Inverkeilor Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 66470 49610, map


DD11 5RX


Inverkeilor Parish Church was built at the end of the 17th century and dedicated to St Macconoc or Conan. It was originally a long, narrow rectangle but in the 18th century the Anniston Aisle was built on to the rear of the church, creating the T-plan structure it is today, with the nave running east-west and an aisle  to the north. The church is situated in a large burial ground on the outskirts of Inverkeilor village.

Description (exterior)

The gothic style church is built of red sandstone and has a slate roof. The long south elevation has a central gable with a slightly lower vestry attached to the east end.  The main nave is not symmetrical, with the gable offset to the east and the windows and doorways placed at different locations along the elevation. There are plain lancet windows, which reach the wallhead, and a wider pointed-arch dormer window. There is a small round window in the gable, which is positioned above the pulpit inside. There are two small rectangular doorways giving access to the church, with small rectangular windows alongside. Different buttresses have been added to increase the stength of the building. The east vestry has small rectangular windows and decorative heraldic and memorial panels, one dated 1636, which may come from an earlier structure or memorial. The roof of the nave has different types of slate, to create a pattern effect. There are two triangular ventilators in the roof, which are painted red.  


The north elevation is dominated by the aisle, which is attached to the nave at right angles.  It is rectangular with an attached gabled stair tower, which gives access to the aisle's gallery. This stair tower has a large lancet window. The roof of the north aisle is partially hipped. The end of the aisle has a pointed-arch window to light the gallery, and a rectangular window below. The is a datestone in the wall; 1799.


The west gable has a bellcote on the gable apex, topped by a stone finial. Below is a small opening. Three narrow, rectangular windows light the gallery and below is a small, stepped buttress. There is a datestone above the central window with 1862 inscribed. There is possible evidence of earlier structural remains of an older building on the south-west corner, although it is difficult to be sure.


There have been a number of small lean-to structures on the east side of the north aisle, which may have been coal stores or similar. There are no windows or features in the north-east part of the church. The gable end of the attached vestry has stepped stonework towards the apex, which may be evidence of an earlier wall being re-used. It is a different type of sandstone than the main nave of the church, so this would seem likely.


The church sits in a maintained burial ground which contains a number of 18th century carved gravestones and two notable family burial enclosures.

Description (interior)

The interior is arranged around the pulpit, which is centrally placed along the south wall. The walls are plastered and painted white and the wooden beam roof structure is exposed. The floor is covered with red carpet. There are galleries to the east, west and north and they have fine, carved panelled fronts. The west and east galleries were originally for local lairds and their heraldic panels are still to be found on the gallery fronts. The pews in the nave and galleries face the pulpit and are simple and wooden. 


The sanctuary area is placed along the south wall and the roof and wall are raised behind the pulpit to accomodate tall stained glass windows. The sanctuary is raised up from the nave by two steps and the large stone font is placed at the corner junction of the sanctuary and nave. The pulpit is wooden and has an ornate back board; it is reached by wooden steps. In front of the pulpit is the communion table, which is wooden and has simple panelled recesses. 


Most of the glass in the church is clear, apart from three stained glass windows flanking the pulpit, on the south wall, which depict Jesus with children and the ill. 


  • Church built (1635)
  • Anniston Aisle built (1735)
  • Church heightened and extended (1862)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1202
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 11295C(S)-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NO64NE 1:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 35385

Bibliographic References:

The New Statistical Account of Scotland1845Vol. XI, p243
The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957p191
The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, in Scottish Record Society, Vol. 93I B Cowan1967p88-9