Work to begin on historic Eye Church

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Work to consolidate and conserve the historic Eye Church at Aignish is to begin imminently Urras Eaglais Na h-Aoidhe has announced. Work will begin in early November to prevent further deterioration and to reinstate it as a functioning community asset.

As one of the best preserved pre-Reformation churches in Lewis; Eaglais Na h-Aoidhe is of prime historical, archaeological and cultural significance and the site includes historic inscribed grave slabs.

Donald Crichton, Chairman of Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe said: “We are pleased to announce that G Brown Stonemason Ltd has been awarded the contract for carrying out the work and will be working closely with our project managers Addison Conservation and Design. We are also pleased to harness the skills of Carol Knott who is will be the project archaeologist.

“The work is expected to last two years and by that time the church and the historic stones within it will be accessible once again to the local community and to visitors. The church will provide excellent opportunities to increase tourism and to promote the site both locally and internationally given its links to the three clans which owned Lewis (Nicholson, MacLeod and MacKenzie) and it is of interest to the wider Scottish diaspora.”

Mr Crichton added: “The total cost of the project is £324,000 and Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe is very grateful to Historic Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, LEADER Innse Gall, Stornoway Trust and Point Community Council for their financial and practical support of the project.” As well as the consolidation and conservation work, Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe are planning to establish Friends of Uidh Church (Caraidean Eaglais na h-Aoidhe); develop a new website and engage with the community, including local schools, to raise awareness of and to celebrate this valuable asset in our community.

There will also hopefully be an opportunity for local skilled artisans to find work within the project. Anyone who is interested should contact Liz Chaplin at chaplin@innismara.co.uk.