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Kilallan, St Fillan's Church And Churchyard

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Coin (Roman)

Site Name Kilallan, St Fillan's Church And Churchyard

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Church (Period Unassigned), Coin (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Old Kilallan Church; Kilallan Parish Church

Canmore ID 42250

Site Number NS36NE 5

NGR NS 38261 68936

NGR Description Centred NS 38261 68936

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Renfrewshire
  • Parish Houston
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Renfrewshire

Archaeology Notes

NS36NE 5 38261 68936

(NS 3826 6893) St Fillan's Church (NR) (rems of) (NAT)

OS 6" map (1968).

See also NS36NE 2.

Kilallan parish church, which was dedicated to St Fillan- ie Faelan of Cluain Moescna in Meath, but of whom nothing authentic seems to be known (W J Watson 1926) - was among the churches given to the monastery of Paisley (on the latter's foundation - about 1169). It was last used in 1771, the parish having been united with Houston in 1760. The walls are fairly entire, though without gables. The masonry shows that they are of considerable age, if indeed not of the Norman period. All the openings are of 17th century work and the doorway at the W end of the S wall is dated 1635. The openings were probably altered about that time and the pre-Reformation character changed to suit Presbyterian ideas. The plan resembles many ancient churches in its long proportions and in having the N and S doors opposite each other (D MacGibbon and T Ross 1897). Lyle notes that the Barochan Aisle, where several of the Flemings of Barachan are buried, was later added to the rear of the church. He also adds that the church wall contained a 10th-11th century stone (but gives no details), and has a sculptured fragment incised with a mitre and staff. The font from the church is now built into the churchyard wall (OSA 1791). The church bell hang in a tree at Barochan House (NS 414 686); it was recast in 1844, but the original inscription "CAROLVS HOG ME FECIT 1618" has no doubt been copies (J M Mackinlay 1895). The

burial ground surrounding the church was still in use in 1856 (Name Book 1856). A 13th century tombstone was dug up in it in 1962.

OPS 1851; A Hallifax-Crawford 1962; W W Lyle 1975.

A large bronze Byzantine coin of 6th century AD date, a bronze hinged clasp and a Medieval pewter crucifix were found in the ruins of the church. They are in the possession of D A Cunningham. (See also NS36NE 2).

DES 1976

When seen in 1955, the walls of St Fillan's Church were in good condition; they appeared to have been renovated recently.

Visited by OS (JD) 26 July 1955 .


Desk Based Assessment (March 2011)

GUARD Archaeology Ltd were commissioned by Kilallan Kirk Preservation Trust to undertake historical and architectural research on Kilallan Kirk located to between Houston and Kilmacolm. This work was undertaken during March 2011.

The roofless church building is rectangular in plan with the later addition of a burial aisle on the north side. The main church building is 18.8m long by 6.6 m wide external (16.8 m by 4.8 m internal). The walls survive to roof level along with part of the west gable which also contains a high level infilled window. There is a doorway with an iron gate on the south wall at the west end with a lintel stone bearing the date 1635. Opposite this is a blocked doorway on the north wall. The interior of the church has been used for later burials during the 19th century with the addition of the Barochan Aisle on the north side and iron railings partitioning off the east end. These burials are mainly identified by plaques or tablets mounted on the walls. There is evidence for considerable re-building or restoration in the 18th and 19 centuries as grave stones and memoral tablets have been mounted on the exterior of the south wall and used to infill windows and doors. Most of the stonework has been heavily re-pointed. The east gable is covered in ivy and other plants and small trees are growing in the stonework and wallheads.

Geophysical Survey (20 September 2013 - 30 September 2013)

NS 382 689 A geophysical survey and programme of grave recording were carried out, 20–30 September 2013. The survey of the interior and kirkyard of the medieval kirk located a robbed out foundation trench inside the kirk and two large sub-circular features in the kirkyard. These features probably relate to earlier ecclesiastical activity on the site. An area of lower resistance on the N side of the kirk may be a grave cut, whilst two areas of magnetic disturbance may indicate the presence of multiple burials. The grave recording identified a total of 58 grave monuments and two possible grave footings.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Kilallan Kirk Preservation Trust

Christine Rennie, GUARD Archaeology Ltd, 2013

(Source: DES)


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