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Priory of Ardchattan



An Argyllshire house, one of the three in Scotland belonging to the Order of Vallis Caulium, or Val des Choux (the Valley of Cabbages), founded by Duncan Mackoul about A.D. 1230 and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John Baptist, as were all the houses of this Order. It took its name from Chattan, one of the companions of St. Columba, the prefix ard signifying "promontory." The local tradition is that there was a chapel on this spot in the earliest ages of Scottish Christianity, centuries before the monks of Vallis Caulium erected their priory and church. The monastery was built on a sheltered spot on the shore of Loch Etive, almost overshadowed by the stupendous mass of Ben Cruachan. Some time before the dissolution of religious houses it was incorporated into the Cistercian Order, and at the Reformation the temporalities were bestowed upon one of the Campbell family, whose descendants (the Campbell-Prestons of Ardchattan) still own the place. Parts of the church, and also of the domestic buildings of the priory, still remain and are actually utilized at this day - the only example of this in Scotland - as the mansion-house of the present proprietor.

BATTEN, Beauly Priory, with notices of the Priories of Pluscarden and Ardchattan (Grampian Club, 1877); Origines Parochiales Scotiae (Edinburgh, 1854); Ordinale Conventus Vallis Caulium (London, 1900); SPOTTISWOOD, Hist. of the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1850); Ardchattan Charters.

D.O. HUNTER-BLAIR








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