The first sanctuary on the site was a small wooden construction that was replaced by a stone construction in the 15th century. Because of the unique position on a high shore the church tower was also used as a lighthouse.
The present appearance is mostly from 1500-1700’s. During reconstruction work in 1760-80, the choir, vestry and tower were added to the original building. In middle of nineteenth century the Baltic-German noblemen of Padise (then Padis) and Leetse manors wanted to celebrate the coronation of the new czar, Alexander II, so the tower was built even higher and supported by side pillars. Only the western portal of the original church has been preserved to date.
Inside the church the most outstanding elements are a pulpit carved by Johann Valentin Rabe and a painted shrine donated by the landlord of Põllküla.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.