Page images

slopes away rapidly on the south, and the plateau is well marked all round. This part contains a wall running from the south and across the entrance to the smaller end, and gradually melting away into a heap of loose stones. The northern part of this is a large grassy area, quite flat, while the southern part is scattered with loose stones, and a mound suggests the stones in the centre of the larger half. The

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

general nature of the description will be understood at a glance on the plan (Fig. 2). There are traces of a lower wall on the south. The two smaller groups of stones immediately suggest the larger and smaller circles on Bwlch y Cae and the neighbouring fields; the resemblance has only to be seen to be appreciated. On the other hand the site is totally different, for at Gwynfryn the remains are on the steep little spur of a hill and cover all the spur; those at Bwlch y Cae are scattered along the top of a ridge.

The third series of stone circles presents a different char

acter in that they seem much more connected with one another than those on Bwlch y Cae, which they resemble in position, and to a certain extent in form (cf. Figs. 4, 5, and 6). The group which is most traceable has the form which can be best studied on the plan (Fig. 3).

A point which is especially noticeable is that the road which passes the Llanfair circles has quite a number of menhirs still standing along it, and that there are also one or two on the other road by Bwlch y Cae. We were also struck in exploring these monuments, both this year and last, that the menhirs seemed to point to the hill Rhinog Fach, and also that there are stone remains in spots whence the top of this hill is visible. There are however, as far as I know, no monuments of any kind on or in the neighbourhood of this hill, and the alleged standing stones on its base are natural, though it is possible there may be others. In any case, attention may be called to the apparently symmetrical arrangements of the menhirs, the presence of menhirs near the Llanfair stone-heaps, and of a dolmen and menhirs near the Bwlch y Cae heaps.

[graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small][graphic][merged small]



FROM an antiquarian point of view the Isle of Lewis is, in many respects, unique, though its ecclesiastical treasures have been rapidly disappearing as if they were of no consequence whatever! Graves are freely marked by stones taken from the old churches; thatch is held down by the thick slates removed from their roofs, while one beautifully-worked stoup was employed for many years in keeping a gate open!

The people in the country districts are quite charming, but they are more concerned with fishing and agriculture than with antiquarian studies, so that, bearing in mind also a certain hostility to the outward reminders of a religion which they have left behind, it is scarcely surprising that they have attached little if any importance to these hallowed emblems of the past.

At Eye, four miles from Stornoway, there is an interesting and well preserved ruin containing a slab to the memory of Margaret Mackinnon, mother of the last mitred abbot of Iona, but the place is neglected and its appearance completely spoilt by modern tombstones, though Nature has happily risen in revolt and partly covered them with a plentiful supply of


Some thirty miles from Stornoway, in the village of Eorrapaidh, near the Butt of Lewis, there is another church in equally good condition but prettily situated among the crofts, and happily not used for burials. It has been preserved at the expense of the neighbouring Church of St. Peter, around which interments are still made, with the result that nothing is left except a portion of one wall, much of the remainder having been taken down within the memory of middle-aged persons in order to provide covering cairns for the graves.

Eorrapaidh Church, properly known as St. Moluag's, but described locally as Teampull Mor (i.e., Great Church), or St. Olave's (after the Norse King who rebuilt it), is probably late thirteenth century, though the site has been hallowed since the sixth century, when St. Moluag, the companion of St. Columba, visited the island and erected a church on this spot.

The building is of quite a simple nature-oblong, 50 ft. by 23 ft. There is a sacristy at the north-east corner, lighted



« PreviousContinue »