So­ci­ety delves into the days of old Pirn­mill

The Arran Banner - - News -

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.

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