Abbey Church

Transepts & crossing



   

North transept

       Artist’s impression of the carved capitals as they would have looked when painted

North transept.

Artist’s impression of the carved capitals
as they would have looked when painted.


The north transept is the only part of the original 12th-century church surviving. Here the influence of simple Cistercian architecture is most evident, for the two eastern chapels, lit by lancet windows, are little more than gouges out of the thick wall. Between them is a niche for a statue of St Columba. A representation of the holy man remains, in a stained-glass window by William Wilson (1965). An oak screen separates the transept from the crossing – this was a gift of Her Majesty The Queen, who visited in 1956.

Effigies of the Duke of Argyll and his third wife     In the south transept are effigies of the 8th Duke of Argyll and his third wife, Ina McNeill. These were sculpted by Sir George Frampton from Carrara marble in 1925. The duke was buried in the family burial-ground near Dunoon on the mainland in 1900, but the countess is interred here.

Effigies of the Duke of Argyll and his third wife

Detail of carving on the capitals supporting the crossing arch      Donaldus Ò Brolchan’s signature © Crown Copyright: RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk

Detail of carving on the capitals supporting the crossing arch

The full inscription reads ‘Donald Ò Brolchan made this work’


A drawing of Donaldus Ò Brolchan’s signature © Crown Copyright: RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk

A drawing of Donaldus Ò Brolchan’s signature


The face carved into the west crossing-arch © Crown Copyright: RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk

    The crossing dates mostly from the mid-1400s.. The capitals supporting the south crossing-arches are wonderfully carved. They depict Bible stories, and scenes from contemporary life. These include Adam and Eve, and an intriguing scene depicting three men about to sacrifice a cow. The master-mason carved his name on his handiwork – Donald Ó Brolchán, an Irishman. Is it perhaps his face looking down from the west crossing-arch?
The face carved into the west crossing-arch