Skip to main content

Archaeological and historical notes on the construction of Teampull na Trionaid, 18 January 1871

Identifier: Coll-97/CW116/136

Scope and Contents

Archaeological and historical notes collected from John MacKinnon, Cairinis/Carinish, Uibhist a Tuath/North Uist on the construction of Teampull na Trionaid. Included in the details are that the gable of the building fell down after people dug at the foundations to get the flagstone which were there. A man known as Uilleam Clachair, possibly William Paterson, who came from Assaint a Tua [Asainte/Assynt, Cataibh/Sutherland] to work at Baile Raghnaill/Balranald and Baile nan Caileach/Nunton before settling in Cairinis, decided to repair the gable but in the process staging fell down and killed a man and injured two others and so he stopped his 'patriotic work'. Uilleam Clachair moved to Caralina [North or South Carolina, United States of America] and 'killed himself with the pipe'. The church is described as having only two windows, two doors and arches carved from freestone. It previously had a tower which was higher than the gable and its east end gable was almost complete. MacKinnon states that the nuns left Teampull na Trionaid for Baile nan Cailleach before leaving there for Heisgeir [Monach Isles] and that they had also been at Kirkibost [Eilean Chirceboist]. He knows where Tobar na Trionaid is and that Loch na Trionaid is south of the temple but is now a bog. After constructing the temple each workman is said to have thrown a stone in a big heap, now largely scattered. A man called Mac Coiseam is said to have built the west end of the temple although when he found that Lord MacDonald would not pay for his expenses as he had assumed he stopped working on it. He had a sgeir named after him - Sgeir Ioc Coiseam, north of Horay [Sgeir 'ic Coiseam and Horaigh/Horray]. The windows on the temple are noted as all being arched, that one was directly opposite the passage leading to Teampull Chlann a' Phiocair and that it was 'boxed in'. People are said to have come from Beinn na Faoghla/Benbecula to view church being built from Crois an t-sliacaidh on Sunamul [Crois an t-Sleuchd, Sùnamul]. Niean Mhic Dhuil [Nighean Mhic Dhùghaill] who commissioned the temple is said to have sent masons 'to the gribeachun on the point to make pollagan sollaidh for the poor people. These are still seen.'


  • Creation: 18 January 1871

Language of Materials

Gaelic English

Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 64 folios ; 19.5 x 23 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 53r, line 9 to folio 54r, line 23

Related Materials

Coll-97/CW116/161 - a similar account of the building of the west wall and the naming of the sgeir.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379