New Textile Acquired From Local Woollen Mill

You may remember that several months ago we posted about the Duke of Argyll’s scheme in 1776 to create a woollen mill at ‘Clunary’ (Claonairigh), a township between Auchindrain and Inveraray. The intention of this venture was to weave cloth for, amongst other things, uniforms for the army - and even to make carpet. But very few of the local women had time to spin wool, and within 20 years the mill had closed.


The linen is printed with a pattern of vines, flowers, and leaves.


We’re very lucky to have been gifted an example of a type of material woven and printed at Claonairigh, donated to us from the Inveraray Church of Scotland hall. Almost two metres square, it is made up of several lengths of linen stitched together, with a square of additional material in the middle. Linen is made from the fibres of flax, and although we have not got any records of the plant being grown in the local area, we know that in the 1841 census one of Auchindrain’s tenants is shown as a linen weaver, so it must have been available throughout the Duke of Argyll’s land.


In some places you can still see how bright red the flowers would have been.


Many of the colours within the fabric have faded with age, but there are still areas which show how bright the reds and blues once were. Interestingly, it appears that the red dye might have reacted badly with the linen itself, as the fabric underneath many of the printed flowers has disintegrated and been mended with delicate white stitching.


The donors have told us that they believe this textile originally belonged to Mrs C.A. MacIntyre from Creggans.