The Session House

Next to Kiel is a small building called the Session House. Once a school from 1744 to 1833, it is now a museum for a fabulous collection of medial grave stones. The stones are carved from local slate quarries, and most are in the style of Iona School. Most likely commissioned by the Lord of the Isles for Chieftains or church dignitaries. One stone has been associated with Clan MacInnes symbols.

It was recognized early that the harsh Scottish weather of rain and proximity to the sea was not good for the stones. They were collected from around the area in 1914 until enough money could be collected to transform the Session House into a museum in 1994.

Iain Thornber, a local historian from nearby Knock, has spent extensive time cataloging and studying these stones. Some of the descriptions are from his work on "The Carved Stones of Kiel Morvern Argyll" printed by Fact and Fiction.

Kiel Church
The Session House is to the left of Kiel Church.
Session House
The Session House.

The sign just outside the house.

Information sign
Information sign inside on the right, showing Kin Lochaline and the local area. The entrance door is to the left.
First stones
The first stones on the right as you enter, laying down are associated with the McLeans. A close up is shown below.
McLean stones
East wall, McLean stones are in the black stone on the floor.
Around the corner
Going around the corner, stones on the east and back wall.
MacInnes stones
The west wall, and bishops stone and "MacInnes" stone.
Kin Lochaline stones
Stone associated with Kin Lochaline, possible Macinnes. The bow of a ship (galley) is in the center, a stylized castle that may be Kin Lochaline is just to the right but not visible in this picture. Picture enhanced to show more contrast.
Full length MacInnes stones
The full length stone of MacInnes symbols. Three large fleur-de-lis are in series with the galley and castle at the bottom.
Sign at entrance
Sign at the entrance.
Stone after McLean stone
First stone after the MacLeans stones.
McLean stone
The MacLean stone left side.
McLean stone with two handed sword
MacLean stone to the left, showing a two handed sword.
McLean stone close up
Close up of the MacLean stone showing the head of the sword and galley. The inscriptions can also be seen.
Another McLean stone
Another MacLean stone showing two warriors standing above the other MacLean stones.
Stones next to McLean stone
The first stones next to the MacLean stones, from MacLean of Drimin on the left, a sword and mythical beasts.
MacLeans (MacEachan) of Kingairloch, with a sword and many animals.

Black slate stone
Black slate stone.

Smaller black slate stone
Smaller black slate with sword and intricate ornate swirls.

East wall last stones
The last two stones on the east wall.

Last two stones
The last two stones on the left, turning the corner.
Three swords, initial AC possibly for Alexandar Cameron, 1715.

Aging stone
Stone showing the signs of aging.

Stones before bishops stone
The last couple of stones before the bishops stone.
The bishop
The bishop, possibly from a church and possibly damaged in the Reformation of 1560.

Back side of bishops stone
Back side of the bishops stone.


Outside celtic cross
The celtic cross outside where some of the stones may have been found. In the distance is the ruins of Castle Ardtonish of MacLeans.