Township: Balephetrish

Map Reference: Balephetrish 67

Name Type: graveyard

Meaning: Graveyard at Circnis headland

Other Forms:

Related Places: Cnoc nan Torraidhean, Balephetrish.

Information:There is an old burial ground here - Donald MacIntyre, Gott, 12/1995.

There was a cemetery at Ard Chircnis, although there's no sign of it today. The last person to be buried there was murdered at Taigh a' Chladaich in Scarinish used to be a shebeen. One day a MacLean and another man started arguing there and it led to a fight in which the other man was killed. The murderer ran off and hid for two days. On the day of the funeral the cortege started off from Scarinish for the graveyard at Àird Chircnis. On the way blood began to drip from the bottom of the coffin and an old man said this was a sign of the murderer being near at hand. At that moment who should come into view but MacLean and his brother, both big men, coming off Sithean Beinn Ghot. The group tried to apprehend them but they fought their way free and ran off to Skipnish. There they manhandled a large fishing boat into the sea and set off for Mull. They were never seen again. That was the last funeral at Àird Chircnis. Another man was killed at the cemetery another time and the rocks are stained red with his blood Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 5 and 6/2009.

There used to be a cemetery at Àird Chircnis. There was a murder there once. A man was coming home late after visiting a smithy. He had a coulter [a blade that cut into the soli ahead of the plough] and plough shoe in a sack over his shoulder. Another man thought he would play a trick on him and hide behind the cemetery wall to frighten him. When he jumped out on him the first man was so frightened that he pulled out the coulter and split his skull. The rocks there have been stained red ever since. Àird Chircnis was ploughed in the First World War for the war effort. Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 5/2009

Note: The change from 'kross' to 'cris' in the first element in the place-name 'Cris[i]nis' is caused by a phenomenon known as 'vowel affection', in which the 'i' sound of 'nis' works its way backwards, so to speak, and affects the quality of the preceding vowel. The same process is found in the place-name 'Crisigil' in Skye, 'the ravine of the cross'. In the Skye name, 'gil' is as in Roisigil, 'Ravine of the Horse(s?)', where the Vikings probably left their dead horses to decompose fragrantly. That was not uncommon at the time. There is a fine ravine there, which would have suited the Vikings down to the ground! Professor Donald Meek.


Local Form:

Languages : Norse, Gaelic

Informants: Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 10/1995