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Arrat, burial ground and hospital 65m east of Magdalene's Chapel Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Brechin and Edzell, Angus

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Latitude: 56.7216 / 56°43'17"N

Longitude: -2.5783 / 2°34'42"W

OS Eastings: 364702

OS Northings: 759026

OS Grid: NO647590

Mapcode National: GBR WZ.ZQ6R

Mapcode Global: WH8RH.CBG0

Entry Name: Arrat, burial ground and hospital 65m E of Magdalene's Chapel Cottage

Scheduled Date: 12 March 1996

Last Amended: 28 July 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6362

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Ecclesiastical: chapel

Location: Brechin

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Brechin and Edzell

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is the remains of a burial ground, medieval chapel and hospital. The date of origin of the chapel is not known, but it was rebuilt in the 15th century by when it also had an associated hospital. The burial ground was probably contemporary with the chapel and remained in use until about 1860. The burial ground is visible as a walled enclosure at the edge of an arable field and retains a small number of memorial stones. Remains of the chapel survive below ground within the burial ground. The buried remains of the hospital are expected to survive in the close vicinity. Cropmarks visible on oblique aerial photographs indicate a rectangular enclosure in the field E of the burial ground which may relate to the hospital. The monument lies in the valley of the River South Esk, standing about 25m above sea level towards the foot of a gentle S-facing slope. The River South Esk is about 700m to the S and the road from Brechin to Montrose passes immediately to the N.

The burial ground measures about 45m NNW-SSE by 40m transversely. About 20m further east, three sides of the rectangular enclosure are visible as cropmarks. The enclosure measures at least 38m NNW-SSE by 21m transversely. A NNW side to the enclosure is not visible, but additional cropmarks suggestive of pits indicate the site extends a little to the NNW of the enclosure. Documentary sources indicate the chapel was old and ruinous early in the 15th century, but was rebuilt between 1429 and 1456. The hospital was founded in 1412 and operated as a poorhouse.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. On the SW side, the scheduling extends up to but excludes a post-and-wire fence. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all other fences and gates, and the above-ground elements of the burial ground walls, electricity poles, garden furniture and swings. The monument was last scheduled in 2002, but the documents did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the layout, construction and use of medieval churches, burial grounds and hospitals. This potential is enhanced by documentary sources that date the rebuilding of the chapel and the foundation of the hospital, and suggest an extended development sequence. Cropmarks indicate high potential for the presence of well-preserved archaeological remains in the vicinity that may relate to the hospital. The monument's significance is enhanced by the lack of substantial standing remains of medieval hospitals in Scotland and by the capacity to compare it with other medieval church and hospital sites in eastern Scotland, including the nearby Maison Dieu in Brechin and excavated structures at St Nicholas Farm, St Andrews. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the range of functions associated with churches and hospitals in Scotland and their role in medieval society.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO65NW 8 and 68.

ReferencesHall, D, 2006 ''Unto yone hospital at the tounis end': the Scottish medieval hospital', Tayside Fife Archaeol J 12, 89-105.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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