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Knoydart, Inverie, St Comgan's Church

Burial Ground (Medieval), Church (Medieval)(Possible)

Site Name Knoydart, Inverie, St Comgan's Church

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval), Church (Medieval)(Possible)

Alternative Name(s) Kilchoan; St Comhan's Chapel; Church Of Knoydart

Canmore ID 22719

Site Number NM79NE 2

NGR NM 7791 9918

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Glenelg (Lochaber)
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire


Field Visit (17 March 1966)

There is no trace of a chapel in the rectangular graveyard which is fully occupied by graves, but now disused. The two carved grave slabs and the cross are as illustrated, but the latter has been moved to the centre of a more recent circular graveyard c.100m to the SW where it stands mounted in a concrete base.

Information from OS (S W) 17 March 1966 and from R B K Stevenson (National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland [NMAS]).

Reference (2001)

The Knoydart peninsula is predominantly mountainous, the main areas of settlement being along the E shore of the Sound of Sleat and on the alluvial ground where the Inverie River flows into Inverie Bay on the N side of Loch Nevis (a). The site of a medieval church dedicated to St Comgan is situated on the S bank of the river, 550m from the head of Inverie Bay and 180m N of Kilchoan farmhouse. The rectangular Roman Catholic burial-ground, which is enclosed by a 19th-century wall, contains two early cross-marked stones, three late medieval graveslabs and a font (b). A late medieval cross of unusual type has been re-erected in the circular Protestant burial-ground on a low knoll 80m to the SW (c).

(1) Upper part of a rectangular slab, 0.59m in surviving height by 0.49m and 0.15m thick. On one face it bears an outline Latin cross, 0.36m across the arms. The arms are of uniform 80mm width within a broad U-section groove, and the armpits are slightly bevelled and rounded.

(2) Round-headed tapered slab, 0.71m by 0.3m in maximum width and 50mm thick. On one face (a) there is an outline ringed cross with wedge-shaped arms which merge into the ring without division. The upper quadrants of the ring extend to the edges of the slab, and the lower quadrants return to define a short wedge-shaped shaft, open at the foot. On face (b) there is an outline cross with broad wedge-shaped and slightly curved limbs, all of which extend to the edges of the slab.


(a) R W Munro 1984, 13 and passim.

(b) The Commissioners are indebted to Mr J S Mitchell and Mr I Thornber for bringing the early stones to their attention. Two of the graveslabs and the cross-head are illustrated by O Blundell (1911, 363-6). For the third slab, which bears a sword in a cable-moulded border, see rubbings by Lady O'Malley, 1928, in NMRS.

(c) For the burial-grounds, see Name Book, Inverness-shire, No.29, pp.126-7.

I Fisher 2001.

Desk Based Assessment

NM79NE 2 7791 9918

(NM 7791 9918) Site of St Comhan's Chapel (NR)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed. (1902).

The church of Knoydart is first recorded in a lang-grant of 1372 (Reg Magni Sig 1984; Robertson 1798). It is named as the church of St Congan in 1506 (Reg Sec Sig).

W Robertson 1798; Orig Paroch Scot 1854.

The slabs are possibly mid-16th century and the cross may be of similar date or later. The church of Kilchoan in Knoydart is dedicated to St Congan (more correctly, St Comgan, brother of St Kentigerna, who died AD 734).

A P Forbes 1872.

The site of a chapel dedicated to a Celtic saint named Comhan is said to have stood in the middle of a small rectangular burial ground on the farm of Kilchoan. There is no trace of the building but the burial ground was in use c.1873 (Ordnance Survey Name Book [ONB] 1873).

It contains a sculptured stone cross, still standing, as well as two carved freestone slabs (Blundell 1911).

Information from OS.

Name Book 1873; F O Blundell 1911.


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