MHG31404 - Graveyard - St. Michael's Chapel, Kirkmichael


The graveyard surrounding St. Michael's Chapel, Kirkmichael.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

The graveyard surrounding St. Michael's Chapel, Kirkmichael.

(NH 7058 6585) St. Michael's Chapel (LB)
OS 6" map, (1959)

St. Michael's Church was the parish church - and the origin of the name - of Kirkmichael, and became in 1662 the church of the combined parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, now called Resolis. It continued in use until a new church was built at Resolis in 1767. Thereafter it was allowed to fall into decay. Part of the centre of the church was re-roofed in the 19th century for use as a mausoleum.
NSA (written by Rev D Sage - 1836) 1845; Name Book 1875; W J Watson 1904; H Scott et al 1915-61. <1> <2> <3> <4>

The remains of St. Michael's Church are oriented E to W, and consist of an unroofed chancel and nave. The roofed central portion, measuring 7.1m square, is a private burial place of the Munros of Poyntzfield. The chancel measures 5.8m by 5.4m externally with walls 0.7m wide. The most interesting feature of the building is the remains of a wall which projects westwards from the NW angle of the mausoleum. It is constructed of poorly-bonded, uncoursed, rubble-masonry, with small stone pinings. It is 3.6m in length, 1.3m high and 0.8m wide, with the remains of an archway visible on its inside face. It obviously pre-dates the mausoleum and chancel in construction, and is probably a section of the original N wall of the church. The name of the church was confirmed locally.
Visited by OS (R B) 21 January 1966.

The remains of the church and its surrounding burial ground were listed at Category B in 1971.

The boundary dyke and gate piers were listed separately at Category C in 1981.

The ruins of the church were Scheduled in 1992.

Proposal 10/99 to prepare a schedule of works for consolidation of the church. See associated documents files. <5>

Site visit 11/9/2002: Photos: church building is supported with wooden props, holding up one side. Badly overgrown with ivy etc in parts. Holes in slate roof on both sides. Graveyard has been extended with relatively modern extension. Possible that original boundary survives as grass covered stone bank. Possible also that what was originally part of church building has been reused as base for later mortuary chapel/walled family tomb.

Site visit 20/10/2003: 4 of the flat tomb stones have been "boxed" and others are bering cleared back of their grass cover (see photos). Photo of large tomb on firth side of graveyard for condition. Note burial arch outside church door, gravestones in this area heavily overgrown, but pot from top of relatively modern pyramid tomb in tthis area, following toppling. Top stone of table tomb on road side of building has been broken in half & collapsed. Following ivy cut back, memorial slabs visible on interior walls of extension building to church. <6>

Visited during the Highland Kirkyards project, run by Highland Buildings Preservation Trust. Rural historic medieval kirkyard containing ruins of redundant chapel. The oldest part of the graveyard, surrounds the church in the northern half of the site. To the south lies the newer extension with straight rows of 20th century burials. The old kirkyard contains table slabs and flat slabs as well as some upright 19th and 20th century upright monuments. Some of the flat slabs which lie on the ground have recently been bordered with wooden frames. <7> <8>

Following reassessment by Historic Environment Scotland as part of their national Dual Designations Project, it was proposed that the site would be descheduled but the listed status of the building and burial ground would be retained. This was following a major restoration project of the building and burial ground by the Kirkmichael Trust. The proposed changes would not affect the separate listed status of the boundary dykes and gate piers. <9>

The proposed statutory designation changes by Historic Environment Scotland came into effect on 17/05/2018. <10>

GIS spatial data amended in 2019 according to area as shown on modern OS mapping. <11>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred NH 7057 6583 (95m by 97m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH76NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish RESOLIS

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