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Knockbain Munlochy Parish Church and Boundary Wall

A Category C Listed Building in Knockbain, Highland

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Latitude: 57.5471 / 57°32'49"N

Longitude: -4.2629 / 4°15'46"W

OS Eastings: 264666

OS Northings: 853035

OS Grid: NH646530

Mapcode National: GBR H8VS.21Y

Mapcode Global: WH3DY.HK8N

Plus Code: 9C9QGPWP+RR

Entry Name: Knockbain Munlochy Parish Church and Boundary Wall

Listing Name: Knockbain Munlochy Parish Church and Boundary Wall, Munlochy

Listing Date: 10 July 2014

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 402440

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52257

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200402440

Location: Knockbain

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Black Isle

Parish: Knockbain

Traditional County: Ross-shire

Tagged with: Church building Architectural structure

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A Maitland and Sons, 1886. Rectangular-plan Gothic style coursed rubble red sandstone church with gabled shallow entrance porch to the southwest and small rectangular-plan vestry adjoined to the northeast.

The principal 3-bay elevation has a slightly advanced centre bay including an advanced gabled and pointed arch doorway flanked by two small hoodmoulded lancet windows forming part of a continuous band course that extends the width of this elevation. Above the porch are 3 tall lancet windows (the taller central window has simple plate tracery) resting on a cill course, all linked by a continuous hoodmould. There is a small glazed rose window directly above. There is a Gothic style stone belfry at the apex which it is surmounted by a metal decorative weather vane with quatrefoil centre detail. The outer bays are slightly recessed and have a large lancet window set within a blind Gothic arch. There are distinctive pinnacled and tiered buttresses flanking the outer bays.

The north and south side elevations are 6 bays with long vertical pointed arch gallery windows. There are two stained glass pointed arched windows to the east gable.

The windows are glazed predominantly in leaded glass; some have triangular shaped coloured glass to their margins. The slated gabled roof has 3 triangular louvred roof vents to either side. There is a smaller rectangular-plan , meeting hall and vestry (currently used as a kitchen, 2014) to the rear, accessed both externally and from a hall linking it to the main worship space.

The interior was seen in 2014, and is galleried on three sides and has a good decorative scheme in the Gothic revival style. The entrance leads into a vestibule with stairs to left and right giving access to the timber panelled gallery above. The main space has timber floors and contains pitch pine tongue and groove pews facing a large raised timber panelled pulpit flanked by dog-leg stairs to either side. The pulpit has Gothic detailing and is framed by a decorative timber sounding board with trefoil arch and a pointed arch plaster hood. The gallery contains recessed trefoil detailing to each panel and is supported on 3 sides by slender Doric columns at the ground floor; there are Corinthian columns at the second floor carrying wide span pointed arches. The timber panelled roof is diagonally patterned and has decorative flower and star shaped vents along its apex.

The stained glass windows flanking the pulpit date to the mid-late 20th century. The former vestry is to rear of the east wall. It has timber panelled doors, timber tongue and groove panels up to dado rail and a simple cornice.

Low, course rubble boundary wall to west with rubble copes.

Statement of Interest

The Knockbain Munlochy Parish Church is a good example of a Free Church of Scotland building designed by a prominent regional architect which retains a number of fine Gothic architectural details to its exterior and interior. The building remains relatively unaltered in form and setting, and makes significant contribution to the village of Munlochy. It is a good example of a rural church of its type with unusually high amount of decorative detailing.

The church was built as a Free Church of Scotland and was opened in August 1886. In the late 1880s the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland divided its congregation at Knockbain West in two. One section, along with the minister, Reverend James MacLeod, moved to the newly constructed church and manse in Munlochy and was named Knockbain Munlochy Free Church. The present church joined the United Free Church in the Union of 1900 and subsequently united with the Church of Scotland in 1929.

There was a significant increase in church building after the Disruption of 1843 when a number of ministers moved away from the established Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. Following the Disruption, the Free Church began to fundraise to build hundreds of new churches across the county.

Whilst the church is part of the second phase of building for the Free Church of Scotland, this building at Munlochy constructed from 1886 is a good example of a finely decorated rural church which has begun to introduce fine decorative details in its interior and exterior following a more austere building campaign of the early phase of Free Church building from the 1840s to 1870s.

Knockbain Munlochy Parish Church displays high quality detailing to a typical 3-bay, rectangular-plan arrangement. Distinctive Gothic elements are applied to most surfaces, and they are of good quality and skilfully executed. Many external features are noteworthy, such as the detail in the carved stone and leaded windows. Internally the pulpit, plasterwork, gallery and supporting columns are of particularly high standard for a building of this date and location.

Andrew Maitland was born in Keith in 1802, and became an architect through the building trade and experience as an inspector of public works while living in Tain. The Maitlands were a large family, and sons James and Andrew II joined the practice in the 1860s and the firm then became A Maitland and Sons. When Andrew Maitland Senior retired in 1892, his sons continued the practice. The ecclesiastical work of A Maitland and Sons is characterised by the use of Gothic and Scots Baronial elements, often compared to their Highland contemporaries, Alexander Ross and John Rhind.

External Links

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