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Craigneuk is at the southern end of Benderloch
and was, before the railway and the establishment of the modern village, a very separate settlement.
This was on the site of a previous prehistory site - Dun Bhaile an righ (Dunvalanree)
Translated as the fort of the king's town; at the foot of this an urn was found.1
Some of the ancient folklore of Beregonium suggests that THIS was in fact the first city site.. and Bishop Richard Pococke mentions the name comes from Cromwell's soldiers ?? .. not yet found the origins of this idea.
This rock is called Dun Vallin Re (the Hill of the King's town) and by the Cromwelian soldiers Craig Nuke, and this is the entrance, so that the ancient city rock seems to have been called Vallin or Ballin Re (the City of the King).
Also at the foot of this natural rock outcrop is a St Columba's cell - Columcille church and graveyard. This burial ground is very ancient, and used extensively over centuries. The Columba site is likely to be one previously much used, it is a natural meeting place - "The burial-ground, too, must have been very large, as bones were taken up when cutting the road past the smithy. The burial ground extended to the rocks that form the shore. The old or Celtic burials were made near the spot, as the urn Mr Campbell found in the cave in his garden proves. A cairn with many urns was disturbed when making the road into the schoolhouse.2
It is an area that has been important to Man for millenia - with prehistoric finds in the cave, and with a Cille Cholium Cill just behind the Smithy.
A St Columba's cell is a place of reverence, and this was continued by the siting of a cemetery beside the Smithy.
The Blacksmith plied his trade in the Smithy for many decades, being recorded in the 1851 census, and still one in residence when his daughter was married from Craigneuk in 1926.
Craigneuk is no longer a family house, but you can come and stay there if you are visiting. http://www.cottages-and-castles.co.uk/self-catering/craigneuk-949/
more photographs of the graveyard are here http://kintaline.co.uk/images/displayimage.php?album=25
and here from Geograph http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1419108
© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.