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Trumpan Church, Isle of Skye | by Douglas Hamilton ( days well spent )
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Trumpan Church, Isle of Skye

This tiny ruined church sits in solitude overlooking the sea at Trumpan. Once the centre of a medieval village, Trumpan church now stands as a monument to a dark history where an entire population were massacred.


Back in the 1500s The MacDonalds and The MacLeods were engaged in fierce clan rivalry. This came to a head in 1577 when a band of MacLeods of Skye landed on the island of Eigg. The resident MacDonalds took refuge in a cave, but the raiding party lit a fire at it’s entrance and suffocated all The MacDonald’s to death, all 395 people from the island. This cave is now known as ‘massacre cave’.


In retribution for this a gang from the clan MacDonald of Clanranald burnt the MacLeod church of Trumpan to the ground together with it’s trapped congregation. The only MacLeod to escape alive was a young girl who managed to squeeze through a window. She raised the alarm, after running to Dunvegan, ten miles away. At the same time fellow Macleods hastened to Ardmore Bay with their charmed ‘fairy flag’, slaughtering all MacDonalds they came across, hardly any escaped the massacre. The bodies of these MacDonalds were lined up and buried by a dyke which was pushed over on top of their corpses, hence the name of this skirmish - The Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke.


The village of Trumpan was never re-established.

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Taken on June 28, 2011