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South Uist, Benbecula, Balivanich, Teampall Chaluim Chille

Chapel (Period Unassigned)

Site Name South Uist, Benbecula, Balivanich, Teampall Chaluim Chille

Classification Chapel (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 9970

Site Number NF75SE 2

NGR NF 7822 5490

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

Teampall Chaluim Chille, medieval Parish church dedicated to St. Columba, said to have been founded by St. Torranan, who drifted here from Ireland in his coracle. Now little more than a lump of stones in the field that was once Loch Chalium Chille, its oblong structure had intact walls and remains of other buildings visible around it in 1868.

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

Archaeology Notes

NF75SE 2 7822 5490

For Tobar Chaluim Chille (NF 7820 5475), see NF75SE 3.

(NF 7822 5490) Teampull Chaluim Chille (NR) (Ruins of).

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

The ruin of Teampull Chaluim Chille stands on a slight eminence in a marsh 1/4 mile south-east of Balivanich, Benbecula. The church is oblong in plan, and, by a later extension, two-chambered. It is 47 1/2ft by 14 1/2ft internally with gables 3 1/2ft thick. By 1924, the eastern gable was reduced to foundation level, the western to the height of the lintel, and the lateral walls to an average of 8ft.

On a knoll west of the teampull are some indeterminate foundations.

RCAHMS 1928.

Church of St. Columba. The older part may have been built under the direction of St. Columba (c AD. 521-97) it is certainly older than the end of the 8th century. The east end probably dates to the end of the 14th century.

F W L Thomas and T S Muir 1873.

The foundations to the west were, in 1855, about 30ft long, and 'may have been a chapel'.

T S Muir 1885.

The church is as described by RCAHMS. Three buildings can be traced to the N, W and SW of the church. They consist of grass-covered rubble foundations, c.1.7m wide and 0.4m high in the best preserved example.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (J T T) 27 May 1965.


Field Visit (24 July 1924)

339. Teampull Chaluim Chille, Balivanich.

-This ruin stands on a slight eminence in a marsh 1/4 mile south-east of Balivanich. The church has been oblong on plan and, by a later extension, two-chambered, but the extent of the nave cannot be definitely ascertained, the side walls being breached. The lateral walls at the eastern end are 2 feet 2 inches and 2 feet 4 inches in thickness, while those of the nave are 4 feet and 4 feet 4 inches in thickness. The total internal dimensions are 47 1/2 feet from east to west by 14 1/2 feet; the gables are 3 1/2 feet thick, and the eastern is reduced to foundations, while the western remains to the height of the entrance lintel. The lateral walls, breached in places, stand on an average 8 feet above the present ground level. The masonry is rubble, roughly coursed and built in mortar, which is used sparingly in the nave and more plentifully in the sanctuary. The entrance, a lintelled doorway 2 feet I inch wide, is centred in the west gable; in the lateral walls are narrow windows splaying inwardly. The interior of the church is filled with a dense growth of nettles, and the structure is in bad preservation. West of the Teampull on a similar knoll are some indeterminate foundations. South Uist xliv.

Visited by RCAHMS 24 July 1924

Note (July 2011)

A resident of Balivanich has reported that local tradition does not associate this building with St Columba but does record that it was in use as a cemetery and that the area was tidal at one point prior to the construction of a dyke at Uacher.

Tradition in the area does record that there was a church associated with St Columba in the north west of Benbecula at a place called Te I, meaning the Church of Iona.

Information via email to RCAHMS (SC) 29 July 2011


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