Argyll, Scotland

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Date: [unknown] to 1975
Location: Argyll, Scotlandmap
Surnames/tags: Argyll Scotland
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Argyll, Scotland

Coordinates:56.25, -5.25
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Highland cow

Argyll is on the western coast of Scotland. It is bounded on the north by Inverness-shire, on the east by the counties of Inverness, Perth, and Dumbarton, and on the south and west by the Firth of Clyde and the Atlantic Ocean.

It is about 115 miles in extreme length and about 50 or 60 miles in average breadth, comprising an area, including the various islands connected with it, of about 3800 square miles.


Map of Kintyre

Kintyre is a peninsula in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll and Bute. The peninsula stretches about 30 miles (48 km), from the Mull of Kintyre in the south to East Loch Tarbert in the north.


The name derives from Old Gaelic airer Goídel (border region of the Gaels). It is the region of western Scotland normally thought to correspond to most of the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata.

The history is noticed in the name and the name can also be translated as "Coast of [the] Gaels".

Woolf, in his work "The Age of the Sea-Kings" has suggested that the name Airer Goídel came to replace the name Dál Riata when the 9th-century Viking invasion divided Dal Riata from its traditional homeland. The mainland area, renamed Airer Goídel, would have contrasted with the offshore islands of Innse Gall, literally "islands of the foreigners." In either case it suggests the boundary between the traditional Picts of Alba and the invasive Dal Riata from Ireland.


Nether Largie standing stones in Kilmartin Glen, Argyll

Ancient History

Kilmartin Glen has ancient stones from pre-historic times and is one of Scotland’s most important sites. Dunadd was the capitol of Ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. Legend has it that the Stone of Destiny was used here in the crowning of the first Kings of Scotland. [1]

Medieval History

During the 2nd Century C.E. Gaelic speaking migrants from Ireland came into what is now Argyllshire. In the third century Cairbre Riada (or King Fergus) occupied the area which included parts of Ireland.

Researchers found 12 per cent of men in Argyll and south Scotland carried the M222 chromosome, which is believed to have been brought over from Ireland from the fifth century, when Irish invaders crossed the North Channel. These men are believed by the researchers to be direct descendants of the first Irish High King – Niall Noigiallach. [2]

Dalriada, as it was known, was an independent kingdom until 843, when Kenneth MacAlpin united the Scots of Dalriada with the Picts of northeastern Scotland resulting in a new kingdom that eventually became Scotland.

An illuminated page from the Book of Kells, which may have been produced at Iona around 800 AD

St. Colombia, established in Iona in 563 was a significant ecclesiastical center for Celtic Christianity. The eventual adoption of Roman Catholicism by Queen Margaret around 1070 ended the influence of the Celtic Church and of Argyll.

Scandinavian Influence in Argyll

Beginning in the 8th century Vikings began raiding Scotland coasts. In 802 the entire Iona community was murdered and plundered.

Later Vikings came and settled in the area. In 1098 Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway, was granted most of Kintyre by King Edgar.

James Logan, R. R. MacIan (ill.) The Clans of The Scottish Highlands.

In the mid 12th century Somerled Lord of Argyll, who was of Scottish and Norwegian heritage led a successful revolt against Norway, creating an independent kingdom that included Kintrye. He was killed while invading Renfrew, Scotland. His kingdom was divided up among his sons, ostensibly returning the area to Norwegian rule, but he is credited with weakening Norway’s hold on the area.

Widespread DNA studies suggest that as many as 500,000 people living in Kintyre today are descended from Somerled.[3]

In 1266 the Treaty of Perth returned Argyll to Scotland from Norway.


Thomas Faed, The Last of the Clan (1865)

After the failure of the last Jacobite Rising in 1745, the Heritable Jurisdictions Act abolished regality, and inherited jurisdictions. One of the outcomes was that relationships between landlords and tenants became less about loyalty and more about profits and rents. There were mass evictions which led to large scale migration from the Highlands to the Lowlands and later to Canada, Australia, and the United States.

See Scottish Settlement in Argyle, Illinois for more about immigrants from Kintyre to Illinois in mid 19th century.


In 1889 counties were formally established in Scotland and Argyll was granted a county council. In 1975 a local government district called Argyll and Bute was formed in the Strathclyde region, including most of Argyll and the adjacent Isle of Bute.

Tartan of Argyll


Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell.


In the 15th century the chief of the clan was seated in Kintyre, and the clan was centred there until the 18th century, when a chief sold the family estate in preference to a lowland estate.

Glenbarr Abbey, Kintyre, Scotland

Glenbarr Abbey on the Kintyre peninsula was placed into the ownership of Clan MacAlister through the Scottish National Trust in 1984 and is a MacAlister clan heritage centre

Old Castle Lachlan

MacLaughlin was historically centred on the lands of Strathlachlan (Srath Lachainn "Valley of Lachlan") on Loch Fyne, Argyll.

Duart Castle, Seat of Clan McLean
Finlaggan Castle Ruins

Finlaggan was the seat of the Lords of the Isles and of Clan Donald.

STUART of Bute
Rothesay Castle was held by the Chiefs of Clan Stuart of Bute in the 15th century and during the Scottish Civil War of the 17th century.


Kilkerran Cemetery
Gartnagrenach Graveyard
Kilchenzie Cemetery
Kilcolmkill Chapel Churchyard
Kilkerran Cemetery
Kilkivan Graveyard
Killean Graveyard
Kilmun Parish Church and Cemetery
Kilnaughton Military Cemetery
Saddell Abbey
Scottish Thistle National Flower of Scotland

Parishes of Argyll

Scotland has been divided into parishes since early medieval times. The residents of each parish were obliged to pay a proportion of their produce or income (in Scotland called teinds) to support the Church.

As the government took over church roles such as education and poor relief parishes became civil parishes.

From 1845 to 1930, parishes formed part of the local government system of Scotland: having parochial boards from 1845 to 1894, and parish councils from 1894 until 1930.

Civil parishes are still used for some statistical purposes, and separate census figures are published for them.

Lighthouse at Mull of Kintrye

Argyll One Name Studies

Other Common Argyll Names:
Anderson, Cuthbertson, Dunlop, Drain, Ferguson, Greenlees, Howie (or Huie), Johnston, Langwill, McCallum, McDonald, McEachran, McKay, McKerral, McMurchy, McNair, Ralston, Ryburn, Wallace
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
Italic text

Argyll War Memorials

Kintrye World War I Memorial
Killean and Kilchenzie War Memorial
Campbeltown War Memorial
Southend War Memorial

Genealogical Resources

Emigrants Statue at Helmsdale Sutherland Scotland

Migration Resources



  1. Kilmartin Glen Historic UK
  2. Vikings still running rampant in Scottish DNA Scotsman, May 23, 2015
  3. Somerled Undiscovered Scotland

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A really great tribute to a place and the people from there


posted by Geoffrey Raebel

Categories: Argyll, Scotland