Carmelite friary uncovered in Kingussie

Archaeologist Steven Birch of West Coast Archaeology Services (WCAS) recording the remains.
Archaeologist Steven Birch of West Coast Archaeology Services (WCAS) recording the remains.

Significant archaeological finds in Kingussie are believed to be associated with a pre-16th century Carmelite friary.

Highland Council was consulted by Scottish Water in advance of some proposed works along Mill Road in Kingussie.  The Council’s Historic Environment Team recommended that Scottish Water contract an archaeologist to monitor the works as they lie beside a historic burial ground and close to the possible location of a friary.

Human remains were identified on Friday 30th November 2018 and have been confirmed as archaeological in origin.  It is hoped that the human remains will be reinterred in the burial ground in due course.

The archaeological work has now revealed the foundations of an early chapel, with burials placed inside it, as was the practice at that time. It is likely that this was associated with the Carmelite friary that is believed to have been founded here sometime before the 16th century.

Highland Council Convener, Cllr Bill Lobban said: “This is a huge addition to the history of Kingussie and we will be watching and learning with great interest as to how these discoveries will expand upon the story of our area.”

The story of this area is still emerging, but so far it looks like the building was no longer visible at the time the first mill was built a short distance to the north and so the mill access, now Mill Road, was constructed over the top. It is thought the chapel foundations extend some distance into the burial ground.  

The remains uncovered will be recorded and analysed and a report will be produced and be made publicly available on the council’s Historic Environment Record website (HER) .

6 Dec 2018
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