Panbride Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 57180 35800, map


Panbride, Carnoustie


Panbride Church is located on the edge of Carnoustie and within the hamlet of the Panbride. A church on this site dates to 1147, when William the Lion granted a church here, dedicated to St Bridget (often called St Bride, leading to Panbride).  The church was gifted to Arbroath Abbey and was in its possession until the Reformation. It was built to a T-plan design and had very large windows. By 1851 it was considered beyond economic repair and was demolished (except for the east end) to be rebuilt on a similar plan on the same site. The bell, dated 1664, survives from the earlier church.

Description (exterior)

The east end of the church is the only original part of the previous church. It consists of the vaulted burial vault of the Panmure family and a vestry above, which is now used as a general meeting room. It is built with roughly coursed sandstone blocks with rubble infill and has a slate roof. The south face has a single, small door and two pairs of simple sash windows, which are topped by small gablets with stone spires. Protected in a display box, attached to the south wall, is a neck shackle (or jougs) where church wrongdoers were humiliated and punished. The east gable contains the squat doorway into the Panmure burial vault. It has ashlar surrounds and elaborate metal hinges and stud work. Above are a small pair of sash windows below a finely carved sandstone heraldic panel. The gable is topped by a fine four stage open bellcote with diminishing sections that ends in a small stone spire. It has a date stone bearing 1681. The whole is built from ashlar sandstone. The north wall is largely featureless apart from a small window close to where the new building was attached to the west.


The main T-plan 1851 Gothic church has significantly higher walls than the original surviving east end, but is built from similar red sandstone. The stonework is tooled coursed blocks with fine ashlar surrounds and quoins. The south elevation has a central gable with large stained glass pointed-arch window. It stands slightly further forward than the rest of the elevation. To the east and west of the central gable the features are arranged symmetrically. On each side is a pair of pointed-arch windows and a smaller pointed arch window above a shouldered-arched doorway. The west gable has a similar three-section window with pointed arches to that of the south gable. Above, on the apex, is a gabled bellcote constructed in ashlar masonry. The bell within is pulled by an external chain. Like the other gables, the skewputs have mini gablets. The north elevation features a central aisle and a hipped-roof stair tower at the west junction of the aisle and nave. The gable of the aisle mirrors those of the west and south, with central pointed-arch window and skewput gablets. It also has a small apex cross finial. There are narrow pointed-arch windows in the side walls of the aisle, nave and stair tower. There are doorways into the stair tower and aisle which have shouldered-arch tops.

Description (interior)

The T-plan interior of the church has its original pews and fittings, although the pulpit was replaced by the one taken from St Bride’s Chapel of Ease (now a hall) in Carnoustie. The sanctuary is placed centrally in the south wall and has the pulpit, minister’s chairs, finely-carved communion table and stone font. It is framed by the stained glass window of the south gable, which has a central image of Jesus Christ and surrounded by coloured quarry glass.


The nave and aisle are galleried. The front panels of the galleries have heraldic panels and a clock, dated 1852. These galleries are supported by cast iron pillars. A number of pews on the ground floor were shortened in 2008 to allow for wheelchair access. There is access into the older original east end of the church. There is a small museum area with artefacts of the church on display, and a staircase gives access to the original vestry and the east gallery.


People / Organisations:

Historic ScotlandListing1971Listed Panbride Church as C(S) with burial aisle to east B-listed. HB Number 18434 (church) and 18435 (aisle).


  • Church: Build/construction (1681)
    Feature: Belfry
  • Church: Build/construction (1851)
    Additional: Rebuilt

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4570
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 18434C(S)-listed (19th century church)
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 18435B-listed (17th century burial aisle and session house)
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4570

Bibliographic References:

The architecture of Scottish post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957
New Statistical Account of Scotland1845Vol. XI, p72