Parish of Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Kilfinichen and Kilviceuen
1834-45: Kilfinichen and Kilviceuen

Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon, a parish in the Mull district of Argyllshire. Comprising the south-western parts of Mull island, the inhabited islands of Iona, Earraid, and Inchkenneth, and several neighbouring uninhabited islets, it contains the villages of Bonessan and Iona, each with a post office under Oban, and enjoys communication by means of the steamers sailing from numerous parishes into which Mull was anciently divided, and formed only a part of the one parish into which all that district was thrown at the Reformation, but was curtailed by the separate erection of Kilninian and Kilmore parish in 1688, and of Torosay parish about 1728, when it took the name of Kilfinichen and Kilvickeon, from two churches which stood on the central and the southern parts of the coast of its Mull mainland section. It is naturally divided, in that section, into the north-eastern district of Brolass, the central district of Ardmeanach, and the south-western district of Ross; and, in consequence of the last of these districts being the most prominent of the three, the entire parish is often called Ross. It is bounded N by Kilninian and Kilmore, E by Torosay, and on all other sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 23 miles; its utmost breadth, exclusive of the islands, is 18 miles; and its area is 62, 730 acres, of which 2485¾ are foreshore and 302½ water. The islands and all the prominent places and objects are noticed in separate articles; and the coasts, the surface, and the general features of the Mull mainland section are noticed in the article Mull. Loch-na-Keal, containing Inchn kenneth island, forms nearly all the boundary with Kilnmian and Kilmore; a line of mountain watershed forms the boundary with Torosay; a reach of hills, of no great height, forms the inner boundary of Brolass district; and Loch Scridain forms most of the boundary between Ardmeanach and Ross districts. Benmore (3185 feet), the monarch mountain of Mull, lifts its summit on the boundary with Torosay; Gribon promontory, with lofty cliffs and receding trap terraces that rise to an altitude of 1621 feet, forms much of the coast and seaboard of Ardmeanach; the Ross of Mull projects 7 miles further W than the most westerly point of Gribon, and terminates within 1 mile of Iona; Ardtun headland, of grand basaltic character, projects from the Ross at the mouth of Loch Scridain; Inniemore headland, also grandly basaltic, and forming part of a magnificent reach of cliffs, is on the S coast of Ross district, 16 miles E of Iona; two most imposing and picturesque natural archways, called the Carsaig Arches, are on the same coast further E; and Loch Buy, overhung at the head by the grand isolated mountain of Ben Buy (2352 feet), is on the sea-boundary with Torosay. Three lakes are in Ross-the largest of them not more than 1½ mile in length and ½ mile in breadth. Six rivulets are in Brolass and Ardmeanach, and, although brief in course, acquire such volume and velocity in times of rain as sometimes to be impassable. Numerous other torrents run either to these rivulets or to the ocean; and hundreds of streamlets rush or leap down the rocks of Burg, Gribon, Inniemore, and Carsaig. Much of the land is barren mountain; the greater part is hilly, and fit at best for grazing; a comparatively small proportion is flat, and part of even that is moss or heath. The soil, throughout the arable tracts, is chiefly light and dry; and generally produce sufficient meal and potatoes for local consumption, sometime even for exportation. Cattle grazing, sheep farming, and fishing are the chief employments. Antiquities are standing stones, Scandinavian round towers, a small ruined church on Inchkenneth, the sketches on the walls of Unns Cave at the Ross of Mull, and the famous ruins and monuments of Iona. Mansions are Inchkenneth House, Inniemore Lodge, Pennycross, Pennyghael, Tavool, and Tiroran; and the Duke of Argyll is chief proprietor, 3 others holding each an annual value of more, and 4 of less, than £100. Divided ecclesiastically between Kilfinichen and Iona, this parish is in the presbytery of Mull and synod of Argyll; the living is worth £252. Kilvickeon parish church stands at Bonessan in Ross-Kilfinichen parish church on the Loch Scridain coast of Ardmeanach, 10 miles ENE of Bonessan; both were built in 1804, and they contain respectively 350 and 300 sittings. Two other Established places of worship are within the parish; and they and the two churches are served, in certain rotation, partly by the parish minister and partly by a missionary. A Free Church preaching station is in Kilfinichen, and a small Baptist meeting-house in Kilvickeon. Four public schools-Bonessan, Creich, Iona, and Pennyghael- with respective accommodation for 114, 128, 79, and 60 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 74, 76, 39, and 19, and grants of £56, 5s., £72, 19s., £39, 3s. 6d., and £35, 1s. Valuation (1860) £5150, (1883) £8599, 3s. 9d. Pop. of civil parish (1811) 3205, (1841) 4102, (1861) 2518, (1871) 2448, (1881) 1982, of whom 1838 were Gaelic-speaking; of ecclesiastical parish (1881) 1277.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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