My post from October last year on Churches, Chapels and Crosses seemed to be quite popular so I thought we should take another look at some more, predominantly from Scotland but we also visit EastAnglia and the North York Moors. We’ll start off in East Anglia and St Peter’s Church on the Wall reputed to be one of the oldest places of worship in England having been built in AD 654. The image was captured on my first visit to Essex in the Spring of 2012 and is located beside the marshes at the north-eastern extremity of the tongue of Essex. St. Peter’s Church stands astride the west wall, in the ruins of the west gateway, of the Roman fort, which, under the name of Othona, was one of the nine forts of the Saxon shore.
Moving on now to Scotland and Wester Ross one of my favourite parts of the country. The location of this chapel close to the village of Laide must be one of the most spectacular I have seen and what a place to be laid to rest with that view. The chapel of Sand of Udrigil is traditionally said to have been erected by St Columba or one of his followers, although the character of the building suggests a late medieval date for the existing structure. A church building is said to have been erected about 1713 by George MacKenzie of Gruinard, but in reality, it is likely that work was limited to repairs and re-thatching. The chapel seems to have remained in use for worship until at least the end of the 18th century and was in use for burials by 1834, the earliest decipherable date on any of the gravestones within the walls.
After a church and a chapel how about, we visit a cross and this time on the North York Moors. Young Ralph stands tall at a junction of roads near Rosedale Head. It has been well known since 1974 as being the symbol of the North York Moors National Park. It dates back to 1200AD but the present cross is probably the 18th Century – before then there are records showing it was made of wood at some time. The present stone cross has had to be repaired several times. One tale tells of a poor traveller who died from exhaustion entirely penniless. He was found by a local farmer from Danby called Ralph who decided to erect a cross at the place he found him as a guide for future travellers. By tradition, there are often a few coins to be found on top of the cross as well as on many others on the moors.
Back to Scotland for our final two destinations and firstly the Kintyre Peninsula. The ruins of Saddell Abbey in Kintyre was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1160 by Raghnall, son of Somairle mac Gille Brigte (Somerled) and established by Irish monks from Mellifont Abbey, County Armagh. It is also reputedly the burial place of Somerled himself, self-proclaimed King of the Isles. Close by is Saddell Bay, the location where the local pipe band marched along the beach with Paul and Linda McCartney in the video for the number 1 song “Mull of Kintyre” all those years ago.
Our final location to visit on this trip is on the Isle of Skye and the hamlet of Trumpan located on the Vaternish peninsula. Trumpan church, which is now a ruin, was the focus of a particularly brutal incident in 1578, when the Clan MacDonald of Uist travelled to Trumpan in eight boats and under cover of a thick mist, burnt alive all the worshipping church-goers, with only one member managing to escape. This led to instant retribution by Clan MacLeod who killed all the invaders, before they had time to flee the island. This skirmish is known as the Battle of the Spoiling Dyke.
So that concludes our second look at some of the Churches, Chapels and Crosses of the British Isles. I may still have other locations and images to share with you at some time in the future.