ST KILDA, the largest islet of a small group of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 40 miles west of North Uist, in 57° 48' 35" N. lat. and 8° 35' 30" W. long. It measures 3 miles from east to west and 2 from north to south, and has an area of 3000 to 4000 acres. Except at the landing-place on the south-east, the cliffs rise sheer out of deep water, and on the north-east side the highest eminence in the island, Conagher or Conna-Ghair, forms a gigantic precipice, 1220 feet high from sea to summit. According to Professor Judd, St Kilda is probably the core of a Tertiary volcano ; but, besides volcanic rocks, it is said to contain hills of sandstone in which the stratification is very distinct.' While the general relief is peculiarly bold and picturesque, a certain softness of scenery is produced by the richness of the verdure. The inhabitants are an industrious Gaelic-speaking community (110 in 1851, and 77 in 1881). They cultivate about 40 acres of land (potatoes, oats, barley), keep about 1000 sheep and 50 West Highland cows, and catch puffins and other sea-fowl. Coarse tweeds and blanketing are manufactured for home use. The houses are collected in a little village at the head of the East Bay, which contains a Free church, a manse, and the factor's house. The island is practically inaccessible for eight months of the year.
St Kilda, or, as it was originally called, Hirt (Hirth, Hyrtha), seems to have been in the possession of the Macleods for 400 or even 500 years. In 1779 it changed hands along with Harris, and again in 1804 and in 1871 (to Macleod of Macleod). The feudal superior is Lord Dunmore, who receives one shilling of feu-duty. From 1734 to 1742 Lady Grange was confined on St Kilda by command of her high-handed husband (see Proceed. Soc. Scot. Antiq., x. and xi.). David Mallet makes the island the scene of his Amyntor and Theodore, or the Hermit. See works on St Kilda by Rev. K. Macaulay (1764),.L. MacLean (1838), J. Sands (1876 and 1877), and George Seton (1878).