Ancient Monuments

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Dalfad, chapel and burial ground 250m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.0908 / 57°5'26"N

Longitude: -3.1272 / 3°7'37"W

OS Eastings: 331790

OS Northings: 800545

OS Grid: NJ317005

Mapcode National: GBR WB.79Z6

Mapcode Global: WH6M6.Y11F

Entry Name: Dalfad, chapel and burial ground 250m SE of

Scheduled Date: 20 January 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10732

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Glenmuick, Tullich and Glengairn

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Roman Catholic chapel and burial ground, situated on the N slope of Glen Gairn, high above the River Gairn.

The chapel was built probably by the McGregors of Dalfad during the early to mid 18th century, although the site may indeed be older, as Catholic recusancy was sustained in the Glengairn and Upper Desside from the 1630s, with several Jesuit missions active from the 1670s.

It has been suggested that the chapel may never have been completed, building works ceasing after the death of the McGregor Laird of Dalfad and eighteen of his kinsmen at Culloden in 1746. The focus of Catholic worship in the area then moved to the nearby chapel at Clashenruich.

The monument consists of a rubble-built rectangular structure, 14.5m by 5m with walls 1m thick and 1m high, oriented E to W. At the E end of the chapel there is a crudely carved cross slab and a grave marker and there are three other grave slabs propped up against the N wall of the chapel. The chapel sits within a sub-rectangular burial ground defined by a drystone wall.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the chapel and burial ground. The area is defined on the ground by the drystone wall which encloses the site. The scheduled area is sub-rectangular with maximum dimensions of 22m N-S by 30m transversely.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a rare monument to Roman Catholic recusancy in Scotland. It demonstrates the survival, and the struggle for survival, of the Roman Catholic faith after the Reformation in certain parts of Scotland. The chapel at Dalfad demonstrates the strong clan base to recusancy in the Highlands.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NM 28 SE 5.


Dilworth, M. (1956) 'Catholic Glengairn in the Early Nineteenth Century' Innes Review, 7, 87-100.

Historic Catholic Sites in the Highlands and the North East of Scotland ' Leaflet compiled for the Scottish Catholic Heritage Commission.

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. 2. 167.

Roberts, A. (1990) 'Aspects of Highland and Lowland Roman Catholicism on Deeside' Northern Scotland, vol. 10, 19-30.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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