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Forvie Church and deserted village (site of)

A Scheduled Monument in Ellon and District, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3299 / 57°19'47"N

Longitude: -1.9679 / 1°58'4"W

OS Eastings: 402032

OS Northings: 826595

OS Grid: NK020265

Mapcode National: GBR P9HB.WN3

Mapcode Global: WH9Q0.R134

Entry Name: Forvie Church and deserted village (site of)

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7644

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church; Secular: settlement, including deserted, depopulated and townships

Location: Slains

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Ellon and District

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of the church of Forvie and of a nearby village of medieval date.

The church of Forvie, dedicated to St Adamnan, is first mentioned in the 13th-century records of the Chartulary of Arbroath. The parish appears to have maintained its independence until 1573, when it was united with Slains parish. The church was partially excavated in 1957-8, revealing a plain oblong structure, measuring 15.75m by 4.57m internally with walls 0.6m thick.

The walls survive some 1.2-1.5m in height, rising to a maximum of 2m in the west gable. Two doorways faced each other near the western end of the N and S walls; and there is a rectangular aumbry (with an inner compartment to the left) in the N wall of the chancel. The building appears to have dated from the 12th century; and intrusive burials found by the excavators suggest that it had become ruinous by the 15th century.

Excavations in 1953, S of the church, revealed the foundations of square huts, apparently of the medieval period, built of roughly shaped stones and red clay. Further excavations in 1955 revealed a paved floor and yielded a number of 13th/14th-century pot sherds. Other stray medieval finds, including a pin, spindle whorls and 14th-century pottery, have been made in a midden S of the church. The area S of the church is now occupied by dunes, which appear to cover the remains of the medieval settlement.

The area to be scheduled includes the church and a triangular area around it in which remains of the medieval settlement are likely to survive. The area measures overall 120m N-S and 180m E-W and is defined on the SW by the E side of the track leading to the beach, to the SE by a stream which runs into Oldkirk Burn south of the church, and to the N by a straight line corresponding to National Grid northing 2664, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it comprises a rare association of medieval parish church and deserted village undisturbed by later buildings, which together contribute to an understanding of medieval architecture and rural settlement. Although the church has been partially excavated, most of the archaeological remains of the village remain undisturbed below dunes and have the potential through excavation to add to our knowledge and understanding of medieval society, economy, and material culture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NK 02 NW 1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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