Book of Islay Reprint

The House of Lochar, publishers on Colonsay, is to publish a facsimile edition of the Book of Islay which contains documents illustrating the history of the island. This is probably the best Islay book news I've heard in a long time. Why? Simply because the Book of Islay is THE book for those with an interest for the history of Islay. The original Book of Islay is very rare, it was originally published privately in a single edition limited to 250 copies in 1895. I had the Book of Islay in my hands a couple of times (image right). A friend on Islay has it and I found it in the Museum's library as well. With the planned reprint by the House of Lochar in March 2010, the book will become more widely available. The following information, and more, is available from the House of Lochar website:

This very rare work is now to be republished in a facsimile of the complete text, but in a much more manageable form - each copy of the original edition weighed 4470 grammes. There are 92 pages of introductory text, including some 60 pages in which G. Gregory Smith sets the context for the main body of the work. There are also 648 pages of main text including Genealogical Tables and a very detailed index. The text consists of 259 documents, with English translations as required, together with scholarly notes. These documents are supplemented by an Appendix in 3 sections: Supplementary account of events connected with the island, derived from papers not included in the text of the volume, Annals, Additional papers (including Mining, Fishing, a Packet Service etc.), Descriptions of the island (ranging from 1385 – 1765), Rentals &c. (ranging from 1509 – 1741).

Publication is planned for April 2010. Final costs have still to be determined, but expressions of interest will be warmly welcomed. Please send an email with “Book of Islay pre-publication enquiry” in the subject line to to be kept informed. The original work contains a number of illustrations – please note that it is intended to include these but minor imperfections must be expected.

Tag: books history