Gigha and Cara Text

Gigha and Cara


Principal Sources


RMS II (3170) – on original of 1436-1449, and Munro, ALI, pp 71-3

RMS IV (800) 1553, (921) 1554

RMS VI (790) 1598, (870) 1598-9

RMS VIII (545, 744) 1623, (1124) 1627, (1909) 1632


RSS I (2172) 1510

RSS II (3098) 1539, (4600) 1542

RSS IV (1497) 1551-2

E60/7/3 1636


AS I (347) 1652, (485-6) 1673

AS II (218, 227) 1627, (426) 1632, (1336-7) 1667, (1474, 1493) 1669

Argyll Retours (14) 1613, (20) 1619

Historical Manuscripts Commission Fourth Report p 476, No 37 1554

Clan Campbell III p 147, 1779

Mackintosh Muniments pp 1-2, Edinburgh, 1903 – for corrections see Munro, ALI pp 90-6

OPS II, I, p 258, 1455 (on original of 1440) & Munro, ALI, No 60 pp 88-89

RSG Anderson, The Antiquities of Gigha, Newton Stewart, 1936, Second Edition 1978

H Campbell, A Macneill Inventory, Genealogist 36 (1920) pp 121-3

K Philip, The Story of Gigha the flourishing Island, Beith, 1979


S McDougal, ‘A Map of the Island Giga’, British Library, K.Top.49.37, 1747

NLS Map Library, A Map of the District of Kantyre in Argyllshire, G Langlands, 1793.

British Library MS 33632A



There is little doubt about Gigha’s overall valuation which is consistently given as £20 (30m) from 1539. At the end of the sixteenth century it is noted as 30m in Skene, Celtic Scotland, Vol 3, Appendix 3, p 439. This is confirmed in the Old Statistical Account of 1793 and in Smith, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Argyll, 1798, p 319.


Gigha’s farm structure remained unchanged for centuries. Of the 13 farms which are named in all the early documents only one is missing from McDougal’s map of 1747. (Although we should add Saddell Abbey’s farm of Creag Bhan to make a total of 14). Unfortunately we have very little in the way of valuations of the individual farms and what data we do have tends to be late. In fact if we just went on the valuations we find in the seventeenth century or in the Argyll Valuation Roll of 1751 we might think that Gigha’s land-assessment structure was more like Kintyre than Islay. Most farms are valued at 2m or 4m rather than 1¼m or 2½m as in Islay. However we have one document from 1440 which radically alters our perception. This gives six Gigha farms with a value of ⅛th each or, in the case of Drumayonemore, two ⅛ths. This matches well with the data from Islay and Jura and despite the proximity of Gigha to Kintyre I would expect it to share its land-assessment system with the islands rather than the mainland. Six farms worth ⅞ths of a davach (and up to 14m of Gigha’s 30m assessment) would suggest a total of at least 2 and possibly 3 davachs for Gigha as a whole. Three would fit better with an expected Scottish extent of 1 davach to 10m – as found in Islay. Cara is given as ⅝m over and above Gigha but I suspect it was once part of the same 3 davachs and parish.


It is worth pointing out the relative scarcity of Norse place-names in Gigha. This is something of a contrast with both Kintyre (immediately to the east) and Islay (to the west).


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