It is difficult to believe that the last posting was in June, but in truth visitors, the gardens and work on the wall and summerhouses has filled our time. In addition to growing our own food, we are now brewing our own beers and ciders.
We have also visited family in Boston, USA, and called in at Concord Museum, which contains the lock and key for the prison that once housed Archibald Campbell as a prisoner of war during the war of independence. The staff had no knowledge of the vital importance of Inverneill to US history! However, we have made sure that the visitor centre for Walden Pond, once home to philosopher and author Henry David Thoreau is linked, for Inverneill is Walden-kind of place.
One of the great, unexpected pleasures of looking after this website is the correspondence it generates, especially from people who have some historical connection to Inverneill. Most recently Bruce Clydsdale has made contact from Australia. He is researching his family history, which establishes a connection with the Wilson family who lived in Inverneill in 1852. Bruce was born in London in 1943 to an English mother and Australian father, who was a spitfire pilot. His Clydsdale forebears emigrated from Airdrie in 1838, leaving from Tobermory on the ‘Brilliant’. The connection with the Wilson family is through his GG Grandmother Mary Paterson and three siblings, who, after their parents died, emigrated to Australia in 1852. Two siblings remained in Scotland. The Wilsons wanted to adopt his GG Grandmother Mary who was aged 14 years. The name of Wilson appears to have been connected with Inverneill for a long time. John Wilson was the stonemason who built the mausoleum, and perhaps also the wall and summerhouses in the walled garden?
In spite of being extremely busy, we did manage to find time to scare small children. This can be a spooky place.
The house and garden have been full of visitors. Mackerel fishing off Tarbert Pier has produced some excellent catches and an encounter with a visitor from Sweden who recalled, when living in Tarbert thirty years ago, visiting the house to play pool in the coach house and to clear dead bats from the water tank!
Four swallow chicks have fledged in the coach house, while another brood is growing in the nest in the roof of the big tower. Everywhere there are parent birds feeding chicks: wagtails, flycatchers, woodpeckers, finches, etc.
The garden has yielded up loganberries, rocket, turnips and early potatoes. The Chilean fire bush outside has produced a carpet of red petals. As usual the mice have taken most of the strawberries. Roses planted earlier are starting to bloom and offer great promise once they have become established. Careful repair work has continued on the towers, using pieces of the original sandstone found lying about and traditional lime mortar.
We have received an email from David Haigh (email@example.com) in Australia, who is a direct descendant of Eliza Henrietta Campbell, who was born in India abt. 1807 and was the daughter of Duncan Campbell, 5th laird of Inverneill. David has written a book about his ancestors.
David is keen to locate the grave of Eliza, which he thinks might be in Inverneill, and asks us to investigate. We will see what we can find out. David’s email is provided above in case there are any members of the Campbell family who could assist him with his search.
This was an event organised by the Inverneill community for the Inverneill Community. It was huge fun and brought together over 30 residents from the very youngest to the very oldest.
In order to have a secure future, this beautiful, unique, historic place in Scotland needs not only to motivate its steward owners to take care of it, but also to be woven into the fabric of the Inverneill community. We are doing our best to make this happen!
A hard working month, with enormous gratitude to our neighbour Chris at Olbia. The turrets are now ready to be enjoyed by young and old alike. The swallows have returned to the coach house. The mice have eaten all the newly sown peas, but the greenhouse has begun to produce excellent strawberries. Eight tons of gravel have been shifted into the walled garden. We are ready for the summer!
Visit of Steve and Judith Horner
Table Football in the Coach House
Table Tennis in the Coach House
Other Activity in the Coach House- Teacher Urgently Needed
The turret roofs are now repaired, thanks to the tenacity of Colin Gilmore. One has already hosted its first children’s birthday party. We look forward to many happy events being celebrated therein in years to come.
Thanks to Kim Polley in Australia for getting in touch by email to let us know that her ancestor, Alexander Chisholm is recorded as being the coach driver in the 1881 census for the Inverneill Estate.
This is a beautiful building, well worth fighting through the rhododendron jungle to get to. Many thanks to Kate Haig for guiding us there. The redwood trees planted next to it have attained quite a size. Someone has partly broken the stained glass window at the back, but the building is still secure.
25 December, 2021
A kind Christmas gift from family living in Boston, Massachusetts is a copy of “Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, Sometime Prisoner of War in the Jail at Concord, Massachusetts” by Charles H. Walcott, published in 1898.
The book contains an account of part of the life of Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell from when he sailed in 1776 with the 71st Regiment of Highlanders from Greenock to Boston to fight on the British side in the American war of independence. During this time, when he was held as a prisoner of war, he was yet able to arrange for the purchase of the land upon which Inverneill House was built.
The book contains a photograph of Inverneill House taken in the 1890s’ shortly after the tower had been constructed. The three spherical stones shown in front of the house have now been found, one by the entrance arch to the walled garden and the other two in the pond.
The war of Independence being long over, it is now possible for the present owners of the house to enjoy dual UK/US nationality, and for their younger son James to live with his wife, Heather in Boston and work in research on Covid testing strategies at Harvard University.
Today a brick is featured. It was found in the south tower of the walled garden. The marking was obscured by mortar, which has been chipped away. The brick probably formed part of the chimney or fireplace. The brick is marked GARTGRAIG, so would appear to have been manufactured by the Gartcraig Fire Clay Co. founded in Glasgow in the mid 1800s. The company was formed after the tower was built, so the brick must have been introduced into the tower later.
The driver of the stricken Golf (see below) visited us today, bearing us a kind gift of a bottle of sparkling wine. Being trapped in the pitch dark without a phone signal while being responsible for the safe delivery of items essential for the wedding was a nightmare, but all went well in the end.
On Saturday November 20, around lunchtime, we were over 300 miles away when reports started to come in of a Volkswagen Golf estate car stuck up to its axles in mud behind the coach house. It was believed to have arrived between 7 and 8 pm the previous evening. The police had been informed, but had advised it was a civil matter. We immediately packed up and drove back. It was dark when we arrived. The car was still there, with no explanatory note having been left by the car or posted through our letterbox. The plates indicated registration in Glasgow.
The car was still there on Sunday morning. We went out to inspect it, took photographs and posted the mystery on the neighbourhood FACEBOOK page. No-one recognised the car. A report came in of a person behaving strangely on the Kilberry road. Several checked out the car registration online, and suggested calling the police. A few people thought we should check the pond and surroundings for a body. Concerns about the welfare of the car owner grew, so after checking around, the police were called again.
Around coffee time, speculation was mounting. The last few metres travelled by the car were examined in forensic detail and theories were developed about the possible fate of the driver. There had clearly been a determined effort made to reverse the car out.
Just then, a fine looking new Land Rover Defender arrived. It contained the rescue party, coming equipped with tow ropes. It transpired that rescue party were two Land Rover engineers, one a Welsh groom who had just gotten married to his Scottish bride at Crear and the other his French boss. The Golf had been abandoned by the father of the bride, on his way to the wedding venue with the bridal dresses, who had mistaken the drive for the Kilberry Road.
After many photographs having been taken, the Defender effortlessly pulled the Golf out of the mud, and without further ado the two vehicles were able to depart. Shortly afterwards the police arrived, having been unsuccessful in their attempts to telephone the owner of the vehicle, and were highly amused by the tale of what had transpired.
And that, gentle reader, is how Inverneill House became an alternative venue for wedding participants, an international crime scene and a marketing backdrop for Land Rover!
November 12-14, 2021
Three Gentlemen from Niamey
We responded to the appeal from the Scottish government to offer to host delegates to COP26. It was our huge pleasure to host three gentlemen from the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development, including their Director General. ACMAD is based in Niamey, Niger and is staffed by representatives of the member countries.
Apart from learning a great deal about climate change, especially in Africa, sharing experiences of our different cultures and gaining an opportunity to try conversing in French, we also made some great new friends. We hope that this initial contact will open opportunities for other collaboration in the future.