Innisherrich

A sacred place, used by pagans, early Christians and the Knights Templar as a burial ground.
Age: Heritage (<400 yrs)
Access: Public ~ No fees nor times apply
Site Type: Burial Ground
Location: Innisherrich, Portinnisherrich, Taynuilt, Argyll & Bute, PA35 1BW
OS Map Grid: NM 977 114
Coordinates: 56.248742, -5.273475

Innisherrich (Isle of the Foals) is a small island off Portinnisherrich, Loch Awe and serves as a burial ground. It is said that it was used for this purpose in the early medieval period of St Columba and even before that, implying Christians took over a pagan sacred place. In the 14th century it began to be used by some Knights Templar for this purpose when they settled in this region of Scotland after they fled from France.

The ruins of a tiny 16th century chapel are found here and in the enclosure is a yew, which although it has a small canopy, is over 300 cm in girth and likely to be contemporary or thereabouts with the building of the chapel. It has cut branches which imply that when a burial takes place here yew sprigs are used in the ritual. This used to be a common funeral ceremony throughout Britain with yew either being placed in, or on, the coffin to protect the deceased on their afterlife journey.

Whether or not the tradition of this island being a Knights Templar burial ground 700 years ago is true or not, in 1971 a burial took place and the slab marking the spot is undoubtedly one found on many Knights Templar grave slabs dating to the period when the Order was still in existence. The design is of a floriated cross, on a three tiered platform. Local tradition also asserts that other small remote islands on Loch Awe were used by the Knights Templar for burials and that yews grow there. More research is needed to confirm this or not.

Access: Public ~ No fees nor times apply
Age: Heritage (<400 yrs)
Site Type: Burial Ground
Location: Innisherrich, Portinnisherrich, Taynuilt, Argyll & Bute, PA35 1BW
OS Map Grid: NM 977 114
Coordinates: 56.248742, -5.273475