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Raasay House, cross-incised slab & battery 310m south west of, Raasay

A Scheduled Monument in Eilean á Chèo, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.351 / 57°21'3"N

Longitude: -6.0819 / 6°4'54"W

OS Eastings: 154551

OS Northings: 836311

OS Grid: NG545363

Mapcode National: GBR C9C9.312

Mapcode Global: WGZ8H.KH2J

Entry Name: Raasay House, cross-incised slab & battery 310m SW of, Raasay

Scheduled Date: 22 August 1967

Last Amended: 12 February 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2589

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Secular: battery

Location: Portree

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Eilean á Chèo

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

Description

The monument comprises a Chi-Rho cross incised on to the rock face of a rocky outcrop, which dates to the second half of the 6th century and a Napoleonic Wars battery at Churchton Bay, Raasay, which is early 19th-century in date and is visible as upstanding remains. The monument is located 310m SW of Raasay House on a promontory at about 10m OD; a natural harbour lies to its immediate NE.

The cross is located on the steeply-sloping SE face of the outcrop, c. 1.4m above ground level. It is probably connected with St Moluag's mission to Raasay, a similar cross was found nearby and the ruins of St Maol-Luag's Chapel lie 420m to the NE. The shaft is 0.57m in length and the head, formed of four intersecting curves within a square, is 0.2 m square.

The C-shaped battery was built by the 11th chief of the Raasay MacLeods, James MacLeod, who was responsible for major work at his seat between 1790 and 1805. He was also Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Isle of Skye Regiment of Volunteers 1803-07. The battery consists of a low wall c. 1m in height with curved termini surmounted by coping stones of a depressed triangular profile and four embrasures. One of the carronades survives in situ on a fixed bed and the remains of an outwork are situated on the central plateau behind the flag staff to the rear of the site.

A number of landed families took anti-invasion measures during the Napoleonic Wars. Similar batteries, though in a poorer state of preservation, survive at Islay House and Culzean Castle; the former may have originally been built in response to the threat of John Paul Jones and US privateers around 1766 while the latter dates to 1812.

Given its prominent position on the main sightline from Raasay House westwards to Skye, once the perceived threat of French attack had dissipated, the battery was converted into an ornamental landscape feature. A single course of stonework projects in an L-plan to the N of the battery wall. It is surmounted by cast-iron railings and has a gate in the middle of its N arm. The E edge of the outcrop is fenced. Two sculpted reclining mermaids, intended for the Raasay House portico, were positioned outside the extremities of the battery wall.

The monument is proposed for rescheduling to include the battery. The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described including an area around them within which related archaeological material may be found. It is irregular on plan with maximum dimensions of 33m N-S and 21m E-W and is outlined in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance both as an example of Early Christian symbolism in the western seaboard and as a well-preserved example of anti-invasion measures associated with the Napoleonic Wars. The preservation of the incised cross will allow for comparative study of Chi-Rho crosses of this type and will enhance our understanding of the period for which other types of evidence is scarce. The battery and the survival of its associated archaeology have the potential not only to contribute to our understanding of defensive monuments of the period but also the social structure of the time. It is nationally important as a rare and relatively unaltered monument of this type.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as 'Raasay, Raasay House, Cross-Incised rock' NG53NW 2 and 'Raasay, Clachan battery' NG53NW 16.00.

References:

Cameron K 1997, 'Churchton Bay, Raasay (Portree Parish), archaeological assessment', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 50.

Curle C L 1940, 'The chronology of the early christian monuments of Scotland', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 74, 68-74.

'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library with exhibits', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 67, 64.

'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library with exhibits', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 41, 435.

Fisher I 2001, EARLY MEDIEVAL SCULPTURE IN THE WEST HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS, RCAHMS/Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph series 1, 103-104.

Galbriath J J 1933, 'The Chi-Rho Crosses on Raasay: their importance and chronological relationships', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 67, 318-320.

Historic Scotland & Scottish Natural Heritage 2003, AN INVENTORY OF GARDENS AND DESIGNED LANDSCAPES; Supplementary Volume 2, Highlands & Islands, 54-58.

Nicolson A 1994, HISTORY OF SKYE, 2nd ed., 274-277.

ORDNANCE SURVEY (NAME BOOK) INVERNESS, Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey Book No. 15, 15.

Pottle F A and Bennett C H 1963, BOSWELL'S JOURNAL OF A TOUR TO THE HEBRIDES, 1773, 118.

Radford C A R 1942, 'The early christian monuments of Scotland', ANTIQUITY 16, 1-18.

Richardson J S 1907, 'Notice of kitchen-midden deposits on North Berwick Law, and other antiquities in the vicinity of North Berwick; with a note of an undescribed sculptured stone, with symbols, in the island of Raasay', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 41, 435-436.

RCAHMS 1928, NINTH REPORT WITH INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE OUTER HEBRIDES, SKYE AND THE SMALL ISLES, Edinburgh: RCAHMS, 184-185, No. 581.

Sharpe R 1977, RAASAY: A STUDY IN ISLAND HISTORY, 21-25 & 44.

Stevenson R B K 1955, 'PICTISH ART', in F T Wainwright ed., The Problem of the Picts, 97-128.

Strachan S 2000, 'THE EVOLUTION OF RAASAY HOUSE', AHSS Magazine, Winter 2000, No. 11, 12-13.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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