Tag Archives: craggans

2000.174.5

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. Made by hand from local clay without the aid of a potter’s wheel, Tiree craggans were believed to have special curative properties, particularly in the case of consumption.

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2000.174.6

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. Each township had its potter who was always a woman. Flora MacNeill of Balevullin, who died aged eighty in the 1920s, was the last known craggan-maker on Tiree.

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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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2000.91.5

Tiree craggan

Photograph of a Tiree craggan.

Tiree craggan

Courtesy of Mr George Holleyman

George Holleyman, an archaeologist in the RAF police posted to Tiree during World War II, collected this small clay pot known as a craggan which he later donated to An Iodhlann.

Made by hand from local clay without the aid of a potter’s wheel, Tiree craggans were believed to have special curative properties, particularly in the case of tuberculosis of the lungs. The craggan was heated on the fire until very hot, removed with tongs and taken to the byre where it was filled with milk straight from the cow. This was heated again and administered to the invalid.

In a paper about Tiree craggans published in the journal ‘Antiquity’ in 1947, Holleyman wrote: ‘Each township had its potter who was always a woman…’ Flora MacNeill of Balevullin, who died aged eighty in the 1920s, was the last known craggan-maker on Tiree.

1997.246.1

Binder `The Island of Tiree 1941 – 1943` containing an account of George Holleyman’s time on Tiree, plus 123 related photographs.

Account by RAF policeman and amateur archaeologist George Holleyman FSA of his time on Tiree between September 1941 and June 1943. Includes seventy-five photographs taken on Tiree by George Holleyman between September 1941 and June 1943, and forty-eight black and white photographs/postcards taken by unknown photographer(s). George Holleyman carried out significant amounts of pioneering archaeological work in Sussex  during the first half of the 20th century along with Drs. Eliot and Cecil Curwen. He was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries  in 1949.

1998.12.1

Account by George Holleyman of his life on Tiree 1941-43.

Account by amateur archaeologist George Holleyman of his time in the RAF Service Police on Tiree from September 1941 to June 1943