MHG44757 - St. Mary's Burial Ground Cross-slab - Kilmory, Rhum


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CROSS (Undated)

Protected Status

Full Description

Incomplete, in rough pasture on moderate hillslope with NE-E-SE aspect and altitude 10-20m OD.
SMR card.
'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 ommissions and inacuracies may be encountered. Published 1993. <1>
J Aitken : 20/12/02
The only early Christian antiquities on Rhum are two Celtic crosses - one in the Kilmory burial ground (map ref NH 361036) and the other at Bagh na h-Uamha (NM 421 973) {SMR NM49NW0002}. The Kilmory slab bears a Latin cross on one side (noticed by T S Muir in 1885 but not the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in 1925). The RCAHMS, however, described the other face of the slab as "a shaft of hard sandstone 4.75 ft high … bearing at the top a small incised Latin cross surmounting a circular panel 8 inches in diameter ..which contains a cross with expanding arms set saltire-wise." Both this "marigold" cross and the Latin cross have been dated to the seventh or eighth century (RCAHMS 1983). This is similar to the date ascribed to another cross slab found recently and set upright on the shore at Bagh na h-Uamha. Both monuments may have marked sites of worship in secular communities, rather than being actual grave markers. The prefix "Kil-" suggests there to have been a chapel at Kilmory as reported by Martin Martin at the end of the seventeenth century. The RCAHMS referred to a thick walled dry stone ruin (with an entrance 3 ft wide) beside the burial ground but this is not the chapel, merely a well preserved blackhouse.
J A Love <2> <3> <4>

NG30SE 1 3613 0366.

(NG 3613 0366) Old Burial Ground (NAT)
OS 6" map (1903)

The settlement of Kilmory was evacuated in 1828 and the ruins of blackhouses exist today.
K Williamson and J M Boyd 1963 <5>

St Mary's Church stands immediately N of the graveyard and is a ruinous drystone building c. 39' E-W by 19' with 3 1/2' thick walls reduced to an average height of 4'. The S entrance is apparently the only one. The graveyard, enclosed by a ruined wall, contains, in addition to plain headstones, a shaft of hard sand- stone 4 3/4' long, bearing, at the top, and incised latin cross surmounting a circular panel 8" in diameter, which contains a cross with expanding arms set saltire-wise; towards the base of the cross are two parallel incised lines.
RCAHMS 1928, visited 1925 <6>

The building noted by the RCAHMS as St Mary's Church is still known locally by that name, but does not appear to be a church. It is a ruinous blackhouse oriented N-S, one of a group forming the depopulated hamlet of Kilmory. The RCAHMS's measurements are correct, but the doorway is in the centre of the E wall. The walls stand to the wall head. There is no building in the area oriented E-W and none that can be recognised as a church.
The burial ground, now disused, is an irregularly-shaped enclosure bounded by a dry wall in good state of repair. The cross-incised sandstone shaft lies prostrate in the E half and measures 1.6m long x 0.2m x 0.2m. The cross set saltire-wise within a circle is visible near the top and has an incised line running upwards and also down- wards from it. The two parallel lines are also visible. On the rear of the shaft near the top is another cross of latin style. Both crosses are very weathered, and are difficult to interpret.
Visited by OS (AA) 16 May 1972.

This cross-slab was noted during an archaeological survey by RoCAS and WCAS in 2012 on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage. It was described as a prostrate cross-slab approximately 1.25m long and about 0.3m wide. The decoration on both sides was heavily weathered. <8>

A cross-marked pillar lies in the burial-ground that is situated on the W bank of the Kilmory River, 180m from its mouth. The name indicates a burial-ground or chapel dedicated to St Maelrubha and an ecclesiastical site was recorded by Pont in the late 16th century, while Martin Martin about 1700 mentioned a chapel on Rum. However, a round-angled structure immediately N of the burial-ground, which has previously been identified as a chapel, appears to be one of the township buildings. The burial-ground is a raised D-shaped enclosure measuring 14.5m by 12m within a drystone revetment. It contains a number of plain gravemarkers and slabs, the earliest inscriptions being of early 19th-century date.
The pillar now lies in the N part of the burial-ground, but its probable former site is marked by a slight stony mound about 2m to the NW. It is of medium-grained buff Torridonian sandstone and is carved on the two wider faces, which are the end-grain of the stone. It measures 1.68m in height including a tapered butt 0.3m long, above which it tapers in width from 0.26m to 0.13m and in thickness from 0.15m to 0.12m. On one face (a) there is carved in low relief a cross-of-arcs, 0.19m in diameter within a peripheral bead-moulding. The 'petals' dividing the cross-arms have beaded margins and axial ribs, and at the centre there is a small raised boss having a central hollow. The cross is supported on the cupped upper end of a slightly sunken pedestal whose shaft, 0.22m high and 30mm wide, rises from a broad triangular base with a concave bottom edge. Standing on the upper perimeter of the cross there is the rectangular sunken base of an incised Latin cross about 90mm high. Its upper and lower terminals are triangular but those of the transom appear to be plain, although later pitting make interpretation difficult. On face (b) there is a Latin cross about 0.24m high, carved in the same shallow sunken technique as the pedestal on face (a) and rising from a similar triangular terminal with a curved lower edge. The transverse arms extend to the edges of the pillar, and like the top arm they are weathered so that the form of their terminals is uncertain. <9>

Kilmory, Rum, Skye & Lochalsh, cross-slab
Measurements: H 1.68m, W 0.26m tapering upwards to 0.13m, D 0.15m
Stone type: buff Torridonian sandstone
Place of discovery: NG 3613 0366
Present location: lying in the burial ground at Kilmory, on the west side of the Kilmory river.
Evidence for discovery: noted by Muir in the early 1880s already lying flat. The D-shaped burial ground has a raised interior, and there is a small stony mound nearby on which the slab may have stood.
Present condition: weathered.
This tapering pillar is carved on both broad faces towards the top. On face A there is a cross-of-arcs within a circle, 0.19m in diameter, carved in low relief and defined by narrow roll mouldings. the circle is supported on a sunken shaft with an expanded top and triangular base. The stepped sunken base of a small incised Latin cross stands on top of the cross-of-arcs. On face C is a sunken Latin cross with a slightly expanded foot.
Date range: seventh or eighth century.
Primary references: Muir 1885, 83; Fisher 2001, 98-9.
Compiled by A Ritchie 2016

Sources/Archives (10)



Grid reference Centred NG 3613 0366 (2m by 0m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG30SE
Civil Parish SMALL ISLES
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.