Parish churches of the late 1100s and early 1200s are rare in Scotland. This is one of them.
It is of simple plan – a long rectangle with the interior presumably once divided into nave and chancel by a timber partition. But there are some nice touches. Chief among them is the south doorway, a fine example of early Gothic architecture with dog-tooth moulding around the hood, crocket (foliage-carved) capitals and moulded bases.
St Mary’s also has a rare survival from a later age. In the early 1500s, not long after the church became attached to King’s College, Aberdeen, the rector and prebendary canon had a sacrament house placed in the east end of the north wall. It stood beside where the altar once was.
Sacrament houses were wall cupboards that provided appropriate storage for the consecrated host (the wafer believed to be transformed into the body of Christ during transubstantiation).
The canon who built the sacrament house, Alexander Spittal, was a colleague of Canon Alexander Galloway, rector of Kinkell Church
near Inverurie, where another fine sacrament house can be seen.
The Protestant Reformation of 1560 made the sacrament house redundant. Yet St Mary’s continued as the parish kirk until 1810, when a new church was built 500m away.Highlights
- The location – in a peaceful, tree-shrouded, rural kirkyard.
- The sacrament house – a rare survival.
Region – North and Grampian
The property is lcoated off the A944 between villages of Rhynie and Lumsden on the B9002.
Telephone 01667 460 232.