MHG42225 - Old Burial Ground - Cill Ashik


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Type and Period (1)

  • BURIAL GROUND (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

(NG 6867 2426) Cill Ashik (NR) (Burial Ground) (NAT) (NG 6872 2430) Tobar Ashik (NAT)
OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

Kill Ashik or Askimilruby (Donaldson 1923), the church of the Ferry of St. Maelrubha. Tradition says that the ferry was used by the saint to cross from his monastery of Applecross on the mainland opposite. There is also a legend that beside the church grew a tree on which St. Maelrubha's bell was hung, the bell ringing of its own accord every Sunday, etc.
Tobar Ashik, covered by a low building of large stones on the shore, is also attributed to the saint and the subject of legend.
August 27th used to be kept at Bradford as La Maolruaidhe, St. Maelrubha's Day, the date of the Old Scottish observance of his festival (Donaldson 1923).
In 1845 (NSA 1845) the church was presumably extant as it is described as 'remains of', but by 1876 (OS 6"map, Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., 1876) it had disappeared and Lamont (1913) says 'the foundations of the old church were discovered while a grave was being dug some years ago'.
NSA 1845; W Reeves 1857; D Lamont 1913; M E M Donaldson 1923; RCAHMS 1928.

The site of Cill Ashik shows as a rectangular raised mound, containing much shell mortar and a few facing stones, occupying a natural rock outcrop in the highest part of the cemetery. It is orientated E-W an measures 9.0m along this axis and 7.0m transversely by 0.8m high.
Tobar Ashik is a strong spring which issues from the hillside a few feet above sea-level; it is protected by a few stone slabs above and around its point of issue.
Visited by OS (C F W) 17 April 1961.

Lochaber and Skye 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 omissions and inaccuracies may be encountered. Published 1993. <1>

[The] burial-ground is situated about 30m from the S shore of Ob Breakish, an inlet of the Inner Sound, at the E end of the crofting township of Lower Breakish. The name is derived from the Gaelic aiseig, 'a ferry', and it was traditionally identified as a landing-place used by St Maelrubha of Applecross. A low stony mound in the burial-ground may represent the site of a chapel, and an ornamented bronze strap-end of early medieval type was found here in 1994. The well known as Tobar Ashaig lies about 30m to the NE, and conservation work in 1994 revealed that the stone-built well-house was fed by a channel from an earlier stone-lined spring. One of the lintels of the linking channel bore a lozenge 75mm long, and a cross-marked stone was found near the well-house. <2>

Presumed site of the chapel is at NG 68714 24255
Alternate name: Ashaig <3>

GIS Spatial data amended in 2019 based on OS Master Map. <4>

The remains of the church and the older part of the burial ground (and including a shell midden and a well) were scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland with effect from 04/10/2019. <5>

Sources/Archives (11)



Grid reference Centred NG 6869 2424 (84m by 102m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG62SE
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish STRATH

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