Kingarth (Old Irish: Cenn Garad; Scottish Gaelic: Ceann a' Gharaidh) is a historic village and parish on the Isle of Bute, off the coast of south-western Scotland. The village is within the parish of its own name, and is situated at the junction of the A844 and B881. In the Early Middle Ages it was the site of a monastery and bishopric and the cult centre of Saints Cathan and Bláán (Anglicized: Blane).
Kingarth Hotel, Bute
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St Blane's Church and monasteryEdit
Located to the north of Kilchattan Bay, Kingarth was the central religious site for the Cenél Comgaill kindred of Dál Riata (after which Cowal is named), just as Lismore was for the Cenél Loairn and Iona for the Cenél nGabráin. It is close to the southern tip of the Isle of Bute, less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the early historic hill-fort of "Little Dunagoil", which may have been the chief secular site of the kindred.
The ruins of St Blane's Church are surprisingly extensive, situated in a sheltered hollow near the top of a south facing slope. The site has views south to the Isle of Arran and Holy Island. Most of the remains, of the nave and part of the chancel, date from the 1100s. In the 1300s the chancel was enlarged; the east end of the church is less well constructed than the remaining parts. There is a finely-carved Romanesque chancel arch. In the grounds are the remains of a well and the foundations of a manse, which was still in use in the 16th century.
There are upper and lower churchyards, where men and women respectively were buried; both have a large number of fairly worn grave slabs, one or two of which have traces of decoration. In the lower churchyard there are the remains of another building thought to have been of a small chapel. In the upper churchyard is a hogback tombstone, often wrongly said to mark the tomb of St Blane, and which dates to the 900s or 1000s. It shows that the Norsemen who settled here, after the monastery was abandoned, eventually became Christians themselves. The upper churchyard contains the graves of 7th- and 8th-cntury bishops and abbots. There is also the family plot of Sir William Macewen (1848-1924), the notable surgeon who lived at nearby Garrochty.
A structure known as the "Devil's Cauldron", with walls 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) thick and about 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) high, is thought to have been either a part of the original monastery or an older dun.
The centre for Saint Bláán's cult had probably moved to the mainland to Dunblane in Strathearn under the influence of Viking attacks in the 9th century, perhaps like the movement of the relics of Saint Cuthbert to the bishopric of Lindisfarne and those of Saint Columba to the bishopric of Dunkeld. Despite this, it survived as a religious site to become one of only two parish churches on the island, the other being Rothesay; it was part of the diocese of the Isles, though perhaps originally in the diocese of Argyll. Alan fitz Walter tried to grant the church to Paisley Abbey in 1204, but this grant does not appear to have been effective and it remained an independent parsonage until the 15th century. In 1463 it became a prebend for the newly created chapter of the diocese of the Isles, but in 1501 it was annexed to the Chapel Royal at Stirling, becoming in 1509 a prebend for the chancellorship of the Chapel Royal, the latter arrangement surviving beyond the Scottish Reformation.
- "Details of Kingarth". Scottish Places. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- "A844". Sabre. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Fraser, James E. (2009), From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, 1, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 157, 372, ISBN 978-0-7486-1232-1
- Fraser, James E. (2009), From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, 1, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 157, ISBN 978-0-7486-1232-1
- "Bute, St Blane's Church - Canmore". canmore.org.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- "St Blane's Chapel from The Gazetteer for Scotland". www.scottish-places.info. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- "St Blane's History". www.historicenvironment.scot. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- "St Blane's Church, Bute, Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland". www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 102, ISBN 978-0-7486-1234-5
- Cowan, Ian B. (1967), The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Record Society, vol. 93, Edinburgh: Neill & Co. Ltd, pp. 112, 174
- Cowan, Ian B. (1967), The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Record Society, vol. 93, Edinburgh: Neill & Co. Ltd, p. 112