MHG48202 - Breakachy Pendant - Breakachy Estate


Cannel coal pendant found on Breakachy Estate

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A shale pendant found prior to 1877 on the Breakachy estate, bears an incised cross with hollowed armpits, ornamented by spiral-filled roundels and a panel of key-pattern. The reverse bears a tangle of zoomorphic interlace, a small incised cross, and a serpent, the last reminiscent in style of depictions on the symbol stones. <1>

The pendant is within Inverness Museum, listed under Acc. No. 1945.058 in the IMAG catalogue. The museum's archive files contains photographs and a short report on the object. <2> <3>

This is what the provenance record in Inverness Museum says:
• Field Collection info: stray find, Breakachy, Erchless Castle, near Struy, Beauly, Inverness-shire, before 1877
• In 1994 National Museum of Scotland undertook XRF and X-ray analysis of the pendant which confirmed it was cannel coal, not jet as previously described.
• Provenance: The finder is unknown (and the exact find spot is also unknown, believed to be “at the back of Breakachy” c.1840). The finder gave it to Roderick Chisholm of Chisholm (who died in 1877). It was preserved in Erchless Castle until the Estate was sold in 1937 when the pendant was purchased by Captain William MacKay of Inverness. The pendant was then donated to Inverness Museum by Captain MacKay in October 1945. Over the years, Captain MacKay donated over 140 items from his very eclectic collection - including swords, pistols, powder horns, snuff mulls, tartan clothing, medals, silver, artworks and bagpipes – essentially all typical Highland objects. The Breakachy pendant is by far the oldest object in the collection.

In the 19th century, Breakachy referred to an area of high ground containing about 6 main farmsteads and a number of associated cottages, NW of the A831road in Strathglass just west of Beauly, between the Beauly River and the Breakachy Burn. At that time, this area was part of the extensive Erchless Estate based at Erchless Castle, seat of the Chisholms, which is just NE of the present village of Struy. The current Breakachy Farm was then called Tighnaleac, see the OS 1st edition map. <4>

(Note; Findspot location moved to Erchless Castle as last previously known location. Original find location on the Breakachy Estate not known. T.Blackie 29/11/21)

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 4 4 (0m by 1m)
Map sheet NH44SW
Civil Parish KILMORACK
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (1)

  • PENDANT (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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