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Pennygown, chapel, cross-shaft and graveyard

A Scheduled Monument in Oban South and the Isles, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.52 / 56°31'12"N

Longitude: -5.8966 / 5°53'47"W

OS Eastings: 160414

OS Northings: 743246

OS Grid: NM604432

Mapcode National: GBR CCTH.3W2

Mapcode Global: WGZDN.DDB0

Entry Name: Pennygown, chapel, cross-shaft and graveyard

Scheduled Date: 4 November 1927

Last Amended: 3 February 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM274

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Torosay

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises the upstanding remains of a medieval chapel, cross-shaft and graveyard. The monument was first scheduled in 1927 and last re-scheduled in 1964, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains. The present re-scheduling rectifies this.

The chapel site is situated NE of Pennygown, around 120m S of the Sound of Mull shoreline and immediately N of the A849 road, at about 10m OD. The ruined chapel, sited within the northern part of the graveyard, measures c.11.9m E-W by 5.4m transversely, within walls varying from 0.7m to 0.9m in thickness. It is constructed of rubble masonry with freestone dressings. At some period the gables have been reduced to the same height as the side walls, which are intact to wall-head level. Entrance was by a door placed towards the W end of the N wall. The chapel was lit by opposed windows at the E ends of the side walls, and by a third window in the W wall. Two pairs of corbels in the side walls W of the entrance doorway were probably inserted in the late medieval period to support a gallery.

The chapel served the northern portion of the parish of Torosay and is probably of early 13th-century date. No medieval references to it have been identified, and its dedication is unknown. The records of the Synod of Argyll in the middle of the 17th century show some uncertainty as to the status of the charge; it is referred to both as a 'Chappell' and as a 'paroach', and the building may already have been derelict by this time. The earliest evidence of its condition occurs on a 1787 map of Torosay parish, when it was shown as 'an old kirk'.

Within the chapel, erected on a modern base, is the lower part of a cross-shaft standing 1.33m above ground. On the front of the shaft there has been a crucifix, below which a large plant scroll terminates in a griffin. At the foot is a galley with sail set. The decoration on the reverse is dominated by a figure of the Virgin and Child in high relief. This cross-shaft dates to between 1500 and 1560 AD.

The graveyard, which is no longer in use, is defined by walls forming a rectilinear enclosure with maximum dimensions of 77m NE-SW by 33m transversely. Within the graveyard are two 17th-century slabs, each some 2m in length, bearing full-length effigies of a man and woman.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains of the chapel, cross-shaft and grave slabs as described and an area around them within which related material is likely to survive. It is roughly rectilinear in shape and bounded on the north, south and east by the walls of the graveyard. The NW side measures 26m, the NNW side 12m, the NE side 24m, the SE side 35m and the SW side measures 32.5m, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground elements of the graveyard boundary wall and the stone steps on the northern side are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of medieval ecclesiastical architecture and practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NM64SW 1.

References:

RCAHMS 1980, ARGYLL: AN INVENTORY OF THE MONUMENTS VOLUME 3: MULL, TIREE, COLL AND NORTHERN ARGYLL (EXCLUDING THE EARLY MEDIEVAL AND LATER MONUMENTS OF IONA), Edinburgh, HMSO,160-2, No. 320.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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