A 'gabhail cùram airson Eaglais Chill MhicEòghainn
The ruined Kilvicheon Old Parish Church lies south east of Bunessan, between Loch Assapol and the sea. In 2013, Historic Scotland committed £39,000 of funding to the work of enabling emergency repairs at Kilvickeon Old Parish Church. An application was put in at this time from RoMHC for further funds to support the project and the sum of £87,871 to complete the second phase of the consolidation was approved by Historic Scotland.
The restoration project commenced in February 2015 with Graeme Brown Stonemasons Ltd succeeding in painstakingly picking out and removing all the vegetation which had been destabilising the fragile walls. They repointed all the remaining stonework in such a way that accentuated the unusual layers of construction and showed off the variety of stones used. Mary Peteranna of AOC Archaeology removed the turf and soil from a portion of the interior ground to allow experts to decide how to level an area to make easier and safer access. The excavation revealed a surprising uneven ‘floor’ of random stones – some were obviously grave slabs and 2 quern stones were also identified. Stone conservator, Nic Boyes, handled the preservation of the sheelanagig, the curious carved figure which can be seen high on the north wall to the left of the entrance archway.
To everyone’s delight, the Mariota Stone was moved back to its original position inside the church after skilful restoration by Historic Scotland. It is thought to be the oldest of a number of impressive table tombs and headstones in the churchyard and is very intricately carved. Very little is known about this young woman who lived 500 years ago, apart from her name. In July 2015, a celebration was held within the Kilvickeon Old Parish Church to mark the stabilising work done on the church and the return of the Mariota Stone iconic grave, now housed in a protective chest. Our thanks go to Historic Scotland for the funding support, to the Pilgrim Trust for their contribution of £10,000 and to the Alan Evans Memorial Trust for a donation of £1,000. .
The Ross of Mull is an extraordinary microcosm of all that draws visitors to the Hebridean Islands. The scenery, as you travel along the single-track road from the ferry at Craignure is breath-taking. You experience in the many walks in the area a true sense of wilderness; the secret bays with their beaches of silvery sand, the abundance of wildlife and the innumerable marks on the landscape of the lives of past generations and communities long gone. The Ross of Mull is a compelling place for anyone fascinated by history and the ancient way of life of the Gaelic people.
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