Britannia, by William Camden

Argathelia, or Argile.

Big T THE Shire of Argile and Perth, with the Countries adjacent seem to have been formerly inhabited by the Horesti, Greek oresai, or Mountaineers, mention’d by Tacitus, viz. the true ancient Scots, who came from Ireland, and possess’d themselves of the West-Isles, and of these Countries. For distinction’s sake, they were called the Northern Picts, and are the same with Ammianus Marcellinus’s Dicalidones, which Buchanan (agreeably to the meaning of Horesti, and the Highlanders) reads Duncaledonii. By the Panegyrist Eumenius, they are called Hiberni, soli Britanni; and by the Writers of the middle age, their Country is call’d Hibernia, as is proved in the Description of * * See at the end.Thule. These two Counties, with the Western Isles, made up the Kingdom of the Scots, whilst the rest of Scotland was under the Romans and Picts. Afterwards, the whole Country came under one King, namely, Kenneth the second, who was called Rex Scotorum.⌉

Beyond Logh-Lomond, and the western part of Lennox, near Dunbritton-Forth,Argile. Argile spreads out it self; call’d in Latin Argathelia or Argadia, and commonly Argile, but more truly Argathel, and Ar-Gwithil, that is, near to the Irish, or as some old Records explain it, the brink, or edge of Ireland; for it lies towards Ireland, whose inhabitants the Britains call Gwithil and Gaothel. A Country, running out to a great length and breadth, and all mangled with Lakes well stock’d with fish, and rising in some places into mountains very commodious for feeding of cattle; wherein also wild Cows and Deer range up and down. But along the coast, what with rocks, and what with blackish barren mountains, it makes a horrid appearance. In this tract, as Bede observes, Britain received (after the Britons and Picts) a third Nation, viz. the Scots, into the Picts territories; who coming out of Ireland with Reuda their Leader, got, either by force or friendship, the habitation, which they still keep; from which leader they are to this day call’d Dalreudini,Dalreudini. for in their language DalDal. signifies a part. And a little after, Ireland (says he) is the proper Country of the Scots; and they being departed thence, added to the Britons and Picts a third Nation in Britain. There is a very great Arm of the sea, or bay, that anciently divided the Nation of the Britons from the Picts; which from the West breaketh a great way into the Land; and there, to this day, standeth the strongest City of the Britons, call’d Alcluith. In the Northern part of which bay, the Scots (whom I now mentioned) coming over, got themselves room to settle in. Of that name Dalreudin, there are no remains that I know of, nor any mention of it in Authors, unless it be the same with Dalrieta. Dalrieta. For in an old little book of the Division of Albany, we read of one Kinnadius (who it is certain was a King of Scotland, and subdu’d the Picts) in these very words, Kinnadius, two years before he came into Pictavia (so it calls the country of the Picts) enter’d upon the government of Dalrieta. Also, there is mention made, in a more modern History, of Dalrea,Dalrea. hereabouts; where King Robert Brus unsuccessfully fought a battle.

⌈The Shire of Argile had formerly two Sherifdoms, Argile and Tarbert; but now they are united into one, which comprehends Kantyre, Knapdale, Askeodnish, Cowell (in which is Denoun the Bishop of Argile’s seat,) Lorne, and many of the western Isles. To the east, it is joyned to Perthshire, to the north-east it touches upon Lochaber, to the north-west it hath several Isles, and to the south the Irish-sea, and the Firth of Clyde. In length, it is about six score miles, and in breadth about forty. The sea in many places runs up a great way into the land, in long bays which they call Loughs. The Tract properly called Argile lies between Loch-fyne, wherein is a great Herring-fishing, and Loch-Aw, a fresh water Loch, twenty four miles long, and one broad; out of which the River of Aw runs for some six or seven miles, and then enters Loch-Ediff. The whole shire is mountainous, and the Inhabitants, who speak the Irish, live mostly by their hunting and fishing.

Its chief town is Innererra,Innererra. a Burgh-Royal, near which is the Castle, the chief residence of the Earl of Argile, adorn’d with fine gardens standing upon the water of Eira, where it falls into Lochfyne. And from MelfortMelfort. in this Country, did John Drummond of Lundin, second Son of James Earl of Perth, by grant from King James the seventh, take the title of Viscount, and afterwards of Earl of Melfort.⌉

King James the fourth, with consent of the States of the Kingdom, enacted, that Justice should be administer’d to this Province by the Justices Itinerant at Perth, whensoever the King should think convenient. But the Earls themselves have in some cases their Jura Regalia; who are persons of very great authority, and of a mighty interest, deriving their pedigree from the ancient petty Kings of Argile, through an infinite series of Ancestors, and taking their sirname from their Castle Cambel; ⌈if it may not be said, with greater truth, that the Castle had the name from the Family: for it is said in the Black Acts, that the name was Castle Gloune before it came to this Family, and that it was afterwards changed into Castle Campbel.⌉ But they are obliged to King James the second forEarls of Argile. the honour and title of Earl; who (as it is recorded) created Colin Lord Campbel Earl of Argile, in regard to his own personal worth and valour, and the dignity of his Family. Whose Posterity, by the favour of their Kings, have been a good while General Justices of the Kingdom of Scotland, or (according to their way of expressing it) Justices generally constitute, and † Præfecti.Stewards of the King’s Houshold. ⌈Archibald Earl of Argile, was created Marquis of Argile, by King Charles the first; and he being forefaulted by King Charles the second, his Son Archibald Lord Lorn was restored to the dignity and precedency of the Earl of Argile, in the first year of King William and Queen Mary, and created Duke of Argyle in the year 1701; whose son, John, succeeded him in these high Honours, and, in consideration of his great Merits and Abilities, was also made a Peer of England, before the Union, under the title of Earl of Greenwich;VidGreenwich, in Kent. which hath been since changed by King George into the more honourable title of Duke of Greenwich.⌉

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06