Scheduled Monument

Auchindoir, St Mary's Church, Mote Hill and DovecotSM90267

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
Last Date Amended
Ecclesiastical: church, Secular: doocote, dovecote, pigeon loft; motte
Local Authority
Auchindoir And Kearn
NJ 47783 24502
347783, 824502


The monument comprises a medieval church and motte and a 16th-century dovecot. The church is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland and is being re-scheduled to extend protection to cover the whole of the archaeologically sensitive area.

The church, dedicated to St Mary, is first mentioned in 1239 and remained in use until c.1809. Now roofless, it has a simple rectangular plan (17.2m E-W by 7.6m N-S) with opposing round-headed doors towards the W end of the N and S walls respectively. The S door is decorated externally with a heavy roll-moulding which continues around the arch, enclosed by a richly moulded hood including dog-tooth ornament supported on nook shafts with stiff-leafed bell capitals and moulded bases. In the early 16th century a fine sacrament house carved to resemble a large pyx, or monstrance, was inserted into the N wall of the chancel, blocking an earlier lancet window. Much of the fabric of the church was altered again in the 17th century. The E gable was partly rebuilt in 1638 with a door in the original altar position and the W gable with its bellcote in 1664. A door and window were also inserted in the S wall.

Some 50m to the SW of the church on the edge of a stream is a dovecot of 16th-century date. It is rectangular, measuring about 7m by about 4m and surviving to a height of about 3m, with a door on the E. Some 80m to the SSE of the church is a motte, oval on plan and measuring about 32m NW-SE by about 17m transversely, across its flat summit; it is formed from a natural eminence and stands some 7.5m above the bottom of a ditch, which cuts it off from high ground to the N and W. The bailey, if there ever was one, would most likely have been located in the area of the modern graveyard extension (which is excluded from the present scheduling).

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found. It is irregular in shape, extending to a maximum of 181m, approximately NNW-SSE, by 90m WSW-ENE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it contributes to an understanding of medieval architecture, art, religion, liturgy, burial practices, castle building, settlement and economy, and has the potential to contribute further through archaeological excavation to an understanding of the material culture of the period. Its importance is enhanced by the close geographical association of medieval church and castle site, by the surviving documentary evidence relating to the former, and by the artistic parallels between the sacrament house and others in Aberdeenshire, notably Kintore. The importance of the site is reflected in its status as a property in state care.



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ42SE 1, NJ42SE 4 and NJ43SE 20.


M. Cross. Bibliography of Monuments in the Care of the Secretary of State Scotland, 57'8, Glasgow 1994.

W. D. simpson. Craig Castle and Kirk of Auchindoir. Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 64 (1929'30), 46'70.

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

St. Mary's Church, Auchindoir

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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

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Printed: 25/09/2023 07:47