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Kilmodan Church, Burial Ground

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

Site Name Kilmodan Church, Burial Ground

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

Alternative Name(s) Clachan Of Glendaruel

Canmore ID 39961

Site Number NR98SE 4

NGR NR 99519 84165

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2022.

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NR98SE 4.00 99519 84165

NR98SE 4.01 99484 84147 Marshall Barr Lapidarium

For Kilmodan Church see NR98SE 5

For Kilmodan Cemetery see NR98SE 21

(NR 9948 8414) Sculptured Stones (NR)

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

There are several sculptured gravestones in the parish churchyard of Kilmodan. The sculpturing consists of a monk in the attitude of prayer, a knight in full armour, skull crossbones, and various other objects, partially obliterated. They were removed at various times from the old burying ground of St Modan (NS08SW 4).

Name Book 1866

Nine W of Scotland sculptured slabs have been relocated from under the turf one with an inscription.

I Christian 1969

The nine sculptured slabs of medieval date are now on display in a small building at the SW corner of the churchyard. The inscribed stone is dated 1636.

Visited by OS (DWR) 21 November 1972


This reference applies collectively to NR98SE 4.00 and NR98SE 4.01

Address: Kilmodan Church Burial Ground and Marshall Barr Lapidarium,

Postcode: PA22 3AA

Status: Closed for burials but maintained

Size: 0.29 hectares, 0.72 acres


Number of gravestones: Not known

Earliest gravestone: 1717

Most recent gravestone: 1999

Description: Burial ground associated with a church, lapidarium/burial aisle

Data Sources: OS MasterMap checked 20 September 2005; Graveyard Recording Form dated 17 March 2003


Field Visit (14 September 1942)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Emergency Survey (1942-3), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, vary from short notes to lengthy and full descriptions and are available to view online with contemporary sketches and photographs. The original typescripts, manuscripts, notebooks and photographs can also be consulted in the RCAHMS Search Room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 10 December 2014.

Field Visit (May 1988)

This church is situated in the valley-bottom on the E bank of the River Ruel, S of the 19th-century manse (en.1*) and W of Clachan of Glendaruel. The existing church was built in 1783 to replace an older and more elongated one, possibly of medieval origin, situated on a slightly different alignment and a few metres to the S (en.2*). A site on the hillside 0.8km to the ENE, described in the 19th century as that of St Modan's Chapel, is now identified as the Lephinkill chamberedcairn (en.3*).

The church is of T-plan, measuring 13.5m from E to W by 6.4m within 0.9m walls and having at the centre of the N wall a projection 3.2m deep and 4.1m wide within 0.8m walls. Itis of harled rubble with painted sandstone quoins and dressings, a plain sandstone eaves-course, and a hipped and slated roof. The S front has a slightly projecting centrepiece, 3.8m wide and pedimented above a plain band which is continuous with the eaves-course. It contains a plain blocked doorway and two circular windows with slightly rounded arrises, and in the pediment, which has a moulded cornice, there is a blind roundel. Supported on the pediment is a birdcage belfry with shaped pillars and a stepped roof carrying a ball-finial. The flanking bays contain tall windows with projecting impost-blocks and keystones, and then two tiers of windows lighting the end-galleries. An armorial panel built into the S wall is described infra. Each end-wall has a central doorway with a plain sandstone surround, and each side-wall of the N aisle has a first-floor gallery window. A modern session-room is built in the E re-entrant of the aisle.

The interior retains its original layout, with the galleries of three of the local Campbell families centred on the pulpit set against the S wall. The octagonal pulpit, with tall narrow rectangular panels, may be original, although its pilastered back and pediment are probably of 19th-century date, and there is no sounding-board. The pews, although renewed, are still centred on the pulpit, and there are two long moveable communion-tables. Short flights of stone steps with moulded edges curve to timber stairs giving access to each gallery. The Glendaruel gallery, in the N aisle, has a three-panelled front with a dentillated cornice, while those of the Ormidale and Southhall families, in the W and E ends of the church, are each five-panelled and supported by modern pillars. The interior was lit by a cupola, which was replaced by one of simpler form during a renovation in the early 1980s.

The church serves a parish comprising Glendaruel and the W shore of Loch Riddon. Part of the E shore of the loch is also attached to it, as recommended by the Synod of Argyll in 1642, but adjacent areas remained in Inverchaolain parish despite proposals of 1642 and 1651 (en.4). The dedication was to one of the saints bearing the Irish name Aedan, which here has prefixed the affectionate mo ('my’) (en.5). A chaplain and a rector of Kilmodan are recorded in 1250 and 1299 respectively, and another rector in 1420, but by 1425 the church had become a prebend of the chapter of Argyll, the Crown retaining its existing patronage of the benefice. In the 17th century the revenues are described as being annexed to Whithorn Priory, or the Bishopric of Galloway, but it is not recorded how this came about (en.6).

The armorial stone bearing the initials of Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchenbreck and the date 1610 may indicate a rebuilding or repair of the church at that time, but little is known of the pre-1783 structure. It was said to be ruinous in 1699, and in 1712 there were further complaints about its condition, and those of the adjacent manse and bridge. Anew bell was provided in 1754, but no mention of the rebuilding of 1783 is found in the minutes of the Presbytery of Dunoon (en.7*).

MAUSOLEUM. At the W boundary of the churchyard, in a position indicated on the pre-1783 plan of the glebe, there is a building of har1ed rubble, 3.05m square, having in the E wall a doorway with 80mm chamfer. It is now roofed as a lapidarium, but probably was originally open, and two ball finials of 18th-century type lying beside the doorway may have surmounted the wallhead. This is said to have been a mausoleum of the Campbells of Auchenbreck.

ARMORIAL PANEL. Built into the E end of the S wall oft he church there is a panel of buff sandstone, now painted, measuring 0.69m by 0.38m. An outer moulding frames two panels, each with its own moulded surround: dexter, a shield inscribed SDC / 1610; sinister, a shield quarterly, 1st and 4th a galley; 2nd and 3rd, gyronny of eight. This panel was presumably carved for Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchenbreck, one of the principal heritors in the parish.

RCAHMS 1992, visited May 1988

[see RCAHMS 1992, No. 72 for a detailed description of 21 medieval and post-reformation funerary monuments]


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