Associated People: Campbell, Rev. John Gregorson, Tiree (1836 - 1891)


Hardback book `Clan Traditions and Popular Tales (Waifs & Strays of Celtic Tradition V. Argyllshire Series)` collected by Rev John Gregorson Campbell, 1895.

Includes several tales featuring Tiree, including ‘The Last Cattle Raid in Tiree’, from page 29 of the book, transcribed below.

The story of the last cattle raid on Tiree was collected by John Gregorson Campbell from local informants while he was serving as the island’s minister between 1861 and 1891. It was published in ‘Clan Traditions and Popular Tales of the Western Highlands and Islands’ in 1895.

John Gregorson Campbell was recognised as one of the greatest authorities on Celtic folklore. His publisher, Alfred Nutt wrote, ‘In person, Campbell was tall and fair, with deep blue eyes full of life and vivacity. He was noted at once for the kindliness of his manner, and the shrewd causticity of his wit.’

An invalid for the last ten years of his life, he lived with his sister Mrs Jessie Wallace in Hynish. He died unmarried in 1891.


Hardback book `Superstitions of the Highlands & Islands of Scotland` by John Gregorson Campbell. The following extract is a transcription from the book.

Fairy dogs (‘Cu sith’)

The fairies often kept hounds as watchdogs, which sometimes accompanied fairy women on their expeditions or roamed about alone, making their lairs in the clefts of rocks.

Rev. John Gregorson Campbell described these dogs as being ‘as large as a two-year-old stirk’ with, in some cases, ‘a long tail rolled up in a coil on its back…Its immense footmarks [were] as large as the spread of a human hand…’ Some said its motion was silent; others that it made a noise like a galloping horse.

‘There is a considerable interval between each bark, and at the third (it only barks thrice) the terror-struck hearer is overtaken and destroyed, unless he has by that time reached a place of safety.’