Temple preservation work starts
Work has begun to preserve North Uist’s Teampull Na Trionaid.
The 14th century building is showing its age rather badly. Thanks to a group of determined local people, specialist masonry contractors Laing have arrived to shore it up.
First clear the site:
Next week, limestone pointing will begin.
The clearing has thrown up some items of interest to Becky, our local archaeologist. Sandstone bits, some carved. There’s no sandstone on Uist, so these present a whole new set of questions about the Teampull site.
Here’s one of many articles I’ve written about the project:
Community efforts to conserve a monument of national importance in North Uist could be held up as ‘an inspiration and model’ for other community monument initiatives in the Western Isles, according to Historic Scotland.
The agency’s Northwest Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Dr John Raven spoke to delegates of the Hebridean Archaeological Forum which is meeting this week in the Uists, on a visit to the ruins of Teampull Na Trionaid (Trinity Temple) at Carinish, North Uist, a seminary and centre of pilgrimage thought to date back to the 13th century.
The scheduled ancient monument is second in importance in the islands to the ancient seminary in Howmore, South Uist, and is one of few churches in Scotland to have survived the Reformation.
The building, which was in use until the 17th century is now in a precarious state of decay and disrepair, prompting community members to form the Teampull Na Trionaid Conservation Association to seek funds of more than £200,000 to carry out essential work to slow down the building’s deterioration and create access tracks and interpretation panels.
The association has already had a comprehensive scheme of works drawn up for consolidating and lime-mortaring the walls, and is waiting to hear the results of an application to SRDP Rural Priorities programme for £194,000 to carry out the work.
Historic Scotland has voiced its strong support for the initiative from the start. Dr Raven said: “Over the last twenty years various monument consolidation initiatives have been set up in the islands which for various reasons did not get anywhere, so for the association to get this far is fantastic in itself. The next stage is to get the building consolidated, and when that happens, the association will be able to demonstrate that such initiatives are possible and how they can be realised.”
Dr Raven, who wrote his PhD on the ecclesiastical history of the Uists, added that last winter’s severe cold has affected the wall heads of the temple, causing them to lean even more precariously. He said: “It is more urgent than ever. The monument is almost being held up by the rubble around it.”
Teampull Na Trionaid Conservation Association secretary Margaret MacQuarrie said: “We have fantastic local support for the project.
“The Comhairle has said the project meets the aims of the Local Development Plan, and visits to the site are in demand by locals, community groups, schools and tourism groups including VisitScotland. We are waiting to hear the results of our funding application and hope that the work can begin next spring.”