Colonsay, Colonsay House

Chapel, Cist, House (18th Century), Human Remains

Site Name Colonsay, Colonsay House

Classification Chapel, Cist, House (18th Century), Human Remains

Alternative Name(s) Riasg Buidhe; Tobar Oran

Canmore ID 37846

Site Number NR39NE 3

NGR NR 39509 96795

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Colonsay And Oronsay
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR39NE 3.00 39509 96795

NR39NE 3.01 NR 391 967 Gate

NR39NE 3.02 NR 396 977 Gates

NR39NE 3.03 NR 393 969 Gate

NR39NE 3.04 NR 393 969 Gate

NR39NE 3.05 NR 393 969 (stile)

NR39NE 3.06 NR 3955 9673 Gardens

NR39NE 3.07 NR 39471 96772 Sundial

For Tobar Oran and sculptured crosses see NR39NE 3.08.

For sawmill see also NR39NE 62.

See also NR49NW 8.

(NR 3948 9678) Colonsay House on Site of (NAT) Cill Oran (NR)

(NR 3958 9681) Tobar Oran (NR)

(NR 3942 9677) Stone Cist found AD 1846 (NAT)

OS 6" map (1900)

Colonsay House was built in 1722 on the site of Cill Oran, which was an Early Christian chapel, dedicated to St Oran, of which Tobar Oran would be the holy well. Martin, c.1695, refers to the church, presumably a rebuilding, as being the principal church of Colonsay and implies that it was still in servicable condition at that time but most of the remains were removed in 1722, though part of the ruins was still visible in 1854.

Tobar Oran (NR39NE 3.08), a covered well, is now roofed by an old millstone. Beside it stands the "face-cross" from Riskbuie (NR49NW 8). The graveyard of Cill Oran is thought to have been extensive and was in use until 1722. Many burials have been exposed by building operations, cultivation etc, including a "stone coffin" (Name Book 1878) found in 1846. A carved stone, 11" high by 1'1" broad lay against the wall of the house in a flower garden in 1923.

Since the 18th century various authors have augmented the allegation that an Augustinian abbey existed here, but Easson (1957) considers this to be completely unfounded. The occurrence of the names 'Crosan Mor' and 'Crosan Beag', evidently applied to fields at NR 399 973, but incorporating 'Crosan' - Little Cross - may have some siginificance in relation to Cill Oran.

S Grieve 1923; J de V Loder 1935

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