65115: Baile na Cille Cemetery

A very old circular burial ground and sanctuary, containing the remains of a chapel (or two) dedicated to St Christopher. Tradition maintains that the cemetery was built on rock, within the circular wall and the cemetery was built up with sand  to make more burying space. The man who did this was called Elidhean who brought the sand from the beach in panniers on two white horses. 

Traditionally, in mediaeval times at least, only men of the Clan Macaulay were buried here – Domhnall Cam among them, and it is said that mourners drank the nearby well dry on the day of his funeral. The cemetery contains many hundreds of unmarked stones of unknown age, and a few dozen inscribed stones dating from about 1850. The ground is no longer in use.

It features in a story about John Roy Macaulay, who was pursuing Norman Macleod, son of Norman Og of Pabbay, across the sands to avenge the murder of his brothers. Norman was seeking sanctuary in the burial ground but John Roy caught up with him before he reached safety. Logic dictates that John Roy, who remained nearby when he was given the tack at Crowlista, would have been buried here too.

The mother of Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer, evidently witnessed a Norse princess rising from her grave in the cemetery, and laid a staff over the grave to prevent her re-entering it until she had granted Coinneach the second sight, which he got when he found a holed stone in the pool just below the cemetery mound.

Please see also the archaeological record and the inscriptions.

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