MHG24944 - Tongue, St. Andrew's Church


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Type and Period (1)

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

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Full Description

Parent for:
NC55NE0026 Burial ground
JHooper, 13/09/2001

NC55NE 3 59085703. St Andrew's Church (NAT) OS 6" map (1962)

The church of Tongue parish, which was disjoined from Durness in 1726, was built in 1680 and virtually rebuilt in 1731 or 1728-9. An aisle from 1680 remains, and Reay loft erected in same year was removed in 1951 and is now in National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh.
The church occupies site of a chapel which according to MacKay was dedicated to St Peter; the nearby glebe lands are named Peter's Field. The village name "Kirkiboll" indicates a foundation of the Norse period. H Morrison 1883; A MacKay 1914; H Scott 1915-61; W J MacKay 1962

An unpretentious building on T-plan with date 1860 over a door in the W wall of S transept. It is in use for public worship.
Visited by OS (JLD) 25 April 1960

No change. Visited by OS (JB) 15 September 1977

Mr George Hay states that he has recorded this to some extent.

The church was recorded in 1996 as part of RCAHMS Listed Buildings Recording Programme.

Clear physical evidence of medieval remains was not forthcoming, although it has been suggested that building incorporates pre-Reformation stonework (see Historic Scotland Lists). The uniform plastering of interior and harling of exterior may, however, obscure evidence. The barrel-vaulted chamber beneath the laird's loft has few diagnostic features and its vault has been repaired using cement and shuttering.
Reay Loft, which was dismantled 1951 and removed from church c1960, is now in Royal Museums of Scotland (Coll no KL163). It has Tuscan columnar supports with Corinthianesque capitals. The main panel is decorated with a band of repeated florets and scrollwork enclosing an elaborate monogram (partly restored) consisting of the letters of D and M combined. This almost certainly refers to Donald MacKay, Master of Reay, and Loft can therefore be dated c.1680.

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Grid reference Centred NC 5908 5705 (18m by 21m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC55NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish TONGUE

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