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Glencroft, chapel site 85m north east of, Islay

A Scheduled Monument in Kintyre and the Islands, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7692 / 55°46'9"N

Longitude: -6.3579 / 6°21'28"W

OS Eastings: 126774

OS Northings: 661478

OS Grid: NR267614

Mapcode National: GBR BFPG.GL9

Mapcode Global: WGYGZ.98N2

Entry Name: Glencroft, chapel site 85m NE of, Islay

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1963

Last Amended: 16 July 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2365

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Kilchoman

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Kintyre and the Islands

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Description

Late 18th century. 3-storey, attic and basement, 3-bay terraced classical house. Broached ashlar sandstone; V-jointed rustication at principal floor. Base course; band course between basement and principal floor; cill course at 1st floor; mutuled cornice and blocking course at 2nd floor. Ashlar steps and entrance platt oversailing basement.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: round-arched doorway in bay to left at principal floor, comprising 2-leaf 10-panel timber door with tooled lintel, reading 'The Drambuie Liqueur Co. Ltd.', surmounted by plate glass semicircular fanlight, with carriage lamp set in wall above; windows in remaining bays at principal floor; regular fenestration to floors above and basement, architraved windows with cornices at 1st floor, architraved windows at 2nd floor. Flagged basement area.

W ELEVATION: adjoining terrace, see separate listing (10 and 10A York Place).

E ELEVATION: adjoining terrace, see separate listing (14 and 14A York Place).

N (REAR) ELEVATION: regular fenestration; 2-storey workshop, J and F Johnston, 1960, adjoining early 20th century 7-bay building to street at Dublin Street Lane South; coursed rubble, broached ashlar side elevations, red sandstone dressings, modern garage door to right at ground, with stone lintel.

Predominantly 4-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate M-roof. Modern sky lights. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Broached ashlar ridge stacks; coped, with circular cans. Coped skews.

INTERIORS: not seen, 1998. Entrance hall with Gothic details.

RAILINGS AND LAMPS: ashlar copes surmounted by cast-iron railings with spear-headed and urn finials. Cast-iron railing-mounted lamps with glass globes.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The chapel and burial ground are in good condition. The chapel is of drystone or clay-mortared construction, and an entrance is located in the centre of the W wall of the structure. The substantial enclosure surrounding the chapel represents the remains of a burial ground, with an entrance possibly in the SW side. The ground within the interior of the burial enclosure is uneven and raised slightly above the surrounding land, possibly indicating a long period of use. One plain stone grave marker is visible in the burial ground, NE of the chapel.

The only reported finds from the site are several shipwreck burials of probable late 19th-century date. The absence of recorded early Christian or medieval burials or other evidence makes it difficult to ascertain the chronology and development sequence of the site, but parallels with similar sites elsewhere in Islay suggests that the chapel dates probably from sometime during the 10th-14th centuries. Future excavation could enhance our understanding of the origins and development sequence of the site and of the relationship between the chapel and surrounding burial ground. Excavations at similar sites elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland have revealed varied but rich archaeological remains. Given that this chapel and burial ground appear largely undisturbed, there is high potential for the survival of early Christian or medieval deposits and features that could contribute towards our understanding of early church construction, burial practices and the origins, nature and duration of use of early ecclesiastical sites. Any skeletal remains could also reveal evidence for health, diet, illness, cause of death and possibly occupational activities. There is also potential for the survival of carved stones beneath the ground surface, which could help us to refine the dating of the site and contribute towards our understanding of early medieval art and sculpture. The monument has the potential to enhance our understanding of the spread of Christianity in Argyll.

Contextual characteristics

This is a fine example of a small early Christian chapel and burial ground, with a coastal location offering fine views to the E over Loch Indaal. Small rural chapels with surrounding burial grounds are particularly common in Islay, with at least 15 known examples. These include other sites close to the sea, at Cladh Cill Iain and Nereabolls, approximately 7km to the SW. Such sites provide distinctive evidence for Irish influence in Scotland during a crucial period in Scottish history and can help us to understand early politics, as well as the origins and spread of Christianity. Study of this site, in comparison with similar examples in Islay, could also help us to gain a better understanding of the nature of religious provision for the lay population and the evolution and development of Christian centres.

Associative characteristics

The site of a burial ground is depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map and the name 'Cill Uillean' has previously been recorded here, although more recently this place-name has been removed by the Ordnance Survey. The place-name 'Cill' is Gaelic, meaning 'church' or 'burial ground' and supports the suggestion that this site may have early origins as a place of worship for the lay population.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the remains of an early ecclesiastical site. The place-name indicates that a church and burial ground was constructed at the site to serve the lay population. Important archaeological remains relating to the origins, use and development of the site in the early medieval period are expected to survive, including burials and possibly carved stones. Its significance is enhanced by its capacity to be compared with similar sites in Islay. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand and appreciate the origins and nature of secular worship and the development of early Christian sites in Islay and more widely across the west of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Gifford, McWilliam and Walker, EDINBURGH (1984), pp332-3; McKean, EDINBURGH (1992), pp109-110; MacRae Heritors 19 and 38.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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