MHG39898 - Mausoleum, St. Mary's Church, Wardlaw


17th-century burial aisle, the only element of the former Wardlaw parish church surviving as a roofed building.

Type and Period (1)

  • MAUSOLEUM (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

Full Description

What appears to be the foundations of St Mary's Church are attached to the W side of the Lovat Mausoleum, and the enclosure is now used for burials of the Frasers of Reelig. It measures 10.3m E-W by 6.6m N-S within walls 0.5m thick. The W wall is partly destroyed, and the N and S walls averaging 1.0m high are topped by a later coping, but the harled E gable is virtually intact and incorporated in the W wall of the mausoleum. According to a notice board the church was built in 1618 when the parishes were united, and there is no ground evidence to support an earlier date. The same notice, however, states that the mausoleum was built in 1634, but the date 1722 is inscribed on the belfry.
The earliest legible grave markers are of the early 17th C. No trace of cup marked stones, nor of the cross fragment. The grave yard is still in use.
Visited by OS (A A) 22 June 1975

An archaeological examination was carried out in connection with restoration work at this important 17th/18th-century building. A fine quatrefoil window exposed in the W gable of the mausoleum is thought to be the remains of the window dedicated by Euphemia Fraser in 1341. Other fragments of dressed masonry thought to derive from the medieval church were also found. However, apart from the W gable, no walling incontrovertibly related to the earlier church was revealed. Further work is planned.
A full report will be lodged with the NMRS and Highland SMR.
Sponsor: Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust.

The above information was imported from the RCAHMS Canmore database when the digital HER (formerly SMR) was established in 1995. <1>

Parts of the Canmore description not relevant to the mausoleum have been removed from this record. <2>

A detailed description of this mausoleum ("Lovat Burial Aisle") can be found in Historic Scotland's listed building information (see link at the bottom of this record). <3>

Wardlaw Mausoleum was one of twenty sites to have been part of the SCOT2K Native Pine Dendrochronology Project. One of the aims of this project included dating and provenancing of native Scottish pine timbers in buildings and archaeological sites and dates were found to range from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, from high-status castles to modest cruck cottages. They were mostly located in the Highlands where Scots pine occurs naturally and so these areas were more likely to have had native pine used in buildings, although an early example of long-distance transport is also identified. More widely in Scotland, many historic buildings are dominated by imported timber from the 15th century onwards, and native timbers may be under recognised, something the project is helping to address. Crypt hatch boards of native pine from the mausoleum were dendrochronologically dated to the 18th century, with a terminus post quem date of 1721 AD. <4> Summary of results. <5>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 5496 4570 (14m by 10m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54NW
Civil Parish KIRKHILL
Geographical Area INVERNESS

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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