MHG18648 - Former church/meeting house - Barrisdale Quoad Sacra


The former church/meeting house at Barrisdale.

Type and Period (2)

  • CHURCH (19th Century - 1801 AD? (at some time) to 1853 AD? (at some time))
  • MEETING HALL (19th Century - 1801 AD? (at some time) to 1853 AD? (at some time))

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The former church/meeting house at Barrisdale.

NG80NE 6 8735 0592 Church depicted as roofed on OS 1st ed. Map of Inverness-shire (Mainland sheet 78, 1876).
Information from RCAHMS (KM) 26 October 1995.

NG 873 059 On the E shore of Barrisdale bay, Loch Hourn is the roofless shell of a building, whose side walls and gables still stand to their original height. Named Quoad Sacra church according to the First Edition OS Map where it was shown as roofed, it measures 13.0m N-S by 3.8m transversly within mortared walls of semi-dressed stone, plastered on the inner face, 0.7m thick, sidewalls 2.5m and gables about 4m high. Lying on the ground in the interior are the cast-iron side frames of combined seat and desk units, possibly indicating that the structure may have been used as a school at some time. Full report with NMRS. <1>

See NG80NE0030 (MHG30044) for associated burial island of Eilean Choinnich, currently under threat from erosion. Info from J Wombell.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 19/07/01

This area was recorded by NOSAS in 2002 as part of an archaeological survey of Inner Loch Hourn. Site: 395. The standing but roofless remains of the Quoad Sacra Church at Barrisdale. This was already on the SMR, but the opportunity was taken to update the record during the 2002 survey. <2>

GIS spatial data amended in 2018 according to Ordnance Survey Mastermap <3>

The building was subject to photographic survey and building analysis by C Dagg in 2022 in advance of proposals to restore and re-use the building. During this rapid site visit it was noted that the building does not appear to have deteriorated significantly since 2002 other than the loss of the doorway lintel. Recent clearing of vegetation from the interior has revealed more of a roughly cobbled floor. Some fragments of metalwork were noted, although not the iron desk ends seen during previous visits. An intact cast iron rooflight is propped against the outer wall and there are many fragments of roofing slates, either Welsh or Spanish. There is, as yet, no documentary or cartographic evidence for the existence of the building before
1853, when it appears on the Admiralty Chart 2497 Loch Hourn, surveyed in 1852-3. The scanty evidence for a construction date offers three possibilities: construction of a place of worship for the seasonal herring workers, probably around 1800; constructed to serve the needs of a predominantly Protestant population of sheep farm workers and their families after clearance of the original Catholic population, culminating in the clearances on 1853; built in anticipation of the establishment of the quoad sacra parish of Knoydart. Analysis of the construction details on the building would suggest three phases: original build of a drystone walled building with two windows in the east elevation. This structure slightly shorter on the N-S axis than the later rebuild. Contamporary features in the other three elevations now lost; rebuild of at least the north gable and west elevation, built against the standing but listing east elevation. Doorway in the north gable and one window in the west elevation. This building done with sandy earth fill to walls; Major rebuild, probably at the end of the 19th century, consisting of demolition and rebuild of south gable to insert fireplace and flue, raising of gables and wallheads to support a slated roof with iron rooflights. Infilling of original window openings. The last phase of modification is assumed to have taken place after the building had no more use for religious meetings. <4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NG 8735 0591 (10m by 15m)
Map sheet NG80NE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish GLENELG

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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