MHG8689 - St. Duthac's Collegiate Church & churchyard, Castle Brae, Tain

Summary

The Collegiate Church of Tain, built in the 14th century. It is no longer in use but is maintained as a roofed building within the churchyard.

Type and Period (1)

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

Protected Status

Full Description

NMRS Notes: NH78SE 3 7802 8218.
Ch. (NR) (Dis) OS 6" map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)

Collegiate Church of Tain, dedicated to St. Duthus, is said to have been built by William, Earl of Ross, who died 1371. 1487, James III had it converted into a Collegiate Church. James IV and V made pilgrimages to it.
The church measures 70' long by 22' 6" wide internally. It contains 4 bays, distinguished externally by buttresses, each bay having window. W wall has a niche on each side of arch of the window, N are still containing the statue of a bishop, presumably St. Duthus. There is a doorway in westmost bay of each side, the S door having had a large porch. From the Reformation until 1815 this was the parish church; it was then abandoned and allowed to fall into decay until 1877 when it was restored. It is now maintained for monumental and memorial purposes.
D MacGibbon and T Ross 1986-7. <1>

As described above, except for porch over S door which has been removed. The church is in a good state of repair and shows many signs of restoration. Inside is 13th century baptisimal font. The church is no longer in use as such but is maintained for memorial purposes.
Visited by OS (W D J) 18 May 1963.

ARCHITECT: John, Robert and James Adam-1754-report on repairs necessary to church

REFERENCE: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND

The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, contains, among the "Uncatalogued MSS of General Hutton", and numbered 147 and 148, Vol.1, a Plan of 1815, with references, by Jas. Shand; and Elevations, also of 1815, and also by Jas. Shand, of the old Collegiate Church of Tain, on South margin of the Dornoch Firth.
There is also, numbered 146 in the same volume, a Ground Plan of the old Church of Tain, marked in pencil as "Surveyed and drawn by Ja. Shand, 1819" and to a scale of 10 feet to an inch; and, numbered 143 and 144, a sketch of the interior of the Church looking East, together with a sketch of the North side.

Maintained as a roofed building within the churchyard. War memorial is mounted on the wall within. Very fine window designed with various foliage and fruit in style of Morris. The font is described as being from Suddie. The external figure is still within his plinth, but another is empty and there is a statue within described in guide literature as St Duthac. <2>

During works to the floor of the chapel in 1980, as a result of subsidence following flooding, several human bones were unearthed resting on top of a stone memorial slab. The Press and Journal reported that several such slabs were found with heavy iron rings attached. It was initially thought that these marked unrecorded tombs, however it is more likely that these were badly worn memorials that were formerly set in the floor and were then used as part of a foundation to raise the floor. Copies of the newspaper articles were given to the HER by Janet Hooper. <3><4>


St Duthus Church, Proposed Monument, {n.d.}, Proposed monument to Patrick Hamilton, Abbot of Tearn, in St Duthus Church, Tain: {subscription circular} (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2826.


St Duthus Church, 1852, Tain, St Duthus Church: memorial respecting old church, 1852 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2825.


Inverness Courier, 1860, Proposed restoration of St Duthus' Church at Tain (Text/Publication/Article/Newspaper Article). SHG2994.


Durkin, J, 1962, 'The sanctuary and college of Tain', Innes Rev Vol. 13 1962, p.147-56, 147-56 (Text/Publication/Article). SHG1718.


Cowan and Easson, I B and D E, 1976, Medieval religious houses, Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of Man, 227-8 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2070.


RCAHMS, 1979, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Easter Ross, Ross and Cromarty District, Highland Region, 28, No. 240 (Text/Report). SHG2670.


Stell, G, 1986, Architecture and society in Easter Ross before 1707, 105-6; fig. 8.5, plan (Text/Publication/Article). SHG3139.


Close-Brooks, J, 1986, Exploring Scotland's Heritage: The Highlands, 114, No. 52 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2053.


<1> MacGibbon and Ross, D and T, 1896-7, The ecclesiastical architecture of Scotland from the earliest Christian times to the seventeenth century, Vol. 2, 538-42 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2443.


<2> White, H, Comment by Hilary White, HC Archaeologist, 08/2004 (Verbal Communication). SHG23635.


<3> Pledger, A, 19/08/1980, 'Tomb mystery closes chapel', in The Scotsman? (Text/Publication/Article/Newspaper Article). SHG23927.


<4> McKay, A, 13/08/1980, 'Mystery of Tain Church solved', in The Press and Journal (Text/Publication/Article/Newspaper Article). SHG23926.

Sources/Archives (12)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred NH 7802 8218 (26m by 15m)
Map sheet NH78SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish TAIN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (5)

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