MHG31360 - Graveyard - Tarbat Old Parish Church, Portmahomack


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • CEMETERY (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1560 AD to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Medieval to post-medieval cemetery around Tarbat Church, Portmahomack.

The church and burial ground were listed at Category A in 1971.

Jim Bone AP 2003 - HAW 10/2003

A large area to the south of Tarbat Ness Road has been assessed by Historic Scotland as of national importance and worthy of scheduling. This comprises the buried remains of a large early historic, Pictish monastic settlement, in use from the 6th to 8th centuries AD and later re-occupied. <1>

A large area to the SSW of Tarbat West Church has now been Scheduled by Historic Scotland. Archaeological excavations demonstrate that the foundations of buildings survive within the settlement and aerial photographs show the cropmark of a D-shaped boundary ditch surrounding the settlement and enclsoing the present Tarbat West Church. The scheduling specifically excludes all active burial lairs and the above ground elements of all burial monuments. <2>

Graveyard visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust. Roofed redundant church converted to use as a museum in old burial ground with modern extension to east. The museum explains the history of the wider site which housed a Pictish monastery in the 6th – 9th centuries. The present church site first housed a parish church in the 12th century, which was then expanded and altered over time, until becoming redundant in the 20th century. The oldest part of the burial ground, around the church, has varied gravestones, flat slabs underfoot, uprights and table tops, and uneven ground. In the newer extension the upright 19th and 20th century gravestones are laid out in straight lines. Unusually for a more modern area of a graveyard, this section also contains many wall monuments, inserted along the boundary walls, which stem from the 20th century. <3> <4>

Photographs were contributed by Martin Briscoe via the Highland HER Flickr group. <5>

The scheduled archaeological remains of the pictish monastic settlement below the burial ground were specifically excluded from the listing in August 2015 as part of a project looking at dual designations of sites in the Highlands, though they remain a scheduled monument. The statutory address was formerly 'Portmahomack Tarbat Old Church And Burial Ground'. <6>

Taylor, A, 02/2010, A Collection of Highland Buildings and Monuments (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG25366.

<1> Historic Scotland, 03/2010, Proposal to Schedule an Ancient Monument: Statement of National Importance (Text/Report). SHG24765.

<2> Historic Scotland, 09/2010, Entry in the Schedule of Monuments Re: Portmahomack monastic settlement, 95m SSW of Tarbat West Church NGR: NH914839 (Text/Designation Notification/Scheduled Monument). SHG24988.

<3> Robinson, B; Scott, M; Wright, A, 03/2010, Highland Kirkyards: Ross and Cromarty (Collection/Project Archive). SHG25133.

<4> Highlands Buildings Preservation Trust, 2009, Photographs of Ross and Cromarty Kirkyards (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG25134.

<5> Briscoe, J M, 2008-11, Information and photographs of various sites submitted by Martin Briscoe, via Flickr (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG23810.

<6> Jackson, L., 2015, Combined Statutory and Descriptive List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Highland Council, Two Hundred and Seventh Amendment) 2015 (Text/Designation Notification/List of Buildings). SHG27389.

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NH 9150 8403 (144m by 122m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NH98SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TARBAT

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

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