Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Old Kilbride Kirk And Kirkyard

Burial Ground (Medieval) - (19th Century), Church (18th Century), Church (Medieval)

Site Name Old Kilbride Kirk And Kirkyard

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval) - (19th Century), Church (18th Century), Church (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kilbride Chapel, Church And Churchyard, 55m Ne Of Kilbride Farm

Canmore ID 22912

Site Number NM82NE 36

NGR NM 85694 25705

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilmore And Kilbride
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NM82NE 36 85694 25705

(NM 85694 25705) Church (NAT) (In Ruins)

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

The roofless ruins of the old Parish Church of Kilbride stand on the north side of a churchyard which was enclosed shortly after 1794. The existing structure, which dates from 1706, replaced an earlier church, dedicated to St Bridget,with construction phases ranging from the 13th to the 15th century. After the Reformation, the parish was united with Kilmore, but retained its own church.

By 1671, this earlier building had become very ruinous and in 1706 the present structure was erected. It was rectangular on plan, measuring 15.3 metres E-W by 6.1 metres within walls 0.7 metres thick.

In 1744, all the original windows were enlarged and the south door blocked, a small splayed window being constructed in the blocking. Further restoration in 1842-3 resulted in the rebuilding of the upper parts of the walls and a session-house was added at the centre of the north wall, with a doorway in the SE angle. The church was partially demolished in 1876 to be replaced by a new building at Cleigh.

The blocked door at the centre of the south wall, two doors at ground and gallery level in the west gable-wall and the lower part of another doorway in the east gable-wall are surviving features of the original structure.

The MacDougall burial aisle, 2 metres south of the church, is a roofless, rectangular enclosure, whilst in the churchyard, there are many inscribed medieval funerary monuments.

RCAHMS 1975, visited 1975.

As described.

Surveyed at 1:2500 scale.

Architecture Notes

NM82NE 36.00 85694 25705

NM82NE 36.01 85711 25697 Macdougall Burial Enclosure


Graveyard Survey (2013)

NM 85694 25705 A graveyard survey, including a condition and measured survey of the gravestones, is being undertaken as an Adopt-a-Monument and Dunollie Preservation Trust project. The graveyard, which is enclosed by a rubble stone wall, consists of three areas: The first is the original burial isle where the chiefs of the Clan MacDougal have been buried since 1737. It is within an enclosure, which was built in 1786; and the roofless remains of the 18th-century church (1706) are located 2m N of the burial isle. The second is the current MacDougall Burial Isle. The third is the public graveyard, which has been in use since the medieval period. The graveyard is on two levels; a W elevated area, and a lower E area, which contains the ruin of the kirk and burial isles.

A total of 200 gravestones have been recorded to date, and the possible locations of an additional 20 horizontal gravestones identified. The majority of the gravestones date to AD 1770–1910. The ornamented Western Highlands Gravestones consist of horizontal carved slabs of sandstone, schist and slate, probably date to the 14th–16th century, and provide examples of the Loch Awe, Iona and possibly Kintyre schools of carving. The slate, used for several of the medieval horizontal grave slabs, is thought to have come from the local quarries at Easdale and Ballachulish. Remedial work is required to prevent several gravestones and slabs, which are located on the edge of steep slopes in the upper level, from toppling.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Bob Irving, 2013

(Source: DES)

Graveyard Survey (2014)

NM 85694 25705 A graveyard survey, including a condition and measured survey of the gravestones commenced in 2013 as an Adopt-a-Monument and Dunollie Preservation Trust Project. In the 2013 season a team of eight volunteers located and recorded 200 gravestones, including several West Highland Sculptured Monuments or fragments (DES 2013, 53–54).

The 2014 season saw a continuation of the measured survey and condition reporting project for the graveyard and the gravestones in the historic public graveyard at Kilbride. We have recorded the presence, condition, location and inscriptions. Previous reports had documented the presence but not the locations of the medieval West Highland Monuments (Inventory for Argyll, RCAHMS Vol II p142); or had recorded the genealogical data from the more recently inscribed gravestones, but not accurately transcribed it. This year further grave slabs were identified and the unstable nature of the SSW side of the hill with the slippage of the graves, headstones and grave slabs recorded.

The survey identified the locations of 13 medieval West Highland Monuments, of which four are in excellent condition; possibly two Loch Awe style carving on sandstone, one Iona style carving on slate and one Loch Awe style carving also on slate.

A sand coloured sandstone slab with irregular surface contours and markings on the exposed upper surface was discovered laying in the upper (western) part of the graveyard during the survey. The markings on the visible exposed upper surface wer e compared to markings on Ogham stones and referred to experts in the field. On further examination of the

slab, markings were found on an adjacent side to the exposed markings when the edge was examined in further detail from the top; however, the extent of these markings needs to be determined and this may only be achieved by excavating down this side, or by raising the stone. Whatever the origin of the slab, its location in the upper part of the graveyard with

other laying slabs, some 14th–15th-century West Highland Grave Monuments (Loch Awe and Iona styled carving) and an orientation aligned with the other slabs, indicate that this latest use was probably as a grave slab. This stone has not been documented previously by others who have reported on the graveyard (Inventory for Argyll, RCAHMS Vol II p142, and Steer and Dixon notes), but this may be due to its slightly sunken position in relation to the surrounding features (grave slabs). As there are few examples of Ogham Stones in Scotland, this should be examined in more detail to confirm or otherwise whether it is an Ogham stone.

A laying grave slab was identified in the upper (western) part of the graveyard during this survey, inscribed to the memory of Alexander MacDougall of Corrilorne who died in 1623. This had previously been documented in 1908 as the top stone of the ‘Cross of Corrilorne’ by The Duke of Argyll and Mr Jack in 1908 for the stone rubbing stored in the archives at Inverary Castle; however, this may have been confused with

the Campbell of Lerags Cross. The stone was reported not found by Steer and Dixon in their survey of 1963 (Steer and Dixon notes RCAHMS archive, Edinburgh).

A stone with clasped hands carving apparently carved in limestone, was found close to the S wall of the kirk ruins, possibly from the earlier church on this site.

Future work will include; survey of the ruins of the 1706 church including the original floor level and plans for future consolidation of the kirk remains, the location of previously recorded Western Highland carved slabs which have not been found in this survey so far and to prepare management plans.

Archive and report: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Argyll and Islands Leader Fund

Bob Irving - MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust

(Source: DES)

Excavation (July 2020 - August 2020)

NM 85694 25705 In July and August 2020 a photographic survey of the interior and exterior elevations of the W gable of Kilbride church was undertaken, prior to and following, consolidation of the wall and entrance. After the initial photographic survey two small trenches were hand excavated on either side of the entrance in order that the entire length of the doorway was revealed.

The trenches on the interior and exterior of the W gable proved to be highly informative. The rubble which had built up against the door concealed a drystone blocking wall which survived to over 0.70m in height. This wall represents the last phase of construction and was probably built so that the chapel could be used to house stock (presumably sheep or cattle) and therefore almost certainly occurred after the church was partially demolished in 1876.

It also became clear that the W gable door was not part of the original design of the church. The lower stonework of the W gable wall had been broken through and the stone removed to create a new aperture at ground level. The upper portion of the door appears to have been part of an original window, the uppermost section of which was blocked up above the new door lintel and which was in an extremely poor state of repair. A line of mortared stone which stuck out very slightly from the original external wall face marked the base of the new doorway and these stones were at the same level as the original interior cobbled floor of the church. This W gable door is likely to have been part of the alterations which were carried out in 1744 when it is recorded that the windows of the church were enlarged and the door in the southern wall blocked up.

At least four grave slabs had been laid in an E–W orientation against the exterior wall of the W gable. However, these grave slabs are very unlikely to mark the position of any known burials as they sat on a thick and loose deposit comprising broken roof slate and soil and which almost certainly resulted from the partial demolition of the church in 1876.

Finds included an ornate coffin handle, a few iron nails and a 50p piece dating to 2003!

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Friends of Kilbride

Clare Ellis − Argyll Archaeology

(Source: DES Vol 21)


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions