List of Burials
It may seem strange that Kilmun, some miles distant from Inveraray, was chosen as the burial place for the Chiefs of the Campbell family. It is believed that the earliest Chiefs were laid to rest at Kilchrennan, and then at Innishail, the “Isle of Peace “in Loch Awe.
In the 15th century Kilmun was considered an important Christian site, founded by Saint Fintan Munnu himself in the 7th century, and closely linked with Paisley Abbey. From the 14thC Dunoon Castle, a short distance away, was held by the Campbells and in 1440 the then Chief, Duncan, lived in a private residence named Strathechaig near Kilmun.
In 1442 Celestine, Duncan’s eldest son died tragically, and a legend tells us that a fierce snowstorm prevented the burial party from reaching Innishail, so the young man was laid to rest at the highly regarded site at Kilmun. This was the beginning of the tradition of Kilmun as the Campbell burial place.
Duncan was generous to several religious establishments in Argyll, and soon after Celestine’s burial he endowed Kilmun as a collegiate church, ensuring continued praying there for him, his ancestors and his descendants.
From 1442, the Campbell Chiefs were buried under the floor of the mediaeval church, until a private chapel was constructed off the nave of the church by the 9th Earl in 1669. This was replaced by the present building built in 1798 separate from, but attached to the church. The church itself was rebuilt in the 1840’s. In the 1890’s Lord Lorne supervised restoration of the existing mausoleum and replaced the slated roof with an unusual iron dome.
The precise location of the early burials on the site is currently unknown, while the location of the more recent interments is clearly visible in the mausoleum. Various reliable sources detail the names of the Campbell family who rest in peace at Kilmun, and it can be seen that almost all the Chiefs were buried here from 1442 until 1949, with the exception of John, 2nd Duke of Argyll, who lies in Westminster Abbey. While records of the wives of the Chiefs were not recorded in the same way, the majority of them will have been beside their husbands and other unrecorded close family members will also lie at Kilmun.
The main burials with date of death are below. In brackets, the spouse's name is also shown.
- Celestine (also known as Archibald, Gillespic or Roy of Kilbride) 1442
- Duncan of Lochow, and his wife Marjory (effigy of both) 1453
- Colin Campbell 1st Earl 1493 (Isabelle Stewart of Lorne)
- Archibald Campbell 2nd Earl 1513 (Lady Elizabeth Stuart)
- Sir Duncan of Glenorchy 1513
- Colin Campbell 3rd Earl 1529 (Lady Janet Gordon)
- Archibald 4th Earl 1558 (Lady Helen Hamilton, Lady Margaret Graham)
- Archibald 5th Earl 1573 (Lady Jean, natural dau. of James V, Lady Joanna Cunningham confirmed)
- Colin 6th Earl 1584 (Joan Stewart, Lady Agnes Keith)
- Archibald 7th Earl (Grim faced Archie) 1638 (burial of Agnes Douglas 1607 confirmed)
- Son of 7th Duke
- Archibald 8th Earl, 1st Marquess 1661 (burial of Lady Margaret Douglas confirmed)
- Archibald 9th Earl 1685 (Lady Mary Stewart, Anne, Countess Lindsay of Balcarres 1668 confirmed)
- “Some children” of the 9th Earl confirmed.
- Archibald 10th Earl 1st Duke 1703 (burial of Elizabeth Talmash confirmed)
- John 2nd Duke was buried at Westminster Abbey 1743
- Archibald 3rd Duke 1761 (Mary Whitfield)
- John 4th Duke 1770 (Mary Bellenden 1736)
- John 5th Duke 1806 (Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Hamilton confirmed)
- George William 6th Duke 1839 (Lady Caroline Villiers)
- John Douglas Henry 7th Duke 1847 (Joan Glassel 1828 confirmed)
- John Henry Glassel Campbell of Longniddry, eldest son of 7th Duke
- George Douglas 8th Duke 1900 (Elizabeth Georgiana 1878 confirmed)
- Archibald, son of 8th Duke
- John George Edward Henry Douglas 9th Duke 1914 (H.R.H. Princess Louise, Frogmore )
- Niall Diarmid10th Duke 1949 (unmarried)