Scheduled Monument

Beauly Priory,priory and burial groundSM90031

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Crosses and carved stones: effigy; tombstone, Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; claustral remains; monastery; priory
Local Authority
NH 52754 46473
252754, 846473


The monument consists of the remains of Beauly Priory, founded for Valliscaulian monks around 1230 and probably unroofed c1560, after which the church was used for burials.

The church is of quasi-transeptal form, with N and S chapels, almost symmetrically placed but of differing widths, flanking the choir, and with traces of a further chapel adjoining the N wall of the nave. The S chapel may have been adapted from part of the priory's domestic buildings, which otherwise do not survive, and leads from the choir by a wide arch at a high level; both N chapels are separate from the church.

The church dates from the mid-13th century onwards, and was built from E to W, but the W end was rebuilt during the 1530s. The S side of the presbytery shows the high quality of the original design, with 3 Y-traceried windows set internally within a blank arcade, but the N side, with its 3 windows, is much plainer. The exterior has angle- buttresses and buttresses between the windows. The buttresses are spaced more widely further W, and the window tracery is of later date, as is the E window. The N transeptal chapel has been re-roofed and is used as a burial aisle, but retains evidence of division into 2 storeys.

The monastic buildings stood S of the nave, around a cloister. The E and W ranges adjoined the church, and their remains underlie the graveyard, but any S range is likely to lie outwith the modern wall. A doorway leads from the upper floor of the E range to the S chapel, and in the W range a fireplace remains at first floor level.

A bank runs N-S across the burial ground, marking an earlier W boundary. Hotel buildings (now demolished) adjoining the street at the W end of the area may have succeeded buildings associated with the priory.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape, and measures a maximum of 140m E-W by 75m N-S, to include the priory church, the burial ground and an area in which traces of other structures and activities associated with the priory are likely to survive. It is defined by and includes the present boundary walls to N, E and W, and by the edge of the grassed area to the S, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling excludes all lairs for which rights of burial still exist.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as the well preserved remains of an important medieval monastery (one of very few north of the Highland line). Study of its standing remains and below-ground evidence has the potential to contribute to our understanding of monastic life, liturgical arrangements, architectural organisation and burial practices during the Middle Ages and later.



RCAHMS records the monument as NH 54 NW 5.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Beauly Priory

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)

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 (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. 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.

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

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 20/06/2024 14:06