The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Stone Circle


"Not far from Aant Sithe the road passes the old churchyard and ruined church of Kilchriosd. Standing on a small mound by the roadside... this ancient graveyard is certainly older than the church itself and possibly older even than the stone circle near by. Most Skye burial-grounds are very old, partly perhaps because people have died since time immemorial and the number of suitable sites for a graveyard in Skye are strictly limited, but perhaps also because St. Columba never broke old customs and we, as a people, are very conservative... About half a mile beyond the ruins of Kilchriosd lies Loch Cil Chriosd. This loch seems to have been held in more than ordinary veneration from the earliest times. Near it, and not far from the road, a stone circle can still be seen, by no means so well preserved as those in the Lews but undoubtedly a circle, and traditionally a prehistoric 'temple'. Close to this circle is the site of the very early and tiny church of Kilcro, Church (or Cell) of the Circle, supposed to have been built on a site chosen by St. Columba himself and first occupied by the cell of one of his followers. Near it is an ancient graveyard and here two very old and curious stones were once to be seen; one was said to bear a striking resemblance to a heathen or pagan idol or Cromcreaich.

Once, Loch Cil Chriosd was haunted by a terrible monster (perhaps the pagan god Lugh himself?), which laid waste the land round about and carried off and devoured women and children. At last the creature was slain by St. Maelrhuba blessing the waters, ever since when the water of that loch has had certain virtues and healing powers. But some have believed that Loch Cil Chriosd was (or sprang from) that cursed stream 'beyond Drum Albyn in the countyr of the Picts' mentioned in Adamnan's Life of St. Columba. This spring, 'which senseless men, the Druids blinding their understanding, worshipped as a god', was believed to have the power to cause leprosy, blindness or intense weakness in those washed its water or drank it. The evil spirit in the water was propitiated by many sacrifices until St. Columba came to the loch side and, knowing its evil reputation, blessed the water and then both drank from it and washed. Adamnan states that a company of Druids stood by overjoyed, eagerly waiting for the god to show his powers. But the saint took no harm and since his blessing the waters have been pure and good for all men."

- Otta F. Swire, Skye: The Island and its Legends, 1961, pp. 219-21.

The OS map has a somewhat enigmatic "rocking stone" at NG617203.
TomBo Posted by TomBo
28th June 2004ce

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