St. Kilda’s Church

A small Episcopal Church consecrated to St. Kilda.

The church is in the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles and was built by Murdoch MacLaine of Lochbuie in 1876. Local rumour has it that originally it was to have been consecrated to St. Oran but this was changed to St. Kilda. The origin of St. Kilda is not known for certain, some regard him as a mythical person. The name is only found in the island of St. Kilda and the ancient well in the island, Tobar Childer – Well of Kilda – indicates a Nordic saint, probably a hermit, the spelling of whose name should be St. Kildar.

It is not known why a second church was built on the Lochbuie estate as Kinlochspelve Church had previously adequately served the needs of Lochbuie community.  Reason has been suggested that Murdoch, War Correspondent for the Times during the Franco Prussian War, was appalled by the horrors of warfare and had St Kilda’s built as a celebration of his faith and in honour of his God.  It is also worth noting that  Murdoch was of ‘the Church of England in Scotland’ persuasion rather than the ‘Church of Scotland’, as St Kilda’s is an Episcopal Church.

Within the church are several beautiful stained glass windows dedicated to St. Oran, St Kilda and St. Columba. There is also a window dedicated to the Cheape family of Carsaig and Tiroran, whose young daughter Daisy drowned in Loch Scridain. There are various memorial tablets dedicated to the Maclaine family and others associated with the Lochbuie estate. Joseph Mayer who played the part of Christ many times in the Oberammergau Passion play carved the Crucifix above the Chancel. Murdoch purchased the Crucifix and had it placed in its present position. On the wall to the right of the altar is a framed stone from the church of Mercy le Haut in Metz, which covered the remains of the Bishop of Metz, that was acquired by Murdoch following the destruction of the church by French troops during the Franco Prussian war.

Built into the south wall of the porch is an early Christian stone, bearing a ring-headed cross that was unearthed at a considerable depth when the foundations of St. Kilda’s were being prepared. As there is no record of a chapel or burial site previously occupying the site, its origin is intriguing as a cross of this simplest and earliest form, dates the cross as more than 800 years old.