Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Iona, St Ronan's Church

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Museum (19-20th Century), Hoard, Ring (Gold)

Site Name Iona, St Ronan's Church

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Museum (19-20th Century), Hoard, Ring (Gold)

Alternative Name(s) Teampull Ronaig; Cladh Ronain, Nunnery Museum

Canmore ID 21630

Site Number NM22SE 22

NGR NM 28498 24128

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilfinichen And Kilvickeon
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM22SE 22 28498 24128

(NM 2849 2412) Chapel (NR)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1900)

NM22SE 22.01 2849 2412 Crosses; Cross-slabs

The remains of "Teampull Ronaig" - St Ronan's Church - with "Cladh Ronain" - St Ronan's Burial Ground, attached.

Its date of erection is not known, but architectural detail suggests a 13th century date. It is believed to have served, at least for a time, as the parish church.

It is a simple oblong building, 37' long by 16' wide internally of plain rubble masonry. The doorway has been in the W end of the N wall, but the NW angle was destroyed by 1896 (MacGibbon and Ross 1896-7).

In the NMAS is a hoard of gold objects, consisting of a finger-ring, parts of a fillet and a small fragment of wire, which were found at the SE corner of the church on 29th September 1923, during earth removal. The circumstances of the find suggested that it had been a temporary deposit, possibly made in the 13th century (See also NM22SE 14). Ronan, to whom the church is dedicated, died in 737. The church, in 1934, had been roofed over and was being used as a museum.

W F Skene 1875; A O Curle 1924; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; W Reeves 1857; W J Watson 1926; A Ritchie and E Ritchie 1934.

The remains of the church have been roofed and the building now serves as a museum.

There are no indications of a burial ground.

Visited by OS (JP) 8 June 1972

1992 excavations within church by AOC (Scotland), to elucidate floor deposits in advance of possible disturbance during possible renovation as visitor centre. Excavation also revealed post-Medieval burials.

For 1992 discovery of chapel and burial ground beneath this church, see NM22SE 51.

Excavation of the church was undertaken by AOC (Scotland) Ltd on behalf of the Iona Cathedral Trust to facilitate refurbishment of the building as a museum. Excavation recorded several distinct stratigraphic phases on the site. These span a range of activities potentially dating from the Early Christian period to the present day.

The earliest phase consisted of a cemetery of E-W extended inhumations. This was succeeded by a small rectangular building with clay-bonded walls and lime-mortar wall-rendering. This building was replaced by St Ronan's church itself. Upon construction of the church, the walls of the early clay-bonded building were systematically levelled to low butts, and these were then exploited as foundations for the E and S walls of the church. Upon becoming ruinious in the post-reformation years. St Ronan's Church became the repository of a large number of post-medieval burials. In the modern period the church has twice been restored (the present refurbishment will be the third such episode). Excavation has recorded the extent of conservation and reconstruction work carried out variously in the 1870s and in the early 1920s.

Sponsor: Iona Cathedral Trust

J O'Sullivan 1992.


Aerial Photography (2 June 1997)

Aerial Photography (3 May 2007)


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions