MHG7929 - Chapel of Sand of Udrigil, Laide


The unroofed remains of a chapel which was probably built during the late medieval period. Local tradition asserts that it was built in the time of St Columba, during the 7th century AD, but evidence from the structure does not support this. This is one of the most intact roofless chapels in Highland.

Type and Period (3)

  • CHAPEL (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD? to 1834 AD?)
  • BURIAL GROUND (19th Century to 21st Century - 1834 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • CEMETERY (19th Century to 21st Century - 1834 AD? to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NMRS notes: NG99SW 1 9020 9201.
The chapel of Sand of Udrigil, situated in a churchyard crowded with graves, close to the village of Laide is stated by Dr Scott (1908) to have been built (about 1713) by George Mackenzie of Gruinard, but universal tradition in Gairloch is that it was erected by St. Columba or one of his followers in 7th Century and that the chapel was only thatched by Mackenzie, "if indeed his place of worship were not an altogether different edifice."
The chapel is placed nearly E & W and at one time its single window showed possible remains of mullion and tracery, which suggest a date earlier than 18th century, although walls are cemented with a form of lime used in several local 18th century houses. The chapel was in use at least until the end of 18th century.
J H Dixon 1886; A B Scott 1908; A C M Mitford 1936 <1>-<3>

In a graveyard still in use, are unroofed remains of chapel, measuring 8.8m. E-W by 5.8m. N-S. The walls, 0.7m. Thick, are bonded with shell mortar. E and W gables are virtually intact, the former being pierced by a partially destroyed mullioned window (see Ground Photographs on OS card). N and S walls survive to a height of 1.5m. There are several late gravestones within the ruins of the chapel, earliest dated 1834, although one appearing older cannot be deciphered. The tradition that chapel was erected at time of St. Columba is still known locally, but present architectural features are much later.
Visited by OS (N K B) 16 March 1965.

The chapel measures 8.8m E-W by 5.8m N-S over walls 0.7m thick. There is the head of a mullioned 2-light window in E wall and there are remains of 2 further mullioned 2-light windows in S wall, flanking the lower courses of a doorway. E and W gables remain substantially complete (W gable even retaining most of its skew stones), as does N wall, but much of S wall is reduced to approximately level of window sills. The position of door, centrally within S wall, may date to post-Reformation period, although this may not be original arrangement and E wall appears to show several different phases of work. The windows seem to have had a double chamfer moulding separated by a rebate and an internal check for glazing. The walls are rubble built bonded in shell mortar, with red sandstone dressings.
The chapel is traditionally said to have been erected by St Columba or one of his followers, although character of building suggests a late medieval date for existing structure. A church building is said to have been erected about 1713 by George MacKenzie of Gruinard, but in reality it is likely that work was limited to repairs and re-thatching. The chapel seems to have remained in use for worship until at least the end of the 18th century, and was in use for burials by 1834, the earliest decipherable date on any of the gravestones within the walls.
The burial ground has been substantially enlarged on all sides and remains in use. To W of chapel denuded remains of a segment of a probably circular ditch with a double bank can be traced.
Info from Hist Scotland, scheduling document dated 16-01-1996.

See Planning Service File RC.43.C (Proposals for consolidation 2000) and associated documents <4>
See Policy 3.24 in the Applecross/Gairloch & Lochcarron Local Plan 1985: Tourist Facilities. PROPOSAL - Improved access to the ruined chapel and cemetery at Laide. <5>

See also:
NG99SW0017 Graveyard
J Aitken : 11/12/02

First phase of consolidation of church walls etc completed using funding including Heritage Lottery Fund. <6>

In 2004 the chapel was in the process of being stabilised, and local residents expressed hope that further work would be carried out. <7>

Sources/Archives (15)



Grid reference Centred NG 9020 9202 (10m by 9m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG99SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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