Edzell Old Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 58250 68690, map




Edzell Old Church lies 1 mile west of the village of Edzell, to the south-west of Edzell Castle, in rural Angus. There has been an ecclesiastical presence here since the 9th century, shown by a Pictish cross found in the 1950s. The earliest mention of Edzell Church is 1342, when Edzell had become a separate parish. Records show a number of different ministers were appointed to the church throughout the 18th century, and the overthrow of James VII and episcopacy led to upheaval at Edzell Church, with the church being locked for a period and services taking place in Edzell Castle. An estate map of 1766 shows the church was complete and was a T-plan with a small rectangular graveyard around it.

Today, only the Lindsay Aisle survives, with the rest of the church being demolished in 1818 and replaced by a new church. The church was T-plan, with the Aisle forming an addition attached to the south. Geophysical investigation in 1999 found the rest of the church remains.


The Lindsay Aisle was probably built as a chantry chapel in the 16th century by David Lindsay, ninth Earl of Crawford. A minister would have offered prayers to the deceased Lindsay family members. The Aisle later became a place of burial, but these were later exhumed.

Description (exterior)

The Lindsay Aisle is a small rectangular structure, with a gabled roof. Its wall are rubble built with simple dressings and corner stones (quoins). The roof has large stone slates.


The north end of the Aisle once connected to the nave of the church through a round arch. This arch, with chamfered voussoirs, is the only feature in the north gable. Metal railings prevent entry to the interior. The east wall is featureless and inside the altar would have been located here. The south gable has a rectangular window, which has been made smaller in the past (shown by rubble packing stones mortared in place and building up the sill), and the west wall has a rectangular doorway and a small, blocked window.

Description (interior)

The interior is now empty but protected by iron bars and railings which prevents entry. The side altar would have been positioned along the east wall. Burials were placed under the floor in the past but were later removed.


  • First record of the church when Edzell parish (1342)
  • Religious conflict and church closed for a ti (1708 to 1715)
    Conflict largely the result of the Revolution of 1688-9, when James VII overthrown
  • Church demolished apart from burial aisle (1818)
  • Archaeological excavations, building recordin (1999 to 2000)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1108
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 11256B-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NO56NE 7:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 34995

Bibliographic References:

The Old Parish Churches of ScotlandMike Salter1994P109
Clearance and survey at edzell Old Church, Angus, in Tayside and Fife Archaeological JournalD Bowler, D Perry and M Middleton2000TAFAC Vol. 6
The Statistical Account of ScotlandSir J Sinclair (ed)1791-9p100-112
Scottish medieval churches: architecture and furnishingsR Fawcett2002p305
'Edzell Old Church (Edzell parish), medieval church and post-Reformation burial vault, in Discovery and Excavation in ScotlandD Bowler1999p12
Angus or Forfarshire: the land and people, descriptive and historicalA Warden1880-5Vol. 3, p215
RCAHMS: The archaeological sites and monuments of central Angus, 2 (medieval and later), Angus District, Tayside RegionRCAHMS1984p8