MHG31333 - Graveyard of St. Duthus's Church - Tain


The graveyard of St. Duthus's Church, Tain.

Type and Period (1)

  • CEMETERY (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

The graveyard of St. Duthus's Church, Tain. See MHG8684 for the original medieval church and MHG8689 for the former Collegiate church.

The former collegiate church, former original church and their surrounding burial ground were all Scheduled in 1969.

The former collegiate church, former church and burial ground were all listed at Category A in 1971.

Cemetery that surrounds the church within the planned medieval burgh. Lies on prominent knoll with cemetery walled (relatively recently on current line) then hill drops steeply to lower walled terrace. Substantial graves and memorials largely from the 19th century. <1>

Visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust.

Late medieval, roofed, redundant church maintained as an exhibition space and visitor attraction within very old burial ground in the town centre of Tain. In addition, an older roofless ruined chapel, (subsequently used as a burial enclosure), lies within the kirkyard. This is an extremely important historic site in both the story of the development of Tain, as well as within Scottish history, with its associations with Scottish Kings. This importance is recognised by the visitor information, museum and exhibitions already on site, and many visitors were there on the day of the site visit. The burial ground lies predominantly to the south of the roofed church and has been in use for centuries, including Viking stones found in the graveyard, possibly up to 1000 years old. <2> <3>

The statutory designations were reassessed by Historic Environment Scotland in 2018 as part of their Dual Designations Project. It was judged that the collegiate church would remain as a Listed Building (as well as the boundary walls to the burial ground) but that it would be removed from the Scheduled Monument. The latter would consist primarily of the unroofed former medieval parish church and the burial ground itself. <4>

The proposed changes by Historic Environment Scotland came into effect on 28/08/2018. The scheduled monument consist of the remains of a medieval church with associated burial ground. The church is likely to have been the original parish church of Tain and may date to the 13th century. The church is surrounded by a burial ground which contains a number of coped medieval grave markers as well as later memorials. A short distance to the north of the remains of the parish church, and still within the burial ground, is the roofed late medieval St Duthus's Collegiate Church. The monument is located in the burgh of Tain, on the edge of a raised beach sitting above the Dornoch Firth. The church building survives as a simple rectangular structure that measures 10m east-west by 4m transversely. It appears to have been truncated at the west end reducing what would have been a more typically elongated church building to the current dimensions. The northern wall appears to have been partly rebuilt toward the west end and the whole structure may have been reduced in height when it became a burial enclosure for the Ross family. The east wall has a triple lancet window (this may be re-used material), and the south wall has a pointed-arched doorway cutting into the blocking of a round-arched window. The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area excludes the former Collegiate Church of St Duthus (see separate designation - Listed Building Number 41843), burial plots where rights of burial exist, railings, the above ground elements of all post-medieval gravestones, and the top 200mm of all paths. <5> <6>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred NH 7802 8217 (71m by 71m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH78SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TAIN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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External Links (2)

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