Carmichael Watson Project

The Carmichael Watson collection in Edinburgh University Library, centred on the papers of the pioneering folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), is the foremost collection of its kind in the country, a treasure-chest of stories, songs, customs, and beliefs from the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland. It offers us fundamental insights into the creation of Carmichael's greatest work Carmina Gadelica, an anthology of Hebridean charms, hymns, and songs, and a key text in the 'Celtic Twilight' movement.

The value of the collection goes far beyond literary studies. It offers exciting potential for interdisciplinary cooperation between local and scholarly communities, for collaborative research in history, theology, literary criticism, philology, place-names, archaeology, botany and environmental studies.

Through cataloguing, indexing, transcribing, translating, digitisation, and conservation, this project aims to open up and make accessible this important collection to the academic and broader community.
Catalogue Entry - Story about Craobh nan abhall
CW1/21CW1CW1/23 | 18 September 1890
Story which tells how 'Pri'orr Airdecatain' [Prior of Ardchattan, Àirde-Catain/Ardchattan, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire] ordered that 'Craobh nan abhall' should be propped up and railed. As long as Robert Ardchattan was alive the tree was cared for by the people.

CW120/135 | August 1883
Note about Popeham [Strachan Irving Popham] of Aird Chattan [Àird Chatain/Ardchattan, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire] discarding human remains until one night he heard a voice and that made him stop.
This item may have been collected from Donald MacColl, foxhunter, Glencreran, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire.

CW120/68 | 29 August 1883
Note about priests preaching on Sgeir a' Phobuil [An Apainn/Appin] and that Cill Mhodain in Ardchattan [Cille Mhaodain/Àird Chatain] was the oldest [priory] in Argyllshire, probably collected from Donald MacColl [foxhunter, Glencreran, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire]. Also notes that Sir Walter Scott was in Glencreran several times, while Donald was there.

CW120/139 | August 1883
Note about copper that a vein of it runs south west up from the sea to the hill face.
This item may have been collected from Donald MacColl, foxhunter, Glencreran, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire.
It is assumed that this entry relates to Appin or Ardchattan in Argyllshire although this is not stated within the text of the note, given the context within which it is written.

CW126f/9 | 6 July 1892
List of place-names and a note about lights probably collected from Duncan MacNiven, retired schoolmaster, Airds Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire including the different places known as 'Cnoc-Aingil', 'Dun-chathaich' and 'Dun-Cr[e]ag[ach]'. Some of the place-names are bracketed and the note reads 'These were lighted on danger' but it is not clear from the text exactly which place-names relate to lights. Text has been scored through as if transcribed elsewhere.

CW120/134 | August 1883
Story about the death of Rob Tighearna [Robert Stewart of Appin], that while 'the whole of Appin' attended his funeral, his son Dual [Dùghall] [Dugald Stewart of Appin] did not but instead stayed at home. He spent the gold which Rob had left and sold his property [to Hugh Seton of Touch]. A piper called MacInnes from Glencoe played for the funeral from Leitir Shiuna to Aird Chattan [Leitir Sìuna/Lettershuna, Àird Chatain/Ardchattan, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire], a distance of 15 miles: 'He was immensely strong but died soon afterwards'.

CW120/285 | 23 June 1885
Poem beginning 'Is mithich domhsa dusga[dh]' composed by Seumas Shaw [James Shaw], 'bard Lochnaneala' [Bàrd Thighearna Loch nan Eala] when he saw the Duke of Argyll in Oban [An t-Òban, Earra Ghàidheal/Argyllshire].

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