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Church Cave, place of worship, Rona

A Scheduled Monument in Eilean á Chèo, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.5403 / 57°32'24"N

Longitude: -5.9673 / 5°58'2"W

OS Eastings: 162670

OS Northings: 856954

OS Grid: NG626569

Mapcode National: GBR C8NS.MGZ

Mapcode Global: WGZ7L.9QPY

Entry Name: Church Cave, place of worship, Rona

Scheduled Date: 2 February 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11060

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: cave

Location: Portree

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Eilean á Chèo

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises a post-medieval church built into a large natural cave on the east coast of the small island of Rona, off Skye.

The cave is roughly triangular in plan and approximately 33m deep (from NW-SE). It is 28m wide at its mouth, but only a metre wide at its deepest point. To the rear of the cave are several rows of stones, each about 6m in length running SW-NE, forming seating. Immediately to the SE of these is a depression in the stone floor, which apparently served as a font. An altar, comprising a short stone pillar, is 5m to the SE of the font in the centre of the cave. Large stone debris scatters the mouth of the cave with a small, stone-built rectilinear structure (3m NW-SE x 2m SW-NE) constructed adjacent to the southern wall of the cave mouth. A small shell midden, around 4m in diameter, is situated against the northern wall of the cave approximately halfway into the cave.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan with maximum dimensions of 45m NW-SE and 57m transversely. This area includes the interior features of the cave as described above and an area around them within which associated remains may be expected to survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a unique post-medieval ecclesiastical site, and has the potential to provide a valuable insight into the religious practices of post-medieval island communities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NG65NW 2.

References:

Gray A 2003, ISLAND OF RONA, POPULATION: ONE. The Scotsman [the weekend supplement], Saturday 21 June 2003, 18.

Hardy K and Wickham-Jones C R, 2002, INNER SOUND, HIGHLAND (APPLECROSS; GARILOCH; LOCHALSH; LOCHCARRON; PORTREE PARISHES), COASTAL SURVEY, DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 3, 61.

Rona 1992, THE ISLAND OF RONA, THE SOUND OF RAASAY, Inverness-shire: [sale particulars], Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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