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Kilmorry Mill

Lade (Period Unassigned), Mill (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Kilmorry Mill

Classification Lade (Period Unassigned), Mill (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Kilmory Mill; Coilebar; 'meal Mill Of Coilebar'; Loch Coille-bharr, Mill And Lade, Knapdale

Canmore ID 71887

Site Number NR78NE 17

NGR NR 7784 8983

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish North Knapdale
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR78NE 17 7784 8983

A cot house and corn mill almost in ruins.

Name Book 1857

The remains of two buildings are extant, one with an archway for a water-wheel.

Information from Mr G Fortune (13 Strathfillan Rd, Edinburgh), 8 July 1992.

The 'meal mill of Coilebar' is mentioned in 1490.

A Currie 1830

Scheduled as Loch Coille-Bharr, mill and lade, Knapdale.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 12 December 2001.


Publication Account (2009)

The website text produced forLoch Coille Bhar Mill webpages on the Forest Heritage Scotland website (

Introduction: one of the three boasts of Knapdale

Along the Knapdale Forest track from the township ofKilmory Oib, you will discover the ruin of Loch Coille Bhar Mill.

As this local saying tells the mill was well known in Knapdale.

"Ttri sgoid Chnapdail:

carridh Lochd Chrinan,

frith ghlinn a'Bhacain,

is muileann dubh Choillebar."

"The three boasts of Knapdale:

the fishes cruives of loch Crinan,

the deer forest of Bacan's glen,

and the dark mill of Coilebar."

(date unknown)

The mill ground corn by using a wheel, powered by water, to turn a large grinding stone. Today, the wheel is gone but you can see the stone archway where it would have been. You can also trace the lade, the channel that brought water to the mill.

The age of the mill is unknown. The use of water-powered mills in Britain dates back to Roman times, and they became commonplace around the 9th and 10th century A.D. The earliest known historical reference to a mill in this area is in 1490. In 1652, the Argyll Sasines, which records the transfer of land rights or ownerships, refers to;

"Argyll's mill built on the lands of Oib and Kilmorie and the mill lands, commonly called the two Gortinmullins, lying adjacent to said mill, with pasturage of 2 cows and 1 horse yearly on the lands of Kilmorie of Gillebir."

Abstract from Campbell (1933) in "Abstracts of the Particular Registers of Sasines for Argyll, Bute and Dunbarton"

This meant that the rights to run the mill included land and grazing for livestock on the estate land.

The mill appears to go out of use by the beginning of the 20th century as the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map records the mill as unroofed.

People Story: The rescue of MacLean's wife

Coille Bhar Mill features in one of several versions of the old Knapdale tale of the rescue of Lady McLean.

Lady McLean was the wife of Lachlan Cattanach McLean of Duart. In 1690, her husband wickedly abandoned her on a rock in Loch Linnhe for failing to give him a son and heir.

This punishment meant certain death. Loch Linne is a sea loch and the rising tidal waters would eventually have covered the rock and drowned Lady McLean. Her position looked hopeless as the water crept up the rock.

Fortunately, when all hope seemed lost, some Knapdale fishermen rescued her and brought her back to the mainland. The rescuers took the cold, damp and miserable Lady McLean to Coille Bhar Mill to recuperate from her ordeal. Once well, she went to Inveraray Castle. Locals tell that the rights to the mill were given to her rescuers as a reward.

Other versions of the story claim the mill was at Taynish and the rescuers Tayvallich people, while another version claims that some of her husband's men rebelled and rescued her.

Today, locals refer to a rock, located near Lismore, as the Lady's Rock in connection with this story.


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