Source of Kilbrandon/Kilchattan McNab
John McNab
(Bef 1760-After 1841)
Agnes Ferguson
John McNab
(Bef 1783-1866)


Family Links

Margaret Henderson

John McNab 2 3

  • Born: Bef 5 May 1783, Kilbride Seil, Argyll 4 5
  • Christened: 5 May 1783, Kilbrandon/Kilchattan, Argyll 6 7
  • Marriage: Margaret Henderson on 10 Aug 1807 in Glenorchy & Inishail 1
  • Died: 16 Apr 1866, Black Mill Bay, Kilchattan 8 9

  General Notes:

Click here to see the full text of Netherlorn and its Neighbourhood by Patrick H Gillies, published 1909

It has the description of Kilbride Seil which mentions the "House of Yate" and another of Luing. John's son or nephew Duncan was described in 1841 as a Farmer of "Yate Kilbride" and his older brother Peter was a Smith in Kilbride. This is possibly why John gave up his father's occupation as Smith and became a Mason - the same website has this to say about Easdale less than a mile away - "The little island of Easdale, which lies 8 miles south-west of Oban, is, from an economic point of view, perhaps the most important part of the district. It is the centre of an extensive slate-quarrying industry; and while there are many slate quarries in the neighbourhood, those of Easdale, alike from the quality of the rock, the uniformity of bedding, and the long period during which the works have been carried on, are by far the most famous".

... and on Kilbride Seil ....

"About a mile from Easdale, in a small sequestered amphi-theatre of rounded, grassy hills, is the township of Kilbride. It has many interesting associations. The lands were originally church property, but at the Reformation were given to a Patrick MacLachlan, from whom the MacLachlans of Kilbride and Kilchoan, in the same parish of Kilbrandon, were descended. This family was closely associated with the mediaeval Catholic church in the Highlands; one member, Farquhar, was penultimate pre-Reformation Bishop of the Isles, while so many had acted as vicars of the church in the perish, that at the confiscation of church property, the lands were given as from a prescriptive right to Patrick, the representative of the family at that time, who had, of course, embraced Reformation principles. In 1591 we find a grant of the same lands of "Kilbride-beg in Seall" to Neil, son of the deceased Patrick, entered in the Register of Privy Seal. In 1629 John MacLachlan, a son of Neil, became minister of Kilbrandon: he died in 1660. His son John, who became minister of the neighbouring perish of Kilninver in 1650, at the Restoration it is not to be wondered at, conformed to Episcopacy, which during the reigns of Charles II and James II was the established form of Church government in Scotland. His son, who succeeded him in the same charge in 1685, suffered (1697) as a non-jurant the penalty of "deprivation" under the Acts of 1689 which practically disestablished Prelacy. The family thereafter, for nearly a hundred years, appears to have devoted one of its members to tile service of the Episcopal Church in the parish, the last minister of the persuasion in these days being Mr. John MacLachlan, affectionately known as "Maighster Shon," a man beloved and revered in the district for his goodness and kindness of heart, who nevertheless during forty years of faithful ministry is said to have made but one convert to his church. He died in 1789 and is buried below the crypt of the old ruined parish church of Kilbrandon. A large flat slab of stone raised upon pillars, ornately carved with the MacLachlan coat of arms, and bearing a lengthy Latin inscription, marks the family burial - place. A curiously shaped fragment of basalt, resembling a human chin, rests upon the slab. It is known as "Smig mhic Mharcuis" (the chin of MacMarquis). It is popularly believed that this stone, by some supernatural power, revolves upon its axis and points with the chin to a new-made grave, remaining in the same position until a fresh interment takes place. It is also said that should the "chin" be removed from its place on the stone it will always return. Certainly on more than one occasion the stone has been stolen, but sooner or later was found resting in its old position. The old mansion-house of Kilbride has long since crumbled to ruins; but the garden remains, enclosed by a low turf wall and willow hedge, and paved a foot or so below the surface with large slabs of slate. Many old gardens are so paved, the idea being to prevent the descent of the tap-root of the apple and other fruit trees into the barren subsoil. An ancient pear tree still sends forth a few green twigs, but the garden is long out of cultivation. In later days the house of Yate, near Kilbride, became the residence of the family, but it, too, is fast becoming ruinous.
One of the most valuable and voluminous collections of ancient Gaelic manuscripts in existence was for generations in the possession of this family. It is believed that the majority of the older MSS formed originally part of the library of Iona. But the MacLachlans were a scholarly race, and lovers of the language and literature of the Highlands, so that it is likely the collection was the fruit of centuries of intelligent research. These manuscripts, known as the "Kilbride MSS", are now in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh, having been placed there for safe keeping, about the beginning of last century, by Major MacLachlan, of the 55th Foot, who was then proprietor of Kilbride."

... and on Luing ......
"The island of Luing, while deficient in itself of picturesque features, affords, from its comparative flatness and central position, many points of advantage from which magnificent panorama may be surveyed. Roughly, the contour of the island presents two long ridges, with a dark glen between. The glen is known as Dubh-leitir. The word "leitir" in place-names is generally found as a prefix - letterfinlay, Letterfearn, or simply Letters: it means the "half-land," and is usually applied to a long, steep face of land, the half part of a glen. The fact that these hillsides generally merge below into flats of bog and marshy ground before the gentler acclivity on the opposite side begins has given rise to the fanciful derivation of " Leth tioram, 's leth fliuch " (A half dry and a half wet), the "leitir" being the dry side, or "leth tioram."
The glen had an uncanny reputation in bygone days; it was supposed to be the abode of evil spirits (hence, perhaps, the name, daoi, evil), and few would venture to traverse its dark side at night. About midway, a rivulet known as Easan Frogach tumbles down the steep sides, and at the foot encircles a fairy mound. The little hillock is composed of mould and spongy moss; it was the custom, until quite recently, for each passer-by to pull a thread out of his garments and lay it on the mound as a peace offering. Close by is a broad trap dyke, called Cretan a' Ghlaisrig. The Ghlaisrig was the familiar demon of the glen, and until a few years ago a large boulder, with the imprint of his great clawed hand, lay upon the hillside.
Capping each end of the eastern ridge of the island are the remains of hill-forts. These are very much larger than any other in the district. The north fort is oval-shaped, about 110 feet long by so broad; the walls are 16 feet thick at the base, and in places still about 9 feet high. The south, or Leacamor fort is smaller, but in better preservation. At the northern gateway, in the hollow of the walls, the remains of a bar chamber are to be seen; the sides of the chamber were built of small flat stones of slate, so exactly fitted as to leave barely a crevice; from the one end a flight of stone steps led upwards, so that there were probably many similar rooms in the thickness of the walls: the whole enclosed san open courtyard. At the southern doorway two tall pillars of slate, with numerous cup markings, form the doorposts; behind these are deep recesses, into which the bars which closed the door were inserted. The relies of human occupation found in the fort comprised bones of the red deer, me deer, ox, swine, and grey seal (Halichaerus gryphus); the shells of limpets and whelks; bone pins, stone hammers, discs, and querns; and one bronze pin.
The south fort is well worth a visit, not only from its archaeological interest, but also as affording from its site a series of those characteristic views which embellish the coast. At the foot of the ridge upon which the fort is built there is a small tarn called Lochan Iliter, whose reed-covered shore is a favourite resort for flocks of mallard. Across the Sound of Luing the bold forms of Scarba and Lunga, with a medley of smaller islands in the north, arrest the gaze; to the north stretch the umber-coloured coasts of Mull, behind which the mountains appear to rise abruptly, clear-cut against the sky, with no suggestion from their insular position of land behind them, giving sublimity to the scene from their quiet majesty and apparent vastness; while the purple uplands of Lorn roll eastwards to culminate in the graceful stateliness of Cruachan.
In a small bay on the north-east of Luing there is an islet known as Sgeir Carnach. Covering its surface are large mounds of stony debris, the remains of what one might call a lake dwelling, probably another example of ancient fortification. This ancient structure is almost unique from the fact that, while like other duns it was built of dry masonry, large logs of oak were intercalated at various angles between the courses, probably to bind the loose fabric together. Only one of these logs remains, but many have been removed within the memory of living people. Dr. Christison, in his exhaustive monograph on the subject, mentions only two of this class of buildings as being known in Scotland, one at Burghead in Morayshire, the other at Forgandenny in Perth, and in the former only was timber actually found.
The old parish church of Kilchattan, fast crumbling to ruin, occupies a pleasant site amidst the cultivated fields and rolling downs of the south part of Luing. In the year 1670 John Duncanson and Alexander MacLean, two "outed" ministers, were "indulged" by the Privy Council, and allowed to preach and exercise the functions of the ministry in the parish of Kilchattan. In 1685 Duncanson, who appears to have been the last regular minister of Kilchattan, was liberated on a bond of five hundred merks from the restrictions of the Act of Council which confined the indulged ministers within the district to which they were appointed; but three days afterwards his bond was declared forfeited, and he himself "put to the horn" on a baseless charge of contempt of the King's authority. He died in prison at Campbeltown on the 29th September 1687: he is said to have been a "good man, and useful in his day." Probably the building ceased to be used as a place of public worship shortly after the date of Duncanson's incarceration, for in that year (1685) the interior of the church appears to have been used for the first time as a burial-place. The roof, however, did not fall until 1745. A considerable portion of the walls still remains, and as the west gable is entire, but the building appears to have been very plain and devoid of ornament.
In the churchyard there are few stones of interest. Two small fragments of carved slate may be seen: one of these, broken across the middle, shows the indistinct outline of a two-handed sword; the other fragment belonged to what was a fine piece of carving, the tracery being as distinct as it was when cut. The earlier members of the family of the MacLeans of Shuna are buried in Kilchattan, the date of the first interment being 1687, that is, eight years after they acquired the property. The first of the MacDougall proprietors of Lunga was buried here about one hundred years ago. A stone bearing the MacDougall coat-of-arms - first and fourth, a lion rampant; second and third, a galley, oars in action, sail furled with fire issuant from a cresset at top of mast. This family has since acquired property in Craignish, where their burying-place now is."



He has conflicting christening information of 5 May 1783 and Glenorchy and Inishail Parish, Argyll. 11

In 1807 at the time of his marriage he was described as a Smith in Seil. It is worth noting that his father was described as a Blacksmith according to John's 1866 death entry. 12

In 1841 he was working as a Mason and living away from the family at South Coulghaiter, Kilberry, Argyll. 13

In 1851 he was a Mason living in Black Mill Bay, Island of Luing, Kilbrandon and Kilchattan Parish with wife and children. He was recorded as 67 years old and born Kilbride Seil. Note this island is noted for its slate used for roofing. 14

In 1861 he was a Mason living at 1 Black Mill Bay, Seil, Kilchattan with Margaret and son Donald who was described as a Chelsea Pensioner. Sons Peter and Hugh were both living in the parish with their families. John was recorded as being 76 and born Kilbrandon. 15 16

In 1866 at the time of his death he was described as a Mason and was resident in Black Mill Bay, Kilchattan. 9


John married Margaret Henderson, daughter of Donald Henderson and Margaret Campbell, on 10 Aug 1807 in Glenorchy & Inishail.1 (Margaret Henderson was born on 9 Mar 1794 in Stronmilchan, Glenorchy 17 18 19 and died on 10 May 1876 in Glassary, Lochgilphead 20 21.)


1 Scotland's People - Document Image,, OPR marriage. 10th August 1807 Then John McNab, Smith in Seil, ... Widow Henderson in ??Stronilachan, were married.

2 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Margaret McNab Death.

3 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Marriage JM&MM 1868.

4 Census Kilbrandon & Kilchattan Parish, Argyll, 1841-1871, target=_blank>, 1851, 1861.

5 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Baptism 1793. see note on Baptism source.

6 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Baptism. Check - year out but only one in Kilbrandon - How close are Glenorchy&Inis and Kilbride?.

7 Scotland's People - Document Image,, 05/05/1783 MCNAB JOHN JOHN MCNAB/AGNES FERGUSON FR68 M KILBRANDON/ KILCHATTAN 515/00 0001. Note that there is an entry on the Glenorchy / Inisfail register for same date and the image shows the birthplace/residence? as Kilbride (most likely Kilbride Seil as for census birthplace).

8 Census Kilbrandon & Kilchattan Parish, Argyll, 1841-1871, target=_blank>, 1861.

9 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Death.

10 Web (Misc),

11 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Document Image. The mailed image is headed G&I Parish but is the same as taht downloaded as Kilbrandon/Kilchattan - possibly incorrect?.

12 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Marriage.

13, 1841C.

14 Census Kilbrandon & Kilchattan Parish, Argyll, 1841-1871, target=_blank>, 1851C.

15 Census Kilbrandon & Kilchattan Parish, Argyll, 1841-1871, target=_blank>, 1861C.

16 Scotland's People - Document Image,, 1861C.

17 Census Kilbrandon & Kilchattan Parish, Argyll, 1841-1871, target=_blank>, 1841, 1851, 1861.

18 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Birth.

19 Scotland's People - Index,, 1871C.

20 Scotland's People - Document Image,, Marriage JM & MM.

21 Scotland's People - Index,, 1871C. Mrs McNab, relative, age 77.