Welcome to the website for Iona’s Namescape: Place-Names and their dynamics in Iona and its environs

Name of the month: April 2022

MacLean’s Cross pictured at night

For April’s Name of the Month feature we are looking at another one of Iona’s many monuments (also see our May 2021 feature on Crois Brendain). Crois Mhic ‘IllEathain, or MacLean’s Cross in English (Grid Reference: NM 28544 24232), is a late 15th-century cross located on the road between the Nunnery and the Monastery. This location seems to originally have had three branching roads going in a southwardly direction, all still visible on the 1769 Douglas estate map. The name is first recorded in 1695 and likely commemorates the monument’s patron, a MacLean of Duart or Lochbuie (Argyll vol. 4, p. 237). MacLeans were closely involved in the late medieval monastery, as both patrons and personnel.

View full post and other names of the month

This is a three-year project funded by the AHRC and based in Celtic & Gaelic at the University of Glasgow. The core objective of the project is a survey of the place-names of Iona and the nearby island of Staffa. This will be presented in the form of an interactive web resource in due course on this site (planned to be ready for 2022); and in the form of a volume in the Survey of Scottish Place-Name series.

We will also be researching the early records for the topography of Iona; the names of Iona’s monuments; and the relationship between Iona and Mull. A key part of our research involves trying to understand the dynamism of names and naming in Iona, both over the centuries, and among the different constituent communities who live on and interact with the island in the present.

We are partnered with the two heritage bodies in whose care Iona and Staffa sit: the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

More detail about the project can be found here.

We will be producing regular blogs on our research which you can consult here.

This web resource is under construction and will be constantly updating as the project progresses.