You are on page 1of 4


When Skipness parish was disjoined from Kilcalmonell and Kilberry, Saddell parish similarly disjoined from the parish of Killean and the new parish of Saddell and Skipness formed, a new church was built at Claonaig referred to as 'Cluneg' or 'Clunaig', in 1756. Though there is no certainty in the matter, the old chapel to the south-east of Skipness Castle, built around the time of the castle's 13th or 14th century enlargements, may well have continued in use till the new church's completion, it being on record that the 1692 minister of 'the chapel of Skipness' was 'translated' to the parish of Craignish and the Skipness chapel continuing with another incumbent, possibly lay, preacher. Although there are no visible traces of it today, there had been an earlier building which was used for church services at the east end of Claonaig Bay, a small burial ground on the south side of Claonaig Glen and a burial ground too on the bay itself for shipwrecked sailors and unbaptised infants. The persuasion of there being a lay preacher at Claonaig furthered by the suggestion that the near-literal meaning of 'Cnocan Tigh Searmonaich', a small hillock about ¼ mile WSW of Glenreasdell Mains, eqivocates to 'The Hillock of The House of The Preacher'. The 1756 church at Claonaig is a very plain, harled, building, three pointed windows on each side an empty bellcote on its west gable-head and a small session house too at its west end. It was noted in need of repair in 1843, works carried out in 1866 and then in 1892. Until 1872, when Skipness was allowed its own, the new, 1753-formed parish of Saddell and Skipness had been under the charge of but a single minister. From 1892, the same year that Skipness' Free Church, now the village's hall, was built, until 1906, the incumbent was the Rev. John Maclachlan and it was he who oversaw St Brendan's which had its foundation stone laid on May 30, 1896 by Mrs Graham of Skipness, a cavity cut in that stone to accommodate a marmalade pot with some coins and a copy of 'The Glasgow Herald' inside. Built beside a thatched cottage that had, until 1868, been a school, St Brendan's, designed by London architect Bertram Vaughan Johnson, looks undoubtedly more Church of England than Church of Scotland, a simple structure of grey rubble walls trimmed with bright red sandstone, which came from behind Skelmorlie Castle in Ayrshire, then occupied by John Graham, a cousin of Robert Chellas Graham of Skipness. Graham, the prime mover for the provision of the church, was a close friend of the architect and indeed Johnson married Robert Graham's daughter, Dorothy, in the 'new' Skipness church, now a category C(S) Listed Building, in 1903. Robert Graham, author of "The Carved Stones of Islay", published just the year before Skipness' construction, had intimate knowledge of late-mediaeval West Highland gravestones and Skipness' unique east window, reflecting the revival of interest in Celtic design in the 1890's in Scotland and elsewhere and gifted in memory of his mother, is a product of his studies.


The window, consisting of three narrow lancets, the central one taller than its two companions, is filled with an intricate Celtic-revival abstract mosaic of delicately coloured glass, the pattern outlined in lead, the glass by James Powell & Co, Whitefriars, London and the legend on the window reading "In memoriam Susannae Roope Graham matris delectissimae filius'. "The Campbeltown Courier", of January 16, 1897, observed, "Mr Graham, who designed the window, is an authority on Celtic art and the conventional lines of the scheme are beautifully lighted up by drifts of rainbow colour, an effect which admirably sustains the character of old West Highland Art", a mural tablet, of appropriate Celtic design, in memory of R. C. Graham (1848 - 1908) is also within the church building. The Rev. John Maclachlan, though retiring from active duty in 1906 because of ill health, continued to retain his, now nominal, appointment, a succession of subsequent ministers, the Rev. Duncan MacNaughton (1906 - 1908), The Rev. John M. Menzies (1908 - 1913) and others serving as 'assistants' until the Rev. John Maclachlan's death in 1930. Church services were held in both English and Gaelic until 1949 when, the local use of Gaelic fading, services were all held in English. In the early days of the new church, the precentor was local inn-keeper and final licensee of the old Claonaig Inn, it built around the mid-1860's, Neil Currie, his key found by use of a tuning-fork.

1784 Skipness Rent books Added Jul 2006 Skipness Rent books - List arrears due 1814 Added Aug 2006 2

1841 Census - Skipness House, The Mill and the Farm Added Jan 2000 1841 Census - Skipness Village Added Feb 2000 Farms & Estates - OPR records + Notes Updated Oct 2006 Skipness Parish Marriages 1801-1821 Updated Jan 2004 Skipness Parish Marriages 1801-1821(by bride) Added Jan 2004 Skipness Parish Marriages 1801-1821(by groom) Added Jan 2004 Skipness Kirk Session Minutes Added Nov 1999 More Skipness Kirk Session Minutes Added Dec 2002 Skipness Monumental Inscriptions Added Nov 1999 Skipness Monumental Inscriptions from KIST Added May 2000 Skipness New Year Folklore Added Jan 2000 Skipness General Location Map Added Nov 1999 Skipness Detail Map Added Nov 1999 Skipness, Ontario Added Dec 1999 Skipness Photos Updated Jul 2006 Robert Howie's Boys Brigade Memories of Skipness Added Aug 2001 Robert Howie's "Mad Laird of Skipness" Added Aug 2001 Skipness Biographies Updated Oct 2006 People Researching in Skipness Parish 3

Kintyre Cemetery Gravestone Photos - Includes Skipness Link added Aug 2006 Skipness Castle - Clan Campbell Society North America Site Link added May 2000 Argylshire - A Contribution to Argylshire History Being a Monograph Sketch of the SWEYNES OF SKIPNESS and the MACTAVISHES OF DUN-ARDRIGH, KNAPDALE AND ELSEWHERE, their Ancestors and Descendants by George D. Mathews, D.D., L.L.D" Link updated Apr 2006 From the Clan McTavish site, with their permission Civil Registration Indexes for Scotland, Scots Origins Link added Apr 2002 Scotland GenWeb Argyllshire Homepage Link added Jul 2003 Who owns Scotland - Skipness, Claonaig Link fixed Aug 2003 (May not work with older browsers) UK/Ireland Census Extractions Link Added Aug 2005

Bellochantuigh/Bellonchantuy - 1792 census, Killean and Kilchenzie Parish Added May 2000