Bishop's House Iona

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Bishop's House, Iona was built in 1894, when Iona Abbey was still in ruins, to provide a place for Scottish Episcopalians on the island of Iona. It was originally called Saint Columba's House, after the chapel at its centre dedicated to Saint Columba.[1] It was established under Bishop Alexander Chinnery-Haldane, a year after the tenancy was granted by the 9th Duke of Argyll, as a place of "prayer, study, contemplation and Eucharist".[2] Despite protests from the local established church minister the house continued to be supported by the Duke and the Bishop. Thanks to Bishop Chinnery-Haldane’s close involvement with the project, the house became known as the Bishop's House, a title which has stuck.[3]

The House was occupied by members of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist from 1896-1906. Despite the minister's fears they were seeking proselytes, they seem to have been more interested in avoiding the roof leaking and finding space for contemplation.[2] Known locally as "Cowley Fathers", they ran services and held tea parties for the islanders.[4] It has since been run as a retreat house for the Scottish Episcopal Church, most recently by their subsidiary group Island Retreats Ltd.[5][6] The House accepts bookings from groups and individuals from all religious backgrounds or none, and can occasionally be booked in the winter for self-catering use.[7] The Chapel is open to the public and holds two services daily from March to October, and weekly in the winter.[8] The current Warden is Toben Lewis.


  1. ^ McNeill, F. Marian (1973). Iona; a history of the island. Glasgow: Blackie and Son Limited. p. 58. ISBN 0-216-89324-0. 
  2. ^ a b MacArthur, E. Mairi (2002). Iona; The living memory of a crafting community. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 192, 251. ISBN 1-902930-27-4. 
  3. ^ MacArthur, E. Mairi (2002). Iona: The living memory of a crafting community. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 193. ISBN 1-902930-27-4. 
  4. ^ MacArthur, E. Mairi (1997). Iona. Colin Baxter Island Guides. Grantown-on-Spey: Colin Baxter Photography Ltd. pp. 46–47. ISBN 1-900455-11-0. 
  5. ^ "Bishop's House, Iona". Island Retreats. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  6. ^ Retrieved 16 June 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Retrieved 16 June 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Retrieved 16 June 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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Coordinates: 56°19′57″N 6°23′29″W / 56.33250°N 6.39139°W / 56.33250; -6.39139