Scheduled Monument

Inverewe Old Church, burial ground and symbol stone, PooleweSM7036

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Date Added
17/11/1997
Type
Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone, Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; chapel
Local Authority
Highland
Parish
Gairloch
NGR
NG 86025 80958
Coordinates
186025, 880958

Description

The monument consists of the ruinous remains of a church, together with the burial ground in which it stands and in which lies a Pictish symbol stone.

The roofless remains of the church, which is aligned NW-SE, measure 12.4m long by 5.1m wide over walls 0.9m thick and are divided into two enclosures. The NE wall stands to 1.7m high and has no apparent openings, although it shows different phases of construction of different character.

The two openings in the SW wall reflect the two burial enclosures within: the western opening is featureless and may represent a breach in the wall, but the eastern opening retains the E jamb of a doorway, carved with a wave-moulding. In 1886 a stone basin, thought to have been a font, survived, together with other carved stones and the lintel of the doorway bore a date which may have read 1678.

The church was purchased by the Rev Kenneth MacKenzie in the 17th century, but is said to have been partly pulled down in 1689. The alignment of the building and the character of the remains are consistent with a 17th-century date, but there is some suggestion that the site, and possibly even the building, may be of earlier origin, and the possibility that it originated as a chapel-of-ease to Gairloch parish church cannot be excluded.

Several burial enclosures are built to the NE of the church and against its NE wall. There are turf-covered footings of what may have been a square enclosure built against its SW wall, but it appears possible that they run beneath the church in which case they may represent the remains of an earlier church on the site.

The burial ground is circular on plan and therefore would appear to be of some antiquity. An earlier earth and stone bank is visible under the graveyard wall for most of its circumference and on the W side of the graveyard extends beyond the wall line for c 5m. All the old graves are in the northern part of the burial ground. Approximately 5m NW of the NW wall of the church is a recumbent stone with Pictish symbols incised in the surface.

The symbols are the crescent and V-rod, with - unusually - an arc of small holes within the crescent. Pictish symbols are normally found in pairs, but it is not known whether any other of the faces bear symbols. The stone is the most northerly Class I symbol stone to have been found on the west coast of the Scottish mainland, apart from a disputed stone dug up at Ullapool.

The burial ground is also known as the Londubh burial ground. The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the church (and associated burial enclosures), the symbol stone, the whole of the burial ground and part of the arable field on the N and W sides of the graveyard as indicated in red on the accompanying map. It excludes all lairs with existing rights of burial.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a small church of probable 17th-century date which may incorporate or over-lie the remains of a medieval chapel, together with part of its associated burial ground and a stone carved with Pictish symbols.

Study of its remains has the potential to add to our knowledge of burial practices and of ecclesiastical architecture and liturgical arrangements in the early post-Reformation period, a time of great flux in ecclesiastical organisation, and potentially also in the medieval period, as well as to our knowledge of the distribution and function of Pictish symbol stones.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NG 88 SE 10.

Reference:

RCAHMS 'Pictish Symbol Stones: A Handlist' 16.

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 showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary. 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 www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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