Scheduled Monument

Brechin Cathedral Round TowerSM90041

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (

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
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 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: 25/10/2021 15:00