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St Mary's Chapel and graveyard

A Scheduled Monument in Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone, Aberdeen City

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1912 / 57°11'28"N

Longitude: -2.2228 / 2°13'21"W

OS Eastings: 386634

OS Northings: 811173

OS Grid: NJ866111

Mapcode National: GBR XJ.LMW7

Mapcode Global: WH9QG.TJQ1

Entry Name: St Mary's Chapel and graveyard

Scheduled Date: 17 December 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10446

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Newhills

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a 14th-century chapel and graveyard, visible as upstanding remains. The monument is situated on a moderate S-facing slope, enclosed by a 19th-century stone wall. It lies near the Inverurie road at Chapel Farm, at a height of around 100m OD.

The chapel at Newhills, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and later known as 'St Mary's of Stoneywood', was ordered to be completed in 1367 and was last mentioned in 1649, when the Kirk Session of St Machar's prohibited further burials within the churchyard. However, there is documentary evidence that the site continued in use as a burial place in the 17th century and down into the 20th century. A low, turf-covered foundation, rectangular in shape, which reputedly represents the remains of the chapel, measures 10.6 x 6m and stands up to 0.4m high. A 2.8m square grave marker is attached to the E end, with a central grave slab and an illegible inscription. The N wall of the chapel is less well-preserved than the other three walls, but there is a possible entrance in the NW corner.

Today thirteen memorials or grave markers are visible, most of 19th- to early 20th-century date. Three are placed in the chapel at the W end, backed against the inner face of the W wall. Four others are aligned with and immediately E of the chapel. A mausoleum is situated against the centre of the W graveyard wall, with a further three grave slabs just to the N. It is highly likely that a large number of unmarked earlier graves are also present in the graveyard.

A well, reportedly with medicinal properties, is located towards the SW corner of the churchyard. In 1966 the Ordnance Survey reported that the well is enclosed by dry-stone walling, measuring 2m x 1.2m x 1.2m maximum height on the N side. Exploratory excavations in 2003 and 2004 revealed a two-phase sub-oval feature, with maximum dimensions of 2.44 by 0.94m, bounded by dry stone walling, enclosing the site of a spring. The N part of the enclosing wall (or well-head) was built first; and the S part, which included some mortar-bonded stones, was added possibly as late as the 19th century, when the feature may have functioned as a trough or bath. The water table was reached at a depth of 0.5m.

The area to be scheduled is sub-rectangular on plan, bounded by the graveyard wall, to includes the remains described above, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes any active lairs and the above-ground remains of the 19th-century and later burial markers, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of medieval ecclesiastical architecture, organisation and burial practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ81SE 10. The well is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ81SE 8.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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