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Kilfinnan Burial Ground And Mcdonnell Mausoleum

Burial Ground (17th Century), Mausoleum (17th Century)

Site Name Kilfinnan Burial Ground And Mcdonnell Mausoleum

Classification Burial Ground (17th Century), Mausoleum (17th Century)

Canmore ID 23807

Site Number NN29NE 1

NGR NN 27864 95743

NGR Description Centred NN 27864 95743

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Recording Your Heritage Online

Kilfinnan Burial Ground, heralded by two enormous yews near an atmospheric jumble of old farm buildings above the Kilfinnan burn, the graveyard stands above the site of the former Church of St. Finnan. This was burnt down in 14 60, its ruins submerged beneath Loch Lochy, which rose about 10 ft when the Caledonian Canal was built. Macdonell (of Glengarry) Mausoleum, probably earlier 19th century, though the lofty, roofless rubble box is so excessively stark it is difficult to date. It houses Alasdair Ranaldson Macdonell's grave (he died 1828), flanked by a pair of re-sited late 17th-century grave slabs, finely crested and inscribed. Well of Seven Heads Monument (Tobar nan Ceann), erected 1812 by Col. Alasdair Ranaldson Macdonell, 15th Chief of Glengarry, in commemoration of the 'foul' Keppoch murders of 1663. Re-sited in the 1930s after road widening along Loch Oichside, the short, ashlar-plinthed obelisk bears inscriptions in many languages, confusingly inaccurate in their content. Its finial is a hand holding a dagger over seven carved heads, '... so grouped ... that they look as if they grew from the single neck of a Hindoo God' (Robert Southey, 1819).

[The hills of Glengarry Forest to the north of Loch Lochy are still traversed by the old funeral tracks by which the dead were brought - many over the shoulder of Ben Tee from Glen Garry - for burial at Kilfinnan.]

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

Archaeology Notes

NN29NE 1 centred 27864 95743

(NN 2787 9575) Graveyard (NAT)

Mausoleum (NAT)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

"A place of burial near the farm-house of Kilfinnan. Interments still take place here; it is believed to be about 250 years old. There was never a church in or near it. The mausoleum which stands in the centre is the property of the McDonells of Glengarry." (The name 'Kilfinnan' suggests that there was a church associated with the area.)

Name Book 1871.

Kilfinnan is for Cill Fhionain - Finan's Church - a dedication to Finan Lobur, who lived in the late 6th century.

W J Watson 1926.

This graveyard, known locally as Kilfinnan, is still in use, situated approx. 150.0m ENE of the farm Kilfinnan at NN 2787 9575, and contains a mausoleum, now roofless. One of the gravestones within the mausoleum is dated 1699. There is no evidence or local knowledge of a church here.

Visited by OS (N K B) 21 April 1964.


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