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Skye, Eynort, St Maelrubha's Churches

Burial Ground (Medieval), Church(S) (Medieval)

Site Name Skye, Eynort, St Maelrubha's Churches

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval), Church(S) (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kilmoruy; Maolrubha; Borline, Kilmory Churches And Cross-shaft; St Michael Font; Loch Eynort, St Maelrubha's Church, Chapel And Burial Ground

Canmore ID  11030

Site Number NG32NE 1

NGR NG 37580 25992

NGR Description Centred on NG 37580 25992

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink 11030

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Bracadale
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online


Medieval chapel and church at Borline, on an older religious site dedicated to St. Maelrubha. The chapel's thick rubble walls and splayed windows suggest a building of late medieval date, rebuilt after the Reformation (c.1732 ) and used as a burial chapel for the Macleods of Talisker; ruinous by 1792. The church is 17th/early 18th century, with a later large window in its east gable. The site has yielded examples of medieval carving of considerable significance, including a font depicting religious figures and part of an ornately carved cross shaft (now in the National Museum of Scotland). Walled graveyard with other good monuments and a gateway to the shore, emphasising the significance of the sea in bringing bodies to their final resting place from as far away as the Isle of Soay.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NG32NE 1.00 37580 25992

NG32NE 1.01 3757 2599 Churchyard; Cross-shaft

NG32NE 1.02 3757 2599 St Michael's Font

(NG 3759 2599) Church (In Ruins) (NAT).

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

At Kilmoruy, Borline, are two roofless churches, the larger probably of the 18th century, and the smaller earlier.

The latter is an oblong structure, orientated E-W, 26ft 5ins in length and 15ft 8ins in breadth externally. The walls, 2ft 5ins thick, still stand 7ft 6ins high above the present level of the interior. The wall-head is angled to conform with the slope of the thatch (RCAHMS 1928). This church seems to have been rebuilt after the Reformation and in 1792 was ruinous (OPS 1854). In all probability it occupies the site of the ancient church of St. Maelrubha (T S Muir 1885).

The later church lies a short distance to the W. The churchyard contains a fragment of a cross-shaft 4'9" long, and fine decorated grave-slabs. A 15th - 16th century font was removed to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS), Edinburgh.

Orig Paroch Scot 1854; T S Muir 1885; J R Walker 1887; RCAHMS 1928; W D Simpson 1935.

The earlier of these two ruined churches is as described by RCAHMS. The later church, which is roofless, measures 14.3m long and 7.5m wide externally, with walls 0.8m thick. The S wall contains a door and two windows and the W gable end also has a window.

The cross-shaft described and illustrated by RCAHMS is recumbent and serves as a gravestone. The graveyard is disused.

Visited by OS (C F W) 7 June 1961.


Publication Account (1985)

In a pleasant wooded burial-ground stand the remains of two churches. The smaller, and probably older church, dedicated to St Maolrubha, has neat freestone surrounds to the doorway and three low windows; the early 18th century MacLeod memorials were probably placed there after the larger church had been built.

Outside the west end of the larger building are several fine carved slabs, and also part of a cross-shaft, carved in the Iona school, showing on one side the lower part of a crucifixion, with an abbot or bishop below, and on the other side a foliaceous pattern twined around a lion.

In this graveyard a fine carved font, now in NMAS, was found in the 19th century; the font is carved from a similar stone to that used at Rodel, Harris (no. 49), and has features that relate it to the West Highland traditions of carving, although in shape it conforms to English late medieval types.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Argyll and the Western Isles’, (1985).


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