Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Early Irish Settlements in Galloway

Charles Thomas' 1967 map of early Irish Settlement in Galloway

Visting the Galloway Picts Project dig at Trusty's Hill, Gatehouse of Fleet last Friday, I asked Ronan Toolis (archaeologist in charge) if there might have been a connection between the site and Ardwall Island, which is visible from Trusty's Hill. Ronan was doubtful since he though the chapel on Ardwall Island was Anglian/ Northumbrian and so later than the period of occupation at Trusty's Hill.

Both sites were excavated by Charles Thomas (Trusty's Hill in 1960, Ardwall in 1964/5) and I was sure that Thomas had dated Phases I of the Ardwall chapel to the fifth century. I checked with Thomas' report on the Ardwall site in the Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society (3rd Series, Vol. 43) and found that he had suggested sixth century date for Phase I (but possibly fifth)...

I then read through a more detailed report Thomas had written for Medieval Archaeology Vol XI (1967) on the Ardwall site. This confirmed that Phases I and II were sixth and seventh century. The report also contained the above map showing possible  early Irish settlements in Galloway and Dumfries. These settlements could have introduced Gaelic into Galloway before the Gall-ghaidheil.

Thomas also included an illustration of a possibly Pictish (Type 2) style carving found on Ardwall Island.All very interesting...

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