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TITLE
Kilmichael Graveyard
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_I_F_GRANT_06
PLACENAME
Kilmichael
DISTRICT
Mid Argyll
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ARGYLL: Glassary
DATE OF RECORDING
1969
PERIOD
1960s
CREATOR
Isabel F. Grant
SOURCE
The School of Scottish Studies Archives
ASSET ID
1356
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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In this audio extract Dr. I. F. Grant talks about her associations with Kilmichael Churchyard. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).

Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.

'My grandfather's sister married a Gordon of Ravock and they were buried in Kilmichael Churchyard. His daughter, who was my grandfather's first cousin - we always called her cousin Kate - when, lived, she married a General Cox, and she lived in London, and when she was failing and knew that her latter hour was coming, she began to think very much of the graveyard where all her forebears had been buried in Kilmichael.

And she wrote to the minister - she found out who the minister was - and asked him if the graves were properly cared for. And he wrote back that they were in a sort of little enclosure - that you often see, you know those little? - and it was rather dilapidated - so she asked her, asked him if he would repair it for her at her expense, so he did so. And he was so pleased with his handiwork that he sent her a snapshot, and she showed it to me - I've seen it. And in the foreground, in front of the enclosure, there was a stone standing up, a rough, roughly shaped stone. And she was rather annoyed and surprised to see this stone just outside the enclosure where her forebears were buried, that she wrote back and asked what on earth it was.

And he wrote back and said that this stone had been part of a prehistoric grave that was uncovered, and the farmer on whose land it was found thought, 'Well, here's a grand lintel for my barn.' And he used it as a lintel for the barn. And every kind of misfortune overtook him; his cattle sickened, his daughter got ill, everything went wrong. And he was - he didn't dare break it up; he thought that would be the end so he threw it into the river, and into a deep pool just below the graveyard. And absolutely nobody knows who did it, but somebody took the trouble to grab that stone out of the deep pool of the river and cart it up and erect it in the graveyard.

Interviewer: Very astonishing. Yes, yes. Fancy.

It's a queer tale.

Interviewer: Yes, yes. Uh-huh.

Nobody knows.

Interviewer: No.

I suppose it's there yet, I have never been to see it.

Interviewer: Yes.'

Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007).

Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today.

Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.

In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.

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Kilmichael Graveyard

ARGYLL: Glassary

1960s

audio; literary landscapes

The School of Scottish Studies Archives

Literary Landscapes: Isabel Grant

In this audio extract Dr. I. F. Grant talks about her associations with Kilmichael Churchyard. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).<br /> <br /> Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.<br /> <br /> 'My grandfather's sister married a Gordon of Ravock and they were buried in Kilmichael Churchyard. His daughter, who was my grandfather's first cousin - we always called her cousin Kate - when, lived, she married a General Cox, and she lived in London, and when she was failing and knew that her latter hour was coming, she began to think very much of the graveyard where all her forebears had been buried in Kilmichael. <br /> <br /> And she wrote to the minister - she found out who the minister was - and asked him if the graves were properly cared for. And he wrote back that they were in a sort of little enclosure - that you often see, you know those little? - and it was rather dilapidated - so she asked her, asked him if he would repair it for her at her expense, so he did so. And he was so pleased with his handiwork that he sent her a snapshot, and she showed it to me - I've seen it. And in the foreground, in front of the enclosure, there was a stone standing up, a rough, roughly shaped stone. And she was rather annoyed and surprised to see this stone just outside the enclosure where her forebears were buried, that she wrote back and asked what on earth it was. <br /> <br /> And he wrote back and said that this stone had been part of a prehistoric grave that was uncovered, and the farmer on whose land it was found thought, 'Well, here's a grand lintel for my barn.' And he used it as a lintel for the barn. And every kind of misfortune overtook him; his cattle sickened, his daughter got ill, everything went wrong. And he was - he didn't dare break it up; he thought that would be the end so he threw it into the river, and into a deep pool just below the graveyard. And absolutely nobody knows who did it, but somebody took the trouble to grab that stone out of the deep pool of the river and cart it up and erect it in the graveyard. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Very astonishing. Yes, yes. Fancy.<br /> <br /> It's a queer tale.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes, yes. Uh-huh.<br /> <br /> Nobody knows.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: No.<br /> <br /> I suppose it's there yet, I have never been to see it.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.'<br /> <br /> Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007). <br /> <br /> Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today. <br /> <br /> Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.<br /> <br /> In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.