Down Memory Lane, April 2 2021

The mystery location in last week's Down Memory Lane was the historic cemetery at Killean.
The mystery location in last week's Down Memory Lane was the historic cemetery at Killean.

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Historic location revealed as Killean graveyard

Well done to anyone who recognised the mystery location in last week’s Down Memory Lane as the historic cemetery at Killean.

While an extension at the site serves as a current burial ground, all the featured photographs were taken in the  old graveyard surrounding Killean’s ruined 12th century church which is recognised by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

According to folklore, one of the now roofless kirk’s ministers felt he had been given a message by God to preach his morning sermon in the open. Before the end of the service, the church roof collapsed in what would have been a tragedy, however, all the congregation, being outside, were unharmed.

The site is also home to the Clan MacDonald of Largie family crypt. Inside the locked mausoleum, above which the words ‘Here rest the bones of the House of Largie’ are inscribed, are the carved grave slabs of several members of the MacDonald family, including founder Ranald Bane MacDonald, a 15th century warrior.

The stones, featuring Celtic patterns, animals, swords and ships among other things, are said to be some of the best preserved examples in Scotland.

Nature has taken hold in many areas of the graveyard but the Killean and Kilchenzie Churches Preservation Association, established in 2007, is working to preserve the buildings that remain from further ruin.

According to the charity’s Facebook page, its main aims are: to preserve and make safe the historic churches and the carved stones of Killean and Kilchenzie, by approved conservation techniques, so that these items are available for view and for study by future generations; to advance education and encourage interest in the architecture, social and religious history embedded in the sites of the churches, carved stones, and the historical heritage they represent; and to preserve and restore the surrounding graveyards so that the headstones are secured and their data recorded so that the genealogical records are preserved.