Scheduled Monument

Plockton Open Air Church, 60m NNW of War MemorialSM8863

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Ecclesiastical: open air preaching place
Local Authority
NG 79985 33261
179985, 833261


The monument comprises an open-air preaching place, used for some years after the Disruption by the Free Church congregation of the area around Plockton.

The monument takes the form of a natural hollow backed by exposed rock slopes and aligned roughly NS. The slopes of the hollow have been terraced to form between three and five rows of seats. The open, downslope, side has been closed by a mortared random rubble wall, about 11.5m long and 3.75m high. The wall is pierced by an arched entrance 2m wide and is entered from the road via a flight of steps. To the W of the arched opening there is a corrugated iron shed which was used to house the wooden pulpit or preaching ark.

Such open air communion sites were common along the NW coast after the Disruption when local heritors denied adherents of the newly established Free Church sites upon which to build churches. As a consequence the Free Church were pushed to marginal sites, especially along the coast. Such places of worship were often transitory and Plockton is unusual in the permanence of its construction and its formal layout. The site was used for annual communion services by the Free Church and was last used as such in July 1936.

The area to be scheduled consists of the enclosed area back to the rocky slopes, the wall and the steps from the road. It measures about 70m N-S by 60m W-E, and is indicated in red on the accompanying map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as a material reminder of the greatest religious upheaval of the 19th century, the Disruption, which led to religious and social change in Scotland. The monument is one of the few preaching sites that left any material remains.



RCAHMS records the monument as NG 83 SW 32.


Miket, R. (1998) Glenelg, Kintail and Lochalsh. Gateway to the Isle of Skye. An Historical Introduction. Waternish: Maclean Press.

Uncles, C. J. (1999) Old Ways Through Wester Ross. Ochitree: Stenlake Publishing.

Wildgoose, M. (1998) Plockton Open Air Church. A record of the work carried out by conservation volunteers. April 20-23, 1998. Unpublished report for NTS.

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

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Printed: 18/04/2019 17:46