MHG31412 - Graveyard - Old Parish Church, Clynekirkton


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

The remains of the parish church of Clyne, built in 1770, enlarged in 1827, and abandoned in 1922. It was formerly T-plan but the N aisle has been removed. Of rubble, partly harled, the church is now (Information from HBD list) roofless and gutted. It stands on the site of its predecessor which was dedicated to an unknown saint, Aloyne, whose fair was still held in the early 17th century. This may have been the church which is on record between 1223 and 1245, and was repaired by Sir Robert Gordon between 1625 and 1626. According to Bain (1899) there was an early chapel at the 'Kille of Clyne', presumably this site, and that would explain finding of early sculptured stones in the area. These include the head of a rectangular cross-slab, (NC80NE 17.3) with rounded top, of purple sandstone, which was found in 1877 built into the E gable of the church. It is 1ft high, 1ft 1ins wide and 3 1/2ins thick and bears a cross in relief on one side with square terminals and square-stepped 'armpits', decorated with spirals. The background shows key-pattern. A Class I symbol stone, (NC80NE 17.1) located only to Clynekirkton, was found in 1855. It is of red sandstone and measures 4ft 3ins long, 1ft 11ins wide at the top, 1ft 7ins at the base and is 4 1/2ins thick. It bears on one face the crescent and V-rod and rectangular symbols, both patterned. Another Class I symbol stone was found in the churchyard in 1868, but is said to have been taken from the 300ft terrace at Clynemilton Farm (NC 915 068). It is approximately rectangular, 4ft by 1ft 5ins by 2 1/2ins thick, and bears the crescent and V-rod, rectangular and mirror symbols. (NC 80 NE17.2) All three stones are in Dunrobin Museum (Acc Nos: 1877.1, 1855.1, and 1869.8 respectively).
R Gordon 1813; J Stuart 1856; Name Book 1872; A Mackay 1894; R Bain 1899; J Anderson and J R Allen 1903; RCAHMS 1911; G Hay 1957; Information contain in TS of Catalogue of Dunrobin Museum by A S Henshall.

The Garlat or Garlet Road is the hill track from Clynekirkton to Oldtown. In it's first mile it climbs along the rough steep slope of Socach, behind the crofts of West Clyne; and this fact leads to the supposition that the original Gaelic was Garbh Leathad, Rough Slope. Local pronunciation would be Garruh Let. A very similar sounding word is gearraidh (pronunced garry nearly) which means, according to Bain, outland beyond township ploughed land; which is what this long slope would have been. Cregan a' Chorp which may be translated body stone, is a boulder beside this track, which used to be a resting place for funerals on their way out of Strathbrora to Clynekirkton graveyard.
Newspaper article, The Northern Times, 1957.
See assoc. docs. File.
J Aitken : 15/05/02.

The church is de-roofed and only the nave and vestry stand.
Visited by OS (W D J) 1 July 1960.

There is no evidence of the original church on the site. The three sculptured stones are still in Dunrobin Museum.
Visited by OS (J B) 24 November 1975.

The old parish church and burial ground were listed at Category B in 1979.

Two class I symbol stones showing:
Clynekirkton 1 : a crescent and V-rod over a rectangle
Clynekirkton 2 : remains of a rectangle above a crescent and V-rod over part of a mirror. <1>

A survey of the monumental inscriptions was published in 1999. <2>

See assoc. docs. File (P.W.Gledhill's Report, Clyne Heritage Society)
J Aitken: 18/03/02.

Clynekirkton Project (Stage 1): Removing intrusive and damaging vegetation (mostly ivy) from the graveyard and around the bell tower. Watch House located at W end of graveyard on 23/03/02. A window built into the graveyard wall was used to watch over new burials for three days after the funerals. The watch house comprises a small structure built onto the manse side of the graveyard wall with a chimney still seen over the wall, the stonework now completely covered in thick ivy. The window is now blocked up and the iron hook for the shutters is still in place. <3>

Entry in the Schedule of Monuments - Scheduling date, 13/02/03
See assocs. Docs. File. Historic Scotland, 25/02/03
J Aitken : 03/03/03

It has been noted that work to renew a water pipeline in the Achrimsdale area has encroached within the curtilage of the church scheduled area. This information has been passed to the Monuments Warden, Historic Scotland.
See Hlink photographs taken 19/05/04
J Aitken : 18/05/04

It was proposed that the old church and burial ground be removed from the statutory list in September 2016 as part of a Historic Environment Scotland project looking at dual designations of sites in the Highlands, though they would remain part of the scheduled monument. <4>

The old church and burial ground were removed from the statutory list by Historic Environment Scotland on 22/09/2016. <5>

Sources/Archives (14)



Grid reference Centred NC 8947 0606 (74m by 42m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC80NE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CLYNE

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