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Kilchoan, Old Parish Church

Church (Medieval)

Site Name Kilchoan, Old Parish Church

Classification Church (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kilchoan, Old Parish Church And Graveyard; St Comgan's Church; War Memorial Plaque; Kilchoan, Old Parish Church And Burial Ground

Canmore ID 22130

Site Number NM46SE 3

NGR NM 48507 64046

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/22130

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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Ardnamurchan
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Argyll

Recording Your Heritage Online

Old Parish Church, 12 /13 th centuries, rebuilt 1762-3 Now roofless church dedicated to St. Comgan, with medieval masonry evident in the thick gable ends. Various 18th-century openings include the upper gable windows which lit former galleries at each end. Memorials in walled burial ground include two late-medieval carved slabs in the style of the Iona School.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk

Archaeology Notes

NM46SE 3.00 48507 64046

(NM 4851 6404) Church (NAT) (In Ruins)

OS 6" map, Argyllshire, 2nd ed., (1902)

NM46SE 3.01 NM 48491 64039 Burial Ground

Old Parish Church, Kilchoan: The roofless shell of the old parish church stands within its burial-ground about 400m NW of the present church. The building is mainly of 18th-century date, but evidently incorporates part of an earlier church dating from the 12th or 13th century.

The church measures 14.4m from W to E by 5.2m transversely within walls varying in thickness from 0.6m to 1.1m. The masonry is of random rubble with sandstone dressings. The S wall, which appears to have been entirely reconstructed in the 18th century, contains a slab-lintelled doorway and three semi-circular-headed window-openings. A second doorway, now blocked, can be seen towards the E end of the N wall, which likewise appears to be of 18th century date. The W gable-wall probably incorporates a good deal of medieval masonry, although the upper portion has been reconstructed, and the W face partially obscured by the erection of a burial-enclosure. A deeply-splayed window having a plain lintelled daylight-opening, now blocked, appears to be an 18th-century reconstruction of an original medieval window in the same position. Above, there is an 18th-century which evidently lit a gallery at the W end of the church. The gable is surmounted by the stump of a plain rectangular bell-cot. The lower part of the E gable-wall is also of medieval date. A central window-opening at ground-floor level, now blocked, retains part of a rebated daylight-opening of 12th or 13th-century character. Above, is an 18th century window similar to that in the opposite gable; there was also a gallery at this end of the church.

At the Reformation the medieval parish of Kilchoan was joined to the adjacent parishes of Arisaig and Elanfinan to form the united parish of Ardnamurchan. The church was superseded by a new building at NM 4883 6379 (NM46SE 14) in 1831 (SDD Listed: B - still in use), at which date it was reported to have been 'long in ruins'. The dedication was to St Comgan. There are two 14th/15th century grave-slabs in the churchyard.

New Statistical Account (NSA) 1845; Orig Paroch Scot 1854; J M MacKinlay 1914; RCAHMS 1980, visited 1972.

The roofless shell of a church, in a condition similar to that described by the RCAHMS. A stone dated 1763 is in the lintel of the most easterly of the three windows in the S wall. The 14th/15th century grave-slabs lie some 8.0m S of the SW corner of the church. The graveyard is still used.

Visited by OS (N K B) 5 June 1970.

Activities

Field Visit (May 1972)

The roofless shell of the old parish church stands within its burial-ground about 400 m NW of the present church (No. 294). The building is mainly of 18th-century date, but evidently incorporates part of an earlier church dating from the 12th or 13th century.

The church measures 14.4 m from W to E by 5.2 m transversely within walls varying in thickness from 0 ·6 m to 1.1 m. The masonry is of random rubble with dressings of greenish-grey sandstone probably derived from the Lochaline area. The S wall, which appears to have been entirely reconstructed in the 18th century, contains a slab-lintelled entrance-doorway and three semicircular-headed window-openings. A second entrance-doorway, now blocked, can be seen towards the end of the N wall, which likewise appears to be of 18th-century date. The W gable-wall probably incorporates good deal of medieval masonry, although the upper portion has been reconstructed, and the W face partially obscured by the erection of a burial-enclosure. A deeply-splayed window having a plain lintelled daylight-opening, now blocked, appears to be an 18th-century reconstruction of an original medieval window in the same position. Above, there is an 18th-century window which evidently lit a gallery at the W end of the church; the beam-sockets of the gallery can be seen in the sidewalls. The gable is surmounted by the stump of a plain rectangular bell-cot. The lower part of the E gable-wall, too, is evidently of medieval date, and the angles incorporate what appear to be a number of original freestone quoins. A centrally placed window-opening at ground-floor level, now blocked, retains part of a rebated daylight-opening of 12th- or 13th-century character. Above, there is an 18th-century window similar to the one in the opposite gable-wall, and this, together with the beam-sockets in the side-walls, indicates that there was also a gallery at this end of the church. The galleries were presumably reached by internal timber staircases rising within the NW and NE corners of the building. The pulpit probably occupied central position against the N wall.

At the Reformation the medieval parish of Kilchoan, comprising the Ardnamurchan peninsula, was joined to the adjacent parishes of Arisaig and Elanfinan, or Sunart, to form the united parish of Ardnamurchan. The church was superseded by a new building (No. 294) on an adjacent site in 1831, at which date it was reported to have been 'long in ruins'. The dedication was to St Comgan (en.1).

FUNERARY MONUMENTS.

In the churchyard there are two late medieval grave-slabs.

(1) Tapered slab, 1.80 m long by 0.48 m wide at the head. Within a border of elongated nail-head there are the following motifs in descending order: (i) a galley with a furled sail, a pennon at the prow and a shield in amongst the rigging; (ii) a sword with lobated pommel and canted quillons, which is flanked on each side by two intertwined plant-scrolls linked at the top to a pair of animals; and (iii) a hunting-scene involving a stag, two hounds and a huntsman wearing a liripipe head-dress and carrying an axe. Iona school, 14th-15th century.

(2) Tapered slab, broken across; it measures 1.83 m long by 0.48 m wide at the head. The general scheme of decoration is the same as on (1), but in this case there is a foliated cross at the top of the slab and a galley at the foot, the hunting-scene being omitted. The plant-scrolls differ in design from those on (1), and each has only a single animal at the head. Iona school, 14th-15th century

RCAHMS 1980, visited May 1972

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.

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