Chapel Finian – Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Chapel Finian

Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Named after a 6th-century saint, who was also a scholar. 

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This small chapel was named after the 6th-century Irish saint, St Findbar, a scholar and monastic founder who is said to have taught St. Columba. St Findbar, or Finnian, was educated at Whithorn and died in 579 CE.

The chapel was most likely built at some point in the 10th or 11th-century. Although it is possible that this was not the first chapel to be built at this site.

It’s located in a rather bleak, coastal location. This position is due to the fact the nearby beach was used as a landing spot for pilgrims heading to the shrine of St Ninian at Whithorn.

The chapel is a very simple design, it had a single rectangular room with an entry point in the south wall surrounded by a dry-stone perimeter wall. The two long walls were buttressed with three buttresses. Large upright stones were set on their edges to form the foundations and door jambs.

The site was excavated in the 1950s, although little was discovered about the internal layout of the chapel. 

The boundary wall would have contained a timber-built house for the priest, a burial ground, and a well, which can still be located. The well was said to have healing properties.

The setting is a little wild and windy, which helps you imagine the gratitude that early pilgrims must have felt when they finally arrived here by boat.

Know Before You Go

There is a small pull in across the road from the chapel where you can park.

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May 16, 2022

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