Scheduled Monument

St Serfs Church, DumbartonSM9654

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
Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; church
Local Authority
West Dunbartonshire
NS 39350 75006
239350, 675006


The monument consists of the remains of a medieval parish church, much altered and rebuilt in the 19th century.

The monument is now located within Levengrove Park on the S shore of the River Leven opposite Dumbarton. It is sited on a low raised mound, and is enclosed by a fence. The church comprises a rectangular structure, aligned E-W, surviving to a length of 16m, with a width of 6.10m. The nave is 11.8m long, now terminating at an arcaded dividing wall inserted in the 19th century to support memorial slabs.

The nave contains a number of 19th century burials marked by three rows of headstones. The N and S walls of the nave survive to a height of about 1m, being four courses of roughly dressed masonry. The entrance at the W end is probably part of the 19th century remodelling. The chancel end has also been much rebuilt in the 19th century as a burial aisle, and the E end wall is not visible above ground.

The earliest reference to the church of Cardross occurs in a 13th century charter whereby the Earl of Lennox granted the income to the Bishop of Glasgow (1208-33). In the early 14th century this was the parish church for Robert I's manor nearby at Cardross. The Rector of Cardross played an important part in the funeral arrangements of Robert I in 1329, and a tradition emerged as early as the 17th century that the viscera of the Robert I were buried in this church following his embalming.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises a circle of 33m in diameter, centred on the church, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. This includes the church ruins and an area around it in which a burial ground of medieval date is likely to have existed. Any burial lairs with active rights of burial are excluded from the scheduling, as is the top 0.30m of the tarmac path that encircles the church ruins.

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance because of the potential of the upstanding structure to contribute to our understanding of medieval ecclesiastical architecture. Its below-ground remains have the potential through excavation to add significantly to our knowledge of the historical evolution of church building on the site, as well as contributing to our knowledge of medieval life through the skeletal remains likely to be buried here. Moreover, the site has the potential to feature in the national consciousness due to its historical function during the life and death of Robert I.



RCAHMS records the monument as NS 37 NE 11.


Cowan, I. B. (1967) The parishes of medieval Scotland, Scot Rec Soc, 93, Edinburgh, 27.

Irving, J. (1879) The book of Dumbartonshire [sic]: a history of the county, burghs, parishes, and lands, memoirs of families, and notices of industries carried on in the Lennox district, 3v, Edinburgh, 2, 306, 360.

Macleod, D. (1891) Historic families, notable people and memorabilia of Leven, Loch Lochmond and Cardross, [s.l.], 45-8.

Macleod, D. (ed.) (1893) Journal of the Hon. John Erskine of Carnock 1683-87. Scottish Hist Soc, Edinburgh.

OPS (1851) Origines Parochiales Scotiae: the antiquities ecclesiastical and territorial of the parishes of Scotland, 1, Edinburgh, 26, appx. 502.

OSA (1791-9) The statistical account of Scotland, drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes, Sir John Sinclair (ed.), Edinburgh, Vol. XVIII (1796), 218.

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 13:08