Ancient Monuments

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Fortrose Cathedral

A Scheduled Monument in Black Isle, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5808 / 57°34'50"N

Longitude: -4.1303 / 4°7'49"W

OS Eastings: 272718

OS Northings: 856527

OS Grid: NH727565

Mapcode National: GBR J85P.GS5

Mapcode Global: WH4FY.JQDB

Entry Name: Fortrose Cathedral

Scheduled Date: 13 November 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90147

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: tombstone; Ecclesiastical: cathedral

Location: Rosemarkie

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Black Isle

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument consists of the remains of Fortrose Cathedral, seat of the diocese of Ross from the 13th Century until the Reformation, together With its surrounding burial ground.

The cathedral as originally constructed - probably during the first half of the 13th Century - apparently consisted of an aisle-less nave and Choir with a two-storey range of buildings attached to the N side of the choir. A square tower attached to the NW angle of the nave may also have been part of this first phase of building.

At the turn of the 14th and 15th Centuries, an aisle and quasi-transeptal chapel were added to the south side of the nave, work which is traditionally ascribed to the patronage of Euphemia Countess of Ross.

Although the foundations of the buttressed walls of the nave, choir and tower survive (and are marked out), upstanding remains are restricted to S aisle and chapel and the range lying N of the choir.

The S aisle is vaulted in 3 bays and the chapel in 2; the wall dividing them was subsequently pierced by an arch. Above was a pitched roof, of which one gable survives. A turret gives access to what was the roof space. Nave and chapel each have an arcade of 2 arches, originally giving on to the nave.

The blank wall separating the 2 arcades was later pierced to take a tomb. Buttresses survive and there are remains of traceried windows to E, W, and S. A porch attached to the S side of the aisle formed the principal entrance.

The range originally lying N of the choir is entered from the S at ground level and (by a post-medieval entrance) from the W at first- floor level. The lower storey is vaulted in 6 bays and the walls have blank arcading and lancet windows. The upper storey has been much rebuilt since the Reformation and is lit by square-headed windows. A stair lies within the thickness of the W wall.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, measuring a maximum of 130m NW-SE by 80m. It includes the Cathedral, its burial ground and its enclosing wall, together with further open areas which may retain evidence for the larger burial ground which surrounded the Cathedral before post-Reformation encroachments, and for its method of enclosure.

The scheduling excludes all lairs for which rights of burial still exist and the surfaces of modern paved roads within the scheduled area. The area is marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of the cathedral of one of Scotland's 13 medieval dioceses, and the seat of the see for over 300 years. It displays architectural details of both early and late medieval date of the highest quality. The remains provide evidence, and have the potential to provide further evidence through excavation, for the study of Scottish medieval architecture, and ecclesiastical organisation and demographic change in medieval and early modern Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 75 NW 1.


Fawcett, R. (1987) Beauly Priory and Fortrose Cathedral, Edinburgh.

MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T. (1896-7) 'The ecclesiastical architecture of Scotland from the earliest Christian times to the seventeenth century', 3v, Edinburgh, Vol. 2, 394-402.

Scott, A. R. (1873) Illustrations of Fortrose Cathedral, Edinburgh, 2 plan, pl. 6.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Fortrose Cathedral
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Related Designations

Designation TypeListed Building (A)StatusRemoved

Designation TypeListed Building (A)StatusRemoved

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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