Churches in Tiree & Coll

Church parishes in Tiree & Coll. Early in its Christian history, Tiree was divided into two parishes - Soroby in the western half of the island and Kirkapol in the eastern half. The Parish of Coll was separate amd encompassed the whole of that island. In 1618 the three parishes were merged to form the Parish of Tyree & Coll, although separate parish registers were kept for each island. This arrangement continued until 1865, when Coll was again made a separate parish. In 1875 the Tiree Parish was split into two, as it had been before 1618 - Soroby (now called Heylipol) and Kirkapol, each with a resident minister. In recent years there has been no resident minister in Coll and the church there is linked to the mainland Parish of Connel, whose minister visits the island regularly.

Before 1855, the only official records of baptisms and marriages in Scotland were those entered in the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) of the Church of Scotland. Children baptised in churches that had separated from the Church of Scotland, or in churches of other Christian denominations, were not recorded in the OPRs, so there was no record of their existence other than in census returns. And although ministers of the Church of Scotland were expected to record marriages in their parish of people of other denominations, they may not have done so. The missing records are a perennial problem for family historians.

Short histories of the Church of Scotland and other Christian churches in Tiree and Coll, the reasons why some records are missing from the OPRs, and biographies of Church of Scotland ministers from the 1600s, are given in the articles listed in the table below. A Tale of Two Churches is a history of the first church built at Heylipol in 1842-43 (later demolished and replaced on the same site by the church of today) and the church at Kirkapol built in 1843-44 and now up for sale.
To download an article, click on its number in the table.

No. Title Author
1. A Very Short History of the Church of Scotland Keith Dash
2. The Churches in Tiree and Coll & Old Parish Registers Darryl Stout
3. Missing Records in Old Parish Registers of Tiree & Coll: 1766-1854 Louise MacDougall
4. A Tale of Two Churches (Heylipol & Kirkapol, Tiree, built 1842-1844) Gordon Scott
5. Centenary of the Free Church of Coll Betty MacDougall*
6. Parishes and Ministers of Tiree & Coll, extracted from Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, Volume IV. Hew Scott
7. Petition by the Parishioners of Tiree and Coll in Favour of their Deposed Minister, Rev. John Fraser, 1698. Transcription and explanatory notes by Flo Straker, Andy Straker & Louise MacDougall. Parishioners of Tiree & Coll

* The late Betty MacDougall, proud Collach, highly respected historian, genealogist and author, and contributor of many articles to the Coll Magazine, may be better known by her married name, Elizabeth MacRae, to genealogists with whom she corresponded.