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Inverness, Church Street, Old High Kirk

Church (12th Century), War Memorial(S) (20th Century)

Site Name Inverness, Church Street, Old High Kirk

Classification Church (12th Century), War Memorial(S) (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Inverness Parish Church; 113 Church Street; English Church; High Church; War Memorial Plaques; Cameron Highlanders Colours; Roll Of Honour

Canmore ID 13346

Site Number NH64NE 13

NGR NH 66463 45514

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Inverness And Bona
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Inverness
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH64NE 13.00 NH 66463 45514

NH64NE 13.01 NH 66477 45511 Mausoleum.

(NH 66464550) The first actual reference by name to the Parish Church of Inverness is in a charter by Alexander in 1240. The site of the Parish Church in 1530 and for several centuries prior to that was the site upon which the present High Church is built.

F T Macleod 1911.

The present parish church was built in 1770, but its steeple is of unknown age and was possibly part of the old Church of St. Mary, which stood on the spot in the days of Wallace and Bruce.

G Eyre-Todd 1923.

The Parish Church of Inverness is first mentioned in 1170, and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

C Fraser-Mackintosh 1893.

The lower part of the steeple dates from about the 14th c. and was part of the old parish church of St. Mary.

Inverness Official Guide 1957.

The Church is in use as a place of worship. The tower is the only part of the church containing any features of antiquity.

Visited by OS (W D J) 1 April 1960

Continuing the work carried out previously (Farrell 1997), a photographic survey to enhance a number of sites which had previously been partly recorded was conducted, including:

NH 6646 4550 Old High Church, Inverness.

A full report is lodged with Highland SMR and the NMRS.

Sponsor: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

S Farrell 1998

Architecture Notes

Dates: 1772 with 16th Centruy tower

Inverness, High Church

ARCHITECTS: Ross & Macbeth (I.C. March 27, 1891) - additions and alterations

W L Carruthers 1899 - alterations

(Inverness, Episcopal Church?)



Rebuilding of the English Church.

Letter from Alexander Stables. It accompanied a copy of one to Mrs Baillie of Dunain.

He explains that in 1771 when the English Church fell into disrepair the Heritors declined to rebuild it. The Magistrates at this time agreed to undertake the rebuilding and defray the expense by sums obtained from seat rents.

1821 GD 128/4/6/56

Architecture Notes

The Old High Kirk, Inverness was recorded by the Threatened Buildings Survey on 19th January 2022. The survey was prompted by the proposed closure and sale of the church. The last regular service at the Old High Kirk was held on 1st February 2022 and it was closed for worship on 4th March 2022. The congregation had united with St Stephen’s Church in 2004 and formed Old High St Stephens and is now worshiping in St Stephen’s Church (Canmore ID 103164). The oldest part of the existing building is the 17th century tower but the site is Pre-Reformation. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1769-72 to a plan supplied by George Fraser of Edinburgh. The raked gallery appears to date from c.1840. A & W Reid installed the pews in 1877. In 1891 Ross & Macbeth added the canted apse with its chancel arch, now containing the organ, in 1891 along with the porches. W L Carruthers reconstructed the roof, added the dormer windows, the fleche, the vestry and grained the woodwork in 1899. The Henry Willis & Sons organ was installed in 1895. The stained glass on the Old High Kirk includes works by A Ballantine & Gardiner, Douglas Strachan, Stephen Adam & Co and Gordon Webster.


Publication Account (1977)

The first mention of the parish church of St. Mary's is in a William the Lion grant of 1165 x 1171 when one ploughgate of arable was gifted to Thomas the Priest, parson of that church (Barrow, 1971, 199). William later granted the parish church to Arbroath Abbey. The medieval parish church of Inverness, by Barron's reckoning, appears to have been larger than the present High Church. Built on a height, the church building which served the town until 1770 was constructed in perhaps the early fourteenth century with a nave, north and south aisles and choir. It was endowed with a large number of chapels and chaplains. The present parish church, the High Church, was built in 1770, roughly on the site of the medieval building, although the tower and steeple are of an earlier and as yet undefined period.

Information from ‘Historic Inverness: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1977).

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.


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