Cille Bharra, eccles. Barra

Grid reference

NF 705 074 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

70500 807400





Altitude (metres)




Nearby places

Barra, parish aka Kilbarr (0 miles)

Kilmoire, eccles., Barra (0.45 miles)

Eilean Sheumais, Barra (3.58 miles)

Rubha Mhìcheil, Barra (4.02 miles)

St Brendan RC Church, Barra (4.53 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



NMRS records the ruins of three medieval buildings (probably 12th century and later) within a rubblewalled burial ground. A fourth chapel (which may have been the parish church) stood near the road, but was demolished c.1830. Here there is a tenth- or eleventh-century cross-slab, now in NMS, and four later medieval graveslabs. ----------------------- Martin Martin (1703) notes: 'The church in this island is called Kilbarr, i.e. St Barr's Church. There is a little chapel by it in which Macneil and those descended of his family are usually interred. The natives have St Barr's wooden image standing on the altar, covered with linen in the form of a shirt; all their greatest asseverations are by this saint. I came very early in the morning with an intention to see this image, but was disappointed; for the natives prevented me by carrying it away, lest I might take occasion to ridicule their superstition, as some Protestants have done formerly; and when I was gone it was again exposed on the alter. They have several traditions concerning this great saint. There is a chapel (about half a mile on the south side of the hill near St Barr's Church) where I had occasion to get an account of a tradition concerning this saint. "The inhabitants having begun to build the church, which they dedicated to him, they laid this wooden image within it, but it was invisibly transported (as they say) to the place where the church now stands, and found there every morning." This miraculous conveyance is the reason they give for desisting to work where they first began. I told my informerthat this extraordinary motive was sufficient to determine the case, if true, but asked his pardon to dissent from him, for I had not faith enough to believe this miracle, at which he was surprised, telling me in the meantime that this tradition hath been faithfully conveyed by the priests and natives successively to this day' (1703, 158). 'All the inhabitants observe the anniversary of St Barr, being the 27th of September; it is performed riding on horseback, and the solemnity is concluded by three turns round St Barr's Church' (1703, 163). 'They have likewise a general cavalcade on St Michael's Day, in Kilbar village, and do then also take a turn round their church. Every family, as soon as the solemnity is ended, is accustomed to bake St Michael's cake ... and all strangers, together with those of the family, must eat the bread that night' (1703, 164). ------------------ The celebrations on the feast of St Barr, 'La Fheill Bharra' were also recorded at Cille Bharra by John and Catherine Pearson in the nineteenth century [CW MS 90 fo. 43).

Relationships with other parishes

Within Barra, parish aka Kilbarr

Relationships with other places

Within Barra, island Barra