Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Kilmun Collegiate Church, tower and burial ground

A Scheduled Monument in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.9962 / 55°59'46"N

Longitude: -4.9424 / 4°56'32"W

OS Eastings: 216596

OS Northings: 682048

OS Grid: NS165820

Mapcode National: GBR 04.VCP0

Mapcode Global: WH2M1.1KS2

Entry Name: Kilmun Collegiate Church, tower and burial ground

Scheduled Date: 10 February 1992

Last Amended: 1 May 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5260

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: collegiate church

Location: Dunoon and Kilmun

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the west tower of the 15th-century St Mund's Collegiate Church, Kilmun, incorporating the surviving west gable of the medieval nave together with a pair of mort-safes attached to the tower's north wall, and the churchyard surrounding the present church.

The tower was first scheduled in 1992 and the site is being rescheduled to include the graveyard which contains fine examples of medieval and post-medieval graveslabs and has potential to provide archaeological information relating to an earlier church which previously occupied the site.

The Parish Church of Kilmun, built in 1841, occupies the site of a medieval parish church, endowed as a collegiate church in 1442 by Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochawe. The church was probably dedicated to the Irish saint Finten Munnu. The church of Kilmun is first recorded in a charter of about 1232-41. The reused ashlar masonry identifiable in the late medieval building may have come from a church of this period.

The church remained an independent parsonage until 1441 when the patron, Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochawe, petitioned the pope to erect a collegiate church there for a provost and five chaplains, one of whom was to be responsible for parish services. The 'Tower of Kilmun' was occupied by his family, and in 1646 its garrison was massacred following their surrender to Sir James Lamont and his royalist force. The church was described as 'wholly ruinous' in 1660 and various repairs were carried out which allowed it to continue in use until it was eventually replaced in 1841 by the new building designed by Thomas Burns.

The west tower of the 15th-century church is 6m square and 9.5m high to the wall-head and 13.5m high to the apex of the west gable. It is built of well-coursed rubble with sandstone quoins and dressings, but the second stage of the south and west walls incorporates many re-used blocks of sandstone ashlar similar to those used in the adjacent west wall of the nave.

The tower comprises a vaulted ground floor, with a damaged spiral stair in the south-west angle giving access to two upper floors and a former garret-chamber in the roof. It was used for domestic purposes until the 17th century, but the only significant alteration was the insertion of a lintelled doorway, itself blocked some time after 1789, in the south wall, and the reconstruction with a rounded corner of the adjacent lower part of the south-west angle, a slit-window lighting the stair from the west being re-set at a higher level.

The openings in the south and west walls of the ground floor, and those at each level in the stair, are narrow slits with plain surrounds, but the first-floor window in the south wall is a larger rectangular one with chamfered surround, and in the south and west walls of the second floor there are tall hollow-chamfered lancets with trefoil-cusped heads having sunken spandrels. At wall-head level in the west wall are the remains of six corbels which presumably carried a gallery entered from a doorway whose rebated south jamb survives at the north end of the gable.

The vaulted ground-floor room, now used as a store, was entered from the church by a straight-lintelled doorway with a hollow-chamfered surround and splayed ingoes. The first-floor room has a south window and there are corbels in the north and south walls for the floor-joists of the second-floor room, which was evidently the main chamber in the tower. Its two windows have glazing grooves in the upper part and sockets, probably for sockets, below.

A plain fireplace, whose north jamb remains intact, is in the east wall, and there are corbels for the garret floor in the north and west walls. The garret, entered from the head of the spiral stair, also had a fireplace, in the west wall. The east ends of the north and south walls of the tower are overlapped for 0.7m by the fragmentary west ends of the side-walls of the former nave, up to 5.5m high on the south, but incomplete in thickness and only 2m in length.

The existing churchyard enclosure was laid out in 1818-19, with a small area of the early churchyard, used as a school playground, being added later.

The churchyard contains a number of medieval graveslabs, some of which are described in the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1992 Argyll Inventory: volume 7 Lorn, p178-186. Some 60 headstones and table-tombs of post-Reformation date are also described in the Inventory.

The scheduled area is an irregular shape with outer maximum dimensions of a maximum of 70m due E-W and 52 due N-S, to include the churchyard within the boundary walls, and the west tower of the 15th-century church, incorporating the surviving west gable of the medieval nave together with a pair of mort-safes attached to the tower's north wall, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

The scheduled area has a 'hollow' centre - an area within -the footprint of the more recent church building - which is excluded from the scheduling. Also excluded, but not specifically marked on the map, are active burial lairs, the boundary walls, and the top 30cm of the paths.

In addition, the 1888 Douglas Of Glenfinart Mausoleum is excluded and the plan annexed and executed as reative hereto is revised to take account of this amendment.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The west tower of the 15th-century church, which survives to the apex of the west gable, is of particular significance as the only surviving fragment of the sole collegiate church to have been established and built in the highland area.

The graveyard is of national importance because of its associations with the 15th-century collegiate church; for its examples of medieval graveslabs and its exceptional wealth of post-reformation headstones; and for its potential to provide archaeological information relating to an earlier church which previously occupied the site.

Some individual gravestones are extremely well preserved examples: their study can contribute to our understanding of ecclesiastical organisation, funerary practices and organisation of the production of monumental sculpture in western Scotland in the medieval and post-medieval periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NS18SE 1.0.






Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.