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Skye, Kilchrist Church

Church (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Skye, Kilchrist Church

Classification Church (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Strath Suardal; Cill Chriosd

Canmore ID 11600

Site Number NG62SW 3

NGR NG 61706 20697

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Recording Your Heritage Online

Cill Chriosd (Kilchrist), late 16th/early 17th century, replacing a medieval structure The long, low, rubble ruin of the post- Reformation parish church of Strath has roughly dressed quoins and jambs, and a balustraded burial enclosure added to the east gable in the early 18th century for the Mackinnons. In the south corner of the graveyard, a worn medieval slab carved with an ornate cross; headstones mostly 18th and 19th century.

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

Archaeology Notes

NG62SW 3.00 61706 20697

(NG 6171 2068) Cill Chriosd (NR) (In Ruins)

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

NG62SW 3.01 Centred NG 61720 20723 Burial-ground; Cross-Fragment; Slab: Cross-Incised

Kilchrist Church, dating probably from the late 16th- early 17th century measures 52ft 9ins by 17ft 6ins internally, the main axis varying 30 from due E-W. There are no openings in the N and W walls. The side walls, 8ft high, are 2ft 3ins and the gables 2ft 10ins in thickness.

The church is entered by a doorway with splayed jambs and check and square sconsions in the S wall, in which there are three windows, with check and inward splay. A similar window, now built up, is in the E. gable.

There was in 1505 a presentation of Kenneth ("Kensoch") Adamson, chaplain to the rectory and vicarage of 'Kilchrist in Askimilruby .... in Strasuordale", vacant by the death of the last possessor, "John MacGillebredison". In 1508 John Ronaldson was presented to "the rectory of the parish church of Strath called Cristis Kirk, vacant by the death of the late rector John Johnson" (RCAHMS 1928).

About 1840 a new church was built at Broadford (OPS 1854). Lying in the churchyard is an armorial stone.

Another fragment in the churchyard, crude in execution, appears to be the necking and lower arms of a cross. The lower portion is carved with two animals in relief. The reverse is plain.

There is also a recumbent slab of slate containing a foliated cross. The dexter side of the cross is well preserved, but the greater part of the other side has been entirely worn away (RCAHMS 1928).

Orig Paroch Scot 1854; Reg Sec Sig Reg Scot 1908; RCAHMS 1928.

Cill Chriosd: as described by RCAHMS and ruinous. The armorial stones, etc. were not seen.

Visited by OS (A C) 17 April 1961.

Architecture Notes


Scottish Record Office:

Repair of the Kirk of Kilchrist.

Joiner's and Slater's account.

1789. GD 221/149/1.


Watching Brief (27 February 2014 - 27 June 2014)

Five watching briefs were undertaken, 27 February – 27 June 2014, on sections of the new water main pipeline between Broadford and Elgol. This work was carried out in response to recommendations made following a walkover survey of the pipeline route in 2013 (DES 2013, 118–9).

NG 62220 20920 Marble Line Sections The investigation of the former Marble Railway line at Suardal provided the opportunity to look in detail at the construction of the track, both on the main line accessing the marble quarries and on the sidings close to the former processing works. The trenches which cut through the Marble Line produced evidence for the make-up of the main track bed and additional features such as stone revetments and drainage ditches. However, the track design and make-up, while taking into consideration the wet weather conditions that would have inevitably affected operation of the train, proved to be of a slight and quite

ephemeral build. This possibly indicates the temporary nature of the railway, the whole enterprise being abandoned for good in 1939.

NG 61706 20696 Kilchrist Church and Graveyard The watching brief carried out at Kilchrist, in particular, around the church and graveyard enclosure, produced no archaeological features or finds. This was a very surprising result considering the close proximity of the graveyard enclosure wall and the depth of time the church had potentially been in use. However, the ground through which the pipe trench was cut included low lying wet ground and chaotic topography with outcropping limestone bedrock and natural volcanic dolerite swarm dykes.

NG 58870 20330 Kilbride Section The quite extensive watching brief carried out at Kilbride cut through a landscape populated by a wide range of sites, including prehistoric standing stones, cairns and a now lost stone circle. The pipe trench also passed close to the platform on which the site of St Bridget’s Chapel is located. This Early Christian site is now difficult to see on the ground, but along with the associated well of Tobar na h-Annait and the Clach na h-Annait standing stone, it was anticipated that the work here may have encountered potential buried features and archaeological

deposits. With the exception of a few sherds of modern bottle glass and industrial period ceramics, no deposits, features or finds were encountered. However, the location of the well was recorded in detail.

NG 54814 17503 Kilmarie Bridge At Kilmarie the pipe trench cut through the bridge, which is dated 1776, but failed to produce any structural evidence for the earliest bridge or road surfaces. An earlier inspection of the bridge had recorded unusually high parapets and old drain culverts that were located at some depth below the current tarmac road surface.

Although the pipe trench attained a depth of 0.9m below the current road level, the only deposits identified appeared to be infill material. This had probably been used to fill the area between the raised parapets during modifications to strengthen the bridge in the recent past.

NG 5322 1521 Elgol Water Treatment Works (Meabost) The modified route taken for the pipeline trench was successful in avoiding the quite extensive settlement remains, of unknown date. However, a suite of features were uncovered adjacent to the fenced enclosure of the treatment works. They appear to represent a central hearth consisting of a flat stone slab set in a shallow scoop in the natural bedrock, with two additional scoops located to the NE and NW and a small pit located to the

SW. The closeness of the scoops and pit to the hearth, forming a roughly triangle setting, may have formed a tripod over the fire from which to suspend cooking pots or other hearth furniture. The contemporary nature of the features is proven by the deposits they contain and the capping of ash deposits. Unfortunately, a lack small finds and material suitable for

radiocarbon dating, has prevented the date of these features from being established. It is possible that the hearth relates to the structures and

settlement remains in which it is firmly embedded (of potential medieval to post-medieval date). Meabost is a potential early farm site of Norse date, based on the place name evidence, and its location is unusual in that it is positioned on the edge of an exposed terrace, at a higher elevation than most post-medieval settlements in Skye. However, the location of the hearth, associated scoops and pit, which were cut into the natural

siltstone bedrock, may indicate that these features relate to earlier, prehistoric activity at the site.

Report: Highland HER, OASIS and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Scottish Water Solutions

Steven Birch – West Coast Archaeological Services

(Source: DES)


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