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St. Clement's Church / Tur Chliamainn, Rodel

St. Clement's Chrurch / Tur Chliamainn, RodelSt. Clement's Church, Rodel is closely related to the Augustinian nunnery on Iona, a female effigy (known as sheela na gigs) can be found on the South of the Church with a "sister" found in the outer wall on Iona. St. Clement's is a treasure trove of late medieval masonry with several fine examples to be found on it's exterior walls. The Church is dedicated to St. Clement, the 3rd bishop of Rome (after St. Peter) who was martyred in AD 90. It is suspected that the church was commissioned by Alexander MacLeod of Dunvegan.
 

RodelAlexander MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris was also known as Alasdair Crotach or Humpback. His tomb (pictured right) is situated on the south side of the choir (eastern part of church) and is dated 1528. We can safely assume from this that at least that part of the church had been completed at that time. The tomb of Alasdair Crotach is finely adorned with excellent examples of masonry including an effigy of himself dressed in full armour, guarded by 2 crouching lions (pictured below).

 

Masonry detail St. Clement's Chrurch / Tur Chliamainn, RodelLooking closely at the carvings above Alasdair Crotach, you will notice that there is an image of the Virgin Mary with a bishop either side (shown on next page). This may at first be surprising in an area whose religion is predominantly Prodestant" but St. Clement's was built well before the Reformation. Indeed after the Reformation the church fell into disuse and in 1784 the first of several restoration projects was carried out with Captain Alexander MacLeod of Berneray providing a new roof in 1784.