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- Category: A
- Date Added: 26/01/1971
- Last Date Amended: 26/08/2015
- Local Authority: Moray
- Planning Authority: Moray
- Parish: Birnie
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NJ 20654 58718
- Coordinates: 320654, 858718
Probably 12th century, variously repaired and altered including rebuilding of west gable (and shortening of nave of church) in 1734 and major restoration in 1891 by A Marshall MacKenzie. Alteration to windows in south elevation by John Wright, architect, Elgin, circa 1975. Simple rectangular nave with rectangular chancel at east gable. Tooled squared rubble, ashlar dressings. Off-centre round-headed entrance in south elevation lit by 3 later round-headed windows. Narrow south entrance to chancel with chamfered margins and under re-set cusped medieval light. Chancel lit by single round-headed lancet in north and south walls. Mural sundial. Blocked pointed-headed entrance in north elevation which has no windows, except chancel lancets. Birdcage bellcote at west apex dated 1734; slate roof.
Interior: simple interior; tooled ashlar walls; 1891 timber ceiling. Plain Romanesque chancel arch supported by engaged columns with cushion capitals. Deeply splayed round-headed lancets in north and south chancel walls. Various mural memorials including Sanders memorial dated 1670; pedimented country Jacobean plaque flanked by small engaged columns supporting winged souls as caryatids. Simple hewn stone basin font, probably 12th century, supported by thick circular stem with spiral fluting on square base (stem and base dated from 1884-5).
Roughly square burial ground enclosed by coped rubble wall. Various tombstones of 17th, 18th and subsequent dates.
Pair of plain square tooled ashlar gatepiers with pair cast iron spearhead carriage gates.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Birnie church is said to have been an early seat of the Bishop of Moray before the foundation of Elgin cathedral in 1224, and is the earliest church in continuous worship in the District. 1690 mural monument inscribed Here lies under this pulpit the corps of Mr Wm Sanders Lait minister of this Paroch, who deceased the 13 May 1670 and of Katherine and Elspet Sanders his children . The memorial may have been resited to the north wall after restoration of 1891. Plinth and stem of font gifted to church in 1885 by Ecclesiological Society of Aberdeen, who visited the church during 1884. This pedestal is made from Auchindoir sandstone.
The ground beneath Birnie Kirk is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 for its archaeological importance. Significant upstanding and below-ground archaeological remains may survive as part of and in addition to the structures and features described above.
'Birnie Parish Kirk, old graveyard and symbol stone' is Scheduled Monument No 2781 and is excluded from the listing.
Listed building record and statutory address updated in 2015. Previously listed as 'St Brendon s Church of Scotland, Birnie Parish Church, Burial Ground, and Gatepiers.'
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/canmore.html CANMORE ID 16410
Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1870, Published 1874) Elgin Sheet XII.7. 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. London: Ordnance Survey.
Statistical Account (1791-99) Parish of Birnie Vol.9. p.160.
New Statistical Account (1834-45) Parish of Birnie, Vol. 13. 85.
MacGibbon, D. and Ross, T (1896)The Ecclesiastical Architecture Of Scotland. Edinburgh: D. Douglas. pp. 218-220.
Watson, W. H. (1985) A Marshall Mackenzie, Architect In Aberdeen. Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen p. 52.
Cramond, W. (1903) Church of Birnie. Elgin.
Moray And Nairn Express, 10 March 1885 p.4
Further information from http://www.scottishchurches.org.uk/sites/site/id/392/name/Birnie+Parish+Church+Birnie+Grampian (accessed 16 January 2015)
Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.
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