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Red Priest's Stone and burial ground 500m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in North, West and Central Sutherland, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.3945 / 58°23'40"N

Longitude: -4.2003 / 4°12'0"W

OS Eastings: 271486

OS Northings: 947224

OS Grid: NC714472

Mapcode National: GBR J60J.SV9

Mapcode Global: WH4B1.G83K

Entry Name: Red Priest's Stone and burial ground 500m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 4 November 1968

Last Amended: 6 March 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2721

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: Farr

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: North, West and Central Sutherland

Traditional County: Sutherland

Description

The monument consists of the remains of a pre-Reformation chapel and burial ground, the only surviving upstanding evidence of which is a cross-incised pillar, known as 'Clach an t-Sagairt Ruidhe', 'the Red Sone of the Priest' (ONB 1873) or 'the Stone of the Red Priest'. The burial ground and the incised stone were scheduled separately in 1968. The rescheduling will combine both the burial ground and the inscribed stone under one scheduling.

The monument comprises a small unenclosed and slightly raised area of rough pasture in the corner of a field. A number of stones can be seen through the rough grass. There are no markings on these stones and no indication as to whether they are gravestones or a scatter of field stones. 'The Red Priest's Stone' is situated to the E of the site and is 0.7m high and 0.3m in width, with a roughly incised, almost equal-armed cross with a rounded head, on its north face.

'The Red Priest' was one of the names given to St. maelrubha (d.722), from which it is assumed that the chapel was dedicated to him. Nothing further is known of the site except that it was described as a chapel by Pennant in 1774 and its stones are said to have been removed c.1825 to form the embankment of the river Naver opposite Riloisk. The outline of the burial ground is shown as triangular in 1873 (OS 6"map, Sutherland, 1st ed., 1873).

The area to be scheduled is a circle measuring 30m in diameter, as indicated in red on the map. It includes the graveyard and the cross-incised stone and an area around it, within which related material may be expected to be found.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is nationally important as the site of a pre-reformation chapel and burial ground. The cross incised stone, and the association of the site with St Maelrubha is suggestive of an early ecclesiastical site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NC74NW 2.

References:

Allen J R and Anderson J 1903, THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS OF SCOTLAND: A CLASSIFIED ILLUSTRATED DESCRIPTIVE LIST OF THE MONUMENTS WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THEIR SYMBOLISM AND ORNAMENTATION, Edinburgh, Pt. 3, 55.

Joass J M 1865, 'Notes of various objects of antiquity in Strathnaver', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 5, 359.

Mackay A 1906, 'Notes on a slab with incised cresentic design, stone mould for casting spear-heads, a cup-marked stone, holy-water stoup, and other antiquities in Strathnaver, Sutherlandshire' PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 40, 131.

ORDNANCE SURVEY (NAME BOOK), Inverness, 1874, Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No. 20, 250.

OPS 1855, ORIGINES PAROCHIALES SCOTIAE: THE ANTIQUITIES ECCLESIASTICAL AND TERRITORIAL OF THE PARISHES OF SCOTLAND, 2, 2, Edinburgh, 708.

Pennant T 1774, A TOUR IN SCOTLAND; MDCCLXIX, Warrington, 345, 3rd ed.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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