Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
National Park
NJ 35526 12758
335526, 812758


James Matthews, dated 1853. Well-detailed gothic style church forming small group with graveyard and former manse on edge of Bellabeg village. Cruciform-plan with 4-bay aisleless nave and transepts, 3-stage tower with broach spire in NE re-entrant, small polygonal stair towers, reticulated tracery and deeply moulded doorpieces incorporating simple colonettes. Coursed, squared and snecked rubble with contrasting dressings and long and short margins. Deep base course, part cill courses. 2- and 3-stage angle and dividing buttresses, hoodmoulds, raked cills and stone mullions; boarded timber doors with decorative ironwork.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: large 3-light traceried windows to Celtic cross finialled end gables at E and W, and polygonal stair tower to outer left angle at W. N and S nave elevations with 2-light traceried windows and transeptal gables, that to S with additional polygonal stair tower.

NE TOWER: full-height 3-stage buttresses flanking 1st stage with dated doorway, 2nd stage with trefoil-headed lancet and 3rd stage with simple-traceried 2-light window giving way to trefoil-detailed arcaded corbel surmounted by mutuled cornice and weathervaned spire, latter with circular window to each elevation and lucarnes above.

Leaded diamond-pattern glazing with coloured margins. Graded grey slates. Ashlar-coped stepped skews and mitre skewputts.

INTERIOR: fine galleried interior with hammerbeam roof, chancel arch, fixed timber pews and collection of monuments, largely white marble on black ground commemorating Forbes family. Galleries to W and S transepts on enclosed bases (probably infilled), that to N supported on 2 simple iron columns, all with arcaded timber fronts; polygonal pulpit and decorative ironwork balusters. Carved wood heraldic panels (from earlier church) of Elphinstone of Bellabeg, and Forbes of Skellater families, dated 1597, 1636 and 1686 (see Notes). Stone in narthex from earlier church erected in '1737 by Charles Anderson of KANDOCRAIG' and depicting memento mori carved in high relief.

Statement of Special Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Strathdon Parish Church is a little altered example of a finely-detailed parish church by one of the north east of Scotland's principal architects. Matthews' commissions included churches and private houses as well municipal and commercial properties such as Aberdeen Town and County Bank Head Office and Inverness Town Hall. Its fine interior boasts a collection of monuments commemorating the major families of the glen.

Now known as the parish of Upper Donside Strathdon, it was originally called Invernochty Parish owing to the location of the church at the confluence of the Water of Nochty and the River Don. Blaeu's atlas shows a church on this site as early as 1654. Replaced in 1662 and largely rebuilt 1757-9, the building was re-seated for 500 in 1815 and finally replaced with the present church in 1853. Funds were largely supplied by Sir Charles Forbes of Newe, who contributed £1,874 towards the total cost of £2,100. In his introduction to The Geology of Auchernach W Douglas Simpson refers to 'the great family of Forbes that once possessed such vast territorial power on Upper Donside' (p vii), and describes in some detail the 'five carved panels in pitch pine which are understood to have been part of the Auchernach (another Forbes property) pew in the former church' (p viii). He dates all of the panels to 1686.



A G Hutchison The Geology of Auchernach (1930). I Shepherd RIAS Gordon (1994), p62. Statistical Account (1791-99), Vol 13 p178. New Statistical Account Vol 12 (1840), p543-4. Third Statistical Account (1960), p282-4. Dictionary of Scottish Architects

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 02/12/2022 12:02