St Ronan's Church, Barvas (Rona)

Grid reference

HW 808 322 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

180800 103220

Latitude

59.12043856455614

Longitude

-5.830441139059074

County

Ross-shire

Nearby places

Rona, island Barvas (0.26 miles)

Object Classification

Antiquity

Ecclesiastical

Is linear feature?

No

Notes

An ancient (pre-Viking) ecclesiastical settlement on the remote island of Rhona, it actually lies within the parish of Barvas (Lewis) some 70 km north of the sanctuary of St Ronan on that island. Of the island where this chapel is, Monro says the inhabitants are 'simple people, scant of ony religione'. But in it is St Ronay's Chapell, 'unto quhilk chapell, as the ancients of that country alledges, they leave an spaid and ane shuil (shovel), quhen any man dies, and upon the morrow findes the place of the grave markit with an spaid, as they alledge' (Description, 522-3). In the 1640s, Donald Morrison, minister of Barvas on Lewis, went to the Rona and noted 'a chapel dedicated to St Ronan, fenced with a stone wall round it', and on the altar lay a wooden plank about ten feet long: 'every foot has a hole in it, and in every hole was a stone, to which the natives ascribe several virtues' (Robson, Rona, 9). Later in the seventeenth century the place was described by a visitor, Sir George MacKenzie of Tarbat: 'There is a chappel in the midst of the Isle, where they meet twice or thrice a day. One of the families is hereditary Bedell and the Master of that stands at the Altar and prayeth; the rest kneel upon their knees, and joyn with him. Their religion is the Romish Religion' (Robson, Rona, 8).

Relationships with other parishes

Within Barvas, parish (Lewis)