Ancient Monuments

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St Moluag's Cathedral, Lismore

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

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Latitude: 56.5345 / 56°32'4"N

Longitude: -5.4805 / 5°28'49"W

OS Eastings: 186076

OS Northings: 743481

OS Grid: NM860434

Mapcode National: GBR DCVF.VTG

Mapcode Global: WH0FZ.S0FW

Entry Name: St Moluag's Cathedral, Lismore

Scheduled Date: 6 October 1959

Last Amended: 22 October 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM286

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: sculptured stone (not ascribed to a more specific type); Ecclesiastical:

Location: Lismore and Appin

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises the remains of St Moluag's Cathedral, the seat of the Bishops of Argyll. It survives as the buried archaeological remains of the cathedral and its various building phases; the adjacent burial ground with grave-markers; and the wider footprint which is likely to contain further remains, including those associated with Early Christian burial and worship. Records indicate that St Moluag landed here in the mid 6th century AD, with the medieval cathedral dating from the early 13th century AD. The footprint of the cathedral is likely to extend over 30m in length (E-W) and is approximately 10m wide (N-S). The cathedral is located inland, towards the N end of Lismore at 55m above sea level. It overlooks part of the Lynn of Lorn and the mainland beyond. The monument was first scheduled in 1959, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes the above-ground elements of the parish church and its floor down to the floor base; a wooden storage shed immediately beyond the NW corner of the parish church; and the above-ground elements of a transmission pole and its ground anchors. The scheduling also excludes the above-ground elements of all boundary features, including stone walls, gates and fencing; the top 300mm of all modern road surfaces; and all burial lairs where burial rights still exist.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the origins and spread of Christianity, the development of a probable monastic centre on Lismore and the later establishment of a bishopric. There is good evidence for the survival of archaeological structures and deposits relating to the 13th-century cathedral and its later building phases, including the structural footprint of the cathedral in its final form and adjacent structures, burials and associated features. The monument is a rare example of the foundations of the nave of a Scottish medieval cathedral. The cathedral appears to have been relatively distant from much of the diocese which it served, but it lay close to a sea route of considerable importance in the medieval period. The loss of the monument would significantly affect our ability to understand the nature and organisation of medieval religious worship and administration in Argyll and western Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NM84SE 5. The West of Scotland Archaeological Service records the site as WOSASPINs 1288.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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