Ancient Monuments

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St Columba's Church, rock-cut footprints & related remains, Southend

A Scheduled Monument in South Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 55.3083 / 55°18'29"N

Longitude: -5.6678 / 5°40'4"W

OS Eastings: 167323

OS Northings: 607705

OS Grid: NR673077

Mapcode National: IRL XG.P08N

Mapcode Global: GBR DGDP.6LR

Entry Name: St Columba's Church, rock-cut footprints & related remains, Southend

Scheduled Date: 28 June 1972

Last Amended: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3173

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: sculptured stone (not ascribed to a more specific type); Ecclesiastical:

Location: Southend

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: South Kintyre

Traditional County: Argyllshire


This monument consists of the remains of a substantial medieval church, a well, a pair of rock-cut footprints, a cross base and the turf-covered footings of another building.

The church is situated in a grave yard which has remained in use until this century. The church is approximately 22.5m long and 5.6m wide. The easternmost part of the church probably dates from the 13th Century while the extension from approximately 9m long to the present length probably dates from the 16th Century. The walls are complete to wallheads although probably almost a metre of masonry is now hidden by a rise in ground levels and there is heavy ivy growth throughout. The graveyard contains many fine grave markers, the earliest visible being late medieval West Highland grave slabs.

To the N of the graveyard there is a spring, known locally as St. Columba's Well, which has a latin cross carved on the rock overhanging it.

Immediately to the W of the grave yard is a rocky knoll on which are the turf-covered footings of a rectangular building measuring approximately 10m E-W by 5m. To the N of this is a pair of rock-cut footprints known locally as St. Columba's Footsteps. It is believed that the most northerly footprint was cut in 1856 to replace an older one which had been damaged. Beside these is the base for a standing cross which has a small latin cross carved on it.

The scheduled area is being extended to include the footprints, cross base, the neighbouring building remains, the holy well and the graveyard with its fine array of stone funerary monuments. The area to be scheduled is defined to the N by the toe of the slope, to the E and S by the graveyard wall and to the W by a line 10m west of the W wall of the ruined building on the knoll. Excluded from the scheduling are the upstanding boundary walls and those burial plots where burial rights still exist. The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring approximately 110m E-W by 60m at its greatest extent as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

This monument is of national importance because it is a substantial medieval chapel on a site which appears to have a much older history. At least one of the rock-cut footprints is believed to be early medieval, while excavations at the nearby Keils Cave revealed occupation dating from the 4th century. The site has potential to tell us a great deal about the use and adaptation of such sites over several centuries.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NR60NE 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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