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St Bride's Chapel (Kildrummy Old Parish Church)

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.2456 / 57°14'44"N

Longitude: -2.8759 / 2°52'33"W

OS Eastings: 347241

OS Northings: 817556

OS Grid: NJ472175

Mapcode National: GBR M98K.THM

Mapcode Global: WH7MP.S4QR

Entry Name: St Bride's Chapel (Kildrummy Old Parish Church)

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10729

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: effigy; Ecclesiastical: church; Secular: motte

Location: Kildrummy

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument consists of the remains of the parish church of Kildrummy and its burial ground, which is situated on top of a glacial mound within Strathdon. The church was dedicated to St Bride and appears to have been established as a parish church before 1300. The mound on which the church stands may have been the site of a motte and bailey castle (the precursor of Kildrummy Castle) before it became an ecclesiastical site. Much of the church was demolished in 1805 to build the present church, immediately to the NNE.

All that remains of St Bride's is the N wall and the later S aisle which served as a burial aisle for the Elphinstone family. The N wall is about 16m long, 3m high and 1m thick. In the centre of the wall there is a medieval tomb recess, with a pointed arch, containing a fine effigy slab in low relief. An inscription on the side of the edge of the slab reads: HIC IACET ALXDAR DE FORBES QUONDAM DE BURCHIS ET MARIOTA ? The inscription refers to Alexander Forbes or the 4th Laird of Brux, who died in the 1560s, and his wife Marjory Forbes.

The warrior is dressed in a bassinet with plume, a cowl of chainmail covering the neck and shoulders, while the rest of his body and limbs are clad in plate armour, including a skirt of tace. He has a dagger at his side. The lady has a long gown, with her head covered by a coif. The tomb may have served as an Easter Sepulchre, although its westerly location seems to suggest otherwise. An 18th-century tombstone stands within the recess. A fine 17th-century tombstone, surrounded by a carved stone frame or architrave, is built into the wall W of the recess.

All the openings in the wall have been blocked. One opening is located just W of the tomb recess, and the remains of a much-altered splayed window opening lies to the W of that. Just below this window is a socket hole. The wall has a modern coping and has been heavily slaistered with cement mortar. The tomb recess is protected by a derelict timber and asbestos shelter.

The S or Elphinstone Aisle is believed to have been built in 1605 as a burial aisle for the Elphinstone family, although it is possible that an early chantry aisle was simply converted to this use. It was restored in 1862 and is still roofed. The S elevation contains the present entrance to the aisle, although this must be a later slapping through. The S elevation has a crow-stepped gable, while the N gable has flat skews. The west wall has a blocked-up doorway into which has been inserted a 17th-century graveslab. In the interior of the aisle, a finely carved early modern memorial (a triple effigy) is fixed to the N wall.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the N wall of the church, the Elphinstone Aisle and the mound on which the church was located. The area is defined on the ground by the boundary fence which encloses the site. The scheduled area is roughly oval in plan, with maximum dimensions of 54m NE-SW and 50.5m E-W. The scheduling excludes all modern burial lairs still in use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of a site of a medieval parish church which continued in use until the early 19th century. The location of the church on top of what appears to have been a motte is most unusual and may represent the translation of a nearby church which served the castle and the castletoun to the motte site when the new masonry castle of Kildrummy was constructed. Although the church is incomplete, it demonstrates the changing nature of Christian devotion, such as the growth in the popularity of private burial aisles after the Reformation.

The effigy slab of the Laird of Brux is very fine and is nationally important in its own right, as are some of the early modern funerary monuments, particularly the memorial located against the N wall of the Elphinston Aisle. The memorials are important as they can contribute to our understanding of changing funerary practices, lay patronage of ecclesiastic sites and, in some cases, even the nature of the clothes people wore and the armour that was used.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NR 62 SE 8.

Bibliography:

Bogdan, N. and Bryce, I. B. D. (1991) 'Castles, manors and 'town houses' survey', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1991, 29.

Cowan, I. B. (1967) The parishes of medieval Scotland, Scot Rec Soc, 93, Edinburgh, 100.

Scott, H. et. al. (eds.) (1915-61) Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, Edinburgh, vol. 6, 132.

Shepherd, I. A. G. (1986) 'Exploring Scotland's heritage: Grampian', Exploring Scotland's heritage series, Edinburgh, 102.

Simpson, W. D. (1949) The earldom of Mar: being a sequel to 'The Province of Mar', 1943, Aberdeen, 47-8.

Simpson, W. D. (1943) The province of Mar: being the Rhind lectures in archaeology, 1941, Aberdeen University Studies, 121, Aberdeen, 144.

Simpson, W. D. (1923) The castle of Kildrummy, its place in Scottish history architecture, Aberdeen, 259-63.

Whyte, J. F. (1936) 'The kirk of Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire', Trans Scot Eccles Soc, 11, 3, 1935-6, 163-72.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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