Ancient Monuments

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St Peter's Church,old parish church,Peterhead

A Scheduled Monument in Peterhead North and Rattray, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.5045 / 57°30'16"N

Longitude: -1.7907 / 1°47'26"W

OS Eastings: 412641

OS Northings: 846057

OS Grid: NK126460

Mapcode National: GBR P8YW.L91

Mapcode Global: WHBQ8.GMJT

Entry Name: St Peter's Church,old parish church,Peterhead

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5661

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Peterhead

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Peterhead North and Rattray

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument consists of the remains of St Peter's church, the original parish church of Peterhead, which is thought to date from the 12th century. The church is on record from 1218 when it was transferred to the Abbey of Deer from Dunkeld Cathedral. The church is located in an old cemetry overlooking Peterhead Bay. What survives is a portion of the chancel including the side walls and the chancel arch which date from the 12th century.

The NW gable is probably late medieval and incorporates a square, pyramidal- roofed, bell-tower of mid 18th-century date. The intervening walls have for the most part been removed, the remaining portions being overlain by later burial enclosures. The church is aligned NW-SE, and has measured at least 30m NW-SE by 8.9m NE-SW over walls 0.8m thick. The chancel measures 6.9m NE-SW by 6.6m NW-SE. The SW wall of the nave adjoining the chancel survives for 9.5m and the NE wall extends for 1.8m.

The chancel arch has plain jambs with cushion capitals. It has a span of 2.3m and is 2.7m to its apex. The SW wall of the chancel contains a round-headed niche. The exterior of this wall is lined with 18th-century mural monuments. In the chancel are two 17th- century grave slabs. The church was abandoned in 1771. The area to be scheduled is rectangular, measuring a maximum of 33.5m NW-SE by 13m NE-SW, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well documented parish church dating from at least the early 13th century. As such it provides evidence and has the potential to provide further evidence, through a combination of historical research and archaeological excavation, for ecclesiastical architecture, parish history and material culture during the Middle Ages.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NK 14 NW 2.


Aitken J 1890, 'Peterhead: parochial and ecclesiastical', Trans Buchan Fld Club, Vol. 1, 148-51.

Findlay J T 1933, A history of Peterhead, from prehistoric times to AD 1896, Peterhead, 23, 136-9.

MacGibbon D and Ross T 1896-7, The ecclesiastical architecture of Scotland from the earliest Christian times to the seventeenth century, 3v Edinburgh, Vol. 1, 371-2.

Neish R 1950, Old Peterhead: an authentic account of the origin and development of the burgh of barony of Peterhead, Peterhead, 10-11, 102-8.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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