Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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St Trothan's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Highland

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Latitude: 58.5838 / 58°35'1"N

Longitude: -3.4001 / 3°24'0"W

OS Eastings: 318692

OS Northings: 967051

OS Grid: ND186670

Mapcode National: GBR K6Z1.76K

Mapcode Global: WH6CQ.RH3X

Entry Name: St Trothan's Church

Scheduled Date: 8 February 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5566

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Olrig

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Thurso and Northwest Caithness

Traditional County: Caithness


The monument, situated in an old graveyard consists of the remains of the former Olrig parish church. Two corner skew-putts, dated 1633 and 1743 may indicate the dates of construction and subsequent repair.

The rectangular-plan church, dedicated to St Trothan, measures 15.6m E-W by 5.6m N-S within walls 0.9-1m thick. The walls, reduced to a uniform height of 3m are constructed in thin-coursed Caithness flag (although a small amount of freestone is used in the E end). All the openings have been blocked up. The original entrance appears to have been in the E end and traces of a window above suggest there might have been an upper floor.

Another blocked entrance lies in the middle of the N wall. The present entrance is in the S wall near the W end. The S wall contains a small dressed lancet window that appears to have been re-set. All the other openings are square-headed and of varying sizes. A chancel partition now reduced to a height of 1.4m appears to be a later addition. The chancel is floored with flag slabs.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular and extends a maximum of 2m from the exterior walls of the chapel measuring a maximum of 20.6m E-W by 10.6m N-S, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a church dating from 1633 which may have been built in response to liturgical changes brought about by Charles I and his policy in Scotland which favoured the agrandizement of the Episcopal church, and threatened the established reformed church of Scotland. In addition it provides evidence and has the potential to provide further evidence, through excavation and analysis, for ecclesiastical architecture, church history, the parochial system, religious patronage and material culture in Scotland during the period of its construction and use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as ND 16 NE 4.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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