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Historic Scotland

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History

St Ninian’s Chapel would have been a stop for medieval pilgrims on their way to Whithorn Priory.

It’s amid a wild and windswept setting, evoking the many souls who trudged up from the shore and thanked God for their safe passage.

The original chapel on this site, built in the 1100s, comprised a small nave and a separate, narrower chancel. It stood within a stone enclosure wall, part of which is still standing today. There was also a stone bench, presumably for use by weary pilgrims.

A house for a priest and a small burial ground were also probably contained within the wall.

It was one of several stopping-places on the way to Whithorn Priory, others including:

The chapel remains a stopping point. Modern pilgrims can add stones to a ‘Witness Cairn’ at the entrance to the field on which the chapel stands. Beside it is a bench commemorating the young fishermen from the Isle of Whithorn who died when their boat, the Solway Harvester, sank in 2000.

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