Supporters of an ancient church on the remote Hebridean island of Ensay have taken on ownership of the building and responsibility for its upkeep.

Ownership of Ensay Chapel has been transferred from the Argyll and The Isles diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the Friends of Ensay, a charitable organisation registered in 2018.

Ensay Chapel, believed to have been built during the late Middle Ages, has historically been the subject of an annual pilgrimage, whereby a congregation travels from Leverburgh by boat to attend a service.

The legal work required to transfer the church's ownership and title deeds was carried out by UK and leading Scottish law firm Brodies LLP, which provides legal services to business and individuals across the Western Isles from its Highlands office.

The Friends of Ensay is now seeking support from across Scotland and internationally, to assist with raising funds for the building and its upkeep.

Chris Merlin, appointed guardian of Ensay Chapel, said: "For anyone who has ever visited Ensay Chapel, they'll be familiar with the beauty of the building and its setting. For the past six years, it's been an ambition of ours to take on ownership of the church and responsibility for the building and its grounds, so we're very grateful to Brodies for stepping in to handle all the necessary legal work.

"This is a big project for us, but one to be enjoyed by the wider community, and we are appealing to anyone who wishes to contribute financially to essential repairs for the church, to get in touch. We've already had interest from descendants of the Stewart family – previous owners of the church, house and island – who are based in New Zealand, so we're hoping to attract support from across the globe. We're also looking forward to starting the annual service again once social distancing restrictions are eased, and would invite the community to get involved too."

Karren Smith, partner in rural business and based in Brodies' Highland office, said: "Historical buildings like Ensay Church are a valuable part of Scotland's heritage. We're proud to have played a role in bringing the church back into the folds of the local community and wish the Friends of Ensay all the best for the future."