The stone church of Adelsö was built in the late 1100s. No traces have been found of the first church on the location, but it is assumed it was made of wood. This original structure was however replaced by a stone building, possibly initiated by the king living at the royal estate at Hovgården. If true, the church thus originally served both the local parish and the royal mansion.
The stone structure originally had a nave furnished with a narrow choir which possibly ended in an apse. The sacristy was added in the 14th century, and during the century that followed the tower and then the brick vaults were added. In the 1470s, the choir was widened and united with the nave. The exterior of the tower was created in 1753. and finally, 70 years later, the entrance was relocated from the southern façade to the western end; old windows were enlarged and new windows were added.
There is a baptismal font which dates from the 12th century and a crucifix from the later half of the 14th century. The pulpit dates from 1786 and the gallery from 1832. The votive ship hanging in the church was donated in 1960.
Two Viking Age memorial runestones are built into the walls of the sacristy, one designated in the Rundata catalog as Uppland Runic Inscription 1or U 1 and the other as Uppland Runic Inscription 10 or U 10. Additionally, the so called Hovgården Runestone, U 11, is located just north of the church, near the ruins of the medieval brick palace Alsnö hus.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.