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Forest Heritage Scotland webpages - Kilmory Oib

Date 2009

Event ID 588222

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


The website text produced for Kilmory Oib webpages on the Forest Heritage Scotland website (

Introduction: The stone, the well and the settlement

In Knapdale Forest, near the edge of Loch Coille Bharr, you can discover the remains of the township called Kilmory Oib.

Usually referred to simply as Kilmory, the township is part of the estate known as Oib, or Oab, meaning bay or inlet in Gaelic. The lands of Kilmory belonged to the Campbells, but in 1785 a bankrupt Neil Campbell sold them to Neil Malcolm of Poltalloch.

The township consists of at least seventeen buildings, including houses and byres for the animals. There are also two sub-circular piles of rubble, which may be the remains of corn drying kilns.

There is also an early Christian cross-marked stone, which stands beside a small well. It is thought that the stone dates to the 8th or 9th century.

Historical records mention Kilmory from around the 17th century. One of the earliest known references is in the 1694 Hearth Tax. It records tenants Alexander and Malcolm McIlvernock, Robert Campbell and Donald McMillan as having paid their taxes.

One of the last references is on another tax list, the 1843 Road Money tax, which lists Angus and Archibald McDugall, Neil McCalum and John Gillies as tenants.

It is unknown exactly when and how Kilmory was abandoned but the buildings are shown as unroofed by 1873 when the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map was published.

Read our "People" story to find out more about what could have happened.

People Story: Aiding and abetting

Kilmory Oib has family connections to the nearby township of Arichonan, where the tenants rioted against eviction in 1848.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Neil Malcolm of Poltalloch bought the lands of both Arichonan and Kilmory Oib among others. In 1848, Malcolm ordered the eviction of his tenants at Arichonan. You can discover more about this on our Arichonan pages.

The tenants did not go quietly and a riot began. Historical records show that those involved were not limited to the tenants of Arichonan. Amongst the rioters were two McMillan brothers from Kilmory, sons of one of the evictees, Neil McMillan. Although arrested, the brothers escaped punishment. Their younger brother, Neil McMillan Junior from Cairnbaan, was not so lucky, however, and served an eight month jail sentence. Another Kilmory rioter, John Gillies, escaped the law and disappeared.

The Kilmory Oib tenants probably fought not only for family and for friends but because they feared their own homes were in danger of the same threat.

The purpose of the Arichonan evictions was to clear the land for sheep farming. Today, if you explore Kilmory, you can discover evidence that supports the later use of this site for sheep farming. This evidence is similar to that found at Arichonan, for example some buildings have been partly demolished; the walls left form enclosures that are ideal for keeping sheep.

People and Organisations