Macneills by the Map

Knapdale, Glassary, Kintyre, Arran and Bute

by Neil McNeill, Sydney, Australia

This (very beautiful) map includes the districts of Kintyre, Knapdale, Glassary and Gigha, during the period of 1596 to 1722. It was compiled from Information gathered at the Lochgilphead Archive Centre, Argyll, Scotland and it sets out to achieve a number of outcomes:

The map establishes groups of old family forenames and how they tended to be located in common geographical areas.

It shows how various McNeill familieis intermarried from the north with those of Gigha and as far south as the Mull of Kintyre.

Further, it attempts to establish if the McNeills of Arran did in fact come from mainland Kintyre and were in fact related to these Kintyre Families. At this time, the earliest Arran McNeills are recorded in 1685. There is a record, however of a Moricius McNeill, assigned to the Parish of Kilmorie as a priest, around 1451. The vast majority of Arran McNeills were tenants of the Stewart and the Hamilton magnates.

DNA testing indicates that this southern branch of McNeills is NOT related to the Barra people. The Arran McNeills don't match those on Colonsay either. Another interesting item: there are plenty of "Allan" McLeans, but the Isle of Arran is the only place you find "Allan" McNeills. (This reminds me of Allan nan Sop, the McLean pirate, who slaughtered and burned his way around Gigha, Kintyre, Knapdale etc., in the 1530s.)

The author of this McNeill study has a longstanding concern: there existed, back in the 1650s, a Hector McNeill, described as "The Man of Lorne". Since Lorne was a relatively large area, stretching from Loch Leven in the north, to Loch Awe in the south he would like to discover a connection between this person and the other McNeills farther to the south and east.

The southern McNeill clan is a difficult one to study, I think because it was a seafaring people, often closely related to the Irish, as well as adrift on the islands lying to the east and west of Kintyre. This study of Neil McNeill is a useful and interesting contribution to our knowledge of that clan.