Kilmadock Parish Church

Kilmadock Church, exterior, east wall, from east

Summary description

The principal surviving fragment of the medieval parish church is the east gable wall, together with stretches of the adjacent north and south walls of the chancel. There are also linear features to the west that may indicate the alignment of the south nave wall.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Mittan [1669]/St Cadog/(1) St Máedóc

No record survives to shed light on the history of the church of Kilmadock before the early fifteenth century, but it is probable that the parsonage had been appropriated to the Augustinian priory of Inchmahome at the time of the monastery’s foundation in 1238 or soon thereafter, since only the vicarage was recorded in Bagimond’s Roll in 1274-5.(2) Kilmadock parish contained the lands of Doune, where Walter Comyn, earl of Menteith, the founder of Inchmahome, may have had one of his chief residences: Doune Castle was subsequently to become the caput of the Albany Stewart lords of Menteith from the mid-fourteenth century. No record survives of whether it was Walter Comyn or his Stewart successors as earls who gave the parsonage to Inchmahome, but it was in the hands of the priory before May 1429, when the vicarage was first recorded as having been annexed to the chancellorship of Dunblane.(3) When that annexation occurred is unknown, but it is likely to have been in the fourteenth century. Both parsonage and vicarage remained appropriated in this way at the Reformation and it appears that the cure was served by a vicarage pensionary.(4) At that date, it appears that the vicarage of Kilmadock was held conjointly with the parsonage of Aberfoyle by James Kennedy, the Chancellor of Dunblane, an irregular position which would have placed two prebends simultaneously in the hands of one man.(5) Furthermore, the parsonage of Aberfoyle was named as the Chancellor’s prebend rather than the vicarage of Kilmadock.(6)

The office of parish clerk of Kilmadock may have become heritable within the family of Edmonstoun. In March 1532/3, one James Edmonstoun was presented to the clerkship, vacant by the death of John Edmonstoun.(7) The office was described as ‘at the disposal of the king’ and provision as pertaining to the bishop.

In addition to the chapel within the castle at Doune, a chaplain of which is recorded in 1502/3,(8) there were two other dependent chapels in the parish of Kilmadock by the later Middle Ages. A chapel of St Fillan ‘near the castle of Doune’ is recorded in 1507 and appears in 1561/2 as an endowed chaplainry.(9) In 1581, in the charter erecting the lands of Doune into a lordship for Sir James Stewart, the chaplainry of St Fillans was specifically stated to lie within the castle, while the chapel itself was outside it.(10) A second chapel and chaplainry, described as at Christ’s Well, was recorded in 1517 and 1536/7.(11) No remains of either building or of the holy well with which the second chapel was associated survive.

The parish church of Kilmadock continued to occupy its medieval position on the north bank of the River Teith until the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1649, the Scottish parliament had passed an act for the erection of a new parish out of the parishes of Kilmadock and Kincardine,(12) but this plan seems to have failed on account of the political upheaval of the civil wars. It was, however, not just its ecclesiastical ststus that was under threat in the 1600s for it was also losing its role as the economic focus of the parish by the early seventeenth century. In 1669, it was recorded that a fair known as ‘St Mittans day’ had been held at the church of Kilmadock down to the 1630s but had, since that time, been held at the burgh of barony which had been created at Doune in 1611. In 1669, the earl of Moray, the superior of the burgh of Doune, secured the formal transfer of the fair to the village, where it became one of four annual fairs to be held there.(13) This economic advantage meant that by the eighteenth century Doune, located at the eastern end of the parish, had become the principal focus of population. Accordingly, following the death of the incumbent minister in c. 1756, the opportunity was taken to move the parish church to a new site within Doune. Although the medieval building became ruinous quickly, the graveyard continued to be used as a burial-ground for parishioners at the western end of the parish and, in the 1790s, there was a suggestion that the growing population within the parish generally would be well served by a rebuilding of old Kilmadock church as a chapel of ease. This scheme was never enacted.(14)


1. Cockburn, Medieval Bishops of Dunblane, 9.

2. SHS Misc, vi, 53.

3. CSSR, iii, 16.

4. Cowan, Parishes, 103; Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 341, 544, 548, 549.

5. Donaldson (ed.), Thirds of Benefices, 16.

6. NAS GD112/2/133/1 no 1; NAS GD220/1/C/3/3/3.

7. RSS, ii, no 1529.

8. RSS, i, no 907.

9. RSS, i, no 1497 (but see also ibid., no 347); Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 345.

10. RPS, 1581/10/69. Dated accessed: 8 January 2009.

11. RSS, i, no 2583; RSS, ii, no 2226.

12. RPS, eds Brown et al., 1649/5/59

13. RPS, eds Brown et al, 1669/10/151

14. OSA, xii, 529, 530.

Architectural description

The partial remains of Kilmadock Parish Church stand within an isolated walled graveyard on sloping ground above the north bank of the River Teith, about 2.25 kilometres west-north-west of Doune. Close to the churchyard is the Annat Burn, a name that it has been suggested could point to there having been an early religious settlement here, though there is no other known evidence in support of that possibility.

The chief upstanding remains of the parish church are of the rubble-built east wall, and of sections of the south and north walls of the chancel which extend back from it for about 4 metres. The east wall is 6.1 metres wide, with a wall thickness of 0.8 metres. At the centre of external face of the wall are the broadly chamfered reveals of a single window, which appears likely to have been a lancet; the internal embrasure of this window is widely splayed, and one of its southern jamb stones has a well preserved mason’s mark. Some distance to the west of the south chancel wall is a linear mound from parts of which masonry surfaces, and off the south side of that feature a pair of linear mounds projects at right angles. There are a number of possible interpretations of these mounds, one of which is that they may simply be the relics of burial enclosures. An alternative interpretation is that they represent the south wall of the nave and a south nave porch. If the latter were the case, it would suggest that the church was at least 27 metres long, with the possibility that it had been a two-compartment structure.

There is evidence for the church having undergone a number of post-Reformation modifications, some of which may pre-date its abandonment for worship in the 1750s. Below the lancet window of the east gable a rectangular doorway has been formed, and the remains of the southern pitch of a roof crease suggest that it was covered by a porch. A pointed-arched doorway at the east end of the south wall appears also have been cut while the church was in use.

A number of other modifications, however, almost certainly post-date the building of the new church at Doune. A narrow chamber covered by a quadrant vault was built against the south side of the chancel area, where it presumably served either as a burial vault or a watch house. At the east end, the structure that it has been suggested was a post-Reformation porch was replaced by a fenced burial enclosure.


Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh, 16.

Cockburn, J.H., 1959, The Mediaeval Bishops of Dunblane and their Church, Edinburgh, 9.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 102-3.

Donaldson, G., 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh, 16.

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 53.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford, 341, 345, 544, 548, 549.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, Edinburgh and London, x, 1231.

Records of the Parliaments of Scotland, ed. K. Brown et al.( digital editions of the acts of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament, based at the University of St Andrews), 1581/10/69, 1649/5/59. 1669/10/151.

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1908-82, ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, i, nos 347, 907, 1497, 2583.

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1908-82, ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, ii no 1529.

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Canmore database.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh, xx (1798), 81.



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

  • 1. Kilmadock Church, exterior, east wall, from east

  • 2. Kilmadock Churchyard, monument

  • 3. Kilmadock Churchyard, from north east

  • 4. Kilmadock Church,nave, possible wall footings

  • 5. Kilmadock Church, interior, chamber to north of chancel

  • 6. Kilmadock Church, exterior, chancel, south wall, inserted door at east end

  • 7. Kilmadock Church, interior, east wall, south window jamb

  • 8. Kilmadock Church, exterior, east wall, window