MHG3870 - Dominican Friary - Friars Street, Inverness


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Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

NH64NE 12 6643 4556.

(NH 6643 4556) Greyfriars Church {NR} (Remains of)
OS 25"map, Inverness, (1868)

In 1233, King Alexander II founded a convent at Inverness not of Franciscans or Grey Friars as erroneously handed down by oral tradition, (Spottiswood) but of Dominicans or Black Friars. <1>

Grey Friars Church…Ruin. <2>

Traditionally, the Dominicans or Black Friars, and the Franciscans or Grey Friars had each an establishment here but it was destroyed by Cromwell and the stones carried off for the erection of a citadel at the north of the town. The only remains is the shaft of one of the columns which supported the church which traditionally was connected with the Grey Friars Monastery occupying the space now used as a burial ground. <3>

All authorities are agreed that the order of the Black Friars was founded at Inverness in 1233. <4>

Dominican Friars, Inverness: This house whose dedication was to St. Bartholomew was founded by Alexander II in or before 1240, and was destroyed or secularized before 1566. The date of the foundation of this house is not known. The Franciscan Friars. Supposed Foundations, Inverness. The idea that there were Greyfriars here is due to confusion with the Black friars. <5>

All that remains of the Black Friars' Monastery is an octagonal column of ashlar masonry 0.7 m in diameter with the remains of the springing of an arch 2.4m above ground level. The total height of the column is c. 3.5m.
Visited by OS (W D J) 1 April 1960.

The site of the Friary was Scheduled by Historic Scotland in 1996.

Continuing the work carried out previously (Farrell 1997), a photographic survey to enhance a number of sites which had previously been partly recorded was conducted, including:
NH 6643 4556 Greyfriars, Inverness.
A full report is lodged with Highland SMR and the NMRS.
Sponsor: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
S Farrell 1998

A comprehensive monumental inscription survey has been completed by the Highland Family History Society. This survey does not include photos of each stone. Please contact the society for copies of the report.
J Aitken : 18/12/02

The Scheduling was amended by Historic Scotland in 2006. The graveyard walls were excluded from the scheduling. <6>

The Scheduling was amended again by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 to include the effigy of a knight set in the south wall of the burial ground which was not included when the scheduling was amended in 2006. However, the boundary walls, gates, other memorials and burial lairs where rights of burial still exist were not considered to be of national importance and were not included in the Scheduling. The scheduling also excludes the wall of the British Telecom building to the southeast and the pedestrian bridge that crosses above the site. <7>

Following an enquiry by a member of the public, Historic Environment Scotland looked again at the Scheduling in 2017. The decision was taken that the walls and gateway of the the burial ground still did not meet the criteria for scheduling. <8>

GIS spatial data amended in 2018 according to possible area of the original friary, based on historic map analysis. Two polygons, one for the possible bounds of the friary lands and another indicative to the possible location of the friary buildings. <9>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NH 6636 4559 (198m by 209m) (3 map features)
Map sheet NH64NE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

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