MHG4413 - St. Columba's Friary (Carmelite) - Kingussie


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • FRIARY (Early Medieval to Medieval - 561 AD? to 1559 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(NH 7584 0064) St. Columba's Priory (NR)
OS 6"map, Inverness, 2nd ed., (1903)

A Carmelite friary founded before 1501, the subsequent history of which has not been traced (D E Esson 1957). It was situated within the old graveyard but nothing remained in 1869 although walling is said to have been found during early 19th century repairs to the churchyard.
D E Esson 1957; Name Book 1869.

There are no visible remains of a building at the site.
An inscribed stone set into the graveyard wall at NH 7568 0078 states that 'here lie the hallowed remains of the old church of Kingussie, dedicated to St. Columba and according to tradition, planted by himself.'
Visited by OS (R L) 18 November 1966.

The inscribed stone referred to above sits above what appears to be a small font made of grey granite. The inscription is completed by the phrase, in both Gaelic and English, 'My Druid is Christ the Son of God', supposedly a saying of St. Columba.
Jhooper, 24.11.99.

The possible remains of a friary building, possibly the church were uncovered during a watching brief by West Coast Archaeological Services in 2018 during water main renewal by Scottish Water in Mill Road. Two substantial walls most likely forming a part of the Carmelite Friary, and disarticulated human remains from within the building of unknown date were recorded. Sections of the west gable and south wall of a church (most likely the Carmelite Friary), which must extend under the turning circle at the end of Mill Road and into the present enclosure marking St Columba’s cemetery were recorded. The bone deposits recovered generally displayed disarticulated bone groups, most likely deriving from disturbed burials that were re-interred within the church/friary. The almost complete absence of vertebrae, ribs and bones from the extremities of the skeleton, along with limited evidence for upper and lower mandibles and teeth, was perplexing. No cuts were identified in either section of the water main trench, while no remains of coffins or their associated furniture were found. A total of 12 tooth and bone samples were selected from the human remains for radiocarbon dating at the SUERC Facility in East Kilbride. Many of the results appear to be relatively contemporary in date. If the calibrated date ranges are calculated at 1 sigma level of certainty (68.2% probability), the dates form two clusters – the earliest ranging between 1446-1522 calAD, and the later ranging between 1521-1630 calAD. The earlier range would fit in with the use of the Carmelite Friary, while the later date ranges may be associated with its abandonment and use for burial afterwards. <1>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 7567 0077 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH70SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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