MHG5207 - St. Moluag's Church and Burial Ground, Kilmaluag


The remains of St Moluag's church, last referred to in documentary sources from 1573.

Type and Period (1)

  • CHURCH (Early Medieval to 16th Century - 561 AD? to 1600 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

See also:
NG47SW0046 Graveyard
J Aitken : 10/12/02

NG47SW 2 4356 7492.

(NG 4356 7492) Chapel (NR) (Ruin) Grave Yard (NAT)
OS 6" map, Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1904)

The parish of Kilmuir was anciently named Kilmaluag, and the church, dedicated to St. Moluag, stood at this latter place on the NE coast of the parish. Its remains, situated in the open burying-place there, measure 40' in length internally, but only the W wall remains standing. In its immediate vicinity is a well Tobar Heibert.
The first notice of the church is given when a Master Mertyne M' Gillemertyne is listed as its rector from 1507 to 1536. Various subsequent rectors are known and the last mention of the church is in 1573. After the reformation Kilmuir Church seem to have become the parish church (Muir 1885; OPS 1854).
The RCAHMS (1928) do not list this church.
Orig Paroch Scot 1854; T S Muir 1885; RCAHMS 1928; W D Simpson 1935.

St. Moluag's Church measures internally 12.5m E-W, and 6.0m tranversely. It is set slightly into a S facing slope and its N. wall has gone, but the footings of the E and S walls remain, and the W gable end, of mortar set rubble masonry 0.9m thick, remains complete to its finial. The graveyard has now been enclosed.
The well, Tobar Heibert, is a strong spring issuing through two stone slabs right at the High water mark (at NG 436 751, some 140m NE of the church). However, so far as can be ascertained locally, it has no religious associations.
Visited by OS (C F W) 25 April 1961.

The church is as described by Wardale except that it measures internally 6.5m by 13.0m Graveyard still in occasional use. Tobar Heibert is at NG 4365 7504.
Surveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (I S S) 9 September 1971.

A hand bell, presumed to be Celtic is reported from Kilmaluig by Anderson.
J Anderson 1881.

The church name associates the site with the Irish Christian monk, St. Moluag, a contemporary of St. Columba in the 6th
century who converted the Picts to Christianity. It may, therefore, link the immediate area with a Pictish presence and, indeed, there are several known sites where Pictish carvings have been found on the Isle of Skye.<1>

A survey of the medieval parish church site at Kilmaluag on the northern end of the Trotternish peninsula was carried out in May 2007, as part of PhD research on the late medieval church in the Hebrides by Sarah E Thomas. A 1:50 scale plan was drawn of the church. The church is orientated E/W and measures 13 x 6.5m externally with an internal area of 52.64m2. The only wall standing is the W gable wall which stands to its entire height including the finial and is 0.90m thick. However, it appears that the W wall has been substantially rebuilt at some point. There are visible foundations on the N and S ends of the W wall. These foundations extend about 0.25m on either end of the W wall. Sections of the E and S walls are visible as grassed-over turf banks with occasional courses of walling visible. The surviving section of the east wall stands to a maximum height of 1m and at the base it is c1m wide. Subsequent research has revealed that the W wall was rebuilt in order to house a memorial tablet to the men of Kilmaluag who died in the First World War, unveiled in July 1925. <2>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NG 4357 7492 (13m by 8m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG47SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish KILMUIR

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

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