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Treasured Places

Date 6 June 2007

Event ID 553847

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Treasured Places


St Clement's is considered to be one of the most outstanding church buildings in the Hebrides, the earliest section dating from the 13th century. The church is remarkable for possessing one of the most ambitious and richly-carved tombs of the period in Scotland, that of Alexander Macleod (known in Gaelic as Alasdair Crotach) said to have been the church's founder.

By choosing to be buried in Harris, Alexander Macleod was breaking with tradition, as the previous chiefs of his clan had until then been buried in Iona. The tomb is dated 1528 and its high-quality carved mural panels depict biblical stories, a stylised castle, a hunting scene and a Highland galley.

Images from the 1930s shows the galley carving intact, although it was subsequently damaged in the mid-20th century. The church is now under the Guardianship of Historic Scotland.

Information from RCAHMS (PJG) 6 June 2007

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