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Lochgilphead, Argyll Street, Roman Catholic Church Of St Margaret, Cross

Cross (Medieval)

Site Name Lochgilphead, Argyll Street, Roman Catholic Church Of St Margaret, Cross

Classification Cross (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Kilmory Castle; Kilmory Castle Policies; Vallay

Canmore ID 39385

Site Number NR88NE 18

NGR NR 86299 88217

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilmichael Glassary
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll


Field Visit (9 July 1973)

NR88NE 18 8627 8822

See also NR88NE 128.00.

See also NF77NE 18 Vallay

NR 8629 8820. At the main gate to the churchyard of the Catholic church (NR88NE 128.00) is a free standing cross 2.0m high. It was found lying in the grounds of Kilmory Castle (NR 8686) and was erected in its present position about six years ago.

The cross dates from the 9th/10th century, and is carved from stone which is found on N Uist (information from M Campbell, Kilberry Castle).

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J P) 9 July 1973.

Field Visit (31 January 1977)

NR 8628 8821. No change to the report of 9 July 1973.

Surveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (B S) 31 January 1977.

Field Visit (August 1985)

This cross, which has been set up within the grounds of the Roman Catholic church in Argyll Street, Lochgilphead, stood until about 1969 in a rockery garden at Kilmory Castle (No. 169). It can, however, be identified with a cross, described by Martin and Muir, which some time before 1901was removed 'to Argyllshire' from the island of Vallay (NF c.785763), then part of the North Uist estate of the Orde family of Kilmory (en.1). This identification is confirmed by the material used, a dark hornblende-schist, which appears to be ofHebridean origin.

The cross is 1.27m in visible height (en.2*) by about 90mm in average thickness, and the shaft tapers from 0.34m at ground level to 0.28m below the cross-head. It has been cruciform, with a somewhat irregular top arm, but the upper part of the right edge, including the side-arm, has been trimmed, probably for domestic re-use (en.3*). The left arm, however, is substantially complete, with a projection of about 60mm, and the smoothed and slightly rounded armpits are preserved except for that below the right arm. Within each of the armpits, and opening into them as if to link with an edge moulding, there are incised rings about l00m m in diameter which define four circular mouldings with 40mm pierced centres (en.4*). The front surface, which now faces NW, is irregular, but no other ornament can be identified. The back preserves a well-smoothed surface, unornamented except for the pierced holes whose apertures, independently wrought from this side, are of smaller diameter than on the front.

This is one of the largest of the few surviving crosses from the Outer Hebrides, and some of its features, such as the irregularly splayed arms, are paralleled in other carvings from that area (en.5*). The cross-fragment that remains in the burial-ground at Teampull Mhuir, Vallay, displays the same distinctive ring-moulding within the armpit, although enclosing a sunk rather than a pierced centre (en.6). This may be inspired by a comparable feature in the disc-headed crosses of the Whithorn School of the 10th or 11th century (en.7), and the crosses from Vallay may tentatively be assigned to the same period.

RCAHMS 1992, visited August 1985

Note (2001)

(3) NR88NE 18. Cross of dark hornblende-schist which was removed from Vallay to Kilmory Castle, Argyll, between 1855 and 1901 (vii) and now stands in the grounds of St Margaret's Roman Catholic Church, Lochgilphead. It measures 1.27m in visible height by 0.38m and is 90mm thick, but the right arm was truncated, probably when it was re-used as 'a doorway-lintel in an outhouse' (viii). The armpits are rounded, but within them there are circular bead-mouldings which enclose 40mm piercings (ix).

Fisher 2001


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