St Clement’s Church of Scotland
Attribution: unknown (Greenhill street in Dingwall looking North)
This, the parish church of Dingwall, was completed in 1803, the previous building having fallen into a state “unworthy of repair.” The plan was drawn by Davidson of Tulloch, the landowner, and executed by George Burn of Haddington and is characterised by having the entrance steeple at the back facing the town’s Tulloch Castle. The south wall with four large Gothic windows provide light. Internally, the pulpit is in the middle of the south wall and a gallery encircles the pulpit on three sides a design very suited to the Scottish Presbyterian service.
Ref.: “St Clements looks back ” by D. D. (David) MacDonald, 1976
Thanks are due to Mrs Dorothy Haldane for permission to record excerpts from her late husband’s book Ye His Saints.
In addition to the following excerpt you will also find excerpts on the following places:
Abbot’s Stone, Applecross
Clachan Church, Applecross
Rosemarkie Stone and Church
St Clement’s Church, Dingwall
St Duthac’s Church, Tain
Tarbat Church, Portmahomack
Ye His Saints
St Clement’s Church, Dingwall, showing the South side facing the town. The present church building replaced the old kirk condemned by the Presbytery of Dingwall in 1795. Building began in 1800 and was contracted to be completed by 1801. The parish lands of Davidson of Tulloch made up about two thirds of the parish and he, as principal heritor, by law would have to pay most of the cost of a new church. It would seem that he, in collusion with the minister, arranged a plan which would enhance the new approach to Dingwall from his castle. To maintain good relations the presbytery accepted the plan, but confined their approval to the adequacy and accommodation of the new church. This indicated something untoward about the plan, and so there was. The new kirk of Dingwall was to have four large Gothic windows on its south side facing the town, but an expansive Classical false front and steeple on its north side facing Tulloch’s castle and giving a pleasing entry to Dingwall from Tulloch’s estate. An anchor was recently incorporated into the cobblestone forecourt of the Church in commemoration of the Martyrdom of St Clement in the belief that it was, indeed, that particular St Clement to whom the church is deducated.
Interior of St Clement’s Church in Dingwall, Ross-shire, with its allegorical stained glass window in memory of those who died in the First World War, the laid-up colours of the 4th/5th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders and memorial window for a noted local family depicting St Columba and St Margaret.
It is unclear when St Clement became associated with the church in Dingwall; indeed it is also unclear to which St Clement the church is dedicated. It is certain that from 1500 there was a chapel attached to the church dedicated to him. To the north of the present church there lies a large splendidly carved stone with the barely decipherable inscription in Latin around its edges reading “Here lie in Sanctuary, Paris and Patrick Kemp, wife and son of William Kemp, founder of St Clement’s Chapel in 1510”. William Kemp may have been a sea trader.
Murchison & Mackenzie Memorials, St Clements/Fairburn Aisle.
The following extract if from an article reported in the North Star and farmers’ Chronicle, October 1900.
The Churchyard of Dingwall has lately been enriched by the addition of a set of beautiful mural tablets, which claim more than passing notice on account of their national and historic interest as well as their architectural effect. They are five in number, and are composed of beautifully moulded Tarradale stone, enclosing marble slabs, on four of which are inscriptions in black antique lettering. Set in the masonry in St Clement’s Aisle, and facing the Parish Church, they stand out in bold relief, and at once catch the eye. The centrepiece is, of course is the old tablet with the sword and the feathered hat in relief, which was placed in the very centre of the wall, and is in the memory of General Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Bart., G.C.H., G.C., St J., the last possessor of the ancient family seats of Fairburn, Strathconan and Monar.