The Sunart Floating Church
We need your donations so we can afford to raise an important piece of Scottish history from the seabed and conserve it for future generations.
The Sunart Floating Church was one of the most extraordinary vessels ever built in Scotland.
When The Free Church broke from The Church of Scotland in 1843, the community in Sunart, a remote area on the West Coast of Scotland, asked the landowner for a piece of land on which they could build a new place to worship. He refused.
Somehow this remote community raised a remarkable £1400, to have a Floating Church constructed at a shipyard in Glasgow. It was launched in 1846 and towed all the way to Loch Sunart where it was moored at Ardnastang Bay.
It was a very substantial vessel, almost 80 feet long, 24 feet wide and 27 feet high. It came with a vestry, a pulpit and seating for 400 people. Some worshippers walked miles and then either crossed by rowing boat, or from stone jetty pulling themselves out in small boats on long ropes stretched between the church and the shore. Remarkable efforts for their faith.
Years later in a great storm she broke from her anchors.
The church was blown ashore and settled between high and low tide which is designated as “no man's land”. Therefore the unapproving Laird could not intervene. Here it was used for some years as a church and a school until finally the Laird allowed a plot of land on which a stone church to be built.
Every trace was removed for salvage. Or so it was thought....
In 2016 a local diver found one of the original 'mushroom' anchors and some chain.
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.
Please help us raise £6,000 towards the costs of lifting and conserving the anchor. It will be displayed in the village of Strontian, where the story can then be brought to life.
Please donate to help our community to raise the money to Raise the Anchor!
Many thanks to the following, who have enabled us to get this far!
John MacMillan, local diver for finding the anchor and carrying out ongoing investigations, Simon Willis of Sunart Media for making our videos, Mary Ann Kennedy, Alexander McCall Smith, Sunart Community Company, Sunart Community Council, Free Church of Scotland, George Fox FSA (Scot), Iain Thornber, Strontian Hotel and Bothy Bar, Heritage Scotland, Marine Scotland, Crown Estate.