Kilmichael-Glassary

   KILMICHAEL-GLASSARY, a parish, in the district and county of Argyll, 18 miles (S. W.) from Inverary; containing, with part of the late quoad sacra parish of Lochgilphead, 4700 inhabitants. This place, of which the early history is almost unknown, is supposed to have derived its name of Glassary from the general appearance of its surface, as being more adapted for pasture than for tillage. It is said to have formed part of the possessions of the Mac Donalds, of whose baronial castle, on the northern bank of Loch Awe, and which, according to tradition, was destroyed by fire, there are still considerable remains. From the 11th to the 13th century, the place appears to have been exposed to frequent incursions of the Danes, who held nearly the whole of the western coast; and there are several watch-towers yet existing, which were erected to give notice of their approach. The parish is bounded on the south and south-east by Loch Fine, and on the north-east by Loch Awe, and varies from twelve to sixteen miles in length, and from eight to ten miles in breadth, comprising an area of nearly 150 square miles. The surface, which rises gradually from both sides towards the centre, is diversified with hills of no great elevation; and on the west is an extensive valley, varying in height from 200 to 600 feet above the level of the sea. The acclivities of the valley are partially wooded, and in the centre is the small lake Lochan Leamhan. There are other lakes in the parish, of which the principal is Loch Ederlin, about a mile to the west of Loch Awe, beautifully embosomed in hills crowned with thriving plantations; and Loch Glaissean and Loch Shineach, from which latter issues the river Ad, are situated in the moorlands. The main river is the Ad, which, after leaving its source, flows through the valley of Glassary into the Crinan: this stream, which is subject to great inundations from heavy rains, abounds with trout and salmon, and a fishery for the latter is conducted under the superintendence of the proprietor.
   The soil along the banks of Loch Fine, towards the south-east, is gravel intermixed with peat; and towards the south-west, a deep rich loam of great fertility. Considerable portions of land have been improved by furrow-draining; but much yet remains in an unprofitable state. The system of husbandry, also, has made some progress under the auspices of the Agricultural Society established here, which includes also the neighbouring parishes of Craignish, Kilmartin, and North and South Knapdale; but the lands are but very partially inclosed, and the farm-buildings are still of an inferior description. The cattle reared in the pastures are generally of the Argyllshire or West Highland breed, and the sheep principally the black-faced, with some of the South Down breed on the lands of Kilmory, which thrive well. There are considerable remains of natural wood, consisting chiefly of oak, birch, and hazel, of which there are fine specimens on the shores of Loch Awe; and extensive plantations of oak, Scotch and silver firs, larch, ash, and other trees, have been formed in several parts, all of which, with the exception of the ash, are in a thriving state. The principal substrata are mica-slate, of which the rocks are mainly composed, with greenstone and limestone. Copper-ore, also, has been found, and a mine was recently opened by the Duke of Argyll; but, though the ore was of good quality, it did not occur in sufficient quantity to remunerate the expense of working it, and the mine has been abandoned. The rateable annual value of the parish is £11,343.
   The principal mansion is Kilmory House, the seat of Sir John P. Orde, Bart., by whom it has been enlarged and greatly improved: the present structure, which is of blue ashler stone, is spacious, and surmounted at the south-west angle by a lofty octagonal tower, containing a dining-room twenty-nine feet in diameter, and other stately apartments. Over the entrance hall is a Chinese drawing-room, fifty-seven feet long, and twenty-seven feet wide, fitted up in appropriate style, and furnished with hangings and drapery made for the purpose in China. From the summit of the tower is obtained an extensive prospect, embracing the mountain of Ben-Ghoil, in Arran, the Mull, and the hills of Cowal. The village of Kilmichael is small, and not distinguished by any important features: that of Lochgilphead is separately noticed. Fairs for cattle are held at Kilmichael in May and October, and on the following days at Lochgilphead; and they are so regulated, that the stock remaining unsold may be driven to the Inverary markets. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Inverary and synod of Argyll. The minister's stipend is £266, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £28 per annum; patron, Campbell, of Auchinellan. The church, erected in 1827, is a spacious structure containing 1500 sittings. A government church was erected at the village of Lochgilphead in 1828; and in 1841, a church was built by the committee of the General Assembly at Camlodden, for the benefit of that portion of the parish and the adjacent district of Inverary. There are preaching stations at Lochfineside and Lochaweside, where a missionary preaches alternately; also places of worship in the parish for Independents and members of the Free Church. The parochial schoolmaster has a salary of £25, with a house and garden, and the fees average £35. There is a female school in the village of Lochgilphead, maintained by the heritors; and a school in the Camlodden district is supported by the General Assembly, who pay £25 per annum to the master, for whom a house and garden are provided rent-free by Sir Archibald Campbell, Bart. Remains of ancient churches exist in various parts of the parish, of which the most prominent are, Kilbride, on the west; Killevin, on the shore of Loch Fine; Kilmory, near Lochgilphead; and Kilneuair, on the bank of Loch Awe. The remains of Kilneuair display much beauty of style; the cemetery of Kilmory is still used as a place of sepulture.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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