Scheduled Monument

Maryculter House, church & burial ground 65m NNE ofSM10831

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Date Added
29/10/2003
Type
Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; church
Local Authority
Aberdeenshire
Parish
Maryculter
NGR
NO 84425 99996
Coordinates
384425, 799996

Description

The monument comprises the remains of Maryculter Chapel and burial ground, which is also known as the Old Parish Kirk of Maryculter. The monument consists of the fragmentary remains of a medieval chapel and a walled burial-ground, sitting within the the grounds of Maryculter House, close to the E bank of the River Dee.

The church is believed to have been associated with a house of the Knights Templar, founded by Walter Byset between 1221 and 1236 at Maryculter. In 1287 a controversy with the abbey of Kelso, which held the parish church of Culter (Peterculter), regarding the newly-built chapel of the Knights, was settled on 4 November 1287.

When the Order was suppressed in 1309 the foundation passed to the Knights Hospitallers: in 1513 the house was described as 'recently annexed' to the Commandery of Torphichen. It is also recorded that the Hospitallers held the barony of Maryculter and the parish church of Maryculter, suggesting that chapel may have become parochial by the 16th century.

The remains of the church are very fragmentary and consist of a single chambered oblong structure measuring 23m by 6.6m within walls 0.7 in thickness, and now reduced to their lower courses. A piscina comprising a fluted bowl supported by a shaft that rises from a water-holding base is incorporated in the S wall at the E end.

Its details suggest a 13th century date, tying in well to the documentary evidence of a new chapel constructed in about 1287. There are a number of fragments of mouldings situated in this area of the chapel. The chapel sits within a polygonal walled burial ground, the entrance to which re-uses the arch of a medieval doorway.

The area to be scheduled includes the remains of the chapel, the burial ground and the enclosing wall. The area is irregular in shape and is defined by the boundary wall of the burial ground. The area has maximum dimensions of 65m NW-SE and 56m transversely as marked in red on the attached map. All modern burial lairs still in use, within and outwith the church, are excluded from the scheduling.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the remains of a major Templar Preceptory, of which there were only two in Scotland: Temple and Maryculter. Although limited, the documentary evidence associated with the monument adds to its importance as it provides a construction date for the remains.

Unlike the church at Temple, the majority of which appears to date to the 14th century and hence to the ownership of the Hospitallers, the remains of chapel at Maryculter appear to date to the period when it was held by Templars.

The monument is also important as the associated documentary evidence illustrates the consequences of the suppression of the Templars in Scotland, with the wholesale appropriation of the Templars' preceptories and lands by the Knights Hospitaller.

References

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NO89NW 8.

References:

Bogdan N and Bryce I B D (1991) 'Castles, manors and 'town houses' survey', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 33.

Cowan I B, Mackay P H R and Macquarrie A (eds.) (1983) THE KNIGHTS OF ST JOHN OF JERUSALEM IN SCOTLAND, Edinburgh: Scottish History Society.

Cowan I B and Easson D E (1976) MEDIEVAL RELIGIOUS HOUSES, SCOTLAND: WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE HOUSES IN THE ISLE OF MAN, London, 158, 160, 2nd ed.

Cruickshank J ed. (1941) LOGAN'S COLLECTIONS, Aberdeen, 111-12.

Easson D E (1957) MEDIEVAL RELIGIOUS HOUSES IN SCOTLAND: WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE HOUSES IN THE ISLE OF MAN, London, 160.

Innes C ed. (1846) LIBER S MARIE DE CALCHOU: REGISTRUM CATARUM ABBACIE TIRONENSIS DE KELSO 1113-1567, Bannatyne Club, 82, Edinburgh, No. 233.

Kelly W (1887) 'Some ancient country churches near Aberdeen', TRANS ABERDEEN ECCLES SOC, 1, 1, 1886, 28.

RCAHMS (1984), THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF NORTH KINCARDINE, KINCARDINE AND DEESIDE DISTRICT, GRAMPIAN REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland series No. 21, 34, No. 224, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.

Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at www.historicenvironment.scot.

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot. You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at designations@hes.scot.

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