Scheduled Monument

St Mary's Church and Burial Ground, DunveganSM9249

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
Crosses and carved stones: tombstone, Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; church
Local Authority
NG 25492 47822
125492, 847822


The monument consists of the remains of a post-Reformation parish church and burial ground, which served Duirnish. The churchyard is still known as Kilmuir as is the adjoining township, preserving the dedication to St Mary. The dedication, together with the E-W alignment of the church and the existence of three medieval carved grave slabs, indicates that the church was a medieval foundation, although the parish itself dates to the post-reformation period.

The church is a plain rubble-built oblong structure with simple stone dressings to the openings. The W gable is surmounted by the truncated remains of a corbelled belcote. The N door to the church has a fine moulded doorway which is inscribed 'I ML 1694'. There are indications that this door has been reused from another building: it is rebated for double doors, and appears to have been heightened.

The ashlar burial aisle against the E end of the N elevation is an addition dating to the 18th century. A burial enclosure against the west gable has a fine moulded doorway dated 1735 and a balustrade. The E end of the church and the N aisle have been used as the burial place of the MacLeods of MacLeod, with arched recesses formed in the church's walls to house the memorials.

Within the Kirkyard there are two medieval grave slabs with claymore and foliaceous designs. A third medieval grave slab has been identified but it is extremely worn with only the border now visible. There are also a number of 'throuch' stones dating from the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries.

The area to be scheduled includes the church and the old burial ground. It is defined by the boundary wall of the burial ground. The area is roughly rectangular with maximum dimensions of about 88m from its easternmost to its westernmost points, and 91m from its northernmost to southernmost points, as marked in red on the attached map. All modern burial lairs still in use, within and without the church, are excluded from the scheduling.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a site that has been the focus of religious worship over centuries. The church's position within the locality of Dunvegan Castle suggests it may have served as a chapel for the castle and its associated settlements in the medieval period. The carved grave-slabs can contribute to our understanding of ecclesiastical organisation, funerary practices, art, and the organisation of the production of monuments sculpture in western Scotland in the late medieval period.



RCAHMS records the monument as NG 24 NE 1.


RCAHMS (1971) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isle, 1928.

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: 20/06/2024 13:21