MHG10942 - Bell Tower - Clynekirkton


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Type and Period (1)

  • BELL TOWER (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NC80NE 13 8943 0609

For (associated) Clynekirkton parish church, Pictish symbol stones and cross-slab (NC 8946 0607) and manse (NC8947 0602), see NC80NE 17.00 and 39 respectively.

(NC 8943 0609) Belfry (NR)
OS 6" map, (1964)

This circular bell-tower, one of only three remaining in Scotland, stands on a knoll a few yards from the old church (NC80NE 17). On harled rubble, it is 11ft 5ins high to the eaves, 5ft 3ins in diameter internally and about 10ft externally. The slated, conical roof formerly had two lucarne openings. The tower may date like the church from the 18th century, and was in use until 1825.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; RCAHMS 1911, visited 1909; G Hay 1957.

The bell tower was scheduled in 1940.

The belfry tower is as described above. The architectural style suggests a 17th century date and it may have been built when the nearby old church was repaired in 1625-6. The tower stands on a mound, wholly or partly artificial, which is revetted on the N side.
Visited by OS (E G C) 17 July 1961.

(Clyne, Caithness). Assigned as part of the prebend of the dean of Caithness in the constitution of Bishop Gilbert, 1224x45. Both parsonage and vicarage fruits were annexed, while cure was served by a vicar pensioner.
I B Cowan 1967.

The building was listed at Category B in 1971.

No change to report of 17 July 1961.
Visited by OS (J B) 11 November 1975.

Foundations - The Tower stands on either bedrock or a large boulder which appears to have been worked to match the inner and outer diam. Of the walls. In the doorway this rock shows some evidence of restoration.
Internal Features - Built mostly of unworked stone the walls are 0.80m thick and are quite uniform. The tower has an internal diam. Of 1.5m and an outer one of around 3.1m. Some of the stonework around the door looks worked, or at least selected to act as Quoins, these are of red sandstone, more massive than the bulk of the building material.
The doorspace is very regular, 0.75m wide and 1.8m high, it is topped by a thin slate lintel, there is no evidence of door hangings. The tower has six "lanterns" in its upper courses (though these were probably to let sound out rather than light in), these areset at regular intervals and are surmounted by a slate/flagstone stringcourse (very nicely worked) which presumably supports the roof.
The outside of the tower is covered with a lime based stucco which has come away in places to expose the stonework, there is no evidence that the inside of the door or innerparts were covered so.
Roof - The roof is a perfect cone some 1m high made of 18 courses of small slates capped by a lead cone, it is supported internally on 16 latts in good condition, in fact it could have been built last year were it not for the covering of lichen on the outisde.
Internal Features - The floor is earthen, though something else may lay below, it is interesting how the rock of the podium follows its inner diam. Of the wall. The walls are bare and made of local metamorphics, mortar appears to have been used in their construction. Within the roof and supported by the stringcourse are set 2 timbers, they lay in alignment with the door and each have 2 rectangular holes in them, these could be reused from another structure or be the socks to support a bell or bells.
Information supplied by P.W. Gledhill, 24/02/01, (Clyne Heritage Society)
J Aitken : 19/06/01.

Clynekirkton Project, ongoing work to remove vegetation from around the bell tower. J Aitken, 19/03/02.

Letter received from HS, dated 17th October 2002, confirming that a grant has been awarded which will be allocated to works involving the hydro-seeding and rabbit-fencing of the bell-tower mound

Bell-tower mound condition survey sent to HS, 30/11/02.
See assoc. docs. File. J Aitken : 04/12/02

Possible that bell tower has been missed out of scheduled area in error - check? - HAW 4/2003

Management Agreement notification received 16/1/04, from Historic Scotland. Clyne Heritage Society will undertake a programme of vegetation control over 5 years.
See Assoc. Docs. File.
J Aikten : 23/1/04

It has been noted that work to renew a water pipeline in the Achrimsdale area has encroached within the advised buffer zone for this site. This information has been passed to the monuments warden.
See Hlink photographs taken on 19/05/04
J Aitken : 18/05/04

It was proposed that the bell tower be removed from the statutory list in September 2016 as part of a Historic Environment Scotland project looking at dual designations of sites in the Highlands, though it would remain a scheduled monument. <1>

The bell tower was removed from the statutory list by Historic Environment Scotland on 22/09/2016. <2>

See also:
NC80NE0079 Clynekirkton Graveyard
NC80NE0017 Clynekirkton Church and Burial Ground
NC80NE0024 Clynekirkton Churchyard symbol stone
NC80NE0025 Clynekirkton Churchyard symbol stone
NC80NE0026 Clynekirkton Churchyard cross slab
NC80NE0040 Clynekirkton Manse

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NC 8943 0609 (5m by 5m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC80NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CLYNE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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