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Kilfinan Church

Church (Medieval), Grave Slab(S) (Medieval)

Site Name Kilfinan Church

Classification Church (Medieval), Grave Slab(S) (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Lamont Aisle

Canmore ID 39867

Site Number NR97NW 15

NGR NR 93432 78892

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/39867

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

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

Archaeology Notes

NR97NW 15.00 93432 78892

NR97NW 15.01 93416 78894 Churchyard

NR97NW 15.02 93419 78860 Churchyard Extension

For Lamont Burial Vault see NR97NW 14

For Rankin of Otter Burial Vault see NR97NW 44

See also NR96NE 10 and NR97SE 29.00.

(NR 9343 7888). Kilfinan parish church; 17th century, much reconstructed 1759 and 1882; remains of 1633 Lamont aisle.(Hay 1957) It still has masonry dateable to c.1250. The position of the church, and the name suggest there may have been an earlier Celtic foundation.

M Paterson 1970; G Hay 1957

The church was granted to Paisley Abbey in 1230-40; it was dedicated to St Finan, though in 1452, the vicar of St Serf's of Kilfinan is mentioned, but nothing further is known of this dedication.

H Scott (Fasti Eccles Scot) 1950

In normal use.

Visited by OS (IA) 7 November 1972

NR 934 788 A programme of archaeological work at Kilfinan Parish Church (NMRS NR97NW 15) was undertaken as part of a restoration scheme. A record of the exterior of the church was made after the removal of harling and the dismantling of the Lamont stair. This revealed a number of previously unknown architectural features within the fabric of the walls, including two blocked doorways.

Hand-excavation of two pipe trenches through the graveyard produced quantities of disarticulated broken human bone. It is considered that bone was probably dumped in the graveyard when burials were disturbed during road construction in the early 19th century. (GUARD 53.3).

Sponsor: Stewart Todd and Partners.

G MacGregor 2000

Much-altered medieval church in extensive churchyard.

I Fisher 2001.

NR 9343 7889 Monitoring of rubble clearance and renovation works at the church in January and February 2004 resulted in the recovery of a quantity of disarticulated human bone.

Report lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Tod and Taylor Architects

P Duffy 2004

Activities

Field Visit (August 1988)

This much-altered medieval church stands 1.2km from the shore of Kilfinan Bay, in a churchyard which on the Sand W falls steeply towards two small tributaries of the Kilfinan Burn. The E side of the churchyard was truncated by the construction of the present road, probably in the early 19th century, and soil up to 1.5m deep is believed to have been imported to increase the space for burials (en.1). The former manse, rebuilt about 1850 but with older structures in its S steading-wing, stands 110m to the E, and immediately N of the churchyard the Kilfinan Hotel preserves a vaulted cellar and a S range with a door-lintel dated 1760 and a sandstone chimney piece of the same period. The church is first recorded in the second quarter of the 13th century, and its proportions suggest that the outline of the original building is preserved, with the addition of the Lamont N aisle of 1633, which may itself incorporate late medieval work. However it was extensively rebuilt in 1759, and owes its present appearance to a restoration by the Glasgow architect, John Honeyman, in 1881-2. It measures18.9m from E to W by 5.3m within 0.85m walls, and the Lamont aisle extends a further 6.1m to the N and is 5.6m wide. The walls are harled externally and no early masonry is visible, with the possible exception of a rough plinth along the E wall and the E parts of the side walls.

RCAHMS 1992, visited August 1988

[see RCAHMS 1992, No. 61, for a full architectural description, and detailed notes on 23 funerary monuments and carved stones]

Publication Account (1990)

Extensive alterations were undertaken in 1759 ('repaired, or almost re-built') and 1882 (J Honeyman, architect), but comparison of the narrow rectangular plan with other early 13th-century churches suggests that Kilfinan incorporates remains of the church granted to Paisley Abbey by an ancestor of the Lamonts c. 1230-40. If so, along with Lochgilhead (Cowal), it is one of the only two medieval parish churches still usd for worship in Argyll. The Lamont N burial-aisle of 1633 may be remodelling of a late medieval chapel (cf Killean, Kintyre).

The collection of carved stones in the Lamont aisle includes three Early Christian cross-marked stones, one of them a massive double-sided slab with snak-and-boss and animal ornament (?9th or 10th century). Most of the medieval graveslabs, now very worn, belong to the Loch Awe school, as does a large broken cross with an inscription HEC EST CRUX PATRICII MAC NELUS ('This is the cross of Patrick MacNeilage'). Two elaborate Lamont family monuments (1706, 1712) are lcoated in the aisle, and other characteristic 18th-century monuments may be seen in the churchyard.

Information from ‘RCAHMS Excursion guide 1990: Commissioners' field excursion, Argyll, 7-9 May 1990’.

Watching Brief (2000)

NR 934 788 A programme of archaeological work at Kilfinan Parish Church (NMRS NR97NW 15) was undertaken as part of a restoration scheme. A record of the exterior of the church was made after the removal of harling and the dismantling of the Lamont stair. This revealed a number of previously unknown architectural features within the fabric of the walls, including two blocked doorways.

Hand-excavation of two pipe trenches through the graveyard produced quantities of disarticulated broken human bone. It is considered that bone was probably dumped in the graveyard when burials were disturbed during road construction in the early 19th century. (GUARD 53.3).

Sponsor: Stewart Todd and Partners.

G MacGregor 2000

Watching Brief (23 November 2015 - 20 April 2016)

NR 934 788 A watching brief was carried out, 23 November 2015 – 20 April 2016, during the lowering of an interior floor level as part of the redevelopment of the Lamont Aisle at Kilfinan Parish Church. Disarticulated human remains were uncovered along with fragments of stonework possibly from gravestones. The disarticulated human remains will be reburied.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Kilfinan Parish Church

Christine Rennie – GUARD Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES, Volume 17)

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