Ancient Monuments

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Cladh Sorobaidh, burial ground, site of church and two crosses, Tiree

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

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Latitude: 56.47 / 56°28'12"N

Longitude: -6.8996 / 6°53'58"W

OS Eastings: 98376

OS Northings: 741644

OS Grid: NL983416

Mapcode National: GBR 9CCM.6HH

Mapcode Global: WGXB2.ZMNV

Entry Name: Cladh Sorobaidh, burial ground, site of church and two crosses, Tiree

Scheduled Date: 1 October 1934

Last Amended: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM271

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross slab; Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Tiree

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban South and the Isles

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument consists of a burial ground containing an Early Christian cross-slab, the shaft of an early-16th century cross, and the remains of a medieval church. The existence here of the Early Christian cross-slab suggests that this may have been an early ecclesiastical, probably monastic site.

The Early Christian cross-slab stands in the E side of the burial ground within what appears to be its original socket stone. It measures 1.27m high by 0.8m in maximum width by 0.25m in thickness (excluding the boss on the front). It bears a cross in bold relief on each face, the arms of that on the E face projecting so that the stone itself is cruciform. The cross on the E face is of Latin form, with the edges defined by a cable moulding and a large boss in the centre. On the upper arm are depicted three serpents and there are traces of a key pattern on the left arm. The incised foliaceous scrolls on the shaft appear to be a later addition. The background of the slab is also ornamented and the edge bears a cable moulding. The cross on the E side of the stone is ring-headed, and does not reach to the edges of the slab. Once again, it is defined, and the edges of the slab are ornamented by, cable moulding, and the head and shaft of the cross are ornamented. On the top of the upper arm of the cross is a low projection, possibly imitating the small house or shrine frequently carved on the tops of Irish high crosses.

On the W side of the burial ground (8m from the W wall of the enclosure) lies a cross-shaft with an inscription stating that it was erected by Anna, Prioress of Iona - without doubt Anna MacLean, Prioress from before 1509 until 1543. The shaft is 1.9m long and tapers in width from 0.32m to 0.23m. It is broken in 2 places and is now partly buried so that only the front is visible. The front bears 2 niches, the upper showing St Michael slaying the dragon and the lower showing a female figure - possibly representing the Prioress - attended by Death, shown as a cadaver. The rear of the shaft bears a plant scroll. Other Early Christian and late medieval carved stones are to be found in the burial ground, one grave slab lying immediately to the N of Prioress Anna MacLean's cross.

In the NW corner of the burial ground, low mounds representing the foundations of the church can be distinguished. The N and S walls are the most distinct, and it appears to have measured 14m E-W by 8m N-S and to lie approximately 9m from the W wall and 8m from the N wall of the burial ground. A number of architectural fragments of 13th-century character survive, re-used as burial markers. The church served the medieval parish of Soroby, the parish of the W half of Tiree until the union of Coll and Tiree parishes in 1618. The church is recorded in the 13th century, and it seems to have remained in use until at least the late 17th century.

It has been suggested that the site can possibly be identified as that of the Columban monastery of Campus Lunge, and the existence of the Early Christian carved stones here do suggest that this was an early and important ecclesiastical site. This may have had some connection with the probable Early Christian monastic site at St Patrick's Chapel, 5km away.

The Early Christian cross, erroneously named as MacLean's Cross, was scheduled in 1934, and the present scheduling corrects the naming error and extends protection to the surrounding burial ground and the remains within it as described above.

The area now to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 60m NNW-SSE by a maximum of 55m WSW-ENE, as defined in red on the enclosed map. It is defined by the burial ground walls to the N, W and NE. It is defined to the S by a line running from the angle between the E and NE walls of the burial ground to a point on the W wall 16m S of the walled burial enclosure, along which line a low mound appears to represent the former S extent of the burial ground. It excludes all lairs for which rights of burial still exist.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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