Canna House Lepidoptera

Canna House - A Hebridean Treasure

Canna House is the Hebridean home of the late Dr John Lorne Campbell and his wife Margaret Fay Shaw, both Gaelic scholars and collectors.

The couple dedicated their lives to capturing and preserving Hebridean culture and traditions and Canna House is their legacy. It is a nationally important archive of Gaelic culture and language, found in recordings, the written word, photography and a unique collection of butterflies and moths. In 1981 the island and house passed to the National Trust for Scotland. Canna House is currently closed to visitors due to extensive renovation and interpretation work

Canna House is currently closed for tours but visitors can explore the gardens and the Island.


John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw
Thoms Family

History of the House

Canna House was originally built in the 1860s by the laird Donald MacNeill for his young wife Isabella.

In the style of a Victorian suburban villa, this new fashionable house replaced the older laird’s seat at Coroghon House on the foreshore. In 1881 the island and house were sold to the Clyde ship owner shipbuilder Robert Thom. The Thom family held the Canna estate until 1938 when the house and island were bought by Dr John Lorne Campbell. Along with his American wife Margaret Fay Shaw, Dr Campbell promoted traditional rural farming practices balanced with nature conservation, while preserving the distinct traditions of a Hebridean cultural and religious life.

With thanks to Jeannie Campbell Redpath Becton through the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA for funding the Canna Lepidopera Conservation & Access Project.