Society delves into the days of old Pirnmill
Members of the Arran Historical Society were transported back through time when they heard the history of the Pirnmill area from the bronze age to the present day at their July meeting in Brodick Hall.
Speaker and Pirnmill resident Fiona Laing has spent a great deal of time researching the area from the records in the Scottish National Archive and utilising lots of historical photographs and slides.
The aim of her research is to gather funds to extend the existing Second War Two memorial in the village to cover the servicemen who died in the First World War. She has given her talk locally in Pirnmill and in other villages on Arran and is well on the way to gathering sufficient funding for the project, but still needs more for full completion.
She began with the gold bronze age relics and the traces of hut circles, cist burials and cremated remains in the area. Several of the relics were found at Whitefarland where there had been a stone cairn but now erosion by the sea has claimed the cairn.
She related the story of the Pirnmill family who supported Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence and who were awarded the name Robertson and the land at Penrioch. Sadly, the direct line of succession of the Robertsons was extinguished in the First World War when the two sons of the family were killed. They will be remembered on the new war memorial.
Research of the old maps starting in the 17th century (Pont’s map) show inaccuracies such as Penrioch and Alltgobhlach in the wrong geographical order.
Later maps changed the outline of the island and the errors. The coming of the OS maps provided the first mention of Pirnmill around 1860 and the census of 1851-56 lists all the people, their addresses and occupations in the hamlets in the area and in Pirnmill. The large population in the hamlets required three schools.
Fiona then moved on to more modern times to the church buildings, the ferry service, the roads, large houses and boarding houses which developed over the years as well as the mill building and its closure and reuse in other guises.
Now the ferry is gone, the mill is now housing and only one shop remains. However, people still gather there for papers, mail and news every day.
The next talk for the Arran Historical Society members will be on Monday August 20, when Mhairi Hastings will speak on the history of the Savings Bank in Scotland – a Scottish invention.
Eventually becoming Mill Curre’s grocer’s shop, Clark’s old bobbin mill from which Pirnmill derived its name.