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Vatersay, Uinessan, Cille Bhrianan

Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval), Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Site Name Vatersay, Uinessan, Cille Bhrianan

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval), Unidentified Pottery (Iron Age)

Alternative Name(s) Caibeal Moire Nan Ceann; Bhatarsaigh

Canmore ID 21391

Site Number NL69NE 4

NGR NL 6644 9570

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/21391

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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Barra
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NL69NE 4 6644 9570.

(NL 6644 9570) Cille Bhrianain (NR) (Site of).

Grave Yard (NAT).

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

Cille Bhrianan, an old burial ground containing the foundations of an old church of stone and lime which is orientated ENE/ WSW and is about 37ft. long by 16 1/2ft. broad externally. The place is known as Caibeal Moire nan Ceann (Chapel of Mary of the Heads), a name connected with a legend attached to the place.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 12 June 1915.

Only the S and part of the E and W walls of the burial ground remain as slight, grass-covered, banks of earth and stone. No grave-stones remain.

The grass-covered foundations of the chapel are as described above.

Visited by OS (N K B) 24 May 1965.

VN133: An EDM plan has been made of this structure and its immediate surroundings. The medieval chapel sits on a mound from which rabbit infestation produces midden material including handmade pottery of Iron Age type. The masonry structure is crumbling and the rabbit activity may undermine and destroy the rather flimsy walls.

NMRS MS/595/11, 5.

Activities

Field Visit (12 June 1915)

Cille Bhrianain, Vatersay.

Just above the shore on the west side of Uinessan, a tidal islet at the extreme east of Vatersay, is an old burying ground containing the foundations of an old church of stone and lime. Accurate dimensions are not obtainable, but the building has been oblong and orientated east-north-east and west-south-west. It has been about 37 feet long and 16 feet 6 inches broad externally. The place is known as Caibeal Moire nan Ceann (Chapel of Mary of the heads) after a Coll lady, who married a Macneil of Barra and was notorious for having beheaded everyone to whom she took a dislike. She wished to be buried within sight of her loved island of Coll, and it was only when the burial party reached this spot that they saw that the island of Muldoanich intervened, but being tired they interred her here.

RCAHMS 1928, visited 12 June 1915.

OS map: Barra lxvi.

Field Visit (1994)

VN133: An EDM plan has been made of this structure and its immediate surroundings. The medieval chapel sits on a mound from which rabbit infestation produces midden material including handmade pottery of Iron Age type. The masonry structure is crumbling and the rabbit activity may undermine and destroy the rather flimsy walls.

NMRS MS/595/11, 5.

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