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Shieldaig, Preacher's Wall

Preaching Site (19th Century)

Site Name Shieldaig, Preacher's Wall

Classification Preaching Site (19th Century)

Canmore ID 240973

Site Number NG85SW 29

NGR NG 8158 5443

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Applecross
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH85SW 77 8158 5443

NG 8158 5443 An archaeological evaluation and recording project were undertaken for a new house on the site of the Shieldaig open-air preaching site. The site dates from the disruption of the church in 1843 and was in use for 30 years until a Free Church was built. No archaeological deposits or features were revealed.

Full report deposited in Highland SMR and the NMRS.

The 2nd edition OS map of 1906 shows for the first time the curved wall but the site is not named. The Ordnance Survey Name Book of 1875 describes the site as a wooden erection with rough, wooden seating arranged in fron to the pulpit. The Free Church met here in good weather but moved to the Free Church Meeting House during bad weather. The Free Church here was built in 1874-5. There is no evidence of the site being used for service in recent times, although local tradition records that up to 1000 people used the site for 30 years, with some arriving by sea. The wall was built to offer some protection and shelter from the elements. Though not recorded as being in use after the Free Church was built, the site may have been used for communion services, as the church may not have been big enough. The wooden ark used here and later in th eFree Presbyterian Church between 1892 and 1920 is now housed in the Gairloch Heritage Museum.

The 'Preacher's Wall' was found to consist of medium to large rubble stones. It stands up to 1.8m in height and tapers from a width of 1.9m at the base to a maximum of 1.3m at the top. The site of the proposed house was cleared under archaeological supervision, with the only finds being two stone drains under the topsoil and some white glaze pottery fragments. These were thought to date to between 1843 and 1876 when the open-air preaching site was in use.

Sponsor: Mr R Smith.

S Farrell 2002

Pulpit depicted at this location on the 1st edition of the Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (Ross and Cromarty, Sheet 92, 1875-80)

RCAHMS 2003.


Measured Survey (2 March 2000)

A special survey was carried out at the request of Historic Scotland. At Shieldaig, Highland, a plan was prepared at a scale of 1:250 with plane-table and self-reducing alidade of an open air church threatened by development.

Visited by RCAHMS (JBS, AL), 2 March 2000.


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