Early Disaffection: Straws in the Wind

Given that the Parish Church was deeply embedded within the Landlords' properties, and given the time immemorial support by the Landlord for 'his' church, it is obvious that a healthy Parish Church was almost completely dependent upon the Landlord's moral and financial interest. He was respionsible for maintaining church buildings, including the Parish Minister's manse. There is no such thing as an ideal polity,though:

Campbeltown, at the time of the Fourth Duke of Argyll

The following splendid story, by A.I.B.Stewart, was recorded in KintyreMag, No. 20, Augumn, 1986: In 1766, the Duke of Argyll, "without any consultation" foisted upon Campbeltown's Lowland Congregation an unwelcome incumbant (Mr. George Robertson). Most of the congregation left, raised 1451 pounds (see below) and purchased a plot of land (difficult, because most land was owned by the Duke.) The Duke owned the local quarry and would not sell them stone. When they managed to take stone from Island Davaar, the Duke forbade carts or horses to carry the stone to the building site. Encouraged by a female member of the congregation, they undertook to carry the stones on their backs. The so impressed the heritor of Kildalloig that the eventually agreed to the use of transport... The Duke also frustrated all attempts to get sand. This was overcome by sending a boat to Ardnacross where permission was given by the Laird, Neil McNeill..." Remember. Most members of this congregation were the Duke's tenants, and risked losing their farms.

As a means of preserving their 'presbyterian' identity, this congregation soon became a part of the "Relief body" of Presbyterian Churches. The latter had been founded by Thomas Gillespie in 1761, because he refused to participate in inducting a minister to the Inverkeithing parish. The name was chosen to mean "relief from the patronage of Landowners." The original Campbeltown Relief Church was replaced in 1871, and re-named the "United Presbyterian Church."

In 1760, 1,451 pounds would have the same spending worth of 2005's 108,520 pounds. OR, with one pound 6 shillings and 9 old pennies, you could buy in 1760, 13 days of a craftsman's wages in the building trade.

Killean Church: Roof Collapsed in 1770

Given its elaborate details, the original church was, perhaps, a mother-church of Kintyre county, built in the 1200s. By the end of the 1900s, when Captain T.P.White was investigating the building, it had been adapted to being the family vault of the MacDonalds of Largie. White's book includes eleven of some very impressive stones he found in the churchyard. (Archaeological Sketches in Scotland: District of Kintyre. By Captain T. P. White, 1873.)

Without warning, the church collapsed in 1770. No human was hurt, because the Rev. Robert Thomson very fortunately had a premonition of disaster, and refused to go into the building.

A new church, at A'Chleit, was completed in 1791 (TWENTY YEARS LATER). From what I understand from the paperwork (HR368/2 through 6), the builder, Mr. Thomas Cairns, was not paid for his work UNTIL MARCH OF 1805. The heritors were those of Largie, Drumore, Glenbarr, Cour, and the Duke of Argyll.

South Knapdale: Daniel Hyndman sues the Heritors and wins!

In 1734, the unwieldy Parish of Kilvicocharmaig was 'disjoined' into two parishes: North Knapdale and South Knapdale. The plan was to provide two parish churches to serve South Knapdale: one at Achachoish, the other on Loch Fyne, at Inverneill. Well, the plans, like many in this world, went awry, for almost 50 years. I assume that preaching occurred in the fields. It was not until the Minister, Daniel Hyndman (who served 1771 to 1805), took to the Law, in order to compel the Heritors to live up to their age-old obligations, and build a church and a manse!

The heritors pleaded poverty and asked the Synod of Argyll for a public subsidy for this project. They managed to find monies that had been intended for a previous (unpaid) minister. The 2 churches were completed in 1775, at a combined cost of 278 pounds (ie, 17,500 pounds in 2005 money). The Inverneill Church almost immediately went into terminal decline, as Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead grew.

The Church at Achahoish is one of the oldest surviving churches in Argyll. It was meant, originally, to seat 250 people, but seating was not provided until the 1830s (50 YEARS LATER.) As to the Manse? It was completed in 1808 (3 years after Hyndman's death). The glebe of 14 acres provided for the Minister's upkeep was subject to flooding in spring and during stormy weather. (A history of South Knapdale Church and Parish. Bruce Weir. pamphlet, 2000.)

North Knapdale: a "Moderate" Minister

Most HIghlanders were not anxious to give up their church for another. Aside from irresponsible heritors, though, there were the so-called "moderate" ministers. The early evangelistic leaders (see the next page) defined "moderatism' as "placeholders." They were men who performed the minimum of pastoral dueies towards their flock, who preached on Sundays and no other day, were lax when it came to supporting the local parish school, and who did not support missionary efforts.

Archibald Campbell, was 'presented to the Parish in 1774 by the King, and ordained in 1778, after 4 years of a vacancy in the Parish. During this man's time as Pastor, between 1780 and 1810, the Parish Records were not completed, indicating (to me) that he did not have much interest in the everyday doings of his flock. However, when he himself married Jean Campbell, he was thrilled to note (in the Parish Record) that she was the sister of Dugald Campbell, heritor of Ederline, an estate north of the Crinan Canal. Sure enough, this vacuum was filled by the early evangelists, of which more anon.

Lairds leaving the Presbyterian Church for the Church of England

By the end of the 1700s, the Malcolms of Poltalloch had purchased most of North Knapdale. And. They built an Anglican chapel on their property, with all the decoration so despised by Knox's church. This was an egregious symptom of the crevass that had opened between Laird and Highlander.

The next page deals with some early evangelists that affected North Knapdale.