Iona Cathedral, The Interior Of The Chancel
Photographer: Wilson, George Washington
Medium: Photographic print
"In the centre of the Chancel the first monument to be seen is that of Macleod of Macleod. It is the largest tombstone in Iona, and is a massive and very hard stone. The figure is sunk into the stone, and was evidently originally filled up with metal - tradition says, with silver, in which case it is not surprising it has all disappeared, though even baser metal might have proved too strong a temptation for Celtic cupidity.
Near to the altar is the tomb of Abbot Mackinnon. It represents the effigy of the Abbot, with the crozier in his left hand, and his right raised as in the act of benediction; his head rests on a pile of cushions, once supported by two angels, the bodies of which are now broken off; another angel nestles in the fork of the Abbot's mitre. Beneath his feet were two lions, but both feet and lions are now gone; of the lions which once supported the tomb one still remains. On the other side of the altar is the tomb of the Abbot Kenneth Mackenzie, a cadet of the Kintail family. The material is hard freestone, but the sculpture has been almost entirely destroyed by time. The three sedilia remain in the walls, formed with trefoiled ogee arches under connected dripstones, which run out afterwards into a horizontal tablet, and have at each apex the remains of what seems to have been a sculptured head.
'Peace to their shades! The pure Culdees
Were Albyn's earliest priests of God;
Ere yet an island of the seas
By foot of Saxon monk was trod;
Long e'er her churchmen, by bigotry,
Were barr'd from holy wedlock's tie.'
Descriptive letterpress from the book 'Photographs of English and Scottish Scenery' by G W Wilson