St Mary's Church, Dundee

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 40130 30120, map



Also known as:

  • Kirk in the Field (1200)
  • St Mary's in the Field


The earliest church on this site was known as St. Mary’s Church and dates from the late 12th Century. It is said to have been founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon, who landed safely in Dundee after the Crusades. The Church was burnt in 1296 by Edward I and there was further destruction by the English in 1385. A tower was added to the western elevation in the 15th Century. The Church was largely destroyed in 1548 by English troops but the tower survived, now known as The Old Steeple (1084). It is now the earliest standing structure to survive from the old Church. The site has since been rebuilt over the centuries and more information can be found in the record for The City Churches (10888).

Description (exterior)

It apparently measured 286ft (87.17m) lengthwise and its width across the transepts measured 174ft (53.04m).

Description (interior)


Records show it was lavishly decorated and maintained, and would have been one of the most splendid parish churches in Scotland. In 1495 George Spalding donated a bell to the tower. There were many altar dedications possibly over 35 altars, some by guild merchants. After the attack of 1548 much of the interior was removed.  

People / Organisations:

Saint MaryDedicatee


  • Construction (12th Century)
    Founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon
  • Tower construction (15th Century)
    Assumed by 1495 and similar to style seen in Low Countries during 1420-80. Tower added to Church.

Archive References:

SCHRReference: 1082
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 74202

Bibliographic References:

Medieval Dundee; a town and its peopleTorrie, EP1990
The Buildings of Scotland: Dundee and AngusGifford, John2012Pgs. 86-92
Historic Dundee: The Archaeological Implications of DevelopmentStevenson, S. and Torrie, E.1988Pgs. 23-36