Kilmartin Parish Church
List of Sites
Kilmartin church, on a gravel terrace on Kilmartin Valley's east side, overlooks several prehistoric monuments. It was built in 1834-5 to replace a church of 1798. A vicar of Kilmartin is mentioned as early as 1304. The church and grounds contain a fine collection of Medieval graveslabs.
Though most of the large collection of carved stones are later medieval, there are three Early Christian carvings here in the churchyard, and a finely decorated cross in the church, probably from the 9th or 10th century
The modern church and the ancient graveyard dominate the raised terrace on which the village of Kilmartin has developed. The Bronze age Glebe cairn is visible above and to the left of the church. Kilmartin House museum is the white former manse building behind the church.
It is unusual in Argyll to have a church dedicated to a saint who is neither biblical (Mary or Michael) nor Gaelic (Columba, Bridget etc.). However, the dedication to Martin reflects an early medieval devotion to this saint from Tours in France, widespread in the Gaidhealtachd. The seventh century Life of Columba describes how Martin's name was mentioned in the mass on Iona; and several early medieval Gaelic prayers mention him.
Crosses appear in many contexts, but the Christian cemetery was the most common context of occurrence
The church and carved stones within the graveyard have free access all year.
- RCAHMS Argyll vol. 7 no. 68
- Origines Parochiales Scotiae, Bannatyne Club 1851-5, 2 part 1 p92
Check out the following sections of the website for related information
Mid-Argyll Sites and Artefacts
Mayo - Vestvågøy - Mid-Argyll
This project has been supported by the EU as part of the Culture 2000 programme.