Our Publications

Our Dewar books will be published by our own company, John Dewar Publishers. www.johndewarpublishers.com It has already published one book, unconnected with the Dewar Project, Galloway: The Lost Province of Gaelic Scotland. Ten Dewar books are planned:
John Dewar’s Appin and Lorn
John Dewar’s Arran
John Dewar’s Cowal
John Dewar’s Glencoe and the North
John Dewar’s Inveraray, Mid Argyll and Knapdale
John Dewar’s Islay, Jura and Colonsay
John Dewar’s Kintyre
John Dewar’s Mull, Coll, Tiree and Morvern
John Dewar’s Perthshire and Loch Lomond
John Dewar’s Other Stories
It is hoped to publish these at two-year intervals. The first, due out by mid 2024, will be John Dewar’s Islay, Jura and Colonsay. The second will be John Dewar’s Perthshire and Loch Lomond. Spin-offs are possible, like John Dewar’s Robert Bruce or John Dewar’s Ossianic Ballads. All of these books will present the Gaelic and English texts on facing pages. Each of them will be attractive and well illustrated, with photographs, maps, a gazetteer of place-names and an index. They will vary in size from 300 to 600 pages. John Dewar's Islay, Jura and Colonsay will be about 600 pages and will be priced at £27.50.

Text on back cover:

The strange burial customs of Jura ● A detailed account of the great battle between the MacDonalds and the MacLeans at Tràigh Ghruinneart in Islay ● The many smaller clan battles of Jura and Colonsay ● The extraordinary hunt for the last of the MacPhees on a tiny island off Oronsay ● The inhuman treatment meted out to the innocent people of Islay and Jura by a strangely composite Campbell figure called Mac Iain Riabhaich ● The wretched fate suffered by his still more vicious wife ● The good Campbell who saved the people of the Rhinns of Islay from their clutches ● The youthful exploits of the Campbell-hating Colonsay general Alastair mac Colla ● The courageous Islay woman who fled persecution and madness with her twelve children as far as the edge of Corryvreckan ● A murder mystery in Jura ● The people’s nickname for the rich Glasgow merchant who bought the island of Islay

— These are some of the fifty-odd stories collected in Gaelic by a plain but gifted man from Arrochar called John Dewar. Meticulously edited and set in their historical context, they offer a vivid bottom-up view of events in these Hebridean islands from about 1500 to 1840

This is the first volume in a planned series of ten covering the ‘people’s history of the West Highlands’ as recounted to Dewar by over 300 informants during the 1860s.


It is intended that John Dewar’s Islay, Jura and Colonsay will set the standard for the series. Its contents will be as follows:

John Dewar and his Manuscripts (a fuller biography will appear in John Dewar’s Perthshire and Loch Lomond)
John Francis Campbell and his Annotations
Hector MacLean and his Translation
Editing Dewar’s Gaelic
Dewar’s Gaelic stories (fifty-one in all), with facing English translation. These will be divided into six parts, each preceded by a historical introduction and followed by explanatory notes: (1) Setting the Scene, (2) The Great Feud, (3) Lesser Feuds, (4) Colla Ciotach and his Sons, (5) The Early Campbell Era, (6) The Later Campbell Era
Dewar’s Gaelic fragments (twelve in all), including translations and explanatory notes
Dewar’s English texts (three in all), with explanatory notes
The Battles of Tràigh Ghruinneart and Beinn Bhigeir
MacLarty of Dun Aula: The Islay Version
Biographical dictionary of Dewar’s informants for the stories in this volume
Gazetteer of place-names: (1) Islay, (2) Jura, (3) Colonsay, (4) Other Names
Gaelic Glossary
Scots Glossary

The number of pages will be 560 or 576. There will be sixteen pages of colour photographs showing sites in Islay, Jura and Colonsay mentioned by Dewar, along with b/w images throughout the book.

The front cover shows Leac Earnadail, St Earnán’s quay on the Jura shore, from where corpses were brought across to Islay for burial at Keills, © Anna Black