MHG1159 - Ecclesiastical site? - Chapel Stones


No summary available.

Type and Period (3)

  • MOUND (Unknown date)
  • CHAPEL? (Medieval - 1058 AD? to 1559 AD?)
  • HOSPITAL? (Medieval - 1058 AD? to 1559 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A mound, comprising a large area of small stones, 46 by 3m, delimited on the W by a boundary, 40 by 1m, of large stones. Some large stones lie to the S and an enclosure bank runs off at right angles to the E. <1>

Early-modern consumption walling.
Visited by OS (J M) 14 October 1982.

The site may be the remains of a large ecclesiastical site, a hospital and/or chapel. There are historic sources which refer to Edward I of England sending officials to Caithness to meet the ill-fated Maid of Norway in 1290 AD, and his envoys spent the night of 3 October at a place on the route north called 'hospital'. It would have meant a long and inconvenient detour inland for St Magnus' Hospice at Spital to be meant here, whereas such a foundation at Latheron would fit in perfectly with the English party's itinerary. A field visit by T Blackie revealed a line of massive foundation stones approximately 40m long. A modern boundary fence lies on the line of these stone blocks and thus gives the impression from a distance that this is a cairn of stones cleared from the fields on either side. However, the size, alignment and regularity of the stones all argue strongly that these are dressed stones froming the lower course of a substantial building. An unpublished paper by a local clergyman in the 1940s gives a sketch of the site and states that it is 'thought to be the remains of an abbey', but otherwise there do not seem to be any modern references. Stone from this site is locally thought to have been taken to build the field barn to the north, where a Pictish symbol stone with an Ogham inscription was found in 1903 (see MHG1154). <2>

See MHG1181 for the nominal Latheron hospital record and site.

The Cross Slab built into the garden wall at Latheron farmhouse (see MHG1153) was originally built into the wall of the barn. (W.G.Mowat 'The Church in Latheron Parish')

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred ND 1985 3286 (69m by 70m)
Map sheet ND13SE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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