Kilfinichen and Kilviceuen

   KILFINICHEN and KILVICEUEN, a parish, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll; containing, with Iona, 4113 inhabitants, of whom 250 are in the village of Bonessan. This place takes its name from the churches of the two ancient parishes whereof it consists, the one in the district of Airdmeanach, and the other in that of Ross, by which latter appellation the whole parish is frequently designated. The parish, which is situated in the south-west portion of Mull, including the isles of Iona, Inniskenneth or Inch-Kenneth, and Eorsa, with several small islets, is bounded on the north and north-east by a ridge of mountains separating it from the parish of Torosay, on the south by an arm of the Atlantic, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean itself. Exclusive of the isles, it is about twenty-four miles in length and thirteen in extreme breadth, comprising an area of nearly 180 square miles; and is divided into the four districts of Iona, Ross, Brolas, and Airdmeanach. Iona, which is separated from Ross by the sound of Iona, is three miles in length and almost one mile in breadth. Ross and Brolas are divided from Airdmeanach by Loch Scridain, and are each about twelve miles in length and from three and a half to seven miles in breadth; and Airdmeanach, which joins Brolas at the upper extremity of Loch Scridain, is thirteen miles in length, varying from three to six in breadth. The surface is hilly, and the lands generally are better adapted for pasturage than for the plough: in some portions the grounds are low and flat, consisting of heath, pasture, and arable land.
   Of the range of mountains that separate the parish from Torosay, the most conspicuous is Benmore, which has an elevation of 3097 feet above the level of the sea, commanding from its summit a most unbounded view of the numerous islands in this part of the Atlantic, the whole of the circumjacent country, and Ireland in the distance. The promontory of Burg, also, at the western extremity of Airdmeanach, has a very considerable elevation, rising precipitously from the sea in an irregular series of basaltic columns. The island of Iona is described in a separate article. The island of Inniskenneth, which takes its name from Kenneth, a disciple and companion of St. Columba, who lived here in seclusion, is separated from the northern shore of Airdmeanach by a sound nearly half a mile wide; it is a mile in length and about half a mile in breadth. It formerly belonged to the monastery of Iona, to which it was a cell; the remains of the ancient chapel are in tolerable preservation, and in the cemetery, which is still used as a place of sepulture, are numerous monuments. The remains of the cottage of Sir Allan Maclean, in which he hospitably entertained Dr. Johnson, when on a visit to the Hebrides, are also preserved here, The island is now the property of Col. Robert Macdonald, who has built a handsome mansion, in which he resides. Eorsa, to the north-east of Inniskenneth, is about a mile in length, and is the property of the Duke of Argyll; it is very fertile, producing formerly good crops of grain, and still affording excellent pasturage for sheep, but it is uninhabited.
   The sea-coast, including its numerous indentations, is not less than 100 miles in circuit; the shores are bold and rocky throughout the whole of its extent. On the south side of Ross is the creek of Portuisgen, affording, in favourable weather, safe anchorage for vessels not exceeding thirty tons; and in the sound of Iona are the creeks of Barachan and Poltairve, in which vessels of large burthen may ride. There is, however, a sandbank nearly in the middle of the sound, to pass which, with safety, vessels must keep within one-third channel of the island of Iona. To the east of the sound is Loch Lahaich, which extends for about two miles into the district of Ross, and affords good anchorage for ships of considerable burthen. The whole of Loch Scridain forms a roadstead; and at Kilfinichen, vessels of the largest size may find excellent anchorage, and secure shelter from all storms. The headland of Burg, and the entire north coast of Airdmeanach, are exceedingly dangerous, abruptly rocky, and without any harbour. There are numerous rivers, of which some, in their descent from the rocks, precipitously steep and cragged, form strikingly romantic cascades; but none of them are of sufficient importance to require particular description.
   The soil of the arable land is chiefly clay, alternated with sand, and, though in some parts fertile, is in others thin and light, and better adapted for spade husbandry than for the plough. The principal crops are, oats, bear, which is sold to the distillers of Oban and Tobermory, potatoes, turnips, and other green crops. The cattle, of which great numbers are pastured on the hills, are of the Highland black breed; and on the dairyfarms are a few cows of the Ayrshire. The sheep, formerly of the small Highland breed, are now the Cheviots, of which large numbers are pastured. There are plantations at Kilfinichen, though not of any considerable extent; and in the district of Airdmeanach is some natural wood, consisting of oak, ash, and beech; but none of the trees have attained any great growth. The rocks are mostly of the trap and oolite formation, and many of the cliffs are of basalt and greywacke. The substr of the isle of Inniskenneth are red sandstone and limestone; and on the south side of Ross, granite and micaceous schistus. Limestone is found at Carsaig, where, also, are some good quarries of freestone. Several indications of coal occur on the lands near the coast, and in the bed of a rivulet on the side of the mountain; there are also favourable appearances at Brolas and Gribund, and the proprietor of Carsaig is now boring for coal with every prospect of success. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4569.
   The principal mansions in the parish are Kilfinichen House, Pennycross House, and the house of Inniskenneth, the seat of Col. Macdonald, previously noticed. The only village is Bonessan, containing several shops well stocked with various kinds of merchandise for the supply of the adjacent district: a post-office, subordinate to that of Aros, has been established here; and fairs for blackcattle are held on the Friday before the Mull markets in May and October. Facility of communication is afforded by numerous steam-boats, which, during the summer especially, convey visiters to the islands of Iona and Staffa. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Mull and synod of Argyll. The minister's stipend is £180. 10., with an allowance of £42 in lieu of manse, and a glebe valued at £15 per annum; patron, the Duke of Argyll. There are two churches, one at Bonessan, in the district of Ross, and the other at Kilfinichen, in Airdmeanach, both built in 1804, and repaired in 1828, the former containing 350 sittings, and the latter 300. Divine service is performed for two Sundays at Bonessan, and on the third at Kilfinichen; and a church has been erected in the island of Iona. There are also two parochial schools, of which the masters have respectively salaries of £30 and £21. 6. 3., with fees averaging £8 each, and a house and garden. A school is supported by the General Assembly, who pay the master a salary of £22; and two Gaelic schools are maintained in the parish, the teachers receiving £20 and £15 respectively, with a house and garden each. These schools together are attended by about 800 children.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mull, Isle —    MULL, ISLE of, in the district of Mull, county of Argyll; containing 10,064 inhabitants. This forms one of the Hebrides, or Western Islands, of which it ranks as the third in extent. It originally constituted part of the dominions of the… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Inniskenneth —    INNISKENNETH.    See Inch Kenneth, and Kilfinichen and Kilviceuen …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Kilvickeon —    KILVICKEON, county of Argyll.    See Kilfinichen and Kilviceuen …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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