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Recording Your Heritage Online

Event ID 564048

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Recording Your Heritage Online


Skeabost (sheltered house) Beneath Old Skeabost Bridge (late 18th/early 19th century), the peaty waters of the Snizort wash the undulating grassy gusset of: St. Columba's Isle (Eilean Chaluim Chille). Here lie the ancient burial site and foundations of Old Snizort Parish Church, probably late medieval, which served as a cathedral church of the Bishops of the Isles, as did its predecessor. The history of this place is complicated and uncertain, requiring further archaeological research to ensure more accurate dating. To the west lies the ruin of the older but more intact Chapel/Teampall of St. Columba (also known as Nicolson's Aisle), possibly contemporary with the original 11th century Episcopal seat here, although an early 13th century date is suggested by an unearthed fragment of an ornamental nook shaft capital identical to work on Iona of that date. Tradition claims that 28 Nicolson chiefs are buried in this mortuary chapel. Of various important carved grave slabs found on the site, a 16th century effigy of a knight still reclines inside.

[In the Norse Kingdom of the Isles, Skye was one of the bishops' sees, probably based at Skeabost from 1079, although this cannot be proved. After the parishes united in 1134, a collegiate body of clergy continued to reside at Skeabost, which had the status of a cathedral of the diocese. It is probable that after 1419 this became the bishopric of the by-now-separate Scottish Diocese of the Isles, and that bishops continued to be based here until the Reformation (there is no evidence to suggest that they moved to Iona, even if it was proposed they might do so in 1498).]

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2007. Published by the Rutland Press

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