Scheduled Monument

Brechin Cathedral Round TowerSM90041

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Ecclesiastical: tower
Local Authority
NO 59615 60080
359615, 760080


The monument consists of the round tower at the SW angle of the nave of Brechin Cathedral.

The round tower, with upward tapering walls, rises to a height of about 26.5m, from a base 5m in diameter. It is capped by a later stone spire. Its chief original feature is the carved doorway, which has a crucifixion at its apex, unidentified saints on the jambs and crouching beasts flanking the threshhold.

The tower is now embodied in the SW corner of the cathedral nave, and a doorway (now blocked) has been cut through its wall to give access from the cathedral. However, the tower was almost certainly originally free-standing. A religious community of some sort is known to have been on the site from at least the 970s, though the tower is unlikely to date from much before 1100. The spire is probably of the 15th century.

The area to be scheduled is circular, 5m in diameter, to include the tower and the ground below it, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it is one of only two round towers of Irish type definitely known to have been built in Scotland, and because of the outstanding value of the sculptured decoration.



No Bibliography entries for this designation

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Brechin Round Tower

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Related Designations


    Designation Type
    Listed Building (A)

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: 27/03/2019 01:45