Ardeonaig / Ardnewnan Parish Church

Ardeonaig Church, churchyard, from north west

Summary description

The remains of church consist of the greater part of the east (in fact north-east) gable, with partial traces of the footings of the north and south walls. It stands at the centre of an irregularly-shaped churchyard on a hillside above the village.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

There are no surviving records of the church and parish of Ardeonaig before it appears as a free parsonage in Bagimond’s Roll in 1274-5.(1) Following that brief appearance, there appears to be no record of it again until 1413, when Richard de Pitmiddle, priest of St Andrews diocese, received papal letters instructing his collation to the church following the collation of the former rector, Eugene Makkonen, to the church of Killin.(2) Richard claimed that Ardeonaig was of no value, yet following collation to it he was to demit his rights of provision to the vicarage of Menmuir, which was a valuable benefice. The papal letter also states that the right of provision had devolved on the pope through the failure of the lay patron and the bishop of Dunkeld to present a candidate. The papacy did not retain the power of provision to the church, for in 1495 the right of patronage was recorded as pertaining to Archibald Napier of Merchiston, who had inherited it along with half of the lands of Ardeonaig from his mother, Elizabeth Menteith of Ruskie.(3) Patronage of the church was apparently shared with the family of Haldane of Gleneagles, co-heirs of Ardeonaig, and was recorded as being exercised on an alternating basis by the Haldanes and Napiers.(4) The church appears to have remained a free parsonage throughout the Pre-Reformation period. In the 1617, the parish was united with Killin and Strathfillan and by 1627 it was noted that the former parish of Ardeonaig contained only 70 communicants.(5)

Notes

1. SHS Misc, vi, 47, 73.

2. CPL, Benedict XIII, 274.

3.NAS GD430/57/1, GD430/97/1.

4. NAS GD198/71, GD430/125.

5. State of Certain Parishes, 180.

Architectural analysis

The remains of the church stand within a walled graveyard of irregular plan to the south of the village, on a sloping hillside of rough pasture. It was presumably a consequence of the difficult terrain that the church was set out on an axis aligned from north-east to south-west. The principal remains are of the east (north-east) wall, which stands to the base of the gable; it is built of uncoursed grey rubble, and is devoid of any features. That wall is 7.1 metres wide and 83 centimetres thick. There are faint traces of the footings of the side walls of the church, which extend for a length of at least 16.8 metres. On the south side of the church is a basin cut into a roughly shaped stone, with slots that were presumably for the fixings of a cover on its upper surface. This basin has been set on a rubble-built base, presumably in the belief that it was a font, though this seems unlikely. The monuments within the overgrown churchyard appear to be all of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

By the time of the entry of 1796 in the Statistical Account it was one of two chapels in the parish of Killin where a missionary had been established. A new church was built in 1821 about two kilometres to the north-east of the medieval church, on the south shore of Loch Tay, but that has itself been out of use for worship since the 1950s. The latter is a simple rectangular structure immediately to the north of the house that was built as the manse. It is lit by rectangular windows, and is entered through a doorway in the south wall, above which is an inscription saying that it was erected in 1821 and repaired and rearranged in 1883. 

Bibliography

Calendar of Papal letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1976, ed. F. McGurk, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh, 274.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 8.

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 47, 73.

Reports on the state of certain parishes in Scotland, 1835, ed. A. Macdonald, (Maitland Club), Edinburgh, 180.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh, xvii (1796), 377-8.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Ardeonaig Church, churchyard, from north west

  • 2. Ardeonaig, later church, inscription

  • 3. Ardeonaig, later church

  • 4. Ardeonaig Church, basin

  • 5. Ardeonaig Church, east gable, from west

  • 6. Ardeonaig Church, churchyard