MHG4621 - Chapel and Burial Ground - Congash


Site of a chapel and associated burial ground (disused). Two Pictish Symbol stones have been used as portal stones for the entrance to the enclosure.

Type and Period (2)

  • CHAPEL (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)
  • CEMETERY (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Site visited and photographed by John Halliday, 30/09/03. Highland Archaeology Challenge. See assoc. docs. File.
J Aikten : 20/01/04.

Access Audit 104 - HAW 11/2003

See MHG45104 for associated Pictish symbol stones.

NJ02NE 1 0580 2622.
Chapel (NR) (Site of): Sculptured Stones: Burial Ground (Disused).
OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1903)

An enclosure (said to be the site of an old chapel and burial ground) in which are two sculptured stones lying at the S end (Name Book 1871). J Stuart (1867) and J R Allen and J Anderson (1903) figure two Pictish symbol stones 'situated within a small circular enclosure' on the farm of Congash, and the former says that on the same farm are 'similar structures believed locally to be ancient burial grounds.'
Name Book 1871; J Stuart 1867; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903.

The remains of an enclosure, known locally to have been an old burial ground, and two Pictish symbol stones, which have been used as portal stones for the entrance to the burial ground, located in a near level pasture field. The burial ground, which measures 35.0m N to S by 29.0m transversely, is enclosed by a stony bank, spread to an average width of 3.0m and 0.8m high. The entire central area is covered by modern field clearance, and no trace of the chapel remains, but a patch of nettles in the centre of the enclosure may mark the site.
The two symbol stones are as illustrated by J R Allen, the stone on the W side of the entrance being clear and well-incised, while that on the E side has weathered considerably.
The present farmer does not know of any 'similar burial grounds' on his land, but there is an almost circular stony mound, 30.0m in diameter and 3.0m high, surmounted by three trees, at NJ 0591 2639, which may be artificial. Vast quantities of field clearance have been added around its base.
Surveyed at 1/2500.
Visited by OS (R B) 7 September 1966.

The monument consists of the footings of a chapel and its associated burial ground, on either side of the entrance to which stands a stone with Pictish symbols.
The enclosure is a flattened circle on plan and measures approximately 35m N-S by 29m E-W. It is enclosed by a stony bank, now approximately 0.8m high, and spread to an average width of 3.0m. The interior of the enclosure is dotted with stones, the result of field clearance over many years, but the footings of a rectangular structure can be traced amidst the later piled stones.
On the S side of the enclosure stand two stones, apparently flanking the entrance to the enclosure; both of these bear Pictish symbols on the inner sides of the jambs. The stone to the W is approximately 1.15m high and 0.8m wide and the carving is clear and well incised; it bears a double disc and Z-rod symbol above a symbol which has been likened to a helmet transfixed by an arrow. The stone to the E is approximately 1m high by 0.65m wide at the bottom and 0.5m wide at the top, and the carvings - a so-called horse-shoe symbol above a so-called elephant symbol - are more heavily weathered. Both stones are of blue gneiss.
There is no documentary evidence to identify the site as that of a chapel and burial ground, but local tradition holds this view. The field in which the site stands is called Parc-an-Caipel. The lack of documentary evidence may suggest that the chapel is of early date.
Information from Historic Scotland, [1995].

The remains of what may be a chapel are situated on a broad NW-facing terrace about 480m SE of Congash farmsteading (NJ02NE 68). Rectangular on plan, it measures 14.7m from NE to SW by 8m transversely over walls reduced to low grass-grown footings. This building lies within a rectangular enclosure with rounded corners, which measures about 35m from NNE to SSW by 31m transversely over a wall reduced to a stony bank up to 3m in thickness and 0.7m in height. The entrance to the enclosure, which measures 1.2m in width, is in the SSW end; the Pictish symbol stones which flank the entrance are as previously described.
Aerial photography (RCAHMS 1995, C53505-7) has revealed that the enclosure in which the possible chapel lies is itself situated within an enclosure now only visible as a cropmark. Subrectangular on plan with rounded corners, this enclosure measures about 96m from NE to SW by 67m transversely over a ditch up to 2.5m in breadth. There are two possible entrances, one on the NE side and the other on the SW towards the W corner.
Visited by RCAHMS (TIP, AGCH), 6 September 2006

GIS spatial data created 2018 based on OS Master Map. <1>

See link below to HES Canmore record for additional photos.

Sources/Archives (11)



Grid reference Centred NJ 0579 2622 (35m by 38m)
Map sheet NJ02NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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