History Scotland

A post-medieval township in north west Mull

Located in the North West Community Mull Woodland at Langamull, the tumbled down and turf-covered remains at the township of Kildavie (in Gaelic, Cill Da Bhidhe) provide intriguing evidence of a bygone age. Buildings with low stone-built walls with no evidence of any roof remains lie in a flat open space near a small burn winding its way to the north coast of Mull, with Langamull beach only a stone’s throw away. Today’s landscape setting is vastly different to what it would have been when the buildings were inhabited, with the township sitting in a clearing of felled commercial forestry. But when was Kildavie inhabited, who lived there, and what was life like for them?

Etymology suggests that the ‘Kil’ or ‘Cil’ part of Kildavie is the second oldest place name in the Gaelic language, dating back as early as the 6th and 7th centuries, whilst the site name in full may refer to the site of a possible early medieval ecclesiastical site; a cill or ceall being defined in Scottish Gaelic as denoting the site of a monk’s cell, a church or a burial ground. The Da Bhidhe elements of the name may refer to Do Bí, a group of eponyms that relate to the Berchán group of hagionyms, which include a number of related saints alive in the early christian period.

Mapping evidence shows Kildavie on Johan Blaeu’s of 1654, (1854), whilst parish records related to Kildavie date back to 21 April 1767, recording the baptism of Mary and Ann, lawful twins of Archibald McNiel and Mary Ghoill.

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