Scheduled Monument

Eilean Fhianain, St Finnan's church and stone crossesSM6255

Status: Designated


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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
Supplementary Information Updated
Crosses and carved stones: cross (free-standing); cross-incised stone; sculptured stone (not ascribed to a more specific type), Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; church
Local Authority
Arisaig And Moidart
NM 75207 68340
175207, 768340


The monument consists of the remains of the medieval church of St Finnan and an area of the burial ground which contains several large stone crosses, situated on the Burial Isle of Eilean Fhianain in Loch Shiel.

The ancient parish Eilean-Finan, now included in Ardnamurchan, took its name from the island. The medieval church may stand on the site of a cell thought to have been built on the island by St Finnan in the seventh century. The island was a burial place of Clan Ranald until the end of the sixteenth century and the church is thought to

have been built by Alan MacRuaridh, a Clan Chief. The building fell into ruin in the mid seventeenth century. It is of random-coursed rubble masonry, and measures 20.8m E-W by 5.8m N-S within walls 0.95m thick and about 2m in maximum height. The walls are much reduced and have been repaired over the years, although some areas of original masonry survive. No dressings survive. There have been four windows in the N wall and near the E end is a square aumbry. In the S wall are traces of three windows and an entrance towards the W end. The W wall had a central window. The E end of the church contains a large stone altar table, a stone crucifix set into a wall recess and a

small medieval bell. The interior of the church is filled with burials, including one late medieval stone with a central claymore and foliate design. 50m to the N of the church, amongst congested plain grave markers and a cross-incised stone are five upright stone crosses of rudimentary but monumental execution and of varying style.

Two areas are to be scheduled: an irregular area containing the stone crosses, measuring a maximum of 40m E-W by 25m N-S; and a rectangular area including the church, extending 6m from the exterior walls and measuring a maximum of 30m E-W by 15m N-S, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes all lairs for which rights of burial still exist.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a fine example in a relatively isolated context of a burial ground and Christian religious centre with continuity of use from the seventh century until the present day. The island may provide evidence for Early Christian monastic occupation and has the potential to produce further evidence, through excavation, for the potential evolution and diffusion of the Celtic Church emanating from Iona. Of additional importance due to the insight they provide into the material culture of the Early Medieval period are the monumental stone crosses and the remains of the Medieval, albeit much repaired, church within which are preserved the stone altar, carved wall-crucifix and bell.



RCAHMS records the monument as NM 76 NE 1.

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: 19/08/2022 18:36