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Ui Church Past

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6 - The 16th Century

alterAnother of the surviving graveslabs is finely carved and had the following inscription:

HIC JACET MARGARETA FILIA RODERICI

MEIC LEOYD DE LEODHAIDHUIS VIDUA

LACLANNI MEIC FINGEONE OBIIT M°V°III

Here lies Margaret, daughter of Roderick MacLeod of Lewis, widow of Lachlan MacKinnon. She died in 1503. Margaret MacKinnon's son John became the last abbot of Iona.

Roderick's son, Torquil VIII, lost his estates in 1506. The Crown granted the forfeited title to Torquil's brother, Malcolm IX, but he was eventually buried at Iona.Panel

SketchBefore the Reformation in 1560, Eaglais na h-Aoidhe was a Catholic parish church. Its nave, where the laity gathered, was separated from the chancel, and the altar at the east end where the Mass was celebrated, by a rood screen.

The Reformation


After 1560, unlike many other churches and chapels in the islands, it clearly continued in use as a place of worship, although now under the auspices of the reformed church. The rood screen and other furniture were removed at some stage.

The church retained its role as the parish church, not least because of its continuing significance as the burial place of its patrons, the chiefs of the Lewis Macleods. However, the period after 1560 seems to have been one of neglect, with a new Protestant ministry being only slowly established. As late as 1610, a minister was sent from Gairloch to Lewis where it was said 'its inhabitants were strangers to the Gospel'.

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