Scheduled Monument

St Bride's Chapel (Kildrummy Old Parish Church)SM10729

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Crosses and carved stones: effigy, Ecclesiastical: church, Secular: motte
Local Authority
NJ 47241 17556
347241, 817556


The monument consists of the remains of the parish church of Kildrummy and its burial ground, which is situated on top of a glacial mound within Strathdon. The church was dedicated to St Bride and appears to have been established as a parish church before 1300. The mound on which the church stands may have been the site of a motte and bailey castle (the precursor of Kildrummy Castle) before it became an ecclesiastical site. Much of the church was demolished in 1805 to build the present church, immediately to the NNE.

All that remains of St Bride's is the N wall and the later S aisle which served as a burial aisle for the Elphinstone family. The N wall is about 16m long, 3m high and 1m thick. In the centre of the wall there is a medieval tomb recess, with a pointed arch, containing a fine effigy slab in low relief. An inscription on the side of the edge of the slab reads: HIC IACET ALXDAR DE FORBES QUONDAM DE BURCHIS ET MARIOTA ? The inscription refers to Alexander Forbes or the 4th Laird of Brux, who died in the 1560s, and his wife Marjory Forbes.

The warrior is dressed in a bassinet with plume, a cowl of chainmail covering the neck and shoulders, while the rest of his body and limbs are clad in plate armour, including a skirt of tace. He has a dagger at his side. The lady has a long gown, with her head covered by a coif. The tomb may have served as an Easter Sepulchre, although its westerly location seems to suggest otherwise. An 18th-century tombstone stands within the recess. A fine 17th-century tombstone, surrounded by a carved stone frame or architrave, is built into the wall W of the recess.

All the openings in the wall have been blocked. One opening is located just W of the tomb recess, and the remains of a much-altered splayed window opening lies to the W of that. Just below this window is a socket hole. The wall has a modern coping and has been heavily slaistered with cement mortar. The tomb recess is protected by a derelict timber and asbestos shelter.

The S or Elphinstone Aisle is believed to have been built in 1605 as a burial aisle for the Elphinstone family, although it is possible that an early chantry aisle was simply converted to this use. It was restored in 1862 and is still roofed. The S elevation contains the present entrance to the aisle, although this must be a later slapping through. The S elevation has a crow-stepped gable, while the N gable has flat skews. The west wall has a blocked-up doorway into which has been inserted a 17th-century graveslab. In the interior of the aisle, a finely carved early modern memorial (a triple effigy) is fixed to the N wall.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the N wall of the church, the Elphinstone Aisle and the mound on which the church was located. The area is defined on the ground by the boundary fence which encloses the site. The scheduled area is roughly oval in plan, with maximum dimensions of 54m NE-SW and 50.5m E-W. The scheduling excludes all modern burial lairs still in use.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an example of a site of a medieval parish church which continued in use until the early 19th century. The location of the church on top of what appears to have been a motte is most unusual and may represent the translation of a nearby church which served the castle and the castletoun to the motte site when the new masonry castle of Kildrummy was constructed. Although the church is incomplete, it demonstrates the changing nature of Christian devotion, such as the growth in the popularity of private burial aisles after the Reformation.

The effigy slab of the Laird of Brux is very fine and is nationally important in its own right, as are some of the early modern funerary monuments, particularly the memorial located against the N wall of the Elphinston Aisle. The memorials are important as they can contribute to our understanding of changing funerary practices, lay patronage of ecclesiastic sites and, in some cases, even the nature of the clothes people wore and the armour that was used.



RCAHMS records the monument as NR 62 SE 8.


Bogdan, N. and Bryce, I. B. D. (1991) 'Castles, manors and 'town houses' survey', Discovery and Excavation, Scotland, 1991, 29.

Cowan, I. B. (1967) The parishes of medieval Scotland, Scot Rec Soc, 93, Edinburgh, 100.

Scott, H. et. al. (eds.) (1915-61) Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, Edinburgh, vol. 6, 132.

Shepherd, I. A. G. (1986) 'Exploring Scotland's heritage: Grampian', Exploring Scotland's heritage series, Edinburgh, 102.

Simpson, W. D. (1949) The earldom of Mar: being a sequel to 'The Province of Mar', 1943, Aberdeen, 47-8.

Simpson, W. D. (1943) The province of Mar: being the Rhind lectures in archaeology, 1941, Aberdeen University Studies, 121, Aberdeen, 144.

Simpson, W. D. (1923) The castle of Kildrummy, its place in Scottish history architecture, Aberdeen, 259-63.

Whyte, J. F. (1936) 'The kirk of Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire', Trans Scot Eccles Soc, 11, 3, 1935-6, 163-72.

About Scheduled Monuments

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.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

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Printed: 29/03/2020 00:01