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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNO64SW0134
NRHE Card No.NO64SW3
NRHE Numlink 35559
HES LB No. 4770
Site Form Standing Structure
Site Condition Complete 2
Details Parish church, still in ecclesiastical use, and graveyard. St Vigean's Church occupies nearly the whole of the summit of a regularly shaped mound, which has been a site of religious settlement from a very early period. This is shown by a very important group of Pictish carved stones and cross slabs found on this site, now kept in a museum to the North (NO64SW0003), as well as a number of Norman stones. The church was consecrated in 1242 by Bishop de Bernham. The original date of the church is probably from the early 12th century, at which time it was likely a simple rectangular plan with no aisles. Parts of the East and West gable walls from this period still remain. There were various 15th century additions and alterations. Probably in the early 15th century, the church was extended to the South, and was converted into a building with a nave and a North aisle. After this the tower on the West gable of the nave was constructed. The church was extended again in 1495, when the South wall was taken down and a South aisle erected. The church was also re-consecrated after these additions. After the Reformation, there were internal changes, and a gallery was constructed in the North aisle and the West end of the nave. In 1770, a gallery was also built to the East. In 1802, the side walls of the North and South aisles were rebuilt. There were further alterations in 1822 and 1827. In 1871-2, considerable additions and alterations were undertaken by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, including the construction of a large apse to the East, a second North aisle, and the raising of the tower, as well as various restorations and repairs. This work was undertaken for the minister of the church at the time, William Duke, who wanted to the church to be restored to its medieval style. The appearance of the church today mostly dates from this 1871-2 building phase. The church is now made up of a central nave, with aisles to the North and South and an outer aisle to the North. There is a tower to the West and an apse to the East. The church is constructed using local red sandstone, mostly as snecked rubble. There are stepped buttresses to the apse, and three Gothic Y-traceried windows. The outer North aisle has 2-light Y-traceried windows in the gables, and three rectangular 2-light windows in the North facing elevation and one similar window in the Western bay of the inner North aisle. The clerestory windows on the central Nave are rectangular to the North, and segmental arched to the South. There are doors in the West bays of both the North and South aisles, and there is a sundial over the door to the South aisle. The tower covers the South half of the West gable of the nave. There is a round-arched door in the West face of the tower. At the second stage, above the entrance, are slit windows on each face, and a blocked rectangular opening to the East of the slit window on the North face. The upper part of the tower has chamfered rectangular windows to the North and South, and above these are pointed belfry openings in each face. The tower has a corbelled parapet, with projecting stone spouts, and is topped by a crow-stepped caphouse. In the inner angle of the tower and the South aisle is a stair turret, added in 1871-2. It is a square tower at the lower stages, with an octagonal upper stage and stone slabbed spire. There are five stained glass windows in the chancel, at the East of the church. There are various mural memorials within the church. Surrounding the church, and enclosed by a retaining rubble wall at the base of the mound, is a graveyard, which includes the St Vigeans War Memorial (NO64SW0208). In 2007, masonry was removed by HS from above and below a stone in the church wall thought to be the remains of a cross slab. On removal on the surrounding material, the stone proved not to be a cross slab but recumbent stone with a well formed socket. Another decorated carved stone was found opposite the socket. Following the recording of the stone is was left in situ and the removed surrounding stonework was reinstated. A watching brief was carried out by Scotia in October 2008 during the upgrade of existing drainage around the perimeter of the church. With the exception of the foundations of the 19th century north aisle, no structures or features of archaeological significance were exposed during these investigations. Although no graves were uncovered, the presence of several disarticulated bones indicated that there had been burials within the area of investigation. The installation of drains during the 19th century and later had clearly disturbed some human remains but, on the evidence of pre-modern deposits to the North of the church, burial practice also accounted for the dispersal of human remains, at least in that part of the site.
Last Update13/06/2022
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation19/09/2016

Google Map for NO64SW0134

National Grid Reference: NO 6383 4289

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2008 Watching-Brief

Excavations and Surveys

Artefact and Ecofact


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

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