Applecross Places

Applecross Community Collage
This painting depicts Maelrubha who founded this Christian settlement in AD673.

Abbot's Stone, Applecross
Clachan Church, Applecross
Rosemarkie Stone and Church
St Clement's Church, Dingwall
St Duthac's Church, Tain
Tarbat Church, Portmahomack
Thanks are due to Mrs Dorothy Haldane for permission to record excerpts from her late husband's book Ye His Saints

Churches of Applecross


A'Chomraich - the Gaelic name for 'The Sanctuary' . This is the site of the monastery of Applecross, founded in 673 by St Maelrubha. The building is Clachan Church.

Such sanctuaries offered 'criminals' the right of shelter and safety within their boundaries.

The Interpretation panel adjacent to the gates of the Burial Ground.

Clachan Church

Clachan Church is set within Applecross burial ground.

Interior views of Clachan Church.

Clachan Church floral display, October 2002.

Excerpt from Ye His Saints:
Map showing various locations, referred to in the text, which are associated with Scotland's saints.

The Abbot's stone, the most obvious relic of what was believed to be a thriving monastery extending from the river to the hill behind Clachan Burial Ground and the old Parish Church of Applecross. This large unfinished carved stone, set in the ground to the left of the graveyard, originally marked the grave of Ruaraidh Mor MacAgon, Abbot of Applecross, who, according to the Annals of Ulster, died as Abbot of Bangor in AD 801.

St Maelrubha, Ross-shire's foremost saint, was, like Columba, of royal Irish blood and a member of the monastery of Bangor in Ireland, one of the largest colleges of the Irish Church. Maelrubha left Ireland for Scotland in AD 671 when he was twenty-nine years old. In AD 673 he founded the monastery of Applecross, in Wester Ross, within sight of the Isles of Raasay and Skye. Applecross is known to this day as An Comraich, the Sanctuary. Irish lore claims that St Maelrubha died in Applecross of natural causes on 21 April AD 722, aged eighty.

The Breviary of Aberdeen claims that Maelrubha's martyrdom occurred at Urquhart, that on the spot where he suffered a wooden chapel was constructed, superseded by the parish church of Urquhart, and that his body was removed from this place and carried to Applecross. St Maelrubha is reputed to have founded settlements at Strathcarron, Contin and Ferintosh on the Black Isle. It was from his church at Ferintosh that he was fleeing from Danish or Norwegian pirates when he was killed. The brethren from the monastery of Applecross carried his body back to Applecross for burial. They stopped on the first night on an island in the River Blackwater, where the parish church of Contin now stands.

In the parish of Gairloch is Loch Maree, once called Loch Ewe, with Kinlochewe still at its head. Through time it has taken the name Maree from one of the islands called Innis Maree. The island, which is situated in the middle of the loch, has an ancient cemetery and it reputedly was once the residence of a good man called Maree, or Mourie or Maelrubha. A similar island in Loch Lomond, called Inch Murrin, was the dwelling place of St Mirin, who established his church in Paisley, west of Glasgow. A fair called Feil Maree used to be held in Contin on the last Wednesday of August and was latterly held in Dingwall.

The fine pulpit in Clachan Church of Applecross. In the graveyard in which the church stands there is the ruin of a small rectangular chapel building. Beside it is a low mound which has always been called Cladh Maree. This mound is the site of a small rectangular building, which seems to have been no more than a cell. At a depth of two feet there is a plain slab of stone which covers the stone kist in which was laid the mortal remains of Maelrubha, at full length, facing east. Fragments of carved stone, unearthed by the sexton, Kenneth Macrae FSA, and now housed in the church, are geologically native and the work unmistakably, according to the Society of Antiquarians, of the 8th century.

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