Ancient Monuments

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Plockton Open Air Church, 60m NNW of War Memorial

A Scheduled Monument in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh, Highland

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Latitude: 57.3366 / 57°20'11"N

Longitude: -5.6574 / 5°39'26"W

OS Eastings: 179986

OS Northings: 833256

OS Grid: NG799332

Mapcode National: GBR D9DB.CF1

Mapcode Global: WH09V.2V9L

Entry Name: Plockton Open Air Church, 60m NNW of War Memorial

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2000

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8863

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: open air preaching place

Location: Lochalsh

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh

Traditional County: Ross-shire


The monument comprises an open-air preaching place, used for some years after the Disruption by the Free Church congregation of the area around Plockton.

The monument takes the form of a natural hollow backed by exposed rock slopes and aligned roughly NS. The slopes of the hollow have been terraced to form between three and five rows of seats. The open, downslope, side has been closed by a mortared random rubble wall, about 11.5m long and 3.75m high. The wall is pierced by an arched entrance 2m wide and is entered from the road via a flight of steps. To the W of the arched opening there is a corrugated iron shed which was used to house the wooden pulpit or preaching ark.

Such open air communion sites were common along the NW coast after the Disruption when local heritors denied adherents of the newly established Free Church sites upon which to build churches. As a consequence the Free Church were pushed to marginal sites, especially along the coast. Such places of worship were often transitory and Plockton is unusual in the permanence of its construction and its formal layout. The site was used for annual communion services by the Free Church and was last used as such in July 1936.

The area to be scheduled consists of the enclosed area back to the rocky slopes, the wall and the steps from the road. It measures about 70m N-S by 60m W-E, and is indicated in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a material reminder of the greatest religious upheaval of the 19th century, the Disruption, which led to religious and social change in Scotland. The monument is one of the few preaching sites that left any material remains.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NG 83 SW 32.


Miket, R. (1998) Glenelg, Kintail and Lochalsh. Gateway to the Isle of Skye. An Historical Introduction. Waternish: Maclean Press.

Uncles, C. J. (1999) Old Ways Through Wester Ross. Ochitree: Stenlake Publishing.

Wildgoose, M. (1998) Plockton Open Air Church. A record of the work carried out by conservation volunteers. April 20-23, 1998. Unpublished report for NTS.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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