Dunninald / St Keoch / Skeochy Parish Church

Dunninald graveyard

Summary description

Abandoned after the parish was united with Craig in 1618; a burial enclosure within the small graveyard may be on its site.

Historical outline

Dedication: St Skeoch

The early history of the church of Dunninald is utterly obscure.  It first appears in a surviving record in November 1470, when in a settlement of a portion of the fruits of Restenneth Priory on James Dunmanning, a former prior, Dunninald was described as ‘the chapel of St Skeoch, a member of the said priory in the spiritual and temporal lordship of Dunnichen’.(1)  It had, however, acquired full parochial status at some point between then and the Reformation, when the parsonage and vicarage were recorded as annexed to the priory, valued at 50 merks. (2) The cure was presumably served by a chaplain or curate.

Notes

1. Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome, v, 1447-1471, eds J Kirk, R J Tanner, A I Dunlop (Glasgow, 1997), no.1462.

2. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 217, 220, 221.

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: Annexed to Restenneth from an early date; originally a chapel of that parish. Parochial status before the Reformation, vicarage and parsonage fruits held by Restenneth as a dependant cell of Jedburgh, cure served by a chaplain.(1)

1470 Referred to as a chapel pertaining to the parish church of Restenneth.(2)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church parsonage and vicarage with Restenneth, value 50 marks (£33 6s 8d).(3)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Paton): [Parish united with Craig in 1618, parish church in Craig]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev James Brewster, 1835): ‘No ruins remain of church of Dunninald.(4)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 54.

2. CSSR, v, no.1462.

3. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, 217, 220 & 221.

4. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1835), xi, 245.

Bibliography

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1447-71, 1997, ed. J. Kirk, R.J. Tanner and A.I. Dunlop, Edinburgh.

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

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

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London.

Architectural description

Dunninald is thought to have originated as a chapel of Restenneth, and it was certainly annexed to the Augustinian priory there from an early date. At some stage before the Reformation it appears to have achieved parochial status, though both parsonage and vicarage continued to be annexed to Restenneth, with the cure served by a chaplain.(1)

The parish was united with that of Craig or Inchbrayock in 1618, and the church then fell out of use. In the New Statistical Account, it was said that by then ‘no ruins remain to mark the existence of any former edifice’ but that ‘a small burying place is preserved around the spot’.(2)

The likely site of the church is a small graveyard perched on a rock promontory overlooking Boddin Harbour, at NO 7150 5399. The burial place referred to in the New Statistical Account is probably the enclosure of the Scott of Abbeythune family, a grey rubble structure of 9.85 by 5.5 metres.

Notes

1. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, pp. 54.

2. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p. 245.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Dunninald graveyard

  • 2. Dunninald graveyard, Scott of Abbeythune enclosure, memorial

  • 3. Dunninald graveyard, Scott of Abbeythune enclosure