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Teampull Eoin, chapel, graveyard & settlement, Port Mhór Bragar, Lewis

A Scheduled Monument in An Taobh Siar agus Nis, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.3445 / 58°20'40"N

Longitude: -6.6359 / 6°38'9"W

OS Eastings: 128836

OS Northings: 948899

OS Grid: NB288488

Mapcode National: GBR B60N.TH6

Mapcode Global: WGX14.1JBF

Entry Name: Teampull Eoin, chapel, graveyard & settlement, Port Mhór Bragar, Lewis

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1977

Last Amended: 10 February 2005

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3926

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church; Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Barvas

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: An Taobh Siar agus Nis

Traditional County: Ross-shire

Description

The monument comprises the ruins of a later medieval church and its graveyard, the extended pre-20th century graveyard and an underlying prehistoric settlement mound. Teampull Eoin (St John's Chapel) is situated close to the shore, on the E side of Port Mhór Bragar, NW Lewis. The monument was first scheduled in 1977 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The small church consists of a nave and chancel, built of rough rubble, orientated NW-SE, and entered from the S. To the N are a series of later burial enclosure walls. The gable of the nave stands to around 4m, the side walls to 2m; the dividing wall between the nave and chancel has collapsed. The chancel gable stands around 3m high. Both gables have small, simple windows. Small aumbries remain in the N and S walls of the chancel.

This multi-period site is clearly in an area with evidence of occupation from at least later prehistoric times. As is frequently the case in the Western Isles (and indeed elsewhere in the Atlantic Province), the medieval church (exact date unknown, probably 15th century) has been sited on top of an abandoned settlement site, which has produced IronAge pottery.

The topography to the S of the church would suggest the boundaries of the small graveyard that was associated with the medieval church. We do not know if there were any earlier churches on the site. Around this the boundaries of the pre-20th century graveyard are clearly visible: the line of the robbed NE wall can be seen, and there is a clear distinction between the dense rows of low, largely plain stone gravemarkers in this area and the more widely spaced 20th century memorials beyond. The interior of the church also contains burial markers.

The chapel is also known by the name of Cill Sgaire.

The area to be scheduled is defined by the trapezoidal boundaries of the pre-20th century graveyard and measures 62m from SW-NE by up to 50m transversely, to include the medieval church and later graveyard, as well as the core of the prehistoric settlement mound and an area in which associated remains may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. Active burial lairs are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it represents the remains of a multi-period, multi-use site with activity extending from domestic occupation in later prehistory to later use as a small church and burial ground (the latter continues to this day). Well-preserved medieval buildings are not common in the Western Isles, and this church is probably typical of the small churches that served local communities in the later medieval period. In common with other Western Isles churches, its relative simplicity makes it difficult to date on architectural grounds, but the site retains high archaeological potential for the recovery of information about its extended use and occupation over at least two millennia. The extensive graveyard, with its simple low and unmarked gravemarkers is a particularly well-preserved example of a form of graveyard that is representative of the pattern of Western Isle burial practices in the post-Reformation period until quite recent times. The chapel is recognised to be of historic value by the local community who are keen to consolidate it.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NB24NE 3.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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