- PORTNAHAVEN, a port, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Kilchoman, district of Islay, county of Argyll, 18 miles (S. W. by W.) from Bowmore; containing 1271 inhabitants. This place was separated from Kilchoman for ecclesiastical purposes, and erected into a quoad sacra parish, on the building of a church here by parliamentary grant, for the accommodation of the inhabitants in this distant part of the parish. The district comprises about 5000 acres, of which one-half are in tillage or in pasture. The village is situated at the southern extremity of the Rinns of Islay, opposite to the islands of Chenzie and Noarsa, from which it is divided by a narrow frith. The inhabitants are employed during the autumn in the fisheries, and at other times in agriculture; the fish taken here are, cod, ling, and coal-fish, which they cure, and send in great quantities to the Irish markets. The port is accessible to vessels of considerable burthen, but only during favourable weather, the swell of the Atlantic at other times rendering it unsafe: a lighthouse was erected on the isle of Noarsa, in 1824, by the Commissioners of Northern Lights. A good road, also, has been constructed by the parliamentary commissioners to this place from Bridgend; and it is there connected with another to Portaskaig, previously made at the sole expense of Walter Campbell, Esq. Together they afford an easy communication from the south to the north of the island of Islay. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Islay and Jura and synod of Argyll; and the patronage is vested in the Crown: the stipend of the minister is £120, with a manse, and a glebe valued at £8 per annum. A parochial school has been lately endowed by government.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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