Ancient Monuments

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Christ's Kirk, Kennethmont

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

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Latitude: 57.3301 / 57°19'48"N

Longitude: -2.6568 / 2°39'24"W

OS Eastings: 360550

OS Northings: 826812

OS Grid: NJ605268

Mapcode National: GBR M9SB.ZKF

Mapcode Global: WH8NK.503Z

Entry Name: Christ's Kirk, Kennethmont

Scheduled Date: 13 December 2006

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11378

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Kennethmont

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument consists of the partly exposed, but mainly grass-covered, foundations and collapsed rubble-built lower walls of the parish church of Rathmuriel. The first certain reference to the church is at a date between 1191 and 1195, when it was granted to Lindores Abbey by the founder of that abbey, David, earl of Huntingdon; papal confirmation of this grant was issued in 1195, and a vicarage was established in 1257. By the Reformation (in 1560) the church had apparently become a dependent chapel within the parish of Kennethmont (which was also appropriated to Lindores). In the later Middle Ages it bore the dedication of Christ's Kirk, but is traditionally said also to have had a dedication to the shadowy St Muriel. The church was united with Kennethmont in about 1630, and probably fell out of use for worship soon afterwards, though both church and churchyard continued in use as a burial place.

The church appears to have had maximum dimensions of 22.5 m from E to W by 7.3 m from N to S; there is slight evidence of what may have been a cross-wall dividing chancel from nave. Most of the masonry of the walls has been robbed, and is assumed to have been re-used in building adjacent farm structures. The church was slightly to the south of the centre of a roughly rectangular churchyard, defined by collapsed dry-stone-built walls. One gravestone with the date 1767 remains to the south of the church, and it is likely there are others concealed within the vegetation. The church and churchyard are now largely lost to sight within a copse of pine and beech trees and saplings.

The area to be scheduled, which includes the churchyard walls, is sub-rectangular and measures approximately 53m from W to E and 41m from N to S, as marked on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monuments's significance can be characterised on the following criteria:

INTRINSIC CHARACTERISTICS. Although the masonry and timber fabric of the church is not well preserved, the preservation of the outline of its collapsed walls strongly suggests that the archaeological evidence for its plan and internal arrangements is likely to survive well. The possible indications of a structural distinction between the chancel and nave hint at a plan of more than basic simplicity.

CONTEXTUAL CHARACTERISTICS. The monument is of high significance as a structurally relatively unmodified example of a medieval rural parish church both on a national basis within the context of the Scottish Church, and within a more local context in the diocese of Aberdeen and the deanery of Garioch.

ASSOCIATIVE CHARACTERISTICS. A number of aspects of the history of this church give it an added dimension of interest. These include: its relationship with the distant royal foundation for the Tironensian order to which it was appropriated; the subsequent establishment of a vicarage for the cure of souls within its parish; and the eventual loss of its independent parochial status.

NATIONAL IMPORTANCE. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our understanding of the planning and liturgical arrangements of a medieval rural parish church that remained in use from at least the later stages of the reorganisation of the Scottish Church in the twelfth century up until the Reformation. Although it was presumably modified to some extent to meet reformed needs after the Reformation, since it passed out of use soon after being united with Kennethmont in 1630, it is likely to preserve the archaeological evidence for its medieval and early post-medieval dispositions better than would be the case with a church that had remained in use after then.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ62NW 7.


Cowan I B 1967, 'The Parishes of Medieval Scotland', SCOT REC SOC, Edinburgh.


Scott H et al, FASTI ECCLESIAE SCOTICANAE, Edinburgh, 1915-61.

Simpson W D 1943, THE EARLDOM OF MAR, Edinburgh, 1943.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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