HIS family have lived on the island for 1,500 years and he is the current keeper of an ancient staff renowned for having miraculous powers.

But the holder of one of Britain’s most ancient titles has announced he is to leave his ancestral Scottish homeland as the house has become “too big” for him and his wife.

Niall, Baron of Bachuil, 63, had put Bachuil House, which he shares with wife Anita, on the island of Lismore, up for sale for £910,000.

But the Chief of Clan MacLea has agreed to take it off market to allow the islanders to investigate a community buyout.

Niall, Baron of Bachuil, is the heir of St Moluag, who by the time of his death in 592 had founded more than 120 monasteries.

He is also the Abbot of Lismore and the holder of the oldest existing church office in Britain, as the Keeper of The Bachuil Mor – St Moluag’s staff, which is renowned for having miraculous powers.

The Baron is also the only person, other than the Queen, whose passport and title, which preceeds the Kingdom of Scotland, are granted “by the Grace of God”.

He said: “My family are very sad to be selling Bachuil as we have enjoyed many happy times there.

“However, the house is too big for the two of us and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to maintain it. I don’t want to make the same mistake as my father who became a cripple while repairing slates in his old age.”   “I am very pleased though the Lismore Community Trust are interested in purchasing the property. I have therefore taken the property off the market to give them time to conduct feasibility studies.”

“If this becomes the first step to creating what I call the Lismore Dream,it really could be the best thing to happen to the island since the arrival of St Moluag in 562. “ Lord Livingstone said that, although he would be leaving the Inner Hebrides island, he would be retaining some land there to continue the historic connection for future generations.

Lismore has 185 residents and has a high proportion of older people and the Community Trust sees it as important to make improvements which would encourage more young families to live there.

The first step will be to ask the Scottish Land Fund for help to carry out studies on the state of the buildings and the feasibility of the project before taking the findings to the whole community before any decision is made.

If the community wants to go ahead, it is hoped the land fund would provide 95 per cent of the cost, with the community having to find the other five per cent.

Sebastian Tombs, chairman of Lismore Community Trust, said: “The idea at the moment is to get some expert advice on all aspects of this before taking it further.”

“We had a meeting to determine whether this offered an opportunity to realise some of the island’s ambitions.

“Some members and our directors made an approach to the vendor and he said he would be more than happy to have a conversation about it because he would like to leave something for the island in a durable kind of way.”

“Getting land on the island is difficult and this will allow us to explore the opportunities or creating accommodation, housing for young families, workspace units, public facilities.

“There is an idea of running the house as a guest house that could provide some income on a regular basis.”