Colonsay, Upper Kilchattan, Cill Mhoire

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Canmore ID 37878
Site Number NR39NE 6
NGR NR 3774 9578
Former District ARGYLL AND BUTE
Former County ARGYLL
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Archaeological Notes

NR39NE 6 3774 9578.

(NR 3775 9577) Cill Mhoire (NR) (In Ruins) Burial Ground (NR)
OS 6" map (1900)

The remains, little more than the foundation, of Kilmary (W Stevenson 1881) or Kilmory (J de V Loder 1935), a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary situated within a burial ground containing numerous half-buried uninscribed gravestones.
The chapel has stood E-W, measuring about 28' x 20' with walls 3' thick composed of stones and earth. It has been reduced to ground level and all loose stones have been removed. Local tradition says that the chapel was founded by monks of Iona, and that the burial ground was used for unbaptised children after it had fallen out of use for ordinary burials. (Stevenson appears to suggest an association with Maelrubha and in the 'Kilmary' form of the name, this would appear to be quite possible). Small cairns erected over the burials, with a standing stone at head
and foot are visible in the graveyard.
Visible on aerial photographs (RAF/106G/Scot/UK 34: 3007-8, flown 1946).
S Grieve 1923; Name Book 1878

NR 3774 9579: The chapel measures internally 6.4m E-W x 3.5m with an entrance in the W. A large recumbent slab at the E end may be part of the altar. The sub-oval burial ground contains several earth- fast stones, but no cairns remain. Cultivation has reduced the wall on the W where there are two sub-oval structures of probably later date.
Surveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (DWR) 16 April 1974

The remains of this chapel and its associated enclosure occupy a site on the N side of the highway at Upper
Kilchattan, about 90m ENE of the Baptist Chapel and about 1.6 km NE of the medieval parish church (NR39NE 7; RCAHMS 1984, No. 364). The site was evidently dedicated to St Mary.
The chapel is an oblong round-angled structure measuring internally about 7m from E to W by 4m. The walls, which
survive to an average height of 0.7m, are over 1m in thickness and are of drystone rubble construction; the
location of the entrance is not clearly defined. A large recumbent slab is laid in the position of an altar at the E end
of the interior.
The building stands within an approximately D-shaped enclosure which is open-ended to the N and in the E sector
forms a scarped platform about 0.7m high. The N and W areas of the enclosure show evidence of ploughing, and there
are field-banks and structural remains of indeterminate character immediately to the W. The 'numerous half-buried
uninscribed gravestones' mentioned in an earlier account' appear to be merely natural surface boulders.
RCAHMS 1984, visited May 1977.

Books and References

Grieve, S (1923) The book of Colonsay and Oronsay: forty-four years of research and discovery in early Scoto-Irish, Norse and Danish history [...], 2v Edinburgh
Page(s): Vol.2, 246 Held at RCAHMS D.11.13.COL

Loder, J de V (1935) Colonsay and Oronsay in the isles of Argyll: their history, flora, fauna and topography, Edinburgh
Page(s): 78 Held at RCAHMS D.11.13.COL

Ordnance Survey (Name Book) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale). Held at RCAHMS on micro fiche.
Page(s): Book No.65, 58 Held at RCAHMS Ref

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