Ancient Monuments

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Rothiemay,St Drostan's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Keith and Cullen, Moray

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Latitude: 57.5221 / 57°31'19"N

Longitude: -2.7451 / 2°44'42"W

OS Eastings: 355472

OS Northings: 848242

OS Grid: NJ554482

Mapcode National: GBR M8LV.16K

Mapcode Global: WH7LD.T608

Entry Name: Rothiemay,St Drostan's Church

Scheduled Date: 9 December 1992

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5475

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Rothiemay

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Keith and Cullen

Traditional County: Banffshire


The monument consists of the remains of the old parish church of Rothiemay which is thought to occupy the site of an early Christian foundation established by St Drostan, Abbot of Deer in Buchan in the sixth century.

Although it is likely that this site has been occupied by earlier buildings, the latest church built on the banks of the Deveron probably dates from the late Middle Ages. It survives as a series of turf-covered stone footings situated in meadowland on the W side of the Kirkton Burn and N of the River Deveron.

The church is rectangular on plan with a small transept projecting 7m from the E end of the S wall. The footings are no more than 0.2m high and measure 23m E-W by 15.1m N-S overall with walls 0.9m thick. A document of 1540 to Alexander, Lord Saltoun who received a tack of the parsonage refers to the building as the "queir of Rothiemay". The roof was thatched at this date, and possibly until 1626, when an entry in the Kirk Session's proceedings ordained three horses to bring slates to the Kirk. The church was in use until 1752 when the first Earl of Fife pulled it down because it interfered with the privacy of his house.

A new church, presumably utilising stone from the earlier church, was built at Milltown of Rothiemay. It or its successor, now dated 1807, has since 1959 incorporated a round-headed doorway with a winged figure on its keystone, said to have come originally from the monument. An octagonal font from the monument is also housed in the present church. Only a single tomb slab, dated 1779, lies within the foundations of the monument. There was formerly an extensive burial ground around the church.

The area to be scheduled is rectilinear, extending 20m from the exterior walls of the church and measuring a maximum of 63m E-W by 55m N-S, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example, albeit reduced to its foundations, of a well-documented church, which is likely to have been built on or near the site chosen as a religious foundation by St Drostan in the sixth century. During the Medieval period Rothiemay flourished as a mensal church of the Bishop of Moray and various entries concerning it are documented in the chartulary of that diocese. In addition it provides evidence and has the potential to provide further evidence, through a combination of excavation and historic research, for religious architecture, liturgy and design, building phases, the parish network, settlement evolution and material culture in Scotland during the Medieval and Early Modern periods.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 54 NE 8.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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