Old Parish Church Community Research Project

Attribution: Photo copyright S. Fraser

Kiltearn Old Parish Church Community Research Project

This project, managed by Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), has secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £8900 and further finance from Kiltearn Community Council, Archaeology Scotland and Clan Munro Association to allow research to begin into the origins and history of church and site on the shores of the Cromarty Firth.

It is proposed to research historical documents in local and national archives to learn more of the old kirk, as well as carrying out a building survey. It is known that the ruin carries evidence of an older, medieval church on the site.

Recording gravestones in the burial ground will be done for the first time and volunteers will be trained to undertake family history research into those associated with the church.

The project is aimed to last for 12 months and will involve local schoolchildren, with the aim, ultimately, of holding an open day to present the findings, and erecting a display board for the benefit of visitors to the site.


The Old Church of Kiltearn, situated beside the Cromarty Firth.

Attribution: RCHS

The Research Project

Results of the research undertaken by volunteers were presented at the Highland Archaeological Festival in October 2017, in the Cornerstone Cafe in Evanton, in Highland Council HQ in Inverness and in Dingwall Community Library.

The project involved a building survey which revealed evidence of an older, medieval structure on the site, pre-dating the current building, constructed in 1792. Records were gathered, providing information dating back to the medieval period, and Kirk Session records, surviving irregularly from the 1690s, provided information about the kirk and life in the parish. More than 800 gravestones in the original kirkyard were recorded, also lair markers, including a number of 17th and 18th century gravestones with engraved symbols of mortality.

In view of continuing public interest an exhibition will be held in the Cornerstone Cafe, Evanton, from Tuesday 30 January 2018. The cafe hours are 10.00 am to 2.30 pm, Tuesday to Thursday, and on Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm.

Binders of the research are available for viewing in the Cornerstone Cafe and in the Dingwall and Alness libraries. In addition, an online database is to be made available on www.ect.scot


Attribution: Photo courtesy of Evanton Community Trust website.

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