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TEAMPULL BHEARNARAIDH BHEAG, LITTLE BERNERA - CHAPEL (Undated), Burial Ground (Undated)

TEAMPULL BHEARNARAIDH BHEAG, LITTLE BERNERA - CHAPEL (Undated), Burial Ground (Undated)

Summary:

CHAPEL (Undated)
Burial Ground (Undated)
Mediaeval and later chapel and cemetery

Location:

NB 1505 4073

Full description:

NB14SE 5 1505 4073.

(NB 1505 4073) Graveyard (NAT)
OS 6"map, Caithness, 2nd ed., (1905)

"Teampull Bhearnaraidh Bheag" is an enclosed graveyard on a small sandy hill, in which there is neither vaults, tombs or head stones except one small enclosure on the east side of it about 3 feet high ... Tradition says that there has been a Catholic chapel in this place but there is no trace of it now (Name Book 1850). Here and there stone-built cells which formed the places of sepulchure are laid bare owing to the sandy nature of the soil (see Official Guide to Stornoway 1932). Martin mentions two churches on Little Bernera - "St. Dondan's"(Donnans
(A B Scott 1932; W D Simpson 1935) 7) and St Michael's, of one of which this is presumably the site; possibly of both since this appears to be the only burial ground on the island. The dedication to St. Donnan, and the occurence of the name "Pabanish", possibly 'Pabba' - priest, 'nish'-ness, nearby suggest that this may be an early site.
Name Book 1850; M Martin 1934; Official Guide to Stornoway 1932; A B Scott 1918; 1906; W D Simpson 1935; W J Watson 1926.

At NB 1505 4070 at the higher, S, end of the now disused graveyard, are the turf-covered footings of a chapel orientated E-W and measuring approximately 6.3m by 3.2m internally. Only the inner face is occasionally visible, and no structural details survive.
Some 30.0m to the NE on a low headland outside the grave-yard are the amorphous footings of an indeterminate structure, possibly the other of the two chapels mentioned by Martin. The graveyard, now being eroded, is full of graves, most of which are marked by head and foot stones.
Chapel surveyed at 1/10,560.
Visited by OS (N K B) 22 June 1969.

The footings of one chapel, adjacent to the 19th C. burial aisle, have been cleared of blown sand by Mr J. Crawford, Gearraidh na h-Aibhne, who has also repaired the burial aisle, and has collected Iron Age pottery from rabbit burrows and erosion spots adjacent to the early church.
MML 2.5.2002

The monument known as Beinn an Teampuill, chapels and graveyard, Little Bernera, comprises a chapel within an enclosed, disused graveyard, as well as what may be the remains of a second chapel nearby. It is sited on the east side of the island of Little Bernera, on a small rise overlooking a sandy beach. The area to be scheduled is subcircular, measuring 78m from N to S by 70m transversely, to include the chapel, its graveyard, the possible second chapel and an area around in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive. Excluded from the scheduling are the above ground remains fo the nineteenth-century and later burial aisles, the modern retaining sea wall, and all named burial monuments.
HS scheduling document, 20.1.2004

References:

Official Guide to Stornoway, Official Guide to Stornoway. 36
The Pictish nation: its people and its church, The Pictish Nation: its people and church. 269
The history of the Celtic place-names of Scotland: being the Rhind lectures on archaeology (expanded) delivered in 1916, Publisher: William Blackwood, The History of the Celtic Place-Names of Scotland: being the Rhind lectures on archaeology 1916. 338
The Celtic church in Scotland: a study of its penetration lines and art relationships, Publisher: Aberdeen University Press, The Celtic Church in Scotland. fig. 9
Original Name Books of the Ordnance Survey, Name Books of the Ordnance Survey. Book No. 41, 204
Martin Martin. 1695. A description of the Western Islands of Scotland circa 1695, Editor: Macleod, D J (ed,), Publisher: Eneas Mackay, A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland c. 1695. 106
1905-6. 'S Donnan the Great and his Muinntir', Trans Scot Eccles Soc. Part No 1. 259

Acknowledgement:

Information provided by Western Isles Council Sites & Monuments Record, January 2006.

 

Title: TEAMPULL BHEARNARAIDH BHEAG, LITTLE BERNERA - CHAPEL (Undated), Burial Ground (Undated)
Record Type: Historical/ Archaeological Sites
Type: Chapel
SMR Record ID: MWE4125
Grid Ref Northing: 940730
Grid Ref Easting: 115050
Record Maintained By: CEBL
Subject Id: 31349