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Islay, Keills

Cross (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Keills

Classification Cross (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 38102

Site Number NR46NW 1

NGR NR 4170 6872

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR46NW 1 4170 6872.

(NR 4173 6870) Stone Cross (NR) (Remains of)

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

This broken medieval cross-shaft as illustrated (Lamont 1972) is about 6ft in height and 9ins square. The part broken off is said to have been built in the dyke immediately NE (Ordnance Survey Name Book {ONB} 1878).

Name Book 1878; W D Lamont 1972.

A cross-shaft as described and illustrated by Lamont.

Visited by OS (N K B) 5 April 1979.

A cross-shaft stands erect on the top of a low stony mound about 300 m ENE of the chapel (RCAHMS 1984, No. 327). The mound may have been constructed as a base for the cross, and it is probable that the present socket-stone is original although the cross is not firmly bedded into it; the cross was evidently in its present position in 1772. (Pennant 1772; an early plan of the adjacent township of Persabus {original at Islay Estate Office, copy in SRO, RHP 11,059} shows that the wall E of the cross was the boundary between Kiells and Persabus. McDougall's Map of 1749-51 suggests that it stood at or near the junction of old routes from Port Askaig to Finlaggan and Ballygrant) Excluding the butt, the shaft measures 1.80m in height, and 0.28 m by 0.16m at the base. On one face is a double plant-scroll of a type favoured by the lona school, which ends at the foot in a dragon's head. On the opposite face is a similar double plant-scroll ending in a pair of dragons' heads, and enclosing a small equal-armed cross in each loop of the scroll. (J Stuart 1856-67). lona school, 14th-15th century.

Visited July 1981


Due to the need to remove the headless and leaning cross shaft at Keills for cleaning and conservation, a one-day watching brief was mounted during the removal of the shaft, followd by a brief archaeological excavation of the cross-setting. It was found that the shaft was bedded in a crude dry-stone socket around which a low cairn of light stonework was erected over a cleared terrace. The cairn and socket showed signs of having been damaged and repaired during the later 19th century, but no dating evidence was found of the construction of the cairn itself.

Sponsor Historic Scotland

G Ewart 1993


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