Skip to main content

Story about the population of Miulay [Miùghlaigh/Mingulay], 1867

Identifier: Coll-97/CW114/34

Scope and Contents

Story about the population of Miulay [Miùghlaigh/Mingulay], probably collected from Roderick MacNeil, describing how three hundred years previously [c1560] MacNeil of Barra sent a boat over to the island during winter to see why there was a lack of activity. A man named MacPhie was sent on land to find out 'When he came to the houses which then stood on a rocky [Rua] N[orth] E[ast] of the present village he found all within dead.' On arriving back at the boat MacPhie was asked what he had found but he said he would tell them later. The crew did not accept this answer and so refused to let him on board until he told them. He continued to refuse and so was left behind on Mingulay and no one came back for seven weeks. The story tells how MacPhie managed to survive and how when MacNeil returned 'fire was set to all the huts and the dead bod[ies] were burnt'. MacNeil asked MacPhie if he would live on Mingulay and he agreed, choosing three or four trustworthy friends to join him. They built new huts on the strand but had to move them because of the encroachment of the sea. 'Ruary saw a man to whose house the sea was ap[proaching]. He left his old moth[er] in his [hut] and had not got six y[ar]ds from the ho[use] when a sea came and left not one stone.' Written transversely over the last part of the story is an addendum which states that a wise old man advised the people to build their houses on each side of the stream so that 'no such calamity' would ever happen again. Of the island itself Carmichael notes 'Beinn ic a Phie north side Cro mhic a Phi Where the schoolhouse is now.'


  • Creation: 1867

Language of Materials

Gaelic English

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 88 folios ; 16.6 x 19.8 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 64r, line 4 to folio 64v, line 33

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379