MHG8582 - St. Duthus's Chapel - The Links, Tain


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Type and Period (1)

  • CHAPEL (Early Medieval to Medieval - 561 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH78SE 1 7855 8222.
St. Duthas's Chapel (NR) (In Ruins)
OS 6" map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)

The most ancient of 3 pre-reformation churches in Tain, dedicated to St. Duthus, this is thought to be church to which his remains were translated 1253. He is thought to have lived about 1000. Architecture of building agrees with C13th date. This church possessed right of sanctuary, sacred nature of which did not avail wife and daughter of Robert the Bruce, who sought refuge here in 14th century.
The church stands on a knoll rising above general level of links, and is surrounded by a modern cemetery. A simple parallelogram, church measures 46 feet long by 16' 6" wide internally. Three of walls which are all of granite boulders, and E & W gables are still almost entire, but S wall is reduced to a state of ruin. N, E & W walls, which are much exposed to storms from sea, are without any openings, except a small pointed window in W gable. The doorway and windows seem to have been in S wall, which may account for its ruinous condition. The church is believed to have been destroyed by fire by McNeill of Creich in 1429.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1896-7. <1>

The girth of Tain, marked out by 4 crosses appears to have been roughly co-extensive with bounds of parish. 'Clais na Comraich' - the Hollow of the Girth or Sanctuary - at "The Canary" on the southern boundary of the parish towards Scotsburn, may have been site of one cross. 'Crais Caitrion', Catherine's Cross, to N of Loch Eye, may have been another.
W J Watson 1904. <2>

As described above. Visited by OS (W D J) 18 May 1963.

The chapel was Listed at Category B in 1971.

The chapel was Scheduled in 1975.

Chapel lies within council maintained and active graveyard. Lies on a strong knoll overlooking the sea. The building is a ruin, with 19th century memorials attached to the walls and in a newer partition wall built internally. There is a rather large crack in the eastern end of the N wall from interior through to exterior. Ivy covered at western end. <3>

Several photographs of the chapel were submitted to the HER by Keith Hart in February 2011. <4>

The building was assessed by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 as part of the Dual Designations Project. It was recommended that the building be de-listed though it would remain a Scheduled Monument. <5>

The building was removed from the Statutory List on 14/09/2016.

The chapel was re-scheduled in 2016 to better protect the surviving remains. <6> <7>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NH 7855 8221 (17m by 13m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH78SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TAIN

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