Ancient Monuments

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Tingwall Parish Church, burial aisle 20m SSE of

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland Central, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.1758 / 60°10'33"N

Longitude: -1.2463 / 1°14'46"W

OS Eastings: 441919

OS Northings: 1143728

OS Grid: HU419437

Mapcode National: GBR R18V.9LR

Mapcode Global: XHD35.5HSD

Entry Name: Tingwall Parish Church, burial aisle 20m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 10 February 2003

Last Amended: 17 August 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10810

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: inscribed stone; Ecclesiastical: burial avile/vault

Location: Tingwall

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland Central

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument comprises the remains of the 17th-century burial aisle of the Mitchells of Westshore, which contains several significant grave markers. The monument is a turf-covered barrel-vaulted structure, measuring approximately 7m by 6m. It stands in the graveyard of the present 19th-century church of St Magnus (Tingwall Parish Church) at around 20m above sea level, and occupies a prominent position within the landscape at the N end of the Loch of Tingwall. The monument was first scheduled in 2003, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular and includes the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. All active burial layers are specifically excluded from the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a well preserved example of a post-medieval burial aisle incorporating architectural elements from an earlier church. Its entrance archway is decorated with a roll moulding, which is thought to have been relocated from the medieval church of St Magnus. This earlier church has not yet been located but is likely to have been situated to the north of the burial aisle. The aisle contains several finely carved tombstones of the 17th and 18th centuries, which have been moved into the aisle from the kirkyard sometime during the 20th century. One, now very fractured, commemorates Andrew Crawford, Master of Works to the Earl of Orkney and Shetland. The monument has the potential to tell us much about ecclesiastical history and architecture, and burial and commemorative practices, as well as stonemasonry skills.

Contextual characteristics

The burial aisle reflects the significance and status of the Mitchell family, who were notable Zetland merchants in the late 17th century. Their connection with Scalloway Castle, the seat of the Earl of Orkney and Shetland, is indicated by the presence of Andrew Crawford's grave slab. This grave slab is particularly interesting because of Crawford's involvement with several significant building works, notably the Earl's Palace in Kirkwall, Orkney, and probably the castles at Scalloway and Muness in Shetland. The remaining grave markers are carved with a range of heraldic symbols and death emblems.

Associative characteristics

This monument has direct links with several notable historical figures, including Andrew Crawford, a Master of Works to the Earl of Orkney and Shetland, responsible for the construction of several significant buildings in the Northern Isles in the 17th century; and the Mitchell family, who were a high-status 17th-century family of merchants.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an example of a post-medieval burial aisle incorporating elements of an earlier church and likely to have formed part of the larger footprint of the medieval church of St Magnus. It is also of national importance because it contains several ornately-carved 17th-century grave markers belonging to notable historical personages and is representative of the commemorative practices of the time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Finnie, M, 1990, Shetland: an illustrated architectural guide, Edinburgh. 36.

RCAHMS, 1946, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Twelfth report with an inventory of the ancient monuments of Orkney and Shetland, 3v Edinburgh. 44.

Ritchie, A, 1997, Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Shetland, Exploring Scotland's Heritage series, Edinburgh. 25.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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