Ancient Monuments

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Birnie Parish Kirk, old graveyard and symbol stone

A Scheduled Monument in Fochabers Lhanbryde, Moray

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Latitude: 57.6114 / 57°36'41"N

Longitude: -3.3297 / 3°19'47"W

OS Eastings: 320649

OS Northings: 858716

OS Grid: NJ206587

Mapcode National: GBR L84L.X0N

Mapcode Global: WH6JD.TYLC

Entry Name: Birnie Parish Kirk, old graveyard and symbol stone

Scheduled Date: 31 January 1969

Last Amended: 15 May 1997

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2781

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: symbol stone; Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: Birnie

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Fochabers Lhanbryde

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument comprises the old graveyard surrounding Birnie Parish Kirk, and the deposits underlying the church building. The graveyard is already scheduled, but this proposal incorporates the symbol stone formerly scheduled separately.

Birnie Parish Kirk consists of a plain Romanesque church building with a rectangular nave, 14.45 by 7.4m overall, and a narrower rectangular chancel adding a further 5.85m to its length and separated from it internally be a rounded chancel arch. A later medieval door pierces the S wall of the chancel; and the nave appears to have been shorted slightly when the W gable was rebuilt in 1734 (the date being given on the belfry). A Celtic bell and Romanesque font are preserved inside the church.

The church is surrounded by an oval burial enclosure, extending some 50m N-S by 44m E-W. On the north the wall has been removed in order to extend the cemetery; but the line of it is indicated by a fall in the ground. A Class I symbol stone stands within the enclosure, against the W wall at its NW angle, just inside a gate leading to another cemetery extension. It is of granite, 1.07m high and some 0.6m wide and thick, tapering somewhat towards the top. On its N face it is incised with an eagle, a Z-rod and a rectangular device.

The area to be scheduled is defined on the S, E and W by the outer face of the boundary wall and on the N by the S edge of the E-W path (excluding the shed at the NE corner), and includes all the area within these limits, including the symbol stone and the archaeological remains underlying the church, but excluding the standing parts of the church (which is in ecclesiastical use). It thus comprises a roughly oval area, measuring some 51m N-S by 44m, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an early ecclesiastical site of considerable significance, as is evidenced by the surviving archaeological features listed in the description and by the documentary record of Simeon, the fourth Bishop of Moray, having been buried there in 1184. its importance is enhanced by the existence of the Class I symbol stone, which was found at the site and hints at an earlier, possibly pagan period of religious use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is RCAHMS number NJ 25 NW 1.00.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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