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Cladh Uaine, chapel and burial ground 560m south east of Pennyfuir Cottage

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.4383 / 56°26'17"N

Longitude: -5.4379 / 5°26'16"W

OS Eastings: 188162

OS Northings: 732648

OS Grid: NM881326

Mapcode National: GBR DCYP.XL8

Mapcode Global: WH0GD.FFSN

Entry Name: Cladh Uaine, chapel and burial ground 560m SE of Pennyfuir Cottage

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1976

Last Amended: 19 March 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3826

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: Kilmore and Kilbride

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a medieval chapel and burial ground. The chapel dates probably from some time between the 12th and 16th centuries, although an earlier origin is possible. Its visible remains comprise the grass-grown wall footings of a small rectangular building, measuring 8.2m E-W by 4.1m transversely. The wall footings are approximately 1m wide and stand up to 0.5m high. There are traces of an entrance-doorway towards the centre of the S wall. The Ordnance Survey first edition map shows the chapel located in the NW corner of an oval burial ground measuring 23m E-W by 18m transversely, although no above-ground elements of this enclosure are now visible. The monument lies at 115m above sea level, on a ridge of high ground that extends S from Tom Ard, some 2km from the coast. The monument was first scheduled in 1976, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, 36m in diameter, centred on the SE corner of the chapel. The scheduling includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown 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 low banks that delineate the chapel survive in good condition within a forestry clearing, although suffering from bracken encroachment. Many chapel sites such as this date to the 12th to 16th centuries, but there is clear potential for the chapel to be older, or to have replaced an earlier building, as early medieval chapels erected in the centuries following AD 600 have similar field characteristics to later examples. Future excavation could enhance our understanding of the origin and possible development of the chapel, as well as its relationship to the putative adjoining enclosure. It is clear that the site remained in use as a burial ground for a considerable period. Gravestones were still visible in 1868-9 when Ordnance Survey officers visited and were informed told that there had been recent burials at the site.

Excavations at similar sites elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland has revealed varied, and often rich, archaeological remains. There is clear potential for the survival of important medieval deposits here that could contribute towards our understanding of medieval church construction, burial practices and the origins, nature and duration of use of pre-Reformation ecclesiastical sites. Any skeletal remains could also reveal evidence for health, diet, illness, cause of death and possibly occupational activities over several centuries. There is also potential for the survival of carved stones on the site. These could provide more information about the date of the monument and contribute towards our understanding of early Christian art and sculpture.

Contextual characteristics

This monument is of particular value as one of a group of small, early medieval or medieval chapels and burial grounds in north Argyll, all within about 20km of this site. Some of these chapels lie on or close to the coast, including examples in the islands of Seil and Bernera, but others lie inland, such as the chapel and burial ground at Kilmun to the SE. The closest medieval chapel to Cladh Uaine is the rather larger stone-built chapel at Dunstaffnage Castle, some 1.7km to the N, which dates from the 13th century. The potential for comparison offered by this group of chapels can enhance knowledge and understanding of the form, use and siting of these early burial and ecclesiastical sites. The group appears to be quite diverse: for example it is clear that burial grounds with early associations can vary in shape from square or rectangular to circular or oval. The setting and position of this chapel is likely to be significant and would merit further analysis and comparison with other similar sites. The position of the site on a ridge of higher ground offers long views along the coast and out to sea, and would have ensured the chapel was visible to the community.

Associative characteristics

The chapel and burial ground are shown on the Ordnance Survey first edition map and are labeled 'Chapel and Burial Ground (Site of) Cladh Uaine'. The name of this monument, incorporating the 'Cladh' element, strongly suggests that the putative burial ground was in use at a relatively early date. Researchers have suggested that the chapel may have been dedicated to St Maelrubha, referred to in a late 16th-century document as lying in the vicinity of Dunstaffnage Castle.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has the inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the nature and development of chapels and burial grounds in the west of Scotland. Important archaeological remains relating to the origins, use and development of the site are expected to survive below ground, including the foundations of the chapel and its fittings, the remains of the putative burial ground enclosure, human burials and possibly carved stones. The significance of the site is enhanced by its capacity to be compared with similar sites in the region. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand and appreciate the organisation and spread of Christianity in medieval Argyll.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NM83SE 20. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service SMR reference is WoSASPIN 1227.

References:

RCAHMS 1975, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 2: Lorn, Edinburgh, p 121, no 235.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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