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Islay, Brahunisary, Cnoc Na Cille

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Brahunisary, Cnoc Na Cille

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Cross (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Port Ellen

Canmore ID 37564

Site Number NR34NE 4

NGR NR 3780 4625

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kildalton And Oa
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR34NE 4 3780 4625.

(NR 3780 4625) Burial Ground (NR)

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

"A small and nearly circular patch of green rough pasture situated on the summit of a small knoll" which is named Cnoc na Cille, "Knoll of the Church". It is said to be an ancient place of interment, but its period of use is not known.

Name Book 1878.

A Torradale farm (NR 380 461) close to the road on the right hand side are the ruins of a very small and ancient building, probably a chapel. Some of the stone blocks used in its construction are of great size.

R C Graham 1895.

A roughly oval mound lies on the north end of a natural outcrop.

F Celoria 1959.


Field Visit (May 1975)

This site, which in 1878 was 'said to be an ancient place of interment', (Ordnance Survey Name Book) lies some 240m SE of Brahunisary farmhouse.

The summit of a piece of uncultivated ground, an ovoid area measuring about 11m from N to S by 8m transversely, has

been surrounded by a revetment wall of boulders resting directly on the native rock. There are no identifiable funerary


Visited May 1975


Reference (1976)

At Cnoc na Cille, 91.50m east of the Brahunisary road end, and 36.57m south of the Kilbride road, and oval, raised, grassy platform, 10.97m by 9.14m and 1.82m to 2.44m above field level is contained by a retaining wall of large stones and earth.

The ground falls away to the east.

I D Shanks 1976.

Field Visit (19 June 1978)

A flat topped grass covered mound generally as described by Shanks (1976). It is composed of earth and stone and can be clearly seen to occupy a large rock outcrop. It's origin is uncertain but it is unlikely to have been a burial ground.

Visited by OS (BS) 19 June 1978.

Artefact Recovery (1988)

An Early Christian stone was found in April 1988 by the farmer Hector MacLean just outside the enclosed area of the old burial ground Cnoc na Cille. It is a rectangular slab, (possibly of quartzite) 46mm by 21mm, bearing in low relief an equal-armed cross in a circle 21mm in diameter. The cross is very similar to that on the slan from the chapel at Kilbride 1 kilometre to the east (NR34NE 6).

M Perrons 1988.

Reference (2001)

A carved stone was found in 1988 lying face down at the E base of the mound that forms the disused burial-ground, Cnoc na Cille, and 680m WSW of the chapel at Kilbride (NR34NE 6).(i) It was presented in the same year to the Museum of Islay Life, Port Charlotte.

The stone is a roughly rectangular slab of local quartzitic sandstone, 0.49m by 0.25m in maximum width and 80mm in thickness. The surface is flaked and the slab is damaged at the edges and broken obliquely at the foot. On one face there is carved at the top in false relief a plain equal-armed cross with slightly rounded and bevelled armpits and curved arms. It was encircled by a band about 25mm wide and 0.26m in diameter, but this has broken off almost completely except in the lower part. The slab is very similar to the more complete one from Kilbride, where however the cross is of Latin form and has more pronounced armpits.

(i) The Commissioners are indebted to Mrs M Perrons for information about this discovery.

(Museum of Islay Life, IMT 88-151; M Perrons 1988, 20).

I Fisher 2001.


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