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South Uist, Howmore, Caibeal Dhiarmaid

Church (Period Unassigned)

Site Name South Uist, Howmore, Caibeal Dhiarmaid

Classification Church (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 9872

Site Number NF73NE 1.03

NGR NF 75889 36496

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish South Uist
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Howmore (An t'-Hogh Mor), 12 th/13 th century (if Norse origin, haugr = burial mound) Occupying a prehistoric site and possibly dating back to the 6th century (an Early Christian graveslab lies among the ruins), this fragmentary group of two medieval churches and two surviving chapels is one of the most important religious sites in the Outer Hebrides. It became an important seat of learning during the Lordship of the Isles and was the burial place of the Clanranald chiefs after the Reformation. By the end of the 17th century the buildings were probably ruinous. Several burial enclosures and the kirkyard wall, mid-late 19th century.

Standing among graves on rushy ground formerly surrounded by marshes, the beautifully weathered lumps of mortared rubble comprise: Teampall Mor/Mhoire (St. Mary), 13 th century, the former parish church, now reduced to a section of its east gable, pierced by two lancets and a pair of aumbries; Caibeal Dhiarmaid (Dermot's Chapel), a smaller church to its east with only a lancetted east gable still standing; Caibeal Dubhghaill (Dugall's Chapel), just outside the walled enclosure, a small, thick-walled cell with steep gables and deep splayed jambs; and Caibeal Chlann 'ic Ailein (Clanranald's chapel) to the north east of the site, believed to be a post-Reformation structure, c.1574, although two earlier phases (one pre-13 th century, possibly contemporary with the construction of Caibeals Dhiarmaid and Dubhghaill) have recently been identified. Within lies a fragment of stone found nearby, with 13 th-century dogtooth carving.

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press


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