Since the Friends was launched in September 2016, we have organised an annual meeting and talk each year, and an annual visit to somewhere of relevance to the history of the Campbell family or to the content of the archive (usually both).  The disruption to our usual events caused by the Covid pandemic has inspired us to go online with our recent Annual Meeting and the 2020/21 seminar series.  This has enabled our international members to participate more fully in our activities and we hope to continue to deliver both virtually and ‘in person’ post Covid. If you have any suggestions for additional events, please do not hesitate to contact

Summer Sessions 2021

The Friends of the Argyll Papers are delighted to announce Summer Sessions introducing the content of the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle and how the papers can be used for your research..

These sessions will be delivered using Zoom and will include a 30 minute presentation followed by 30 mins for Q & A.

Attendance at the Sessions is free for Friends. Non-members are asked to make a £5 donation to the Friends at Donate to Friends of the Argyll Papers ( before emailing to book a place.

Everyone who wishes to attend needs to book a place for the Sessions by emailing:

An Introduction to the Argyll Papers at Inveraray Castle

Friday 23rd July at 15:00 BST

Alison Diamond, archivist, will provide an overview of the archive collection at Inveraray Castle.

How the Argyll Papers can support your family history research

Friday 27th August at 15:00 BST

Duncan Beaton, volunteer, Friend and experienced genealogist, will talk about how the Argyll Papers can be used to assist you in your family history research.

Seminar series 2020/21

This first season of seminars, delivered virtually using the Zoom platform has proved very popular. It has featured a number of speakers who have undertaken research in the Argyll Papers into a diverse selection of topics. For a full list of speakers and topics for 2020/21, please read the Seminar series 2020-21

Attendance at seminars is free for Friends. Non-members are asked to make a £5 donation to the Friends at Donate to Friends of the Argyll Papers ( before emailing to book a place.

Everyone who wishes to attend needs to book a place for the seminar by emailing:

Friday 11 June 2021 @ 19:30 BST

Dr Micky Gibbard will be talking about ‘The New Town of Inveraray: a window into the planned villages of Scotland’.

This talk is based on Micky’s PhD research and time spent in the archives. Scotland has over 500 planned settlements, that were largely established between 1725 and 1905. The new town of Inveraray, planned in 1743, sits very much in the initial golden age of detailed, considered settlement planning, with the dukes of Argyll firmly at the forefront of the thinking. Planned settlements were at the vanguard of modernity and landowners who established them were in touch with taste, fashion and science and had their finger very much on the pulse of Enlightenment thought. Planned settlements were established for a variety of reasons – for control, for productivity, for civility, for science, as a form of consumption – and Inveraray, and the actions of the 3rd and 5th dukes of Argyll in particular, has amongst the richest and most colourful of histories. We should regard Inveraray’s New Town as part of burgeoning modernity in Scotland, a laboratory for Enlightenment thought and the culmination of ideas that would continue to shape Scotland throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This talk will champion Inveraray as exactly this, arguing that its place in the development of rural eighteenth-century Scotland – and cutting-edge, philosophical thinking so discussed in urban coffeeshops – should not be overlooked.

Friday 14 May 2021 @ 19:30 BST

Danielle Fatzinger gave a presentation titled ‘Manuscript Production in Kintyre c. 1690-1698: Eoghan MacGilleoin and his Clan Campbell Patrons’.

This talk is based upon Danielle’s PhD research into Eoghan MacGilleoin, a late-seventeenth century Kintyre scribe, his four manuscripts, and his two Clan Campbell patrons, Mr Lachlan Campbell and Col. Colin Campbell of the Campbells of Kilberry. Originally intended to be a close look at the literature contained within the manuscripts, a lack of research into the three men shifted the project to be more historical than literary. It aims to develop a more complete understanding of Eoghan MacGilleoin, his patrons, and his manuscripts by contextualising existing scholarship and considering topics such as cultural identity and the links between Gaelic Ireland and Gaelic Scotland.

While the talk won’t be able to capture all aspects of her PhD thesis, it will highlight the importance of MacGilleoin, his patrons, and their manuscripts in the history of manuscript production in Scotland, particularly Kintyre. Danielle will discuss the men’s social and political connections, demonstrating links to Ireland, England, and the European continent and suggesting a route of manuscript transmission into Scotland. She will defend MacGilleoin’s ability as a scribe against claims in previous scholarship that he was, for instance, ‘grossly ignorant’ and will explore the possible motivations for the production of the manuscripts. Finally, Danielle will discuss the importance of utilising a variety of archival sources, as her research has benefited from documents contained within multiple archives located in Scotland, Ireland, and England.

A recording of this seminar is available to Friends who missed the live event. Please email for access.gave

Friday 16 April @ 15:00 BST

Duncan Beaton gave a presentation titled ‘Campbells of Glendaruel: A Short History of Clan Campbell families both in Glendaruel and of Glendaruel in the Argyll District of Cowal’.

Duncan Beaton was given the task of cataloguing a box of papers deposited by Ralph Carr-Ellison, a descendant of the Campbell of Glendaruel family, about 40 years ago. The bundles had been examined and annotated by Alastair Campbell of Airds when he was researching and writing his 3-volume “History of the Clan Campbell”, but they had otherwise remained untouched in their black metal box.

Duncan will look at the history of the Campbells in the district of Cowal in general, and in Glendaruel in particular. The main challenges involved sorting the different Campbell of Glendaruel families, unravelling cousin marriages, the puzzling fate of Captain Neil Campbell at Waterloo, any links with Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde, and the mystery of the so-called “Lucknow Gate”. As a keen genealogist, he included family trees of the families involved.

A recording of this seminar is available to Friends who missed the live event. Please email

Friday 11 March @ 11:00 GMT

Dr Chris Dracup on the subject of Deciphering John Dewar’s Shorthand. 

Chris Dracup talked about the discovery of a system of Gaelic shorthand used by John Dewar in the late 19th century.

John Dewar (1802–72) was commissioned by the 8th duke of Argyll to travel through Argyllshire, Arran, W. Dunbartonshire, W. Perthshire and Lochaber, to record the oral history of those districts as told by the local people.  The result is the Dewar Manuscripts which contain about 5,000 pages (in 10 volumes) of Gaelic historical tales ranging from Robert Bruce’s battles and wanderings (1306) to the Appin Murder (1752).  Seven of the volumes are preserved in the Argyll Papers, the remaining three are held in the National Library of Scotland.

A recording of this talk is available to Friends who missed the live event. Please email to request access.

Friday 19 February @ 19:30 GMT

Nathan Bossoh, PhD student, on Victorian ornithology and the domestic laboratory: Argyll’s hope for aerial navigation

During the 19th century, ornithology – the study of birds, developed widely as a scientific field of study in its own right across Europe. For most people, during the 19th century, uncovering the mysteries of bird flight seemed like a futile attempt; however, not all Victorians accepted this analysis and the 8th Duke of Argyll was among a number of Victorians who saw potential value in solving this enigma. This talk will take us on a brief tour of Argyll’s ornithological observations, research, and output to shed light on how Argyll helped to popularise ‘Theory of Flight’ which led to major breakthroughs such as the development of the aeroplane in 1903.

Friday 15 January @ 15:00 GMT

Diarmid Campbell presented an Overview of An Argyll family from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.

Diarmid’s presentation was based on his detailed research into the MacConnochie Campbells of Inverawe (1470-1705), a Gaelic Highland Family in Argyll, their Kindred & Neighbours. 

A PDF script for this talk is available to Friends who were unable to attend the live event. Please email to request a copy.

Friday 11 December @ 11:00 GMT

Dr Robert Irving presented on Medieval Grave Slab Rubbings, a Cyclic Journey of Serendipity from Nanotechnology to CoVID

Bob’s talk covered antibodies, genetic engineering and gin; the measured survey of the Kilbride kirkyard grave slabs and medieval carvings; Mull Museum’s 1895 glass plate negatives of the 17th century documents concerning the Tobermory Spanish Galleon of 1588; the medieval funerary monuments rubbings collection in the Argyll Papers; speculation on the understandings gleaned from a broad collection of rubbings from several sites and artisans and DNA as our future gravestone carving equivalent.

This talk was recorded and is available to Friends who were unable to attend the live event. Please email to request access.

Friday 20 November @ 15:00 GMT

Prof Allan Macinnes on The Analysis of the Craignish Baillie Court Book, 1720-1729

Professor Allan Macinnes – well-known for his extensive work on Highland and Jacobite history – talked about his on-going analysis of the Craignish Baillie Court Book. The Baillie Court handled local commercial business in Craignish as well as administering local justice, offering a unique insight into life in that area of Argyll between 1720 and 1729.

Annual meeting 2020

The annual meeting 2020 was held online on 6 November 2020. A brief business meeting (draft minutes can be accessed here) was followed by a fascinating talk by Donald Meek on ‘From Joint-Tenant Farms to Crofts in Caolas, Tiree: the evidence of the Argyll Papers’. 

Donald E. Meek, a native of the Inner Hebridean island of Tiree, was Professor of Scottish and Gaelic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He was previously Professor of Celtic at the University of Aberdeen from 1993 to 2001. He has written many articles and has edited numerous books, among them ‘Seòl mo Bheatha – Turas eadar Croit is Eilean is Oilthigh‘, his autobiography (in Gaelic) of his life on croft, island and university, from his birth in 1949 to the present day. Donald was brought up at ‘Coll View’, Caolas.

A PDF script for this talk is available to Friends who were unable to attend the live event. Please email to request a copy.

Friends of the Argyll Papers is a Scottish Charity SC045835