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Eigg, Kildonnan

Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Site Name Eigg, Kildonnan

Classification Cross Slab (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kildonan 5

Canmore ID 319404

Site Number NM48NE 24.05

NGR NM 48 85

NGR Description NM c. 48 85

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Early Medieval Carved Stones Project (17 August 2016)

Kildonnan 5 (St Donnan), Eigg, Skye & Lochalsh, cross-slab

Measurements: H 0.86m, W 0.42m, D 0.06m

Stone type: grey Torridonian flagstone

Place of discovery: NM 4885 8536

Present location: set upright in a modern concrete base within Kildonnan church.

Evidence for discovery: found in the ruined church of St Donnan.

Present condition: weathered and damaged at the top edge.


This slightly tapering slab is carved in false relief with an equal-armed cross-potent within a circle formed by a broad plain band, 0.39m in overall diameter. There are square terminals to the arms and a square at the centre of the cross.

Date range: eighth or ninth century.

Primary references: Fisher 2001, 93.

Compiled by A Ritchie 2016


Field Visit (8 July 1925)


The ruin of St Donnan's Church, a post-Reformation building, stands on the east side of the island at the head of the bay Poll nam Partan. It is a stone and lime building constructed with local rubble and is oblong on plan, measuring 50 feet 11 inches from east to west by 18 feet 3 inches within walls 3 feet 3 inches thick. There is a small rebuilt, lintelled window at the east end of the side walls. The entrance is in the south wall towards the western end.

In the north wall is a tomb recess, merely 5 feet 4 inches in length, with a moulded archivolt of freestone. In the back of the recess are two freestone panels. The upper bears the date 1641 and initials D R linked by a Y-shaped ligature. The lower panel is armorial. Centred in the upper part is an eagle, flanked on the dexter side by a hand grasping a wheel cross. On the sinister side is a lion rampant. In the lower dexter corner is a galley, and a triple towered castle fills the sinister corner. The church is utilised as a burial ground, and some of the modern graves are provided with cover slabs and headstones removed from earlier interments. Of these are the following:

(a) [NM48NE 19.01] Figs. 302-3. A cross-shaft of slate 6 feet 1 inch in length, 1 foot 1 inch wide at top and 1 foot 5 inches wide at bottom by 4½ inches thick. The front bears a finely executed debased vine pattern terminating at the foot in opposed winged animals; and on the back is a scrollwork similar in detail, though differing in arrangement, while the terminal animals are not winged.

(b) [NM48NE 24.05] A fragment of a cross-shaft 2 feet 9 inches in height, 1 foot 4 inches in breadth by 2 ½ inches thick bears a Greek cross, with widened ends, in a circle 1 foot 2 inches in diameter

(c) A cross-shaft of slate, very weatherworn and fractured, measures 5 feet 7 inches by 1 foot 8 inches. On the upper surface are traces of scrollwork with animal figures.

(d) A fragment of a cross-shaft of hard freestone, 1 foot 9 inches by 1 foot 1 inch, bears a panel inscribed with a late key pattern.

John Moydartach, Captain of Clanranald in the second half of the sixteenth century, is said to have erected the church at Kildonnan (Book of Clanranald in Reliquiæ Celticæ, ii., p. 171).

RCAHMS 1928, visited 8 July 1925.

OS map: Island of Eigg (Inverness - shire) lxxiii.

Reference (2001)

(5) Cross-slab of grey Torridonian flagstone, set in a modern concrete base in the church. It tapers slightly from an irregular top, measuring 0.86m in visible height by 0.42m in maximum width and 60mm in thickness. The E face bears in false relief an equal-armed cross-potent 0.31m across the arms, within a broad circular margin 0.39m in overall diameter. The cross has square and slightly raised terminals and a square central expansion, and its edges are neatly bevelled down to a flat field.

(T S Muir 1861, 160; T S Muir 1885, 32 and pl.2; C Dressler 1998, pl.2 ).

I Fisher 2001


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