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Kilmodan Church, burial ground, sculptured stones & burial aisle

A Scheduled Monument in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.0084 / 56°0'30"N

Longitude: -5.2173 / 5°13'2"W

OS Eastings: 199516

OS Northings: 684170

OS Grid: NR995841

Mapcode National: GBR FDHT.WFY

Mapcode Global: WH1KR.T7QQ

Entry Name: Kilmodan Church, burial ground, sculptured stones & burial aisle

Scheduled Date: 26 September 1995

Last Amended: 23 December 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90318

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Kilmodan

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the churchyard of the present parish church of Glendarual which contains a number of medieval graveslabs and was the site of a medieval church.

The burial aisle, which contains a collection of eleven sculptured stones from the churchyard, is a property in the care of Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The burial aisle with its collection of eleven sculptured stones was first scheduled in 1995. The new scheduling includes the graveyard and the archaeological remains of the medieval church.

Kilmodan Parish Church, Glendaruel, was built in 1783 to replace an older and more elongated one, possibly of medieval origin, situated on a slightly different alignment and a few metres to the south. The dedication was to one of the saints bearing the Irish name Aedan.

A chaplain and a rector of Kilmodan are recorded in 1250 and 1299 respectively, and another rector in 1420, but by 1425 the church had become a prebend of the chapter of Argyll, the Crown retaining its existing patronage of the benefice. Little is known of the pre-1783 structure. It was said to be ruinous in 1699 and in 1712 there were further complaints about its condition.

The burial aisle was constructed before 1783. It is of harled rubble and is 3m square, with a door in the E wall. It is said to have belonged to the Campbells of Auchenbreck. It was roofed in 1970 and contains a collection of eleven sculptured stones from the churchyard.

The stones within the aisle comprise the weathered head of a medieval cross (reputedly the Cross of Garvie), one tapered 15th-century slab not assigned to any particular school, one rectangular graveslab (dated 1636) to Donald MacCloy, Minister of Kilmodan 1611-1651, and eight graveslabs of the Loch Awe school of carving, all of 14th- to 15th-century date.

The Loch Awe school graveslabs bear no inscriptions, but two bear figures of knights, one bears the figure of a cleric, and one bears a blacksmith's tongs. Various slabs bear carvings of confronted beasts, swords and plant stems. All of them taper to the base and several are pointed at one or other end.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular shape with maximum dimensions of 77m E-W by 50m N-S to include the burial aisle and the churchyard within the boundary walls, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The 18th-century church, the burial layers which are still active, the boundary walls and the top 30cm of the paths are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The site is of national importance for its collection of medieval graveslabs and for its potential to provide archaeological information relating to the medieval church. Some 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 period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the site as NR98SE 4.0.


Christian I (1969a) 'Kilmodan, Glendaruel', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 1969, 7.

ORDNANCE SURVEY NAME BOOK (COUNTY), Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No 18, 39.

Ritchie J N G and Harman M (1996) EXPLORING SCOTLAND'S HERITAGE: ARGYLL AND THE WESTERN ISLES, Exploring Scotland's Heritage Series, Edinburgh, 106.


Steer K A and Bannerman J W M (1977) LATE MEDIEVAL MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE IN THE WEST HIGHLANDS, Edinburgh, 143, No. 72.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Kilmodan Sculptured Stones
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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