This evening, I am posting information on a fascinating historic site on the Isle of Barra.

This religious complex at Cill Barra (‘Kilbar’) is considered as one of the most important of its type in the Western Isles. The church may date from the 12th century, possibly based on an older, refurbished structure. The separate St. Mary’s chapel has been re-roofed to house the late medieval carved tombstones (see image below) which formerly lay in the graveyard.

The central stone in the image below is, in fact, a replica. The original can be found in the Scottish Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh. This is known as the Kilbar Stone and is Christian-Nordic Runic in origin. On the front there is a cross decorated with a four plaited pattern and bordered by a scroll. On the reverse is an inscription “This cross has been raised in memory of Thorgeth, daughter of Steinar.”

The burial ground associated with the church holds the remains of many local inhabitants including the writer and novelist, Compton MacKenzie.

A pace for reflection and contemplation. It seems likely that the coastline has been pushed back since the site was originally established-due the growth of extensive sand dunes which now separate Cille Bharra from the sea.

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