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St Bryde's Kirk, church 95m west of Brydekirk Mains

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0278 / 55°1'40"N

Longitude: -3.2759 / 3°16'33"W

OS Eastings: 318534

OS Northings: 571108

OS Grid: NY185711

Mapcode National: GBR 5BK9.KG

Mapcode Global: WH6Y0.NW7H

Entry Name: St Bryde's Kirk, church 95m W of Brydekirk Mains

Scheduled Date: 22 January 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12185

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Annan

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an enclosed later medieval church used between the 12th and 16th centuries and dedicated to St Brigid. It survives as the partially exposed foundations, flooring and walling of the church, and surrounding oval-shaped enclosure and retaining wall. Part of the monument remains were exposed during modern, limited archaeological excavation. The church is located on low-lying ground within a small, mature copse at around 20m above sea level and next to a brook which feeds the River Annan 200m to the east. The site is four kilometres to the north of the town of Annan.

The church is a rectangular-shaped building aligned E-W and measuring approximately 11.5m by 6m internally. Excavation of the site has revealed earlier activity here including a similarly sized building (earlier than the chapel and aligned on a slightly different orientation) and the remains of possible industrial activity indicated by an area of heat-treated or burnt soil and finds such as a whetstone. An altar base was discovered at the middle of the E wall. The site sits on a low platform that is enclosed by a substantial sub-circular wall. Such enclosures usually define burial grounds, but there are no visible burial markers and part of the site that was excavated in the early 1980s did not produce evidence for any burials.

The area to be scheduled is a clipped circle on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. It specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the surrounding modern boundary walls and fence, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a well-preserved example of a later medieval church and enclosure. It retains a good proportion of its key structural components, such as the footings and lower courses of all four of its walls, creating an E-W aligned building. Archaeological excavation has revealed information about the building's history, including the likely position of an altar along the E wall as well as the construction of its walls. The presence of an earlier structure and possibly industrial workings suggests that the site has gone through at least two phases of building. It therefore has the potential to provide additional high-quality information about pre-Reformation medieval architecture, medieval liturgical practice and the earlier use of these sites.

Contextual characteristics

The church is a good example of a small rural parish church that served as a central place for community worship, prayer and baptism. It belonged to a formal network of such churches covering the country that was supported by local patronage and established from the 12th century. The apparent lack of burial here is surprising, but may be a factor of visibility, recovery (excavations here were limited), and apparent lack of use of the site after the Reformation. If correct, it suggests that the act of late medieval burial was probably performed elsewhere in the parish, which is unusual. With archaeological excavation revealing an earlier building, it is possible that the site has direct links with earlier, Christian activity in the area (a sub-circular enclosure is a characteristic of early-medieval church sites). It therefore has the potential to improve our understanding of the early beginnings of pre-Reformation churches in SW Scotland.

Associative characteristics

The church is dedicated to St Brigid (Bridget or Bride), an early Christian Irish saint to whom there are many dedications in Scotland, some of which are early medieval..

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular, pre-Reformation medieval ecclesiastical architecture, church organisation and religious practices in SW Scotland at small rural churches. This potential is enhanced by its relatively good preservation and known historical period of use. The loss of this example would affect our ability to understand the medieval and Reformation periods in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NY17SE 8.

References:

Crowe C 1984, ?Excavation at Brydekirk, Annan, 1982-1984?, TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY ANTIQ NATUR HIST SOC (3rd series), 59, 40.

Gifford J 1996, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY, The Buildings of Scotland Series, London.

RCAHMS 1997, EASTERN DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE, Edinburgh: HMSO.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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