Kilmashenachan, ~eccles. SOE (Kintyre)

Grid reference

NR 727 045 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

172700 604500





Altitude (metres)




Nearby places

St Ninian's Chapel, Southend (Kintyre) (0 miles)

St Ninian's Well, Southend (Kintyre) (0.53 miles)

St Ninian's Lands, Southend, Kintyre (1.41 miles)

Kilmashenachan, settlement, SOE (Kintyre) (2.2 miles)

Kilbride, ~eccles. SOE (Kintyre) (2.67 miles)

Object Classification


Is linear feature?



The NGR is for the chapel on the island of Sanda. The settlement of Kilmashenachan on mainland Kintyre is the closest farm to the island Sanda. There are no visible remains of any chapel on the farm, and we suppose that the farm of Kilmashenachan had been granted for the support of a chapel but that the chapel was not on the farm, but on the adjancent island. Fordun's 'Scotichronicon' (I, xiv), in his list de insulis Scocie, states that this island 'where there is a chapel of St Sannanus' (and variants) is a refuge or sanctuary for criminals (pro transgressoribus refugium). In the 1640s or thereabouts, Fr. Edmund MacCana, an Irish Franciscan preaching in western Scotland, recorded a story in which the chapel is described as dedicated to St Ninian (aedicula S. Ninniano sacra), but he nevertheless records the presence in the sacred cemetery of the bodies of fourteen sons of St Senchanus (pointing towards the earlier cult here) who were themselves renowned for their holiness (Cox 2010, 88). The story tells how a shinty-ball was knocked into the burial ground by accident, and a fearful young man put one hand and one foot into the sacred space to extricate the ball: 'During the middle of the night the youth expires. All praise God, and subsequently venerate the sacred bodies with greater devotion' (ibid.). The same source records the presence of 'the forearm of St Ultan' on the island (brachium Sancti Ultani) which, enclosed in a silver case, was carefully preserved ... by a nobleman of the renowned family of the MacDonnells'. The shifting pattern of saintly dedication associated with this place can be attributed to two things. First, scribal or editorial misreadings have led from an original dedication to Senán or Senchán to 'Annianus' and 'Adamnanus'. Second, the fact that this chapel, together with its farm of Kilmashenachan on the mainland, was part of a property of Whithorn priory and later the bishop of Whithorn, gave rise to the estate which contained them being called 'St Ninian's Lands'. This association with St Ninian's Lands and with Whithorn presumably motivated the change of supposed dedication from Senán/Senchán to Ninian.

Relationships with other parishes

Within Southend, modern parish (Kintyre)

Relationships with other places

Within St Ninian's Lands, Southend, Kintyre