Old St Mary's Church and Burial Ground, Banff

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 69040 64050, map


High Shore


The ruins of the old St Mary's Church and the surrounding graveyard were the heart of medieval Banff and in the centre of the town and close to its busy and important harbour. The latest phase of the church was built in the 16th century, likely on the site of an earlier structure. The entire church, apart from an attached burial aisle, was demolished at the end of the 18th century, when the new parish church opened nearby on High Street (see St Mary's Parish Church). The old graveyard was landscaped after the demolition works had been carried out. The land surface was raised and levelled and paths were laid and trees planted. Today, the graveyard is surrounded by streets and car parking spaces on all four sides, but it is still open to the public with entrance gates in the boundary railings. 

Today, only the Ogilvie Aisle and a small section of supporting church wall have survived. It is a fairly small structure with a tall, crowstepped gable facing south. There is a late Gothic-style pointed-arch window in this south gable, with thick stone mullions and transoms. Nearby is a small, round-arched doorway with a later wooden door. On the north side, which opened into the church, is a large pointed-arch doorway with a later metal screen. Inside the aisle is a very fine, ornate wall tomb to the Ogilvie family. The aisle was restored in 2003, when it was re-harled and the roof repaired. The raised later floor level was lowered to the original level, revealing more of the Ogilvie Tomb inside. 


  • Church built (1471)
  • Church largely demolished (1797)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 380
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ66SE 42
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 18476

Bibliographic References:

Banff & Buchan: An Illustrated Architectural GuideC McKean1990p31
The Object Name Book of The Ordnance SurveyOrdnance Survey1867Book 3, p44
St Mary's Kirkyard, BanffJ C Murray2003Published in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, 2003, p14