The former Moy Free Church was constructed circa 1844–48, with later additions and alterations added in 1853 and 1900. It is a shallow, rectangular-plan, single storey church building of plain classical design and proportion, orientated north-south. The external walls are of rendered coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. A shallow corniced and pilastered porch with a timber two-leaf entrance door is located to the centre of the north gable. Above the porch is a round-arched gallery window that has moulded jambs, with a projecting keystone dated 1900. The north gable has shouldered skewputts with carved urn finials and a prominent pedimented and pilastered bellcote (containing no bell), terminated with another urn finial at the apex.
The east and west elevations have 2 corniced windows with moulded architraves and tabbed stone cills. There are paired windows to the south gable. There is a small modern timber window inserted in the north-west corner to light the vestry, which is similar in design to the window at the north-east corner that lights the circa 1980s plant room.
There is predominantly leaded glazing throughout. The pitched slate roof has a single ridge ventilator.
The interior was seen in 2013. The former church has a simple open worship space of classical inspiration with a later (circa 1960s) lowered ceiling closing off the timber boarded ceiling and the gallery to the west. An ornate, bowed cast iron gallery balustrade is still extant and visible below the lowered ceiling. The east and west aisles of the worship space are accessed from the vestibule by two opposing timber panelled doors with leaded glass. The vestibule has encaustic tiles and gives access to the vestry to the left and toilet facilities to the right.
A later octagonal pine pulpit (circa 1900) is centred along the east wall, between deep set corniced windows with reeded pilastered architraves; large fluted Doric pilasters flank the pulpit backboard which has a round arched moulded panel. The boarded pine pews, boarded timber dado panelling and cast iron balustrade likely date to circa 1900.
Statement of Special Interest
Place of worship no longer in use as such.
Built shortly after the Disruption of 1843, the former Moy Free Church (1844–8) is a good example of an early Free Church building. Although modest in scale, this church building, set in a rural landscape, retains its fine classical detailing. Later alterations include new seating and a pulpit circa 1900 and in the mid twentieth century the insertion of a lowered roof; however this has not significantly affected the building's original fabric. This church forms part of a group of buildings also associated with the Free Church of Scotland including a former church school and manse. The former church is located in a rural setting within close proximity to the village of Tomatin, and is set back from the road in its own grounds. The original setting of the former church is little altered and has a significant presence in the landscape.
Moy Free Church was opened by 1848, and its date is recorded in the Inverness Courier. The church first appears on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1875 (surveyed 1870) as 'Free Church' and located near a school and a manse. The Inverness Courier provides further evidence that the building was altered (probably only slightly) in around 1853 as it published an advertisement for tenders. On the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1904 (surveyed 1900) the church is referenced as 'Free Church (United)' which follows the union of the Free and United Presbyterian churches of Scotland in 1900 – the date when further internal refurbishment took place.
There was a significant increase in church building after the Disruption of 1843 when a number of ministers moved away from the Established Church of Scotland to form the Free Church. The construction of these new churches proved to be one of the largest building campaigns of the 19th century in Scotland. Following the Disruption there was a tendency for dissenting churches to use the classical style in their design, even if simple and austere in form, in order to distinguish and separate themselves from the Established Church. The former Moy Free Church was built during this early phase of Free Church building construction and takes its inspiration from earlier 18th century classical precedents, but here it is found on a smaller scale, with a simple pitched roof over a rectangular plan form, which was common for Free Churches constructed in rural locations.
Moy Free Church is adjacent to 'Findhorn Bridge', crossing Findhorn River, (see separate listing) and is also adjacent to another former church building, which is currently known as 'Findhorn Bridge, Old Free Church Manse' (see separate listing), though historic map evidence shows this as a school, and possibly used later as a session house, with the church manse situated on an elevated position further to the north.
Category changed from B to C and statutory address changed from 'Findhorn Bridge, Moy Free Church' to 'Former Moy Free Church, Findhorn Bridge, Near Tomatin' in 2014.
Ordnance Survey. (1875) 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1875 (surveyed 1870).
2nd Edition OS map of 1904 (surveyed 1900).
Inverness Courier 23 May 1848; also 14 July 1853 with advertisements for tenders for additions and alterations.
W Ewing, Annals of the Free Church, ii (1914) p 209.
J A Lamb (ed) Fasti of the United Free Church (1956) p 475.
Glendinning, M. et al. (1996) A History of Scottish Architecture: from the Renaissance to the Present Day. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
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Printed: 21/11/2018 05:48