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Airlie Parish Church

A Category B Listed Building in Airlie, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6505 / 56°39'1"N

Longitude: -3.1216 / 3°7'17"W

OS Eastings: 331323

OS Northings: 751526

OS Grid: NO313515

Mapcode National: GBR VF.M4SH

Mapcode Global: WH6PC.03SH

Plus Code: 9C8RMV2H+58

Entry Name: Airlie Parish Church

Listing Name: Airlie Parish Kirk, Kirkton of Airlie

Listing Date: 11 June 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335898

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4621

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Airlie

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Kirriemuir and Dean

Parish: Airlie

Traditional County: Angus

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Dated 1781 and 1783; stair additions mid-19th century; 1893 addition to north elevation and interior altered; includes rare medieval period fabric and fixtures. 5-bay nave, rectangular-plan church set within churchyard in rural location. Rendered with painted margins. Stone bellcote to west gable. Round arched windows with flat-arched windows to flanking(outer) bays of nave. Round-arched windows to north elevation addition. Window at centre of south elevation with stained glass dated 1787, keystone and cell inscribed '17 MrIS Mnr 81'. Evidence of earlier entrance opening beneath window. Figurative sculpture of St John the Baptist holding a lamb set into west gable to left of stair addition.

Predominantly multi-paned timber framed windows. Diamond-paned, leaded windows to north elevation addition. Grey-slated, pitched roof. Piended roof to additions.

The interior was seen in 2013. The interior is characterised predominantly by late 19th-century timber fixtures and fittings, including pulpit, pews and boarding to dado rail. Raked gallery to west wall supported on a pair of square timber columns with dentiled cornice and panelled balustrade. The gallery to the east wall was infilled with panelled balustrade and timber columns set into wall, circa 2001. Commemorative marble panel to south wall of church. Simple cornicing to church. Medieval carved aumbry set in wall beneath east staircase. Aumbry carvings include a cross with crown of thorns and a heart with hands and feet representing the five wounds of the passion flanking the apex of the ogee-headed opening, and all flanked by engaged columnettes. The rear of the aumbry has the initials W.F. and the arms of the Fentons of Baikie, all upside down.

Statement of Interest

Place of worship no longer in use as such. This former parish church is a rare example of a late 18th-century rural parish church. The later additions to the church complement its simple architectural detailing appropriate for its rural setting and its late 18th-century rectangular-plan form is clearly discernible. It is also a good example of a church with a wide roof span, indicative of timber imports from abroad and improved economic conditions in Scotland (Hay 1957, p.80). Carved fragments of an earlier medieval church on the site have been incorporated into the fabric of this church and are of interest as rare, well-preserved features, as well as tangible evidence of the site's early origins. The building is prominently positioned on an elevated site and is an integral part of the small settlement in which it is situated. The layout of the settlement and its immediate landscape setting appear to have changed little since the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map (1901).

Airlie Parish Kirk is dated 1781 and 1783 and replaced an earlier church on the site, built around 1603. This church is understood to have replaced a church dedicated to St Meddan by Bishop de Bernham in 1242. In the west gable is a statue of John the Baptist. The statue may have come from the chapel of St John at Baikie (Jervise, p274) the location of which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map of 1865. The Strathmore family held the Barony from 1458 and were known to offer prayers to John the Baptist in particular, and this could be the reason for the statue of John the Baptist in the west gable.

The stairtower additions are first evident on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1865. The National Archives (GD16/45/95) hold various receipts and accounts for the repair of the church and manse between 1826 and 1864. Therefore, the stair towers were likely to have been constructed in this period. An addition to the south elevation and the interior was remodelled in 1893 (Hay, p80).

To the west of the church is the Ministers' Aisle, and both are within the parish kirkyard (see separate listings). Nearby is the Hearse House, Manse, Gig House and niche for the St Meddan statue (see separate listings). These add to the interest to the church as evidence of structures associated with places of worship in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Category changed from A to B, statutory address and listed building record updated in 2014. Previously listed as 'Airlie Parish Kirk'.

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