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Cill a'Mhanaich, church and burial ground 210m SSW of Kilmeny

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.8104 / 55°48'37"N

Longitude: -6.1695 / 6°10'10"W

OS Eastings: 138862

OS Northings: 665323

OS Grid: NR388653

Mapcode National: GBR CF4C.4W6

Mapcode Global: WGZJ0.67D1

Entry Name: Cill a'Mhanaich, church and burial ground 210m SSW of Kilmeny

Scheduled Date: 9 March 1992

Last Amended: 15 August 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5256

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: tombstone; Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Killarow and Kilmeny

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the remains of Cill a' Mhanaich, the old parish church of Kilmeny, and its burial ground, the eastern part of which is still in use. Only the W end of the church still stands, although traces of the walls elsewhere indicate that the structure was originally 11.5m long.

The W gable wall is 6.5m long, 2.5m high and 1m thick. It is constructed of lime-mortared rubble masonry, which has been partly rebuilt. A low turf-covered stretch of the S wall, 4m long and 1m high, adjoins the gable at the SW angle. Towards the S end of the external gable wall is a narrow semi-circular arch, with a span of 0.65m, composed of dressed voussoirs. A stone on the inner face bears the incised inscription, 'Duncan McNab 1769', probably marking a family burial place. The W portion of the burial ground contains a number of carved later medieval and post-Reformation grave-slabs and headstones.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular in plan, to include the remains of the church and the W portion of the surrounding burial ground, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes all active burial lairs. It also excludes the above-ground elements of the wall enclosing the burial ground, and all burial monuments of 19th-century or later date, to allow for their maintenance.

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

Overall, the church and its burial ground are in good condition. The chapel survives mainly as turf-covered wall foundations, although the W gable still stands nearly to wall-head height. The remains of the church can inform us about the development of medieval church architecture and construction methods. Below ground, further archaeological evidence for the construction and use of the chapel is likely to survive, including interior fittings and furniture and, possibly, further burials. The burial ground as a whole is in good condition and contains a substantial collection of grave-markers, indicating the longevity of burial practice at the site. The later medieval carved stones range from the 14th-16th century in date and, although worn, survive in stable condition.. They have the potential to contribute towards our understanding of West Highland sculpture and funerary monuments in general. They can also enhance our understanding and appreciation of Islay's political history and its importance during the medieval period.

The slightly raised ground on which the church stands indicates an accumulation of archaeological deposits, possibly including earlier ecclesiastical remains. There is potential for a long development sequence at the site which could enhance our understanding of the origins, use and re-use of places of worship and burial grounds over a considerable length of time. It is likely that important archaeological deposits survive in and around the chapel that could contribute towards our understanding of church construction, burial practices and the origins, nature and duration of use of ecclesiastical sites. The skeletal remains could also reveal evidence for health, diet, illness, cause of death and possibly occupational activities.

Contextual characteristics

Cill a' Mhainaich is reportedly one of four medieval parish churches established in Islay. As such, it contributes important evidence for the pre-Reformation parish structure of Islay and could enhance our understanding of church organisation and development, both in Islay and further afield. It is comparable with a number of other medieval chapels and burial grounds in Islay and Argyll. The later medieval grave-slabs can also be compared with similar examples across Islay and further afield; such comparative studies would allow us to develop our understanding and appreciation of West Highland sculpture.

Associative characteristics

The Gaelic place-name 'Cill a' Mhanaich' translates to 'my Eithne's Church', although the saint to which the chapel is dedicated is not known. The place-name 'Cill' means 'church' or 'burial ground' and may indicate earlier origins for the site as a place of worship for the lay population. Historical references indicate that this chapel was part of lands belonging to the Bishop of the Isles in 1561. It was described by Monro in 1549 as being one of the four parish churches in Islay, but there are no known earlier references.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a good example of a later medieval church which can provide important material evidence for the pre-Reformation parish structure of Islay. In addition, the surrounding burial ground contains some fine examples of West Highland sculpture in the form of a number of medieval and post-medieval carved stones. Investigation and analysis of the building and its underlying archaeology offer the potential to enhance our understanding of ecclesiastical history and architecture, material culture, burial practices, and craftsmanship and design in the mid Argyll area from the later medieval period onwards, and possibly earlier. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand and appreciate the nature and development of the church and burial practices during the later medieval period in Islay and more widely across the west of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



On 23 March 2012 Andrew Fulton wrote to Argyll and Bute Council and Mr and Mrs Rozga to inform them of the scheduling assessment. Mr and Mrs Rozga replied on 10 April stating they have no connection with the monument. Richard Heawood and Rachel Pickering visited the site on 14 May 2012 and met with the John McIntyre, Argyll and Bute Council Cemetery Works Manager, to discuss potential casework issues and the proposed rescheduling. Richard Heawood wrote to Argyll and Bute Council on 28 June confirming our intention to proceed with this rescheduling. No issues have been raised.

RCAHMS record the site as NR36NE 7. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is WOSASPIN 2707.


Cowan I B 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, Scot Rec Soc, vol. 93, Edinburgh, 105.

Graham R C 1895, The carved stones of Islay, Glasgow, 33-4.

Lamont W 1959a, 'From the Islay Archaeological Survey Group', Discovery Excav Scot, 12.

Monro D 1884, Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, 1549, 57.

Muir T S 1885, Ecclesiological notes on some of the islands of Scotland, Edinburgh, 15.

OPS 1854 Origines parochiales Scotiae: the antiquities ecclesiastical and territorial of the parishes of Scotland, vol.2, 1, Edinburgh, 261.

Ordnance Survey (Name Book) Object Name Books of the Ordnance Survey (6 inch and 1/2500 scale), Book No. 39, 192.

RCAHMS 1984a, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 5: Islay, Jura, Colonsay and Oronsay, Edinburgh, 216, no.370.

Watson W J 1926, The history of the Celtic place-names of Scotland: being the Rhind lectures on archaeology (expanded) delivered in 1916, Edinburgh, 284.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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