Appin Summary



Principal Sources


RMS V (691) (1564)

RMS VI (1436) (1564)

RRS V (374) 1329

GD112/1/476 1628

GD112/2/107 & GD112/3/5 1470

GD112/2/88/4 1738

GD112/62/1/1 1329

GD 170/47 1740

AS I (111) 1620, (243) 1643, (343) 1651, (354) 1652, (391) 1659, (433-4) 1660, (572-3, 590, 592) 1674

AS II (1) 1617, (38) 1618, (47) 1619, (86) 1620, (143) 1622, (170-1) 1623, (192) 1625,  (255) 1628, (265) 1629, (352) 1631, (365) 1631, (491-7) 1634, (600-607, 610-11) 1637, (615, 627) 1638, (649-50, 661) 1640, (695, 703) 1642, (944-8, 955) 1657, (1100) 1663, (1174, 1180) 1664, (1371-3, 1382) 1667, (1503) 1669


Argyll Retours (42-53) 1633

Argyll Valuation Roll 1751


RHP 3484 Ardsheal Estate by W Morison 1773

RHP 44128 Glencoe Estate (after 1877)

Macfarlane’s Geographical Collections II pp 154-5 & 516

HP IV pp 193-4

JHJ Stewart, The Stewarts of Appin, Edinburgh, 1880


RRS V (374) gives a note of a charter from Robert the Bruce to Arthur Campbell in 1329. It grants the lands of Kinlochlyon, Glenstandill, Killargie, Auchingewall and others for a birlinn of 20 oars. (See also HP IV pp 193-4). Fortunately we have a copy of this charter, made c. 1607-10, under GD112/62/1/1. The lands had formerly belonged to Gillaspik McMartene and consisted of 10d in Appin and 10¼d in Lismore. The spellings vary and I cannot pin down every place-name but most are identifiable.


The charter also offers a striking example of the obligation to provide naval service. A grant of 20¼d was linked to provision of a 20-oared birlinn for naval service. This is almost equivalent to 1 oarsman per pennyland.


In 1470 it is thought that the Earl of Argyll gave one-third of Appin, (theoretically 20 merklands), to Glenorchy. These lands are listed in GD 112/2/107 and GD 112/3/5. The former list gives 8m Kinlochlaich, 2m Achosrigan, 1m Finaltin, 4m Achnacone, 3m Invernahyle and 1m Corelorne – a total of 19m. Although the precise locations of Finaltin and Corelorne are a little doubtful this looks to be a compact unit in the centre of Appin between Kinlochlaich and the Strath of Appin. The list is (mostly) confirmed in GD 112/3/5. (OPS II, I p 167 reads 2m for Finaltin to give a total of 20m. All the other references I have found give Finaltin as 1m). Some of these names match names given in the 1329 charter.


OPS II, I p 167, quoting the Argyle Inventory for 1501, refers to the £40(=60m) land held by the dead Dugall Stewart of Appin (cf Historical Manuscripts Commission 4th Report p 479 No 100). Smith gives 125m for Appin together with Lismore in 1798. Since he gives Lismore as 61m on p 318 we can surmise his total for Appin was 64m. I find 58m. In ‘The Stewarts of Appin’ (p 200), JHJ Stewart quotes from the Acts of the Lords of Council for 1512 which refers to the values (and redemption values) of some Appin lands. ‘Glenrevern’ is possibly Glen Creran whilst ‘Twaletter’ will probably include what was formerly Lettirshuna and is now Leitir Mhor. ‘Arthur’, ‘Lard Grenocht’ and ‘Killard’ are still recognisable as Ardtur, Ledgrianach and Coelard.


I find no references to davachs. The 1329 charter makes clear that Appin was then reckoned in pennylands or fractions thereof. There are not many examples where we can directly match a pennyland assessment with a merkland valuation but where we can I think the evidence favours a ratio of 1d to 4m which is also found throughout Southern Argyll. All holdings in Appin, bar one, are of 8m, 4m, 2m or 1m. We do not find lots of 3m or 20s units. In addition the ratio in Lismore (with which Appin was closely linked) was 1d to 4m. I think the evidence points to a 1d to 4m ratio and a total value of 15d or ¾ ounceland for Appin. The problem with this is that it seems a rather unlikely total.


Despite the pennyland assessment system there are few Norse names in Appin. Shuna and Glaceriska are both islands and there is only one clear Norse settlement name on the mainland at Glenstockdale. One of the problems of finalizing the data in Appin is the fact that not many burn-names seem to have survived onto modern maps. Local tradition stresses that families with different allegiances might live on opposite sides of a relatively minor burn.


Bookmark and Share
Posted in Appin and Duror

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *