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This building is in the Moray Council and the Birnie Parish. It is a category A building and was listed on 26/01/1971.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: NJ 2065 5871.


Probably 12th century, variously repaired and altered

including re-building of W gable (and shortening of nave

of church) in 1734 and major restoration, 1891 by

A Marshall MacKenzie. Alteration to windows in S

elevation by John Wright, architect, Elgin, circa 1975.

Simple rectangular nave with rectangular chancel at E

gable. Tooled squared rubble, ashlar dressings.

Off-centre round-headed entrance in S elevation lit by

3 later round-headed windows. Narrow S entrance to

chancel with chamfered margins and under re-set cusped

medieval light. Chancel lit by single round-headed lancet

in N and S walls. Mural sundial.

Blocked pointed-headed entrance in N elevation which has

no windows, expcept chancel lancets.

Birdcage bellcote at W apex dated 1734; slate roof.

INTERIOR: simple interior; tooled ashlar walls; 1891 timber ceiling. Simple Romanesque chancel arch supported by engaged

columns with cushion capitals. Deeply splayed

round-headed lancets in N and S chancel walls.

Various mural memorials including Sanders memorial dated

1670; pedimented country Jacobean plaque flanked by

small engaged columns supporting 'winged souls' as

caryatids. Simple hewn stone basin font, probably

12th century, supported by thick circular stem with

spiral fluting on square base (stem and base dated from


BURIAL GROUND: roughly square burial ground enclosed by

coped rubble wall. Various tombstones of 17th, 18th and

subsequent dates. Inscribed Celtic stone.

GATEPIERS AND GATES: pair simple square tooled ashlar

gatepiers; pair cast-iron spearhead carriage gates.


Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Celtic stone is Scheduled Ancient Monument No 2781. Birnie church is said to have been an early seat of the Bishop of Moray before the foundation of Elgin cathedral in 1224, and is the earliest church in continuous worship in the District. 1690 mural monument inscribed 'Here lies under this pulpit the corps of Mr Wm Sanders Lait minister of this Paroch, who deceased the 13 May 1670 and of Katherine and Elspet Sanders his children'. The memorial may have been re-sited to N wall after restoration of 1891. Plinth and stem of font gifted to church in 1885 by Ecclesiological Society of Aberdeen, who visited the church during 1884. This pedestal is made from Auchindoir sandstone.


THE STATISTICAL ACCOUNT (1791, Witherington and Grant vol. xvi, 1892), pp. 465-6. NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT xiii (1835), p. 85. MacGibbon and Ross, THE ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND i (1896), pp. 218-220. W H Watson, A MARSHALL MACKENZIE, ARCHITECT IN ABERDEEN (1985), p. 52. W Cramond, CHURCH OF BIRNIE (1903). MORAY AND NAIRN EXPRESS, 10 March 1885 p.4

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).