MHG11618 - St. Carden's Chapel, Kirkton, Golspie


No summary available.

Type and Period (4)

  • CHURCH (Pictish to Early Medieval - 300 AD to 1057 AD)
  • CEMETERY (Undated)
  • CARVED STONE (Undated)
  • FAIR (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Thumbnail Photo - shows eastern portion of graveyard
J Aitken, Clyne Heritage Society visit, 20/3/04

The graveyard was visited by members of Clyne Heritage Society, 20/3/04. The graveyard is enclosed by a retaining dry stone wall, which has collapsed on the SE side. The ground level of the graveyard is about a metre higher than the surrounding farm land and may have been caused by successive burials over a long period. The graveyard appeared very overgrown with trees growing around its perimeter. The ground was covered in moss and grass, with a top layer of leaves covering the stones. Leaves were carefully removed from the most obvious stones and a total of 30 stones were recorded, with 9 showing inscriptions. This is 3 inscriptions more than Cowper & Ross recorded in 1987. A portion of wall running a long the N side of the truncated graveyard may belong to the chapel associated with this site. It did appear to be distinct from another later wall along the roadside and was not conneted to it. A possible burial vault (arch) was noted in the portion of the possible chapel wall and needs further investigation. See Hlinks 1 - 25.

J Aitken : 20/2/04
NB: the 1st edition OS shows an incomplete circular graveyard, ie cut by the road on the N side - HAW 7/2003

NH79NE 5 7993 9870.
Site of (NAT) St Carden's Chapel (NR) Grave Yard (Disused) (NAT) OS 6"map, Sutherland, 1st ed., (1873)

Church (NR) (rems of) OS 6"map, (1971)

The parish of Golspie was originally named Kilmalie and had its church and burial ground at what is now Kirkton Farm. Sir Robert Gordon had church transferred to Golspie in 1619 when St. Andrew's became the parish church. Rev. Alexander Mcpherson in 2nd Statistical Account 1841 wrote: "A portion of the wall of the old church, or chapel, of this parish still remains, and forms part of the fence which encloses the burying ground formerly used. This cemetery contains the remains of many of the Earls of Sutherland, as signified by a plain stone placed in the old church wall, bearing the epitaph: "In hoc diruto coemeterio Sutherlandiae plurimorum comitum cinerea conquiescunt".
Kirkton was visited in June 1986 and June 1987 and on both visits heavy undergrowth made it almost impossible to carry out a survey. The memorial stone to Earl of Sutherland remains in wall parallel to A9 road. Twenty four stones, mostly uninscribed, were uncovered. These lie near to the wall tablet.
A S Cowper, 1987
'Sutherland Monumental Inscriptions', pre 1855
Monumental inscription survey completed by A.S.Cowper & I.Ross.
The survey may not include inscription information after 1855 and each inscription transcribed does not give the full details that appear on the stones, abbreviations used. Some ommissions and inacuracies. First published 1989, reprinted 1991, 1996 & 1999.
J Aitken : 20/12/02
The remains of former parish church of Kilmalie, now Golspie, on record in 1275, and translated to Golspie (NC80SW 6) in 1619. The dedication was to a saint named Maillidh who is not mentioned in the Calendars. The St Carden dedication presumably emanates from an erroneous interpretation of the fact that St Carden's Fair was still held here in the early 17th century.
The graveyard is now partly overlaid by a road, but a symbol stone (NC80SE 2) and a cross-slab with symbols and Ogams (NC80SW 13) may have come from its vicinity.
Orig Paroch Scot 1855; W Macfarlane 1906-8; W J Watson 1926.

The portion of the church wall remaining measures 23.0m in length, 2.2m maximum height, and 0.8m thick, and forms part of the wall along the S side of the main road to Golspie.
It is constructed of roughly coursed masonry, bonded with shell mortar, and contains an inscribed stone set into the S wall face, and a round-headed arch 2.0m wide and c.1.0m high above the present ground level. Several broken grave slabs are visible in the disused graveyard to the S of the church.
Visited by OS (N K B) 9 February 1966.

The remains of the church and graveyard are generally as described above. The remaining portion of the church wall is 21.5m long. No further information on the previous locations of the two symbol stones was obtained. (See NH79NE 30.)
Visited by OS (J B) 26 May 1981.

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 7992 9868 (93m by 62m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH79NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish GOLSPIE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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