Fossoway Parish Church

Fossoway Church, east wall

Summary description

Slight traces of the church walls are to be found within a heavily overgrown churchyard in the grounds of Fossoway Lodge.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Brigid

Possession of the church of Fossoway was in the hands of the Hay family by the early fourteenth century. The dedication to St Brigid, recorded only in June 1479, suggests that it may be an ancient ecclesiastical site.(1) Between 1305 and 1308, Sir Gilbert Hay, with the assent of Nicholas his son, granted the advowson of the church, and two acres of land adjacent to it on the west side, to the Cistercian abbey of Coupar Angus.(2) The monks’ possession of the advowson was confirmed by Malise, earl of Strathearn, as superior lord of Fossoway, by Nicholas, bishop of Dunblane, and then by King Robert I on 5 October 1308.(3) Control of the patronage was extended in 1322x1328 when Maurice, bishop of Dunblane, granted the abbey full corporal possession of the church, both of the parsonage and vicarage, but reserved to himself one quarter of the revenues in accordance with the papal concession to Bishop Clement over parish revenues obtained in 1237.(4) One quarter of the revenues still pertained to the episcopal mensa in 1561/2.(5) The cure, by this grant, was served by a vicar pensionary thereafter. The reference to a perpetual vicarage in a supplication for a papal confirmation in 1419 seems, therefore, to be an error.(6) Certainly, in 1561/2, three-quarters of both the parsonage and vicarage of the church was described as pertaining to the abbey.(7)


1. Coupar Angus Chrs, ii, 85.

2. Coupar Angus Chrs, i, no LXXXV.

3. Coupar Angus Chrs, i, nos LXXXVi, XCII; RRS, v, no 3.

4. Coupar Angus Chrs, i, no CIII; Theiner, Vetera Monumenta, no xci.

5. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 295, 348.

6. CSSR, i, 51.

7. Kirk (ed.), Book of Assumptions, 355, 370.

Architectural analysis

The fragmentary remains of the church are within an overgrown graveyard in woodland immediately to the south of Fossoway Lodge. So far as it is possible to determine the dimensions with any accuracy, the church appears to have been about 18.4 metres from east to west and about 7.2 metres from north to south. In places the masonry stands to a height of about 75 centimetres.

In about 1614 the parishes of Fossoway and Tullibole were united, though both were initially retained in use for worship, with services for two weeks at Fossoway, where the manse was located, and a service on the third week at Tullibole. In 1729, however, the two churches were demolished, and a new one built in a central location. The earliest surviving monument appears to be of 1694, but the graveyard remained in use for burials after the church had been demolished.


Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1418-22, 1934, ed. E.R. Lindsay and A.I. Cameron, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh, 51.

Charters of the abbey of Coupar Angus, 1947, ed. D.E. Easson, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh, I, nos LXXXV, XCII, CIII; ii, 85.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh, 70.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford, 295, 348, 355, 370.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1845, Edinburgh and London, x, 1019-20.

Regesta Regum Scottorum, Acts of Robert I (1306-29), 1988, Edinburgh, no 3.

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

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh, xviii (1796), 446, 449.

Theiner, A, 1864, Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum Historiam Illustrantia, Rome, no xci.



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

  • 1. Fossoway Church, east wall

  • 2. Fossoway Churchyard, monument 3

  • 3. Fossoway Churchyard, monument 2

  • 4. Fossoway Churchyard, monument 1

  • 5. Fossoway Churchyard