Ancient Monuments

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Kirkapol, chapel and cross-incised rocks 300m north west of Lodge Hotel, Tiree

A Scheduled Monument in Oban South and the Isles, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.525 / 56°31'29"N

Longitude: -6.8117 / 6°48'42"W

OS Eastings: 104209

OS Northings: 747366

OS Grid: NM042473

Mapcode National: GBR 9CKG.QRV

Mapcode Global: WGX9Y.B8K7

Entry Name: Kirkapol, chapel and cross-incised rocks 300m NW of Lodge Hotel, Tiree

Scheduled Date: 19 November 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7048

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Tiree

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of a roofless chapel standing on a rocky knoll about 77m N of the ruins of the probably contemporary parish church of Kirkapol, the parish of the eastern half of Tiree, together with 2 natural rocks on which are incised Latin crosses.

The chapel is rectangular on plan, measuring 7.1m E-W by 3.4m N-S within walls 0.8m in average thickness. The gables and the N side wall still stand to their original heights of 5.5m and 2.7m respectively above the present internal floor level. Much of the S wall has collapsed during the 20th century, and of what remains sections of the outer face are now missing. Face stones are also missing from parts of the W wall and the base of the E gable.

The walls are constructed of random rubble laid in lime mortar and stand directly on the surface of the natural rock. Some patches of harling survive, as do traces of plaster internally. The NE gable-cope incorporates small slabs laid horizontally to form a projecting drip-course similar to those of the nearby parish church.

The chapel is entered through a semi circular-headed doorway, 0.6m wide, at the W end of the S wall. The vault of its embrasure retains the impression of the planks used in the centering. Two single-light windows face one another towards the E end of each side wall, the N one being better preserved and retaining a slightly pointed head roughly constructed of slab voussoirs.

The chapel is of very similar architectural character to the nearby church and both are likely to be of late medieval date, possibly the latter half of the 14th century.

To the NW of the chapel are 2 incised Latin crosses of Early Christian character, both on rock outcrops. The first, facing E and 53m from the NW corner of the chapel on a bearing 7 degrees E of N, measures 0.45m long by 0.23m wide, and the second, facing SW and 61m from the NW corner of the chapel on a bearing of 11.5 degrees W of N, measures 0.55m long by 0.2m wide.

Although Kirkapol parish is first mentioned in 1375, the character of the crosses suggests the possibility of an earlier origin, as does the placename, which indicates an ecclesiastical site in existence while the Norse language was still spoken locally.

The area to be scheduled is in 3 portions, covering the chapel and the 2 cross-incised stones, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The first is defined by the base of the rock outcrop on which the chapel sits and is approximately circular in shape, with a diameter of 45m, to include the chapel and an area of ground in which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive.

The other portions are circles of 10m diameter, each centred on one of the crosses, to include the crosses themselves and areas of ground in which evidence relating to their carving and function may survive.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a chapel, probably of late-medieval date, and as 2 incised crosses of Early Christian character and almost certainly of pre-Reformation date. The siting of the chapel so close to the parish church implies that Kirkapol must have been a very important ecclesiastical centre, and the incised crosses suggest that it may have had early origins. The remains have the potential to provide evidence for the early development of the church in the Inner Hebrides and its medieval structure, and for the development of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the highlands of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




RCAHMS, Argyll 3, No. 310.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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