Down Memory Lane, April 9 2021

Enjoying a picnic on Sanda Island in 1991 are two boatmen, in yellow, and from left to right: Margaret Ralston, Betty Maxwell, Ken and Betty Holland, Alex Ronald and Margaret Barr.
Enjoying a picnic on Sanda Island in 1991 are two boatmen, in yellow, and from left to right: Margaret Ralston, Betty Maxwell, Ken and Betty Holland, Alex Ronald and Margaret Barr.

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Magazine marks antiquarian society’s centenary milestone

As well as being jam-packed with fascinating articles on a wide range of nostalgic and historic topics, the latest edition of the Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society Magazine features an article about the society’s own history in honour of its centenary year.

The magazine’s editor, Angus Martin, has kindly allowed the Courier to print the article he wrote for the spring 2021 edition, which is, at present, only available to purchase from The Kintyre Larder.

A brief history of the Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society in its centenary Year, by Angus Martin

In this, the centenary year of the Kintyre Antiquarian Society – the ‘Natural History’ bit came later – there may be little opportunity for formal celebration; as I revise these words, on March 4, another strict ‘lockdown’ is in force, and, even with Covid-19 vaccinations now available, my imaginary crystal-ball remains ominously clouded.

That the society will attain its centenary is, of course, a matter of pride and satisfaction, but that new blood is required to augment and invigorate the committee if the organisation is to survive the next decade or two is an inescapably disturbing reality.

The establishment of a Kintyre Antiquarian Society was proposed at a meeting in the Argyll Arms Hotel, Campbeltown, on June 22 1921.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a steering-group – comprising John Ronald Moreton Macdonald of Largie (convener), Mr Duncan Colville (interim secretary), Sheriff J Macmaster Campbell, Colonel Charles Mactaggart and Mr Latimer MacInnes – was appointed to draw up a constitution.

That constitution was presented and adopted at the inaugural meeting on July 13. In summary, the society was to promote the study of the archaeology of Kintyre and adjacent islands, to investigate the history and antiquities of the area and to preserve and publish relevant records and documents.

The office-bearers were: President, Macdonald of Largie; Vice-presidents, Sheriff Macmaster Campbell, Colonel Mactaggart and Thomas Lindsay Galloway; Hon secretary and treasurer, Duncan Colville; Council, Mrs T L Galloway (Margaret Maria Christina MacNab), Latimer MacInnes, Dean of Guild Neil McArthur, Major W Macalister Hall of Torrisdale, Mrs Macneal of Lossit (Joan Gladys Rauthmell), Archibald Dunlop Armour and Rev Norman Mackenzie.

Of these, Macmaster Campbell, Mactaggart, MacInnes and Colville would power the research engine of the society in the early decades of its existence with studies on archaeology, history, place-names and local dialect.

The scholarly talents of two of the founder-members, Macdonald of Largie and Lindsay Galloway, were almost immediately annulled; by the time of the society’s first annual general meeting on November 2 1921, both were dead.

Macdonald, a product of Eton and Oxford, was the author of a three-volume History of France, and Galloway, a distinguished mining engineer and protégé of Lord Kelvin, in 1873 graduated MA at Glasgow University with first class honours in mathematics and natural philosophy, ‘a very rare distinction’.