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Auchindoir, St Mary's Church, Mote Hill and Dovecot

A Scheduled Monument in Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3081 / 57°18'29"N

Longitude: -2.8684 / 2°52'6"W

OS Eastings: 347783

OS Northings: 824502

OS Grid: NJ477245

Mapcode National: GBR M98D.QQK

Mapcode Global: WH7M9.XK9W

Entry Name: Auchindoir, St Mary's Church, Mote Hill and Dovecot

Scheduled Date: 7 February 1936

Last Amended: 3 March 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90267

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church; Secular: motte

Location: Auchindoir and Kearn

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises a medieval church and motte and a 16th-century dovecot. The church is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland and is being re-scheduled to extend protection to cover the whole of the archaeologically sensitive area.

The church, dedicated to St Mary, is first mentioned in 1239 and remained in use until c.1809. Now roofless, it has a simple rectangular plan (17.2m E-W by 7.6m N-S) with opposing round-headed doors towards the W end of the N and S walls respectively. The S door is decorated externally with a heavy roll-moulding which continues around the arch, enclosed by a richly moulded hood including dog-tooth ornament supported on nook shafts with stiff-leafed bell capitals and moulded bases. In the early 16th century a fine sacrament house carved to resemble a large pyx, or monstrance, was inserted into the N wall of the chancel, blocking an earlier lancet window. Much of the fabric of the church was altered again in the 17th century. The E gable was partly rebuilt in 1638 with a door in the original altar position and the W gable with its bellcote in 1664. A door and window were also inserted in the S wall.

Some 50m to the SW of the church on the edge of a stream is a dovecot of 16th-century date. It is rectangular, measuring about 7m by about 4m and surviving to a height of about 3m, with a door on the E. Some 80m to the SSE of the church is a motte, oval on plan and measuring about 32m NW-SE by about 17m transversely, across its flat summit; it is formed from a natural eminence and stands some 7.5m above the bottom of a ditch, which cuts it off from high ground to the N and W. The bailey, if there ever was one, would most likely have been located in the area of the modern graveyard extension (which is excluded from the present scheduling).

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in shape, extending to a maximum of 181m, approximately NNW-SSE, by 90m WSW-ENE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it contributes to an understanding of medieval architecture, art, religion, liturgy, burial practices, castle building, settlement and economy, and has the potential to contribute further through archaeological excavation to an understanding of the material culture of the period. Its importance is enhanced by the close geographical association of medieval church and castle site, by the surviving documentary evidence relating to the former, and by the artistic parallels between the sacrament house and others in Aberdeenshire, notably Kintore. The importance of the site is reflected in its status as a property in state care.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ42SE 1, NJ42SE 4 and NJ43SE 20.


M. Cross. Bibliography of Monuments in the Care of the Secretary of State Scotland, 57'8, Glasgow 1994.

W. D. simpson. Craig Castle and Kirk of Auchindoir. Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 64 (1929'30), 46'70.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
St. Mary's Church, Auchindoir
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Related Designations

Designation TypeListed Building (A)StatusRemoved

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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