Scheduled Monument

Church Cave, place of worship, RonaSM11060

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Ecclesiastical: cave
Local Authority
NG 62670 56954
162670, 856954


The monument comprises a post-medieval church built into a large natural cave on the east coast of the small island of Rona, off Skye.

The cave is roughly triangular in plan and approximately 33m deep (from NW-SE). It is 28m wide at its mouth, but only a metre wide at its deepest point. To the rear of the cave are several rows of stones, each about 6m in length running SW-NE, forming seating. Immediately to the SE of these is a depression in the stone floor, which apparently served as a font. An altar, comprising a short stone pillar, is 5m to the SE of the font in the centre of the cave. Large stone debris scatters the mouth of the cave with a small, stone-built rectilinear structure (3m NW-SE x 2m SW-NE) constructed adjacent to the southern wall of the cave mouth. A small shell midden, around 4m in diameter, is situated against the northern wall of the cave approximately halfway into the cave.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan with maximum dimensions of 45m NW-SE and 57m transversely. This area includes the interior features of the cave as described above and an area around them within which associated remains may be expected to survive, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a unique post-medieval ecclesiastical site, and has the potential to provide a valuable insight into the religious practices of post-medieval island communities.



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NG65NW 2.


Gray A 2003, ISLAND OF RONA, POPULATION: ONE. The Scotsman [the weekend supplement], Saturday 21 June 2003, 18.


Rona 1992, THE ISLAND OF RONA, THE SOUND OF RAASAY, Inverness-shire: [sale particulars], Edinburgh.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 25/07/2024 09:56