Kilchatten Chapel (St Cathan's)
Located just uphill from the visitor entrance to Achamore gardens
and the village hall you will find the remains of the former parish
church of Gigha
and Cara, which was dedicated to St Cathan (an Irish missionary
of the 6th Century). This church ruin probably dates from the Thirteenth
Century, and is decorated with a fine lancet window in the east
gable, and smaller single light window in the north wall.
The church appears to have been in use at the time of Martin Martin's
visit in 1695, but some time during the early 18th Century it was
replaced by a new church sited opposite the current hotel. (A small
section of wall can be seen in the hotel car park). The tall deeply
splayed East lancet window has an incised Latin cross on the left
hand side. The existing semicircular head replaces an original pointed
medieval font shown on the back page of the leaflet(based on a sketch
by Captain T.P.White) is now preserved in the current parish church.
Captain T.P.White also recorded the carved grave slabs which completely
fill the church interior in his book “Archaeological Sketches in
Scotland:Knapdale and Gigha” (1875). Almost the entire floor is
covered with graveslabs. There are a total of 33 fragments, some
of which have been exposed following the recent conservation work.
Some of the slabs are illustrated in here. The gravestones date
from the 15th Century or earlier, they are unique examples containing
fine carving. The carving is similar to designs found elsewhere
They are delicate and we would be grateful if you could avoid walking
on them. Please look here
for a detailed survey of the inscriptions.
Small scale repairs were undertaken in the Ninetieth and early Twentieth
Centuries. During the summer of 2010 the church walls were conserved
and consolidated, and turf capped. The work also included the addition
of stainless steel ties trough the North wall and part of the South
wall. This work was possible due to the generosity of the islanders,
private donors, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Historic Scotland.
The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust have now committed themselves to
preserving the site.
We would be grateful for any donations to help with the preservation
and access to the heritage sites on Gigha. Please contact the IGHT
Office if you would like to make a donation.
Please feel free to download a copy of our leaflet for the site