Iona, Iona Nunnery


Site Name Iona, Iona Nunnery

Classification Nunnery

Canmore ID 21621

Site Number NM22SE 14

NGR NM 28487 24095

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinichen And Kilvickeon
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM22SE 14.00 28487 24095.

NM22SE 14.01 2843 2410 Iona Nunnery Sheela-na-gig

For (restored) Iona Abbey or St Mary's Cathedral (NM 2867 2451), see NM22SE 5.

(NM 2843 2410) Nunnery (NR) (In Ruins)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1900)

The remains of an Augustinian priory founded in 1207 or 1208 and dedicated to St Mary (Skene 1873) or St Oran (Pennant 1934).

In 1574 the prioress and convent disposed of the lands, which suggests that the priory was dissolved about that time.

The remains, substantial and, at least in part, original were repaired in 1923 and the cloister garth planted as a memorial garden. Many early sculptured stones are preserved in the convent.

In the NMAS are four silver spoons and a broken gold fillet found during preservation work in December 1922 at the base of the south respond of the chancel arch. There were indications that they had been deposited, wrapped in linen, in the 13th century.

The priory is sometimes attributed to the Benedictines, but Vatican records describe it as Augustinian.

D E Easson 1957; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7; A O Curle 1924; W F Skene 1875; T Pennant 1774; A Ritchie and E Ritchie 1934.

The remains of the priory are as described and planned.

Visited by OS (JP) 8 June 1972.

NM22SE 5 (Abbey); NM 284 240 (Nunnery) Resistivity and geophysical surveys were undertaken at Iona Abbey (see NM22SE 5) and Nunnery by Geophysical Surveys of Bradford for AOC(Scotland)Ltd.

At the Nunnery, a broad, curvilinear magnetic anomaly appears to respect the NE corner of the convent buildings. While this may simply represent an igneous geological feature, it may, alternatively, represent buried road metalling in igneous materials. In the same part of the site, a rectilinear group of features offering high resistance may represent buried wall-butts.

Sponsor: Iona Cathedral Trust Ltd.

J O'Sullivan 1995.

Architecture Notes

Iona, Iona Nunnery.

IG Lindsay Coll, W/114.

Iona, Iona Nunnery.

Ross sketch books MS 28/463/13/7 - unable to locate at time of upgrade 12.4.2000.

Iona, Iona Nunnery.


National Library - Scottish Notes and Queries, Feb 1931 - drawing by Thos. Ross.



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