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Edzell, Old Parish Church

Church (Medieval)

Site Name Edzell, Old Parish Church

Classification Church (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Lindsay Aisle

Canmore ID 34995

Site Number NO56NE 7

NGR NO 58263 68698

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Edzell
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO56NE 7.00 5823 6870

NO56NE 7.01 c. 582 687 Churchyard

NO56NE 7.02 58263 68699 Burial Vault

NO56NE 7.03 5823 6870 Cross

NO56NE 7.04 5823 6870 Sculptured Stone

(NO 5825 6869) Church (NR).

OS 6" map, (1959).

The remains of the medieval church of Edzell parish, dedicated to St Lawrence whose name has been given to a spring near the churchyard.

A new parish church (NO 598 692) was built in 1818, this site being used as a quarry so that little remains, although Warden saw enough to suggest to him that the church was 13th century. A burial aisle of the Edzell family was added to the south wall of the church in the 16th c. Connected by an archway to the nave, it is about 9' square internally with a modern slated roof.

The close proximity of the church to the motte (NO56NE 9) might suggest the existence of a 12th century church, and this suggestion is strengthened by the finding of a sculptured stone (NO56NE 7.03) which might date from this period. (F C Eeles 1910). The stone, a rough slab of rather soft red sandstone, 4'4" long and 2'3" wide, bears extremely irregular and debased interlacing and what may be a late imitation of the double-disc symbol. It came from the churchyard wall during re-building in 1870.

An even earlier sculptured fragment was found at a depth of a few inches in the churchyard in April 1952 by Chas. Ruxton, the keeper. This is the arm and central boss of the head of a free-standing cross (NO56NE 7.04), sculptured in relief and datable to about 825 AD. (R B K Stevenson 1961) Watson's statement that Drostan (late 6th century) is said to be the patron of Edzell church may have some bearing - the implication being that there may have been a Celtic establishment here, as suggested by Dr Joseph Robertson. (A Reid 1915)

A Jervise 1853; A J Warden 1882; W J Watson 1926.


Field Visit (14 July 1958)

Nothing remains of the nave, the area being occupied by 19th century graveslabs. The burial aisle is intact the archway being closed by a metal grille.

The sculptured slab is preserved within the aisle and the cross/head within the cemetery gate-house.

Visited by OS(JLD) 14 July 1958.

Field Visit (18 August 1971)

No further information.

Visited by OS(AA) 18 August 1971.

Note (1984)

Edzell, Old Parish Church and Burial-ground NO 582 686 NO56NE 7

The medieval parish church of Edzell stood in the burial-ground 400m SSW of Edzell Castle, but all that now remains of the building is the Lindsay burial-aisle, the remainder having been taken down in 1818 to provide material for a new church in the village of Edzell. In 1870 a slab bearing debased sculpture was found in the wall of the burial ground, and in 1952 one arm of a free-standing cross of Early Christian date was found in the burial-ground.

RCAHMS 1984.

(Jervise 1882, 3-6, 8-9, 14-15, 71; Warden 1880-85, iii, 214-15; Eeles 1910, 358-60; Reid 1915, 294-9; Stevenson 1959, 42-3; Cowan 1967, 60; RCAHMS 1983, p. 20, no. 144).

Field Visit (28 September 1989)

Apart from the burial aisle, nothing is now visible of the medieval church.

Visited by RCAHMS (SH) 28 September 1989.

Field Visit (1994)

Archaeological assessment of a site adjacent to Edzell Churchyard was conducted by AOC (Scotland) Ltd. The assessment area, comprising c. 1,900m sq, lies immediately E of the present graveyard, which is thought to have been the site of a medieval parish church (supra). Immediately NE of this graveyard, a natural knoll has been sculpted to form a motte (NO56NE 9.00). This historical and topographical background constituted strong grounds for believing that the area of the proposed cemetery extension was the site of significant archaeological remains, possibly representing medieval settlement or enclosures associated with the motte, or alternatively, remnants of a medieval church or churchyard. However, assessment trenches excavated over a total area of c200m sq. recorded no significant archaeological features and no features at all of demonstrably medieval date.

Sponsor: Angus District Council.

J O'Sullivan 1994i.

Artefact Recovery (1998)

NO 583 687 An assessment was carried out in an area to the E of the present graveyard prior to a proposed development. Two sherds of pottery were recovered from the topsoil layer, and are probably of a late medieval/post-medieval date. Though the sherds cannot be fitted together they appear to derive from a single vessel. There are some traces of an external yellow glaze. Acc. nos B1998.38-9.

Sponsor: Angus Museums.

R Benvie 1998

Resistivity (April 1999)

NO 582 687 In 1818, Edzell old church (NMRS NO56NE 7) was replaced by a new building on the edge of the village, and the old church was demolished except for the Lindsay Aisle, an extension on the S side of the nave which now survives as a free-standing building with a burial vault beneath. In April 1999, debris was cleared from the vault, the Lindsay Aisle was surveyed, and a resistivity and contour survey of the burial ground was conducted. This and historical research confirmed the existence and extent of a rectangular nave to the N of the Lindsay Aisle. In September 1999, repairs around the SW door of the aisle revealed disturbed human bone just below the turf, and an inserted door sill with a slate damp-proof course, perhaps the result of 19th-century repairs. (SUAT EZ01).

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, Angus Council.

D Bowler 1999.


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