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  • The Argyll Archive has been described as “. . . one of Scotland’s most outstanding private archives . . . .” This collection of family documents, letters (including from England’s Queen Elizabeth I), deeds, rent records, maps, etc., some centuries old and with wax seals attached, nearly went up in flames when the top floor of Inveraray Castle caught fire in 1973. At the time, the papers and parchments were hastily bagged and thrown out of windows to the ground below, where some were trampled into the mud by firefighters who were focused on saving the castle. After the emergency, the papers remained in bags for several years, until Duke Ian, the 12th Duke of Argyll, reached an arrangement for Alastair Campbell, Younger of Airds (at the time), to begin sorting the papers, protecting and preserving where possible, and discarding those beyond repair. Funding for the initial project was a combination of Argyll Estate funds and funds from the “Friends of Argyll,” a group formed by then-Clan Campbell Society (North America) High Commissioner Hugh Moore, Esq. Airds’ work, and that of his assistant, Rae MacGregor, resulted in the compilation of documents into very general collections in folders in the renovated attic of the castle. Airds’ monumental three volume work, “A History of Clan Campbell,” benefitted greatly from his work on the archive, and is an excellent example of a successfully completed project of the Clan Campbell Education Foundation.

    Following the death of Duke Ian in 2001, Duke Torquhil, the 13th Duke of Argyll, entered into an agreement with the government of the United Kingdom whereby the value of the archives was off-set against some of the death duties owed on the estate. Under the agreement, the Duke is committed to providing research access to the archives and maintaining the highest storage standards to secure their long-term preservation. To that end, the Duke has invested around £1,000,000 to renovate the former stables near the castle to house a library with appropriate shelf space and work space, and to provide state-of-the art climate control and security for the collection. A professional archivist and assistants have also been engaged to continue the work of cataloging and preserving the documents, as well as making them available for scholarly research.

    Continued financial support from authorities in Scotland requires a showing of continued financial support from resources other than the Argyll Estate. There must be ongoing “grass roots” support for the preservation of the Argyll Archive. In Scotland, the “Friends of the Argyll Papers” (“Càirdean Phàipearan Earra-Ghàidheal”) has been “established to support the development of the family and estate archive of the Campbell family, dukes of Argyll, and to promote its use and enjoyment by a wide audience.” {Quote from a pamphlet of the “Friends of the Argyll Papers.”} Her Grace Eleanor Duchess of Argyll is the honorary president; Alastair Campbell of Airds and Rae MacGregor are honorary vice-presidents. Donations made by UK tax payers receive special tax considerations.

    In the United States, the Clan Campbell Education Foundation is actively seeking funding to both directly benefit the ongoing work on the Argyll Archive, and to show Scottish and UK authorities that this project has broad “grass roots” support on our side of The Pond and is worthy of government support. Our Chief cannot shoulder this burden alone. Please donate generously to this investment in the preservation of our history and heritage! Donations from US taxpayers to CCEF are tax deductible as allowed by law.

    Following is a list of some of the documents in the Argyll Archive which are being catalogued and conserved by “Written in the Landscape,” a collaborative effort by the Argyll Estates and Argyll and Bute Council Archives. It is readily evident that they are of interest not only to the ducal family, historians, scholars, and to Campbells in general, but also to members of other clans and families.

    Families and Estates:
    Campbell Family, earls, marquis and dukes of Argyll (‘The Argyll Papers’)
    Callander of Adkinglas
    Campbell of Barbreck, Campbell of Braglen, Campbell of Colgrain, Campbell of Craignish, Campbell of Dunstaffnage, Campbell of Inverneill, Campbell of Kilberry, Rev Patrick Campbell (Minister and Antiquarian, Kilninver and Kilmelford), Campbell of Kintarbert, Campbell of Loch Etive, Campbell of Ormidale, Campbell of Southall
    Crawford of Aros
    Dennistoun of Colgrain
    Lamont of Knockdow
    MacFarlane of Faslane
    MacLachlan of MacLachlan
    MacTavish of Dunardy
    Malcolm of Poltalloch

    Ballachulaish Estate
    Carradale Estate
    Carskey & Lephenstratch Estates
    Kilmelford Estate
    Kilmory Estate
    Largie Estate
    Skipness Estate
    Taynish & Ardkinglas Estate

    Personal Papers:
    Duncan Colville Papers (Antiquarian, a collection of 124 estate maps and plans)
    John Blain Papers (Provost and Antiquarian)

    Solicitors’ Papers:
    Biggart, Baillie & Giffird WS
    MacArthur-Stewart Solicitors
    D. M. Mackinnon & Co. Solicitors
    Sproat & Cameron WS
    Thomas Corson & Co. Auchtioneers

    Merchants’ Papers:
    Brown, Merchants in Rothesay
    MacFarlane, Merchants in Tobermory

    Remember, this is but a selection from the archive, which contains many, many more records of poor lists, tenant farmers, militias, etc. Your donations will help continue organizing and digitizing the Argyll Archive so that the contents can be made available to all.

  • Information regarding the Alexander Stirling Calder Statue project will be forthcoming.

  • Information regarding the Campbells Are Coming Revision project will be forthcoming.

  • Information regarding the Children's Program project will be forthcoming.

  • Information regarding the Duncan Campbell of Inverawe Memorial project will be forthcoming.

  • The 10th Duke of Argyll, Niall Campbell, Honorary Colonel of the 8th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, commissioned the casting of 10 bells to commemorate the sons of Clan Campbell who died in World War I. The bells, each bearing the name of a Celtic saint of western Scotland, were cast by John Taylor and Company of Loughborough in 1920 and brought to Inveraray in 1921. They are the second heaviest peal of 10 bells in the world.

    Duke Niall also commissioned architects Hoare and Wheeler to build a suitable tower to house the bells. The 126-foot tower was begun in 1921 and completed in 1931. Though the original plans called for the bell tower to be connected to the adjacent church, in the end that did not happen. Campbells from around the world donated funds for the bells and the tower. Bell ringers still come from near and far to pull the long ropes and send a joyous sound up and down Loch Fyne throughout the year.

    The Inveraray Bell Tower offers a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. Over the years, however, age and weather have done their worst, and the tower is now in need of repair due to significant water damage to the roof and floors. It would be a terrible shame for the Bells of Inveraray to fall silent because of a crumbling belfry.

    The Clan Campbell Education Foundation has launched a drive to repair the tower and perhaps one day fulfill Duke Niall’s plan of joining it to the wee church next to it, the All Saints Episcopal Church. With the passing of a century, the memory of that terrible “war to end all wars” is beginning to fade for many. Let us never forget those valiant men of Clan Campbell who perished in that war, and let us repair and renovate this wonderful monument to their memory, which is fast approaching its own centenary. Ne Obliviscaris! .

  • Information regarding the Mausoleum Restoration project will be forthcoming.

  • Information regarding the Mike O’Toole Argyll Photography Book project will be forthcoming.

  • Information regarding the Scholarship Program project will be forthcoming.