MHG42020 - St. Martin's Chapel and Grave, Isle Martin


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Type and Period (1)

  • CEMETERY (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NH09NE 1 096 989.
The ruins of St Martin's Chapel are on W corner of Isle Martin. There is also an old burying ground containing some ancient sculptured stones, among which is grave of St Martin, surmounted by a high headstone on which is carved a cross with double arms.
The stone, about 4' high, stands near burying ground at SE corner of Isle Martin (J D Cairns 1913).
"Clach Fear Eilean-Mhairtein" - meaning "Stone of the Man of Isle Martin" (Name Book 1886) may refer to the foregoing accounts. (The Gaelic "feart" means a "grave". If original surveyor missed the terminal 't', the name would mean "Grave Stone of Isle Martin".)
A C M Mitford 1936; MacDonald, Polson and Brown 1931 <1><2>

There is no chapel on W side of Isle Martin. According to Mrs Easson (Isle of Martin, Ross and Cromarty) St Martin's Chapel is situated at SE corner of island at NH 0964 9895, where there is a roofless stone building 4.2m square, with its entrance in W side, similar in design to chapel in graveyard at Ullapool. (See NH19 SW 2). 20m S of this building is a cross-slab (? 8th c - (a).) 1.3m high, 0.5m broad, and 0.3m thick, which is plain on 3 sides and embossed on E side with a rough cross, fitting description of previous authorities. Traditionally said to mark grave of St Martin. It was originally surmounted by a wheel-cross whose present whereabouts is not known. (Mrs Easson, Isle of Martin, Ross and Cromarty There are many grave-markers of roughly hewn stone in area around chapel; one of them bears letters "D I".
To SE, at NH 0976 9887, in an area of uncultivated ground, there is a small cairn of grass-covered stones, 4m diameter and 2m high. Similar cairns occur about 50m to SE of this, but as these border land that has previously been ploughed, they are probably no more than field clearance heaps.
Visited by OS (N K B) 2 October 1964

(NH 096 989) St Martin's Chapel & Grave (NR) (Name: NH 099 989) Clach Fear Eilean-Mhairtein (NAT)
OS 6"map, 1969

There appears to be no convincing authority for alleged dedication of this chapel to St Martin. Watson (W J Watson 1926) could find no evidence, nor is it mentioned in Orig Par Scot (1855)
Mitford gives it this dedication, but, as he also says that St Martin is buried there, he is obviously a very suspect authority. (St Martin died in 397 at Candes, near Tours, France, where his relics were preserved.) (D Allwater 1965) The old enclosure wall of the burial ground is visible on Aps (RAF 58.794:4227-8, flown 1951) as is a small triangular enclosure on W side of chapel. If this structure is a chapel its position in graveyard suggests that it is secondary, a central position being much more likely for a primary structure.
Information from OS Recorder (ES) 30 July 1974 <3>-<5>

Small burial ground with a square, stone built structure which is the ‘chapel’. The gravestones are uprights, but are small and mostly only the tops poke out of the ground. There is a carved cross-slab within the graveyard. The ground around the gravestones is uneven, but is higher than the stone structure. <6><7>

Sources/Archives (23)



Grid reference Centred NH 0963 9892 (73m by 63m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH09NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish LOCHBROOM

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

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