The cemetery at Baile na Cille, on a low rise projecting onto the Uig Sands just below the old manse, is oval in shape, approximately 33m by 40m and bound by a retaining wall. Within are numerous low, unmarked stones, 34 inscribed stones, and the outline of walls at the highest point of the mound which may be the remains of the Capail Mor (and perhaps the Capail Beag) mentioned by Martin Martin as St Christopher’s Chapel. Donald Macdonald (Dolly Doctor) remarks that “the late JN Macleod thinks that Martin went wrong in calling the temple St Christopher, but that it was Cille Chriosd [Christ’s Church].”
Chris Barrowman’s survey of the site in 2005 gives the following (see also the Sites & Monuments record):
The teampall is located at NB 04800 33870, and is situated in an enclosed burial ground on top of a small knoll, as described in the OS and SMR. The knoll measures roughly 30m, NE-Sw and 40m NW-SE. Even during September, the vegetation at the site was very thick, and obscured most of the low, rough unmarked gravestones that cover the site in thickly packed N-S rows. It could not be discerned whether there were head and foot stones, or just head stones. The unmarked gravestones were on average 0.2m high and 0.35m wide. … about 18 rows of burials could be traced. There are also 31 larger, later gravestones in the burial ground…
On the top of the mounded burial ground, the chapel walls can just be recognised under the thick grass cover. Part of the north wall aligned east to west can be discerned as a stony bank for 3.5m. It then curves around to the south for a further 3.5m. There is then a break to the west, and then the reeturn wall of the south side of the building can be seen for up to 2m. The west wall could not be distinguished at all. The east wall is the most prominent and stands up to 0.8m proud of the surrounding ground surface.
Dolly Doctor further describes the traditions associated with the burial ground:
The conical mound wherein are buried the bodies of many Uig people holds a mysterious and sacred association still for those who come near it. For at least a thousand years they have gazed with reverential awe at this site, and before that there was a pagan temple.
There is a legend that the mound was first built up by one called Elidhean, who carried the soil (with panniers) on two white horses, from a hill in the vicinity which still bears his name, “Cnoc Elidhean”. The mound is artificial, for the soil was heaped on a basis of rock. Some people say that the builders were the same Mediterranean incomers who built another conical mound like it on Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, and set up the standing stones which rouse in us feelings of awe and wonder.” (Tales & Traditions of the Lewis, 1969, 2004)
Naturally it is not known who the many unmarked stones commemorate, though traditionally it was the burial ground of males of the Macaulay clan, and Dòmhnall Càm Macaulay is said to have been buried within the remains of the chapel around 1640, at which time the mourners drank the well dry. The cemetery also plays a role in the traditions surrounding the supposed origins of the Brahan Seer, Coinneach Odhar, whose mother witnessed spirits rising from the graves, and barred a Norwegian princess from returning to hers until she told the cailleach where Coinneach might find his seeing stone.
The inscribed gravestones at Baile na Cille Cemetery were surveyed by students from Fitzwilliam College, 2-8 February 1977. Since then some of the below have fallen or become illegible.
[singlepic id=1221 w=300 float=right]1. In memory of David Watson, minister of this parish, who departed this life 11th May 1856 aged 50 years.
2. C Mc I aged 4 mos, 30 Novr 1837.
3. Erected by the parishioners of Uig & Carloway, in memory of Dr McLean who died at Garynahine 20th Sep 1841.
4. In loving memory of James McKenzie who died at Linshader 15th May 1892 aged 76 years. His mother FloraMacRae, wife of John McKenzie, who died at Reef aged 80 years. His grandmother Julia Macrae who died at Kinloch aged 81 years.
5. To the memory of the Rev Hugh Munroe who departed this life on the 1st day of May 1823 in the 76th year of his age & 46th year of his ministery in this parish. This stone is placed over his remains in commemoration of his many virtues by his affectionate daughters.
6. To the memory of Janet MacCaskill, daughter of John MacCaskill tacksman of Ruedunan, Isle of Sky, wife of the Revd Hugh Munroe minister of this parish, who departed this life on the 8 of Feb 1794 in the 49th year of her age. This stone is placed over her remains in commemoration of her many virtues by her affectionate daughters.
7. In memory of Alexr McRae Scaliscro who died 28th Jan 1839 aged 54 years. Also Margt Johnsone his spouse who died 5 Septr 1868 aged 71 years. [Stone marked Meikle & Coy Invss]
8. In memory of Alexanderina MacRae departed this life on the eighth day of July 1859 aged 7 days.
9. Sacred to the memory of John MacRae farmer Reeff who died 11th July 1862 aged 33 years. [Stone marked Meikle & Coy Invss]
10. In memory of Mary Barbara beloved daughter of James & Jane McRae who died 24th July 1880 aged 13 years. Also of our daughter Jessie H Gordon, beloved wife of Revd D Kelso, who died at the Manse, Roslin cemetery, Canada. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.
11. In loving memory of JamesMacRae who died at Miavaig, Uig, 1903 aged 75 years. Also his beloved wife Jean Mackay who died at Bernera Harris 1892. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”
12. Sac[…] to the mem[…] Alexander El[…] the belov[…] James Macrae Ta[…]
13. Brenish. Erected in memory of John Morrison died on the [?] Jany [1890?] aged [39?] years. He were a respectable young man he is greatly lamented gretted by his bereaved wife & mother […] and who knew him. Resurgam.
14. Sacred to the memory of John Mitchell Mealista, died 19th Nov 1904 aged 100 years. And his wife Helen MacRae died 14th May 1906 aged 75 years. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” Ref 14:13
15. M Mc I. In memory of Donald McLeod Crowlista died Nov 17th 1889 aged 60 years. Deeply regretted by his dear wife & children.
16. Crowlista. In beloved memory of Murdo MacIver the just FC elder who departed this life on the 23 November 1875.
Deeply regretted by their dear children. His age was 73 years. Also his beloved wife Anne MacLennan who departed this life on 11 April 1871, died in hope of eternal resurection [sic] aged 66 years. Isa XXIII 20, Psa XXXVII, Tim IV 2.
17. In memory of Neil MacDonald merchant Enaclete died 20th April 1895 aged 36 years.
18. M Erected by Alexr Macaulay merchant, Stornoway, in loving remembrance of his father Malcolm Macaulay Islivig, died 9th April 1880, aged 78 years. Also his brother Murdo who died in Quebec 16th Sept 1887, aged 28 years. And his mother Catherine MacLeod died 11th June 1913, aged 93 years. “Blessed are the Dead who die in the Lord.”
19. In loving memory of Donald Macaulay, JP, 1 Islivig, died 14th Oct 1933 aged 91. Also his wife Catherine Matheson died 26th Mar 1905 aged 54. And their children John, died 20th Jan 1907 aged 30. Ann, died 24th Jan 1907 aged 13. Erected by the family.
20. DML [I…?]
21. In loving memory of John MacDonald Crowlista born 20th March 1827 died 22nd Jany 1892. Of his wife Marion Martin born 24th Feby 1827 died 16th Apl 1921 in her son’s manse at Ness, where she had lived for 27 lived for 27 years. And of their son Peter born 18th July 1867 died 5th Nov 1881. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Macdonald
22. Erected by members of the E Division of the Glasgow police. In mmory of their late comrade Constable Murdoch McDonald born at Crowlista 23rd January 1869 died at Stornoway 26th November 1893. Deeply regretted.
23. Erected in memory of Angus Maciver, Murdo, Lochcanvich, who departe dthis life 23rd January 1878 aged 40 years. Served 14 years as civil assistant in the ordnance survey, won the respect of his superior officers & rested in hope of eternal life.
24. Nor McDonald died Sep 26th 18[…] aged 33 ys. Also John his brother born March 26 1827 died Jan 22nd 1892.
25. John McDonald died 18th Augt 1858 aged 58 years.
26. Sacred to the memory of Mary SMith wife of Kenneth Stuart tacksman Hacklate, who departed this life on the 7th June 1851 aged 59 years. Lamented by a wide circle of friends & acquaintances. This is erected at the request of her second daughter Catherine. The Lord giveth the Lord taketh away. Blessed by the name of the Lord.
27. In memory of Catherine McLean widow of Donald McRitchie who died 7 Feby 1888 aged 35 years.
28. Ann McRitchie died 9th Ap 1852 aged 22.
29. Erected […] the memory of Angus M[…]Aulay who departed this life at Cliff Uig on 17th Feb 1876 aged 49 years. He was a man of a noble charater [sic] and much esteemed & who commanded the respect of all with whom he came in contact. He is very deeply regretted by his sorrowing widow & family also by a wide circle of relations and friends. James Chap III ([18?] Verse.
30. Sacred to the memory Dugald McAulay who died on the 17th April 1870 aged 47 years. Greatly respected & regretted by his dear wife, brothers & sisters.
31. Sacred to the memory of M McLean Junr. Mang. who died on the 13th Jany 1869 aged 25 years. Greatly lamented.
33. Erected to the memory of Alexander Matheson who departed this life in Glasgow 16 Feb 1870 aged 25, and industrious young man of a respectable character and muchly regretted and lameted by a great circle of friends and accqantaces [sic].
34. Erected by Murdo McIver shoemaker, in loving memory of his parents Malcolm McIver, blacksmith, who died at Dune Carloway 2nd Jan 1889 aged 69 years. Ann MacKenzie, who died at New Valley Stornoway, 27th Sept 1905 aged 82 years.