Township: Heylipol

Map Reference:

Name Type:

Meaning: See Heylipoll in Longships on the Sand.

Other Forms: Hindebollis, 1390 Munro 1986, 17
Tillipole, 1509 ER 13, 217
Teinlipeil, 1519 Gregory, 126: the death of Sir Donald MacLean occurred at ‘the Inch [small island] of Teinlipeil in Tyree’
Hynnepols, 1541 ER 17, 648
Huilepoill, 1638 RMS ix, 828
L. Hylebol and Castel Loch Hyrbol, 1654 Blaeu (Pont): there is an un-named settlement symbol marked north of the loch
Hurnepolls, 1674 HP vol. 1, 290 (Johnston 1991, 87)
Hurnepolff, 1674 Retours ARG vol. 1, 86
Hinleboll, July 1679 ICA Bundle 472/180 (Argyll Estate papers uncatalogued) Island of Inaboll Qrby, 1679 (Argyll Estate papers uncatalogued; Maclean- Bristol 2015, 28)
Fort of Hinlaboill, 1679 ICA Bundle 472/177 (Argyll Estate papers uncatalogued) Hilleboll, 1680 ICA 472/198 (Argyll Estate papers uncatalogued)
Hinlapoll, 1716 MacLean-Bristol 1998
L. Hirbol C., 1744-61 James Dorret, NLS EMS.s.640
Heylipol, 1751 Roll of Valuation for the Shire of Argyll, NAS E106/3/2/73 Heylipoll, 1768 Turnbull
Loch Inipul, 1775 MacKenzie, West Side of the Island of Mull with the Islands of Tiri and Coll, EMS.s.654
Hilipole, 1794 Tiree Rental, Cregeen 1964, 35-9
Heylipoll, 1832 Thomson Atlas of Scotland
Heylipoll, 1878 OS 6 inch first edition (no JGC, Geekie the factor in his place, OSNB, 199, -)
Hilibol, current local usage

Related Places:

Information: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 : Norse

Informants: as above