Dunlappie Church, Stracathro

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 59130 67960, map




An old church and burial ground, known as Dunlappie, is recorded from the late 13th century on a slightly raised site, alongside the West Water, just to the south-west of Edzell village. It was included in the diocese of St Andrews and the first known minister was Johan de Derlington. A parochial register for Stracathro in 1641 shows that the parish of Dunlappie no longer existed and the church was ruinous. Burials took place in the ruins and burial ground into the 19th century, although the historian Jervise suggests that locals removed the gravestones and building material for use in nearby cottages.

The old church of Dunlappie was located just to the north-west of Dalhousie Bridge. The south-east corner of the graveyard of the church was partially excavated in the late 1990s and 2000 ahead of a new bridge being built. Jervise states that the foundations of the church were visible in the 1860s but little on the ground is visible today, except for a stony bank, which is part of the west retaining wall of the graveyard. A slightly elevated area near this, measuring 15.5m by 7.5m, was thought to represent the church site and excavations undertaken by Headland Archaeology in 2000 confirmed this. They discovered a number of banks, the largest one of which measures 15m by 3m and aligned roughly east-west. A lot of disturbance and later wall-robbing trenches added complexity to the site, but it would appear the church measured 17m by 7m. An earthern bank, upto 0.5m in height today, surrounds the church grounds to the west and south, and the river forms the eastern boundary of the burial ground. SCHR found little evidence of these remains as the site is thickly overgrown with vegetation and close to the new bridge across the river. 

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: NO56NE 15
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 1493

Bibliographic References:

Memorials of Angus and the MearnsA Jervise1861p425-6
The History and Traditions of the Lands of the Lindsays in Angus and the MearnsA Jervise1882
Angus or Forfarshire: The Land and People: Descriptive and HistoricalA J Warden1880-5Vol. 5, p162-3
The Parishes of Medieval ScotlandI B Cowan1967p53
RCAHMS: The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Central AngusRCAHMS1984p8
An archaeological investigation at Dunlappie Parish Church, Edzell, Angus, in Tayside and Fife Archaeological JournalG Brown and J Millar2003TAFAC Vol. 9, 2003, p96-102