Kilmorie Chapel - Argyll, Scotland

Kilmorie Chapel is a Scheduled Ancient Monument dating from the late medieval period, possibly 8th - 10th century. The church is located between the Old and New Castle Lachlan and is the traditional burying grounds of the chiefs of Clan Maclachlan.

Scope of Work

Before works: right hand side doorway, external.

Pictured: Before works: right hand side doorway, external.

LTM were contracted by the Clan MacLachlan Society to undertake the masonry consolidation and stabilisation works. The structure had fallen into dereliction as a consequence of losing the roof, and a great deal of the historic fabric was suffering from major structural failures. The project team believed that the most sympathetic, technically sound and aesthetically acceptable solution was to stabilise and consolidate the masonry ‘as found’.

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Challenges and Considerations

During works: example of the degree of root damage to the walls.

Pictured: During works: example of the degree of root damage to the walls.

The level of deterioration was extensive, jeopardising the structural stability of the monument. LTM masons carefully recorded the key issues of concern: the rotation of the gable wall with subsequent detachment from the flank walls; the collapse of main elements and components such as windows and doors openings; and buckling of the masonry walls. A primary concern was the safe and effective removal of extensive vegetation to allow for sympathetic masonry repair / consolidation work using compatible lime mortars.

It was therefore deemed necessary to undertake emergency shoring works to prevent total collapse and allow the removal of vegetation. LTM also recognised the potential disruption to this sensitive site and considered the risks associated with the proposed works. A high degree of site protection was incorporated to guard against damage to the monument, including the surrounding gravestones.

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Solutions to Problems

Opening day!

Pictured: Opening day!

Structural stabilisation is a challenging task fraught with problems. The key challenge was removal of numerous trees growing from the exposed wall head, the largest having a trunk diameter of approximately 300mm. These large root systems opened up the wall heads, displacing the masonry and encouraging the deterioration and loss of original lime mortars.

LTM masons were intent on consolidating the monument without losing any more historic fabric. This approach required a range of activities including: shoring and emergency works, recording and documentation of the existing building fabric, sensitive down taking and vegetation removal, rebuilding masonry in lime mortars following the line of root removal, reconstruction of the door and window rybats, structural tying with high grade stainless steel anchors, soft topping of wall heads with indigenous species of grass to consolidate and protect the wall heads.

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Kilmorie Chapel: completed works.


Kilmorie Chapel - Argyll, Scotland


  • Bronze - Green Apple Award

Area of Expertise

Monuments and Memorials

Craft Skills & Solutions

  • Masonory Consolidation Stabilisation


Clan MacLachlan Society


Martin Haddlington


Ted Ruddock - Structural Engineers

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Kilmorie Chapel - Argyll, Scotland

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