A report on the group’s Conference: 597 AD St Conval’s to All Hallows
On 18th November 2017 Inchinnan Historical Interest Group (IHIG) held a Roundup Conference to bring the local community up to speed with what stage their archaeological project investigating the site of All Hallow’s Church, Inchinnan, had now reached.
The project involved geophysics, historical research, workshops, archaeology, model making, photogrammetry, Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI), music and film making.
Bill McCallum of IHIG gave a resume of the overall scope of the over-arching project, but made the point that in reality it was eight mini projects running concurrently, namely:
- 1400 years at All Hallows: Archaeological investigation outside the graveyard area.
- The graveyard: Archaeological investigation inside the graveyard area.
- Schools and archaeology
- Model making (Primary Schools)
- Ancient Stones (Secondary Schools) – includes RTI scanning and photogrammetry
- Medieval Research – why here, who came, pilgrim’s way, language, music?
- Community Involvement e.g. using RTI technology to “read” very worn gravestones, tie in with census returns
- Schools Legacy Project, including Education Pack
Dr Hannah Brown: Community Engagement Officer, Magnitude Surveys.
Geophysics and Magnitude Survey.
Hannah wowed the audience with the technical wizardry involved in the process of geophysics and magnetic analysis of the underlying structures around the dig site. As predicted, the proximity of the site to the airport’s landing lights caused a few problems but the results seem to have identified an old track or path leading from the site of the graveyard to Inchinnan. There is also evidence of the old ploughing patterns of the surrounding fields.
Dr Heather James: Calluna Archaeology
For 5 weeks between May and June, Dr James and several archaeologists led an excavation at the site of All Hallow’s Church, and were very handsomely supported by large numbers from the local community. It was hoped to find evidence of the first medieval age Knights Templar structure, the second Church dating from 1830’s and the last church dating from 1904 which was demolished in 1968 to make way for the developing Airport.
Using LIDAR and other technical tools, areas of interest were identified around the Ferrycroft farmhouse, Ladyacre, the church, manse and trenches were dug. Local volunteers and schools got stuck into the project and plenty of finds were washed, catalogued and sent to the National Museum in Edinburgh for analysis. Of significance was some stained and painted glass and lead frames, a medieval coin, 18th century artefacts e.g. clay pipes and an iron-age shale bracelet fragment.
The community interaction with the dig sparked much interest in the local area especially amongst the local schoolchildren who were involved in the project. Even some parents said they were intrigued and made a point of visiting the site in June for the Open Day.
The scope of the project and the interesting finds in the area has highlighted how rich the All Hallow’s site is in history and opens up the potential for future projects.
Katy Firth: Schools and Community Archaeologist
Katy liaised with local primary and secondary schools to involve them in the project. As well as visiting schools, talking about archaeology in all its forms Katy brought children to the site for a more hands on approach. Using ingenious methods such as puppets, carving soap and even “Graveyard Bingo” Katy engaged with around 800 local children, encouraging them to think about what is under their feet and what has gone before. Who knows if some budding Neil Oliver or Alice Roberts has been inspired.
Break for tasty cakes.
During the interval the attendees had the opportunity to visit an exhibit of the finds which Heather had displayed for us in the Church. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the intricate models of all 3 phases of All Hallow’s Churches created for the IHIG by Sue Furness. Sue also created an interactive model of the All Hallows dig site complete with trenches. Also on display were a number of fabulous models created by the local schoolchildren, assisted by Sue.
Inchinnan Primary School:
Mrs Nicola McGlynn and Mrs Sarah Retson represented Inchinnan Primary school and thanked IHIG for the opportunity to be involved in the project. The pupils and staff involved were fascinated by the project and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects from the dig to the model making, from the science to the art activities. Bill McCallum presented both teachers with Heritage Heroes Awards for the school. Mrs McGlynn presented Katie with a bouquet of flowers in recognition of her help and enthusiasm.
Clara Molina Sanchez: Digital Heritage Specialist, Spectrum Heritage
RTI and Photogrammetry
Clara and her team at Spectrum Heritage helped train the group in several digital techniques such as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) which is great for revealing degraded inscriptions on stone and photogrammetry. Spectrum Heritage also created digital 3D models of the 1904 Church, and the associated carved stones in the graveyard. The models are visible on the SketchFab platform and IHIG’s website.
The RTI techniques have been particularly useful for the group to enable them to read and identify some of the most worn gravestones at the site.
The 3 carved stones currently at Inchinnan Parish Church bear significant resemblance to the “Govan” or Strathclyde school of stone carving. Clara invited Megan Kasten, a PhD student from Glasgow University to speak about some of her comparative analysis of Inchinnan Stone carving with those in Govan. The carved stones within the mortsafe are significantly similar to several of the Govan Stones however analysis of one of the “Templar” stones which have been looked on as simpler grave markers has revealed that it is another decorated stone but has been so badly eroded that the markings can’t be seen without RTI. So, amazingly Inchinnan has another significantly carved medieval slab bringing the total to 4.
Bill McCartney: IHIG Member
Stones and Bones
Bill kept us up to date with some of the research IHIG has been doing into the All Hallow’s area. Individuals such as Lord Blythswood and Henry Lobnitz are quite familiar names to us all, but some of the internments have stories just as interesting and the group intends to research more into the local surnames, farms, big houses and stories. So far, we have found slave trading, a Burns connection in that the Bonny Lass O’ Ballochmyle could be buried in one plot, but probably not. More stones are being unearthed and Clara’s RTI techniques allow us to read inscription easily so who knows what me might find!
Gilbert Markus: Affiliate Researcher (Celtic and Gaelic) at University of Glasgow
St Conval – Rock Rider
Gilbert has investigated the origins of the name of Inchinnan – the Island of St Finnian. St Finnian (Gaelic) or St Uinniau (Brythonic) was a Saint very popular in Ireland, who was the teacher of St Columba.
At some point the reverence of St Conval (or Convallus, or Connall) becomes popular. St Conval was another Irish Saint who was a follower of St Kentigern. As legend has it he sailed across the North Sea on the rock that now sits outside the Normandy Hotel.
The first currently traceable mention of St Conval’s Church is in 1265 when Robert I (the Bruce) grants the Church 1 Mark from the Burgh of Rutherglen. There is no evidence that this is St Conval’s at Inchinnan though, it is not specifically mentioned until 1327.
Interestingly St Conval’s Feast day is 28th September, the same as St Finnian.
Joy Blair: IHIG
Joy gave us a brief outline of her research into the Stained Glass from the 1904 Church, some of which thankfully made the transfer into Inchinnan Parish Church, when it was built in the late 1960’s. Joy has meticulously matched receipts for the windows (held in the Victoria and Albert Museum) with the work of Powell & Sons. Joy also researched the altar, pulpit and family tree plaque which are of the Opus Sectile style (glass mosaic), designed by Charles Hargreaves.
Margaret McLeod: IHIG Chairperson
Margaret thanked everyone involved in the project; local community, volunteers, experts and the IHIG committee- it has been an eventful few years but the last few months have exceeded everyone’s expectations and enthused the area with a pride in it’s history. Who knows what any future projects might uncover?