St. Magridin's Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 25980 16340, map


Address

Grange of Lindores
Abdie
Fife
KY14 6HX
Scotland

Also known as:

  • Abdie Old Kirk (present)
  • Abdie Old Church (present)
  • Our Lady of Abdie (1555)
    Dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Introduction

The ruins of St. Magridin's church stand to the east of a farm lane on a small knoll, surrounded by a graveyard and boundary wall. The site is at the north west of Lindores Loch, where the loch has silted up and become boggy ground. The east end of the church looks out over a gentle slope towards wooded and agricultural land. The roofless church lies east-west and is a long, narrow medieval building. It was built in the 13th century and consecrated in 1242 by Bishop David de Bernham. It received significant additions in the seventeenth century. The church was abandoned in 1827 and was restored 1856. A small building built into the boundary wall was a mort-house.


Description

The church consists of a long gabled main cell with a later, western bellcote, a south porch and northern transept. The church is of red sandstone rubble which is predominately random, with squared and dressed detailing. Built in the 13th century, it was converted for further use following the Reformation.

The east end of the church has a single projecting string course running between the buttresses and underlining three deeply splayed lancet windows, which are contemporary with the original structure. Above the central lancet is a stone which dates the restoration of the church to 1856. The embellishment of the gable, with skews, triple gablet at each end and a wheel-headed cross at the finial, clearly dates to this time.

The porch has two square-headed windows on the south and west sides with bars inserted into them. There is a similar window over the porch which must have been inserted after the roof of the porch had collapsed, as its position would have interfered with the gable. To the west of the windows adjacent to the east of the south porch are three stepped buttresses which are probably medieval. Between them are two blocked windows. The western blocked, square-headed window is larger internally than externally and has a segmental head on the interior. The other window is smaller and is barely visible on the interior. To the east of the buttresses is a large door with a segmental head. Thereafter the wall is supported by three buttresses of probable nineteenth century date. At the south east is an original, single deeply-splayed lancet window. A priest's door is of particular interest as it appears to have undergone at least three separate phases of alteration. On the exterior the original slim voussoirs are visible, forming a roughly circular entrance. Below these is a slightly misshapen hoodmould over a dressed sandstone doorway. The door is square and has been inserted into a segmental arch, visible only on the interior. There is a beam slot on the interior of the south elevation, towards the eastern end of the church. This may mark the position of an early rood screen.

Angle buttresses support the west elevation on both sides. At the gable head is a seventeenth century pyramid roofed bellcote. The north side of the gable has been reinforced with nineteenth century skews. Under the bellcote is a square opening with sandstone jambs which is out of alignment with the bellcote. An internal, blocked window below this had a segmental head, probably dating to the later seventeenth century.

An external aisle extends from the north wall. To the east of this are two lancet windows, between which is a buttress. Below the eastern lancet is a string course which stops at the buttress to the west. A partial projecting string course runs above the angle buttress on the eastern face. This stops in line with nineteenth century skews above, which would suggest that the entire eastern face of the church was restored in the nineteenth century, including its lancets and buttresses.

To the west of the chapel the northern elevation is supported by three buttresses, the most easterly of which is large and stepped. This may be part of the thirteenth century build. A projecting string course runs from this into a later buttress to the west and beyond this is a square-headed window has been inserted in place of a round-headed opening with slim voussoirs.

The gable ended south porch has a large four centred arch entrance, which dates the porch to the mid to late sixteenth century. The church is entered through a square headed door which replaced an earlier entrance with a rounded head and thin voussoirs which was probably the original thirteenth century door into the church. On either side of the doorway are stone benches.

The north transept is predominately of random rubble, with heavily mortared squared sandstone dressings and quoins. The broad, flat arches of the windows and doors suggest that this aisle is a post-medieval addition. Its east wall has a square-headed window, with bars inserted into it. The west wall has a blocked, square-headed window and door, on either side of another door, which has a square head with an armorial stone resting on the lintel. The arms have eroded, but they were probably those of Balfour of Denmylne. Below the north crowstepped gable is a square-headed window which may date to the mid nineteenth century restoration. On the inside the window and door arches appear segmental, and may date to the seventeenth century. There are memorials on the north, east and west faces inside the aisle. A round arch with slim sandstone voussoirs leads into the church

The church is surrounded by a graveyard. In common with most medieval churches, the majority of memorials are located on the south and east of the church.

There is a small mort house located next to the east gate into the churchyard. It currently contains many carved stones, including 'Lindores Pictish Stone' which was moved to the churchyard in 1970.


People / Organisations:

NameRoleDatesNotes
Bishop David de BernhamClergyman1242Consecrated the church.
Pre-reformation Church of ScotlandDenomination1242-1560
CuldeesDenominationB1242Original denomination of the church before it was given to Lindores Abbey in 1198.
Church of ScotlandDenomination1560-1827

Events:

  • Church: Consecration (1242)
  • Graveyard: Consecration (1242)
  • Church: Addition (1500 uncertified)
    Addition of a porch on the south west of the build.
  • Church: Addition (1600 to 1700)
    Stepped buttresses replaced with stone shores.
  • Church: Addition (1600 uncertified)
    Addition of the rectangular door into the church through the porch at the south west.
    Rectangular windows put in to light the church.
  • Church: Build/construction (1661)
    Feature: Aisle.
    People: Denmylne Aisle
  • Church: Addition (1697)
    Remains of an outside stair to the gallery reveal the addition of a loft. The bellcote was probably added around this time.
  • Morthouse: Build/construction (1800)
  • Church: Abandonment (1827)
    In favour of the present parish church. The roof, seats and windows were sold to the public. The bell was transferred to the new parish church.
  • Church: Addition (1856)
    Cross added to the east gable.
  • Church: Restoration (1856)
  • Porch: Build/construction (a1242)
  • Aisle: Build/construction (a1242)

Archive References:

NameReferenceNotes
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 30019Lindores Stone
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 30063
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 104710Abdie, Old Parish Kirk, Kirkyard, Gate And Two Flanking Buildings
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 2583
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 2561
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 4311
Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 870
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 870
Scran - Online databaseReference: 000-000-025-552-CImage Copyright: John R. Hume
CSA: Inventory of Scottish Church Heritage - HardcopyReference: 4675Image Copyright: Edwina Proudfoot.
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 104710

Bibliographic References:

NameAuthorDateNotes
Buildings of Scotland: FifeGifford, J1988p. 57
The Medieval Parishes of ScotlandCowan, I.B.1967Periodical:
p. 23
Ruined Rural Fife ChurchesGlen, Duncan2002pp. 12-17
Scottish Medieval ChurchesFawcett, Richard2002p. 290