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Islay, Trudernish, Cill A' Chubein

Chapel (Period Unassigned), Well (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Trudernish, Cill A' Chubein

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned), Well (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Cill Chuibain

Canmore ID 38049

Site Number NR45SE 1

NGR NR 4537 5282

NGR Description NR 4537 5282 and NR 4541 5282

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR45SE 1 4537 5282 and 4541 5282

(NR 4540 5290) Cill a' Chuibein (NR)

Chapel (NR) (In ruins)

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

Cill Chuibain, probably the oldest chapel on Islay, measures 31 1/2ft by 19 1/2ft over crudely dry-built walls 4ft 9ins thick at base, but since the outer face slopes inward, only 3ft thick at the top. The corners are rounded. The door is near the west end of the south side and no windows can be traced but there are recesses in the west, north and south walls. Two of these flank the altar the foundations of which, 5ft 7ins long can still be traced. A mound of stones, which looks as if it has formed the foundation for a cross, lies SE of the chapel, but no sculptured stone has been found. Below the chapel is a healing well at which votive offerings were made until recent times.

The name may be a dedication to St Kevan, or it may come from 'Cobhan' and mean 'church of the hollow or recess'.

R C Graham 1895.

The ruins of this chapel stand close to the edge of a rock escarpment on the wooded lower slopes of Cnoc Mor a'

Chlaiginn.' It is a small oblong building measuring 6m from E to W by 3m in width within walls 1.5m in average thickness.

The walls, which stand comparatively well preserved to a height of about 1.5m, are of drystone rubble masonry; the

external face of the wall is battered and partly round-angled. The entrance-doorway is situated towards the W end of the s side-wall and has outward splayed reveals; there is no surviving evidence of window-openings. The interior contains four small aurnbries, three at the E end and a fourth, at a high-level, at the S end of the W wall. In its existing form the building is unicameral but contains much masonry debris, some of which may represent part of a collapsed internal partition.

The site is surrounded by the turf-covered remains of a stone dyke, enclosing an area about 48m from E to by 30m

in width. This wall is best preserved in the W and NW sections, where it survives to a height of about 0.75m and varies in width between 1.5m and 2m. Foundations of an irregularly aligned wall of slighter construction traverse the E half of the site, and a gap in the centre of the outer E circuit possibly marks the position of an entrance. Traces of a small oblong setting of stones are situated about 4m SW of the SW angle of the chapel, and there are some indeterminate remains 1.5m E of the building.

Visited May 1976


The OS publication of a chapel at NR 4540 5290 is incorrectly applied to the turf-covered footings of a small building or bothy situated on a rocky knoll. It measures 4.7m by 2.3m within a wall 1.1m wide. It is indistinguishable from many other such structures of early modern period in the area.

The correct position of the chapel as described by Graham (1895), and verified locally, is at NR 4537 5282, on a natural terrace, and within a sub-rectangular, dry-stone enclosure, possibly a burial ground. The chapel is rectangular internally but with its external angles rounded; it measures 6.0m E-W by 2.9m N-S within a wall 1.5m thick and 1.5m high. There is no evidence of mortar in its construction, and the outer face is battered. The altar noted by Graham cannot be identified, and no name is known locally.

The surrounding enclosure, about 50.0m by 30.0m, encloses an area containing much rock outcrop. No graveslabs are visible, but some 2.0m from the north-east corner of the chapel is a crude, squarish setting of stones fringing a depression 0.2m deep, purpose unknown. On the east side of the enclosure are some sub-dividing walls, probably later, and on a knoll a modern wooden cross has been affixed to a tree.

At NR 4541 5282 some 35.0m ESE of the chapel at the base of a slope is a spring well, choked with mud and vegetation, but which appears to be bounded by a random setting of partially buried stones. This is the only spring in the vicinity of the chapel, and is therefore presumably the holy well noted by Graham, though the tradition no longer survives locally.

Surveyed at 1:10,000

Visited by OS (NKB) 21 March 1979.


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