St Ernan's Church. This church lies about 1.6 km outside Fionnphort on the Ross of Mull, above Loch Poit-na-h-I, and beside the A849, which connects with Bunessan and Craignure.
During the 1890s it was decided, by the Church on Iona, that a Mission Chapel should be built at Creich in the Ross of Mull and dedicated to St Erana. Ernan, formerly Prince of Donegal, was uncle to St Columba and one of a group of twelve followers who came with Columba to Iona to set up and manage the Iona Monastery.
Through the efforts of the then Parish Minister, the Rev. Archibald MacMillan (his gravestone is in the church yard), money was raised to build the church. Plans of the church were approved by Presbytery in 1897 and a site chosen to benefit the community.
The land belonged to the Duke of Argyll and he stipulated that the Trustees – three local men – were to be responsible for maintaining the church, which was to be used only ‘for worship, for the Sunday School or Mission, or other religious works in connection with the Church of Scotland’. It was to be kept ‘in good repair’ and well maintained, its gutters clear, and its roof sound’. This is described in the church records as ‘quoad sacra’. The grounds were to be enclosed ‘with such suitable and sufficient walls or fences’ and to be drained. No part of it was to be passed on to others.
A feu duty of one shilling (5 pence today) was payable every year on Whit Sunday. If the Trustees ignored any of these stipulations, the church with all its contents and the grounds, would instantly become the Duke’s property again and there would be no appeal. The Feu Charter (Title Deeds) were duly signed and sealed with a red 6d (about 2p) stamp showing a crown surrounded by laurel leaves, and ‘presented for Registration at Edinburgh on the Twentieth day of October in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety-nine’. Every page was endorsed at the bottom with one bold word written in black ink – ‘Argyll’.
The church, simple and solid, is built with coursed, red granite from a nearby quarry and has direct fixed leaded windows with a slate roof supported on exposed trusses. On the south side is a bell-cote which is still in use. At the north end is a small vestibule, its double doors facing east, and on the east wall is a vestry with south facing doors overlooking the Loch. Both extensions have lean-to roofs. There are four, mid-sized, gothic windows on each side of the nave and a triple-light, gothic window at the chancel gable. The total cost of the build and furnishings was £621, much of the labour having been voluntary.
Alas the church was locked so I was unable to see inside.
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