Kincardine Parish Church

Kincardine Old Church, Drummond and Muschet Aisles, possible site of church, from west

Summary description

A burial enclosure of the Muschet family may occupy part of the site of the chancel, while a burial enclosure of the Drummond of Blair family may have projected from the north side of the nave.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Lolan?

Although it is likely that there had been a religious establishment at this location already for some centuries before the grant of the church of Kincardine to the canons of Cambuskenneth, there is no record of it until its grant to the abbey by King William in 1189x1195.(1) It is not clear how the church, which lies in Menteith, came to be in the king’s gift but the crown evidently also possessed an estate covering the area around the church. Around the same time that King William granted the church to Cambuskenneth, he granted the lands of Kincardine to Richard de Montfiquet.(2) That charter makes no mention of kirk or kirklands, which might indicate that the gift of the church to the canons preceded the grant of the estate to Montfiquet.

Included in the king’s grant to the abbey were thirteen acres of arable, a brewer’s toft with garden, a toft for (the keeper of) St Lolan’s Bell with a garden, a toft for (the keeper of St Lolan’s Staff) with a garden, and a number of other pieces of landed property and rights. The Bell and Staff of St Lolan may have been relics of the parish’s dedicatory saint and appear to have been entrusted to deoradh – hereditary relic-keepers – who received a piece of land to support their position. This example is one of several cases of such quasi-religious officers in Menteith and Strathearn in the later twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Possession of the church was confirmed to the canons in May 1195 in Pope Celestine III’s general confirmation of the abbey’s rights.(3) Bishop Jonathan of Dunblane confirmed the abbey’s possession of the church before 1210 and his successors repeated the grants.(4) In c.1230, Bishop Osbert, ‘out of compassion for the poverty of the canons’, appropriated the church to the abbey and permitted the canons to serve the cure with a chaplain or by one of their own number.(5) In 1239/40, a dispute between Bishop Clement of Dunblane and the abbey over his right to a quarter of the fruits of the churches which Cambuskenneth possessed in his diocese, including Kincardine, which he had been awarded by papal bull, was settled by the arbitration of the bishops of Dunkeld and Glasgow.(6) By virtue of the settlement, the abbot became a prebendary of the cathedral in respect of the parsonage of Kincardine(7) and his convent was quit of the obligation to pay a quarter of the teinds to the bishop, while the abbey in return was to pay four merks towards the stipend of a vicar (pensionary) to officiate in the cathedral. The canons’ right to serve the cure with a chaplain was also confirmed. The church was still fully appropriated to the abbey at the Reformation.(8) In 1561/2, four merks were recorded as being paid out of the vicarage for the support of one of nine chaplains in the choir of Dunblane cathedral.(9)


1. RRS, ii, no 372.

2. RRS, ii, no 334.

3. Cambuskenneth Registrum, no 25.

4. Cambuskenneth Registrum, nos 122, 123, 217.

5. Cambuskenneth Registrum, no  124.

6. Cambuskenneth Registrum, no 125.

7. This arrangement is not expressly stipulated until 1510/11: RSS, ii, no 2233.

8. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 538, 545, 546.

9. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 343.

Architectural analysis

The church now in use for worship was built in 1814-16 to the designs of Richard Crichton for George Home Drummond of Blair Drummond. Its predecessor was in a churchyard a short distance to the south-west, at NS 7212 9873, to the north of the small motte that had been the basis of the medieval castle there.

The precise location of the medieval church is not known with complete certainty; there are, however, two burial enclosures toward the north side of the graveyard that are in a significant relationship to each other and that may provide clues as to its location. The eastern of these enclosures, which is datable to 1686 in its present form, was built for the Muschet family. It measures 7.3 metres from east to west and 6.1 metres from north to south; it has a fine heraldic tablet in the gable over the entrance through the east wall, though there are indications that the original entrance may have been through the west wall and that the heraldic tablet has been relocated to this position. The other enclosure is dated 1699, and has the arms of the Drummond of Blair family within a shaped gable over the bolection-moulded doorway in its west wall. It measures 6.1 metres from east to west and 6.27 metres from north to south.

It may be seen that the south wall of the Drummond enclosure is aligned with the north wall of the Muschet enclosure, although the construction of an offshoot that may have served as a watch house against the south wall of the latter enclosure has made this less obvious. It should also be noted that the Drummond enclosure has block quoins to its two northern corners, but not to the southern corners. Similarly, it may be significant that the Muschet enclosure has a raised margin to its north-east angle, but not to any others.

Taking all of this evidence into account, it appears possible that the Muschet enclosure is on the site of the medieval chancel, and that it had been remodelled in the seventeenth century, presumably in 1699, when the raised margin was constructed at the north-east corner. It may perhaps also have been truncated on the south side when the new church was built in 1814, which is why there is no longer a corresponding margin at the south-east angle. On this basis it would also seem reasonable to suggest that the Drummond enclosure had been built as a family aisle against the north flank of the nave that used to extend westwards from the medieval chancel, and that a wall had to be constructed across its southern side when the rest of the church was demolished in about 1814. That would explain why there are quoins only at its north corners, since they were the only ones originally to have been exposed. In support of this it may be noted that there is a slight platform extending to the west of the Muschet enclosure and along the south side of the Drummond enclosure, with an absence of early graves on the platform; that platform could have been the site of the main body of the church.


Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 110.

Gifford, J. and Walker, F.A., 2002, The Buildings of Scotland, Stirling and Central Scotland, New Haven and London, 258-9.

Hay, G., 1957, The architecture of Scottish post-Reformation churches, Oxford, 116.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford, 343, 538, 545, 546.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, Edinburgh and London, x, 1282.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of William I (1165-1214), 1971, Edinburgh, nos 334, 372..

Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, 1908-82, ed. J.M. Thomson et al., Edinburgh, ii, no 2233.

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

Registrum monasterii S. Marie de Cambuskenneth, 1872, ed. W. Fraser, (Grampian Club), Edinburgh, nos 25, 122, 123, 124, 125, 217.



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

  • 1. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond and Muschet Aisles, possible site of church, from west

  • 2. Kincardine New Church, exterior, foundation inscription

  • 3. Kincardine New Church

  • 4. Kincardine Old Churchyard, monument

  • 5. Kincardine Old Church, Muschet Aisle, east wall, heraldic tablet

  • 6. Kincardine Old Church, Muschet Aisle, exterior, east wall, entrance

  • 7. Kincardine Old Church, Muschet Aisle, exterior, from south west

  • 8. Kincardine Old Church, Muschet Aisle, exterior, from north east

  • 9. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond Aisle, exterior, west wall, heraldic tablet

  • 10. Kincardine Church, Old rummond Aisle, exterior, west wall, entrance

  • 11. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond Aisle, exterior, from north east

  • 12. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond Aisle, exterior, from west

  • 13. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond and Muschet Aisles, possible site of church, from south

  • 14. Kincardine Old Church, Drummond and Muschet Aisles from south west