Saturday, 25 April 2015

Problems at St Comghan's

St Comghan's church stands on a low hill above the township of Kilchoan.  It's a very old building, dating back to the 12th or 13th century and, since it was named after an 8th century saint who travelled round the West Highlands establishing churches, is unlikely to be the first church built on the site.  Kilchoan, Cill-chomhain (cill means church or burial ground), is named after the church.

The church was restructured around 1763, but finally abandoned some time before 1831, when the present parish church was opened.

It's a lovely place to sit on a fine day, with good views along the coast to the west towards Ormsaigmore and Ormsaigbeg, and out to sea across the Sound of Mull.  For anyone interested in local history, there are two 14th/15th century MacIain grave slabs in the churchyard - see link here.

Because of its national importance, St Comghan's is a listed building, and church and churchyard are an historic monument.  As such, they come within the care of Historic Scotland, but the upkeep of the site, such as the grass cutting and health and safety within it, is in the hands of Highland Council.  During a recent visit by Council officials, they noticed two cracks in the lintel over the doorway. At their request, the Community Council has closed the doorway.

This picture shows the two cracks.  To be honest, it's quite likely that they've been there for years, but the Council is absolutely correct in assuming that the worst might happen, and taking the necessary action.

The sad state of the doorway - the only entrance into the building - is evident when it's seen from inside.  One, and possibly two lintel stones have already fallen, taking part of the wall with them.

While it is the responsibility of Historic Scotland to maintain this building, they are desperately underfunded and have hundreds of other sites equally deserving of their money and attention.  If anything is to be done about the doorway, the initiative has to come from within the community.

There's more about St Comghan's on the MacIain site, here.

1 comment:

  1. I have a square-on shot taken from the inside, with detail of the lintel, which shows the same two cracks present, dividing the lintel into three approximately equal regions. My shot was taken on May 12th, 2007.