Chapel-sites on the Isle of Lewis: Results of the Lewis Coastal Chapel-sites
Survey

Author(s): Rachel C Barrowman

Contributor(s): Charlotte Francoz, Janet Hooper, Christine Rennie, Gary Tompsett 

Summary: The Lewis Coastal Chapel-sites Survey undertook research and fieldwork, the latter between 2004 and
2008, to explore and record the known chapel-sites on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland.
There is a scarcity of surviving contemporary historical documentation relating to Lewis in the medieval
period, but archaeology has great potential to further investigate these fascinating and diverse sites. Research
linked together previous antiquarian and local historical research, with walkover survey and description of
each site on the ground. This was followed by targeted topographic and geophysical surveys of particular
sites. At the end of the project it was possible to assess the cultural and research potential of this remarkable
group of sites, and to identify gaps where further work was needed. More than 40 sites were identified and
the remains recorded at each site were varied, some associated with old settlements, or traditionally linked
with other chapel-sites nearby, others alone and isolated. The chapels themselves ranged from upstanding
buildings still used for worship, to low grassy banks only just discernible beneath the turf or unlocated
and kept alive only in oral tradition. This publication reports on the results of the survey work with a brief
conclusion of the main findings.

Keyword(s): Isle of Lewis, chapel, church, early Christian, medieval, survey, Hebrides, Western Isles, Na h-Eileanan Siar

Location(s): Isle of Lewis, Western Isles, Scotland, UK

Period(s): early medieval, medieval, post-medieval

 

Published: 17-02-2020

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