Record Type: review

2002.69.10

St Columba’s Church, Kirkapol

Photograph of the Old Parish Church at Kirkapol in 2001.

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Courtesy of Rev. Robert Higham

The Old Parish Church, dedicated to St Columba, stands within its own graveyard, An Cladh Beag, a quarter of a kilometre from Gott Bay. It is oblong in plan and measures 11.3 by 5.2 metres within walls over a metre thick.

There is a blocked-up round-arch entrance in the west wall and two round-arch windows in the south wall. During conservation work on the church in 2001, the disarticulated remains of at least ten bodies were found in the area of ground beneath the large breach in the east gable wall.

Beneath these bones, the remains of two more bodies were found in a small burial chamber, which was probably part of the original church construction in the late 14th century. These discoveries accord with the medieval practice of burying bodies beneath the walls of consecrated buildings.

Colour photograph of one of the Kirkapol chapels.

The larger of the two Kirkapol chapels, St Columba`s, photographed in 2001.

2002.69.15

Tobar Eachainn

Photograph of Tobar Eachainn at Kirkapol.

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Tobar Eachainn (Hector’s Well) is situated on the west bank of Kirkapol stream a hundred metres to the east of Kirkapol graveyard. Formerly known as Tobar Odhrain (Oran’s Well), its waters were said to have healing properties.

St Oran was a relative and a disciple of St Columba. He possibly spent time in Tiree as the larger of the two graveyards at Kirkapol is also dedicated to him. Evidence of the foundations of a chapel was uncovered there by a grave-digger in the late 19th century.

The well is a natural spring which is enclosed within dry-stone walls and roofed with turf-covered slabs. It was closed as a source of drinking water in the 1940s because of its close proximity to the graveyard.

Colour photograph of Tobair Eachainn.

Tobair Eachainn, once known as Tobair Odhrain, on Lodge Farm.

2002.64.1

The shop at Balemartine

Postcard of the shop at Balemartine.

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Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Campbell

Kirsty MacKinnon (Cìorstaidh Ailein) and her half brother, Lachie MacDonald (Lachainn Dhòmhnaill) opened a shop in Balemartine that became the second largest shop on the island.

Their house and shop was built by Hugh MacKinnon, the contractor in Crossapol, for £600. When asked why it was being built so high, Lachie replied, “Tha mi sgith de thòit Ghorraig” (“I am tired of the smoke of Gorraig”, an old name for that part of Balemartine which had a bad reputation).

Lachie took over the coal business from Hugh MacLean of Balemartine. He brought in coal on puffers such as the ‘Starlight’ and the ‘Moonlight’ to Soroby beach, where there is still a mooring ring to mark the spot.

Postcard of Balemartine shop.

Balemartine shop.

1997.170.5

Mr and Mrs Neil MacLaine

Photograph of Mr and Mrs Neil MacLaine.

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Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Campbell

Neil MacLaine and his wife Catherine MacFadyen are captured here for posterity in their Highland finery. The ‘Bard’, as Neil MacLaine was familiarly known, was at the forefront of the Celtic movement in Glasgow from the late 1890s until his death in 1925.

The Bard had a gift for telling humerous Gaelic stories and reciting his own compositions. He regularly attended meetings of the Clan MacLean, Tiree Association and Ceilidh nan Gaidheal and was a vice-president in each of these societies.

Born in Caoles in 1851, he went to Glasgow at an early age to become apprenticed to the joinery trade. Apart from four years spent in the Kimberley Diamond Fields in South Africa, he remained in the city until his death in 1919.

Black and white photograph of Mr and Mrs Neil MacLaine.

Neil MacLaine and his wife Catherine MacFadyen in their Highland finery. The ‘Bard’, as Neil MacLaine was familiarly known, was at the forefront of the Celtic movement in Glasgow from the late 1890s until his death in 1925.

1997.170.9

Pipe Major Willie MacLean

Photograph of Pipe Major Willie MacLean of Kilcreggan.

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Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Campbell

Pipe Major Willie MacLean of Kilcreggan led the 1st Cameron Highlanders into Cologne during World War 1. He was married to Effie MacLaine, daughter of the Caoles bard Neil MacLaine and his wife Catherine MacFadyen.

Black and white photograph of Willie MacLean, Kilcreggan.

Pipe Major Willie MacLean of Kilcreggan, in full Highland regalia. He led the 1st Cameron Highlanders into Cologne during World War I.

1997.170.15

Black and white photograph of the wedding of Hugh Cameron and Margaret MacLaine,`Lochiel`, Cornaigmore, in Glasgow on 23rd December 1923, with best man Dr John Cameron and bridesmaid Marion MacLaine.

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Courtesy of Mrs Mairi Campbell

The bride Margaret MacLaine and the bridesmaid, her sister Marion, are dressed in the fashion of the day with elaborate bouquets. The groom, Hugh Cameron, is in full Highland regalia.

Both families took a keen interest in the Tiree Association which was founded in 1900 to provide a focal point for islanders living in Glasgow. The bride’s father, Neil, was a well-known bard and was prominent in the Celtic movement in Glasgow.

The best man was the groom’s brother, Dr John Cameron. He married Mae Smillie who raised funds for a holiday cottage by the shore in Morvern for the families of ex-servicemen.

2000.210.5

M.V. ‘Claymore’ at Gott Bay pier in 1964

Photograph of M.V. ‘Claymore’ at Gott Bay pier in 1964.

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Courtesy of Mrs Janis Cuevas

Launched in 1955 from the Dumbarton yard of Wm. Denny & Bros., the M.V. ‘Claymore’ was the second vessel of that name in the MacBrayne fleet. Driven by twin screws, she had a tonnage of 1,024 and a speed of 12½ knots.

The ship could carry 494 passengers, about a hundred tons of cargo, up to eleven motor vehicles and twenty-six head of cattle. The passenger accommodation was beautifully furnished and comprised a first-class observation lounge and bar, a second-class open lounge, two first-class de luxe staterooms, a hospital room, and first- and second-class dining-saloons. Berths were provided to sleep fifty-six.

She sailed from Oban to Tobermory, Coll, Tiree, Castlebay and Lochboisedale three days a week until 1976 when she was sold to Canopus Shipping of Piraeus. She was later renamed the ‘City of Hydra’ and used for day cruises to the Greek islands of Hydra and Poros.

Colour photograph of the MV Claymore.

The MV Claymore at Gott Bay pier in 1964.

2001.180.2

Warwick crew from RAF 281 Squadron

Photograph of a Warwick crew from RAF 281 Squadron in September 1944.

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Courtesy of Mr Geoff Stephens

Standing in front of their Warwick aircraft at the Tiree aerodrome are Flight Sergeant Bobby (or Billy) Balcombe, Flight Sergeant Harry Merrison, Flight Sergeant ‘Kim’ Nicholls, Pilot Officer E. G. Rendall, Warrant Officer Joseph ‘Ray’ Stephens and ‘Poppy’ Brandeth, all from No. 281 Squadron.

The squadron, whose motto was ‘Volamus servaturi’ (We fly to serve), was formed in March 1942 for air-sea rescue duties, initially flying Defiant aircraft which were replaced the following year with Anson aircraft. In November 1943 it was absorbed by No. 282 Squadron and reformed with Warwick aircraft carrying airborne lifeboats.

The squadron’s base was moved to Tiree in February 1944 and detachments were sent around the British Isles. In February 1945 it moved to Northern Ireland but a detachment remained at Tiree until September. The squadron was disbanded in October 1945.

Black and white photograph of Warwick crew, September 1944.

Warwick crew, September 1944. L-R: Flight Sergeant Bobby (or Billy) Balcombe, Flight Sergeant Harry Merrison, Flight Sergeant `Kim` Nicholls, Pilot Officer E. G. Rendall, Warrant Officer Joseph `Ray` Stephens (donor`s father), `Poppy` Brandeth.