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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 715619

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT35NW 1.00 31526 58720 Old Church

NT35NW 1.01 31516 58744 Church-yard

(NT 3151 5871) Temple Church (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1957)

The modern 'Temple' is identical with 'Balantrodoch', the principal seat of the Knights Templars in Scotland. There is no record of its foundation, though it is commonly assumed that this was due to David I. The earliest reference is probably in a charter of 1175-99. After the suppression of the Templars, about 1309, "Temphill of Balantrodoch with the kirk" became one of the baronies held by the Hospitallers, while, at an unascertained date, the former Templars' church became parochial. That church was in use until the present church (at NT 3151 5878) was built, in 1832, and still exists in ruins.

The church (dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as were all Templars' churches) was a single-chambered oblong structure, 54 3/4 ft x 17 3/4 ft internally. The E part, of ashlar, dates from the end of the 13th c, while the W part has been rebuilt. An earlier building probably occupied the site as several courses of 12th c masonry were re-used in the later portion. It is roofless, but the walls are complete, and the E gable is topped by a 17th c belfry.

In 1853, the manse was believed to occupy the site of the associated 'Templars' house', and during alterations to it in 1928, a drainage track exposed the basement course of a 13th c building which ran N-S at a distance of 80ft W of the W gable of the church. This structure was part of the claustral buildings, the cloister evidently having been on the N side of the church due to the constricted nature of the site. The foundations of a wall and buttress at the bend of the river, S of the manse, may be the remains of the reredorter. A cellar beneath the manse, containing the lower part of a small wheel-stair, may indicate the N range of the cloister.

D E Easson 1957; RCAHMS 1929, visited 1928; Name Book 1853; G Hay 1957

When visited in 1954, the roofless, much restored, remains of the church were as described above. The 13th c E gable was in good condition. The foundations and buttress mentioned above were not visible.

Visited by OS (JFC) 10 September 1954.

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