With its stone font from the Flannan Isles and a Medieval sister church at Eorpie, Ness, St. Peter’s covers a long period of religious history on the island. We spent a very enjoyable and informative time with Reverend Terry Taggart and Marion Mackay from the church’s Ministry Team talking about the history of the bell at St. Peter’s and it’s current use as part of the church’s daily life. The bell came from the Medieval church of St Lennan’s, now the site of the bank and Seaman’s Mission in Stornoway. It was taken down sometime in the first half of the 19th century and for a spell was used to summon the Royal Scots regiment garrisoned at Manor Farm during the agrarian disturbances of 1887-88. Canon Meaden of St. Peter’s Church, who was a collector of antiquaries (and had at one time used St.Moluag’s to house his collection) acquired the bell from its second home at Galson Farm and had it installed at St. Peter’s.
Rev. Taggart rings the bell himself and unusually the rope pull is on the outside of the building, so he often finds himself in full view of the passing public. This high visibility bell ringing is an advantage Rev. Taggart told us, as he views the bell as a great way to communicate and connect with passers by.
St. Peter’s has a wonderful array of visual art, from one of Anish Kapoor’s Holocaust Memorial Candles to a beautiful Pre Raphaelite stained glass window. It was no surprise really then that both Rev Taggart and Marion were very receptive to our idea of a sound piece at St. Moluag’s to coincide with the exhibition at An Lanntair next year. St. Moluag’s Chapel dates closely to St. Oran Chapel on Iona and St. Moluag was a contemporary of St. Columba, so the building sits within the terrain of the Re Soundings project as easily as it does within the landscape of Ness.