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The Rosslyn Of The West

The tower is all that remains of the church that stood here in the Middle Ages. By then, Kilmun had grown from a small religious community to become an important place of worship.Today’s church lies on top of the main part of this earlier building: you can see the mark of the roof line in the tower’s wall.

Kilmun was especially sacred for the powerful Campbell clan, who adopted St Munn as their patron saint. Sir Duncan Campbell, Lord of Argyll, gave money to the church in 1442 so priests would say prayers ‘for the special salvation of the soul of my departed wife Marjory and of my present wife, and of the departed Celestine, my first begotten son, and of all my predecessors and successors’. He was the first of many clan chiefs to be buried here.

Rich families supported over 40 such ‘collegiate churches’ throughout Scotland: Rosslyn chapel near Edinburgh was another, founded a few years after Kilmun.The provost or senior priest was often related to the family who sponsored the church: one Kilmun provost was the illegitimate son of the Campbell chief. Unlike monks, the priests would have been free to farm, trade and marry.

The church was ruined in 1646, during a bloody feud between the Campbells and the Lamonts, their long-standing rivals.