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Kinross, High Street, Clock Tower

Clock Tower (19th Century), Steeple (18th Century)

Site Name Kinross, High Street, Clock Tower

Classification Clock Tower (19th Century), Steeple (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Old Kirk Tower

Canmore ID 226950

Site Number NO10SW 17.02

NGR NO 11929 02087

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Kinross
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Kinross-shire

Archaeology Notes

NO10SW 17.00 11926 02077

NO10SW 17.01 NO 11922 02069 Town Hall/Tolbooth

(NO 1193 0208) Church (NR) (Remains of)

OS 6" map (1854)

The only remains of the old Parish Church are at the north-east corner of the Town Hall and consist of a plain steeple with a clock and bell in it. The date of this old church is not known and the Town Hall now occupies its site.

Name Book 1854

Before 1742 the parish church stood within the old burying ground immediately beside the lake (see NO10SW 10). It was removed from this situation to another at the west of the town, which, gradually extending its dimensions, came at length to place the church in its centre.

New Statistical Account (NSA 1845 G Buchanan)

The remains would appear to be as described above.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 19 December 1963


Publication Account (1996)

The church to which the steeple was originally attached was demolished in 1831 , and it is now abutted to the Sand W by the Town Hall, built by a private company in 1841. It measures 3.95m square, and comprises a four-storeyed tower with corbelled balustrade enclosing a slated spire, 23m in overall height. It is built of coursed rubble with raised margins and dressings of tooled ashlar, and the ornament is concentrated on the principal (N) front, where each stage is marked by a string-course.

The surround of the round-headed doorway has alternate projecting blocks, and a large keystone bearing the oak-branch symbol of the town. Below the bracketed sill of the roundarched first-floor window there is a relief panel with moulded frame which bears a lion rampant holding a shield and standing on a wreath. The voussoirs of this window are more emphasised than those of the doorway below, and over the keystone there is a blank panel, perhaps intended for a date or inscription, which rises into the string-course above. Construction halted in 1751 at a height of 11m, at the top of the plain third stage, and the fourth stage was completed four years later, but its masonry shows no discernible difference from that below. In each face there is a circular clock-face, and above it a round-arched louvred belfry-opening. The 'raill of stones' or balustrade resting on the simple corbel-course, which comprises alternate rectangular and shaped balusters, was added in 1778. 7 The octagonal broached spire rises from a low square rubble base and is surmounted by a weather-cock.

Inside the steeple a straight flight of stairs leads from the doorway to the Town Hall of 1841, and a series of ladders rises to the fourth stage where the clock is housed. Robert Millar, clockmaker in Alloa, was contracted in 1759 to make a clock, for which Sir John Bruce of Kinross donated £20. It was to be 'of the same dimensions and upon the same plan with the steeple clock of South Queensferry, which was made by Mr Dunlop watchmaker at London'. After Millar's death it was completed in 1761 by Mr Dickie, clockmaker in Dunfermline. The present clock dates from 1875 and was restored in 1964.

The present bell, whose cost of £112 was the subject of 'some altercation' with the heritors, is inscribed: INVITO AD VERBUM AD CHRISTUM Cl summon to the Word (and) to Christ') KINROSS 1814. The earlier bell was cracked 'on some day of public rejoicing'.


In March 1742 it was reported to a public meeting that the heritors were willing for the inhabitants 'to build a steeple upon the side of the (new) church', and a committee was appointed to raise funds and supervise the work. The foundation-stone was laid in June 1742, a month after that of the church, and the same group of local contractors was employed, but work proceeded with many delays due to shortage of funds until the completion of the mason-work in 1755 and of the spire three years later. The steeple committee continued to organise the municipal affairs of the town until it became a police burgh in 1864.

Information from ‘Tolbooths and Town-Houses: Civic Architecture in Scotland to 1833’ (1996).

Desk Based Assessment (24 April 2012)

A desk based assessment of this building was made by RCAHMS Threatened Building Survey following a consent/planning application for alteration works at the site being submitted to the local authority.

A survey of the site has been requisitioned based on this assessment.

Planning Application ref – 12/00478/LBC


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