St Columba’s Church, Kirkapol
Photograph of the Old Parish Church at Kirkapol in 2001.
Courtesy of Rev. Robert Higham
The Old Parish Church, dedicated to St Columba, stands within its own graveyard, An Cladh Beag, a quarter of a kilometre from Gott Bay. It is oblong in plan and measures 11.3 by 5.2 metres within walls over a metre thick.
There is a blocked-up round-arch entrance in the west wall and two round-arch windows in the south wall. During conservation work on the church in 2001, the disarticulated remains of at least ten bodies were found in the area of ground beneath the large breach in the east gable wall.
Beneath these bones, the remains of two more bodies were found in a small burial chamber, which was probably part of the original church construction in the late 14th century. These discoveries accord with the medieval practice of burying bodies beneath the walls of consecrated buildings.
Colour photograph of one of the Kirkapol chapels.
The larger of the two Kirkapol chapels, St Columba`s, photographed in 2001.
Colour photograph of the Kirkapol chapels.
The Kirkapol chapels photographed in 2001.
Pen and ink drawing of one of the Kirkapol chapels.
One of the Kirkapol chapels.
Colour photograph of a cross carved on a rock.
Cross carved on a rock near the Kirkapol chapels photographed in 2001.
Photograph of Tobar Eachainn at Kirkapol.
Tobar Eachainn (Hector’s Well) is situated on the west bank of Kirkapol stream a hundred metres to the east of Kirkapol graveyard. Formerly known as Tobar Odhrain (Oran’s Well), its waters were said to have healing properties.
St Oran was a relative and a disciple of St Columba. He possibly spent time in Tiree as the larger of the two graveyards at Kirkapol is also dedicated to him. Evidence of the foundations of a chapel was uncovered there by a grave-digger in the late 19th century.
The well is a natural spring which is enclosed within dry-stone walls and roofed with turf-covered slabs. It was closed as a source of drinking water in the 1940s because of its close proximity to the graveyard.
Colour photograph of Tobair Eachainn.
Tobair Eachainn, once known as Tobair Odhrain, on Lodge Farm.
Colour photograph of Rev. Bob Higham at the Kirkapol chapel.
The smaller of the two Kirkapol chapels, possibly called St Brendan`s, in 2001, with contractor Sara Carruthers on the left and Rev. Bob Higham on the right.
Black and white photograph of the interior of one of the Kirkapol chapels.
Interior of the larger of the Kirkapol chapels, St Columba`s, showing excavated human bones to the right, taken in 2001.
Black and white photograph of excavated human remains in one of the Kirkapol chapels.
Excavated human bones in the larger of the Kirkapol chapels, St Columba`s, taken in 2001.
Black and white photograph from the interior of one of the Kirkapol chapels.
View of the old graveyard from the interior of the larger of the Kirkapol chapels, St Columba`s, taken in 2001.
Black and white photograph of aerial view of Kirkapol and Gott Bay.
Aerial view of Kirkapol showing the Parish Church, the graveyard, the old chapels and the Lodge Hotel.