Beregonium is the name given to the alleged ancient city established by the Picts on the top of large land mass that has dominated the low lying area between Ardmucknish bay and Beinn Lora since the ice retreated.
It's also called Dun mac Uisneachan (go here to learn about the archaeology) : Dun Mac Sniachan
This area is meant to have been at the northern border of where the Scotia established themselves, so the southern area of Picts, with land moving in and out of control by each over time.
The Pictish city of Beregonium is said to have been situated between Dun Mac Sniachan and Dun Bhaile an Righe. A street, said to have been 10 feet wide and paved, running between the two hills was called 'Sraid a' Mhargaidh' (ie Market Street). Another, known as 'Sraid Mine', is said to have run from the NW end of New Selma, close past the steadings of Kiel Crofts. Two portions of footpaths, a little NE of the crofts, and a cart track are considered to be on the course of Sraid Mine.
However, the (RCAHMS) Historic Environment Scotland points out that the spurious name 'Beregonium', a mis-reading of Ptolemy's 'Rerigonium', was mistakenly applied by Scottish historian and philosopher Hector Boece (1465–1536) in his 'Scotorum Historiae'.
No archaeological evidence of these streets or any Pictish buildings has been found so far.1
Hollinshead (R Angus Smith) ; " He built also the castle of Beregonium, in Loughquabre, on the west side of Albion over against the "Western Isles, where he appointed a court to be kept for the administration of justice, that both the Albion Scots and also those of the game isles might have their access and resort thither for redress of wrongs and ending of all controversies." After that came Feritharis, then Mainus, thirdly Doruadille, "who in the 28 years of his reign departed this world at Beregonium." - There is a lot more about the pictish kings and their activities, often returning toe Beregonium for safety and to die, there is tradition that Pictish kings were buried on Lismore2
Alexander Carmichael believed this was George Buchanan's Beregonium, an ancient Scottish capital whose name is a Latinisation of the Gaelic Barr na Ghobhann, ‘Ridge of the Armourers’, where highly-skilled smiths worked. (Smiths are later associated with Ferlochan just a few miles along the road)
More recently Adam Ardrey has researched possible Scottish activities of King Arthur and believes this area to have been involved in Arthurian Battle involving the Angles / Picts against the Scots of Argyll, where Arthur comes in as support for the latter. Ardrey, a Scottish Advocate and historical author, suggests in his books |Finding Merlin and |Finding Arthur that what Nennius called Breguoin, is, in fact, Beregonium.
“The 11th (battle) was (fought) on the mountain (Breguoin/bregimion,) which is/we call/called Agnet/Cat_Bregion.” (Composite of various English/etc versions of “Nennius”/HB.)3
R. Angus Smith’s (Loch Etive and the sons of Uisneach 1885) “There are many stories about it. It has been called the beginning of the kingdom of Scotland, the palace of a long race of kings; also the Halls of Selma, in which Fingal lived; the stately capital of of a Queen Hynde, having towers and halls and much civilization, with a christianity before Ireland; whilst it has also been considered to be that which the native name implies, simply the fort of the sons of Uisnach, who came from Ireland, and whose names are found all over the district, and who in the legend are reported to have come to a wild part of Alban.”
In his 1527 Chronicles of Scotland Hector Boece adds some details: "Fergus, son of Ferchard, was first King of the Scots in Scotland, and brought the CHAIR from Ireland to Argyll, and was crowned on it. He built a town in Argyll called Beregonium, in which he placed it (the Chair). From him proceeded FORTY KINGS of Scotland. The twelfth king, Evenus, built a town near Beregonium, called after his name Evonium, NOW CALLED DUNSTAFFNAGE, to which the STONE was removed, and the remainder of the forty kings are all crowned in Dunstaffnage, reign there, and are buried there." (Boethii Scotorum Hist., ed. 1527. Bellenden's Croniklis of the Scots).
The Scots are expelled to Ireland under the last of the forty kings, but return under his nephew Fergus Mac Erc, who is crowned in the MARBLE CHAIR. He builds a church at Iona, and commands it to be the sepulchre of the kings in the future.
Traveller Bishop Richard Pococke4 -5 has more detail – citing George Buchanan’s History and Camden’s Britannia as his sources, but also the following: ‘in the new map of Scotland it is called Berigonium, and seem’d to have been anciently the Chief City of Scotland’ (p.69) That’s a reference to the forged Richard of Cirencester De Situ Britannia that fooled the great antiquarian William Stukeley.6
1734 Duke of Argylls estate map by Cowley - shows only Beregomum as a marker in Ardchattan.
Thomas Pennant in 1769 describes ‘Dun-mac-Sniochain, the ancient Beregonium, or Berogomum’ (p.356) as an oblong insulated hill, on whose summit, the country-people say, there had been seven towers: I could only perceive three or four excavations, of no certain form, and a dike round them’. (1772, p. 358)This map is the 1789 John Ainslie Map (Ruins of the City and Castle of Beregonium formerly the Chief City of Scotland) - on nls map website http://maps.nls.uk/view/74400648
Fingalian Topographies: Ossian and the Highland Tour, 1760-1805 NIGEL LEASK Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies Vol. 39 No. 2 (2016) doi: 10.1111/1754-0208.12396
need to get a copy of this : Map of Ancient Selma, the Residence of Fingal, 1807. By permission of the University of Glasgow
Deirdre and Naois
The Western Isles had often been visited by the Gael and Cruithnigh of Ireland before the permanent settlement of Dalriada, and the legend which tells of the doings of the sons of Uisneach is one of the most beautiful in our literature.
Cathbad, a Druid of the Cruithnigh of Ulster, had three daughters : the eldest was the mother of Cuchullin, the second, Albe, was the mother of Naisi (Nathos), Ardan, and Ainle, the three sons of Uisneach, while the third was the mother of Conal Ceatharnach.
These young men were sent to Skye to be trained in the art of war. On attaining manhood the children of Uisneach returned to Ireland, and Naisi fell in love with Deirdre, a beautiful girl, the ward of Connchubar, King of Ulster, who was bringing her up in a secluded palace with the intention of making her his wife.
Naisi takes her away by stealth, and, accompanied by his brothers and a chosen band of followers, settles in the district betwixt Loch Etive and Loch Creran in Lorn. Their place of dwelHng is still known as Dun - mhic - Uisneachan : in the guide-books it is called Beregonium.
Here they spent a romantic life, straying in their expeditions over central Argyllshire, delighting in the chase and sylvan sports, and glorying in the scenery of a country which Nature has endowed with unstinted hand. But Connchubar, their relentless enemy, determined to be revenged. Making specious promises, he invited them back to Ulster, but they, suspicious of the man whom they had offended, refused to go unless CuchuUin or Conal Ceatharnach, the greatest champions of the age, would ensure their safety. This these warriors refused to do : but Fergus, another hero, agreeing to do so they return to Ireland.
On leaving Alban, Deirdre pours forth her regret in impassioned language — The Lament of Deirdre. Indeed, as Dr Skene says, " it (the lament) contains such a tender recollection of, and touching allusion to. Highland scenery, that it is hardly possible to suppose that it was not originally composed by a genuine son of Alban." These events happened in the third century.7
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach by R. Angus Smith
This has a detailed description of the Dun and its area, discussion of the vitrified fort and the archaeological finds
Alexander Carmichael believed this was George Buchanan's Beregonium, an ancient Scottish capital whose name is a Latinisation of the Gaelic Barr na Ghobhann, ‘Ridge of the Armourers’, where highly-skilled smiths worked.
"TP describes ‘Dun-mac-Sniochain, the ancient Beregonium, or Berogomum’ (p.356) as ‘an oblong insulated hill, on whose summit, the country-people say, there had been seven towers: I could only perceive three or four excavations, of no certain form, and a dike round them’. (1772, p. 358) The earlier traveller Bishop Richard Pocock has more detail – citing George Buchanan’s History and Camden’s Britannia as his sources, but also the following: ‘in the new map of Scotland it is called Berigonium, and seem’d to have been anciently the Chief City of Scotland’ (p.69) That’s a reference to the forged Richard of Cirencester De Situ Britannia that fooled the great antiquarian William Stukeley. Smith traces the legend of Beregonium back to the early modern Aberdonian historian Hector Boece."
Loch Etive and the sons of Uisnach8
"Fergus was no sooner come into Albion than that, in a Parliament called and assembled in Argile for the purpose, they first consulted after what sort they might maintain themselves against their enemies."
After uniting with the Picts, they fought against the British King Coil at Doon, in Ayr, then "departed to their homes, and Fergus returned to Argile."
Here it is said the places took the names of their first governors; here also Fergus made laws for the maintenance of common quiet amongst them. "He built also the castle of Beregonium, in Loughquabre, on the west side of Albion over against the Western Isles, where he appointed a court to be kept for the administration of justice, that both the Albion Scots and also those of the same isles might have their access and resort thither for redress of wrongs and ending of all controversies."
After that came Feritharis, then Mainus, thirdly Doruadille, "who in the twenty-eighth year of his reign departed this world at Beregonium."
Things then went more quietly, and there are curious episodes about religion and Spanish philosophers and stones set up. We then find that Conanus was made governor in place of a degraded King Thercus; "when the king died, Conanus renounced the administration in presence of all the estates assembled in Parliament at Beregonium, where by common consent Josina, brother of Thereus, was chosen king."
"When Josina had reigned twenty-four years, he departed out of this world at Beregonium, being a man of very great a age "
During Josina's reign, "two men of a venerable aspect, although shipwrecked and almost naked, came to the king at Beregonium, accompanied by some of the islanders." They were said to have been Spanish, and to have been driven out of their way when going to Athens. These people told them not to worship the immortal gods in the shape of beasts and fowls, but putting aside images, to worship the living God with fire and prayers, building a temple without an image ("oportere itaque relictis simulachris viventem coeli Deum igne precariisque verbis, fano ac templo ad id constituto sine forma colere").
Finnanus followed him; after he had reigned long, he went to Camelon, and died when on a visit to "the king of the Picts as then sore diseased." "His bodie was conveyed to Beregonium, and there buried amongst his predecessors."
"Hollinshead" leaves out the ambassadors sent from Egypt to inquire into the condition of Albion, and I suppose he is ashamed of them. Still he mentions that some improvements were taken from the Egyptians.
Durstus was disreputable, and the neighbouring princes interfered; he promised better behaviour, swearing before a statue of Diana, and invited many to a feast. "After they had entered I3eregonium, and the king had received them into the citadel, an armed ambush came upon them." They were all slain. The wives of the murdered persons came to I3eregonium, and aided in raising indignation; after great tumult, Durstus was slain.
Afterwards Ewin, the uncle's son of Durstus, was made king, being brought out of Pictland. He was proposed by Caronus of Argyll, who spoke strongly of the horrors of the last reign at I3eregonium.
Ewin was brought from Pictland "in a kingly dress to Beregonium, amongst the acclamations of the people. The guard at Beregonium first denied him entrance; but when they saw such a crowd round the walls, and themselves unable to resist, they came into the power of Evenus," or Ewin. "Evenus was put on the royal seat on entering Beregonium, and at his orders the nobles touched his hand and swore sincere obedience. He was the first of the Scottish kings who required this."
We are told that "he built a castle not far from Beregonium in a very stedy place, and called it after himself, Evonium, now commonly called Dunstafage, or Stephan's camp" (a better sounding derivation than the common one, but not therefore truer). He died at Dunstaffnage, and Gillus raised "sundry obelisks" at his grave near that place.
We are creating this wiki for the community, near and far, to work together to develop an encyclopedia of the natural, family and social history of Ardchattan.
Please bear with us as we develop this site, and please join in to contribute any images, information, or questions you have on any location or topic. Email images / records / documents to ku.gro.nattahcdra|evihcra#ku.gro.nattahcdra|evihcra
you can add questions and information for this page here