Wall Tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod

Wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief of Clan MacLeod, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 1528.
Wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief of Clan MacLeod, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 1528.

Reputed to be the finest medieval wall tomb in Scotland, the monument to Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief of Clan MacLeod of Harris, is located on the south side of the choir of St. Clement’s Church (Tùr Chliamhainn in Gàidhlig or “Clement’s Tower”), Rodel, Harris.

Effigy of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, in full armour and with sword, in his elaborate wall tomb, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris.
Effigy of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, in full armour and with sword, in his elaborate wall tomb, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris.

Over a carved effigy of the chief, four angels circle above the Virgin Mary and two bishops, the chief’s castle at Dunvegan, and his birlinn (galley); below is a hunting scene, the weighing of the chief’s soul, and an inscription. The tomb is crowned by an arch bearing carvings of the Twelve Apostles, two angels, and God the Father holding the Cross, surrounded by the beasts of the Four Evangelists.

Detail of a bishop, wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris.
Detail of a bishop, wall tomb of Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris.

The 9th Chief of Clan MacLeod, Alasdair’s son William, had his tomb prepared in the south wall of the nave of Tùr Chliamhainn in 1539. In the south transept, there is a third grave probably belonging to John MacLeod of Minginish, the 10th Chief. There are five more grave slabs leaning against the wall of the north transept. The graveyard surrounding St. Clement’s Church contains a number of additional MacLeod tombs.

According to Donald Munro, High Dean of the Isles, in his work, Description of the Western Isles of Scotland (1549), St. Clement’s Church itself was built for the MacLeods of Harris.

Within the south pairt of this ile lyes ane monastery with ane steipell, quhilk was foundit and biggit by M’Cloyd of Harrey, callit Roodill.

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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