THE MACMILLANS IN KNAPDALE
The chapel on Kilmory Knap is, for modern travellers, 'out of the way.' You travel the road south past Castle Sween, over to Kilmory Knap., where there is a very old cemetery. And there, in this chapel (now a museum) that has been refurbished with a roof. is a collection of very fine carvings.
Along the side of the room, are a number of grave slabs, one of which is portrayed on the right. T.H. White describes it in the following manner:
"The galley here, with its nine ports, appears intended to represent a vessel seated for 18 rowers. The pair of animals from whose tails twists away such a mass of elaborate foliage, have some resemblance to wolves, which we know were common in the Highland forests during mediaeval times, and till much later. The winged beast with hooked beak, and the imperfectly developed bird fighting for the fish, are all three curious studies.
The quality of the carving is very fine. I think that Alexander MacMillan, or someone he had on his staff, had excellent taste. Certainly, Alexander was willing to pay for the best of artistry.
The base of the cross's back features an announcement, preceded by a small Jerusalem Cross, in Latin:
HEC EST ALEXANDRE MACMULEN, or, "This is Alexander McMillan's Cross."
There are 2 reasons why this wonderful collection is still with us: Knapdale was isolated and unimportant, that is, 'hillbilly country', and so these sculptures escaped the destructive attention of the Protestant Reformation; and more recently, academic interest has resulted in making the old Kilmory Knap chapel into a museum, with the various stones found round about being gathered and protected under a roof. But, first, we should give a thought to Alexander McMillan of Knap, who had that cross made in the first place.
To go to Clan McMillan in Knapdale go here
Lochaber McMillans leave for Canada next go here
To go back to the MacMillan introductory page: go here
For a list of sources used for Clan McMillan, go here