Argyllshire, a maritime, western, Highland county, the second in Scotland as to size, the thirteenth as to population. It comprehends a very irregularly outlined portion of the mainland, and a large number of the Western islands, the chief being Mull, Islay, Jura, Tiree, Coll, Rum, Lismore, and Colonsay. Extending from the extremity of Locheil district 11 miles N of Fort William to the extremity of Kintyre, 14 miles NE of the Antrim coast of Ireland, it is only 22 miles short of being half as long as the entire mainland of Scotland. It is bounded N by Inverness-shire, E by Perthshire, Dumbartonshire, and the northern ramifications and main expanse of the Firth of Clyde, S by the Irish Sea, and W by the Atlantic Ocean. Of the three parishes partly in the county of Argyll and partly in that of Inverness, Ardnamurchan remained untouched by the Boundary Commissioners in 1891 (see ARDNAMURCHAN), but the portion of Kilmallie north of Loch Eil and the whole of Small Isles were transferred to Inverness-shire. The boundaries of several of the interior parishes were also rearranged, for which see the different articles throughout the work. The county outlines are so exceedingly irregular, the intersections of mainland by sea-lochs so numerous and great, and the interlockings of mainland and islands so intricate, that no fair notion of them can be formed except by examination of a map. No part of the interior is more than 12 miles distant from either the sea or some sea-loch. The entire circumference has been roughly stated at about 460 miles, and the proportion of the circumference washed by sea-water has been roughly stated at about 340 miles; but both of these estimates, if all the sinnosities of outline and sea-coast and sea-loch shore be followed, are greatly short of the reality. The coast has every variety of elevation and contour, from alluvial fiat and gentle slope to mural cliff and towering mountain, but generally is bold and upland, and takes much of its character from long narrow inter. penetrations of the land by the sea. Loch Moidart and Kinnaird Bay are in the extreme NW. Loch Sunart strikes far eastward between Ardnamurchan and Morvern. The Sound of Mull, with its ‘thwarting tides,’ separates Morvern from Mull, and sends off Loch Almo north-eastward from the vicinity of Artornish. Loch Linnhe strikes north-eastward from the SE end of the Sound of Mull, embosoms Lismore and Shuna islands, sends off Loch Creran to the E, separates Morvern from Appin, and ramifies, at its NE end, into Lochs Eil and Leven, on the boundaries with Inverness-shire. The Firth of Lorn strikes southward front the junction of the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe, and off Loch Etive far to the E, embosoms Kerrera island and the Slate islands, separates Lorn from Mull, and projects Loch Feochan into Lorn and Loch Melford between Lorn and Argyll. Loch Tua, Loch-na-Keal, and Loch Scriden deeply intersect the W side of Mull, A sound 7 miles wide separates Mull from Coll; and another sound, 3 miles wide, separates Coll from Tiree. The Sound of Jura opens from the S end of the Firth of Lorn, round Scarba island and past the Gulf of Corrievrekin; projects from its northern part Loch Craignish north-north-eastward, and Loch Crinan east-south-eastward; separates Knapdaie from Jura and Islay; and is joined on the E side of its lower part by successively Loch Swein, Loch Killisport, and West Loch Tarbert, all nearly parallel to one another, and not far from parallel to the Sound of Jura itself Another Loch Tarbert intersects Jura from the W, and nearly cuts it in two. The Sound of Islay, a narrow strait, separates Jura from Islay; and Loch Indal, striking with much breadth from the SW, penetrates Islay to the centre. The Firth of Clyde, in its greatest width or southernmost expanse, separates the southern part of Kintyre from Ayrshire. Kilbrannan Sound, an arm of the Firth of Clyde, separates the upper part of Kintyre from Arran. Loch Fyne, a continuation jointly of Kilbrannan Sound and of another arm of the Firth of Clyde, penetrates the mainland, first north-north-westward, next north-north-eastward; separates all Cowal from Kintyre, from Knapdale, and from Lorn; and sends off, from the extremity of its north-north-westward reach, Loch Gilp, with entrance into the Crinan Canal. The Kyles of Bute, a narrow semicircular belt of sea, connected at both ends with the Firth of Clyde, separates Cowal from the Isle of Bute, and projects Loch Riddon and Loch Striven northward into Cowal. The upper reach of the Firth of Clyde, leading round to the influx of the Clyde river, separates Cowal from the Cunninghame district of Ayrshire and from Renfrewshire, and projects Holy Loch north-westvard into Cowal. Loch Long striking northward, nearly in a line with the Firth of Clyde, separates Cowal from Dumbartonshire, and projects Loch Goil north-north-westward into Cowal. The mainland is divided into the six districts of Northern Argyll, Lorn, Argyll, Cowal, Knapdale, and Kintyre. Northern Argyll comprehends all the parts N of Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil, and is subdivided into the sub-districts of Lochoil, Ardgour, Sunart, Ardnamurchan, and Morvern. The Lorn district includes Appin sub-district in the NW, and is bounded N by Lochs Linnhe and Leven, E by Perthshire, SE by the lower reaches of Loch Awe, S by Lochs Avich and Melford, and W by the Firth of Lorn. The Argyll district lies immediately S of Lorn, and is bounded SE by Loch Fyne, S by Loch Gilp and the Crinan Canal. The Cowal district is all peninsular, or nearly engirt by Loch Fyne, the Kyles of Bute, the Firth of Clyde, and Loch Long. The Knapdale district is bounded N by the Crinan Canal and Loch Gilp, E by the lower reach of Loch Fyne, S by East and West Lochs Tarbert. The Kintyre district is all peninsular, stretching southward from the Lochs Tarbert to the Irish Sea. A few islets lie within the waters or the reaches of the Firth of Clyde, and are included in the neighbouring mainland districts. The other islands lie all in the waters or sea-lochs of the Atlantic, and are classified into the three groups of Mull, Lorn, and Jura and Islay. The Mull group includes Mull, Canna, Rum, Muck, Coll, Tiree, Gometra, Ulva, Staffa, Iona, and a number of adjacent islets. The Lorn group includes Lismore, Shuna, and some islets in Loch Linnhe; and Kerrera, Seil, Easdale, Luing, Lunga, Scarba, and a number of adjacent islets in the Firth of Lorn. The Jura and Isla group includes Jura, Islay, Colonsay, Oronsay, Gigha. and a number of neighbouring islets. The territorial divisions of the county, however, serve mainly to indicate the physical distribution of its parts, or at best afford some aid to tracing the ancient history of its several sections, but have not much value for showing the distribution of its population, or the facilities and means of its economy and government. The entire county, therefore, mainland and islands, has been otherwise divided into the six districts of Mull, Lorn, Inverary, Cowal, Kintyre, and Islay. Mull, in this view, comprehends both the northern territorial division of the mainland and the Mull group of islands; Lorn comprehends both the mainland Lorn and the Lorn group of islands; Inverary is identical with the Argyll territorial division; Cowal also is identical with the territorial Cowal; Kintyre comprehends part of Knapdale and all territorial Kintyre; and Islay comprehends part of Knapdale and all the Jura and Islay group of islands. The coasts and sea-lochs present a marvellous wealth of picturesque scenery. The views of the Firth of Clyde are endlessly diversified; up Loch Long, are first richly impressive, next sternly grand; up Loch Goil and Holy Loch, combine simplicity with grandeur; round the Kyles of Bute, are a circle of witchery; up Loch Fyne, pass from much variety of both shore and hill to striking scenes of wooded heights and lofty peaks; up the Firth of Lorn, are a gorgeous panorama of almost all styles and combinations of landscape; up Loch Linnhe, or round Mull island, are a rich succession of the beautiful and the romantic; and in many other quarters, as up Loch Etive, the Sound of Jura, West Loch Tarbert and Kilbrannan Sound, are equally diversifiedl and opulent. Their attractions, since the era of steam navigation, both for summer visitors and for transient tourists, have been very great. Not a few places or parts formerly without an inhabitant, or possessing only rude clachans or small villages, on points of the coasts or sea-belts most easily accessible from Greenock or Glasgow, such as on the shores of Loch Long, Loch Goil, Holy Loch, the Firth of Clyde, the Kyles of Bute, and Loch Riddon, are now occupied by long ranges of villas and cottages-ornées.
Most of the sea-waters, too, as well those remote from Greenock as those near to it, are daily traversed during the summer months, by one or more of a fleet of first-rate steamers, carrying crowds of tourists mainly or solely to enjoy the delights of the scenery. No equal extent of coast in the world combines so largely a rich display of landscape with concourse of strangers to behold it. A great drawback, however, is excessive humidity of the climate, the rainfall at Oban being 6529 inches, the mean temperature 47·3°. Another drawback, though operating vastly more in the summer than in the winter months, is occasional, fitful, severe tempestuousness; and this combines with the prevailing boldness and rockiness of the shores to render navigation perilous. Light houses are at Corran in Loch Eil, Mousedale in Lismore, Runa-Gall in the Sound of Mull, Ardnamurchan Point at the extreme NW of the mainland, Skerryvore WSW of Tiree, Rhu-Vaal at the N end of the Sound of Islay, Macarthur’s-Head at the S end of the Sound of Islay, Rhinns at Oversay in Islay, Dune Point in Loch Indal, Skervuile near the S end of the Sound of Jura, Mull of Kintyre at the southern extremity of Kintyre, Sands island, 6 miles ESE of the Mull of Kintyre, and Devaar island at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch. Much of the inland surface is as diversified as the coast, much is as richly picturesque as it.; but in a main degree is wildly mountainous, containing many of the loftiest and most massive heights of Scotland, many of the longest and deepest glens, many of the largest tracts of tabular moor, so as to form no mean portion of ‘the land of the mountain and the flood.’ Such tracts as the glen of the Ary and the shores of the lower parts of Loch Awe are pre-eminently brilliant—such as Glencroe, Glencoe, and parts of Mull are impressively sublime— and such as Staffa island and Ardtun have a romance peculiarly their own; but many others, broad and long, are dismal and repulsive. Many tracts closely contiguous to the very brightest ones on the coast are sterile, lofty, trackless moor; and nearly all the region N of Loch Linnhe, and in the NE of Lorn, and thence southward through the centre of Cowal, though interspersed with narrow sheltered glens, is mountainous, rugged, and bleak. The county, as a whole, both main land and islands, with comparatively small exception, is little else than a congeries of mountains, cloven with glens, and occasionally skirted with low seaboard. Some of its mountains are vast isolated masses; others form groups or ranges; many are so agglomerated one into another as to be only summits of great tableaux; and not a few present such conflicting appearances of feature, mass, and altitude, as not easily to admit of distinctive description. The loftiest or more conspicuous summits are Bidean nam Bian, between Glencoe and Glen Etive (3766 feet); Ben Laoigh, on the Perthshire border (3708); Ben Cruachan, between Lochs Etive and Awe (3669); Ben Starav, E of the head of Loch Etive (3541); Ben-a Bheithir, SW of Ballachulish (3362); Buachaille-Etive, overhanging Glen Etive (3345); Culvain, on the northern border (3224); Benmore, in Mull (3185); Sgor Dhomhail, between Lochs Shiel and Linnhe (2915); the Paps of Jura (2565); Ben Arthur, or the Cobbler, at the head of Loch Long (2891); Benmore, in Rum (2367); Ben Tarn or Ben Yattan, in Morvern (2306); Bishop’s Scat, W of Dunoon (1651); Cruach-Lassa, eastward of Loch Swin (1530); Ben-an-Tuire, in Kintyre (1491); and Ben Yama in Islay, and. the Peak of Scarva, each 1500 feet.
The streams are all short and rapid, and mostly rush down deep and narrow glens. Among them are numbers of torrents careering to the sea-locus or sea-belts in the northern district; the Creran, the Etive, the Talla, and others in the NE; the Orchy, the Strae, and the Avich, running to Loch Awe; the Awe, voluminous but short, carrying off the superfluence of Loch Awe to Loch Etive; the Fyne, the Kinglass, the Shira, the Ary, the Douglas, and others, running to the upper ¡)art of Loch Fyne; the Cur, running to the head of Loch Eck, and the Eachaig carrying off that lake’s superfluence to Holy Loch; the Ruel, running to the head of Loch Riddon; and a multitude of other, mostly mere burns, in Knapdale, Kintyre, Mull, Jura, and Islay.—The freshwater lakes, as also might be expected from the configuration of the country, are conspicuous; and they have been computed to cover aggregately an area of about 52,000 acres. Loch Awe, the largest of them, ranks among the first-class lakes, for both extent and picturesqueness, in all Scotland; expands at its foot around the skirts of Ben Cruachan into two great branches, and graduates from head to foot in a succession of ever-different and ever-increasingly impressive scenery. Other lakes are Lochs Avich, lying to the W of the upper centre of Loch Awe; Lydoch, in the extreme NW, and partly within Perthshire; Tolla, in the upper part of Glenorchy; Eck, in Cowal, stretching along a fine graceful glen; Arienas, in Morvern; Nell, in the NW of Lorn; Arisa, in Mull, etc. Granite forms the great mountain-masses in the NE parts of the county, and south-westward to Ben Cruachan. Mica slate predominates in many parts of both the main land and the islands. Porphyry forms an extensive tract on the NW side of Loch Fyne. Trap of various kinds prevails in some districts; and basalt, in particular, is prominent in Staffa, and in parts of Mull, Morvern, and Ardnamurchan. Rocks of the Limestone Carboniferous formation, with much sandstone, are in the S of Kintyre, and the annual output here of Drumlemble colliery, near Campbeltown, amounts to 100,000 tons, the seam being limited in area, but of great thickness and highly productive. Thin strata of coal lie tilted up and denudated on some small portions of the trap; a thin seam of coal, and small portions of lias and tertiary rocks occur in the SW of Mull. Fissile clay slate, of quality to form excellent roofing slates, constitutes the main bulk of Easdale, Luing, and Sell islands, and of a large tract around BALLACHULISH in the N of Appin, and both at Easdale and at Ballachulish is very extensively quarried. Limestone abounds in many parts, and seems to form the whole body of the large rich island of Lismore. Marble exists in various parts, and occurs of good quality in Tiree and Iona. Lead ore is worked in Islay (some 300 tons annually); copper ore also occurs; and a little cobalt has been found in Glen Rrchy. Strontites, or carbonate of strontium, became first known to mineralogists by the discovery of it in 1790 in the Strontian lead mines, which were discontinued in 1855, having been wrought for about 150 years. A great variety of rare calcareous spars, in. eluding splendid specimens of staurolite, also occurs in the strontium mines. The summits and shoulders of the mountains are generally bare rock; and large aggregates of the tableaux and even of the comparatively low grounds are utterly barren. A prevalent soil on such lofty mountains as are not bare, and along the banks of streams descending from these mountains, is gravel mixed with vegetable mould. A common soil, or rather covering, on extensive moors and on low grounds from which water does not freely flow, is peat moss. A prevalent soil in the westerly parts of the mainland and in some of the islands is a barren sand, consisting of disintegrated sandstone or disintegrated mica slate. Most of the soil in the fertile parts of Mid Lorn, Nether Lorn, Craignish, and other tracts not greatly elevated above sea-level, are either disintegrated limestone or disintegrated slate mixed with coarse limestone; and the former kind is generally light, the latter stiffer. Other kinds of soil suited to the plough and more or less fertile elsewhere occur, and several kinds sometimes graduate imperceptibly into one another. A fine alluvium lies along the banks of the lower reaches of some of the streams; a light loam mixed with sand, on a bottom of clay or gravel, is common on many low tracts; and a light gravel, incumbent on till, prevails on the skirts and acclivities of many hills. Agriculture, up to the abolition of the feudal system in 1745, and even into the second decade of the present century, was in a very low condition; but, from various causes, it has undergone great improvement. The abolition of the feudal system, the conversion of corn-rents, or rents in kind and services, into money rents, the suppression of smuggling, the constructing of the Crinan and Caledonian Canals, the formation of good roads under the auspices of the parliamentary commissioners, the spread of school education and of industrial intelligence, the introduction and promotion of a system of farming suited to the capabilities of the soil and the climate, the incorporation of small holdings into productively large farms, the diffusion of information as to the best mores of cultivating land and managing hive stock, and, above all, the introduction of steam navigation, with the rich facility afforded by it for reciprocal intercourse within the county, and for access to the great markets on the Clyde—have, each and severally in succession, originated and promoted great agricultural improvement. The compensatory results, nevertheless, have been greatly more in the department of live stock than that of husbandry. According to the agricultural statistics of 1895, only 134,063 acres are under cultivation. The cattle are chiefly Kyloes or West Highlanders, a small shaggy race, much superior to the Dunrobins and Skibos or North Higblaiders, also older and more improved; and, notwithstanding their small size, are highly esteemed in the general market, and exported in vast numbers to the towns on the Clyde, and to places in the E and S. The stock of cattle in the county in l895 was 60,005.
The sheep are of the black-faced breed, introduced many centuries ago from Northumberland to the southern counties of Scotland, and introduced thence about the middle of last century to Argyllshire. They are a hardy race, well suited to the country and the climate, and valuable for their mutton, but have a coarse fleece. The stock of sheep in the county in 1895 was 1,026,712. Red deer abound in several of the forests, especially Blackmount and Dalness; feathered game is more varied than plentiful; but its streams and lochs make Argyll shire a very angler’s paradise. About 64,000 acres are covered with woods. The manufactures are not great. A large quantity of kelp used to be made along the shores, but was driven out of the market by foreign barilla. Some leather is manufactured, and. coarse woollen yarns, stuffs, and stockings, for home use, are still extensively made. Valuable manufactures of pig-iron were formerly carried on at Bunawe and Islay, but these have now ceased. The granite quarries of Bunawe, however, employ about 200 workmen. The distillation of whisky is conducted on a large scale in Islay and at Campbeltown. Slates are turned out in vast quantities from the quarries of Easdale and Ballachulish. Fisheries throughout the Campbeltown and Inverary districts, and partly in connection with the Rothesay district, are extensively conducted in all the surrounding intersecting seas. Loch Fyne indeed is celebrated as furnishing the finest herrings found on the coast of Scotland, and it is estimated that there are caught in this arm of the sea alone from 20,000 to 30,000 barrels annually; but the take has greatly fallen off in later years. The large catches, however, that are still occasionally made, show that the herring has not finally deserted the loch. Campbeltown is the only head port; but the commerce of the county has a vastly wider reach than what the shipping of Campbeltown represents, sharing very largely in the shipping of Greenock and Glasgow, and giving employment to no mean portion of the great fleet of steam vessels belonging to the ports of the Clyde. No similarly peopled region in any other part of Great Britain has such facilities of steamship communication, and none with seemingly so few resources supplies so large an amount of tonnage to coasting commerce. The railways are the CALLANDER AND OBAN railway, and the West Highland railway, which begins near Helensburgh and runs in a north-westerly direction, crossing the Oban railway at Crianlarich, to Fort William. The royal burghs are Inverary and Campbeltown; a parliamentary burgh is Oban; and other towns and chief villages are Dunoon, Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig, Tobermory, Bowmore, Ballachulish, Tarbert, Kilmun, Strone, Kim, Sandbank, Tighnabruaich, Portnahaven, Port Ellen, Port Charlotte, Easdale, and Ellenabuich. The chief seats are inverary Castle, Colonsay House, Kildalloig, Strontian, Fassifern, Dunstaffiiage, Kilmory, Glenfeochan, Aehindarroch, Inverneil, Sonachan, Glendaruel, Stonefield, Lochnell, Balliveolan, Possill Aros, Jura house, Inverawe, Ormsary, Ballochyle, Glenfinart, Glencreggan, Castle-Toward, Dunans, Kingairloch, Glenvar, Airds, Mclaclachlan, Pennycross, Ardgour, Poltalloch, Kildalton, Coll, Skipness, Ardpatrk, Ardmeanach, Orinaig, Benmore, Barcaldine, Dunach, Gallanach, Fasnacloich, Pennygowan, Carskey, Oatfield, Hafton, Glenstriven, Knockdow, Milton, Ardnave, Ardlussa, Daill, Killundine, Ulva, Craignish, Ardkinglass, Strachur, Saddel, Sanda, and Asknish. According to latest Miscellaneous Statistics of the United Kingdom, 2,030,948 acres, with a total gross estimated rental of £430,152, were divided among 2864 landowners; two together holding 347,540 acres (rental, £66,837), seven 419,917 (£46l,041), sixteen 489,869 (£44, 110), twenty-seven 363,570 (£61,906), thirty-four 232,921 (£47,336), thirty-eight 121,291 (£28,285), etc.
The county is now governed by a lord lieutenant and high sheriff’, 44 deputy lieutenants, a sheriff, 4 sub-sheriffs, and 143 magistrates. The sub-sheriffs are stationed at Inverary, Campheltown, Oban, and Fort William. Ordinary small debt and debts recovery courts are held at Inverary, Campbeltown, and Oban, every Friday, and at Fort William every Thursday during session. Circuit courts, under the Small Debt and Debt Recovery Acts, are held at Dunoon and Tobermory once a month, at Lochgilphead six times a-year, and at Bowmore (Islay) four times a year. Quarter sessions are held at Inverary on the first Tuesday of March, May, and August, and the last Tuesday of October. There are prisons at Inverary and Campbeltown, and police cells at Oban. The Duke of Argyll is lord-lieutenant and high sheriff, and he and the Marquis of Breadalbane are the principal proprietors. The county council is Composed of 52 elected members—6 for Mull district, 4 for that of Ardnamurchan, 9 for Lorn, 9 for North and South Argyll, 10 for Cowal, 8 for Kintyre, and 6 for Islay—and 2 representatives each for the burghs of Oban and Campbeltown, and 1 for that of Inverary. There are seven district committees in the county (one for each of the above districts), a County Road Board, a standing Joint Committee (composed of county councillors and commissioners of supply), and a District Lunacy Board. The annual value of real property in 1816 was £227,493; in 1843, £261,920; in 1873, £429,384; in 1881, £499,736—both the two last exclusive of canals; and in 1892, £429,050, exclusive of burghs, railways and canals. Besides its three burghs of Campbeltown, Inverary, and Oban, returning along with Ayr and Irvine a parliamentary representative, the county sends a member to parliament, and in 1891 had a constituency of 9874. Pop. (1881) 76,440, (1891) 75,003. The registration county had, in 1881, a population of 80,693; in 1891, 79,317. Thirty-four parishes are assessed, and four unassessed, for the poor. One, Campbcltown, has a poorhouse for itself; and 26 in groups of 4, 5, 10, and 7, have poorhouses in the 4 combinations of Islay, Lochgilphead, Lorn, and Mull. Religious statistics have already been given tinder ARGYLL; in 1891 the county had 159 public and 14 non-public but state-aided schools—in all 173 schools, with accommodation for 18,399 children, and an average attendance of 9900. An ancient Caledonian tribe, called the Epidii, occupied the great part of what is now Argyllshire. They took their name from the word Ebyd, signifying ‘a peninsula,’ and designating what is now Kintyre, which hence was anciently called the Epidian promontory. They spread as far N as Loch Linnhe and the Braes of Genorchy; they must have lived in a very dispersed condition; they necessarily were cut into sections by great natural barriers; they likewise, from the character of their boundaries in the N and the E, must have been much separated from the other Caledonian tribes; and they do not appear to have been disturbed even remotely by the Romans. They were, in great degree, an isolated people; and in so far as thhad communication with other territories than their own, they seem to have had it, for a long time, far more with Erin than with Caledonia. Some of them, at an early period, probably before the Christian era, emigrated to the NE coast of Ireland, and laid there the foundation of a prosperous settlement, under the name of Dalriada. A native tribe, called the Cruithne, was there before them; took its name from words signifying ‘eaters of corn;’ is thought to have been addicted to the cultivation of the ground, in contrast to a pastoral or roving mode of life; and seems to have easily yielded itself into absorption with the immigrants. An intermingled race of Epidii and Cruithne arose, took the name of Dalriads or Dalriadans, adopted the Christian faith from the early Culdees of Erin, and are presumed to have combined the comparatively pastoral habits of the Epidii with the land-cultivating habits of the Cruithne. A colony of these Dalriads or Dalriadans came, in the year 503, to Kintyre; brought with them the practices of the Christian religion, and improved practices in the commoner arts of life; sent off detachments to various centres of the old Epidian region, especially to Islay and to Lorn; acquired ascendency through all the country of the Epidii; and established at Dunstaffnage, in the neighbourhood of Oban, a monarchy which is usually regarded by historians as the parent monarchy of Scotland. Further notices of that early monarchy will be given under the heading Dunstaffnage. King Kenneth, who began to reign at Dunstaffnage in 835, was the maternal grandson of a king of Pictavia, who died without any male heir in 833, and he made a claim to be that king’s successor, contested the claim for several years with two competitors, and eventually enforced it by strength of victory; united the crown of Pictavia to the crown of Dalriada; and established, in breadth and permanency, the kingdom of Scotland. The territory now forming Argyllshire, while it had been the cradle of the Scottish kingdom, became thenceforth no more than an outlying portion of it; and it soon began to be much disturbed by invasions and forays of Norsemen and other depredators who swept the seas. Numerous battles and heroic achievements, in consequence, took place within its bounds; but these, on account of its main territory becoming then much linked in history with the entire Western lands, will be more appropriately noticed in our article on the Hebrides. Some great events, indeed, if we may repose any confidence in the voice of tradition, events relating to Fingal and his heroes, were peculiarly its own, or at least belonged largely to its northern tracts of Morvern and Glencoe; but are too doubtful and shadowy to admit of other than slight notice in merely the articles on the particular localities with which they are associated. The Macdougals of Lorn and the Macdonalds, Lords of the Isles, were almost independent thanes during much of the Middle Ages—the former in Lorn, Argyll, and Mull—the latter in Islay, Kintyre, and some other parts; but they were eventually reduced to subjection by James III. The leading events during their times will be noticed in our article on the Hebrides. The Stewarts afterwards became the leading clan in Appin; the Macarthurs, about Loch Awe; the Macgregors, in Glenorchy; the Macnaughtons, about parts of Loch Fyne; the Campbells, in parts of Lorn and Argyll. The Campbells, in particular, soon got high ascendency, not only in their own original territory, but throughout the county and beyond it; they thoroughly defeated an insurrection of the Macdonalds in 1614; they extended their own acquisitions of territory near and far, till they carne to hold an enormous proportion of all the land; and they concentrated their strength of descent in the two great noble families of Argyll and Breadalbane. The Argyll family got the Scottish peerage titles of Baron Campbell in 1452, Earl of Argyll in 1457, Baron of Lorn in 1470, Duke of Argyll, Marquis of Lorn and Kintyre, Earl of Campbell and Cowal, Viscount of Lochowe and Glenisla, and Baron Inverary, Mull, Morvern, and Tiree in 1701; they also got, in the peerage of Great Britain, the titles of Baron Sundridge in 1766, Baron Hamilton in 1776, and Duke of Argyll in 1892; they likewise are hereditary keepers of the castles of Dunoon, Dunstaffnage, and Carrick; and, in 1871, through the marriage of the Marquis of Lorn, the duke’s eldest son, to the Princess Louise, they became allied to the Royal family.
The antiquities of Argyllshire are many and various. Caledonian remains, particularly stone circles and megalithic stones, occur frequently. Dalriadic remains, or what claim to be such, are prominent at ‘Beregonium’ and Dunstaffnage. Danish forts, in the shape of what are called ‘duns,’ occur on different parts of the coast. Ecclesiastical remains occur on Iona, on Oronsay, in Ardchattan, at Kilmun, etc. Mediæval castles, interesting for either their history, their architecture, or their remains, are at Dunolly, Kilchurn, Artornish, Mingarry, Skipness, and Carrick; and foundations of others are at Dunoon, Ardkinglass, and some other places. See J. Denholm, Tour to the Principal Lakes in Dumbartonshire and Argyllshire; Capt. T. P. White, Archæological Sketches in Kintyre and Knapdale; and an excellent article by Duncan Clerk, ‘On the Agriculture of the County of Argyll,’ in the Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society (1878).
From Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1896