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Islay, Port Ellen, General

Harbour (Period Unassigned), Village (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Port Ellen, General

Classification Harbour (Period Unassigned), Village (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Port Ellen Village; Loch Leodamais

Canmore ID 37572

Site Number NR34NE 47

NGR NR 3676 4520

NGR Description Centred NR 3676 4520

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kildalton And Oa
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR34NE 47.00 centred 3676 4520

NR34NE 47.01 Cancelled: see NR34NE 96.

NR34NE 47.02 Cancelled: see NR34NE 81.

NR34NE 47.03 Cancelled: see NR34NE 97.

NR34NE 47.04 Cancelled: see NR34NE 98.

NR34NE 47.05 Cancelled: see NR34NE 85.

NR34NE 47.06 Cancelled: see NR34NE 85.

NR34NE 47.07 Cancelled: see NR34NE 99.

NR34NE 47.08 Cancelled: see NR34NE 100.

NR34NE 47.09 Cancelled.

NR34NE 47.10 Cancelled: see NR34NE 101.

NR34NE 47.11 Cancelled: see NR34NE 102.

Architecture Notes

Port Ellen Harbour:

ENGINEERS: L.Gordon and L.Hill - improvements 1845

PLANS: Copy of plan in possession of Mrs Ramsay of Kildalton.

(Undated) unformation in NMRS.

This village was founded in 1821 by Walter Frederick Campbell and was named Port Ellinor or Eleanor in honour

of his wife, the name being later abbreviated to Ellen. (Storrie 1981; MacNeill) It was established principally as a herring fishery and the planned settlement was formed around the natural haven of Loch Leodamais. According to Lord Teignmouth, the expectations of a successful fishery along this coast were initially disappointed, and in 1836 he noted that although 'several tradesmen have settled, . . . none of them thrive as yet, except masons and wrights, who are employed in building the houses'. (Teignmouth) However, as a local centre of communications which served a number of distilleries in the district. Port Ellen grew thereafter to become the largest single community on the island, having a population of about one thousand for the rest of the 19th century. (New Statistical Account 1845; Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer; Islay Stent Book; MacNeill) The layout of the village in its early stages can best be appreciated by reference to a plan which was drawn up in 1838. (Islay Estate Papers)

The layout comprises a series of terraced rows of houses ranged around the shore of Loch Leodamais; two

principal roads, Charlotte Street and New Street (later Lennox Street), radiate NW and NE respectively from this

crescent, and a lane gives access to the quay on the W side of the bay. Individual house-frontages are shown as

conforming to a standard width of about 10.2m and most of them are associated with an area of garden ground at the

rear. Access-lanes ran behind the rear garden-walls, and the four-acre lots lay mainly to the E and NE of the village.'

There is much evidence of later developments in and around this original scheme, but a number of early houses

still survive relatively unaltered in external appearance, especially on either side of Charlotte Street. These are for the most part plain two-storeyed structures with symmetrical three-bay frontages, measuring up to about 10.6m in width

and constructed of harled or rendered rubble masonry with painted margins and slated roofs. The only group of early

single-storeyed cottages that survives relatively intact forms part of a stepped terrace, originally known as 'Fisher Row',

on the E side of the bay. Each cottage has a high wall-head to accommodate a loft.

RCAHMS 1984, visited August 1977.


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