One of the main reasons that we made a four hour long ferry trip to the Isle of Tiree, in May 2016, off the west coast of Scotland, was apart from the love of visiting islands, to find ancient religious sites. I was on the hunt for ancient grave slabs, and at the chapels of Kirkapol, I found two. There is just something amazing about finding a grave slabs that have been in the same position for hundreds of years.
The above photos show a 15th century sculptured grave slab, which shows, what maybe, the earliest representing of claymore (a Scottish great sword) in Scotland. Unfortunately I didn’t find the other slab with the birds, it might have become too overgrown. I did find one more, that shows just a plain claymore, the next photo under the information board. What you do wonder, while exploring this wonderful site, part from the stunning location……who is buried under the grave slabs as they are no ordinary slabs, and where did they live.
Having researched a small amount about these chapels, it would seem the smaller of the two buildings is a chapel, and the larger was the old parish church.
Some history ……….Both church and chapel are of similar architectural character, and are probably closely contemporary. It is difficult to ascribe a precise date to the surviving remains; the buildings can more probably be ascribed to the later Middle Ages, possibly the latter half of the 14th century.
The parish church of Kirkapoll first comes on record in 1375; it was dedicated to St Columba. It is not known when this site was abandoned as a place of worship, but the church may have continued in use into the 18th century.