000 merks each. This suggests that Simson was probably earlier imprisoned for opposing
the system of Church government. A year later Simson was banished to New Jersey in America.

Simson's son later became episcopal minister of Southend and, about l692, after making submission to the Presbytery,
was appointed minister of Kilarrow in Islay.

On David Simson's "outing" from Killean one Aeneas Macdonald, a native of Milton in South Hist and a graduate of
Glasgow University, was appointed episcopal minister of Killean, his manse situated on the brae opposite the church.

Mrs Marquiss of Cara, a second cousin to Flora Macdonald, was herself related to the Macdonalds in Milton, South
Uist. Aeneas Mac&onald deserted his charge at Killean at the Revolution and was drowned while journeying to visit his
relations in Uist.

The Rev. John Cunison, a Covenanting minister, had too "been resident in Killean during Aeneas Kacdonald' s ministry
and had been minister at Kilbride in Arran in 1655. Cunison, like Simson, was also "outed" from his charge.

A native of Perthshire, Cunison was a member of a highly respected Athole family and it was perhaps these Athole
connections which led him to view Killean and Kintyre as a fairly safe retreat.

The Marquis of Athole exercised justiciary powers in Argyll and his eldest son, who married the Duke of Hamilton's
daughter, is said to have favoured The Covenanters.

From all accounts Cunison was a man of much worth having great courage, religious zeal and a disposition to suffer in
support of his beliefs.

Cunison lived in a miserable dwelling at a place called Clach-fhionn in Strathduie Glen. For some seven years his only
means of subsistence were derived from the fishing of Strathduie Water.

William Watson, tenant of Claongart and an elder of Killean, told the Rev. Daniel Kelly of Campbeltown the following
story of John Cunison.

When living at Strathduie, a gentleman [duine-uasal) from Perthshire visited Cunison. Cunison's house had neither
window nor chimney and the smoke within 'became so annoying that they retired outside to the river-bank and
Cunison set himself to catch a fish for their meal.

While fishing Cunison told his visitor to return to Athole and tell his relatives that his house possessed one door which
served for entranoe, for the escape of smoke and for the light of Heaven to fall on the table when Providence supplied
hin with a meal.

Cunison was obviously a Covenanter with a sense of humour able to discourse facetiously amid comfortless
surroundings and in depressing circumstances - One can imagine the twinkia in his eye as he speaks of his humble
abode proving far more serviceable than the stateliest of mansions.

Another story tells how Cunison came home fron a day's fishing on Amide Loch to find a sturdy beggar, another
Athole man, on his door.

Cunison's wife had refused to give this objectionable visitor lodging for the night and it was only after some hesitation
that Cunison let the man stay.

Cunison remonstrated with the visitor for retiring to rest without engaging in prayar or thanks marking the visitor as a
ns-n wanting as much in devotion as in common civilityo Taking hold of the man, he made to evict him from his
humble dwelling but the visitor proved a formidable antagonist.

Cunison, himself a powerful man, eventually pinned him to the ground with his knee on his chest and ordered the man
to repeat his prayers The man declared he was unable to pray and had never prayed before.

Mortified by his discomfiture, the visitor added that he had never thought that any man in Scotland could have ever
laid him on his back as he was now.

John Cunison had his way and the visitor, inspired rather by his physical discomfort than hie spiritual misery, began
"God be merciful to me a sinner".

Not only did John Gunison prove a man of strong means but too he proved an active benefactor for he was
instrumental in securing a small farm tenancy for his uncouth guest.

Having lived in destitute circumstances in Kintyre for some years, Cunison at length set off for Arran to crave arrears
of stipend for his ministry. His circumstances do not lead to any conclusion that his claim could be legally supported
but nonetheless he explained his case to the Duchess of Hamilton.

The Duchess told Cunison that the Duke did in no way have any regard for his particular sect but despite this directed
Cunison to the Duke who was in the castle gardens.

Cunison put his claim for seven years payment of stipend to the Duke and the Duke, not surprisingly, denied liability
''You must be a strange man," said the Duke.

"Strange things I have known," replied Cunison. "That Bishop Sharper the fiddler's son, be sitting here at court before
the Duke of Hamilton".

Such was the effect of this remark, carefully calculated to extol, though not too fulsomely, the dignity of the house of
Hamilton that Cunison duly received his seven years back-stipend from the Duke.

Cunison's ministry was indeed proscribed at this time and he preached at considerable risk. Nonetheless he
administered the sacraments in many communities - Carradale, Gigha, Jura and Arran amongst them. In order to serve
his peoples he travelled away from roads and across hills and bums and frequently preached at night.

In the course of his residence at Clach-fionn a marriage party came to seek his services on a day when the Strathduie
Water was in full spate.

Cunison was out ploughing when the marriage party arrived and was on the opposite bank of the raging river. The
bridegroom placed the marriage lines in a napkin and .threw then across the water and Cunison, having seen that all
was in order, duly carried out the service his voice nigh drowned by the noise of the water.

He was an impressive and practical preacher and in a service at Kilchenzie made use of the text "Let all thieves cast
from them stolen goods".

At these words one of Cunison's congregation, a man with a taste for his mutton and one who just happened to have a
shoulder of mutton hidden. under his plaid at the time felt the words were levelled personally at him.

Such was the circumstance and the effect of Cunison's sermon that the man drew out the 'goods' from his plaid and
before all declared that he had never stolen from a poor man at any time and that what he had taken was from a
wealthy neighbour who could well afford "to lose" it.

In 1695 Cunison was parish minister at Killean. For how long before that year Cunison had been officially minister of
Killean is not on record.

In 1696 Cunison wrote to the Presbytery that "age and manifold. infiraities rendered, him unfit for the duty of minister"
and craved the Presbytery "to supply the charge "by an assistant" for, although Gigha no longer formed part of the
charge of Killean, the parish of Saddell had been added to the charge.

John Cunison died about 1698 "an old man and full of years". Of him it was remarked that "the frailty of ministers
could not be attributed to him for he never canted, nor recanted like some of his brethren". He was buried in Killean
graveyards, his lair marked by the name Montgomery.

Cunison's son, James, was made Bailie of Kintyre and latterly, on 'behalf of the Duchess of Argyll, made Chamberlain
of Kintyre.

In September 1696 the lairds of Largie and Carradale invited the Presbytery to supervise the subscription of a call to
Patrick Campbell, son of Duncan Campbell who was minister of South Knapdale - Ths call was accepted and Patrick
Campbell came to Killean in l699.

In 1699 too a small chapel and burial ground was opened on the shore just north of Bellochantuy and known as Cladh
Nam Paitean - Part of the old chapel, by then roofless, was converted into a pinnacled enclosure to be used for
MacAlister graves.

Patrick Gampbell's uncle and grandfather had been ministers of some note in Argyll. His uncle, too Patrick Campbell,
was inducted to the charge of Inveraray Castle in 1657 - he died in 1700 - and Lady Campbell of Auchinbreck, step-
daughter of the Earl of Argyll, testifies to 'the awakening effect' that Campbell's sermon had on her and to "having
access to hear the sweet and powerful truths at Campbeltown under Mr Cameron and Mr Keith's ministry these the
two eminent lights in that place".

Patrick Campbell of Killean's maternal grand-father had been minister at Kilfinan at the time of The Restoration and,
like Killean's David Simson, was "outed" and ordered to appear before The Privy Council. At that appearance too were
Mr Gardner of Saddell and Mr Gordon of Inveraray. Campbell of Kilfinan was 'indulged' in 1672 and later came
to the charge of the Highland Church in Campbeltown.

Patrick Campbell of Killean's father - Duncan Campbell of South Knapdale - lived to be 103 and was said to "have
been singularly overpowered with melancholy". There are some suggestions that this unfortunate disposition
was inherited by his son at Killean.

In l695, at the end of John Cunison's ministry, James Forester of Knockreavach and tacksman of the land about Barr
had approached the Presbytery towards "annexing more lands of the parish for encouraging the school at Barr" and in
the same year, 1695, John Macdonald of Largie made a plea to do nothing to prejudice the school at Killean "it being
the legal place of the school".

The Presbytery decided that "owing to the distance of the lands about Barr from Killean, a school should be planted at
Barr". It was also ordained that the salary payable by scholars within its new school district should go to support the
teacher at the new school and that he was to have a stack of corn - or the equivalent of it in each and all of the
merkland of the lands "between Putchachan and Belloch inclusive.

In order to make up to Killean School for its loss of revenue, Cunison was instructed "by the Presbytery "to cause
twelve merklands of Crossaig, "belonging to Colonel Campbell of Blythswood, to 'be cessed for the encouragement of
Killean School".

School was, of course, not compulsory at this time - Just as well when consideration is given to the great distances that
had to be walked in all weathers - Even when children did go to school there was no reason to believe that schools
were then anything substantial - earthen floors and thatched roofs being the best that many could provide.

In 1697 the schoolmaster at Killean, Neil Macneill, petitioned the Presbytery to give him "the right to the whole
baptismal and marriage fees, as he kept thp register thereof" and he also desired "to have the sole power of proclaiming
parties, seeing he lived at the church".

There were now two schoolmasters in the parish and an interest in these school privileges was, probably, claimed by a
second party. These fees forned part of the schoolmaster's salary and were claimed by him acting
as registrar.

The Presbytery decided that "the part of the fees which was the achool-master's salary should be equally divided"
between the claimant and the schoolmaster at Glenbarr.

At the time of Patrick Campbell's arrival at Killean the church building was not in sufficently good state of repair to
allow his ordination to take place there - nor did Killean have either a manse or, any longer, a glebe.

The Laird of Largie, Duncan McVicar and Archibald Cunison – presumably another son of the late John Cunison -
were appointed to find a house for the ordination of the new minister Patrick Campbell.

The following year the parish heritors and tacksmen offered the sum of £42 Scots - about £3. 10 shillings sterling - as
compensation to Patrick Gampbell for the lack of a manse and glebe.

In the same year it was resolved to build a meeting house at Corputchachan - Trainspattain had too been suggested but
it was judged too far and remote from Kilchenzie. In the end a meeting house was built to the south side of
Bellochantuy - This is the first aention of a proper place of worship here.

Patrick Campbell spent the next twenty years and more petitioning the Presbytery for improvements to hia Killean
charge and the heritors and others summoned to appear before the Presbytery were not wanting in reasons to explain
away, or at least minimise, Campbell's grievances.

"That the charge is too vast" - the parish of Killean was some 52,000 acres alone and the parish of Saddell added a
further, not only area but, distance for travelling.

"That he accepted the call on condition of Saddell being disjoined"- this happened eventually in 1755 when Saddell was
joined to Skipness giving the new parish an area of some 47,000 acres.

"That his maintenance being only 700 marks or £470 Scots - about ,£39 sterling per year and that that was badly paid;
that there was no manse or glebe or Communion elements; that his ministry was unsuccessful owing to the subject
discoursed on in one corner of the parish being forgotten ere he visited that corner again; that his knowledge of his
flock was imperfect as he could seldom visit them owing to the very vastness of his charge; that the sick were going
into eternity without his ministering to then; that his precious time was consumed by incessant toil, fatigue and travel so
that he had no time to gather food for the souls conmtted to him and that such hardships had broken his health and
would necessitate the abandoning of his ministry even though dear to him above all sublunary comforts".

Over and over again Gampbell petitioned the Presbytery to remove him to another sphere of labour, "to transport
him" or "pass an act of transportation in his favour".

Patrick Campbell lived to support his grievances for some twenty-seven years and his primary grievance, made in 1700,
that there was "neither roofed church nor meeting house in all the bounds of his charge" was seen by the Presbytery as
something of but a mere and trivial defect - Despite "the fair promises" little was done to help Patrick Campbell.

A resolution was made that "so much a merkland" be given to the minister until such time as a manse and glebe could
be provided. Then there was the promise that "on fourteen days notice they would provide elements whenever the
minister desired a Communion".

The meeting house could not be repaired however without first repairing the church - 'the trivial defect', the roof of the
church, was eventually remedied and the church made usable for some sixty years».

A manse and offices were provided in 1719, twenty years after Patrick Campbell arrived, but they were not even then in
any good state of repaire The glebe given was but about one acre of arable ground at Killean. Even by this time the
west gable of the church was reported as in danger of falling.

The Presbytery had visited Killean in 1701 had feund that "there were few or no scandals amongst the people and that
there was a visible outward reformation upon them" but a report in 1706 reflects severely "that they made little
progress in knowledge and that those remote parts of the parish neglect religious ordinances".

Until 1719, when the 'new' manse and glebe were provided, Patrick Campbell lived at Beachmore in a house which
stood to the north of the farm and. at the foot of a bank, draped with ivy, near a small stream. Outside stood a stone on
which he sat on Saturdays when meditating his service and sermon for the following day.

Despite early promises of increase to his stipend it remained pegged from 1704 until 1719 but in that year things

In 1719, in common with all Kirityre charges, stipends were raised, by a commission appointed by the Duke of Argyll,
from £470 Scots - £39 sterling to £600 Scats - £50 sterling - and there was a futher prevision of some £2. 14 shillings
for communion elements - Whatever other clergy thought, Patrick Campbell still felt grieved.

No doubt Patrick Campbell felt 1719 to 'begin reasonably well for in that year he married Mary, daughter of Dugald
Campbell of Drumnamucklach. They were to have two sons - Duncan and James, neither of whom married - and three

In October 1719 Patrick Campbell asked the Presbytery to release him from the task of crossing the hilly terrain to
preach at Saddell during the winter months on account of his then ill-health.

The Presbytery desiring "to have tender sympathy with him under his many grievances" made arrangements to supply
Saddell as requested.

On January 7, 1720 - a Thursday - the Presbytery visited the parish and a complaint made against the minister by some
of the people "for depriving them of their portion of worship" - This referred to the holding of a service at Arnicle
where the manse had at one tine earlier been situated.

Patrick Campbell represented to the Presbytery "that he preached there out of regard to the good of the whole parish" -
It was, supposed to make it in some way easier to allow Saddell people to attend worship.

The Presbytery took a different view and advised him that, for the future, he was not to preach at Arniole again unless
"on a Fast Day or some public occasion". In his forty-ninth year, Patrick Campbell died on February 14, 1726 and was
buried in South Knapdale.

Patrick Campbell was succeeded by John MacLean, son of Charles Macneil bane MacLean of Mull. Licensed by the
Presbytery of Lorn, he was ordained on Wednesday, May 8, 1728. John Maclean, in the fifteenth year of his ministry,
died on Monday, January 17, 1745 - The charge at Killean was then vacant for more than a year before the arrival of a
new minister.

At the end of 1743, the call went to Robert Thonson, tutor to Baron Maccneal of Ugadale's two sons - John and
Hector. Thomson, a native of Ayrshire, had been left an orphan and brought up by his uncle, a Dr Thomson to whom
a monument stands in the old College Churchyard. Robert Thomson was ordained on Wednesday, April 25, 1744.

About this time a young gentlewoman, of whose humanity and heroism The World would hear, came to spend a year in
the house of Macdonald of Largie - her name was Flora Macdonald.

Thirty years later, Or Johnson described her as "a woman of middle stature, soft features, gentle manners and elegant
presence" - Flora's mother was the daughter of the Rev Angus Macdonald whose wife was a lady of the Largie family.

Flora's sister's daughter, Catherine Macdonald, would later marry Neil McCarmaig whose family farmed at Dunashery
(Doonaserie) near Rhunahaorine and were too tenants of the old meal mill at Kilmichael, at the entrance to Bellachroy
Glen. Nell's father, John, married to Barbara McEachern, emigrated to Carolina about 1766.

In 1774 Flora Macdonald, then aged 52 and her husband Allan, with their two sons, Alexander and James, left Skye for
North Carolina. They landed near Campbelltown on the Cape Fear River.

Flora Macdonald had relatives already living in Carolina including her step-father, Hugh Macdonald and her half-sister
Annabella and, for a time, Flora and her family stayed with Annabella at her home at Mt Pleasant, near Barbecue
Church where the Rev James Campbell held the charge.

The Rev. James Campbell had left Campbeltown in the 1730's and, licensed in Pennsylvania in 1755 as a Presbyterian
minister, had moved to North Carolina in 1758.

Many Kintyre people had gone to Carolina and Campbelltown, later called Fayetteville, had been founded about 1740.
More shall "be said of the conditions in Kintyre which led to so many leaving for a life in Americae

It would seem that Killean's new minister Robert Thomson favoured, if not indeed originated, the idea of abandoning
the ruinous church at Killean in favour of a site at Muasdale which was to be considered at the centre of the parish
were it to be disjoined from that of Saddell. Indeed the proposal appears to have surfaced about 1749 and the discreet
of The Lords Commissioners, dated, Monday, June 11, 1755, "suppressed the churches of Killean and Beallachantuie
and ordained a new church to be built upon the lands of Muasdale in the centre of the parish".

In 1755 the Presbytery appointed "two honest and discreet men" – Archibald Stewart of Uladale or Ugadale and
Ronald Macalister of Barr - "to view the manse and glebe at Killsan". They found the house ruinous, of one story,
supported by props - The glebe axtended to one acre and one rood.

Robert Thomson was then living at Blary - later he moved to Rosshill, which later was known as Rosehill.

In 1758 Thomson engaged in meetings with the "Duke of Argyll about a new church building in Muasdale an idea
which found favour with the Duke.

Two years later, in 1760, an arable glebe of four Scotch acres - with half an acre for manse and offices - was designed
out of the lands of Muasdale, which belonged to the Duke of Argyll. The boundaries were very exactly defined and the
comprisers were Alexander Craig, gardener at Barr, James Campbell of Beachmore and Lachlan MacKeil of Kilmaluag.

That a minister was entitled to grass as well as arable glebeland Robert Thomson would retain the small glebe at Killean
together with which there had been obtained, at some time or other, the servitude of 'three cows' grass" on the lands of
Auchaloiskin which also belonged to the Duke - It was not however until 1803 – some forty years later - that the
manse would be built and the minister abandon Rosshill.

When that did eventually happen in 1803, the Duke granted "three acres two roods and ten falls Scotch measure to be
joined and added to the glebe of Lenanmore on the south side thereof" in lieu of the minister's possessions and
privileges at Auchaloiskin and a road of fourteen feet width was to divide the same from the Lenanaiore glebe, or
arable glebe.

It too should be said that, in 1777, an equivalent, for ground destroyed by the new public road was added to the glebe
giving it slightly more than eleven acres in all at that time - In 1850, one and a half acres of the glebe were swept away
by the sea.

Tradition in the parish holds that, one Sunday morning in 1770, the congregation at Killean church were assembled
outside for the service on Robert Thomson's advice, he fearing greatly for the state of the "building on that particular
morning. It was later said that an angel had appeared to Mr Thomson warning him of what was about to happen.
Thonson was very clear that that morning nobody should enter the church. In the course of a prayer the heavy
freestone roof of the church fall in with a terrible crash.

In Novenber 1774 Robert Thomson petitioned the Presbytery "that it was fourth winter he and the people of the
parish had been obliged to worship in the fields since the old church at Killean fell to the ground and during that period
the distressed condition of the parish had been represented to the Duke of Argyll and other heritors and the judgement
of The Lords Commissioners laid before them but nothing hitherto had been done".

It too might be remembered that the scheme for a new church building at Muasdale on the Duke of Argyll's land had
first surfaced about 1749 some twenty-five years earlier.

That the Duke of Argyll favoured the scheme at that time someway reflects his interest in general improvements, for in
1744 the new building of Inveraray and its castle began.

The Presbytery met twice in January 1775 to "judge and determine that the church should be built according to the
terms of the decreet" it dating back, as noted, to 1755 and, at a meeting on Thursday, Jan 5, 1775, presumably on site at
Muasdale, measured out a stance for the new church and defining boundaries to enclose a space eighty by forty yards
above the road on the south side of the site of the glebe which had been set out in 1760.

Plans and measurements for the building were too defined in these two January 1775 meetings. The length of the
building being fifty-six feet and its breadth thirty-two feet. The walls were to be eighteen feet high. Lofts and galleries
were to be placed round the inside. The gallery opposite the pulpit being fourteen feet deep and the others sixteen feet
deep. A sufficient yard-dyke was to be built round the church and ground for a churchyard provided. The estimated

cost of the new church building was £375. 11s 3d sterling to which was to be added the sum of £35 sterling 'for
carriage'. The church was not however, as we know, built at Muasdale but at Chleit.

Largie addressed a letter to the Presbytery arguing against the move of the church from Killean to Muasdale and against
any disjoining of the parish - there was a proposal too to detach some of the southern part of the Killean parish and
join that part with Campbeltown leaving the parish of Killean more manageable but, Largie's contention was over-
ruled as having been set aside by the 1753 decreet of The Lords Commissioners.

A protest was lodged immediately in the name of Mrs Elizabeth Macdonald of Largie and her husband, Charles Mac-

The contentions between heritors, people, minister and Presbytery as to where the new church should be built resulted
in the case going before The Court of Session and, after 1775, there is no record or mention of the new church or
events until 1787.

The principal landowners of that time were The Duke of Argyll, John Macdonald of Largie, Francis Farquharson of
Clachaig (purchased fron Largie), John Campbell of Saddell, Colonel Charles Campbell of Barbreck, John Campbell of
Kildallcig, Neal Macneal of Ugadale and John Macdonald of Sanda.

Though the new public road through the parish of Killean had been built in 1777 there were few carriages in Argyll and
fewer still in the parish.

In 1785 there were but eight four wheeled carriages in the county - one owned by Charles Gampbell of Barbreck and
one by Mrs John Cainpbell of Saddell. Six persons paid duty on single two-wheeled carriages and two only were in the
parish" - those of Dugald Campbell of Kintarbert and Robert Thomson, minister of Killean parish.

It may here be now of value, to many and in hindsight, to throw light on the general Condition and circumstances of
the Countryaround this time.

Around 1755 the parish had a population of 2591, this appears to have dropped by 1775 to some 1600 people.

Flora Macdonald, as we know, emigrated to Carolina, in 1774 - Some emigrants wrote enticing letters to their friends at
home, many letters containing somewhat exaggerated and flattering arguments, inducing them too to emigrate.

Two ships lay at Gigha in the middle part of September 1775 taking on emigrants for North Carolina. The first to leave
was the "Lord Dunluce" with 95 men, 94 women and 115 children. Shortly after her followed the "Jeannie", on
September 19, l775, with 88 men, 76 women and 79 children.

By 1797 the population appeared to recover from these emigrations and rose to number 1911 people including 171
tenant farmers, 211 cottars and herders and 22 paupers.

£25 was distributed amongst the 22 paupers, this was wholly collected from the offerings of tenants, tradesmen, cottars
and servants for of the eight heritors not one actually then lived in the parish.

The population rose again - in 1801 to 2520, in 1911 to 2954, in 1821 to 3306 and in 1851, a slight drop, to 2866
persons. In 1832 there were 111 tenants who paid about £10,000 in rent to their superior.

By about 1900, the parish had dropped to about 900 people and the rents from tenants had increased to £15,000. In
1797 male servants were paid between £8 and £10 per year and servant-maids £5 a year though it was true these
servants were allowed a number of articles and items as 'bounty'.

Labourers got their food and 1 shilling per day; a tailor's pay was l0d per day; a shoemaker was paid 8d for making a
pair of shoes and a carpenter was given his food and 1 shilling and 6d per day.

By 1797 farmers were beginning to find the advantage of having some clover and rye-grass. A few only raised turnips as
the majority of cultivated areas were unfenced and unenclosed.

The introduction of Small's light two-horse plough was too to be noted. The old Scot's plough was a huge and
unwieldy implement "fit to break the heart of men and horses" and required, often, four men as well as four heavy

horses to work it. Each man had a special duty with a specific and descriptive job title - One man held the stilts, one led
the horses, a third pressed down the plough and so on.

Threshing was effected by applying a light to the ears of corn. The dexterous use of a stick at the right moment saved
the corn from being completely destroyed by the flame leaving it, but even so a great deal of the corn was singed. The
system of preparing corn for use was called "gradanadh".

In all probability querns were most in general use. Some pressure was needed to induce people to send their corn to the
meal mills for few people had wheeled carts. Hardy 'gearran' saddled with panniers and creels did duty for horse and

The farms were stocked with small black hardy cattle and sheep of diminutive breed whose fleeces were ever innocent
of wash or smearing material. About midsummer the cattle were driven to the hills, helped by the young people living
in shealings, until such time as the scanty crops could be secured on the lower ground - "Even then Kintyre occupied
a foremost place as an agricultural county". That position may be better appreciated from a review of the account of
livestock in Argyll a century later, in 1894.

61,341- cattle, mainly black or Highland, 6,986 agricultural horses which were mainly Clydesdales, 4,331 pigs and
1,023,351 sheep which were, in the main, blackface.

In the period, out of interest, between 1891 and 1895 oxen and bulls fetched about £18 each, cows £15 and calves
slightly less than £4 each.

It may also be noted that the UK fish landings for the year 1894 saw 5,869,312 cwts of herring landed at an average of
4 shillings per cwt and that 29½ million oysters, 7¼ million crabs and more than 1½ million lobsters were landed - all
fish that would abound in local waters.

During Robert Thomson's ministry, in 1786, the construction of the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse began it coming into
service about 1788.

Robert Thomson died on Wednesday, May 19, 1790, aged 76, after 46 years in the Killean charge. Buried in Killean
churchyard, his headstone gives the name of his wife, Susanna Campbell - Thomson was much esteemed.

His successor was Alexander Stewart, minister of Jura and Golonsay who was indeed a native of Park in Killean parish.
He was translated to Killean on Wednesday, June 15, 1791 and his induction took place at "Beallachantuigh" - again
another indication of the wrangle continuing about the new church building for Muasdale.

Alexander Stewart died in 1798 after just seven years at Killean. Two of his sons, Robert and Charles, were at the Battle
of Waterloo.

Just two years before Alexander Steward's death he was allowed an assistant, the son of Patrick Macdonald, minister of
Kilmore and the grandson of Murdo Macdonald, minister of Durness, a man of worth and piety. The Rev. Patrick
Macdonald was a high authority on Highland music and published a valuable collection in 1781. His second wife was
Barbara, daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Keppoch who fell at Culloden with great gallantry.

Mrs Patrick Macdonald "was a Roman Catholic and attended neither public nor private worship with the family".

So it was that Mr Macdonald, following Alexander Stewart's death, was admitted as minister on Wednesday, August 21,

There is no record of when the new church building was first used for worship.but it would appear that the building
was due to be completed by the last day of June 1790 leaving only the seating and furnishings to be installed.

There were two estimates for the building of the church. One, dated Inveraray, 20 February, 1787 from a John Tavish
for £519. 1shilling and one of unknown, but later, date "for the said work to be completely finished on or before the
first day of June 1790 for the sum of £540. This latter estimate, from Arch. McPhail, would seem to have been taken
between 1787 and the eventual award of the contract to one Thomas Cairns of Campbeltown who began work on the
site in 1789.

The weather of 1789 was wet and windy from the very start and Cairns' men not only were finding their quarry
constantly flooded but also discovered that the foundations for the new building had to be dug far deeper than
anticipated and walls built higher than shown on the plans.

Cairns' slater then threw another problem into the equation - the pitch of the roof was too low and, the site being so
exposed, water would easily be forced under the slates at the first gale ! Two feet had to be further added to the roof's
planned heights.

Worried abound the extra expense incurred, Cairns wrote to 'The Heritors' on December 29, 1789 and too indicated
that the new church might not be completed on time if the weather continued as it was. Cairns too had to suggest that
the building of the steeple would be best left to the Spring when the lime and cement would take better.

On 26 May, 1790, an agreement was arrived at with The Duke Of Argyll to pay his proportion of the cost 'of making
two copies of the plans of seating and dividing the kirk' so it would appear that Cairns was fairly close to finishing his
work by June 1, 1790.

Whatever date Cairns finished and whatever date the new building was opened for worship, it was not until four years
later - in 1804 - that the subject of surrounding the new church with a 10-foot high wall - 10-feet clear of the front and
ends of the church "and straight with the small house on the back". It is not known whether this work went ahead but
the estimated cost of wall was to be £50. In 1879, Robert Weir added the little belfry above the church's main door.

In 1851, the year of The Great Exhibition in London, Mr Macdonald died and was succeeded by Mr Macfarlane,
minister of Muckaim in Lorne.

At the time of Mr Macdonald's appointment as assistant to Alexander Stewart - in 1796 - there were four schools in the
parish. Run by the Society for Propogating Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and run as 'Barr Society School', Glenbarr
School had opened in 1795. Two other schools belonged to the parish heritors and another, fourth, school was run by
Royal Bounty.

It was not until 1872 that schools were required to keep log "books "but little would change in the course of that time
between the 1790's and the 1880's so the following extracts from the log at 'Ballochintee' are of interest.

Sat. January 5, 1880 "Despite haste, push and other agitating circumstances we have actually enjoyed two days'
dissipation this week (but) the attendance is irregular owing to the festive season".

Sat. December 25, 1880 "This is Christmas week but it has come and gone without being observed in any way by us" -
Christinas Day was a working day !

Fri. December 25, 1885 ''Extra drill given to all standards in arithmetic".

Not surprisingly, the following log - on Wednesday, January 6, 1886 - "We had our New Year holiday this week - only
two days (and) attendance to begin with was very irregular".

A very different school year operated in these days and 'Ballochantuy" log - on Sat. August 16, 1879 - notes "Have
recently been apprized that our holidays will begin on 31st current and terminate on October 6th"..

In 1803/1804 a new manse, its end-gables aligned north-south, was built at the south end of Muasdale on Killean and
Lenanmore Glebe-land.

One of the three wall plaques in Chleit Church records "His Excellency Gol. Norman Macalister, Commander-in-
Chief, Prince of Wales Island, was lost in The Honourable East India Company's ship "OCEAN", August 1810.
Bequeathed One Thousand Pounds Sterling to the Poor of The Parish of Killean. To Record His Generosity, The
Heritors and Kirk Session erected this monument A.D. 1818".

In 1815, well out of sight in Achapharic Glen, above Chleit Church, two illicit stills were set up and went long
undetected by the Revenue-men.

In 1822 steps were put in hand to erect a new church at 'Beallachantuie' and this duly opened in 1825. 150 years later,
on Wednesday, March 19, 1975, the last wedding took place when Iain Sinclair, son of Session Clerk John A. Sinclair,
married Margaret Semple. Bellochantuy Church closed shortly after and was demolished in the early 1980's for 'the new

With 'The Disruption' in The Church of Scotland - in 1845 - came The Free Church and, beginning on November 5,
1844, proposals were put in hand to build a church above Chleit. Until the church was opened, on June 1st, 1847,
services were held in the open air. Services were still held at the church until the 1950's and its bell, even today, still
hangs in its tower.

The school at Chleit - now the church hall - was opened in 1861 and was closed in 1946.

Of the two other plaques in Chleit Church, one "To The Glory of God and in loving memory of Donald John
Macdonald J.P., Minister of this Parish from 1880 - 1926, Sincere Friend and Faithful Paster. UASAL IRIOSAL
BLATH" - Donald John, author of "The Annals of Killean", died in 1950, aged 75.

Following 'The Great 1914-1918 War' , The Rev. Donald John Macdonald, his wife a lady who unobtrusively did much
good work in the parish, gave a carved pulpit to the church in memory of the local men who fhad fallen in the war.

In 1911, in the time of Donald John's ministry, a plaque "In Loving Memory of Charles Augustus Macalister, Younger
of Glenbarr and Cour. Lieutenant, Cameron Highlanders, who died at Peking, December 31, 1911, in his 29th year" -
in the time of The Boxer Rebellion.


/1243 circa 1380 Unknown and various

circa 1380 1423 Sir Archibald McGillivray, Vicar of Killean
/1423 1641 Unknown and various - One, Malcolm Osenog, is believed to have
been about Killean during the period 1639 – 1640
/1641 July 25, 1656 In 1641, Saddell and Killean parishes were joined and Murdo
McWhirrie (or McCurrie), minister of Saddell, arrived (see text).
July 25, 1656 / 1663 David Simson
/ 1663 / ? Aenas Macdonald
Circa. 1672 / 1698 John Cunison
/ 1699 February 14, 1726 Patrick Campbell
/ 1726 January 17, 1743 John MacLean (sometimes, Alexander McLaine)
/ 1743 / 1744 The charge was vacant
April 25, 1744 May 19, 1790 Robert Thomson
/ 1790 June 15, 1791 The charge was vacant
June 15, 1791 / 1798 Alexander Stewart
/ 1798 / 1851 Donald Macdonald, son of Patrick Macdonald
/1852 / 1880 Donald Macfarlane
/ 1880 / 1926 Donald John Macdonald
/ 1926 / June 5, 1928 The charge was vacant
June 5, 1928 / 1931 – 1932 Angus MacMillan

/ June 1932 September 8, 1943 Murdo MacDonald
/ May 1944 / December, 1949 Donald Morrison
/ December, 1949 / December, 1950 The charge was vacant
/ December, 1950 / April, 1959 William McCallum
/ April, 1959 / July 1960 The charge was vacant
/ July 1960 August 29, 1965 William L. Campbell
August 29, 1965 March 2, 1966 The charge was vacant
March 2, 1966 / July 1974 John D. Sutherland
/ July 1974 January 23, 1975 The charge was vacant
January 23, 1975 May 27, 1982 Gordon McLean
May 27, 1982 January 26, 1983 The charge was vacant
January 26, 1983 October 27, 1983 Richard M. Finlay
October 27, 1983 July 1, 1984 The charge was vacant
July 1, 1984 September 30, 2006 John H. Paton
September 30, 2006 ? The charge was vacant

The Celtic vision of the oneness and completeness of all Creation worshipping its Creator - and the little church at
A'Chleit sitting so precariously balanced beside the sea, provided the inspiration for a hymn first sung in Chleit at the
wedding of Ian Taylor and Catriona Watson on Saturday, June 27, 1987.

That the bridegroom Ian Taylor had suggested including Charles Oakley's hymn 'Hills of The North', a favourite of his
from past schooldays, the Rev. James H Brown set to work to supply Marrtin Shaw's tune "Little Cornard" with words
better suited for the occasion – the building of a secure future within a partnership of love - for Oakley's original words
focused on The Church's mission, rather than any partnership in love.

Thus was written "KIRK ON A WESTERN SHORE"

Land of the north, rejoice !

River and mountain spring.
Hear now, God's sovereign voice
Hill, glen and lowland sing'
High raise the note, that Jesus died,
Yet lives and reigns - the crucified !


Close to the restless sea,

Isles where the seabirds soar;
All sing their praise of Thee,
We meet in joy - and seek to pray,
For lives made one, in love this day.

Lord, build a house of love,

Wherein two hearts may live.
Pour blessing from above,
Peace from Thy Spirit give.
That safe within Thy loving sight
Their days be filled with pure, delight.

Giving his permission for his hymn to be presented here, The. Rev. James Brown writes that "Over the years, the
church at A'Chleit has offered the loving strength and security of The Gospel to those, who have worshipped within its
walls and have learned to build their lives on the teaching of Christ" – Then, in 1998, James Brown was minister of
Park Church in Helensburgh.

In the 1970's, with the refurbishment of Chleit Church, an appeal was made for funds to provide a new organ. The
saddest of circumstances were to over-shadow this appeal for, in 1976, two young people - Eddie Nugent and, just

20-year old, cancer-sufferer Mairi Semple - died and to their memory the new organ 'Livingston' electronic organ was
duly dedicated.

The Lands of Largie and The Island of Cara have belonged to the Macdonald family for centuries - On Cara will be
found tha remains of a 15th century chapel, built by the Macdonalds in honour of Finla - or Fionnlugh, one of St.
Columba's contemporaries.

© 1998 P. Donald M. Kelly, PA29 6XE/14.

Notes - The church itself has a rather large 'Laird's Loft' with separate entrance and cloakroom. You can see that it
had started to sink whereupon a 'goalpost' construction, a beam and two pillars, was added for extra support. Even at
that it still oversees the church's pulpit. The pulpit is a later addition itself. Only the backing is original. The pulpit is
in fact a memorial to the First World War as the inscriptions on the bottom bear witness.

The church interior, which used to be symmetrical, was extensively reshaped in the 1970's. The north gallery was
partitioned off to create three extra rooms. At the same time, the old school which had been handed over to the
congregation was connected to the church by building a corridor with toilets and a kitchen in the gap in between.

Displayed within the church - two embroidered panels, one, behind the organ, depicting 'The Last Supper', the
work of the late Bill Storry of The Old Manse's sister, Marion Crocker, the other, of 'The Good Shepherd', the work
of Agnes Watson.

Another Watson connection is to be found in the history of the little wooden cross, sometimes found beside the
hymn-books at the front door and sometimes used in connection with private communions and home visits. This
simple little cross was made during WWII and was taken first to Greece and then brought back home through Europe's
war-torn lands by one of the Watson family, a military chaplain.

Too of account, a strangely worn little boulder, in the likeness of a cross and now sitting on a little plinth, the curious
stone found on the beach by Adam Bergius of 'Glencreggan' and given into the care of the church in recent years.

Finally, 'the bunny rabbit' ! Nobody knows its origins but it sits on the edge of the pulpit and, at Christmas-time, is
anxiously looked for, amongst the Christmas tree's branches, by children and adults alike.


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