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Inchinnan, site of All Hallows Church

A Scheduled Monument in Erskine and Inchinnan, Renfrewshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8819 / 55°52'54"N

Longitude: -4.4143 / 4°24'51"W

OS Eastings: 249074

OS Northings: 668052

OS Grid: NS490680

Mapcode National: GBR 3K.2KKW

Mapcode Global: WH3P0.5F66

Entry Name: Inchinnan, site of All Hallows Church

Scheduled Date: 30 December 1971

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2792

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Inchinnan

County: Renfrewshire

Electoral Ward: Erskine and Inchinnan

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of the former parish church of All Hallows, the associated burial ground, tombstones and manse. The monument is located at 5m above sea level on the north bank of the Black Cart River 490m WSW of its confluence with the White Cart River and 1.25 km SSW of their confluence with the River Clyde.

The west end of the church survives as a partial upstanding ruin and the rest of the monument survives as buried features and deposits. It is thought that a monastery was established on or near the site by St Conval in 600 AD and was subsequently replaced by a church dedicated to the saint built around 1100. The 12th century church, a plain structure which measured around 15m E-W by 5m transversely, was dismantled in 1828 and a new church built. This in turn was replaced by All Hallows church and manse, constructed between 1899 and 1904 in the Gothic style. All Hallows church measured around 31m E-W by up to 10m transversely with a nave and chancel. The churches were set within a rectangular walled enclosure measuring 58m N-S by 46m transversely and noted as burial ground on early Ordnance Surveys. The manse, located 15m to the WSW was roughly L-shaped on plan, the long side of the 'L' measured 35m E-W by up to 10m transversely. The short side of the 'L' measured 15 m N-S by 6m transversely. The manse and church were largely demolished in 1965 to accommodate the expansion of Glasgow Airport. To the north of the burial ground is a further enclosure measuring 64m N-S by 56m transversely and known as 'Ladyacre'.

Description added on 24 November 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

There is a high potential for well-preserved foundations and archaeological remains of the various phases of church to survive below ground. These have the capacity to add to our understanding of the early ecclesiastical foundation on the site and may provide details of date and type and layout of any structure. It is likely that this early foundation served as the mother church of the area that became Strathgryffe. There is the potential to understand more fully the 12th century church, its plan and internal arrangements and the development and elaboration of its architecture and use through time. There may also be evidence related to the 20th century church's period of disuse. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the potential for the preservation of artefacts within the site. Casual finds from the site, including a quartz stone with an incised cross, a pottery disc with a Maltese cross decoration and a pierced pewter disc depicting a lion and unicorn found in the 1970s demonstrate this potential.

In addition, three early Christian carved stones are associated with this monument, they are dated to between the 10th and 12th centuries AD and were removed to the modern parish church when this one became redundant in 1968. They comprise 1) a shrine cover depicting Daniel in the Lions den as well as other beasts and; 2) a cross, a cross shaft and partial head; and 3) a recumbent stone. In addition around 5-6 'Templars Stones' adorned with carved swords are recorded from the graveyard, together with a number of other later carved stones. These and any in situ graves remaining have the potential to inform us of the development of burial architecture and traditions over time. When the most recent church was constructed on the site at the turn of the century burials were noted both within the footprint of the church, including some within stone coffins and also in the graveyard and in surrounding areas such as the lawn of the manse. The graveyard served the population of Inchinnan for at least 600 years and there is the potential for human interments dating from around 600AD to remain in the burial ground and beyond. The potentially well preserved remains of this population have the capacity to inform our understanding of human pathology over a significant length of time.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located in an area of slightly raised ground surrounded by fertile agricultural land, within the bend of two adjoining rivers. Early 20th century accounts of the location recount that at times of flood the surrounding land would be inundated but the church and manse would remain dry. Three potentially contemporary and related monuments are located within the area. Around 365m to the SW are two stones known as the 'Argyll Stone' and 'St Conval's Chariot'. The Argyll Stone is the remains of a sandstone cross base and is reputed to be part of a memorial dedicated to St Conval. St Conval's Chariot is an erratic granite boulder said to be that upon which the Saint floated across from Ireland. Both were thought to have been brought to their current location prior to 1836. To the NW at a distance of 1.8 km lies the site of the Palace of Inchinnan, now beneath modern housing. Still largely standing in 1720 this 16th century manor house belonged to the Stewart family who were granted the lands in the 12th century. The exact relationship between the church site and these other monuments has yet to be established but there is a high probability that they were linked.

The monument has the potential to further our knowledge of the early ecclesiastic landscape in this area and is extremely important as the potential starting point for the growth of Christianity of Strathgryffe. The monument has the potential to tell us much of early church foundations in south west Scotland. There is also an inherent capacity for the monument to add to our understanding of the establishment and organisation of the parish system and the relationships this system had with centralised Norman royal control. The medieval period in south west Scotland has been identified as a period requiring further research. The monument has an inherent potential to contribute to and augment the existing body of knowledge.

The early carved stones are close parallels to a group found at Govan and part of a much larger corpus of carved stones within Scotland. There is potential for additional carved stones to be uncovered at Inchinnan. The monument has the capacity to add to our knowledge of the creation and stylistic development of such stones.

Associative characteristics

The early churches on the site were dedicated to St Conval, a 7th century Irish saint with local connections and the first Archdeacon of Glasgow. A later legend written down in the 16th century Aberdeen Breviary tells that St Conval was the son of an Irish prince and a student of St Mungo (also known as Kentigern). St Conval asked for God's guidance with his life whilst standing next to the Irish Sea and the stone on which he was standing broke loose and carried him to Inchinnan. The stone remained on the bank of the Cart and was known as Currus Sancti Convalli and was said to have miraculous curative properties. St Conval evangelized throughout East Renfrewshire and 'Conval wells' are found in Barrhead and Thornliebank. St Conval's remains were reputed to have been buried in a shrine at Inchinnan, as attested by Bede who described a stately monument much venerated. One of the grave markers may have been the cover to the shrine.

The 12th century church was granted by David I to the Knights Templar and was transferred to the Knights of St John in 1312 when the Templars were suppressed. At the time of the Reformation the lands passed to Lord Torphichen. The ground known as Ladyacre was originally the endowment of the Virgin's altar in the 12th century church. The income from the land was intended to support the saying of masses at the altar to save the immortal soul of the endower. The altar was destroyed during the Reformation around 1561. The church lands and patronage reverted to the crown in 1672 and by 1737 had been sold to James Campbell of Blythswood.

The last church on the site was commissioned by Lord Blytheswood and designed by Sir Robert R. Anderson, a noted architect who also designed the church at Govan. This commission resulted in an overspend and earned him the sobriquet of 'Ruin Anderson' from Lord Blythswood.

The church's associations with many key figures and events in the religious life of the area and the history of Scotland greatly enhance the importance of this monument.

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 early church foundation, medieval ecclesiastical architecture, religious practices and the development of funerary monuments in Inverclyde. The buried footprints of the various phases of religious establishments on this site may reveal important information about the layout and development of churches. It also has the capacity to augment our knowledge of and illustrate the practical effects of the Reformation and other changes in religion within this area and on a national scale. The monument has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of burial practice and funerary architecture through time, as well as human pathology and local genealogy. The stones within and from 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. Spatial analysis between this and other contemporary 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.

Statement added on 24 November 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NS46NE 11. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service records the monument as 7618.

References

Groome, F. H. ed. 1882-5 Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical. Thomas C Jack: Edinburgh

McClelland, R. 1905. The church and the parish of Inchinnan: a brief history. Paisley.

Radford C. A. R. 1967. The early Christian monuments at Govan and Inchinnan', Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeology Society, Vol 15 part 4.

Details added on 24 November 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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