MHG5727 - St Maol Luag Chapel, crosses


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CROSS (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

See also:

NG53NW0004 Sanctuary crosses?
NG53NW0012 Cross base

JHooper, 30/11/2001

NG53NW 4 5479 3677 and area 54 36.

(NG 5479 3677) Ruin (NR)
OS 25"map, Isle of Skye, (1877)

"About 150 yards N of the site of Torr Iain Ghairbh is the ruin of what is said to be a place of worship but is evidently one of the row of buildings described by Boswell in his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. Its present appearance is a square of four feet and one foot above the surface.
Name Book 1877.

"The proprietor of isle Raasay is Mr MacLeod his seat is in the village Clachan. The inhabitants have a great veneration for him as any subjects can have for their king. They preserve the memory of the deceased ladies of the place by erecting a pyramid of stone for each of them, with the lady's name. These pyramids are by them called crosses; several of them are built of stone and lime, and have three steps of gradual ascent to them. There are eight such crosses about the village ..."
M Martin 1934.

"The eight crosses, which Martin (1934) mentioned as pyramids for deceased ladies, stood in a semi-circular line, which contained within it the chapel of St. Maol-luag (q.v. NG53NW 1). They marked out the boundaries of the sacred territory within which an asylum was to be had. One of them on one of the rocks where we landed, which took the form of a rudely carved square with a crucifix in the middle, (q.v. NG53NW 2) made the first point of the semi-circle. There are few of them now remaining. A good way farther N, there is a row of buildings about 4' high: they run from the shore on the E along the top of a pretty high eminence, and so down to the shore on the W, in much the same direction with the crosses. Rasay took them to be the marks for the asylum; but Malcolm (Macleod) thought them to be false sentinels, a common deception, of which instances occur in Martin (but not in connection with Raasay) to make invaders imagine an island better guarded. Mr Donald McQueen, justly in my opinion, supposed the crosses which for the inner circle to be Church's land-marks".
F A Pottle and C H Bennent 1963.

Origines (OPS 1854), with reference to Martin, Johnson and Boswell notes :- "the precincts of St. Moluags'Chapel were of old a sanctuary, which was marked by eight erect stones or crosses,some of which were remaining in 1773". The same publication, referring this time only to Boswell says:- "in 1773 there stood parallel to the sanctuary a number of crosses, and a little to the north of them a range of buildings about 4' high, supposed by some to have been intended as false sentinels ..." (For allegedly associated crosses, &c see NG53NW 2, 3 and 12).
Orig Paroch Scot 1854.

NG 547 367. By the side of a foot-path within a Forestry Commission plantation there is the base of a 'sanctuary marker' or cross, similar to the example S of Raasay House (NG53NW 12). It comprises a rectangular base of dressed stone blocks measuring 3.2m E - W by 2.5m N - S and 1.2m in height, surmounted by two large boulders set up on edge, behind which is a mound of earth and stone with an elderberry tree on top.
No trace of other 'sanctuary crosses' was found.
Visited by OS (A S P) 12 June 1961.

Surveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (R L) 22 September 1971.

Cross-base: recorded during May 1993 ahead of felling mature trees. Full details are lodged with Dualchas, Skye and Lochaish Museums Service.
Sponsor: Forest Enterprise.
Dualchas 1994c.

The cross base was recorded again by ACFA in 2005 during their survey of the archaeological and historic monuments on Raasay. It was found to be much overgrown but much as described previously. <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NG 5479 3676 (10m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG53NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish PORTREE

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