MHG8547 - Chapel - Hilton of Cadboll
No summary available.
Type and Period (1)
- CHAPEL (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD to 1900 AD)
Chapel (NR) (Remains of) OS 6"map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)
At Hilton of Cadboll, a chapel dedicated to Virgin 'Our Lady's Chapel' is mentioned 1610 (Watson 1904). Within an earthwork enclosure traces of a chapel structure are clearly visible in form of a small rectangular walled building. The direction is due E-W, some 30 athwart its surrounding earthwork. It was from this site that Cadboll Stone (NH87NE 7 - MHG8546) was removed (Davidson 1948).
In association with chapel was a well called 'Oure Lady-Well' situated near angle of Kail-yard dyke (Watson 1904).
W J Watson 1904; J M Davidson 1948; Reg Magni Sig Reg Scot 1984.
The site of the chapel, the earthworks around it and including the original site of Cadboll Stone were Scheduled in 1961.
Turf-covered remains of this chapel measure 12m E-W by 6.5m. No entrance is evident. Attached to W gable is a semi-circular enclosure which probably housed "Cadboll Stone" before it was removed. The chapel stands within a sub-rectangular enclosure bounded by a ruinous turf-covered wall, which has at one time been extended to NE and SE. This has presumably been burial ground, but there are no signs of headstones. A broken font lies in burial ground immediately N of chapel. There is no trace of well.
Revised at 1:2500. Visited by OS (I S S) 5 September 1972.
A topographic survey of the earthworks was undertaken by RCAHMS in 1997. <1>
A topographic survey and geophysical surveys (comprising magnetometry and resistivity) were undertaken at the site by Field Archaeology Specialists (FAS) In 1997. These surveys formed part of a wider research evaluation programme being carried out at Hilton of Cadboll by Professor Carver of the University of York. The aim of the survey programme was to map sub-surface archaeological remains both in and around the earthwork site of Hilton of Cadboll. It was hoped that the geophysical surveys would define the focus or foci of the archaeological site allowing any further invasive evaluation work to be well targeted, thereby minimising its destructive impact on the site while maximising its research yield. A further objective of the survey was to identify the original position of the Hilton of Cadboll carved stone which is now in the care of the National Museums of Scotland. It had been proposed that a full-size replica of the stone should be erected on the site and a suitable location for the replica was required. The results of the geophysical surveys indicated that the site of chapel enclosure was more complex than suggested by the surviving earthwork features and seemed to suggest that the site was in use for a long period, being altered and adapted through time rather than being a single phase development which fell into disuse within a relatively short period. The surveys also identified previously unknown areas of potentially significant archaeological activity. <2>
A small excavation was undertaken by Kirkdale Archaeology in 1998 for Historic Scotland outside the earthworks of the west gable of the chapel at Hilton of Cadboll. The purpose was to locate the base of the Pictish cross slab, now in the NMS, prior to the erection of a reproduction on the site. The base was not located, but the excavations revealed that the D-shaped ‘annexe’ against the west gable was probably the result of 19th-century disturbance. Some of the sculpted debitage from the re-dressing of one face of the cross slab in the late 17th century was retrieved. <3>
An open area excavation was carried out at the site by Kirkdale Archaeology in 2001 as part of the ongoing assessment of the archaeological context of the scatter of stone debitage identified as having come from the Hilton of Cadboll Stone in 1998. An area west of the chapel ruins was sampled and all stone fragments retrieved. The area opened (initially 36m²) was gridded into 50 cm squares, with spoil being sieved, and carved fragments being recorded by 50 cm square. In this way, 740 carved fragments, and 122 possibly carved fragments were recovered. A 2 by 2 m. extension was added to the west side of the trench when it was discovered that the stump of the Hilton of Cadboll stone was still in-situ as a slab 140 cm long, by 21 cm wide, orientated north-south with surviving carving visible. Decoration, matching that reconstructed on the bottom panel of the surviving face, was noted on the east side of the stump, with sand built up against this, and carving continuing down. Due to the large number of fragments recovered much of the debitage, along with the stump itself, was left in the ground. This discovery had obvious implications for a clearer understanding of the archaeological context of the stone. The removal of one face of the stone in the 17th century for its recycling as a gravemarker had created the stone scatter, but the discovery of part of the stone in situ prompted a review of the programme of investigation. <4>
Further excavations were undertaken by GUARD in August and September 2001 at the site. The excavations aimed to retrieve all the remaining carved fragments from the 9th-century Pictish slab which was thought to have been defaced in the 17th century; to reveal the extent of the stump which was found earlier in the year by Kirkdale Archaeology; and to relate the stump with the chapel and the outer enclosure.
The original plan was to excavate an area 100m², centred on the stone stump and using the Kirkdale site grid, but in the event the final trench measured 88.5m². The extent of the excavation area was to extend in plan at least 1m beyond the piece of carved fragment retrieved furthest from the stump and in depth to the bottom of the deposit containing the carved debris. In addition a 1m wide trench was excavated in order to examine the relationships between the debris horizon, the chapel wall, the stump and the enclosure bank.
The excavations revealed that the chapel wall was constructed of massive sandstone blocks, bonded with shell mortar, with a rubble core. No direct dating evidence was found but it was thought to be a medieval chapel, which perhaps went out of use at the Reformation. The outer enclosure bank consisted of a drystone wall with an earthen bank probably of post-medieval date.
Three skeletons were excavated and another two were partly revealed. These had different alignments, from southwest-notheast to north-south, indicating a range of dates. These individuals were not buried in stone cists, suggesting that they were medieval and post-medieval. About 500 carved fragments were retrieved from the excavations, thought to be derived from the lost cross face and from the damaged east face. These included figurative pieces as well as interlacing, bosses and key patterning. <5>
Earthworks in GAM, with shed with new stone outwith this. Although rabbit fenced they are now within and causing damage to earthworks. The scrapes on the earthworks supposed to represent the chapel building seem to be turning out a lot of shell waste. The more extensive scrapes close to the outer earthworks show about 15cm of top soil onto sand. These scrapes are turning out bone, some of which may be human - HAW 11/2003
The results of all of the investigations were subsequently published in a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph in 2008. The monograph includes the results of a program of post-excavation work which included analysis of the artefacts and other materials retrieved from the excavation. This involved analysis of the samples taken to measure the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL), soil chemistry, radiocarbon dating of charcoal and skeletons (three were from human bone from the cemetery, which produced Medieval-post-Medieval dates, and six were from charcoal, human bone and animal bone from a wind blown sand layer which produced Pictish dates), plus work on the GUARD database of sculpted fragments. The volume also discusses the issues surrounding the role of the stone in the local and national community. <6>
Human remains from the site are with NMS collections. <7>
Geophysical surveys were undertaken at the site in 2022 by Rose Geophysical Consultants (commissioned by CFA Archaeology), on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland. Gradiometry and Resistance survey were undertaken over available areas within the Properties in Care (PIC) boundary and an area immediately to the northeast of the PIC boundary, with GPR being carried out over targeted areas. The resistance data suggested that the earthwork surrounding the Chapel may have different phases. The GPR survey confirmed that there appeared to be numerous phases or additional enclosures within this area. The GPR data defined responses associated with the enclosure banks in the northeast of the chapel and the Chapel itself. Several additional anomalies, which are suggestive of additional walls or enclosure banks, were detected which do not correspond with clearly defined earthworks. The survey results from the area to the southwest of the Chapel were confused in all data sets. While the responses appeared to be generally elevated in both the resistance and the GPR data, this was mainly in contrast to the very low readings surrounding the area due to the naturally lower lying boggy areas. However, within the GPR survey a possible boundary wall or bank was tentatively identified. <8>
- --- SHG10205 Image/Photograph(s): Chapel, Hilton of Cadboll, Aerial View. Colour Slide. .
- --- SHG11243 Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph: J.S.Bone. Hilton of Cadboll chapel NH873 768. Colour Print. .
- --- SHG11244 Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph: J.S.Bone. Hilton of Cadboll NH873 768. Colour Print. .
- --- SHG11245 Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph: J.S.Bone. Hilton of Cadboll chapel NH873 768. Colour Print. .
- --- SHG11246 Image/Photograph(s)/Aerial Photograph: J.S.Bone. Hilton of Cadboll / Ballintore NH870 760. Colour Print. .
- --- SHG2670 Text/Report: RCAHMS. 1979. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Easter Ross, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region. . 26, No. 224.
- --- SHG2687 Text/Publication/Volume: Thomson, J M (ed.). 1984. Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum. The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, AD 1608-1620. Volume 7. 1610.
- --- SHG2917 Text/Publication/Volume: Watson, W J. 1904. Place names of Ross and Cromarty. 43.
- --- SHG3139 Text/Publication/Article: Stell, G. 1986. Architecture and society in Easter Ross before 1707. SHG1943. 99-132. 128.
- --- SHG52 Text/Publication/Article: Davidson, J M. 1948. 'A miscellany of antiquities in Easter Ross and Sutherland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol 80 (1945-46), pp 25-33. p 27.
- --- SHG6661 Image/Photograph(s): Chapel, Hilton of Cadboll, Aerial View. Unknown. .
- <1> SHG29415 Image/Drawing/Measured Survey Drawing: Borland, D.. 1997. Plan of Hilton of Cadboll Chapel. RCAHMS. Paper and digital.
- <2> SHG2899 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Garner-Lahire, J.. 1998. Geophysical and Topographical Survey: Hilton of Cadboll. Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd (FAS). 30/05/1998. Paper and Digital.
- <3> SHG21856 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Kirkdale Archaeology. 1998. Historic Scotland's Properties in Care - Minor Archaeological Works 1998: Hilton of Cadboll Chapel. Kirkdale Archaeology. 09/10/2002. Paper and Digital.
- <4> SHG21157 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Kirkdale Archaeology. 2001. Historic Scotland Properties in Care Minor Archaeological Works 2001: Hilton of Cadboll Chapel Site Archaeological Excavation. Kirkdale Archaeology. 01/06/2016. Digital.
- <5> SHG21656 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: James, H. F.. 2001. Investigation of the setting and context of the Hilton of Cadboll Cross-Slab, recovery of the stump and fragments od scuplture. Glasgow University (GUARD). 31/01/2002. Paper and Digital.
- <6> SHG24032 Text/Publication/Monograph: James, H.F., Henderson, I., Foster, S. M. and Jones, S.. 2008. A Fragmented Masterpiece: Recovering the Biography of the Hilton of Cadboll Pictish Cross-Slab. Paper (Original). 358.
- <7> SHG28455 Dataset/Database File: 2020. Database of Human Remains in Museum Collections from Highland Area. NMS, IMAG & Marishal College. Digital.
- <8> SHG29444 Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Ovenden, Dr. S. M.. 2022. Geophysical Survey Report: Hilton of Cadboll. Rose Geophysical Consultants. 12/07/2023. Digital.
|Grid reference||Centred NH 8731 7686 (17m by 12m)|
|Geographical Area||ROSS AND CROMARTY|
Related Monuments/Buildings (3)
Related Investigations/Events (6)
- Excavation - Hilton of Cadboll (EHG6075)
- Excavation - Hilton of Cadboll (Ref:GUARD 1078) (EHG670)
- Excavation - Hilton of Cadboll Chapel (EHG850)
- Geophysical surveys - Hilton of Cadboll (EHG765)
- Topographic survey - Hilton of Cadboll (EHG559)
- Topographic survey - Site of Our Lady's chapel and graveyard, Hilton of Cadboll (EHG1557)
External Links (5)
- http://books.socantscot.org/digital-books/catalog/book/6 (Link to webpage to view full digital copy of 2008 monograph)
- http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1000085 (Link to digital archive for the 2001 excavations)
- http://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/SM90320 (Online designation description (Historic Environment Scotland))
- https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1460024 (View RCHAMS 1997 survey plan online)
- https://canmore.org.uk/site/15260 (View HES Canmore entry for this site)
Comments and Feedback
Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.