Arandora Star ... in progress









THE CORNCRAKE: recreated archive of the first 100 editions (work in progress)

COLONSAY PARISH CHURCH: The text of a leaflet for visitors.

COLONSAY HISTORY No. 4 March 2015: Contents - follow the link and see

Next edition due whenever I get time

COLONSAY KINDRED No. 4 April 2015: Contents - follow the link and see it now

Next edition due whenever I get time


Obair an Tobair: It is hoped to make a gentle start on cleaning out and preserving the old wells and springs which were so important up until 1984 but which are now rapidly disappearing. Details will be posted up locally and volunteers will be welcome.

Beach Cleaning: 2019 marks Year 7 of a campaign to clear and keep cleared all litter from roadsides, lochsides, paths and the entire 50 miles of our coastline; the project has been an amazing success, Colonsay is believed to be the ONLY Hebridean island in pristine condition. Details appear locally, and it is hoped that visitors and locals alike will "adopt" favourite bits of coastline for special attention.

The Churches: The Baptist Church is no longer in regular use, and is on loan to the Heritage Trust. The tradition of joint worship continues and everyone now gathers at the Psrish Church at Scalasaig (Sundays 11.30). A schedule of services and all sorts of other news will be found at

Fern Appreciation Walks: Colonsay has about 36 different ferns, so if they might be of interest please see Fern Walks

Islander Rates at Mainland Hotels: if you need somewhere nice to stay on your way to or from Colonsay, you might like to consider Inveraray or Crianlarich, which are just one hour from Oban. They are both owned by the Byrne family of Colonsay, and if you mention Colonsay you will be eligible for a special rate, summer or winter, subject to availability. See or Best Western Crianlarich Hotel or its associated B & B, the Arts & Crafts style Glenbruar B & B


This site seeks to share and celebrate all aspects of the history and heritage of the Isles of Colonsay and Oronsay.

If you are interested in any general aspect of Colonsay History, please bookmark the site you are now on and feel free to contribute. There are a few "starter" items on this page, but the main focus is the newsletter (nominally bi-monthly), called Colonsay History. It first appeared in September 2014 and all the issues can be accessed from this page.

If you are interested in the specific field of Colonsay Family History, you will find another bi-monthly newsletter, called Colonsay Kindred, which is accessed at

Both projects are still tender and will have to evolve. They are ploys by Kevin Byrne, who has an archive of information which really should be shared, and the intention is to host such material here. Anything written is in good faith - please feel free to challenge, correct or enhance the material; inevitably most will be written by [KB], who can only apologise! The target is to try to produce something here about general history every two months (September, November etc.), and to try to add some Colonsay Family History via Colonsay Kindred in the intervening months.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow - the following few items were just to make a start before the Newsletter got under way.

Brief introductory note about the history of the Isles of Colonsay and Oronsay (KB).

Colonsay persons who served in WWI and survived - a note by Alan Davis, author of Colonsay's Fallen

Bodies washed ashore in Colonsay during WWII, transcription of official document (KB).

Farming Scene a photo from WWII lent by John Clark

Memoir of Philip Pfaff who was stationed in Colonsay during part of WWII

Matters arising - comments by readers and additional information on any of the 5 items listed above

Sasine of 1830 - the Old Laird borrowing £2,900, interesting local detail

The Archive:

COLONSAY HISTORY No. 1 September 2014: Contents - "Migration from Colonsay", notes by Prof. John Sheets; "Colonsay Regatta 1892"; "Donald McMillan 1858 -1885", an appreciation by Kevin Byrne; "An Oronsay Grave - A. Fisher" and "Colonsay Fire Station".

COLONSAY HISTORY No. 2 November 2014: Contents - "The Voyage of the Spencer", by Hector Munn; Murdoch MacNeill, his portrait; Dr. Mary McNeill, daughter to Alexander and Mary; Rev. Donald McNeill, Elderslie; McNeill Portraits 1880-1910; and Alexander McNeill, Laird of Colonsay, his Will. Next edition due January 2015

COLONSAY HISTORY No. 3 January 2015: Contents - Welcome; News; "Wartime Colonsay 1939 - 45", by Ken McAllister; "Vernacular Dwellings in Colonsay"; "A "new" archaeological site in Colonsay"; "The sguidean or rock-shelters of Colonsay"; "The earliest occupation-sites in Colonsay"; "The McNeill Portraits 1880-1910" inc. McPhee, Buie, Galbreath, Duncan, Cowling interest; A note to Readers.

COLONSAY HISTORY No. 4 March 2015: Contents - Welcome; News; Bonaveh Project; Victorian Photographs; McNeill Photographs; Some Saints Associated with Colonsay & Oronsay; A note to Readers. Next edition due May 2015


COLONSAY KINDRED No. 1 October 2014: Contents include a full transcription of Colonsay 1911 Census and an archive of 65 McNeill family portraits, plus plenty more.

COLONSAY KINDRED No. 2 December 2014: Contents include a full transcription of the will of Archibald McNeill, sometime laird of Colonsay, plus plenty more.

COLONSAY KINDRED No. 3 February 2015: Contents refer to Malcolm McNeill & Catherine Stewart; Allen McNeill and the MacDonald chieftain connection; information on the direct descendants of Malcolm MacPhee, chief of the clan; and an update on Victorian Cartes de Visite.

COLONSAY KINDRED No. 4 April 2015: Contents refer to Nicolas McNeill, Colonsay's first victim in WWI; the Victorian photographs; identification of Ena Worthington; Riasg Buidhe article by Prof. Sheets. Next edition due June 2015

Please note that a vast amount of genealogical material is hosted at It includes shipping lists, Birth, Marriages, Deaths, census returns, gravestone inscriptions and it is intended develop that site with additional One Name material for family historians. The site you are viewing currently is intended to be a repository of more generic material but there will inevitably be some overlap. Additional material is welcome by byrne[at]

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