MHG31391 - Chapel of Sand of Udrigil, graveyard


A burial ground associated with a late medieval chapel. By 1834 the chapel itself was in use for burials. The graveyard has been extended on all sides.

Type and Period (3)

  • CEMETERY (In use, Medieval to 21st Century - 1058 AD to 2100 AD)
  • BURIAL GROUND (Medieval to 21st Century - 1058 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CIRCULAR ENCLOSURE? (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NMRS notes:
NG99SW 1 9020 9201.
The chapel of Sand of Udrigil, situated in a churchyard crowded with graves, close to village of Laide is stated by Dr. Scott (A B Scott 1908) to have been built (about 1713) by George Mackenzie of Gruinard, but universal tradition in Gairloch is that it was erected by St. Columba or one of his followers in 7th. Century and that chapel was only thatched by Mackenzie, "if indeed his place of worship were not an altogether different edifice."
The chapel is placed nearly east and west and at one time its single window showed possible remains of mullion and tracery, which suggest a date earlier than 18th century, although walls are cemented with a form of lime used in several local 18th-century houses. The chapel was in use at least until end of 18th century.
J H Dixon 1886; A B Scott 1908; A C M Mitford 1936 <1>-<3>

In a graveyard still in use, are the unroofed remains of the chapel, measuring 8.8m. E-W by 5.8m. N-S. The walls, 0.7m. Thick, are bonded with shell mortar. The E and W gables are virtually intact, the former being pierced by a partially destroyed mullioned window (see Ground Photographs on OS card). N and S walls survive to a height of 1.5m. There are several late gravestones within the ruins of the chapel, the earliest dated 1834, although one appearing older cannot be deciphered. The tradition that the chapel was erected at the time of St. Columba is still known locally, but the present architectural features are much later.
Visited by OS (N K B) 16 March 1965.

The chapel measures 8.8m E-W by 5.8m N-S over walls 0.7m thick. There is the head of a mullioned 2-light window in the E wall and there are remains of 2 further mullioned 2-light windows in the S wall, flanking the lower courses of a doorway. The E and W gables remain substantially complete (the W gable even retaining most of its skew stones), as does the N wall, but much of the S wall is reduced to approximately the level of the window sills. The position of the door, centrally within the S wall, may date to the post-Reformation period, although this may not be the original arrangement and the E wall appears to show several different phases of work. The windows seem to have had a double chamfer moulding separated by a rebate and an internal check for glazing. The walls are rubble built bonded in shell mortar, with red sandstone dressings.
The chapel is traditionally said to have been erected by St Columba or one of his followers, although the character of the building suggests a late medieval date for the existing structure. A church building is said to have been erected about 1713 by George MacKenzie of Gruinard, but in reality it is likely that work was limited to repairs and re-thatching. The chapel seems to have remained in use for worship until at least the end of the 18th century, and was in use for burials by 1834, the earliest decipherable date on any of the gravestones within the walls.
The burial ground has been substantially enlarged on all sides and remains in use. To the W of the chapel denuded remains of a segment of a probably circular ditch with a double bank can be traced.
Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 16 January 1996.

See Planning Service File RC.43.C (Proposals for consolidation 2000) and associated documents <4>

See Policy 3.24 in the Applecross/Gairloch & Lochcarron Local Plan 1985: Tourist Facilities. PROPOSAL - Improved access to the ruined chapel and cemetery at Laide. <5>

'Wester Ross Monumental Inscriptions', pre 1855
Monumental inscription survey completed by Alastair G. Beattie & Margaret H. Beattie. The survey may not include inscription information after 1855 and each inscription transcribed does not give the full details that appear on the stones, abbreviations used. Some ommissions and inacuracies may be encountered. First published 1987, reprinted 1991, 1996 & 1997, with corrections. <6>

Associated with the chapel NG99SW0001 (MHG7929). No longer in use for burials, there is a modern extension to the south. The grounds look well-maintained.
A small burial enclosure is attached to the west wall of the graveyard. There is a story associated with a grassy mound within this burial enclosure which is apparently the site of burial of a suicide victim whose bones have risen due to being buried on consecrated ground. <7>

The historic Ordnance Survey maps show that the graveyard was extended to the north-west and to the south some time before 1967. The 2nd edition 25 inch map of 1904 shows a curving north-west boundary which may correspond with the feature described by Historic Scotland in 1996. However this form of boundary is not present on the 1st edition map, which shows the graveyard to be roughly triangular. <8>-<10>

The burial ground was visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust. An assessment of condition and photographic record was made. <11><12>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred NG 9018 9200 (68m by 133m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG99SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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