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Kinfauns, Old Parish Church

Burial Aisle (16th Century) - (17th Century), Burial Ground (Medieval) - (Modern), Church (Medieval)

Site Name Kinfauns, Old Parish Church

Classification Burial Aisle (16th Century) - (17th Century), Burial Ground (Medieval) - (Modern), Church (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Grays Of Kinfauns Burial-aisle; 'gray Aisle'; Charteris Aisle

Canmore ID 28199

Site Number NO12SE 13

NGR NO 16668 22259

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Kinfauns
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

N012SE 13 16668 22259

(NO 1666 2226) Church (NR) (In Ruins)

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed., (1902)

For present parish church (at NO 1662 2228), see NO12SE 67.00.

This was the parish church until about 1857 when it was abandoned. It is now roofless and the walls very much reduced, except for the south aisle, dated 1598, the burial place of the Grays of Kinfauns. The rest of the church is probably 15th century, although considerably altered after the Reformation.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92.


Field Visit (9 June 1964)

The south aisle, the burial vault of the Grays of Kinfauns, appears to have been restored. It is roofed and in a good state of repair and bears an armorial panel above the door on the south side. No date was seen on any of the remains. The remaining walls of the church are now ruinous, covered with thick ivy. Average width of walls 1.0m, maximum height 3.5m. The interior of the church is featureless and overgrown.

Visited by OS (W D J) 9 June 1964.

Photographic Survey (1986)

Recording of gravestones in the churchyard of Kinfauns Parish Church, by Mrs Betty Willsher in 1986.

Field Visit (June 1989)

The old parish church of Kinfauns is a roofless ruin standing in its burial-ground. Rectangular on plan, it measures 21.6m from E to W by 7.9m transversely (over walls up to 1.2m thick) and preserves the remains of chamfered offsets at each gable. Although the building has been extensively altered since the Reformation, its fabric incorporates medieval work, and features include a semicircular-headed Easter Sepulchre, a round-headed N doorway and, in the middle of the S wall immediately above the present ground level, an ogival-headed recess. A medieval coped grave-cover, bearing a floriate-headed cross and shears, stands against the S wall of the church at the W end, a second is in re-use in the lintelled embrasure of the N doorway, and what may be a third has been cut to serve as a lintel of a square-headed window at the E end of the S wall. A burial-aisle bearing the date 1598 adjoins the church on the S. It is roofed, and appears to have been extensively repaired externally. Internally, it has a ribbed and groin-vaulted ceiling and cartouche panels on the E and W walls, one of which records that the aisle was built by John Charteris and Janet Chisholm.

On record as a chapel of the parish church of Scone in the 12th century, the church attained parochial status by 1419. It went out of use in 1868 when it was replaced by a new building (NO12SE 67.00) 30m to the WNW.

Visited by RCAHMS (PC/IMS) June 1989.

Statistical Account (OSA) 1791-9; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7; L Melville 1939; G Hay 1957; I B Cowan 1967; B Willsher 1987.

Measured Survey (8 September 1989)

RCAHMS surveyed Kinfauns church (NO12SE 13) on 8 September 1989 with plane-table and alidade at a scale of 1:100. The resultant plan was redrawn in ink and published at a scale of 1:250 (RCAHMS 1994b, 131(A)).

Resistivity (31 May 2007 - 6 June 2007)

NO 1666 2226 A resistivity survey was carried out covering the eastern, older, half of Kilfauns churchyard around the ruins of the old church from 31 May–6 June 2007. No features of archaeological significance were found.

Archive deposited with RCAHMS. Copy of report deposited with Perth and Kinross SMR.

Funder: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

Newton Farm, Glencarse Kieran Haines

Geophysical Survey (2007)

NO 1666 2225 A resistivity survey was carried out to identify sub surface features within the church and in the surrounding churchyard. The track through the graveyard appears as a clear low anomaly and the old church building sits in a broad low resistance area. There are some indications of a high resistance link (?masonry) between the south west corner of the church and the southward protruding burial.

Sponsor: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

P. Morris, 2007.

Test Pit Survey (29 July 2015)

The test pit evaluation established that the floor had been removed leaving a layer mortar and stone rubble. This had subsequently been covered by dumped deposits possibly excess soil from the digging of graves in the graveyard to the west of the church. A flush wall face exposed below the floor level in test pits at the east end of the church may indicate that there might have been a burial crypt at this end that later has been infilled. The crypt below the floor in the burial aisle to the south, has a barrel vault. It contains a lead coffin inside an outer wooden coffin set into a sub-rectangular shaft built into the crypt floor.

Information from Magnar Dalland (Headland Archaeology) August 2015. OASIS ID: headland1-220039

Standing Building Recording (2 March 2015 - 30 July 2015)

A programme of archaeological work was undertaken at Kinfauns Old Parish Church, near Perth. The work was carried out to inform and mitigate proposed consolidation and repair works, and comprised a desk based assessment, historic building recording and a test pit evaluation. The desk based assessment identified four main phases: the establishment of a dependant chapel to Scone Abbey at Kinfauns in the 12th century; the achievement of parochial status and the construction of the core of the extant building in the 15th century; substantial modification post-reformation; and finally continued use and some further modifications until abandonment the mid-19th century. The building recording detected elements of three phases of the building dating to the 15th, 16th and 17th- 19th century identified during the desk based assessment.

Information from Magnar Dalland and Jürgen van Wessel (Headland Archaeology) August 2015. OASIS ID: headland1-220039

Watching Brief (22 January 2017 - 2 February 2017)

NO 1667 2226 (NO12SE 13) A programme of archaeological work was undertaken, 22 January – 2 February 2017, during consolidation and repair work at the church. A watching brief was undertaken during ground reduction/levelling within the church. A series of test pits were excavated along the line of a new water drainage system to the S of the church. The subsequent installation of this drainage and the excavation of a trench on the N side of the church, for the installation of a monument, were monitored.

The material removed from the interior of the church contained a moderate assemblage of 19th/20th-century pottery and glass fragments. A large quantity of charnel was recorded within the lower deposits of the water drainage trench, but no in situ inhumations were present. The excavation of the soakaway exposed a large stone slab in the E section and partially exposed the remains of a burial 1m below ground level. The excavation ceased at this level and the inhumation was left in situ.

The monument trench to the N side of the church exposed made ground to one side and a clay backfill to the other. It also revealed a rough void in the exposed wall face. This potentially relates to two construction phases of the church. A number of other architectural features were exposed during

consolidation work. Amongst these features was a series of beam slots on the internal elevation of the E wall, indicating the presence of an upper floor at this end of the church. A grave slab that had been utilised as a window lintel was also temporarily exposed and recorded during this work.

Archive: NRHE

Funder: Tay Landscape Partnership

Donald Wilson – Headland Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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