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Date July 2020 - August 2020

Event ID 1124483

Category Recording

Type Excavation


NM 85694 25705 In July and August 2020 a photographic survey of the interior and exterior elevations of the W gable of Kilbride church was undertaken, prior to and following, consolidation of the wall and entrance. After the initial photographic survey two small trenches were hand excavated on either side of the entrance in order that the entire length of the doorway was revealed.

The trenches on the interior and exterior of the W gable proved to be highly informative. The rubble which had built up against the door concealed a drystone blocking wall which survived to over 0.70m in height. This wall represents the last phase of construction and was probably built so that the chapel could be used to house stock (presumably sheep or cattle) and therefore almost certainly occurred after the church was partially demolished in 1876.

It also became clear that the W gable door was not part of the original design of the church. The lower stonework of the W gable wall had been broken through and the stone removed to create a new aperture at ground level. The upper portion of the door appears to have been part of an original window, the uppermost section of which was blocked up above the new door lintel and which was in an extremely poor state of repair. A line of mortared stone which stuck out very slightly from the original external wall face marked the base of the new doorway and these stones were at the same level as the original interior cobbled floor of the church. This W gable door is likely to have been part of the alterations which were carried out in 1744 when it is recorded that the windows of the church were enlarged and the door in the southern wall blocked up.

At least four grave slabs had been laid in an E–W orientation against the exterior wall of the W gable. However, these grave slabs are very unlikely to mark the position of any known burials as they sat on a thick and loose deposit comprising broken roof slate and soil and which almost certainly resulted from the partial demolition of the church in 1876.

Finds included an ornate coffin handle, a few iron nails and a 50p piece dating to 2003!

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Friends of Kilbride

Clare Ellis − Argyll Archaeology

(Source: DES Vol 21)

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