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Arran, Pien, Saint Molaise's Chapel

Architectural Fragment(S) (Medieval)(Possible), Burial Ground, Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), Church (18th Century), Church (19th Century)

Site Name Arran, Pien, Saint Molaise's Chapel

Classification Architectural Fragment(S) (Medieval)(Possible), Burial Ground, Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), Church (18th Century), Church (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Chapel Of St Molios, Clauchan Burial Ground

Canmore ID 39714

Site Number NR93SW 19

NGR NR 9216 3034

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council North Ayrshire
  • Parish Kilmory
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cunninghame
  • Former County Buteshire

Architecture Notes


NMRS Microfilm and Microfiche Collection


copyright: Cunninghame District Council 1990/57

Reel 4 (Arran), accompanied by index on microfiche


Desk Based Assessment (3 April 1973)

NR93SW 19 9216 3034.

(NR 9224 3032) Burial Ground (NR)

OS 6" map, Buteshire, (1924)

The traditional clachan of 'St Molios' (Molaise - see NS02NE 4) is supposed to have occupied the site of the present chapel at Shiskin. It is marked on Blaeu's map as Kilmichael. The old churchyard still remains.

Source: J McArthur 1873.

The roofless building (at NR 9216 3034) was a church built in 1805, on the site of an earlier church erected about 1708. There is no trace of the original chapel, though T S Muir (1885) states that traces of what had been a small chapel were in the middle of the apparently disused burial ground. There are two stones, one standing at the gate, probably grave slabs, bearing a floral cross. The name Molios,applied to a tonsured figure carved on a stone which was formerly near the centre of this graveyard, but now built into the wall of a church at Shiskine, (?St Molio's Church at NR 9102 2940) has given rise in the district to the belief that the stone is an effigy of that saint, but the vestments are more appropriate to a 13th century abbot, possibly commemorating an abbot of Saddell, in Kintyre.

Sources: J A Balfour 1910; Name Book 1864; T S Muir 1885; R McLellan 1970.

Information from OS (IF) 3 April 1973.

Field Visit (28 September 1977)

The roofless church remains as a shell with a grassed interior and is consistent with a date of 1805. There is no trace of an earlier structure, and no local knowledge of a chapel either here or within the Kirkyard which has been extended and is still in current use. Many 18th century graves testify to an earlier church.

The floral cross stone was not located and no local knolwedge of its existence gained. The 'effigy' stone is set into a buttress at the SW angle of St Molio's Church tower, and is as illustrated though much weathered. It is locally known that the stone was taken from the old kirkyard and placed during the construction of this church in the 1880's.

Visited by OS (J R L) 28 September 1977.

Field Visit (2007)

NR 92169 30334 Built into the outer facing of the ruinous N wall of the roofless meeting house at Clauchan is an architecturally sculpted stone.

It was a subrectangular block 0.45m wide, 0.26m high and 0.29m thick. Into the stone has been cut a 0.20m semicircular arch with a flat 50mm chamfer round the edge of the semicircle. The arch penetrates the stone for a depth of 140mm before opening out a further 20mm vertically then fanning towards the back of the block, where the diameter is 0.35m, leaving only a thin rim of the original block of stone.

The stone was the headpiece of a narrow round-headed window 0.20m wide that would have been approximately 1m high. Similar window heads carved from a single block of stone have been identified in chapels dated to the 13th century or earlier. Clauchan chapel replaced the original in 1805 and remained in use until superseded in 1890 by the present church at Shiskine. The original, known as Duchess Anne’s Church, was built about 1708, probably replacing a building in the adjacent old graveyard. Other re-used stones with chamfered edges occur within the standing walls of the ruin.

Funder: Arran Heritage Museum.

ACFA 2007

Standing Building Recording (2009)

NR 92169 30334 A standing building survey has been undertaken and the interior and walls have been cleared of all vegetation. Consolidation of the walls to preserve the building and make it safe has begun. High in the wall near the NE corner a reused sandstone block has been revealed. It measures 0.76m long (the full width of the wall), by 0.46m wide and 0.2m thick. Through this block has been carved a narrow lancet window opening,

0.54m high by 95mm wide. The window opening has a slight chamfer on the outer face and parallel reveals 90mm deep. A 15mm check occurs all round before the opening splays back to the reverse face of the block where the opening is 0.2m wide. This is the second stone from a window in this building that relates to a much earlier structure (Wood and Small DES 2007).

Archive: RCAHMS

JS Wood – Shiskine Valley Trust

Note (23 July 2018 - 24 July 2018)

The location, classification and period of this site have been reviewed.

HES Survey and Recording 23-24 July 2018.


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