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Muck, A'chill

Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval), Font (Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Muck, A'chill

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval), Font (Medieval)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Port Mor; Sean Bhaile

Canmore ID 22136

Site Number NM47NW 1

NGR NM 42091 79522

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Small Isles
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire


Field Visit (7 July 1925)

Burial Ground, A'Chill.

At the head of the southern harbour, Port Mor, is a graveyard surrounded by a ruinous wall. The ruin of the chapel abuts on the enclosure; it has been an oblong structure with rounded corners measuring 20 ½ feet from north-east to south-west by 10 feet from north-west to south-west within drystone walls 5 feet in thickness. The entrance, which is in the south wall, is only 2 feet 1 inch in width.

Cross-slab. About the middle of the churchyard is a fragment of slate-slab, 1 foot 8 inches in height by 1 foot 3 inches in breadth, bearing a four-limbed cross set saltire-wise within an incised circle.

RCAHMS 1928, visited by 7 July 1925.

OS map: Islands of Eigg and Muck (Inverness-shire) lxxii.

Field Visit (10 May 1972)

A burial ground still known as A'Chill, and still in occasional use. The footings of the surrounding wall survive around the W half, but cannot be traced elsewhere.

The remains of the chapel, oriented ENE-WSW, with measurements as recorded by RCAHMS, stands to an average height of about 1.0m. Inside the church at the E end is a roughly circular weathered block of sandstone bearing a deep circular hollow, believed locally to be a font. The cross-incised slab 0.5m high by 0.3m wide and 0.1m thick is used as the headstone of a grave. It is greatly weathered and the cross is scarcely visible.

Enlargement at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (AA) 10 May 1972

Reference (2001)

This island measures about 4km from E to W by 2.4km. The burial-ground, A' Chill, is situated at the S end of the former township of Sean Bhaile (see NM47NW 7), and about 100m NW of the tidal N end of Port Mor, the principal landing-place of the island (a). It was enclosed by a drystone wall whose remains are preserved only to the W, and contains the drystone footings of a possible chapel. A knoll some 300m to the W is known as Cnoc na Croise ('mound of the cross') but the reason for the name is not known.

The following stones were formerly used as gravemarkers in the burial-ground, but in 1993 they were moved for shelter to the craft shop on the E side of Port Mor:

(1) Slab of grey flagstone, very heavily laminated. The lower part is rectangular, but the top is pointed and bulges out to the right, apparently through natural breakage. It measures 0.94m in length by 0.18m in the lower part and 0.37m in maximum width, and it tapers upwards in thickness from 105mm to 80mm. On one face there has been a cross-of-arcs within an incised circle 0.26m in diameter. The interspaces have flat margins, whose outer incisions merge with the peripheral circle, and spade-shaped ends, as on the example at Inchmarnock (No.7 (3)). Although much of the surface of the cross has flaked off, there are clear indications of a small central sinking or compass-hole. Below the cross there are traces of a vertical groove, about 0.12m in length and 40mm from the left edge, but it is uncertain whether this is artificial in origin.

(RCAHMS 1928, No.690).

(2) Round-ended igneous boulder, lacking the left edge. It measures 0.73m by 0.37m in maximum width and 0.18m in thickness. On the flat face there is an outline Latin cross with curved armpits, 0.48m high and about 0.28m in original span, set within a partial rectangular frame. The cross-shaft has an open foot and the ends of the arms extend to the frame. The right edge of the frame terminates above the level of the foot of the shaft, presumably because the stone was intended to be set upright. The carving is executed with a firmly pecked and cut groove of V-section.

I Fisher 2001.

Field Visit (18 May 2002)

This chapel and burial-ground are situated on the leading edge of a terrace on the E flank of Cnoc na Croise, lying at the foot of the slope below the township of Kiel (NM47NW 7).

The chapel (Muck02 302) lies in the SE part of the burial-enclosure, towards the leading edge of the terrace. It is subrectangular on plan, measuring 6.1m from ENE to WSW by 3.1m within a faced rubble wall up to 1.5m in thickness and 1m in height. The entrance lies at the WSW end of the SSE side. The font has been moved into the School House.

The burial-ground is roughly oval on plan and measures about 28m from NNE to SSW by 21m transversely within a robbed stone wall. This has been reduced in places to little more than a scarp, and on the E is missing for a short distance. The interior of the burial-ground is packed with grave markers. There are thirteen memorials of 19th-century and later date, including two for sailors lost in the Second World War, and a tall pink granite pillar dedicated to islanders lost in a boating accident. A total of 115 undecorated markers, each comprising a water-rolled boulder or flat slab, can also be seen, the vast majority arranged in rows orientated roughly from NNE to SSW. The cross-marked boulder (Fisher 2001, 92, no.2) stands more-or-less upright in one of these rows to the W of the chapel (NM 42080 79519). In addition, there are six heaps of stones, the largest measuring about 2m across and 0.5m in height. The ground to the W of the enclosure is rough and uneven, possibly indicating that the burial-ground once extended across the adjacent part of the terrace.

(Muck02, 302)

Visited by RCAHMS (DCC) 18 May 2002

Desk Based Assessment

NM47NW 1 42091 79552

See also NM47NW 7.

(NW 4207 7953) Burial Ground (NAT)

OS 6" map (1903)

The burial ground, A'Chill, Port Mor, is surrounded by a ruinous wall with the remains of a chapel abutting on to it. This was an oblong building 20 1/2 x 10ft within drystone walls 5ft thick. The entrance was in the S wall. In the middle of the graveyard is a slate slab fragment bearing a four limbed cross, set saltire-wise within an incised circle.

Information from OS Index Card.



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