1851 Pigot's Description of Mull

Pigots 1851 Scottish DirectoryThe Argyllshire part of this directory covers Inveraray, Barr, Campbeltown, Clachan, The Island of Islay, Lochgilphead, Oban, Tarbert, Tayienloane, and Tobermory.

The people mentioned in Tobermory part, many of whom you'll encounter in Jo Currie's book, are as follows:

Post Office at Tobermory: Post Master John Sinclair esq. The Edinburgh and other mails arrive from Oban on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and are despatched on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Office hours from eight in the morning until nine at night.

Gentry and Clergy:

Campbell Alex. esq Auchnacraig
Campbell Lieut. Angus, 78th H.P.
Campbell Capt. John, Ardnacross
Campbell Donald esq. of Misnish
Fraser Rev. Alex. minister of Torosay
Gregorson Jno. esq of Ardtornish
Maxwell James esq. Aros
McArthur Rev. Donald, minister of Kilman [sic] and Kilmore
McAskill Allan esq. of Mornish
McDougall Hugh esq. of Achlie
McGuarie Lieut Col Charles Glenforsa
McGueen Charles A. esq of Scour
McLean Alex esq of Coll
McLean Donald esq. of Drimnine
McLean Hugh jun. esq of Coll
McLean Mrs M. D. (of Torlisk) Clephane
McLean Murdoch esq of Lochbuy
McLean John esq of Killendine
McLeod Rev John minister of Morvern
McLachlan Dugald esq of Kilmore
McLachlan Kennith esq Tobermory
Sinclair John esq (of Knock) Morven
Stewart Donald esq of Glencripiedle
Stewart Sir Hen. of Ulva and Mull
Stewart Jn esq of Achadashenig
Stewart Miss, of Glenmorgen

Merchants, Tradesmen &c.

Professional Gentlemen:

Maclachlan Ronald, physician
McLean Donald, esq surgeon to the forces Morvin
Martin George, writer
Nisbett James, writer


Campbell Duncan, esq to the British society

Shopkeepers, Traders &c:

Beaton Archibald, vintner
Black Thos. shoemaker
Cameron John, merchant
Campbell John, mercha Campbell John, vitner
Gray Donald, merchant, Loch Sunart
McCallum Jno. joiner & carpenter
McColl John, merchant
McColl Duncan, shoe maker
McDonald Alexander, merchant
McDougall Hector, merchant
McDougall John, merchant
McLachlan Donald, gen. merchant
McLachlan Dugald, merchant
McLachlan Donald, vintner
McLean Charles, merchant
McLean Donald, merchant
McLean Given, merchant
McLeod Norman, tailor
McIntyre Donald, baker
Smith Thomas, innkeeper
Sinclair John, merchant

Custom House:

Mr John McDougall, collector
Mr Wemyss Orrock, Comptroller

Excise Office:

Mr David Walker, Supervisor
Mr Duncan Smith, Officer
Mr Alex Mathieson, Officer

Fishery Office:

Mr Robt Cuthbertson, Inspector

Sheriff's Court:

John Gregorson esq Sheriff substitute
Jas Nesbitt esq procurator fiscal
James Nesbitt, Norary Public
George Martin, Notary Public
Angus Cameron, Deputy Sherriff's clerk [spelling seems to be rather idiosyncratic]

Conveyance by Water: for passengers:

The Highlander, Steam Packet, leaves Tobermory every Friday for Glasgow, touching at Oban, Lochgilphead, Rothesay, Greenock &c and returns every Wednesday to Tobermory on its route to Sky or Staffa, to which places it proceeds alternately.
Description of Tobermory

Note : Spelling and punctuation as they appear in the directory.
Icolmkill is, of course, now known as Iona.

TOBERMORY: is a thriving seaport in the island of Mull, and county of Argyll. It is seated at the extremity of a fine sheltered bay, said to be one of the safest harbours on the western coast of Scotland. It is between two and three miles from the main land, and derives its name from a celebrated well or spring, called Mary's well, to which the vulgar superstitiously ascribe many imaginary virtues. The Spanish ship Florida, when at anchor here in the sixteenth century, was destroyed by one of Queen Elizabeth's emissaries. Part of the wood of this vessel was presented to his Majesty, on his late visit to Edinburgh, by Sir Walter Scott. On the west side of the town are the remains of an ancient chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, and of a fortification, understood to be of Norwegian origin. Tobermory belongs to the British society for extending the fisheries, and improving the sea coast of the kingdom. The town was commenced about 34 years ago; it is tolerably well built, has a gay and animated appearance, and possesses excellent quays for the accommodation of shipping. In the immediate vicinity is a fine loch, called Mary's lake, situated between two finely wooded hills, extremely precipitous in their descent. This pleasing spot belongs to Hugh Maclean esq.of Coll, who is improving it in a manner highly creditable to his taste, and who intends to build an elegant cottage on the banks of the lake. The tourist would be highly gratified by visiting this spot, and also the three cascades in its vicinity, one of which is particularly grand.

Tobermory is the only village in Mull, or the western islands, of any consequence; its trade is chiefly domestic, with a tolerably good herring fishery. By ascending a hill in the neighbourhood, there may be seen the islands of Tyree, Coll, Eigg, Muck, Sky, and various others of smaller importance. Mull, which is about 24 miles long, and in some places nearly as broad, has been much improved of late, which is principally attributable to the minute division of property. Beinmore, the highest mountain in the island, is said to be near 3000 feet above the level of the sea. The celebrated island of Staffa is about fifteen miles distant. To give a description of this most magnificent production of nature, is, it must be confessed, most difficult. All who have seen Fingal's cave, concur in saying,that, when it first bursts upon the sight, the effect is indescribable. Awe and astonishment so completely fill the mind, that there is no room for minor emotions.

The far famed island if Icolmkill, the earth of which may be called royal, "was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings of religion". It is separated from Mull by a narrow channel of about a mile broad. The inhabitants have lately made a profitable traffic by disposing of the channel pebbles to the numerous visitors, who now frequent the island. They assert, that pebbles of a certain appearance are endowed with many secret virtues, given to them by their tutelar saint, Columba. The island of Ulva, separated from Mull by a channel of about one hundred yards broad, is said to produce the finest kelp in the western highlands. There is a great number of basaltic columns on the shore. Tyree, westward of Mull, is a very fertile island, abounding in marble, of which, it is said, the rocks on the sea shore are entirely composed. Coll, to the north of the latter, is rather a sterile and mountainous island. Here stand the ruins of a castle, of which there is a fine view from the sea.

In concluding the sketch of these interesting islands we may observe, that the scenery, connected with them, is of a description not easily to be forgotten by those who have once seen them, and is justly celebrated by the immortal Scott in his "Lord of the Isles". Ardtornish castle in Morven, so much spoken of by the Bard, is well worthy the stranger's notice, as are the interesting ruins of Aros castle, the ancient residence of the kings, or lords of the isles, and castle Duart, formerly the residence of the McLeans in Mull, with castle Doonan in Lismore. The population of Tobermory is near 1400.