Back to blogging today after a nice weekend break. I'm still working hard on several new sites including the new Wester Ross Info website, which is progressing really well, hence the absence of any posts. Last week I posted a picture taken by a friend on Islay showing the now ruined Kilchoman Church. During the gales of last winter the remaining roof timber was blown away leaving nothing but stonework standing. In my blog post I asked if people knew of any old pictures of this church and Marion Davis sent me an interesting link to the CANMORE database. There I found an image (right) taken in 1977 when the roof was still ok, which is no surprise because 1977 was the last year the church was used for worshiping. Besides images the CANMORE database also has some very interesting information on this church:
"This early 19th-century church stands in a conspicuous position on a raised beach at an elevation of about 45m OD, about 0.9km E of Machir Bay and overlooking the hollow in which the former manse is situated. The dedication was presumably to one of the several Irish saints and the existence of two cross-slabs situated respectively 380 m ESE and 330m SW of the church suggests an Early Christian church of some importance. Continue reading....
"The medieval church, with its dependent chapels at Kilchiaran, Kilnave and Nereabolls, served a parish covering the whole of the Rinns. It was an independent parsonage in the gift of the Lords of the Isles, and from the second half of the 14th century onwards the names of many of the parsons and vicars are recorded, often in the context of disputed claims to the benefices. The parish was united with that of Kilarrow from 1618 to 1769, when it again acquired separate parochial status. Little is known of the earlier buildings on the site. A sum of #15 was assigned for repairs to the church in 1730, and further minor repairs were undertaken between 1789 and 1791. This building was condemned as unsafe in 1824, and in the following year plans were produced for a new church, which was completed in 1827. At the same time the extensive church yard was further enlarged. The present building, although still roofed, is itself in a poor state of repair and was last used for worshipin 1977."
Since many years the church entrance and windows have been sealed because it can be quite dangerous to enter the building. That's why I was very surprised to actually find an image taken inside the building by Brian McGarrigle in 2009. The image shows that there is quite a bit still standing of the interior and from what I can see it looks as if this was a very nice church in its glory days, too bad it's now in ruins!
Image of the interior of Kilchoman Church - copyright Brian McGarrigle