Keills Chapel

Highland, United Kingdom

Keills Chapel is a simple, rectangular chapel dedicated to St Cormac. It is one of few churches from the 1100s and 1200s surviving in Argyll. The chapel served as the parish church of Knapdale until the parish was split into two in 1734.

The church site contains almost 40 carved stones, ranging in date from the 8th to the 16th century. Pre-eminent among them is the 8th-century Keills Cross. This free-standing, ring-headed high cross, carved from blue slate, stands some 2m high. Only one face is decorated. Panels of spiral ornament, animals and key-interlace decorate the shaft. The centre of the cross-head has a raised, circular boss hollowed in the middle. The cross was most likely made by a craftsman from Iona, where three more fine high crosses can be seen.

The collection also includes fragments of another early Christian free-standing cross and four early Christian, cross-decorated grave-slabs. The remainder comprises late-medieval sculpture, mostly grave-slabs. These are generally long, tapering stones decorated with a variety of motifs, among them swords, targes (shields), crosses and craftsmen’s tools. The impressive collection of grave-slabs includes examples from all five ‘schools’ of sculptors working for West Highland patrons in the later Middle Ages (1300s—1500s). These sculptors worked in Knapdale as well as at Iona, Loch Awe, Kintyre and Loch Sween.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

R Dillon (7 months ago)
Beautifully restored ancient chapel with a collection of carved crosses and gravestones dating back to the 7th century. A glimpse into the Gaelic culture of Argyll.
Richard Milton (7 months ago)
The single lane road ends at a gate, go through this one to another. There is parking for 3-4 cars but a space for turning needs to be left. Pass through 2nd gate (the one across the road) and you will see a boardwalk across to a calf building slope up to the chapel, views are good, chapel is so-so. Warning, towards the end of the road there the passing places are quite far apart.
Sam Von (7 months ago)
Wonderful historical remains and the chance of one of the nicest walks we have aver done
Gordon Stewart (2 years ago)
Gorgeous little Chapel in a stunning setting approx 15 miles from Lochgilphead. Carved stones and chapel itself has some history and info plaques inside. I'm not a history or religious buff but still very interesting and again, simply a gorgeous part of the country. Single lane country road with passing places to get there from Lochgilphead but hardly and traffic and only met half a dozen people there.
John Lancaster (3 years ago)
We were lucky enough to visit just before lockdown. An interesting chapel off the beaten track with beautiful views all around. A quiet and serene spot. Seeing the collection of carved stones inside and outside the Chapel, dating back to the 8th century was the reason for our visit and we weren't disappointed. It really is worth the journey to get there.
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