Photographer's Note

Near the Butt of Lewis and in an isolated field is the small Church of St Moluag, locally known as Teampall Mholuaidh (Gaelic)

Saint Moluag, (c.530 - 592) was born in Ireland and was a missionary to Scotland, and a contemporary of Saint Columba, who evangelized the Picts of Scotland in the sixth century. The present church is said to date from the 12th century but the site is believed to have been consecrated since the 6th century.
Dedicated to St Moluag, who was regarded as a healer, the church was one of the four places of pilgrimage in Scotland for both healing insanity and wounds and sores.

Because it was so remote the sufferer from wounds and sores could send a wooden limb with an indication of where the wound was. A visitor to the church in 1610 saw these lying on the altar.

The insane had to visit in person. Their treatment involved being given water from the nearby St Ronan’s well; led seven times sun wise around the building; laid, bound hand and foot, before the altar with their head resting on the stone pillow of the saint; and not allowed up until the next morning. If, after ‘treatment’ they were still insane they were declared incurable. The expression ‘I’ll take you to the temple’ was used as a threat to anyone behaving foolishly and was still in use as recently as 1912.

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2806 W: 84 N: 6959] (31631)
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