Morvern Summary



Principal Sources


RMS II (2200, 2202) 1493-4, (2216) 1494, (2264) 1390 & 1495, (2329) 1496, (3284) 1508-9

RMS III (713) 1528, (1745) 1534, (2065) 1539-40, (2787) 1542, (3085) 1545

RMS IV (1240) 1557, (1272) 1558

RMS VII (663) 1612, (959) 1613, (1628) 1617


RSS II (4732) 1542

RSS V (I) (389) 1558


ER XIII pp 217-9 (1509)

ER XV p 675 (1528-9)

ER XVII pp 645-6 (1541), p 747 (1537), p 750 (1538)

Argyll Retours (56) 1635, (85) 1675

Inverness Retours (14) 1603, (27-8, 30) 1615, (93) 1663


AS I (2) 1617, (254) 1643, (342) 1651, (356) 1652, (585) 1674

AS II (99) 1620, (181) 1624, (309, 319, 337, 350, 359) 1630, (423) 1632, (447) 1633, (574) 1636, (651) 1640, (690, 692) 1642, (713-14) 1643, (829) 1654, (903) 1655, (1096) 1663, (1514) 1669


GD 1/426/1/26 Bundles 2/1 & 2/11

Historical Manuscripts Commission IV p 479

HP I pp 252-3 1672, p 287 1671

RHP 2971 Achnaha, Achabeg, Keil & Knock, G Langlands 1788

RHP 2993 Achnaha, Achabeg, Keil & Knock, A Langlands 1815

RHP 3258 Drimnin, 1836

RHP 41892 (A Bruce)

RW Munro, ALI pp 10-11

P Gaskell, Morvern Transformed (1968) especially Map 10

AE Anderson, Presbytery Records of Lorne 1651-1681, in TGSI, Vol XXXVI pp 112-138, 1931



For Morvern we are fortunate that we have a good number of valuations in both marklands and pennylands. There are so many of these that we can be absolutely certain that the ratio between the two systems was 1 ounceland : 10 marklands or 1d : ½m. The overwheming majority of the farms can be clearly mapped but there are a few listed in early times which are difficult to track through the following centuries. I suspect they were absorbed into other units and their names fell out of use. I have indicated these on the map with a question mark after the name. The agricultural jigsaw was dynamic. Farms combined and fell apart with marriage and inheritance. Pendicles and shielings floated between larger units. A few farms have a variety of values and this just reflects the process of amalgamation and decomposition. Values did not really change but a farm might include more or fewer components.


ER XIII of 1509 gives 189d; Smith states 185d in 1798; I find 191½d. It is pretty clear that the total value of Morvern (excluding Kingairloch) was 10 ouncelands or 200d. Kingairloch may once have been regarded as part of Morvern and consisted of 24d. This can be viewed as one ounceland plus 4d which was probably attached to it from neighbouring parts of Morvern. This would bring the total for Morvern even closer to the figure of 200d.


One anomaly is the surprising dearth of clear religious sites compared to other areas of the West Highlands. There were two mediaeval parish churches at Kilcolmkill (Kiel) and Killintag (Cill Dhonnaig by Mungosdail). The name Mungosdail implies a monastic community during the period of Norse settlement. (It is a name found at other sites along the west coast such as Muasdale, Kintyre). There were further chapels and burial gounds at Killundine and Cill Mhairi (Laudale). Dedications to Mary are very uncommon on the west coast and names which appear to be such are sometimes rationalisations of the name Maelrubha, the saint associated with Applecross. I have not come across any early documentary references to Cill Mhairi and suspect it may have once been dedicated to Maelrubha instead.


There is a burial-enclosure at Cnoc Mhicheil, Drimnin, which may or may not be an old site, and another at Carna. The later parish church at Fernish could be built on an ancient sacred site, as sometimes happened elsewhere in the Highlands. Loch Ternait, where there is a crannog, has a name which means ‘refuge’. This does not necessarily have a religious connotation, but might.


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