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Kilchoman Church, Cill Chomain Cross & tombstones

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

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Latitude: 55.7819 / 55°46'54"N

Longitude: -6.4419 / 6°26'30"W

OS Eastings: 121600

OS Northings: 663225

OS Grid: NR216632

Mapcode National: GBR BFHF.D3T

Mapcode Global: WGYGR.0XPW

Entry Name: Kilchoman Church, Cill Chomain Cross & tombstones

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1963

Last Amended: 8 December 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2337

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross (free-standing)

Location: Kilchoman

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of the Cill Chomain Cross and other medieval carved stones situated in Kilchoman burial ground. The monument was first scheduled in 1927 and again in 1963. However, on both occasions only the Cill Chomain Cross was scheduled. This scheduling extend the scheduling to include the other medieval carved stones, mostly grave markers.

The present parish church, now disused, at Kilchoman was erected in 1827 and replaced an earlier building on the same site. The dedication was presumably to one of the several Irish saints named Comman and the existence of two early Christian cross slabs nearby suggests an Early Christian establishment of some importance. The medieval church with its dependant chapels at Kilchiaran, Kilnave and Nerabolls, served a parish covering the whole of the Rhinns of Islay. It was an independent parsonage in the gift of the Lord of the Isles.

The Cill Chomain Cross (RCAHMS 1984 no. 13, Graham 1895 no. 39) is a very fine, well preserved free-standing cross in its original socket-stone at the SE angle of the burial ground. It is of the Iona School and dates from the 14th-15th centuries. It measures 2.57m in height by 0.97m across the arms. Both faces are bordered by continuous mail-head ornament between roll mouldings. The E face of the cross-head bares an elaborate representation of the crucifixion. The Shaft contains, in descending order: a cusp-headed niche with the figures of two men holding books, probably the donor and his father; an inscription; intertwining plant-stems rising from a cusped niche which contains a horse and rider; and, at the base, a cruciform interlace knot. The W face of the cross-head is filled with a complex interlace pattern, and the shaft with plant-stems springing from the tails of two confronted animals at the base. The inscription is in Lombardic capitals and reads

'This is the cross by Thomas, son of Patrick, doctor, for the souls of his father, mother and wife, and all the faithful departed, and of the said ...'

The donor and his father may have belonged to the Beaton family of physicians, members of which owned land in Kilchoman parish.

Within the churchyard, to the S of the church, there are more than twenty medieval carved grave slabs or fragments of grave slabs and other carved stone, displaying a wide range of motifs common to such monuments and mostly dating from the 14th-15th centuries. These include three grave-markers bearing effigies of priest in Eucharistic vestments. Several of the grave-markers have been re-used and bear 17th century inscriptions to members of the Campbell family along with various symbols of mortality, and in one case the Campbell gyronny-of-eight and the galley of Lorn. Among the post-medieval churchyard monuments, one is of note. It bears a representation of a lighthouse, perhaps the Bell Rock Light, and the inscription JA[ME]S B SCOT /AUG[UST] 20TH 1845.

The area to be scheduled measures a maximum of about 55m N-S by 63m E-W, as marked in red on the enclosed map. The scheduled area is defined by the boundary wall of the churchyard. The scheduling excludes the church, the churchyard wall and all modern burial lairs still in use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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