The Church at Kilmore, the history of three churches

The current church of Kilmore stands in an idyllic position on the coast of Skye with great views over the water towards the main land. The history of this church is in fact the history of three churches.

The now Parish church stands on a site sanctifed by successive places of worship since the dawn of Christian evangelism of the Western Isles of Scotland. Previous to this it was even a place of Pagan or Druid sancuary.

The first church was built by the chief of the Logans of Druimdeurfait, Ross-shire, he was called Crotach Mac Gille Gorm, a hunch-backed son of the blue lad-servant. The church lasted till early in the seventeenth century, around 1631.

This church was destroyed when a clan battle was fought in a neighbouring field between the MacIntyres (then in posession of this corner of Sleat, though MacDonald territory) and a foraging band of MacLeods. The MacLeods won the battle, where-upon the MacIntyres took refuge in the church; the MacLeods ruthlessly set fire to the church. The roof burnt quickly as it was thatched with heather. Everyone inside was killed and the church was destroyed.

The more recent church was said to have been built around 1631, but not completed till 1691, owing to troublesome times. According to Iain Lom, the noted Lochaber bard, the church was eventually erected by Sir MacDonald of Sleat and the Isles, but unfortunately he died before it was finished. Iain Lom says:

“To the church of Sleat-of-the-waves,

It’s cost you defrayed to build,

Though you didn’t wait (survive) to slate it.

The church lasted for nearly two hundred years the ruins can be seen in the grounds of the present church.

The present church now stands adjacent to the second. The minister of the parish, Rev. John Forbes, discovered an old cup in a heap of rubbish beneath the old pulpit; it was duly cleaned and mounted on a brass bracket and has been used for baptisms ever since.


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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One thought on “The Church at Kilmore, the history of three churches

  1. Bethany M. Seeley

    What a fascinating story! I’m a McIntyre by birth, so hearing that part of our clan history is fascinating. I’m also a Church Historian, so I am interested in the story on that count, as well. Thank you for sharing the story and the photos. Perhaps someday I will be able to visit the site in person!


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