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Home  >  News  >  Appeal to Raise Anchor of 'Floating Church'


Appeal to Raise Anchor of 'Floating Church'

Tuesday November 1

Looking south over Loch Sunart to Morvern. Picture by Richard Webb, Creative Commons License


A Highland community has launched an appeal to preserve the last remains of a legendary ‘floating church’.

The crowdfunding appeal will help lift and conserve the anchor of the floating church of Loch Sunart, in Lochaber.

The floating church arose from the Disruption of 1843, when the Free Church split from the Church of Scotland. In several places, landowners refused new Free Church congregations permission to build their own places of worship, forcing them to meet in the outdoors, in all weathers.

Faced with just this situation in the parish of Strontian, on the shores of Loch Sunart, someone hit on the idea of the floating church.

The ship, built in Glasgow at a cost of £1400, included a pulpit and seating for 750 worshippers. It sailed up the coast to Loch Sunart in 1846 and was moored at Ardnastang Bay, where it remained for many years until breaking its anchors during a storm and blowing ashore.

In 1869 the landowners relented and allowed a new church to be built, and the floating church was broken up for salvage.

None of it was thought to remain, until earlier this year when a local diver found one of the original anchors and some chain on the Loch bed.

The community has now started a Crowdfunding appeal for £6000 towards the costs of lifting and conserving the anchor, which is to be displayed in Strontian village.

The appeal website states: “The floating church has been folklore throughout the years. We have an opportunity now of actually bringing this artefact on to land and of telling the whole story.”

Appeal website

Looking Back: a 1954 Life and Work article about the floating church


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