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Corrie Church, church and graveyard

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.1461 / 55°8'46"N

Longitude: -3.2606 / 3°15'38"W

OS Eastings: 319749

OS Northings: 584257

OS Grid: NY197842

Mapcode National: GBR 58NY.W1

Mapcode Global: WH6XF.WXH8

Entry Name: Corrie Church, church and graveyard

Scheduled Date: 24 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12764

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Hutton and Corrie

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the former parish church of Corrie and the associated burial ground. The church is visible above ground as a low platform and the surrounding burial ground contains three recumbent medieval graveslabs and many later upstanding gravemarkers, some from the 17th and 18th centuries. Initial construction of the church may date to as early as the 12th century. The building went out of use in 1609 when the parishes of Corrie and Hutton were joined, though burials continued in the graveyard. The burial ground is bounded by a stone perimeter wall. It lies about 85m south-east of Corriehills at the top of a gentle east-facing slope at around 200m above sea level.

Traces of turf covered footings, up to 1.8m wide and 0.2m high, and a low platform indicate the position of the church. Together, they define a building footprint measuring 26m east-west by up to 7.4m transversely. A cluster of late 17th- and 18th-century gravemarkers lies to the south of this area, respecting its S side, suggesting that the church was still a significant feature at that time. Architectural fragments found at the site include a fragment of cusped tracery, rebated for glazing, indicating that the building had glazed windows. Many of these fragments are incorporated within the perimeter wall. The medieval stones in the graveyard include a coped grave cover of a type which may be a later development of the hogback, a cross-bearing gravestone with calvary base of probable late 13th-century or 14th-century date known as the 'Dragon Stone' and a slab decorated with a sword with depressed quillons and a lozenge-shaped pommel. The 17th- and 18th-century gravemarkers include several fine examples, one bearing the date 1710.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular on plan to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to and includes the perimeter wall of the graveyard, but specifically excludes the post-and-wire fence just outside the perimeter wall.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Because Corrie Church fell into disuse in 1609, its remains have not been disturbed by the repeated post-Reformation rebuilding that has taken place on the sites of many medieval churches in the region. Thus, although traces of the building are visible only as low footings and a platform, they represent a significant survival. In addition, the abandonment of the church means that there is excellent potential for the survival of significant structural remains below ground level. Such remains could allow us to reconstruct the form of the church and understand any modifications made to the building during the Middle Ages. Archaeological features may also reveal the presence of other associated remains related to the church but since removed.

The graveyard is likely to contain interments deriving from a prolonged period of use, perhaps spanning six or seven hundred years. This represents a potential source of information about the inhabitants of a small rural community, which would allow changes in stature and pathology to charted over time. The medieval grave slabs associated with the burial ground confirm that the church and graveyard were present by the late 13th or 14th centuries, although the founding of the church may be earlier still. The graveslabs are also valuable in their own right. The coped grave cover probably represents a medieval development of the hogback, a type of monument originally associated with the Scandinavian settlements of the 10th century. The 'Dragon Stone' is more impressive and represents an ornate Calvary Cross, the upper face carved in low relief with the cross rising from a semi-circular calvary. Although broken, one of the other medieval graveslabs is an interesting example of a slab-bearing weapons. These stones have the potential to support further study of the art-historical development of medieval funerary monuments. The 17th- and 18th-century gravemarkers are also of high quality and can support study of the evolution of funerary monuments after the Reformation.

Contextual characteristics

Corrie Church formed part of a network of parish churches that covered later medieval Scotland, serving as central place for worship, prayer, baptism and burial for the local community. However, it is one of only 39 parish churches in the east of the former county of Dumfriesshire that were in use at the Reformation, none of which survive intact. It can be compared with three churches surviving as upstanding ruins (Dalton, Little Dalton and St Mungo), and with others visible as footings (Unthank and Drumgree). Such comparison of these buildings with other Scottish churches may enhance our understanding of regional variety in church buildings in the Middle Ages.

Scottish medieval recumbent monuments are a relatively small and little studied group. Coped gravestones are probably a later development of hogback monuments and are represented elsewhere in the region only at Annan, Dornoch and Gretna Green. The Calvary Cross is one of the two finest in the region, the other being at Carruthers. The slab with sword is again part of a select group in the area, comparable monuments being known at Wauchope, Kirklands and Hoddom. Taken together, this represents a rare and informative group of later medieval stones, further enhanced by the presence of fine post-Reformation gravemarkers.

Associative characteristics

Documentary sources refer to the patronage of Corrie Church in 1516. The Ordnance Survey 1st Edition map marks 'Corrie Church Yard (Remains of)' and depicts a rectangular area within the burial ground which may correspond to the footprint of the church building. This feature had apparently disappeared by the time of the 2nd edition map, though the site was marked 'Corrie Church (Site of)'.

Corrie lies within the Annan Valley, where the de Brus (Bruce) Lordship was established in the 12th century by Robert the Bruce's father. The effect lordship on the emerging parish structure is unknown but a number of churches may have originated as proprietorial foundations at that time.

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 to the study of medieval ecclesiastical architecture, religious practices and the development of funerary monuments in Dumfries and Galloway. The footings of the church are an important survival of a later medieval structure not disturbed by post-Reformation remodelling and the footprint may reveal important information about the layout and development of the building. The stones within the burial ground are important for our understanding of the form, nature and development of medieval commemorative burial markers in south-west Scotland and across northern Britain as a whole. They retain important and relatively well-preserved decorative features and provide evidence for the early date and importance of this church. There is a potential for the monument to contribute to our understanding of human pathology and local genealogy. Spatial analysis of this and other contemporary religious monuments may reveal valuable information on the layout and patterns of pre-Reformation religious sites within the landscape. The loss of the monument would impede our understanding of medieval church architecture at regional and national levels and would affect our ability to understand the history and development of burial fashions in the medieval and later periods across northern Britain.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as NY18SE 6.00, 6.01 and 6.02. The Dumfries and Galloway SMR records the site as MDG12102 and MDG12241.

References

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape. Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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