Christ Church, Ensay

Christ Church Ensay

Little is known of the chapel’s early history. In the early 1900’s the island became the property of the Stewart family and one of the sisters, Mrs Jessie Scott, decided to renew the old chapel beside Ensay House and to restore it to its original purpose.

By 1909 it was repaired, the roof re-slated, the ceiling panelled in Californian redwood, a heavy oak door added and the floor cemented, and a new altar, altar rail, reredos and lectern made in mahogany. The first entry in the register is for 14 October 1910 and there were fairly regular services from then until 1914. There were no recorded services during the First World War, but the church re-opened and periodic services continued until 1935. When Jessie Scott died in 1931 her will made over the chapel and its contents to the Bishop of Argyll & The Isles, together with a small sum to endow the upkeep. The Harris congregation is now responsible for its maintenance. Among the conditions of the will was a clause stating that at least two services a year, including Holy Communion, were to be held there.

The church once again fell into disrepair, but in the early 1950’s John David, a surgeon who practiced in Ghana, bought Ensay House, restored all that Jessie Scott had done to the chapel and added a distinctive oak door by Robert Thomson.

In 1973 Richard Wimbush, the Bishop of Argyll and The Isles, led a pilgrimage of 45 people to Ensay and re-dedicated the church. Since then the annual pilgrimage has been continued by members of Lewis and Harris congregations and other members of the Diocese.