Ancient Monuments

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Beauly Priory,priory and burial ground

A Scheduled Monument in Aird and Loch Ness, Highland

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Latitude: 57.4845 / 57°29'4"N

Longitude: -4.4578 / 4°27'27"W

OS Eastings: 252755

OS Northings: 846473

OS Grid: NH527464

Mapcode National: GBR H8CY.8TN

Mapcode Global: WH3F7.H4HM

Entry Name: Beauly Priory,priory and burial ground

Scheduled Date: 6 February 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90031

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: effigy; Ecclesiastical: priory

Location: Kilmorack

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Aird and Loch Ness

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of the remains of Beauly Priory, founded for Valliscaulian monks around 1230 and probably unroofed c1560, after which the church was used for burials.

The church is of quasi-transeptal form, with N and S chapels, almost symmetrically placed but of differing widths, flanking the choir, and with traces of a further chapel adjoining the N wall of the nave. The S chapel may have been adapted from part of the priory's domestic buildings, which otherwise do not survive, and leads from the choir by a wide arch at a high level; both N chapels are separate from the church.

The church dates from the mid-13th century onwards, and was built from E to W, but the W end was rebuilt during the 1530s. The S side of the presbytery shows the high quality of the original design, with 3 Y-traceried windows set internally within a blank arcade, but the N side, with its 3 windows, is much plainer. The exterior has angle- buttresses and buttresses between the windows. The buttresses are spaced more widely further W, and the window tracery is of later date, as is the E window. The N transeptal chapel has been re-roofed and is used as a burial aisle, but retains evidence of division into 2 storeys.

The monastic buildings stood S of the nave, around a cloister. The E and W ranges adjoined the church, and their remains underlie the graveyard, but any S range is likely to lie outwith the modern wall. A doorway leads from the upper floor of the E range to the S chapel, and in the W range a fireplace remains at first floor level.

A bank runs N-S across the burial ground, marking an earlier W boundary. Hotel buildings (now demolished) adjoining the street at the W end of the area may have succeeded buildings associated with the priory.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, and measures a maximum of 140m E-W by 75m N-S, to include the priory church, the burial ground and an area in which traces of other structures and activities associated with the priory are likely to survive. It is defined by and includes the present boundary walls to N, E and W, and by the edge of the grassed area to the S, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes all lairs for which rights of burial still exist.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the well preserved remains of an important medieval monastery (one of very few north of the Highland line). Study of its standing remains and below-ground evidence has the potential to contribute to our understanding of monastic life, liturgical arrangements, architectural organisation and burial practices during the Middle Ages and later.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 54 NW 5.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Beauly Priory
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Related Designations

Designation TypeListed Building (A)StatusRemoved

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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