MHG23664 - Rosemarkie Parish Church, Churchyard


Cemetery still in use. Lies (together with church) on high land overlooking the beach.

Type and Period (1)

  • CEMETERY (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The modern church of Rosemarkie stands on site whose Christian history probably dates back to foundation of St. Moluag, who died 592, and is said to be buried here. Moluag's monastery was taken over, possibly in 716, by St. Boniface or Curitan, as a Culdie community. He dedicated church to St. Peter, but it also became known as St. Boniface's.
The Culdie community is thought to have been converted to a Chapter, with the abbot or prior as Bishop, by David I (1124-53). The first mention of Bishop of Rosemarkie is 1126, and, according to Pullan, Rosemarkie church was still known as the 'Kyrk-Cathedral' in 1338, although new cathedral at Fortrose (NH75NW 1) is thought to have been founded c1235.
The present church built 1821. Its predecessor was repaired in 1735 when 'some stone coffins of rude workmanship' were found in a vault. A Class II cross slab, probably dating from about the 9th century, was found in the floor of the church. (Rosemarkie No. 1) It stands 8' 6" high, and is preserved in the churchyard close to the church.
Four Class III fragments have also been found in churchyard. One of these (Fig 83) (No.2) lies on the grave of Donald Bain. The others are in NMAS. Rosemarkie No 3- NMAS 127 No 5?-NMAS 1B 120 No 4 - NMAS 1B 119 A J Beaton 1855; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7; N Macrae 1923; L Pullan 1927; A M Philip 1904; J R Allen and J Anderson 1903; R W Feachem 1963.

The church and class II cross-slab, the latter supported in an iron framework close to W porch, are as described by previous authorities. There is no trace of the class III fragment in the still-used graveyard: Mr Fraser (A S Fraser, Clifton, Rosemarkie) believes it was removed.
Visited by OS (N K B) 16 March 1966.

The cross-slab was removed from near the door of church several years ago, to be repaired It is now in Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie. RCAHMS 1979; Information from Miss F Bassindale, 2 May Court, Inverness.
See Rosemarkie, High St, Groam House Museum, NH75NW 21

Cemetery still in use. Lies (together with church) on high land overlooking the beach. Has probably been extended from original circuit Church lies roughly E-W towards N side of cemetery. Cemetery displays several changes of heights into hill. Wall surrounds of varying material. Variety of monuments from very small marker stones to large monuments around the edges. Many of the legged monuments are partially buried (or flattened) - HAW 4/2004

A comprehensive monumental inscription survey has been completed by the 'Highland Family History Society'. This survey does not include photos of each stone. Please contact the Chairperson, John Durham for copies of the report.

J Aitken : 18/12/02

Martin Briscoe submitted information about William Brydon who is buried in the churchyard. Brydon was the sole survivor of the retreat of 4500 men from Kabul in 1842 and is portrayed in the famous painting " Remnants of an Army" by Elizabeth Butler. To the right of Brydon's grave is that of his brother in law, Major General Donald MacIntyre VC. <1><2>

Visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust. Church of Scotland Parish church in use surrounded by medium sized graveyard overlooking the Moray Firth. The churchyard is still in use and holds gravestones from the 18th century to modern day. There are no redundant buildings within the site. <3><4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 7372 5759 (58m by 96m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

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