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Baile Na Cille, Oldany Island

Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval)

Site Name Baile Na Cille, Oldany Island

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval), Chapel (Medieval)(Possible), Shieling Hut(S) (Post Medieval)

Canmore ID 4515

Site Number NC03SE 2

NGR NC 0845 3421

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/4515

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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Assynt
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC03SE 2 0845 3421.

(NC 0845 3421) Grave Yard (NR) (Site of)

OS 6"map, Sutherland, 2nd ed., (1907)

At Baile na Cille, Oldany Island, an ancient burial ground with the graves outlined with flat stones, and in some instances with similar stones placed upon them. At the back of the burial ground, against the hill, are the ruins of rude structure outlined with great slabs of rock placed on end, the largest 3' high, 3' broad and 1' thick. It is roughly rectangular and lies almost N-S, measuring internally some 12' by 10' with an entrance from the E. Attached to it is a smaller building about 13' long by 8' wide with a circular structure, possibly an oven, in the NE corner about 3' high and 5' diameter. In the vicinity are the remains of several small circular and oval huts of 5' or 6' in diameter. RCAHMS 1911.

On Oldany Island, adjacent to the burial ground is a considerable cairn of stones which may originally have been a temple; in the cairn is to be seen a hollowed stone having a lid or cover of stone. The author recounts the local tale that until the c. 18th century this hollowed stone contained a brightly coloured round stone which was held in great veneration by the people and which was shown to strangers as an object of curiosity. Consequently he considers the site Pagan and the hollow lidded stone 'not a Popish font'.

OSA 1795.

In 1793 there was a burial ground on Oldany Island which may have been the site of a chapel. (Symbols for a cairn, chapel and cemetery shown on map of Oldany Island).

Orig Paroch Scot 1855.

Described as 'Burial Place'.

J Home 1774-5.

The burial ground, situated on a natural shelf, is enclosed on the NW by rock face and on other sides by a crude stone wall, augmented with natural outcrop. A small rectangle, at the North end, is covered with rubble and probably defines the area of graves. Two shielings (presumably the 'huts' described by RCAHMS {RCAHMS 1911}) were identified in the vicinity; the Easterly one surmounts a small, stone-scattered knoll, quite natural but possibly the 'cairn' site of the OSA. (OSA 1795) The ruins dimensioned by RCAHMS (RCAHMS 1911) could not be specifically identified from two possible, but totally amorphous sites.

Visited by OS (F R H) 23 May 1962; RCAHMS 1911; OSA 1795.

The burial ground at NC 0846 3420 and the shielings are generally as described by the previous field investigator. The rubble boundary wall encloses an area 28.0 m NW-SE by 18.0 m. The wall is ill-defined in the NE and SE; in the SW it survives to 1.5 m wide and 0.4 m high. At the N end of the burial ground there is an amorphous area of stone 11.0 m by 10.0 m among which are the 'flat stones' noted by the RCAHMS; it is possible the structures noted by the RCAHMS stood here. Two or three natural stony mounds occur in the vicinity, and standing in the burial ground has had stone dumped on it. No trace of a covered, hollowed stone was found during investigation.

Revised at 1:10,000.

Visited by OS (J B) 5 August 1980.

Activities

Field Visit (8 June 1909)

17. Old Graveyard and Ruins, Oldany Island. On the W. side of the vale or ‘flow’ which runs through the centre of the Island of Oldany, and rather nearer the N. end than the centre, on the top of a low spur of the hill, is an ancient burial ground. The graves here have all been outlined with flat stones, and similar stones have in some instances been placed on the top of them. The spot bears the name ‘Baile na Cille’.

At the back of the burial ground, against the hill, are the ruins of a rude structure outlined with great slabs of rock set on end, the largest 3' high, 3' broad, and l' thick. It is roughly rectangular, and lies almost N. and S., measuring interiorly some 12' x 10', with an entrance from the E. Attached to it is a smaller building about 13' long by 8" wide, with a circular structure, possibly an oven, in the NE. corner about 3' high and 5' diameter.

In the vicinity are the remains of several small circular and oval huts of 5' or 6' diameter.

See Stat. Acct., xvi. p. 205.

OS 6-inch map, Sutherland, Sheet xlviii.

RCAHMS 1911, visited (AOC) 8th June 1909.

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