MacNeill of Gigha & Colonsay

SO far back as 1472 the McNeills of Gigha were Keepers of the Castle of Sweyn, in North Knapdale, Argyllshire. The Lord of the Isles was their overlord. Neil McNeill was Chief of the clan or branch-clan in the first half of the sixteenth century. He had a son, Neil, from whom the McNeills of Taynish are descended. Another son, John Og, was the ancestor of the McNeills of Gallachoille and of Crerar, afterwards of Colonsay. James MacDonald of Islay purchased Gigha in 1554. It was acquired later by John Campbell of Calder, who sold it in 1590 to Hector McNeill of Taynish. Gigha and Taynish were owned by his descendants till 1780. In that year Alexander McNeill of Colonsay purchased Gigha. In addition to the Taynish family, there were McNeills of Gallachoille, Caraskey, Tir-Fergus. In the seventeenth century Torquil, of the House of Tir Fergus, married the heiress of the Mackays, and acquired the lands of Ugadale, in Kintyre. Sir John McNeill, K.C.B., LL.D., Envoy at the Court of Persia, 1831, belonged to the Colonsay branch. Hector McNeill, who wrote “Come under my Plaidie,” was a member of the Clan McNeill. He died at Edinburgh in 1818. The children of the house of McNeill were, according to old Highland custom, taught their genealogy in Gaelic on Sunday morning.