13. Banchor Cemetery

BanchorCemetery200Banchor Cemetery, which is known in Gaelic as Cladh Bhrighde, is on the site of a 6th century chapel dedicated to St Bride, a popular Celtic saint.

The site of the chapel is said to be marked by a 24m long platform in the middle of the cemetery with the Macpherson of Banchor enclosure at its south eastern end. St Bride's spring, which was believed to have healing powers, was nearby, below the Calder Falls.

An old coffin route (see Old Coffin Road) leads directly from the Spey to the cemetery. In 1875 access was blocked when the tenant of Banchor Farm built a new steading over the road to the burial ground. After Bailie William Cattanach was obliged to break down a fence and lead his mother's funeral cortege through a field to reach the cemetery, he helped to fund a legal action to have access reinstated.

coffinroadFollowing the court case, the farmer was obliged to provide an alternative road to the cemetery. To safeguard the right of access, a signpost was erected marking the route: An rathad daighnichte le lagh gu Cladh Bhrighde (The road affirmed by law to St Bride's Churchyard). Bailie Cattanach also had an enclosing wall built around the burial ground.

Sources:

Badenoch Record
Strathspey Herald
Celtic Magazine
H. Macpherson (1973) A Scot's Scrapbook
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/25205/details/newtonmore+st+bridget+s+chapel/

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