Tulliallan Parish Church

Tulliallan Old Churchyard, Keith Mausoleum, from south east

Summary description

The likely location of the medieval parish church is at Overton on the Tulliallan Castle estate, almost two kilometres north of the church currently in use. The site is now occupied by the early nineteenth-century mausoleum of the Keith family, a rectangular ashlar-built structure within a churchyard that appears to have been in use since the eleventh century.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

Nothing is known of the early history of the church and parish of Tulliallan. Although the first reference to a cleric serving the church, dated c.1230, is to a vicar only, it was recorded as a free parsonage in Bagimond’s Roll in 1274-5.(1) By the papal bull of 1237 which awarded the bishop of Dunblane one quarter of the teind of all churches in his diocese,(2) one quarter of the revenues of Tulliallan were apparently appropriated to the episcopal mensa. The other three-quarters of the parsonage and vicarage of Tulliallan remained free at the Reformation, while the quarter of the fruits of the church remained annexed to the episcopal mensa.(3)

The patronage of the church had been held by the Edmonstons of that ilk down to the 1480s, passing by the marriage of Elizabeth Edmonston of Tulliallan into the hands of the Blackadders. In 1485, she had exchanged lands in Banffshire with her sister, Margaret, in return for Margaret’s half of Tulliallan and the patronage and advowson of the church, receiving royal confirmation of the deal in March 1486.(4) The Blackadders continued to hold the patronage at the Reformation.(5)


1. Cambuskenneth Registrum, no 124; SHS Misc, vi, 54, 72.

2. Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, no XCI.

3. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 295, 297, 348.

4. RMS, ii, no 1644.

5. Cowan, Parishes, 201.

Architectural analysis

A new church was built immediately to the north of Kincardine-on-Forth in 1676. This was in turn replaced in 1832-3 by the church that is presently in use; the latter is located a short way to the south-west, and was designed by George Angus.

The church of 1676 is a T-shaped structure, with a north aisle and a porch at the base of the west tower. Its principal façade is directed south and has as its main elements a pair of Y-traceried windows at the centre, with two smaller windows of the same kind above doorways to each end. The slender tower-porch has at its base an imposing arched entrance that is framed by Tuscan pilasters and capped by a pedimented and volute-flanked aedicule dated 1676. Above this are two levels of arched windows, those on the four sides of the belfry level being given particular prominence. The main body of the church is accurately oriented and has dimensions of about 20.4 metres from east to west and 8.15 metres from north south, factors which together might suggest that it embodied a medieval predecessor.

However, it is more likely that the medieval church was at Overton, where there is a historic churchyard and the abandoned mausoleum of the Keith family. The latter is a buttressed and crowstepped rectangular structure dated 1830, which is possibly attributable to the architect James Gillespie Graham on the basis of its similarities with that architect’s mausoleum for the earls of Mar at Alloa. The Tulliallan mausoleum was within the park of Tulliallan Castle, which was built to the designs of William Atkinson in 1817-20 for Admiral Lord Keith. The author of the entry on the parish in the Statistical Account, published in 1794, stated that the predecessor to the church then in use was about one mile to its north, and that it was a small building of 36 by 16 feet (about 11 by 4.9 metres); that would support its identification with the Overton site. Although no medieval work is identifiable either within the churchyard or in the fabric of the mausoleum, it appears likely that the latter occupies the site of the medieval church. The churchyard around it, which is heavily overgrown, contains a hogback stone that has been dated to the eleventh century, as well as a number of memorials of the seventeenth century.


Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 201.

Dunlop, A.I., 1939, ‘Bagimond’s Roll, statement of the tenths of the kingdom of Scotland’ Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi, 1-77, at 54, 72.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford, 295, 297, 348.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, Edinburgh and London, vol. 10, 874.

Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1882, ii (1424-1513), Edinburgh, no 1644.

Registrum monasterii S. Marie de Cambuskenneth, 1872, ed. W. Fraser, (Grampian Club), Edinburgh, no 124.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh, xi (1794), 556.

Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum Illustrantia, 1864, ed. A. Theiner, Rome.



Click on any thumbnail to open the image gallery and slideshow.

  • 1. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, Keith Mausoleum, from south east

  • 2. Tulliallan Church, exterior, west door

  • 3. Tulliallan Church, west end

  • 4. Tulliallan Church, south flank

  • 5. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, monument 2

  • 6. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, monument 1

  • 7. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, hogback stone

  • 8. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, Keith Mausoleum, datestone

  • 9. Tulliallan Old Churchyard, Keith Mausoleum, interior