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St Columba's church appeal

Eigg's architectural gem. 

St Columba's church was built in 1862 by the Eigg landowers. The MacPherson family were ministers and professors and it did not sit well with them that the island at the centre of the Small Isles Parish did not have a place of worship. They paid for the church with other landowners in the Small Isles to be built in a simple but attractive style featuring lancet windows and a steep roof of Ballachulish slate.

Inside the church, the lining of pine panelling is adorned with stencilled interlacing inspired by the "tree of life" motif of Celtic Christianity. This style would have pleased Norman MacPherson, the head of the Eigg's land-owning family, who was a member of the Scottish Antiquarian Society. He contributed the communion vessels and a pulpit in memory of his father. The church " is exccedingly simple and neat," wrote his naturalist brother-in-law in his journal. Since then, the church hascontinually been used for worship by the Eigg protestant community, although worshipper numbers have now dwindled dramatically. The church is still used for weddings and funerals and the community would like this to continue alongside recent uses as an island history interpretion venue for the Eigg buy out 25th anniversary. (see our Voices of the Eigg Community page) 


Securing the future of St Columba church for community use 

In 2022, when the Church of Scotland Trustees announced their interntion to sell St Columba Church,  Solas Eige SCIO was set up as an Eigg based community charity to bring it under community ownership for the benefit of all. Situated a mile from the harbour and in close proximity to the public road, it makes it an ideal stopping point for visitors to discover Eigg 's ancient and modern heritage or attend an event there. The church acoustic has lent itself very well to classic music performance!

Solas Eige secured Stage 1 funding from the Scottish Land Fund to explore how to restore and preserve the church as a community hub for arts and heritage, prior to an aplication to buy the church. A feasibility study was carried out with community consultation, successfully making the case for using the church to present Eigg’s Natural and Cultural Heritage, including its recent history of post buyout development and offer a permanent home for the Comunn Eachdraidh Eige's Archive and photo collection. 

Saving a building at risk 

A detailed Condition Report been carried out as part of the study confirmed the C listed 19th century church to be severely threatened by damp and water ingress from the ageing skews on the roof,  through cracks in the rendering and  through rising damp. 

Adopting a Fabric First approach is the way forward adopted by Solas Eige. It requires combining improvements (water and toilet facilities, disabled access) with investing in a sustainable green heating system, which would enable the building to become an example of successful retrofitting as part of  the ambitious Eigg Transition Agenda. 

Help us to repair the fabric of the church 

Comunn Eachdraidh Eige has teemed up with Solas Eige SCIO in this Fabric First approach to support a funding aplication to Historic Environment Scotland in tandem to a Stage 2 application for the church acquisition to the Scottish Land Fund.

A valuation has been secured, and the application aims to be lodged in mid May. 

One CRUCIAL step remains: find the 5% Solas Eige Scio needs to contribute to the acquisition and essential repairs. This has been estimated at £6000. 

Please help Comunn Eachdraidh Eige raise this sum to secure St Columba's church 's future! 

  Donate to the 6K St Columba's church appeal 






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