Glenisla Parish Kirk

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 21490 60430, map


Kirkton of Glenisla
PH11 8PH

Also known as:

  • Glen Isla Church


Located at the west end of Glenisla village, on the B951, this small Gothic, B-listed church was built in 1821, replacing an older church known as The Blessed Virgin. It sits in a graveyard much older than the current structure. It was built in coursed rubble, with ashlar surrounds and corner stones (quoins). The roofs are slated. A mention of Glenisla church is made in a History of Banff Estate by George Halliburton in 1627.

Description (exterior)

The church is fairly small and plain, with a later hearse house attached to the north. The north elevation, facing the road, has only two small, rectangular multi-pane windows on either side of the large hearse house, which was attached at a later date. The hearse house is now maunly used for storage.

The symmetrical south elevation makes use of the light and has two very large pointed-arch windows centrally placed, which flood the interior with light. They have simple timber Y-tracery and multi-paned glass. To either side are two small rectangular doorways giving access to the church. Above each door is a single rectangular, multi-paned window, reaching the wallhead. The western one lights the gallery.


The west gable of the church has two rectangular multi-pane windows, one of which lights a kitchen area and the other lights the gallery above. On the apex of the gable is a simple rectangular open bellcote, from which hangs the original bell, operated by an external pull. The east gable is blank apart from a rectangular multi-pane window towards the gablehead, which lights the pulpit inside.

JD 2011

Description (interior)

The interior of the church is plain, simple and light and the furnishing mostly dates from 1952, when the interior was re-fitted and renovated. At the east end is the sanctuary area with pulpit, font, communion table and reading desk, all wooden and fairly simply decorated. The pulpit has a backboard and sounding board above, which is fairly unusual for a small rural church. The pulpit is painted pastel green with white detailing, mirroring the internal doors and wooden panelling. The original organ has been removed and replaced with a late 20th century electric organ/keyboard.


The pews of the church are simple and wooden, and painted grey. They may be the original pews and re-fitted during the 1950s renovation. At the rear are a number of box pews, which appear to be no longer used. The gallery is small and has a simple panelled front. It is supported by the south and north wall and by a large timber beam.


There is a separate area to the rear (west), which contains a kitchen and small vestry and the stone staircase leading to the gallery.

JD 2011

People / Organisations:

David WhyteArchitect of the church1821


  • Church built (1821)

Archive References:

Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 11364B-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: NO26SW 3:00
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4553

Bibliographic References:

The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957p239
The New Statistical Account of Scotland1845Vol. XI, p431
Angus or Forfarshire: The Land and People, Descriptive and HistoricalA J Warden1880-5Vol. 3, p347-8