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Church Of St Munda, Church Of Scotland, Brecklet, Ballachulish

A Category C Listed Building in Fort William and Ardnamurchan, Highland

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Latitude: 56.6727 / 56°40'21"N

Longitude: -5.132 / 5°7'55"W

OS Eastings: 208199

OS Northings: 757819

OS Grid: NN081578

Mapcode National: GBR FCQ2.L0C

Mapcode Global: WH1GJ.4KF0

Plus Code: 9C8PMVF9+35

Entry Name: Church Of St Munda, Church Of Scotland, Brecklet, Ballachulish

Listing Name: Ballachulish, Church of Scotland Church of St Munda Brecklet

Listing Date: 23 June 1980

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 338608

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB6884

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200338608

Location: Lismore and Appin

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Fort William and Ardnamurchan

Parish: Lismore And Appin

Traditional County: Argyllshire

Tagged with: Church building

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A multi-phase gothic style church, built in 1845 and designed by James Campbell of Duror and extended in 1880 by architect John Honeyman, with later 20th and early 21st century additions to the south. The church is located on a sloping site to the southeast of Ballachulish village.

The 1845 church is the central three-bay rectangular plan section built in rubble stonework (formally rendered) which has three roll moulded pointed arched windows to each side. The 1880 north bell tower section, designed by John Honeyman, includes the low, two-storey, buttressed and gabled sections with double pointed arched windows at each level and an oval window in the gable apexes. It is built in dressed rubble. The large, rectangular, crenulated tower is stepped at mid height and has louvered and hood-moulded openings to three of its sides. The pointed arch stone entrance doorway in the west side of the tower has side columnettes and decorative hoodmould.

There is a mid-20th century pitched roof, rendered hall addition at the south end which has tripartite windows to the west elevation. A small, rendered early 21st century kitchen addition is attached to its north side.

The church has a pitched slate roof and diamond pane glazing.

The interior of the church features a timber cross truss roof, a timber panel fronted balcony on two cast iron columns at the north end, a timber pulpit and fixed, light pine pews down both sides with central facing pews at the altar. There are various carved memorials in the side walls. The entrance hall at the base of the tower has geometric tile floor and a curved timber stair with decorative cast iron bannisters leading up to the gallery. The small vestry has a corner fireplace.

Historical background

The building is shown as a small rectangular plan on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1870, published 1875). Information boards viewed within the church in 2022 recorded that in 1837 the Presbytery of Lorn expressed concern at the lack of church provision in Glencoe and the Ballachulish slate quarries and so a site for the new church was registered in 1839.

It is recorded that the new Mission Church opened in 1845 (The Buildings of Scotland). In 1880 the north tower extension was added which included the current interior balcony and the laying of the foundation stone for the extension was reported in the Glasgow Evening Post in September that year. The 2nd Edition map (surveyed 1897, published 1900) shows the larger building and the tower section completed.

A church hall was added to the south end of the building in 1935 and in 2015 a small kitchen extension was also added onto the hall.

Statement of Interest

Architectural interest

The mid-19th century central section of the church was built by local builder James Campbell of Duror as a traditional three-bay design with gothic arched windows. This was a typical design for small rural churches in the Highlands at the time.

The later 19th century additions by architect John Honeyman (1831-1914) are the large scale, two stage castellated tower with gothic pointed windows at two levels which are particularly prominent and well detailed. Honeyman was a foremost Glasgow based architect who was noted for his designs for church buildings and who was partnered with Charles Rennie Mackintosh from 1901-1914. Other Highland examples of Honeyman's Gothic Revival style churches are Kilfinnan Parish Church (1882, LB7073), Skelmorlie Parish Church (1895, LB7269) and the Barony Parish Church in Auchterader (1904, LB21342) which are all listed at category B.

The interior retains late 19th century decorative features including the tiled entrance hall and turned stair leading to the later balcony. The church has been altered with a hall addition in the 1930s and recent kitchen addition to the south however the exterior form and mid to later 19th century character of the church is well retained.

The church's historic setting is substantially unaltered and the church forms a group with the former manse which survives to the northeast of the church. The church is set on a raised site at the edge of the village surrounded by a dramatic landscape of tall hills. The church's tower is a prominent feature in this rural, mountainous landscape which adds to its interest.

Historic interest

Churches are not a rare building type in Scotland but early examples and those that retain good design interest may meet the criteria for listing. The Congregational Union of Scotland was formed in the early 1800s to promote home missions for local communities and in 1824 the British government provided funds to build 32 churches and 41 manses in the Highlands.

In 1837 the Presbytery of Lorn had raised concern over the lack of religious instruction in Ballachulish because the local missionary minister only attended once every three weeks. The church was built to serve the expanding population of Ballachulish centred around the renowned former slate quarry which contributes to the social historic interest of the building The later addition of the tower and balcony records a further growth in the congregation towards the end of the 19th century.

The church of St Munda is of historic interest as a relatively rare surviving example of a former Mission Church dating from the early 19th century.

Supplementary information in the Listed Building Record was revised in 2024.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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