Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Teampull and Tobar Chaluim Chille, church and well, Balivanich

A Scheduled Monument in Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Latitude: 57.4698 / 57°28'11"N

Longitude: -7.3695 / 7°22'10"W

OS Eastings: 78223

OS Northings: 854901

OS Grid: NF782549

Mapcode National: GBR 886Z.F97

Mapcode Global: WGV2R.RHXX

Entry Name: Teampull and Tobar Chaluim Chille, church and well, Balivanich

Scheduled Date: 17 November 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7122

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: South Uist

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: Beinn na Foghla agus Uibhist a Tuath

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument comprises a ruined church and nearby well.

The ruins of the church stand on a slight eminence in a marsh 400m SE of Balivanich. The church was rectangular in plan, measuring some 7m wide and at least 11m in length, with walls between 0.35m and 0.43m thick, built in rubble masonry. A narrow lintelled door (0.64m wide) survives in the W wall, a splayed window in the N wall and two in the S wall. However, in a secondary phase the chancel had apparently been extended eastward, giving the church an overall length of some 16.6m. The walls of the new chancel are similar to those of the nave, but only 0.66m - 0.71m thick. The E gable and returns of the N and S walls have broken away and collapsed downhill, the break apparently being on the line of the splayed windows in the N and S walls that lit the altar. Remains of other buildings, represented by grass-covered rubble ruins, survive immediately N, W and SW of the church.

The well known as Tobar Chaluim Chille lies about 180m SW of the church on slightly higher ground. The well is almost obscured by a cairn, 3.65m wide and 9m high, which encroaches on it from all sides except the NW. This is formed from stones carried there as votive offerings by people who came to drink the water.

The monument to be scheduled comprises two discrete areas: a circular area of ground, 100m in diameter, centred on the centre point of the church; and a second circular area of ground, 10m in diameter, centred on the well, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as representing a medieval church of some size, and thus presumably of some importance, which, as the standing remains demonstrate, underwent more than one phase of building. Although its dedication is to St Columba and its island location possibly suggestive of an early monastic site, there is nothing in the visible archaeology to suggest any activity earlier than the fourteenth century. The below-ground archaeological remains, however, some of which may be preserved in waterlogged condition, have the potential to shed further light on this and other questions pertaining to the history and use of the church. The importance of the church and its associated well as a place of pilgrimage is indicated by the cairn of stone surviving at the latter.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NF75SE 2.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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