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St Mungo's Church, church and graveyard

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0679 / 55°4'4"N

Longitude: -3.3686 / 3°22'7"W

OS Eastings: 312696

OS Northings: 575681

OS Grid: NY126756

Mapcode National: GBR 49XV.H3

Mapcode Global: WH6XS.7W47

Entry Name: St Mungo's Church, church and graveyard

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12034

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: tombstone; Ecclesiastical: church

Location: St Mungo

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a medieval and later church and graveyard, the former parish church of St Mungo. It survives as a ruined building with associated memorials and gravemarkers within a stone boundary wall. The church is located on a knoll on the N bank of the River Annan at approximately 45m above sea level, north-west of the town of Annan and within 10km of the Solway Firth.

The church was first recorded in around 1120 as 'Abermelc', one of the possessions of the see of Glasgow, while in 1170 the church of 'Casthelmilc' was confirmed to the bishop of Glasgow. Only the chancel (E gable), S wall and part of the N of the church are upstanding, in places almost to wallhead height. Although the church was redeveloped in the 1740s and 1750s, a lower string course survives along the E gable and this is likely to represent the surviving medieval remains of the building, as are portions of the N and S walls. The medieval core of the building probably survived in 1834, when the building was described as cruciform on plan, with very narrow lancet windows and a chancel door.

The graveyard contains a variety of in-situ gravemarkers, relocated markers and non-earthfast carved stone fragments. This includes several headstones dating to the early 18th century with heraldic carving and emblems signifying death. One particular (non-earthfast) carved graveslab survives as the remains of a long-shaft cross with calvary base and raised borders. This is similar to examples elsewhere in SW Scotland dating between the 10th and 12th centuries AD and therefore appears to date from around the time of the establishment of the parish church.

In around 1880 the Jardine family (of the Castlemilk estate) converted the church's remains into a family burial plot. The Jardine headstones are mainly located into the E and S walls of the church.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon on plan, to include the church and graveyard 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 all modern burial lairs in active use, the stone boundary wall surrounding the burial ground, the access gate and top 300 mm of the existing access paths, 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 good example of a documented later medieval church and graveyard, where the church was remodelled in the 18th century and adapted in the 19th century for use as a private family burial plot. Medieval fabric is upstanding in the E, S and, to a lesser extent N, walls of the building. The monument is likely to retain buried features and deposits relating to the remainder of the medieval building, and so has the potential to tell us about the plan of the building and the use of its internal space, as well as burial practices in the surrounding graveyard. The standing remains of the church display a number of building phases and these indicate a long period of use and re-use spanning at least eight centuries. Together with surviving primary documents, the monument provides the opportunity to obtain a better understanding of the development of ecclesiastical architecture and religious life on a single site over a long period of time.

Contextual characteristics

This church was part of a network of parish churches covering the country and served as a central place for worship, prayer, baptism and burial. Part of the see of Glasgow, it was therefore part of the wider organisation of religion in medieval Scotland. St Mungo is one of 39 churches known to have held parochial status in eastern Dumfriesshire before the Reformation and one of only a few local examples that substantially survive (including the churches at Kirkbank, Dalton and Little Dalton). Comparison of the local ecclesiastical architectural features in this area with those on other Scottish churches may enhance our understanding of regional variation in ecclesiastical architecture from the later medieval period to the 19th century.

Associative characteristics

In the 17th century the parish name changed to that of its patron saint, the 6th-century priest and bishop, and patron saint of Glasgow, St Mungo. The family name Jardine is a common name seen in the churchyard and a burial aisle bears many mounted headstones dedicated to family members.

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 medieval ecclesiastical architecture, church organisation and religious practices in SW Scotland. 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 NY17NW 5. The church is designated as a category B-listed building.

References:

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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