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Kilmun, chapel and burial ground 125m NNW of

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.2796 / 56°16'46"N

Longitude: -5.2788 / 5°16'43"W

OS Eastings: 197122

OS Northings: 714519

OS Grid: NM971145

Mapcode National: GBR FDB3.YL3

Mapcode Global: WH1JC.WFG9

Entry Name: Kilmun, chapel and burial ground 125m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1978

Last Amended: 10 May 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4140

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Kilchrenan and Dalavich

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a chapel and burial ground which were in use probably between the 13th and 15th centuries, but may have had earlier origins. The monument lies 120m above sea level on a relatively flat shelf, part-way down a SE-facing slope, looking towards the W shore of Loch Awe some 700m away. The site now lies in woodland, but would probably have had views over the loch and the mouth of the River Avich originally. The monument was first scheduled in 1978, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The low remains of the chapel walls are visible as turf-covered stony banks. These indicate a sub-rectangular building measuring approximately 6.7m NW-SE by 3.5m transversely, within walls about 0.9m thick. The entrance is located towards the N end of the NE wall. The chapel lies within a roughly sub-circular enclosure measuring around 30m by 26m, defined by traces of a stone wall.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, measuring 40m in diameter, centred on 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 remains of the chapel walls and the surrounding enclosure survive in stable condition. The dimensions and shape of the building resemble those of other small medieval chapels in Argyll and there is a local tradition that the site was used for burial. Excavations at similar sites elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland have revealed varied but rich archaeological remains and it is likely that deposits survive here that could contribute towards our understanding of early church construction, burial practices and the origins, nature and duration of use of medieval ecclesiastical sites. There are no obvious grave markers in the surrounding burial ground, but there is high potential for the survival for graves, possibly within the footprint of the chapel as well as in the burial ground. Skeletal remains could reveal evidence for health, diet, illness, cause of death and possibly occupational activities. There is also potential for the survival of carved stones which could help to refine the dating sequence for the site, as well as contributing towards our understanding of medieval art and sculpture.

Contextual characteristics

This is a good example of a small rural chapel and burial ground. It has particular value as part of a group of small rural chapels and burial grounds on the shores of Loch Awe. The group includes other examples some 7km to the SSW, 3.5 km to the S and 5 km to the ENE. The importance of the site at Kilmun is enhanced by the potential to compare and contrast these apparently similar ecclesiastical sites located reasonably close to each other, specifically, their date, form, character and associations.

Researchers believe this burial ground was in use during the period when Innis Chonnel Castle was occupied by the Campbell family, from the 13th century onwards. The castle lies only some 2.5km SSE of the chapel and investigation of the two sites has the potential to enhance our understanding and knowledge of both and the relationship between them. The chapel and burial ground can also help us to gain a better understanding of the nature of provision for religious worship in Argyll during the medieval period.

Associative characteristics

The site is depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map and labelled 'Burial Ground (Site of)'. Researchers believe the chapel was dedicated to St Munn, regarded as the patron saint of the early Campbell lords of Loch Awe. The place-name 'Kilmun', which means 'Munn's Church', incorporates the Gaelic word for church, 'cill', which may indicate its relatively early origins as a place of worship.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an ecclesiastical site that can enhance our understanding of the construction and use of medieval church buildings in Argyll. Important archaeological remains relating to the origins, use and development of the site are likely to survive, including burials and possibly carved stones. Its significance is enhanced by the opportunities for comparison with similar sites along the shores of Loch Awe, and especially with Innis Chonnell Castle, an important Campbell stronghold 2.5km to the S. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand and appreciate the origins and organisation of medieval Christianity around Loch Awe.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

References:

RCAHMS 1975, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Argyll: an inventory of the monuments volume 2: Lorn, 155, no. 265. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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