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Kiel Parish Church, Burial-ground And Grave-slabs

Church (19th Century), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Kiel Parish Church, Burial-ground And Grave-slabs

Classification Church (19th Century), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Lochaline, Kiel Church; Morvern Parish Church

Canmore ID 22427

Site Number NM64NE 1

NGR NM 67100 45175

NGR Description Centred on NM 67100 45175

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NM64NE 1.00 Centred on NM 67100 45175

NM64NE 1.01 NM 67113 45172 Session House

For old church (NM 6704 4512) and cross (NM 6709 4512), see NM64NE 2 and NM64NE 4 respectively.

Not to be confused with Lochaline, Kiel Church (NM 6780 4509), for which see NM64NE 12.

(NM 6695 4512) Sculptured Stones (NR)

(Fragments of)

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

These fifteen sculptured stones which were traditionally brought from Iona (Ordnance Survey Name Book [ONB] 1872) and placed in the graveyard, have been removed from there and placed in the present church (at NM 6709 4517).

Name Book 1872; I F Grant 1935.

There are fifteen medieval graveslabs in the parish church. The tradition that they were brought from Iona is still known locally, but it is more likely that they are associated with the nearby church, described on NM64NE 2.

Visited by OS (NKB) 11 June 1970.

Kiel Parish Church

(Church of Scotland) [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1975.

The parish of Morvern (or Morven) was formed in the early 17th century by uniting the parishes of Kilcholumkill and Kilintach. The church of the former parish was dedicated to St Columba.

H Scott 1915-61.

The RCAHMS (1980) give a full description of these slabs (one of which is the lower part of the shaft of a free-standing cross). The great majority are of the Iona school of sculpture, though two are of the Oronsay school; they date to between the 14th and 16th centuries. A description of a further seven similar slabs, and a number of 18th-century tombs, which are in the church-yard, is also given.

RCAHMS 1980, visited 1972.

Lochaline, Kiel Church. Built in 1898, probably to a design by P MacGregor Chalmers.

J Gifford 1992.


Field Visit (6 July 1943)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Emergency Survey (1942-3), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, vary from short notes to lengthy and full descriptions and are available to view online with contemporary sketches and photographs. The original typescripts, manuscripts, notebooks and photographs can also be consulted in the RCAHMS Search Room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 10 December 2014.

Publication Account (2008)

Keil Church, Peter MacGregor Chalmers, 1898 Simple white-harled kirk with red sandstone frogging and some decent turn-of-thecentury stained glass (memorial window by Stephen Adam, 1899). It was built on the site of the former parish church of 1799, which in turn replaced the pre-Reformation Cill Choluimchille, of 13 th century origin. Session House, 1774, formerly a school (until 1833 ); restored as a museum, 1997. From the large surrounding graveyard comes a highly important collection of medieval gravestones (now on display in the Session House). These are mostly tapered slabs, probably of the 14 th/15th century Iona School, carved with figures, animals, galleys, swords, and floriated and scrolled ornamentation. South of the church, a tapering, disc-headed medieval cross of greenish schist marks the boundary of the religious sanctuary, its intact shaft ornamented with intertwined plantscrolls, a pair of dragons' heads at its base. Among various good 18th-century headstones and table tombs, significant remnants of the medieval church stand in the kirkyard. Two ruinous Maclean burial aisles occupy the probable site of its transepts. One incorporates into its thick walls moulded and carved fragments of late medieval masonry of Iona school, notably an archway (which probably opened from the main body of the church) and part of a traceried window.

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

Note (8 February 2018)

The name of the parish church varies spelling between ‘Kiel’ and Keil’ depending on source. The name recorded by the Ordnance Survey as part of the Archaeology Division’s revision programme of archaeological sites depicted on OS maps is ‘Kiel’ (For more information on this programme see However, the OS is also inconsistent in its spelling of the name. ‘Keil’ is the spelling given in the description of the parish church on the original OS index card. The description for the old church of Cill Choluim Chille (NM64NE 2) references the later parish church as ‘Keil’. The parish church is currently part of the Parish of Ardgour, Morvern and Strontian and is spelled ‘Kiel’.

Information from HES Survey and Recording (LMcC) 8 February 2018


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