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St Drostan's, Old Aberdour Kirk and burial ground

A Scheduled Monument in Troup, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.6694 / 57°40'9"N

Longitude: -2.1955 / 2°11'43"W

OS Eastings: 388433

OS Northings: 864403

OS Grid: NJ884644

Mapcode National: GBR N8YG.0W6

Mapcode Global: WH9N5.7HRG

Entry Name: St Drostan's, Old Aberdour Kirk and burial ground

Scheduled Date: 6 February 1995

Last Amended: 29 November 2004

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6155

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard

Location: Aberdour (Aberdeenshire)

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Troup

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument consists of the remains of St Drostan's, the old parish kirk of Aberdour, which dates from the 16th century, and the surrounding burial ground. The building incorporates earlier fabric and is likely to be the last of a series of churches occupying the same site. The original chapel is thought to have been founded by St Drostan around AD 590. The monument was first scheduled in 1995. On that occasion only the ruined structure and an area of ground projecting 2m from around the walls of church was scheduled. The monument is being rescheduled to include the old burial ground where associated remains may survive and which has a collection of memorials dating from the 18th century and perhaps earlier.

There is no historical account of Drostan, but additions to the 'Book of Deer' around 1131 state: 'Columcille and Drostan, Cosgrach's son, his disciple, came from Iona, by the inspiration of God, to Aberdour'. In later times the parish church was dedicated to St Drostan, who was also patron saint of the original monastery of Deer. According to the Aberdeen Brieviary his bones were laid in a stone tomb at Aberdour. In 1178 and 1318 there are notices of the church's erection into a prebend of St Machar's Cathedral.

The present church is of a T-plan and measures 21.5m WSW-ENE by 6.5m transversely over walls 0.8m thick with a roofed SSE aisle, rebuilt in 1764, projecting 9.3m from the SSE wall. The remains of a blocked chamfered semi-circular arch with impost moulding can be seen between the nave and the aisle. The walls are intact to the wallhead apart from a portion of the SSE wall. The masonry is of red rubble, tooled red sandstone (badly weathered) and tooled granite dressings. The walls have latterly been harled. The WSW gable is intact and has a shallow pointed-headed window. The ENE end has been partitioned into two burial enclosures and the aisle is closed as a burial vault. In the NNW wall is a 16th-century round-arched mural tomb, plus other mural tablets. A number of re-used voissours are incorporated in the upper walls of the ENE end. At the intersection of the nave and the aisle is an octagonal font.

The burial ground is an irregular hexagon, and contains a fine collection of gravestones dating form at least the 18th century onwards.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the church and the extent of the old burial ground. It is an irregular hexagon in shape and has maximum dimensions of 60m NNE-SSW and 56m E-W as marked in red on the attached map. All modern burial lairs still in use and the boundary wall are excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an ecclesiastical site which is mentioned in the 12th century and has possibly been in use for the practice and dissemination of Christianity from the 6th century. The present structure provides valuable above ground evidence for the later stages of architectural development of an ecclesiastical building of 15th century date which may overlie a series of earlier structures and is likely to incorporate masonry from its immediate predecessor. The monument has the potential through both standing and buried archaeology to clarify the ground plan and the constructional history of this ecclesiastical site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as as NJ34NW 2.

References:

Adams A M 1956, THE PARISH OF ABERDOUR.

Cramond W (189-?), THE CHURCH OF ABERDOUR, (FRASERBURGH).

Jervise A 1875-9, EPITAPHS AND INSCRIPTIONS FROM BURIAL GROUNDS AND OLD BUILDINGS IN THE NORTH-EAST OF SCOTLAND WITH HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHICAL, GENEALOGICAL AND ANTIQUARIAN NOTES, 2v, Edinburgh, Vol. 1, 55.

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, 535.

Pratt J B 1901, BUCHAN, Revision, Aberdeen, 191.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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