Jarvisfield Estate

Jarvisfield Estate

Library Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Room Banner

The 'Jarvisfield' Estate

For centuries the island of Ulva, adjoining the Isle of Mull off the Scottish west coast, had been owned by the chiefs of the Clan MacQuarrie. However, by 1778 a substantial portion of the estate had been sold and the remainder was lost in 1804.

While he was serving in Egypt (1801-1802) Macquarie began proceedings to arrange for the purchase of approx. 10,000 acres on Mull from his uncle Murdoch Maclaine (19th. Laird of Lochbuy) for the price of £10,060. The funds that he drew upon included the £6,000 that had been bequeathed to him by his first wife, Jane Jarvis (following her death in 1796), as well as regimental funds and army prize money that he had accumulated during his military service in India and Egypt.

On the evening of 15 July 1804 Lachlan Macquarie, surrounded by family and friends, sat down to dinner at the inn of Callachilly on Mull. He toasted the memory of his late wife and named his new estate 'Jarvisfield' in memory of her.

In succeeding years his brother Charles made additional land purchases on Lachlan's behalf, so that by the time of Lachlan's death in 1824 the 'Jarvisfield' estate totalled 21,128 acres. He had managed to acquire all the key land holdings which straddle the narrow isthmus connecting the northern and southern portions of Mull, as well as that portion of Mull closest to the ancestral lands of the Clan MacQuarrie on the island of Ulva.

The first purchase (dating from 1802) is that section of the estate entitled 'Glenforsa', with a total area of 12,063.116 imperial acres. It was bounded on the east by the Forsa river, and on the west principally by Loch Ba and its river outlet into the sea at Loch Na Keal.The land included the areas of Killiechronan,Torlorchan (including Salen, the village founded by Macquarie), Jarvisfield Home Ground s (including Gruline House), portions of Callachilly, Kilbeg, Codully and Bentalla. This latter area was 4,713 acres and constituted the largest, wildest, and most elevated portion of the estate. It also was the most southerly part, providing access to the main land route across Mull through the Forsa glen to Loch Buy. This route was critical to all travel across the island because during stormy weather it was impossible for ships to sail around the island and deliver supplies on the shores of Loch Na Keal. Travel from the jetty landing near Salen, on the Sound of Mull, was also extremely awkward because of the difficulty in traversing the swampy region known as the 'Great Moss'.

There are extant survey plans and reports of the 'Jarvisfield' estate, prepared in 1826 and 1828, that indicate the extent of these holdings:

The second major purchase, made in 1817 from the Duke of Argyll, and referred to as 'Leharnakeal', included all the lands along Loch Na Keal from Gruline to the ferry crossing at Lagganulva: Kellan, Kiliemore, Archarn, Archronich, Oskamull, Korkamull and the higher slopes of 'shieling' land that were suitable for summer grazing. The estate was bounded on the north by the Glen McQuarie and the river Aros, and included the farm at Oskamull that Macquarie's mother had rented from the Duke of Argyll from 1775 until her death in 1810.

The bitter irony is that the land purchases made by the two Macquarie brothers proved to be ruinous financial decisions that saw their respective fortunes dissipated and which left their families with a bitter inheritance to fight over in succeeding decades.

To see a map of the 'Jarvisfield' estate on the Isle of Mull, click here.

Back to the top of this page