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 Unpublished report for NTS.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 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: 16/07/2019 09:22