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Kinnoull, Old Parish Church

Burial Ground (Medieval) - (19th Century), Church (Medieval), Commemorative Monument (17th Century)

Site Name Kinnoull, Old Parish Church

Classification Burial Ground (Medieval) - (19th Century), Church (Medieval), Commemorative Monument (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Lord Chancellor Hay's Monument; Kinnoull Aisle; Kinnoull Burial-vault; Kinnoul Old Parish Church

Canmore ID 28253

Site Number NO12SW 10

NGR NO 12308 23317

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

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

Archaeology Notes

NO12SW 10 12308 23317

(NO 1229 2331) Kinnoull Church (NR) Remains of

and burial vault of the Kinnoull Family.

Lord Chancellor Hay's Monument (NR) 1635.

OS 1:500 map (1863).

For present parish church (NO 1229 2354), see NO12SW 256.

The remains of the old Church of Kinnoull consists of a plain almost square building with Gothic Windows, formerly the north wing or side and a portion of a low wall which appears to have been ppart of the southern wall of the church and is now part of the enclosure of a family burial ground. The building is kept in good repair by the Kinnoull family, whose burial vault is beneath the floor, and whose monument to the First Earl of Kinnoull, Lord Chancellor Hay is within.

Name Book 1860.

The monument consists of the remains of the medieval church of Kinnoull, with the aisle housing the monument of the Earl of Kinnoull, plus the surrounding churchyard. It is located on the E bank of the Tay, just S of Queen's Bridge and close to the northernmost point of Friarton or Moncreiffe Island. The remains of the medieval church are now largely incorporated into a series of burial enclosures. The most substantial of these, and that which best preserves fragments of the medieval structure, is the N aisle, which was remodelled circa 1635 as the tomb house of the first Earl of Kinnoull, Chancellor of Scotland.

Around the remains of the church is the irregular walled enclosure of the churchyard, within which is likely to lie archaeological evidence for the full former extent of the church. The churchyard also

contains an important collection of post-medieval gravestones.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 6 March 1997.


Field Visit (14 December 1960)

The only remains of Kinnoull Church is the small almost square aisle - now a vault with modern steep, gable-ended roof. In the E wall is a doorway with an armonial panel over it.

Visited by OS (JLD) 14 December 1960.

Publication Account (1967)

Kinnoull (St Andrews, Gowrie). Granted to Cambuskenneth by Robert Erskine of that Ilk and lord of the barony of Kinnoull in 1361, this grant was confirmed in that year by David II, and to the uses of the abbey by William, bishop of St Andrews, provision being for a vicarage pensionary. After two years, the abbey lost the church however, and thence forward, there was constant litigation between the abbey and other claimants, the latter finally triumphing and the church remaining independent.

I B Cowan 1967.

Photographic Record (1985)

Recording of gravestones in Kinnoul Parish Church graveyard, Perthshire, by Mrs Betty Willsher in 1985.

Field Visit (November 1989)

All that is visible of this church is the N aisle, built by the Kinnoull family in 1635 (date on skew), with their vault beneath. The aisle is gable-ended with a chamfered offset at the height of the main wall-head and an armorial panel (weathered) above the E door. Within there is a handsome tomb with a standing effigy of the 1st Earl of Kinnoull, Lord Chancellor Hay (died December 1634, buried August 1635), which combines spirited carving with Renaissance and Jacobean detail. The tomb-chest is adorned with Classical trophies and a strapwork cartouche; there are decorative rear-wall panels, finely moulded composite columns, and an entablature (with decorative frieze enriched with fruit) surmounted by an heraldic panel, supporters, and pike-headed finials.

Kinnoull Church is on record in 1361 when it was granted to Cambuskenneth Abbey; it was rebuilt in 1779 and demolished in 1826, on completion of the new parish church (NO12SW 256). Within the burial-ground there are a number of 18th-century gravestones, and also a 17th century memorial.

Visited by RCAHMS (IMS) November 1989.

D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7; I B Cowan 1967.

Excavation (April 1995 - May 1995)

NO 122 232 During April and May 1995 the Trust undertook an excavation in the south-western corner of the Old Kinnoull Church graveyard in advance of the replacement of a section of the graveyard revetting wall. The foundations of the old walls were to be removed and a new wall constructed. The new wall was to have a massive concrete foundation which would require the excavation of a trench approximately 2m wide and 2.7m deep inside the graveyard. Archaeological excavation was undertaken to identify and record any evidence of early Christian inhumations, deposits or features pertaining to the original Kinnoull Church.

The remains of over 50 mainly coffined burials dating from early modern times were recorded and removed along with a considerable amount of disarticulated bone. Coffin and coffin furniture remains and some small artefacts with burials were also recovered. A small assemblage of residual medieval pottery was recovered but otherwise there was no evidence of remains earlier than the 18th century.

Sponsor: Perth & Kinross District Council.

R Cachart 1995.

Excavation (January 1995)

NO 123 233 In January 1995 the Trust undertook excavations for drainage around the recently refurbished Kinnoull Aisle (constructed 1635) in the medieval Parish Churchyard. The work consisted of excavating three trenches around the Aisle and one trench and a soakaway in the graveyard. The excavation revealed archaeological deposits relating to the graveyard and Aisle, human and animal bone, medieval pottery and tile and relatively modern coffin nails and handles. A human skull was found close to the surface against the W wall of the aisle, no doubt having been reburied after being disturbed by a later burial. However, its location was regarded as sufficiently suspicious to warrant reporting it to the police who removed it for further investigation.

Sponsor: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

R Cachart 1995.

Artefact Recovery (1995)

NO 123 233 Among the artefact assemblage recovered from the excavations adjacent to the Kinnoull Aisle was a small group of coffin handles of post-medieval date. Each consists of a curved, iron or steel handle with small lugs, attached to a thin, iron plate by eye bolts. The lugs at either end of the handle have been inserted into the eyes of the bolts. Fragments of wood, probably from the coffin sides, adhere to the undersides of the plates and to the shanks of the bolts.

Two fragments of ceramic floor tile were found lying adjacent to the W wall of the Aisle. They are very probably of medieval date and the presence of associated Perth Local pottery with a slip beneath the glaze indicates that they could be as early in date as the 13th or 14th centuries.

Sponsor: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

A Cox 1995.

Watching Brief (July 2001 - August 2001)

NO 1230 2331 During July and August 2001 a watching brief was carried out on groundwork for a new pathway and CCTV cable inside Kinnoull Burial Ground (NMRS NO 12 SW 10). The ancient burial ground with its church remains and the Kinnoull Aisle is a Scheduled monument. The groundwork was relatively shallow and no significant archaeological features or deposits were uncovered. Finds include some coffin nails and a coffin handle, modern pottery and a small number of medieval pottery sherds. Some human bone fragments, recovered from the spoil, were reburied on site. No further archaeological work will be required.

Sponsor: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.

R Cachart 2001.


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