Monday, September 27, 2010

Ormsary Estate on Loch Caolisport

Because a branch of my ancestors left Ormsary Estate for Canada (in 1853), I have a special interest in this place on the east side of Loch Caolisport. If you check the 1694 "Hearth Tax Records" on my site (page 6) you will see that there are a number of McNeills living along that Loch.

Donald McNeill is noted as living at Drumnamuckloch in Kilberry Estate in 1694. In 1672, this gentleman had acquired Crear Estate by Charter from the 9th Earl of Argyll. Crear is south of Ormsary, on the coast, with (one presumes) access via the adjacent Crear Burn to the uplands behind Ormsary. On our visit to Ormsary, Lord Lithgow very kindly drove us up into that area. To me, it looked grim, especially as compared to the lush green along the coast. And the McNeills were known as a primarily sea faring clan.

Looking on the bright side, there is, a loch up there, Loch Nan Torran. And the Landranger map shows that the place is actually laced with burns. Former habitations were probably in those green areas you can see in the photo. At the time, the clansmen made their homes out of turf, not stone.

During Argyll's failed rebellion against James II of England in 1685, this Donald McNeill supported Argyll. Perhaps this is why we see him living in a one-hearth home in 1695

Donald McNeill was the son of Neill McNeill of Arichonan. His eldest son, Malcolm, is also known as being "of Arichonan". It would seem that Donald spent the last years of his life working to move his clansmen from the Crear uplands. With the triumphant return of the Campbells of Argyll, he exchanged Crear for Colonsay Island. It was, however, his son Malcolm (of Arichonan) who actually led the McNeill Clansmen to Colonsay and Oronsay.

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