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Islay, Kilarrow

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross(S) (Period Unassigned), Cross Slab(S) (Early Medieval)

Site Name Islay, Kilarrow

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Cross(S) (Period Unassigned), Cross Slab(S) (Early Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Cill An Rubha

Canmore ID 37770

Site Number NR36SW 5

NGR NR 3356 6257

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/37770

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

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Killarow And Kilmeny
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR36SW 5 3356 6257

(NR 3356 6257) Cill an Rudha (NR)

Chapel (NR) (Site of)

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

The site of the former parish church of Killarow, demolished when the new parish church was built at Bowmore in 1769. The church is an record from 1500 but its dedication to St. Maelrubha, (d.722 ), suggests a much earlier origin and 14th century slabs have come from the surrounding burial-ground, which is still in use. One of these forms part of the 'monument', NR36SW 1. The published name Cill an Rudha, Church of the Headland, is meaningless in its topographical setting and should read Cill-a-Rubha which is a contracted form of the Maelrubha dedication.

Name Book 1878; Orig Paroch Scot 1854; W J Watson 1926; G Hay 1957; W D Lamont 1972.

In the burial ground 4.0m along the north wall from the NW corner a piece of bonded walling, ragged and leaning, extends for 2.8m. This walling stands to 1.4m maximum height, and is 0.5m thick; a commemorative slab dated 1799 is set in the east face. Some 4.5m further along jagged stone-work 1.1m broad protrudes to a height of 0.3m. The graveyard attendant knew of the tradition of a chapel but did not authoritively identify it with the above; to his knowledge no finds have been made in the burial ground to indicate a chapel. The described features could indicate the ends of a building or enclosure abutting the graveyard wall, but the wall slimness at one end is uncharacteristic. Visited by OS (J M) 29 August 1979.

The site of this medieval church lies within the policies of Islay House, some 200 m N of Bridgend. Drawings by two of

the artists who accompanied Joseph Banks in 1772 (drawings by James F Miller and John Cleveley in British Library, MS 15,509, fols. 10 and 11), show that it stood in the NW angle of the burial-ground where the present N boundary-wall, much patched, may incorporate some early masonry. At that period the N wall of the church preserved two windows with pointed rear-arches, apparently of late 13th-century character, and a fragment of the S wall, containing a small round-headed window, was also extant, while a two-storeyed slated structure with a chimney and timber ?bell-cot had been erected at the W end. A small number of architectural fragments have been reused to build a tomb-chest of 1767. They are uniformly of a white medium-grained sandstone, probably of Carboniferous age, and include a filleted-roll-and-hollow moulded rybat, at least one rybat fashioned with a 63mm chamfer and internal rebate, and a block skew or coping-stone, the first-mentioned piece probably being attributable to the late medieval period.

The parish church of St Maelrubha on Islay first comes on record in the late 14th century and was evidently an

independent parsonage in the patronage of the Lords of the Isles, until their forfeiture in about 1493, and thereafter of the Crown. (Cowan; OPS 1854; Watson 1926) According to Irish sources, the parsonage was for a period in the 16th century attached to the rectory of Urney in the diocese of Derry. (Gwynn 1946) The parish was united with that of Kilchoman (RCAHMS 1984, No. 366) from 1618 until 1769, but #150 Scots was to be raised for repairs in 1730, and the reconstructed portion of the building shown in the 1772 drawings probably continued in use until the completion of its replacement at Bowmore (RCAHMS 1984, No. 360) in 1767-9, after which it is said to have been 'thrown down'. (Scott et al 1915-61; Islay Stent. Book; Statistical Account 1794)

The following monuments are in the burial-ground, except those which have been re-erected on Cnoc na

Croiche, 30m N of the East Tower (nos.17-19) (see NR36SW 1).

MEDIEVAL

(1) Tapered slab, 1.71m by 0.43m. Within a double moulding there is a foliated cross with a long shaft which

rises from a semicircular foliated base. To the right of the shaft is a sword with lobated pommel and short curved

quillons, and to the left are two intertwined plant-stems. (Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th century.

(2) Tapered slab, 1.82m by about 0.46m, bordered by triple mouldings. At the top is a foliated cross with plaited

centre, while below there has been a sword, flanked on each side by a plant-scroll springing from the tail of an animal.

The sword and right scroll have been almost completely obliterated by an inscription which reads:

HEAR LYETH ANDRV THE SON/OF JOHN HEVES (?HugheS)

MARCHAND (merchant) IN LEVER/POLL (Liverpool)

WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE/ 20 OF FEBROREY 1702 YEARS [. . .]

(Graham, Islay, pl.vi, no. 22). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(3) Tapered slab, 1.92m by 0.51m, bordered by a roll-moulding. At the top is a tightly-woven foliated design of

unusual complexity based on a pattern of interlaced circles, followed by a sword with lobated pommel and inclined

quillons with slightly expanded terminals, flanked by plant-scrolls. A later inscription incised to the right of the sword-

hilt reads HMCK / 1696. (GAGM cast, no. 181; Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(4) Tapered slab,1.72m by 0.59m, bordered by a triple moulding. At the top there are traces of a complex circular

interlace-pattern resembling that on number 3, but the rest of the original ornament has been obliterated by an inscription (cf. number 23) which reads:

HERE LYES DAVID FRASER WHO DEPARTED THIS / LIFE IN SKEAROLS

THE 29 OF APRILE 1692 YEARS/AND OF HIS AGE 73 YEARS

At the foot are the lines:

HERE LYETH ONE UNDER THIS STONE/

WHOS BONS ARE TURND TO DUST/

WAITING THE RESURECTION /

OF FAITHFULL ONES AND JUST

Probably lona school, 14th-15th century.

(5) Tapered slab,1.82m by 0.52m, bordered by triple mouldings; it is much worn. At the top there is a foliated

cross, followed by a central sword resembling that on number 3. The rest of the decoration has been obliterated.

(Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(6) Tapered slab,1.64m by 0.45m. In the upper half there is an effigy of a priest in Eucharistic vestments standing in a

double-cusped ogival niche. To the left of the head is a chalice and an illegible two-line inscription prefaced by a small

cross. In the lower half of the stone is a foliated cross incorporating oak-leaves, followed by plant-scroll ornament. (Graham, Islay, pi. iv, no. 17). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(7) Tapered slab,1.92m by 0.52. m, bordered by a triple moulding. At the top there is a foliated cross and then, to the

left, a small effigy of a priest in a cusped and foliated niche, and to the right an illegible three-line inscription, a chalice

and foliage. The lower part of the slab bears an overall pattern of intertwined plant-stems springing from the tails of

a pair of animals. (GAGM cast, no. 177; Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(8) Tapered slab, 1.95m by 0.53m, bordered by a roll-moulding. It bears the heavily worn full-length effigy of a

man in armour, wearing a pointed bascinet, an aventail or coif of mail, and a knee-length aketon. From his waist-belt is

suspended a single-hand sword resembling that on number 3. (Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(9) Greater part of an effigial monument, similar to number 8 and 2.02m long. It is much worn, and the surface

of the head has flaked off..(Graham, 1895). lona school, 14th-15th century.

(10) Two fragments of a free-standing cross, comprising the lower part of the shaft, itself split longitudinally, and one

arm and part of the head. The cross has measured at least 1.5m in height, excluding the 0.48m butt which is slightly

tapered, and the shaft has been 0.28m wide at ground level, 0.26m wide at the neck, and up to O.11m thick. The disc-

head has been about 0.40m in diameter, and the arm splays outwards. The front of the head bears a pattern of

intersecting arcs bounded by double mouldings, while the edges of the shaft and arm are wrought with a square

moulding. (Graham, 1895, shows smaller fragment only), lona school, 14th-15th century.

(II) Tapered slab of epidiorite, 1.96m by 0.57m. The decoration is in two panels, each bordered by a pair of plain

mouldings separated by a row of elongated nail-head ornament. The upper panel, which is almost square, contains

a loosely woven knot of six-cord plait, while in the lower panel there is a central sword, similar to that on number 3,

flanked by plant-stems and with an animal above the left quillon. (Graham, 1895). Loch Awe school,

14th-15th century.

(12) Tapered slab, 1.74m by 0.47m, bordered by a double moulding. At the top there is a foliated cross, and centrally

beneath this a claymore with a griffin to the left of the hilt and a stag to the right. On each side of the scabbard is a plant-scroll linked at the upper end to an animal. (GA.GM cast, no.178; 1895; Steer and Bannerman, 1977). Oronsay school, c-1500-1560.

(13) Tapered slab of irregular shape, 1.41m by 0.39m. Within a roll-moulding it bears a claymore which above the

quillons is flanked by a ?lion at the left and a plain panel, perhaps once inscribed, at the right. Below each quillon is an

animal linked by the tail to a plant-scroll. (GAGM cast, no. 179; pencil drawing, 1772. in British Library. Add. MS 15,509, fol. 13; Graham, 1895). Oronsay school c.1500-1560.

(14) Tapered slab,1.75m by 0.46m; broken across a much worn. It shows traces of a foliated cross at the top, a

below this a central sword similar to that on number (Graham, 1895). 14th-15th century.

(15) Tapered slab lacking the foot and damaged round the edges; it is 1.57m long and is bordered by triple mouldin,

At the head there is a panel which may originally have borne an inscription, followed by a foliated cross with a long shi

flanked on each side by a sword similar to that on number

(16) Slab of irregular shape, 1.82m long by 0.30m wide 2 the head and 0.33m wide near the bottom, which is pointed. It is much worn, the only visible decoration being a central sword similar to that on number 3. 14th-15th century.

[Nos 17-19 see NR36SW 1]

(20) Lower part of a tapered slab, 1.28m long and bordered by a roll-moulding. At the bottom there is the tip of

a central sword, flanked at the left by a plant-scroll, but the rest of the decoration is obliterated, 14th-early 16th century.

(21) Part of a tapered slab with pointed head. The ornament has been totally effaced, but the outline of the slab

is of medieval character. Probably 14th-early 16th century.

(22) Tapered slab, 1.76m by 0.51m, bordered by two mouldings separated by a row of nail-head ornament. At the

top there is a square panel of interlace composed of interlocking rings, and below this a female figure standing in

a cusped niche embellished with nail-head. She wears a short cape over a long-sleeved garment with pleated skirt, and

holds a ?book in her right hand and a rosary in the other. Below the figure, to the left, is a pair of shears. (Graham,

1895). 14th-early 16th century.

(23) Tapered slab, 1.82m by 0.61m. It appears to have originated as a medieval graveslab bearing a central sword

flanked by plant-scrolls which emerge from the tails of two animals above the quillons, but it was skilfully altered in 1684 to commemorate the wife and children of David Fraser, whose own slab (number 4) lies next to it. The area round the sword-hilt was cut back to allow the carving in relief of a new hilt with curved quillons and a swept knuckle-guard, while the decoration at the top was replaced by the date 1684 and, within mantling, a shield bearing a chevron between two cinquefoils ('fraises') in chief and three ?pellets in base. At the foot of the slab there are to the left a skull and cross-bones and to the right an hour-glass, flanking a panel which formerly bore an inscription. Below these emblems were two lightly incised mottoes, which appear from an 18th-century drawing to have read: VIVE MEMOR LETHIE (SC) ('Live mindful of death') and FUGIT HORA ('Time flies'). The marginal inscription, carved within a triple moulding which is bevelled at the corners of the slab, reads: (GAGM cast, no. 180; drawing by J Clevely, 1772, in British Library, Add. MS 15, 509, fol. 21; Graham,1895, omitting the inscribed border). Probably 14th-early 16th century.

Post-reformation (see also numbers 2,3,4 and 23).

(24) Recumbent slab of local slate bearing the incised date 1674 and the initials RP/is.

(25) Recumbent slab of sandstone bearing the following inscription to Mr David Simson, minister of Kilchoman and

Kilarrow, who died in 1700.6 A secondary inscription commemorates his wife Isabell, daughter ofLachlin McNeill

ofLossit, who died in 1712.

HERE LIES THE GODELY CALM UISE PRUDENT PASTOR/

WHO DY(E)D BELOV[ED] OF ALL & TO THE SAD DISASTOR /

OF HIS BRETHREN KINDRED FLOCK & PATRON TOO/

ALL IN ONE VOICE WITH GROANS WILL SAY ITS TRLJE/

CALLED MR DAVID SIMSON PLEASE TO K.NOU/

THE GOSPEL MAY 1700 GOT THIS FATALL BLOU/

DEATH KING OF TERRORS ENDED HIS RACE/

IN THE AGE OF 38 YEARS DY(E)D IN PEACE

(26) Coped slab bearing emblems of mortality and scrollwork decoration commemorating Samuel MacLean (d.

1724) and his brother, Archibald (d. 1750), both merchants in Kilarrow.

(27) Round-topped headstone erected to the memory of Florence, daughter of John MacLean, merchant in

Kilarrow, who died in 1734.

(28) Recumbent slab with commemorative marginal inscription for Isobel, daughter of John Campbell of

Laganlochan who died in 1710.

(29) Recumbent slab of sandstone commemorating Lachlan Campbell, late Commissar Depute of Islay' who

died in 1737. The stone bears a full heraldic achievement, the shield being charged gyronny of eight, and beneath the shield a galley, sail furled.

(30) Recumbent slab commemorating Donald MacLean, merchant in Kilarrow, who died in 1711, and other members

of his family.

(31 ) Recumbent slab of sandstone inscribed at the head to commemorate Archibald, son of John Campbell of

Killinallan, who died in 1737. The stone bears an armorial and the shield is charged: quarterly, 1st, a stag's head

cabossed; 2nd, gyronny of eight; 3rd, a galley, sail furled; 4th, a mullet. A later inscription has been added at the foot of the stone.

(32) Recumbent slab of sandstone commemorating principally Jean Bannatyne (d. 1735), daughter of Ninian

Bannatyne of Kames (Bute), and wife of John Campbell, minister of Kilchoman and Kilarrow." The stone bears an

armorial carved in relief and the shield is charged: quarterly, 1st and 4th, gyronny of eight; 2nd and 3rd, a galley, sail

furled.

(33) Recumbent slab commemorating John Campbell of Ballole, who died in 1750, and his wife who died in 1741.

(34) Recumbent slab with eulogistic inscription to the memory of Jane Campbell (nee Evers), wife of Alexander

Campbell of Lossit, who was born in Jamaica in 1740 and died in 1767.

(35) Recumbent slab commemorating Archibald Campbell, son of John Campbell of Ballinaby, and his wife

and family.

(36) Recumbent slab of sandstone bearing an inscription, now illegible, and an armorial. The shield is charged gyronny

of eight, and beneath the shield a galley, sail furled.

(37-8) Two worn and partly broken slabs, one dated 1723, the other, which bears a shield flanked by four mill-

rinds, commemorating a (mill)wright in Kilarrow who died in ?1731.

(39) Recumbent slab broken in two pieces commemorating James Campbell, son of Duncan Campbell

of Ballinaby who died in 1729. The stone bears an heraldic achievement and the shield is charged: quarterly, 1st, a stag's head cabossed; 2nd, ?gyronny of eight; 3rd, a galley, sail furled; 4th, illegible.

(40) Large slab of sandstone set on a tomb-chest commemorating John Wardrop, mason in Glasgow 'who

died when building the church here' (presumably at Bowmore, (RCAHMS 1984, No.360), 5 September 1767, aged 47.

RCAHMS 1984, visited October 1980.

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