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St Combs, St Columba's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Peterhead North and Rattray, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.6584 / 57°39'30"N

Longitude: -1.907 / 1°54'25"W

OS Eastings: 405649

OS Northings: 863167

OS Grid: NK056631

Mapcode National: GBR P8NH.109

Mapcode Global: WH9N9.PR3W

Entry Name: St Combs, St Columba's Church

Scheduled Date: 29 November 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11116

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: church

Location: Lonmay

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Peterhead North and Rattray

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument consist of the fragmentary remains of the medieval parish church of St Combs (St Columba) which served the parish of Lonmay. The monument stands within a burial ground which almost lies within sand dunes overlooking St Combs Haven.

An account of 1527 states that Henry Le Chen, bishop of Aberdeen, was responsible for founding this church as a prebend of the cathedral in 1314. The church was abandoned in 1608 when a new church was built 2 miles further inland at Kirkton of Lonmay.

The remains of the church are extremely fragmentary, with the W gable being the most substantial upstanding element, surviving to a height on 3m, pierced by a small square-headed window. The N wall survives to several course in places, but as with the rest of the structure, much of the wall consists of turf covered footings. Despite this fragmentary condition, the general form and dimensions of church can be made out: it was a simple rectangular structure aligned ESE-WNW and measured 19m ESE-WNW by about 6m transversely.

The area to be scheduled includes the church and an area around in which associated remains may be expected to be found. The area is rectangular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 28m ESE-WNW by 14m transversely as marked in red on the attached map. All modern burial lairs still in use are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the site of a medieval parish church which served as a prebend of Aberdeen Cathedral and as such it has great potential to contribute toward an understanding of medieval art, architecture, religious practices and material culture. Its abandonment just fifty years after the Reformation suggest that remains represent what was essentially a medieval church, with few post-Reformation changes. If the documentary evidence is correct, and the church was founded in the early 14th century, it would be a relatively rare example of church building during that period.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ06SE 1.

References:

Cowan I B 1967, 'The Parishes of Medieval Scotland' SCOT REC SOC, Vol. 93.

MacGibbon D and Ross T 1896-7, THE ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND FROM THE EARLIEST CHRISTIAN TIMES TO THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, 3v, Edinburgh, Vol. 3, 587.

Scott H et al eds. 1915-61, FASTI ECCLESIAE SCOTICANAE: THE SUCCESSION OF MINISTERS IN THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND FROM THE REFORMATION, Revision, Edinburgh, Vol. 6, 228.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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