Moray HER - NJ25NW0001 - BIRNIE PARISH CHURCH, BIRNIE

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ25NW0001
NameBIRNIE PARISH CHURCH, BIRNIE
NRHE Card No.NJ25NW1
NRHE Numlink 16410
HES SM No.
HES LB No. 2294
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Complete 2
Details Birnie Parish Church, erstwhile seat of the Bishopric of Moray before the foundation of Elgin Cathedral (NJ26SW0001) in 1224, and formerly dedicated to St. Brendan. Birnie is one of the oldest places of worship in Moray, having probably been built in the 12th century. It has since been variously repaired and altered, with the West gable rebuilt and the nave shortened in 1734, major restoration in 1891 by A Marshall Mackenzie and alterations to the South windows by John Wright, architect, Elgin, in circa 1975. It is rectangular in plan, having a simple rectangular nave with a rectangular chancel at the East gable. It is constructed tooled squared rubble, with ashlar dressings. There is an off-centre round-headed entrance in the Western side of the South elevation, which is lit by three later round-headed windows, and a blocked pointed-headed entrance in the North elevation, which has no windows aside from a small lancet in the chancel. There is a narrow entrance in the South elevation of the short chancel, with chamfered margins. It is under a re-set cusped medieval window. The chancel is lit only by single round-headed lancets to the North and South, but has no window to the East. There is a birdcage bellcote at the West apex, which is dated 1734, and slate roofs. There is a simple interior, with tooled ashlar walls and an 1891 timber ceiling. The chancel is separated from the nave by a plain Romanesque arch, supported by engaged columns with well-preserved cushion capitals. There are various mural memorials, including the Sanders memorial dated 1670, which may have been re-sited in the North wall during the 1891 restoration, and a pedimented country Jacobean plaque flanked by small engaged columns supporting winged souls as caryatids. There is also a war memorial erected in memory of Lt. George Duff Gordon (NJ25NW0057). There is a simple hewn stone basin font, which possibly represents a pre-12th century Norman date, which is supported by a thick circular stem with spiral fluting on square base. The Auchindoir sandstone stem and base are dated from 1884-5, and were gifted to the church by the Ecclesiological Society of Aberdeen. Also within the church is an ancient square bell, known as the Ronnel Bell. It was made form a single sheet of iron and coated on its outer face with a layer of copper alloy. There are no remains of earlier structures, but the oval churchyard probably preserves the outline of early Christian enclosure. There is a roughly square graveyard, still in use, enclosed by a coped rubble wall. Within the graveyard is an early Pictish stone (NJ25NW0002), and war memorial (NJ25NW0056). There is a pair of square tooled ashlar gatepiers with pair cast iron spearhead carriage gates. During 2000 and 2001, a team from the Moray Burial Ground Research Group transcribed the inscriptions of all visible tombstones in the graveyard as part of a project to record all Monumental Inscriptions at Burial Grounds throughout Moray. The work also located a number of flat tombstones which lay just below the surface, dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The visible graves includes some early table stones and flat stones, and upright stones from the 18th century. The earliest recorded stone is from 1864. A building survey of the church in 2011 clarified its complex building history and recorded more of the medieval fabric than anticipated, including what may be a blocked piscina. See also (NJ25NW0022) and (NJ25NW0029) for excavations to the South of the present churchyard.
Last Update18/08/2017
Updated Bynackerman
Compiler 
Date of Compilation 

Easting: 320649.737989424, Northing: 858730.876681813

Google Map for NJ25NW0001

National Grid Reference: NJ 2064 5873



Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2002 Field Observation
2011 Building Recording

Excavations and Surveys


Artefact and Ecofact

Ecofact

Samples
Palynology
Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability
CHURCHESPARISH A100
NAVESRECTANGULAR B100
CHANCELSRECTANGULAR C100
FONTS NORMAND100
BELFRIES  E100
CHURCHYARDS  F100
ENCLOSURES  G90
GRAVEYARDS  J100
BELLSHAND H100
PISCINAS  I90
CHURCHESRUBBLE-BUILT AE100
DRESSINGSASHLAR K100
ENTRANCES ROUND-HEADEDL100
WINDOWS ROUND-HEADEDM100
ENTRANCES BLOCKEDN100
ENTRANCES POINTEDO100
LANCETSSMALL P100
BELLCOTESBIRD-CAGE Q100
WALLSASHLARTOOLEDR100
CEILINGSTIMBER S100
ARCHES  T100
COLUMNS ENGAGEDU100
CAPITALSCUSHION V100
MEMORIALSMURAL W100
PLAQUESCOUNTRYPEDIMENTEDX100
PLAQUES JACOBEANY100
FONTSSTONEHEWNZ100
STEMSCIRCULAR AA100
BASESSQUAREFLUTEDAB100
BELLSSQUARE AC100
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