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Aberdeen, Carmelite Street

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Aberdeen, Carmelite Street

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Carmelite Friary Burial-ground

Canmore ID 20137

Site Number NJ90NW 226

NGR NJ 941 060

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeen, City Of
  • Parish Aberdeen
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District City Of Aberdeen
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ90NW 226 941 060

See also NJ90NW 49.

Five or six skeletons were uncovered during alterations to a house in Carmelite Street in 1908. (Associated with Carmelite friary NJ90NW 49).

Aberdeen Free Press, 12 November 1908; G M Fraser undated; J A Stones 1989.

NJ 941 060. Further excavation of the Carmelite friary, founded c.1273 took place (see Soc Antiq Monograph no.6 for previous work in the area). The NW corner of the church was excavated, including two chamfered sandstone butress bases and a doorway in the N wall with some surviving mouldings. The church may date to the 14th century. Inside the church nearly sixty skeletons, mainly in grave cuts, were cut through various floor levels. Outside the church to the N, cobbled surfaces were cut through by several burials and by a lead pipe which ran through the church walls and along the length of the domestic building. Pre-friary plough marks in this area were the first identified on an urban site in Aberdeen. A line of large post holes running parallel to the N wall of the church, belong to an earlier wooden building, possibly an earlier church.

S of the church, a long stone building 24m long and 7m wide may have been the remains of the W range of the cloister. It was divided into four rooms, one of which was probably a kitchen with a fireplace and drain. The building was dated to the 15th century by a coin found in a wall foundation. Two slightly later coins were found in the demolition rubble, which contained hundreds of painted and stained window glass fragments and lead window cames, as well as a tap or spigot, and fragments of two others. Adjacent to and earlier than this building were three burials and an oven or kiln.

Sponsor: Stewart Milne Group

A Cameron and D I Harding 1994.

Further excavation and site observation took place at the Carmelite friary (Cameron and Harding 1994). While a Victorian sewer pipe was being replaced along the full length of Carmelite Street, monitoring of the trench revealed the probable E end wall of the church, making its internal length 24.5m. Other walls, possibly part of the S and E ranges, were seen in section. No excavation of these was possible at this stage, although portions may remain below the street and adjacent areas.

Before a sewer pipe was laid to the E of the church, 24 skeletons were excavated in what would probably have been the graveyard. Finds include roof and floor tiles and window glass, suggesting that demolition material was scattered over the graveyard area. The impressions of several coffins were clearly seen but no wood was well enough preserved to lift. Reburial of several skeletons had taken place in the foundation trench of a 19th-century cellar wall.

Sponsor: Stewart Milne Group

A Cameron 1996.

Nothing is visible of the burial-ground of the Carmelite Friary (NJ90NW 49), which stood in what is now a redeveloped part of the city.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, ATW), 26 February 1997.


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