MHG1403 - Old St. Peter's Church and Burial Ground - Thurso
No summary available.
Type and Period (3)
- CHURCH (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD to 1900 AD)
- COURT HOUSE (19th Century - 1801 AD? to 1900 AD?)
- PRISON (19th Century - 1801 AD? to 1900 AD?)
ND16NW 10 1204 6861.
Ch (NR) OS 6" map, (1971)
The ruins of St Peter's Church are situated in old part of Thurso adjacent to river. It is cruciform, without aisles, measuring externally across the transepts 79ft E-W by 82ft transversely, and has a low, vaulted apsidal cell at E end of choir. Adjoining S side of this cell is a curiously planned staircase tower placed acutely to the main wall, and with a long vaulted passage leading from it into church. The building is unlikely to belong all to one period, nor to have been planned originally as it now appears. The apsidal cell has more affinity to a 12th century structure such as St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle (NT27SE 1.3) than to 16th or 17th century, to which nave and transepts belong. The dedication of St Peter suggests an early date and it is stated that Gilbert Murray, Bishop of Caithness (d. 1245) founded a church in Thurso. The church and churchyard are neglected. Church, occupied as parish church until 1832, appears to have had a part used as a court-house and prison in early C18th and is now roofless and rapidly falling into ruins, though walls of church are almost entire. In the W wall of the burial ground is a tablet with initials TW and GC with the date 1357. Date and initials bear the characteristics of a later date, probably 16th century.
RCAHMS 1911; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887-92; M E C Walcott 1874
The church and burial ground were scheduled in 1929.
As described and illustrated by previous authorities. A wooden tablet outside gate of graveyard gives info that church was founded about 1220 by Gilbert, Bishop of Caithness, partly rebuilt in 1636, when the tower was erected, and closed in 1832.
Visited by OS (E G C) 18 April 1962.
St Peter's Church (NR) (remains of) OS 50" map, (1965)
The church and burial ground were listed at Category A in 1975.
No change except that wooden tablet has been replaced by a metal plaque at gate in S wall of graveyard. The plaque, erected by Thurso Society and Town Council 1974, reads: 'Old St Peter's Kirk. Founded circa 1220 by Gilbert Murray Bishop of Caithness. Closed to worship 1832'.
Visited by OS (J M) 1 October 1981.
The ruined kirk of St Peter, although enlarged and extensively rebuilt in first half of 17th century, incorporates considerable remains of what may have been an early C12th Bishop's minster or Head Kirk.
H Gordon Slade and G Watson 1990
West Caithness Local Plan, May 1987: P27/2.53. Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas.
POLICY - The Council endeavours to preserve buildings or groups of buildings which are of outstanding value. Continuity of the use is the prime factor in considering the nature of proposals to alter such buildings.
J Aitken : 22/05/01.
Site visit 27/09/2002: the church and particularly the grave stones and wall memorials are being vandalised. See photos. - HAW 9/2002
It was proposed that the old church and burial ground 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 they would remain a scheduled monument. <1>
The old church and burial ground were removed from the statutory list by Historic Environment Scotland on 22/09/2016. <2>
ND16NW0301 Runic inscribed cross
- --- SHG10222 Image/Photograph(s): Rune Stone, Old St. Peter's, Thurso. Colour Slide. .
- --- SHG12531 Image/Photograph(s): Rune Stone, Old St. Peter's, Thurso.. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
- --- SHG12532 Image/Photograph(s): Rune Stone, Old St. Peter's, Thurso.. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
- --- SHG13650 Image/Photograph(s): St. Peter's, Thurso. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
- --- SHG13654 Image/Photograph(s): Runic Stones, St. Peter's, Thurso.. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
- --- SHG15386 Image/Photograph(s): Old St. Peters Church. Colour Slide; Digital Image. .
- --- SHG1539 Text/Publication/Article: Slade and Watson, H G and G. 1990. 'St Peter's Kirk, Thurso, Caithness c 1150-1832', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 119 1989, p.297-325. Proc Soc Antiq Scot. 297-325. 297-325.
- --- SHG1654 Text/Publication/Article: Myatt, L J. 1975. 'The early ecclesiastical remains of Halkirk Parish', Caithness Fld Club Bulletin Vol. 1 April 1975, p.55-61. Caithness Fld Club Bulletin. 55-61. 105, 107.
- --- SHG2442 Text/Publication/Volume: MacGibbon, D and Ross, T. 1887-92. The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. Hardback. Vol. 5, 188-91; plans, illust.
- --- SHG2664 Text/Report: RCAHMS. 1911. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Third report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Caithness. . 110-13, No. 418; plan, illust.
- --- SHG2905 Text/Publication/Volume: Walcott, M E C. 1874. The ancient church of Scotland: a history of the cathedrals, conventual foundations, collegiate churches, and hospitals of Scotland. 131.
- --- SHG3470 Text/Publication/Volume: Watson, G.. 1991. Caithness Chapel Sites.
- --- SHG6678 Image/Photograph(s): Rune Stone, Old St. Peter's, Thurso. Unknown. .
- <1> SHG27479 Text/Designation Notification/List of Buildings: Historic Environment Scotland. 2016. Assessment for Dual designations Project: Wilson Lane, Old St Peter`s Church and burial ground. Historic Environment Scotland. 30/08/2016. Digital.
- <2> SHG27480 Text/Designation Notification/List of Buildings: Jackson, L.. 2016. Notification of de-listing of ecclesiastical sites: Dual Designations Project. Historic Environment Scotland. 30/09/2016. Digital.
|Grid reference||Centred ND 1204 6861 (26m by 28m) (Buffered by site type)|
Related Monuments/Buildings (4)
- Parent of: Burial ground - Old St. Peter's Church (Monument) (MHG31346)
- Parent of: Cross Slab and Rune stone - Old St Peter's, Thurso (Monument) (MHG13624)
- Parent of: Font, Old St. Peter's Church (Monument) (MHG2555)
- Parent of: Runic Cross and Burials - near Old St. Peter's Church, Thurso (Monument) (MHG1410)
Related Investigations/Events (0)
External Links (2)
- http://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/SM618 (Online designation description (Historic Environment Scotland))
- https://canmore.org.uk/site/8428 (View RCAHMS Canmore entry for this site)
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