Kilmaveonaig Scottish Episcopal Church Cemetery

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Kilmaveonaig Scottish Episcopal Church Cemetery

Location
Ford Road
Blair Atholl, Perth and Kinross, PH18 5SU Scotland
Memorials 441 added (97% photographed)

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Alternative names:
St Adamnan’s Episcopal Church, St Eonaig’s (or Eonan’s) Chapel, (Gaelic Cill Mo-bheonaig)

This really attractive small church, with its churchyard and extension, is located in a beautiful tranquil setting on the east bank of the River Tilt, on the Lude Estate, on the south east side of Blair Atholl. Nowadays, the church stands on its own, but at the beginning of the 19th C, Kilmaveonaig was a small village of approximately 10 buildings, including a school, an inn and a forge, which stood on what was then still the main road north to Inverness.

Historians disagree whether the church is dedicated to St Beoghna, 2nd Abbot of Bangor, who died in 606, or to St Adamnan, ~625 – 704, 9th Abbot of Iona and biographer of St Columba. The Gaelic name suggests the former, but local sentiment tends to favour the latter, who is known to have preached in the area, and was buried at Dull, Perthshire.

What is more certain is that St Adamnan’s, Kilmaveonaig, is an early site of Christian worship with a chequered history. Before 1275, it was a parish church. In 1559, during the Reformation, and following John Knox’s sermon against idolatry at St John’s Kirk, Perth, the church was damaged. In 1591, following the Reformation, it was rebuilt by the Robertson’s of Lude, principal cadet line of Clan Robertson. The Clan were strong supporters of the Stewart Royal family. In 1689, William of Orange and Mary came to the throne and episcopacy was disestablished. Kilmaveonaig Church fell into disuse. In 1712 Queen Anne passed an Act of Toleration allowing nine people beside an Episcopalian minister’s family to attend a service. In 1715, the Jacobite proclamation was read from Kilmaveonaig’s pulpit by the Reverend Duncan Stewart.

Between 1728 and 1730, following the failure of the first Jacobite Rebellion, General Wade built one of his military roads from Dunkeld to Inverness. This passed through Kilmaveonaig and crossed the River Tilt at the Old Bridge of Tilt, to the north of Blair Atholl. In 1746, following the failure of the second Jacobite rising, and the disastrous defeat at Culloden, Episcopalian churches were damaged by government troops and stricter rules reduced the number of people attending a service to four. In 1756, just after Christmas, the seventy year old Reverend Walter Stewart was sentenced to six months in Perth Tolbooth Prison for holding divine service in his house. His six companions were fined the then enormous sum of £5 each. This law was repealed in 1792 after the Scottish Bishops promised to pray for George III.

The church was rebuilt in 1794 by architect John Stewart on the site of the old parish church. The military road was re-routed in 1820 and a new road bridge constructed over the River Tilt. This and the later arrival of the railways resulted in the Church’s current relatively isolated position. St Adamnan’s was restored between 1866 – 1871 and further enlarged in 1899. The old bell, dated 1629, is from Little Dunkeld Church. In 2000, St Adamnan’s Kilmaveonaig, was chosen by Pam Rhodes, presenter of the BBC TV Programme ‘Songs of Praise’, as one of her 34 favourite churches in Britain. Sadly, the distinctive Lych Gate was missing on my visit - hopefully to be restored.

The Church and churchyard reflect this history. Inside the Church, there are memorials to the Robertsons of Lude, many of whom were buried under their own pew(s). Also hanging on the walls are hatchments, or funeral escutcheons, including one for James Robertson, who died in 1803, and his wife, Margaret Mercer, who had died the previous year. These hatchments are now rare in Scotland. The churchyard contains many memorials to Robertsons and also includes numerous fallen and old horizontal stones, including a very old cross-slab, cup markings etc. Sadly any inscriptions on many of these stones are now indecipherable. The adjacent Kilmaveonaig New Graveyard extension currently serves the Parish.

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GPS Coordinates: 56.76962, -3.83506

  • Added: 19 Aug 2016
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2620634