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Jura, Keils, Cill Earnadil

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Jura, Keils, Cill Earnadil

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Grave Slab(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Kilearndil; Cill Earnadail

Canmore ID 38222

Site Number NR56NW 1

NGR NR 5241 6875

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Jura
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR56NW 1.00 5241 6875

(NR 5241 6875) Cill Earnadail (NR) Chapel (NR) (site of)

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

NR56NW 1.01 NR 5241 6877 Mausoleum

The name "Cill Earnadail" applies to an ancient grave-yard, used as the parish burial ground. It is said to have been in use as early as the 14th century in connection with the chapel which stood near its north end.

Name Book 1878.

Kilearnadil churchyard occupies the site of a Celtic church (presumably also the parish church, the parish being previously called "Kilearnadil"). Local tradition states that St Ernan is buried here. The oldest grave-stones are three sculptured, recumbent slabs marking the graves of the early Buies of Largiebreac. Martin mentions a church called Killearn, presumably at this site, which has been much altered in recent times (Rideout 1932).

D Budge 1960; E H Rideout 1932; M Martin 1934; W J Watson 1926.

The graveyard is still in use and has been extended in recent times; the recumbent slabs noted are in the southern half. There is no trace of a chapel. The minister (Rev Youngson, Jura), who has researched into the origins of the graveyard, requests that the name "Kilearnadil" be applied.

Visited by OS (J M) 5 May 1978.

Nothing now remains of the church that formerly stood here, the only building now extant being the mausoleum of the Campbells of Jura, erected to a design of William Burn in 1838. (New Statistical Account, Argyll, 1845) This takes the form of a barrel-vaulted cell with heavy angle-buttresses and a steeply-pitched roof of stone slabs.

The round-arched entrance is screened by a cast-iron rail and above the arch-head a blank shield and label are carved in relief; the rear wall bears the incised date of erection.

The drystone footings of buildings which are visible immediately to the SW of the burial-ground and on the

adjacent left-hand bank of Abhainn a' Mhinisteir probably belong to the former township ofKillearnadale.

This is the original site of the parish church of Jura, otherwise named Killeamadale. Little is known of the

history of the church during the medieval period, and Monro's description of it as 'ane chapell sorntyme the

paroche kirk Kilernadil' indicates that the church had no parochial status in the middle of the 16th century, the mother

church then evidently being regarded as that of Colonsay. The parish was of very considerable extent and included not

only Jura and Colonsay (which was disjoined in 1861), but also the islands of Scarba, the Garvellachs, Lunga and (until

1726) Gigha. It is not known when the church was removed from this site, but the present parish church (No. 350) was

erected in about 1777. The dedication was probably to St Ernan, a follower ofSt Columba. (Monro 1884; Cowan 1967; Origines Paroch 1851; Scott et al, 1915-61; Watson 1926)

Font. Two schist fragments of the rim of what may have been a medieval font are preserved at Jura Manse; both were

found in the vicinity of the burial-ground. The basin evidently had an internal diameter of .about 0.32m within

octagonal sides, the angles being defined by raised ribs.

The following monuments are in the burial-ground, except numbers 8-11 (RCAHMS 1984) which lie within the Campbell of Jura mausoleum. (see NR56NW 1.01)


(1) Tapered slab, rounded at the base, measuring 1.58m by 0.45m. At the head there is a panel which has contained a

three-line inscription in Lombardic capitals, but only occasional letters are now legible. Below is a central sword

with lobated pommel and inclined quillons slightly expanded at the ends, set in a scabbard which ends in a chape. Flanking the sword are plant-stems, and at the foot are a casket with well-defined mountings, and a pair of shears, 14th-15th century.

(2) Slab with pointed top, probably by the carver who produced a slab at Kilchoman (RCAHMS 1984, No. 366). It is 1.71m in length by 0.46m in maximum width, at the foot. Within a roll-moulding there is a galley with no sail and

disproportionately long mast, followed by a separate panel bordered by a second moulding. This contains a central

sword similar to that on number I, flanked by plant-scrolls. To the right of the hilt there is a quatrefoil and to the left an

animal, 14th-15th century.

(3) Tapered slab bordered by a triple moulding measuring 1.84m by 0.49m and much worn. At the top is a foliated

cross, and then a central sword similar to that on number I. The decoration to the right of the hilt has been obliterated,

but to the left is a deer-hunt, while the sword-blade is flanked by plant-scrolls. At the foot is an illegible two-line inscription in Lombardic capitals, 14th-15th century.

(4) Tapered slab bordered by a roll-moulding, measuring 1.73m by 0.35m and much worn. At the top is a panel for an

inscription and beneath this, to the right, a seated ?human figure, followed by a central sword similar to that on number

I, flanked by plant-scrolls, 14th-15th century.

(5) Tapered slab bordered by a triple moulding, measuring 1.91m by 0.45m; much worn. A square of plaitwork at the top is followed by a central sword similar to that on number I, flanked by plant-scrolls. To the left of the hilt is a panel which may have borne an inscription, and to the right a pair of scissors, possibly indicating that the person

commemorated was a tailor. (Steer and Bannerman 14th-15th century.

(6) Tapered slab, pointed at the base and measuring 1.67m by 0.40m. Within a roll-moulding there is a central

sword similar to that on number I. To the right of the hilt is a lion rampant and to the left a panel which may have borne an inscription. Below each quillon, close to the margin, is a vertical stem with simplified leaves branching inwards, 14th-

15th century.

(7) Part of a slab, broken across and measuring 1.02m in length by 0.24m to 0.28m in width. It has a simple border,

and at the centre are two incised lines, probably the remains of a sword-blade. This slab may be of late medieval date.

(12) A recumbent slab of slate bearing an inscription in irregular capital letters which commemorates Mary Smith,

wife of Donald Mcindior, 'Gardenar', who died in 1785 aged 46.

(13) An incomplete headstone of slate, commemorating Alexander Melsaac who died in 1811 aged 29, and bearing in

relief a carpenter's square and dividers.

RCAHMS 1984, visited March 1980.

Groundworks in advance of a new water treatment system around Keils village and graveyard (NMRS NR56NW 1) were monitored and archaeological sites in the vicinity recorded. The principal features discovered were agricultural, including cultivation strips and associated rows of cleared stone, and drystone dykes.

Half of a broken mortar or tub for mashing barley was recovered from a field wall during separate operations near the graveyard.

Sponsor: West of Scotland Water.

I Suddaby (CFA) 2000.

Grave Yard [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, June 2010.


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