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St. Donnan's Chair

Preaching Site (Period Unassigned)

Site Name St. Donnan's Chair

Classification Preaching Site (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Suigh Donan; Cathair Donan

Canmore ID 7070

Site Number NC91NW 21

NGR NC 9495 1872

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NC91NW 21 9495 1872

(Area NC 952 186) St Donnan's Chair (NAT)

OS 6" map, (1964)

Suigh Donan or Cathair Donan, ie. St Donan's Seat or Resting Place, was a large hollow stone where tradition asserts the saint sat down to rest whilst passing through the Strath. The stone had a cavity in the front of it large enough to permit one to sit in it. In the 18th century the stone was lifted from the ground and dashed to pieces. The writer was shown a fragment preserved as a previous relic by a local inhabitant.

OSA 1792.

'Cathair' or 'Suidhe Donnan' still exists as an earth- fast granitic boulder, about 8 ft square on the upper surface, and 5 to 6ft in height, with a natural depression on the upper face. St Donnan is said to have preached from this spot.

RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909.

At NC 9495 1872 on a south-facing slope is a large boulder as described above. It is so obviously "chair-like", that it must be assumed to be St Donnan's Chair, though this could not be verified locally. No other sizeable boulder or collection of boulders can be seen on the hillside; the information contained in OSA that the stone was destroyed is incorrect.

Mr Angus Ross (Gamekeeper, Torrish, Strath Kildonan, Sutherland) indicated on the ground at NC 9498 1864 a setting of stones forming a roughly rectangular platform, 0.5m high, which is known to him as "The Pulpit Stone". Traditionally it was a preaching stance, and though it has been named St Donnan's Chair, this would appear to be a confusion of traditions.

Surveyed at 1:10,560.

Visited by OS (J L D) 30 May 1961 and (N K B) 22 November 1976.


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