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Kirkhill, St Mary's Church

Burial Ground (Medieval) - (Post Medieval), Church (Medieval) - (Post Medieval)

Site Name Kirkhill, St Mary's Church

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval) - (Post Medieval), Church (Medieval) - (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Lovat Burial Aisle; Lovat Mausoleum; Fraser Mausoleum; Wardlaw Chapel; Old Wardlaw Parish Church

Canmore ID 12699

Site Number NH54NW 4

NGR NH 54967 45705

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kirkhill
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH54NW 4.00 NH 54967 45705.

NH54NW 4.01 NH 54966 45680 Churchyard

(NH 5495 4570) St Mary's Church (NR) (In Ruins)

OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1906)

The remains of the church of the former parish of Wardlaw which was incorporated in Kirkhill in 1618. This church, dedicated to St Mary, was the successor to NH54SW 1 which is said to have been removed in 1220.

The remains consist of a gable against the west gable of the mortuary chapel which was built in 1722. Local tradition says that the tombstones from the earlier site were removed to this burial ground, Where Jolly notes numerous cup-marked stones and refers to 'a fragment of a very beautfiul cross'.

T Wallace 1911 and 1886; W Jolly 1882

What appears to be the foundations of St Mary's Church are attached to the W side of the Lovat Mausoleum, and the enclosure is now used for burials of the Frasers of Reelig. It measures 10.3m E-W by 6.6m N-S within walls 0.5m thick. The W wall is partly destroyed, and the N and S walls averaging 1.0m high are topped by a later coping, but the harled E gable is virtually intact and incorporated in the W wall of the mausoleum. According to a notice board the church was built in 1618 when the parishes were united, and there is no ground evidence to support an earlier date. The same notice, however, states that the mausoleum was built in 1634, but the date 1722 is inscribed on the belfry.

The earliest legible grave markers are of the early 17th C. No trace of cup marked stones, nor of the cross fragment. The grave yard is still in use.

Visited by OS (A A) 22 June 1975

NH 5495 4570 An archaeological examination was carried out in connection with restoration work at this important 17th/18th-century building. A fine quatrefoil window exposed in the W gable of the mausoleum is thought to be the remains of the window dedicated by Euphemia Fraser in 1341. Other fragments of dressed masonry thought to derive from the medieval church were also found. However, apart from the W gable, no walling incontrovertibly related to the earlier church was revealed. Further work is planned.

A full report will be lodged with the NMRS and Highland SMR.

Sponsor: Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust.

J Wordsworth 1997

NH 549 457 A programme of geophysical survey was conducted by GUARD in Wardlaw Old Churchyard, Kirkhill, in an attempt to detect any buried structures associated with the site of the medieval chapel or any earlier archaeological activity. The results proved largely uninformative due to geological conditions and severe ground disturbance.

Sponsors: Hall & Tawse, Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust.

D Abernethy 1997

Architecture Notes

The only section of the medieval Parish Church remaining is the Lovat Mausoleum.

NMRS Print Room

Kirkhill, Lovat Mausoleum

3 prints - the belfry

W Schomberg Scott Photograph Collection

Acc No 1997/39


Field Visit (April 1979)

Wardlaw, St Mary's Church NH 549 457 NH54NW 4

Part of the medieval parish church of Wardlaw appears to have been incorporated into the W gable of the listed 17th-century Lovat mausoleum. In 1618 Wardlaw was amalgamated with Farnua to form the parish of Kirkhill.

RCAHMS 1979, visited April 1979

Wallace 1911, 311-14; Scott et al. 1915-61, vi, 471-2; Cowan 1967, 206-7

Field Visit (2009 - 2009)

Photographic Survey


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