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Birse and Feughside Parish Church, (Church of Scotland), Including Churchyard Gates, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

A Category B Listed Building in Birse, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.0645 / 57°3'52"N

Longitude: -2.7363 / 2°44'10"W

OS Eastings: 355446

OS Northings: 797291

OS Grid: NO554972

Mapcode National: GBR WS.8ZKV

Mapcode Global: WH7NJ.YP5N

Entry Name: Birse and Feughside Parish Church, (Church of Scotland), Including Churchyard Gates, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 16 April 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334065

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3084

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Birse

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Banchory and Mid Deeside

Parish: Birse

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Dated 1779. Alterations and repairs by Mackenzie and Mathews, 1854; internal remodelling in 1937 by George Bennett Mitchell. Single storey, rectangular-plan plain classical church with birdcage bellcote, almost certainly from earlier church and re-dated. Tooled coursed granite rubble with cherry cocking, finely finished and tooled dressings. Base course; round-arched openings; long and short quoins.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical; 3-bay; gabled. Modern 2-leaf boarded timber door to centre of ground floor, 2-pane leaded fanlight, notice-board to right; flanked to left and right by window. Large window centred above doorway; louvred timber bull's-eye opening set in gablehead. Corniced decorative bellcote, with 1815 bell, bell-pull chain tied to loop to right of ground floor; tooled datestone above cornice reading "1779", spherical finials to each corner, ironwork weather-vane to apex.

S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; 4 regularly spaced windows to bays to left, boarded timber door to earlier 20th century bay to right, flanked to left by small windows.

E ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; gabled; single stained glass window to centre, with finely finished granite ashlar dressings, small window to left of ground floor; spherical finial to apex.

N ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; window to each of centre 3 bays. Advanced lean-to to bay to outer right, boarded timber door with glazed panels, coped stack breaking eaves to re-entrant angle to left. Earlier 20th century bay to left with stepped-up window and cherry-cocking.

Predominantly rectangular-pane leaded windows. Graded grey slate roof with tiled ridge. Stone skews with corniced skewputts. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: refitted circa 1937; originally U-plan gallery with pulpit on long wall, now broad-plan with rear gallery; simple timber pews; memorial stones set in S wall; clock by "Geo Angus, Aberdeen" to gallery; fine stained glass to E; 12th century stone set in wall of room to NW.

CHURCHYARD, GATES, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: random rubble boundary walls with rubble coping enclose 2 chambered churchyard, with some 18th and 19th century stones. Square-plan tooled granite gatepiers with pyramidal caps to S and SE of graveyard with ironwork gates; small iron gate leading to Manse to E wall; gateway leading to lower terrace of graveyard to W wall, stone steps, modern railings. Ancillary structure within boundary wall to N.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with Birse Manse, now called Birseside (see separate listing). Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Birse Church "is a most substantial and commodious edifice, superior to most, and inferior to few places of worship in the country" (OSA, p118). When the foundations of the previous church, situated to the S where the Farquharsons of Finzean burial place is now, were removed a 12th century stone, with a carved 2-handed sword, battle axe and cross was found, and set into the S wall of the churchyard; it is now inside the church. According to Dinnie, the 1675 bell was recast in 1815, and originally had a silver tongue, however on one occasion the tongue broke free from its fastenings and flew into a nearby marsh where it was lost (Kemp, p15). Little evidence of the Mackenzie and Mathews work survives. Rev A L Kemp explains the alterations carried out by George Bennett Mitchell of Aberdeen (who also worked on several other buildings in the Aboyne and Birse area), although certain aspects are different. The east gable was taken down in order to extend the building by six feet, and the interior was completely refitted, reducing the seating capacity by 100, so that it was more comfortable.

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