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Caithness Field Club Bulletin
A Rediscovered Church by Geoff Leet
The 1996 Field Club Motorcade took us 3 miles west of Kinbrace to the stone rows and cairns of Ach'na h-Uai. Here also was a stout wall connected to massive stone foundations laid in a "T" shape adjoining three gravestones. These foundations were like the church foundations at Deasphollag at the north end of Strath Halladale. Both sets were measured and the scale drawing below shows how similar they are. The "T" plans may indicate dates from the time of the clearances, and I hope that this note will spark off references to the builders and users of these churches.
The gravestones were erected by John Chisholm, Shepherd, in memory of Margaret Nichol, 52, of Badencleaven, died 1837; James and John Chisholm, in memory of Jean Henderson, 78, died 1838; and by George Gordon in memory of Williamia Gordon, 22, died 1845.
Gordon sounds like a local name but the Chisholms may have come from the Borders as skilled shepherds imported with the Cheviot sheep. By the time of the burials the population may well have become too sparse to support a church.
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