Township: Heylipol

Map Reference: Heylipol 300

Name Type: township

Meaning: This was on the Balinoe side of Croit Mhurchaidh - Alasdair Mòr MacDonald, Kilmoluaig, 12/1999.

This is an opaque name. Modern oral tradition regards it as an alternative name for the township, although there is no documentary evidence that it was a settlement name. Informants may have been influenced by John Gregorson Campbell’s derivation from ScG An Cruaidh-Ghoirtean ‘the hard or stony field’. His record as a ‘consultant’ to the Ordnance Survey in 1878 showed that he often gaelicised Norse names (see above). Modern informants may also have been influenced by the present road sign ‘An Cruairtean Heylipol’.
ScG goirtean ‘field’ (Cox 2002b, 332; see Goirtean below) is a very common element in Argyll place-names. There is only one example of ‘X + goirtean’ on SP: Fuar Ghoirteanan in Torosay, Mull. There are seven examples of ‘Cruaidh + generic’ on SP, mainly in Argyll: e.g. Cruaidh Bharr, North Knapdale.
However, this is as likely to be a Norse name from ON krú (plural króar, Cox 2002b, 225) ‘enclosures’ (see Crowrar, Sandnes 2010a, 107), with ON steinn ‘standing stone’. There is one prominent standing stone in Balinoe/ Heylipol called ScG A’ Charragh Bhiorach ‘the sharp standing stone’ and the name Staineal is nearby. The pronunciation supports this reconstruction. The stress pattern, with its emphasis on the first element, does not help distinguish between the two reconstructions, as the Tiree Gaelic examples with an inverted word order, such as Cnù-Lochan ‘horse-shoe shaped small loch’ in Caolas and Dubh-Chladach ‘the black shore’ in Kilmoluaig, also have stress on the first element. ‘ON krú, kró ‘pen’ is a loan from the synonymous ScG crò. It is one of the extremely rare Celtic loan words to become productive in ON place- name formation. Most examples in the material are simplex formations...The word kru appears in Norway, but with a strictly limited distribution in parts of Trøndelag in central Norway. I was born in this area, and to me kru conveys the sense ‘small enclosure’ (used of a pen directly attached to the shieling cow- stable). The word could have been loaned directly from Gaelic, but an indirect loan through the Norse settlements in Scotland seems more likely’ (Sandnes 2010a, 83).
There is a Cruan in Firth, a Cruar on Rousay, Orkney, and a Cruester on Bressay, Shetland (SP); Croo Back in Orkney has been derived from kró + bakki ‘slope’ (Sandnes 2010a, 182); there is a Krua in Høylander, Norway (NG); and there is a Kro and a Kroen in OR. See Cròdhabrig (above).

Other Forms: Fort of Hinlaboill - 1679, ICA Bundle 472/177.

Hinleboll - 1679, ICA Bundle 472/180.

Island of Inaboll Qrby - 1679.

Hilleboll - 1680, ICA Bundle 472/198.

Hinlapoll - Inhabitants of the Inner Isles 1716, Scottish Record Society 21, ed . Nicholas MacLean-Bristol, 1998.

Heylipol - Tiree Rental 1747

Helipoll - Map of Tiree, reduced from a survey of the island by Langlands, in the possession of His Grace, The Duke of Argyll. Reproduced in The Island of Tiree by William Reeves, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, volume 2, 1854, p 233-244.

Heylipoll - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

Hilipole - List of Inhabitants of Tiree 1776

Killipoll - Typed List of Inhabitants of Tyree and their Age in September 1779.
Taken from an unknown publication, 1998.201.1

Hilipole (1786) - Argyll Estate Instructions, ed. Eric Cregeen, Scottish History Society, 1964

The school was Hillipol. Others spelt it as Hylipol, both reflecting the pronounciation of the first syllable as 'i' and not 'ey'.

Hilipoll - Donald MacNeill, Hector Campbell.

Gorten is on the 1841 Census next to Kenovay.

Heileabol - Ailean Boyd, 1/2012

Related Places:

Information:The way Heylipol is written today makes us incomers pronounce the first part of the name like the word ‘hay’. But older people from the island say it as ‘hill’. It certainly has had lots of spellings over the years – Hinlapoll, Hilipole, and Heylipoll are just three. The name is a Viking one meaning holy farm, which makes one think there was a church or shrine there when the Norse converted to Christianity around 1000 AD.
In fact, an old name around the present Heylipol Farm house gives us a clue – Templefield or Dobhair an Teampaill, the water of the temple (an old name for a small church, like Teampall Phàraig at Kenavara). The farm house was originally a manse, Mans a’ Chruairtein, for Heylipol parish, with a school attached. The two separate parishes of Kirkapol and Soroby (later Heylipol) were united in 1952. The last minister to occupy the Heylipol manse was the late Rev Neil MacInnes from Broadford in Skye.
The house nearby, now called Shepherd’s Cottage, used to be called Taigh Hume after John Hume who came from Skye to be a shepherd on Heylipol farm for the factor MacDiarmid. The nearby barns are called Saibhlean Hume and the fank Fang Hume.
Heylipol is the only township in Tiree that has a different Norse and Gaelic name – An Cruairtean. This is a shortening of An Cruaidh Goirtean, the hard field. Alasdair MacDonald, Kilmoluaig, told me the original field of this name was between the church and Balinoe road corner. Goirtean is an older name for a field, dating from before the making of Tiree’s croft system in 1800.
To the west of the Druimbhuidhe road leading to Cornaig, by a big shed, is the remains of a track that leads off west into the sliabh - Ùtraid Thèarlaich Eòghainn, the side road of Charles the son of Hugh. There were crofts either side of this track, but the factor cleared the crofters in 1855. Niall a' Mhoraire went to Kilmoluaig and Hector MacArthur, Eachann a' Ghoirtein Mhòir , Hector of the Big Field, was sent to Caolas.
In fact Heylipol has always been an intensely political township with arguments over land and boundaries between the Duke, the factor and the crofters. In 1779 it was one of the biggest townships on Tiree with 179 residents. But it also contained the estate’s headquarters, for many years the residence of the factor, and the factor’s farm. Some of the farm was split up to make today’s crofts in 1914.
It is interesting to note that Heylipol Church is called Eaglais na Mòinteach, Moss Church, in Gaelic and Heylipol School Sgoil na Mòinteach. The factor in the 1850s was from Islay and he brought in a fellow Islay man, MacNiven, as his deputy. He was favoured because it was said that he had married the factor's maidservant and mistress. The factor gave two crofts in Barrapol to MacNiven, and to prevent a public outcry, he gave Barrapol township land where Heylipol church stands, and planted gorse bushes, Gàrradh Chonaisg a' Chruairtean, the gorse boundary of Heylipol, as boundary markers. The gorse is still thriving 150 years later. The church was designed by William MacKenzie, who also designed Salen Church in Mull, in 1901.
Of course Heylipol is also home to the Duke’s headquarters on the island. A 1654 map shows this as Castel Loch Hyrbol. Today it is known as Taigh an Eilein, the house of the island, or Island House. This was originally a fortified island house, probably built over an earlier crannog. When the Campbells evicted the MacLeans from the island in 1674 they laid siege to the fort. The moat was filled in and the ‘castle’ pulled down in 1748 to make way for the present building. It must have been damp because the 5th Duke wrote to the factor in 1771, “I desire you will procure an estimate of draining Loch Heylipole which will be a method of saving my house in the island from immediate decay.”
Niall Brownlie tells this story, printed in Ronald Black’s The Gaelic Otherworld, about an unpopular factor, MacLaurin. He “unjustly ordered a poor man to fetch an extra load of stone for the masons, to be met with the reply, ‘I’ll do as you command, but you will never pass a night under the roof of Island House.” The factor took ill, and in order to give the lie to the prophecy had himself carried on a blanket to the house; before they could get him over the threshold, he breathed his last.”
Island House is famously haunted by a little woman with long yellow hair. She lives on the top floor and can be heard working behind a locked door all over the building.
Niall Brownlie also tells this story about Am Bàillidh Mòr, the Big Factor. “The road leading to Island House has a gravel surface, and on a cold and frosty November day, in her bare feet, a woman from Balephuil came to pay the rent. As she found it very painful to walk on the hard gravel, she took to the grass, but when she arrived at the office, the Colonel turned her away, ordering her to walk on the gravel or the rent would not be accepted and she would be evicted.”
The loch around Island House is today called Loch an Eilein but in the past it was known as Loch Heylipol. Next to the gate leading down to the house is Bac’ a' Chrochadair or Bac' a' Chrochaidh , the dune of the hangman or hanging. Niall Brownlie again. “According to oral sources, it was customary for the MacLeans, when they held sway on Tiree, to hang the person who was last to pay his rent. And the last person to suffer the indignity was a miller's son from Balevullin. His sister was gathering shellfish when word came to her that her brother had been arrested. In great haste she left for Island House to plead for his life. But the dastardly deed was done before she arrived. All MacLean could say to her was that, if she had arrived earlier, he would certainly have spared her brother's life.”
The machair between the farm and the beach is known as A’ Mhachaire Mhòr, the big machair. During the last war the pilots had their billets there as it was quieter and allowed them to sleep during the day. Next to the road is a pair of houses now known as Heylipol Cottages. The one nearer the road used to be called Taigh an Nurs, the house of the (district) nurse, and the further away one Taigh 'a Ghround Officer. The Ground Officer was an assistant to the factor and had considerable power over the tenants. In 1803 the Duke wrote to the factor instructing, “The ground officer and his father to be removed from Hilipole to be accommodated on your own farm where they cannot have it in their power to oppress their neighbours.” Dr John Holliday

Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005) p58:

Tiree Banshi
At the time of the American War of Independence, a native of Tiree, similarly afflicted and wishing to escape from his Fairy love, enlisted and was drafted off to the States. On landing he thanked God he was now where the hag could not reach him. Soon after, however, she met him. “You have given thanks,” she said, “for getting rid of me, but it is easy for me to make my appearance here as in your own country.”
She then told him what fortunes were to befall him, that he would survive the war and return home, and that she would not then trouble him anymore. “You will marry there and settle. You will have two daughters, one of whom will marry and settle in Croy-Gortan, the other will marry and remain in your own house. The one away will ask to stay with herself, as her sister will not be kind to you. Your death will occur when you are crossing the Lèige.” All this is due course happened. (Footnote 196)
Footnote 196: In a footnote JGC explains Croy-Gorton as Cruaidh –Ghortain ‘Stone-Field’ and the Lèig as a ‘winter stream falling into Loch Vasipol.’ An Cruaidh Ghoirtean, perhaps more literally ‘the Hard Field’ and pronounced an Cruairtean in the west of Tiree (cf. p. 282), is simply the Gaelic name for the township of Heylipol (which is from the Norse helgi ‘holy’ and ‘bol’ ‘township’). The Lèig (‘Marsh’) is a large ditch which flows through the middle of the township of Kilmoluaig into the south-western corner of Loch Vasipol (Loch Bhasapol). JGC’s Lèige will be the genitive case – thar na Lèige ‘across the Lèig’. (See note 152) (This footnote is from page 334).

About seventy years ago a young man, a native of the village of Cornaig in Tiree, went in the evening to another village, Cruaidh-Ghortain, about two miles distant. When he reached it, he reclined on a bed, and being tired fell fast asleep. He awoke with a start, and thinking from the clearness of the night (it was a full moon) daylight had come, hurried off home.
His way lay across a desolate moor called the Druim Buidhe (‘Yellow Ridge’), and when halfway he heard a loud whistle behind him, but in a different direction from that in which he had come – at a distance , as he thought, of above a mile. The whitle was so unearthly loud he thought every person in the island must have heard it. He hurried on, and when opposite an Carragh Biorach (‘the Sharp-Pointed Rock’) he heard the whistle again, as if at the place where he himself had been when he heard it first. The whistle was so clear and loud that it sent a shiver through his very marrow. (Footnote 941)
With a beating heart he quickened his pace, and when at the gateway adjoining the village he belonged to, he heard the whistle at the Pointed Rock. He here made off the road and managed to reach home before being overtaken. He rushed into the barn where he usually slept, and, after one look towards the door at his pursuer, buried himself below a pile of corn.
His brother was in abed in the same barn asleep. His father was in the house, and three times, with an interval between each call, heard a voice at the door saying, “Are you asleep? Will you not go to look at your son? He is in danger of his life, and in risk of all he is worth (an geall nas fhiach e). (Footnote 942)
Each call became more importunate, and at last the old man rose and went to the barn. After a search he found his son below a pile of sheaves, and nearly dead. The only account the young man could give was that when he stood at the door he could see the sky between the legs of his pursuer, who came to the door and said it was fortunate for him he had reached shelter; and that he (the pursuer) was such a one who had been killed in Blàr nam Bigein, the ‘Field of the Birds’ in the Moss, a part of Tiree near hand. (Footnote 943)
In its main outline, this tale may be correct enough. A hideous nightmare or terror had made the fatigued young man hide himself under the corn, and things as strange have happened, in the history or nervous delusions, as that he should have gone himself to the door of the dwelling-house to call his father.
Footnote 942
An geall nas fhiach e is a characteristic Tiree expression for ‘virtually at death’s door’; ‘in risk of all he is worth’ is the more literal meaning.

Footnote 943
As it stands in Wss 205 this phrase is ‘the Field of the Birds’ (Blar nam Big-ein) in the Moas, ‘a part of Tiree near hand.’ I have prioritised the Gaelic name over JGC’s English translation in line with our editiorial policy. Big-ein I take to be JGC’s way of showing that the word is made up of by-forms of beag ‘little’ and eun ‘bird’; it is Dwelly’s bigein ‘rock-pipot, golden-crested wren, meadow pipt, any little bird’ (1977, p/ 93). ‘Moas’ will be a misprint, or a misreading of JCG’s handwriting. According to oral tradition Blàr nam bigein was the site of a battle which took place centuries ago in Mointeach nam Bigeannan (‘the Birds’ Mossland’) in Moss, in the west of Tiree; it is now part of the Barrapol common. The village of Moss is known as a’ Mhòinteach Ruadh ‘the Red Mossland’. The story is told, again in English (with a Gaelic translation, apparently not by a speaker of Tiree Gaelic), as MacKinnon 1992, no.13. The man slain in the battle is there named as Dòmhnall Mòr.

Heylipol farm was broken up into crofts in June 1914 - SA 1971/99/A18.

An Cruaidh Ghoirtean is in the north part of the present township - SA 1976/137/A1.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: multiple