Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Craobh Bial na Buaidh, burial ground and well 440m north west of Dalvuie

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 56.4792 / 56°28'44"N

Longitude: -5.3812 / 5°22'52"W

OS Eastings: 191879

OS Northings: 737017

OS Grid: NM918370

Mapcode National: GBR FC2L.KWX

Mapcode Global: WH1HC.9DSV

Entry Name: Craobh Bial na Buaidh, burial ground and well 440m NW of Dalvuie

Scheduled Date: 24 December 1975

Last Amended: 7 February 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3803

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: Ardchattan and Muckairn

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the remains of a burial ground and well, probably of medieval or earlier date. The burial ground is visible as an oval enclosure, aligned E-W, with internal measurements of 13.7m E-W by 9.1m transversely. A turf-covered dry-stone wall encloses the site and stands up to 0.5m high and 1.6m wide. The well is a natural spring located 15m ENE of the burial ground; its site today is indicated by the presence of an old fallen elm tree in a boggy area. The site lies in rough grazing land, at around 100m above sea level, on a rocky knoll. The monument was originally scheduled in 1975, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular and measures 40m NE-SW by 20m transversely, to include the remains described above and an area around them in which evidence relating to the monument's construction and use may survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The remains of the burial ground are in stable condition and largely undisturbed, except for bracken growth on and around the enclosure. The site has not previously been investigated. The low remains of the dry-stone wall enclosing the burial ground can be traced for the full circumference of the site. A small break on the W edge of the enclosing wall is likely to have been the original entrance. The wall is best preserved on the N, W and E sides and, in places, several stone courses are visible through the vegetation. The interior is relatively featureless, although several stone slabs are visible, which may be crude grave-markers but form no discernible pattern. No structural features are visible at the site of the well, but historical references to the site suggest it was frequented regularly over a long period of time for its reputed curative qualities. There is high potential for the survival of archaeological deposits relating to its use, possibly including votive objects.

The nature and form of the burial ground, and its association with a well with supposed healing properties, suggest it may be of medieval or earlier date. It is also possible that the site had its origins in the early Christian period, and was then used or re-used in the post-Reformation period, when it is reported to have been used as a burial ground for unbaptised infants. There is good potential for the survival of important archaeological remains, including burials, which could enhance our understanding of burial practices at different times in the history of Argyll. Any skeletal remains could reveal evidence of the health, diet, causes of death and possibly occupational activities of the population buried here. The site is also likely to contain archaeological evidence relating to its construction, use and duration, which could contribute towards our understanding of the nature of ecclesiastical sites in Argyll. There is potential to compare the buried remains at this site with those of similar burial grounds in Argyll and further afield. The site has good potential to enhance our understanding of early medieval and later ecclesiastical structures and populations.

Contextual characteristics

The site is of particular importance because, unlike other similar burial grounds in the area, historical sources confirm that this site was in use into the post-Reformation period. It is one of a few examples to have a clear association with a 'holy' or reputedly curative well. The monument has the potential to be compared with other examples in Argyll to add to our knowledge and understanding of the use and siting of these early burial and ecclesiastical sites.

The setting of the monument is also likely to be significant and would merit further analysis. The burial ground occupies a leveled area on top of a knoll on high ground overlooking the Moss of Achnacree to the S. This area is exceptionally rich in prehistoric ritual and funerary monuments, including substantial prehistoric burial monuments such as Carn Ban, some 750m to the SE, which would have been a focal point in the landscape throughout the period of use of the burial ground. It also overlooks prominent natural features, such as Ben Cruachan in the E. A steep rocky slope forms the backdrop to the N of the burial ground.

Associative characteristics

The site is depicted as an oval enclosure and labelled 'Burial Ground (disused)' on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map.

The burial ground has a number of interesting associative characteristics. The site is named 'Craobh' and 'Tobar Bial na Buiadh' on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey, which translates as 'the well and tree of the virtuous water'. The well is situated at the mouth of a natural spring and the site was reputedly much frequented for its curative qualities until the early 19th century. Historical records also state that votive offerings were often placed in a large hollow tree at the site, a 'gnarled old elm', as offerings to the guardian spirit of the spring. It is possible that this site has been considered sacred for a considerable period, possibly even from pre-Christian times given the ritual and funerary importance of this area in prehistory. The reported use of the site for the burials of unbaptised infants during the post-Reformation period suggests that the burial ground held a place in the local consciousness and continued to be seen as a place of religious significance over many generations. These associative characteristics add to the monument's importance as they can enhance our understanding of social and religious history in Argyll.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a burial ground and well, probably of medieval or earlier origin, which was in use until around 1830. Important archaeological remains relating to the origins, use and development of the site are expected to survive, including burials from different periods and, possibly, evidence relating to the use of the well. The significance of the site is enhanced by its associative and contextual characteristics, as a rare example of a long-lived burial site which also has associations with ritual activities. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand and appreciate burial practices and the origins and development of ecclesiastical sites in Argyll.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NM93NW 7. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference for the burial ground is WOSASPIN 1421 and for the well is 1420.


The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1988, Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 2: Lorn pp. 54 no. 60. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.