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Carmyllie Parish Kirk Including Graveyard and Boundary Walls

A Category B Listed Building in Carmyllie, Angus

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.5731 / 56°34'23"N

Longitude: -2.7353 / 2°44'7"W

OS Eastings: 354920

OS Northings: 742592

OS Grid: NO549425

Mapcode National: GBR VQ.YYFJ

Mapcode Global: WH7R1.Y1NT

Entry Name: Carmyllie Parish Kirk Including Graveyard and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 11 June 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335853

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4577

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Carmyllie

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim

Parish: Carmyllie

Traditional County: Angus

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Colliston

Description

1609, rectangular-plan church with Renaissance gable belfry; altered 1780s; N aisle added 1836; enlarged and remodelled internally 1874 by James MacLaren of MacLaren and Aitken, Dundee, with large T-projection at N and dominant gable at S. Well-detailed parish church and graveyard within enclosure walls on commanding site overlooking glebe land and grouped with hearse house and former manse (both listed separately). Some fine interior details retained including fragment of laird's pew dated 1657, stained glass rose window (1903) and memorial windows (1908) all by Stephen Adam. Grey and pink sandstone ashlar, some dressed, and squared rubble, with ashlar quoins and margins. Raised base course, part shaped eaves course. 2-stage buttresses. Pointed-arch, trefoil-headed, rose, quatrefoil, traceried and shouldered openings. Raked cills, chamfered reveals and stone mullions.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: symmetrical principal elevation to S with dominant centre gable (1874) incorporating small sundial below rose window flanked by tall memorial windows and glazed quatrefoil in gablehead. Lower, slightly set-back outer bays (1609), that to left with blocked openings including leper's squint. Low E and W gables each have raised centre trefoil-headed tripartite windows. Gabled 2-stage, 3-bay N elevation with traceried windows at 2nd stage; small gabled porch with timber door and decorative ironwork on left return.

Leaded, diamond-pattern glazing, some coloured, and stained glass windows. Small grey Scots slate with stone ridges, ashlar-coped skews and moulded skewputts, those to low E gable depicting human heads. Birdcage belfry with ball finials, bell and weathervane; stone Celtic cross finial to S gable. Cast iron downpipes with decorative rainwater hoppers.

INTERIOR: good retention of interior detail including hammerbeam type roof, boarded dadoes, fixed timber pews with remnant of 1657 laird's pew, N gallery with decorative clock. Carved pulpit and organ. Stained glass includes: 1903 rose window gifted by James Wright, quarrymaster in memory of his parents and 1908 windows commemorating Rev Patrick Bell as inventor and minister: 1930s panel depicting St Columba's arrival in Scotland by Horatio John Greensmith.

GRAVEYARD: rubble walled enclosure extended 1869. Important collection of gravestones dating from 18th century and later, some finely carved with well-preserved death emblems. Earlier stones predominantly of moulded apex design with variety of emblems including farmers and tailors trade emblems of plough, scissors and flat iron; emblems of mortality showing winged souls and hourglass; intricate heraldic devices and fine copperplate writing. Stone dated 1808 with the initials 'JT' and 'JA' has an unusual relief carved plant pot with 2 flowerheads. 19th century stones include a simple pink marble square-section columnar stone commemorating Rev Patrick Bell, died 1869.

BOUNDARY WALLS: low saddleback-coped rubble walls with inset ironwork railings, coped square-section ashlar gatepiers and gates to E; semicircular-coped rubble enclosure walls.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. B Group with Hearse House and Carmyllie House (former manse).

Carmyllie Church is sited in the agricultural heartland of Angus. It is an important example of a 17th century church which has been later extended and altered. It retains a fine interior scheme with some notable stained glass by Stephen Adam. The church sits on raised ground surrounded by its early graveyard and is grouped with the nearby hearse house and former manse which add interest and context to the history of this early ecclesiastical site. The glebe also included a steading and horsemill which have been replaced by a small hall and car parking area. Nevertheless the proportions and picturesque qualities of the early group are largely retained. The 1826 manse looks directly toward a Beadle's cottage a short distance to the south beyond an early bridge over the Elliot Water.

The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map indicates that the church is built on the site of the 16th century 'Our Lady's Chapel'. However, David Strachan of Carmyllie had built a chapel on the site before the end of the 15th century. The early building was established as a Chapel of Ease associated with Arbroath Abbey and also known as St Mary's Chapel. Carmyllie did not become a parish until 1609, and has been linked with Arbirlot and Colliston Kirks since 1991.

Former ministers at Carmyllie include the Rev William Small (1734-1775), a true son of the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1758 Small was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at William and Mary College in Virginia where he taught Thomas Jefferson. The two men remained friends and Jefferson acknowledged Small's influence in his autobiography. Patrick Bell, inventor of the reaping machine, was the minister at Carmyllie from 1843 until his death in 1869. Bell did not patent his 1828 invention believing it to be for the benefit of mankind. During these years the population increased as the stone quarrying industry grew. Many people were employed quarrying Carmyllie stone which was used on the Vatican roof and at Cologne Cathedral.

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