MARION CAMPBELL OF KILBERRY (1919 to 2000):
KNAPDALE ARCHAEOLOGIST, NOVELIST AND HISTORIAN

James Drummond toured Western Scotland back in the early 1870's. He was interested in ancient carvings. and early 'monumental' art to be found in the area. He presented his outraged findings in two reports published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The first, "Notes made during a wandering in the West Highlands...", volume 8 (1868 to 1870), pp 117 to 120; and "Notes of Early monumental art in the West Highlands", volume 9 (1870 to 1872), pp 24 to 28. In the latter report, he mentions the state of the Chapel at Eilean Mor. He describes the cross's disc, which had broken off the shaft. He had to search for it, and found it inside the chapel:

....lying in a corner I saw a flat boulder-looking mass... which turned out to be the disc of the cross, but so begrimed that had I not known of its existence, certainly would never have suspected this mass to be the curiously sculptured stone it turned out to be....

I mention these articles because it is important to recognize the very great work and dedication it has taken to find and preserve the items that are still to be found in Knapdale. Marion Campbell of Kilberry was foremost in that pursuit. She and her friend, Mary Sandeman, spent years investigating and cataloguing archaeological remains in Argyll. One result of these labours is the seminal report to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, "MidArgyll, a field survey of the historic and prehistoric monuments" volume 95, pp 1 to 125. For the rest of us, she published an extremely handy booklet for travellers in Knapdale, which can be seen here.

Campbell is also the author of one of the best works you will find about Argyll. She loved the area, and had a deep knowledge of its history, and it shows in her book, "Argyll: the Enduring Heartland." It is poetic and at the same time precise. She was not sloppy in her history or her archaeology. Its illustrations are line and wash drawings by Frances Walker. My edition is a first edition, published in 1977. However, I am sure it has been re-published, and also, there will be second hand copies available. It is one book I can highly recommend, for its stories, its romance and its history.

When you travel to Argyll, as you drive south from Inveraray Castle you will come upon an outdoor museum, "Auchindrain Folk Museum". It was once a farm/village. In large part because of Marion Campbell of Kilberry, it now houses a collection of tools and personal items used by Argyll farming people. Visitors can see how those people lived, from a pauper's house, to a Factor's house. There is even a loom, which was originally used by a weaver at Kilmory Knap. I have used some photos I took at Auchindrain in the "Everyday Life Section"of KnapdalePeople.

And then, there is Saint Cormac's Island, Eilean Mor. Marion Campbell was extremely active in arranging that the Scottish National Party take ownership of the island, as a step towards its preservation as a historic gem.

Finally, a biography of Campbell was published in 2007. Its author is Marian Pallister with David Adams McGilp, and it was published by Argyll Publishing, Glendaruel, Argyll. The latter has a website here.