Thomas S Muir, Architectural notes on churches on Scottish islands, 1872.

Scope and Content

Thomas S Muir, Ecclesiological notes on some of the islands of Scotland.

Comprises detailed architectural descriptions, with line drawings, of features of churches and other ecclesiastical remains, on the Scottish islands. Where known the date of the visit to the island is given in parentheses.

Inchcolm [Fife] [1850, 1855, 1871], Fidra [Berwickshire] [18 October 1856], Isle of May [Fife] [1856, 1868, 1869], Holy Island, [Northumberland] [12 October 1861], Farne Island [Northumberland] [15 October 1861], Arran [Ayrshire] 11 November 1856], Bute [Ayrshire] [1850, 1851, 1856, 1857, 1859], Inch Marnock [Ayrshire] [June 1853], Sanda [Argyllshire] [1853, 1866], Gigha [Argyllshire] [1853, 1866], Cara [Argyllshire] [1866]. Islay [Argyllshire] [1851, 1852, 1853, 1856], Orsay [Argyllshire] [12 October 1853], Eilean Mhic Coinnich [Mackenzie Island, Argyllshire][12 October 1853], Nave [Neimh] [Argyllshire] [14 September 1853], Texa [Argyllshire] [13 September 1853], Colonsay [Argyllshire] [September 1851]. Oronsay [Argyllshire] [September 1851], Jura [Argyllshire] [July 1852, October 1856], Scarba [Argyllshire] [May 1859], Eilach an Naoimh [Eilean Naimh, Argyllshire] [July 1852, May 1857], Eilean Mor [Argyllshire] [1852, 1856, 1857, 1860, 1864], Luing [Argyllshire] [May 1859]. Seil [Argyllshire] [May 1857], Kerrera [Argyllshire] [June 1865], Lismore [Argyllshire] [July 1854], Eilan Munde [Argyllshire] [April 1858], Mull [Argyllshire] [1850, 1851, 1856, 1857, 1865], Ulva [Argyllshire] [June 1856], Inchkenneth [Argyllshire] [June 1856], Coll [Argyllshire] [May 1857], Staffa [Argyllshire] [1851, 1867], Iona [Argyllshire] [1850, 1851, 1852, 1867]. Tiree [Argyllshire] 1857, 1865], Eigg [Invernesshire] [July 1856], Canna [Invernesshire] [July 1856], Rhum [Invernesshire] [July 1856], Skye [Invernesshire] [1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1866], Fladda-chuain [Invernesshire] [October 1857], Pabay [Invernesshire] [August 1856]. Scalpay [Invernesshire][August 1856], Raasay [Rassa] [Invernesshire] [August 1856], Lewis [Ross and Cromarty] [1855, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860], Harris [Invernesshire] [1854, 1855, 1858, 1866], North Uist [Invernesshire] [1855, 1866], Benbecula [Invernesshire] [1855, 1866], South Uist [Invernesshire][1855, 1866], [1855, 1866], Bernera [Invernesshire] [1866]. Mingula [Invernesshire] [1866], St Columba's Isle [1855], Shiant [Ross and Cromarty] [21 July 1859], Rona [Ross and Cromarty] [1857, 1860], Sula Sgeir [Ross and Cromarty] [1860], Little Bernera [Ross and Cromarty] [July 1859], Pabbay [Invernesshire] [15 July 1858]. Flannan Isles [Invernesshire] [15 July 1859], St Kilda [Invernesshire] [July 1858], Handa [Sutherland] [1 May 1855], Orkney Islands [1861, 1865], Shetland Islands [1862, 1863], Fair Isle [July 1865], Inishael [Argyllshire] [1858, 1869], Inchcailloch [Inch Cailliagh] [Stirlingshire] [30 March 1858]. Eilean Finan [Argyllshire] [12 October 1857], Eilean Mor [Perthshire] [3 June 1852], Loch Leven [Kinrosshire] [30 March 1859], Eilean Maree [Ross and Cromarty] 14 June 1858], and Inchmahome [Perthshire] [31 March 1858].

Muir gives details of his passage to the Flannan Islands from Stornaway [Ross and Cromarty] accompanying Iain Macdonald who pastured sheep there. Detailed description of the customs of the 'fowlers'.

Also details of his passage to St Kilda aboard the Foey [Kenneth Macdonald, master] together with an account of a meeting on the island with Duncan Kennedy, schoolmaster, Alexander Davidson, Free Church minister of Harris, and Norman Macraild, factor of St Kilda. Description of a tour of the island.

pp.91-93 Index.

Pasted to front free endpaper is a transcript resume of the obituary of Muir abridged from The Scotsman, 13 October 1888, together with a manuscript list of Muir's writings. Details of his gravestone in the South West corner of Greyfriars church, Edinburgh are on part of an envelope addressed to Messrs Douglas and Fowlis, which is loose within volume.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas S Muir (1802-1888) worked for most of his life as a book-keeper for Walter Cockburn, a merchant in Edinburgh dealing in trade with the West Indies, and then for his son Isaac H Cockburn. Then he became estate manager for Melville Hall in Dominica, for John Whyte Melville of St Andrews. All his spare time was devoted to his passion for early Scottish churches, visiting all the locations where ruins were to be found, including even the most inaccessible islands. He published various pamphlets on his studies and two books, Characteristics of Old Church Architecture in Scotland (1861), and Ecclesiological notes on some of the islands of Scotland (1885).


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the library by G E Troup, 1954.


Call number used to be ms2027

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: calf. Title embossed on spine.Paper: 24x39cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Pencilled notes in the hand of D Douglas.