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There will be a guided tour of Kirkmichael on Sat 1 June at 10.30.
There will be a guided tour of Castle Craig on Sat 22 June at 10.30. (Meeting location / car parking to be advised)
Kirkmichael lies on the shore of the gloriously scenic Udale Bay, on the north east of the Black Isle, beside the B9163.
The old buildings tell a tremendous story. Initially there was a medieval church, serving the original parish of Kirkmichael. Following the Reformation, the building was adapted for use as a protestant kirk. The parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, mostly in the possession of the family of Urquhart, were amalgamated by Act of Parliament in 1662, with a requirement to build a new “centrical” church at the farmstead of Resolis. However, the estate owners kept the two old kirks of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden going until they were too ruinous to repair, and Kirkmichael therefore continued in use as a kirk until 1769. The chancel was already the mausoleum of the Urquharts of Braelangwell (and in more modern times, the Shaw-Mackenzies of Newhall). Now George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield, around 1800, rebuilt part of the nave as a splendid mausoleum for the family.
The kirk-yard itself is remarkable. Some of the choicest tales of the Cromarty stonemason and writer, Hugh Miller, involve Kirkmichael. He laboured here on a stone lying just west of the bell tower gable. Jane Duncan, best-selling novelist of the 1960s, and still very popular today, is buried near the south wall. There are two very unusual separate mausolea, to Lady Ardoch and Florence Dunbar, to the south and north of the kirk. There is a superb example of a medieval complex cross lying beside the yew tree. And many of the slabs contain dense assemblages of artistically-worked symbols of mortality and immortality.
Currently the site, owned by The Highland Council, is sadly deteriorating; after heavy snow in April 2012, the roof collapsed. As it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, works, which require permission from Historic Scotland, must be carried out with great sensitivity to the heritage of the site.
The Kirkmichael Trust was established by the community over concern about the dangerous and deteriorating condition of the site. We aim to stabilise and re-roof the buildings, conserve the mausolea, and establish within the nave a permanent display of the beautiful ornate medieval crosses and ornamental stones found in the area. The intention is for sympathetic restoration to restore Kirkmichael to the scenic gem it once was, to become a resource to the community and a highlight in the heritage trails of the Black Isle and Easter Ross. The interpretations above give insight to the notions the Trust have.
We sell a detailed guidebook to the Parish of Resolis, booklets on Jemimaville and Jane Duncan, and Black Isle tea-towels. You can find these, or just make a donation, on our Shop page.