Isleornsay Inn


Sleat At Sea

A Seafaring Family

The Gillies family - from Corriehanisdal

Murdoch Gillies, born circa 1760-65, was a ferryman, and when Corriehanisdal was cleared, he lived on the Ferryman’s Croft at 1 Ardvasar. He is listed as the first tenant in 1823-24.

His son, James Gillies, who inherited the croft at 1 Ardvasar, is shown as being a Ship’s Captain. He died, aged 64, by accidental drowning in the Sound of Sleat near the entrance to Loch Nevis.

James had four sons. His eldest son, known as John Mor, born 1825, was drowned off the Isle of Man in 1884 while in command of one of his two schooners, named the "Jane and Mary". The schooner was enroute for Glasgow from Dedden loaded with iron ore. As well as Captain John Gillies, the crew consisted of Donald Robertson from Calgary and Donald Macdonald and John MacInnes from Ardvasar.

James’ second son, John Beag, born 1829/30, is shown to be a Ship’s Carpenter, living in Greenock. He was also lost at sea, when the ship, with all hands aboard, was lost during a storm in the Bay of Biscay.

James’ fourth son, also named James, was also a Ship’s Carpenter, and spent most of his life at sea, dying in 1927 aged 90.