Iona Parish Church

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Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2016

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After the Reformation in 1560, Iona was left with no formal place of worship. In the C19th the Government funded 32 ‘Parliamentary Churches’ across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland under the direction of Thomas Telford. The church on Iona was built in 1828 to a design by James Smith of Inverness and approved by Telford. Money was also provided for a manse and together these cost £1503 4s.

All the designs were similar; a simple rectangular stone building with a small belfry. There is a small vestibule leading into the church.

The interior of the church was refashioned in 1938. This did away with the pulpit built between the two windows on the east wall. It was replaced by a small communion table and pulpit at the south end with a dark blue curtain on the wall behind them.

The pews face the communion table and there is wood panelling across the north wall.

The church stands back from main road on way to Abbey. The Manse is now the heritage centre. The church is open daily. The post code is PA76 6SJ and the grid reference is NM 285242. While there isn’t a lot to see, it is a typical small Scottish church and worth a quick look on the way to the more famous “Iona Abbey”:

50 yards in front of the church by the side of the road, stands MacLean’s Cross, a tall free-standing cross probably erected around 1500 as one of Iona’s many crosses serving as prayer stations for pilgrims coming to the island. It is one of the few crosses on Iona to still be standing in its original position.


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