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Airds- Aird


Appin, lying along the south shore of Loch Linnhe, is one of the loveliest and most historic stretches in all Argyll. Here, on a little promontory opposite the island of Lismore, stands the Georgian house of Airds, stone built and white harled, with a three storied central block, flanked by two smaller, simpler wings connected by curving walls. There is nothing grandiose or mannered about this beautiful proportioned building which, nevertheless, presents an eighteenth century composition of the greatest elegance, serenity and charm. Built shortly before 1745 for Donald Campbell of Airds, its architect is unknown. Reminiscent of William Adam's style and treatment, Airds might have been built with the advice of at least one of the Adam family. But, so far, there is no record of any such thing.

Robert Macfie's residence Airds, Argyllshire, Scotland (circa 1800)

Across informal lawns and rough grasslands studded with single trees, down to the rich bronze and ochre of sand and seaweed, the view from the front of the house expands beyond the steely waters of Loch Linnhe, into which creep long fingers of rocky peninsula, towards the more distant high, pointed hills of Morven and Mull. It is a prospect to dream of and live with, no less well chosen than the outline of the house itself, and one turns with curiosity to the builder of this Georgian idyll. Little enough is know of his personal life, which is mainly glimpsed through the years 1945- 46 in Argyll when his kinsman, General John Campbell ( who later succeeded as fourth Duke of Argyll) , was commanding the Gouvernment forces in the west during the ' Forty-five Rising'.

As this Donald Campbell of Airds was factor in Morven for the third Duke of Argyll.

Castle Stalker , for instance , on its rocky island in Aird's Bay, was in fact part of the estate.
Once a ruin it has now been restored by the Allward family.

On the entrance front of this fine house, Donald Campbell set up the carved arms of Campbell of Ardnamurchan and Airds, framed within the pediment over the projecting central panel of the facade. These and three stone urns poised above the pediment are the only ornaments on the outside of the building. From the small oblong entrance hall, an oak balustrade staircase ascends in a solid , dignified curve the floors above. The sole decoration in the hall is a little plaster work plaque of a bearded satyr-cum-coutrier. Upstairs in the drawing room where the west wall is very slightly rounded, a friez of oak leaves and acorns runs around the room. The Adam fireplace was bought from Smeaton House, east Lothian. The rectangular, rather low ceiling dining room on the ground floor, has a glass paneled door, and built in china cupboard.

The ground floor windows are of 18th century astragals, the fore runner of plate glass.

Robert Macfie of Greenock, (1812-1899), bought Airds in 1851 from Donald A Campbell . Robert is the nephew of Alexander Macfie of Clarenceville, and the cousin of Robert Macfie his son. Robert first visited Airds on the 6th of September 1851, fell in love with the place and bought it out right a month later ( Oct. 4 1851). Robert brought a young family to Airds and  his wife Agnes (Fairrie) bore two more sons after he had bought the estate.  In 1861 he bought land in Oban and Glenshellach from Campbell of Sonachan. In 1864, Robert Macfie matriculated Arms, in which he was described as Robert Macfie, of Langhouse, county of Renfrewshire and of Airds, Oban and Glenshellach of the county of Argyllshire.

In 1881 Robert and Agnes celebrated their golden wedding anniversary and again in 1891 they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary at Airds.

During his live time at Airds, Robert made changes and improvements : he built Dalnashean Villa for his wife's unmarried sister and Barriemore for his daughter Margaret ( Mrs. Duncan Alexander Campbell ).  A younger daughter  Mary Andrew and her husband Dr William Lage Laurie lived at Druimneil until their death.

By the turn of the century Robert and Agnes had died at Airds, Mary, his sister and her husband Dr Laurie had died at Druimneil, Mary Fairrie had died at Dalnashean. Robert's grandson was dead, his granddaughter Jane Crawford Allan also, thus leaving only a widower R M Reid.

William Macfie had inherited the Airds Estates but he was not a young man and had already been living near Manchester for a long time, he had no interest in the estate so  i n 1908 the Estate of Airds was put up for sale by the Macfie family .

The real estate office listed the Particulars as follows : -

This fine old West Highland Estate, belonging to Wm. Macfie Esq., CB. ( Robert's son) is situated in the South Western corner of the Appin District of Argyllshire, in the Parish of Lismore and Appin. it lies on the north shore of Loch Creran, and is almost surrounded by it and by Loch Linnhe, the land march of the Estates with the rest of Appin being not more than 2 to 3 miles in length. It is a very compact block of over 3500 acres, the only outlying portion being Sheep Island 9 about 14 acres) with lime works. 

The Estate is readily accessible either by railway from Oban to the stations of Appin or Creagan, 4 to 5 miles from Airds House, or by regular steamer service from Oban and Fort William to Appin Pier. This Pier belongs to the Estate and is only ½  mile from the house. 

The Mansion House of Airds is a substantial old building of date 1738. It contains 4 sitting rooms, billiard room and 8 bedrooms, 5 dressing rooms, bathroom (h&c), 4 WC's & c and sufficient accommodation for a moderate establishment. The whole is in good repair and well kept up. 

The Garden is very nearly 3 acres in extent, has fine stone wall, a range of conservatory and vineries & c, all in very good order. The Policies contain some exceptional fine old timber, both hardwood, birch and silver fir, near the House and along the avenues. There are 3 entrance gates, at one of which there is a lodge and fully 1½ miles of the maine avenue. 

There is Stabling for four horses, coachman's house, large groom's room, coach house & c, all convenient and in good order. 

Yachting and Boating facilities are excellent - the Bay of Airds some 500 yards from the House , affording a very good anchorage and where there is also a boathouse. 

Fishing . the sea fishing is good and there is also a small fresh water Loch on the Estate stocked with Loch Leven trout. 

Shooting A good shoot, especially in winter and could be very greatly developed and improved. The bags for the last 5 years are as follows viz : - 

1903 1904 1905 1906 1907
Pheasants 77 77 86 66 21
Woodcock 58 60 52 88 67
Grouse 18 24 28 35 20
Black Game 47 35 40 18 11
Roe Deer 21 10 13 16 11
Hares 27 17 16 6 15
Partridges 1 - - - -
Snipe 1 16 7 13 7
Wood Pigeons 24 40 33 7 12
Ducks * 20 35 62 58 53
Rabbits 631 271 499 658 359
Various # - - - - -
                            Totals  925 585 836 965 576
* more duck could be got        # Curlews, Seals, & no record kept 

In addition to the Mansion House of Airds, there is the substantial Villa residence of Druimneil, containing 2 sitting rooms, 5 bedroom, Bathroom (h&c) W"C" and good servants' accommodation, standing in pretty matured grounds, with its own Garden, Stabling, coach house & c. 

The Estate is cut up into a number of handy farms and small holding. The farms number 13, with the average rental of about 50L and consist mainly of dairy and cattle rearing farms, for which the district is very well suited. There is a good demand both locally and by means of the railway for such produce. farms of this nature have kept their value better than any other kind of farm in Argyllshire and the farms on Airs Estate are no exception. 

The Rental of lands and house on the estate, with the exception of Airds House and Druimneil, which are in the occupation of the Proprietor and his Factor , is 1092L 14s 4d and the Public Burdens on the whole Estate amount to under 160L or almost 2s3d per L of the Estate rental per valuation roll 

There are Feu-duites on the Estate amounting to 28L 13s 6d and well secured. 

For all further particulars apply to R M Reid, Factor Druimneil, Appin Argyllshire, or Arthur W Russell WS 23 Castle St Edinburgh     (upset price 38,000L)

Early attempt to sell the Estate had failed and an auction was held in order to obtain the desired effects , however the final offer made was for  £ 26,000  which was much lower  than had been  asked.

In the late 1900's the estate was owned by one Mr. Ralph Dundas . It was up for sale in early 1980's .

Secluded country holidays on unspoiled private estate 5 period houses available in 450 acres of woodland, moor and pastures, with two (2) miles of coast line

Should you wish to see a detailed map of the area of Airds House, we suggest you  click   MAP site
you will have to type in Appin, as the search mode does not seem to recognize Airds


As defined by the Quebec gouvernment's topographic department, is a " Lieu-dit" (a place called) in the county of Missisquoi   (lat 45 02, long 73 12) otherwise known as the Seigneurie de Foucault . We have however located one map which clearly indicates AIRD as being located at the conjunction of Macfie Road, Middle Road and South Beech Road.

Robert Macfie's residence (Aird)  Missisquoi Baie, Quebec, Canada

The  photo of the the dwelling is that of the second building, as the first burnt to the ground. There was a painting of Robert's grandfather that he had been given on  one of his trips to Scotland, that hung in  prominence in the house, it was rescued during the fire and is now in the possession of Dr Robert A. Macfie  of St. Lambert Quebec, the painting itself still shows the marks of the disaster. Not only had Robert in his possession this original painting of  his grandfather, but there were many objects including furniture and a piano that had come from Langhouse , given to the Canadian family as keepsakes by thier ancestors in Scotland. None of these other objects, nor the many family papers and pictures of the time made it into the new century which of course is  a great loss.

There was even a post office there from 1868 to 1912 and a general store
                                        " Townsend & Macfie ".

This location was so named by Robert Macfie , Alexander's son , who had had the occasion to visit the original Airds in Scotland. As the general area of the Missisquoi Bay at this spot was at that time still virgin country side we must assume that it resembled or gave Robert at least the impression of similarity of what he had seen in Scotland so that he chose to name this location Aird. Today if one stands in the conjunction of the roads and looks towards the bay, he still can see the mountains in far off  Vermont. There is still a bit of similarity to the general landscape of Scotland in and around the Airds Estate .

1871 Lovell's Directory

AIRD, Quebec

A small village on the west shore of  Missisquoi Bay on the boundry line dividing Canada from the United States.  In the Parish of St George de Clarenceville, seigniory of Noyan and Foucault, county of Missisquoi, district of Bedford. Distant from missisquoi Bay 8 Miles, from Philipsburg 18 Miles, from St Armand, a station of the Vermont Central railway, 15 miles. Mail tri-weekly . population 50

Mrs , widow of John Farmer
Derrick & Hawley

Thomas Hawley
of Derrick & Hawley
John Selim
of Derrick & Hawley
Arthur Saxe

J.P.  , Councillor

1871 Lovell's Directory

NUTT'S CORNERS, Quebec  -( A few miles North of Aird Quebec on the South Beech  Road, north of Chemin Macfie)

A small place in the parish of St George de Clarenceville, seigniory of Foucault, county of Missisquoi, district of Bedford. Distant from philipsburg 10 miles, from Des Rivières, a station on the Vermont Central railway 12 miles fare 75c. From Bedford the county seat 15 miles. Mail tri-weekly. Popuplation about 50

Thomas Ramson
Assistant postmaster
John Asahel
Calvin  R


Peter H

Postmaster, Baliff, Farmer



Undated but after 1871 - Eastern Townships Directory

Nutt's Corners  - Clarenceville township, Missisquoi county, P O & miles east of Lacolle, on GTR and 13 southwest of Bedford, the nearest bank, Population 100, Mail daily

 G A Carpenter
Postmaster and Justice of Peace

[email protected]
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Tuesday, 13-Apr-2021 19:39:00 MDT