About the Author

Bruce Henderson is a computer engineer living in Southern California. With the help of his cousins he is researching the history of the Henderson family of southern Caithness. You can contact him at bruce@sigalarm.com

Nan and George Bethune on Ballachly “House of Peace”


Any reader of Neil Gunn’s books knows he makes reference to a long abandoned holy site in Dunbeath that he refers to in “Highland River” as the House of Peace. This was always assumed to be folklore, as there is no evidence of a church remained to the present age.

Now, thanks to the sharp eyes and hard work of the Bethunes, the details of this important archeological site are starting to be revealed. In essence, it is possible that a full excavation of the Ballachly (pronouced Balla-klie) site may reveal that the christian church was present in Caithness years before St, Columba,

From the BBC web site (full video when you follow the link):

A group of archaeologists are trying to establish if Norsemen brought Christianity to Caithness before St Columba arrived on Iona. The question has arisen after a dig at an ancient church site at the coastal village of Dunbeath. Pottery dating back to the 6th Century has recently been found in the area. A University of Nottingham team is to carry out further exploration which they hope could show evidence of an even earlier Christian church.

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