Tag Archives: craggans

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2016.44.2

Notes titled ‘A Tyrannical and Tiresome Tirade on Tiree by a Tired Retiree’ on the Medieval history and archaeology of Tiree by David Caldwell, casting doubt on the popular view that Tiree (along with Mull and Islay) was ruled by Somerled and his descendents to the exclusion of the dynasty of kings. David Caldwell, retired Keeper of Medieval Department at the National Museum of Scotland, gave a talk on the subject during a visit to Tiree in April 2016.

2016.31.1

Large craggan made on Tiree in about 1870, bearing a handwritten label from the period.

The label reads “Croggan from Tyree 1879. Specimen of native pottery. The peculiar nature of the c[roggen] is suposed to render the milk boiled in it condusive to the cure of consumption. Presented by Rev. William Ross, October“.

William Ross was one of the founder members of the Archaeological and Physical Society of Bute, a group of Victorian gentlemen who put together a collection of objects and natural history specimens from around the world, thus forming the first Bute Museum. When the museum moved premises in 1907 it was decided that the collection would concentrate on Bute alone, and the non-Bute items were distibuted. This Tiree craggan remained in the Bute Museum until it was given to An Iodhlann in April 2016. Includes a handwritten display label from the Bute Museum.

2016.31.12016.31.1-label

Tiree in 100 Objects – 19 – Craggan

The History of Tiree in 100 Objects

2005.58.8

Photograph and correspondence dated August 1998 regarding a Tiree craggan held in Bute Museum.

Photograph and correspondence dated August 1998 regarding a Tiree craggan held in Bute Museum, which the museum may gift to An Iodhlann. The craggan is approx. 230 mm wide and 260 mm high.

2000.174.7

Black and white photograph of Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin in the early 1940s.

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin demonstrates how his mother, Flora MacNeill, would make small clay pots known as craggans. After selecting a large lump of local clay, it was carefully worked by hand into a vessel with a neck and everted rim. The finished pot was allowed to dry then baked in the ashes of the fire. Milk was poured into and over it while still hot to make the surface less porous.

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2000.174.8

Black and white photograph of Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin in the early 1940s.

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin demonstrates how his mother, Flora MacNeill, would make small clay pots known as craggans believed to have special curative properties, particularly in the case of consumption. The craggan was heated on the fire until very hot, removed with tongs and taken to the byre where the cow was milked directly into it. This was heated again and administered to the invalid.

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2000.174.2

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Series of five photographs of Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin demonstrating how his mother would make a craggan.

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin

Courtesy of Mr George Holleyman

Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin, Tiree demonstrates how his mother, Flora MacNeill, would make small clay pots known as craggans which were believed to have special healing properties particularly in the case of consumption.

After selecting a large lump of local clay, it was carefully worked by hand into a vessel with a neck and everted rim. The finished pot was allowed to dry then baked in the ashes of the fire. Milk was poured into and over it while still hot to make the surface less porous.

The photographs were taken by George Holleyman, an archaeologist posted to RAF Tiree during World War II. He later published a paper ‘Tiree Craggans’ in the journal ‘Antiquity’.

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