Site: Barnakill

Name:Barnakill CISP No:BRNKL
Place:Cairnbaan (Carn Ban) Grid Ref:NR 8249 9192 (GB)   Map
Parish:Kilmichael Glassary Stones:1
County:Argyll , Scotland Saint(s):none
Site Type:ecclesiastical

Site Notes

NMRS/NR89SW13: `The much reduced remains of a circular enclosure situated on firm ground above a marshy area', immediately E `of where the track leading N to High Barnakill (NR 8265 9220) passes the foot of a rocky ridge...It measures 10.4m in diameter within a stone-faced wall averaging 1.4m wide with gravel infilling. The wall splays to 1.9m wide in the SW where there is a possible entrance and at no point does it stand more than 0.4m high. This structure partially overlies a similar, larger enclosure with walls averaging 1.0m...its size and insubstantial construction are not typical of the homesteads known locally...and its situation is not suited to a habitation site. The fact that it is on the surface of considerable peat growth and that its predecessor is still partially extant, suggests that this feature is not prehistoric. Its age and purpose, therefore remain uncertain'.

NMRS records that although the site is called `The Monk's or Friar's Graveyard', `it is unlikely that it has any religious association'. Nonetheless, the name [CISP: Barnakill < Gaelic Barr na cille, `summit of the church'] `probably originally referring to the summit at NR 822 917, suggests the presence of a church in the area'.

CISP: alternatively the name could be Barnakill < Barr na coille `summit of the wood'. Today the nearby woodland is called Coille Mhór, `the great wood'.

Lacaille drew attention to a tumulus 200 yds to the south (1925, 148).

RCAHMS/1992, 51, refers to the site as `a probable hut-circle', but draws attention to a rock-cut cross, of presumably early medieval date, 500m SW of the enclosure, `incised on a smooth rock-outcrop in woodland about 20m SW of the Barnakill Burn'. The rock-cut hands 80m W of this are assigned a recent origin. It is futher noted that `although an important pre-improvement route crossed the lands of Barnakill, this is likely to have avoided the marshy valley of the burn. However, it may be significant that the cross is carved on the first firm ground E of the Mòine Mhór'.

Note also Barnakill's close proximity to the great Dalriadic royal site of Dunadd (NR 836935), comprehensively described in RCAHMS/1988, 149-159 no.248. See also DNADD/1/1.