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Islay, Mulreesh, Cill Eileagain

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Chapel (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Mulreesh, Cill Eileagain

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

Canmore ID 38123

Site Number NR46NW 4

NGR NR 4031 6948

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 4 4031 6948.

(NR 4031 6948) Cill Eileagain (NR) Chapel (NR) (Site of)

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

The name 'Cill Eileagain' refers to an old burial ground (ONB 1878), about 50ft square, with the remains of a chapel at its centre. The chapel, orientated NNE, measures 16ft by 10 1/2ft internally. A 'Pillow stone' 15ins by 13ins, found not long before 1972 at or near this chapel, bears an incised cross, dateable to between the 9th and 11th century. Other graveslabs are of 14th century and later dates.

Name Book 1878; F Celoria 1959; W D Lamont 1972.


Field Visit (September 1975)

The turf-covered footings of this chapel stand within a burial-ground about 700m N of Mulreesh. The building

measured about 5.5m from E to W by 3m transversely within walls about 1m in thickness and the entrance lay in the S wall. The burial-ground is roughly square on plan and measures about 18m by 15m within a stone-and-turf dyke some 1.5m in width.

Carved Stone. A small slab of quartzitic sandstone, probably derived from the local quartzites, was found at this

site about 1960 and is now at the Museum of Islay Life, Port Charlotte. Incomplete at the foot and damaged at the edges, it measures 0.41m by 0.34m. On one face it bears an incised cross formed from a single strand, doubled in the arms and interlaced at the centre; the upper arm ends in a loose triquetra knot, but the other terminals are worn or lost. In the upper left canton there is incised a minute Latin cross.

This stone was probably a grave-marker, although it is uncertain whether it was designed to be recumbent or

upright. It was possibly modelled on a type of expansional cross, with similar plaited centre, of which examples at lona

and Glendalough date from the 10th century. (RCAHMS 1982) However, errors in the interlacing at the centre and the terminal suggest that it was not the work of a professional carver. (Lamont 1968)).

RCAHMS 1984, visited September 1975.

Field Visit (2 April 1979)

The chapel measures 5.4m E-W, by 3.5m E-W, by 3.5m within a turf-covered wall about 1.5m thick and, at best, 0.6m high. The surrounding disused burial ground, D-shaped but for re-entrant angle in NE corner, measures 18.0 by 15.5m within a wall spread 2.5m broad and 0.3m high internally. The 'pillow stone' was removed from Balulive Farm (NR 406 699), where it had been lying, to the Islay Museum, Port Charlotte. The other grave slabs cannot be located.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (J M) 2 April 1979.

Reference (2001)

Early chapel in small quadrangular enclosure. A damaged slab, 0.41m by 0.34m, bears an incised ribbon-cross with plaited centre and a loose knot at the only surviving terminal. A minute Latin cross is incised in one canton. (Museum of Islay Life).

I Fisher 2001.


For cross incised stone, see NR46NW 4.01.


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