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Site of former church, Aldbar, Angus

(56°42′48″N, 2°41′56″W)
NO 573 582
pre-1975 traditional (Scotland) Angus
now Angus
medieval St. Andrews
now n/a
medieval not known
now none
  • James King
  • James King
14 August 2019

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The baptismal font from Aldbar Chapel was moved to Aberlemno sometime after 1887 (see Aberlemno Church for a description and images). The estate of Aldbar (sometimes spelt Auldbar) had been owned by the Cramond family from at least the 13thc, but in the later 16thc it was sold to John Lyon. It subsequently passed through the hands of the Sinclair and Young families, until bought by William Chalmers in 1753. Aldbar Castle was finally destroyed by fire in 1964. In the early 17thc, the parish of Aldbar was joined with Aberlemno, and in 1856 it was noted that the 'old Church' at Aldbar had become ruinous and had been replaced by Mr. Chalmers, under the charge of a Mr. Billings.


The site of the later church is likely to have been a Pictish religious site: Pictish stones have been discovered on the site. A Pictish cross once in the churchyard is now in Brechin Cathedral. The first reference to a church in Aldbar, however, appears in 1243, when David de Bernham, bishop of St Andrews, dedicated it. In 1253 'Aldebar' had a tax value of 9 marks. During the conquest of the kingdom of Scots by Edward I in the late 13thc, it appears that the lands of Aldbar were in the hands of the Cramond (or Kerramund) family. A grave cover, thought to be from the 13thc, was discovered in the chapel of Aldbar Castle and is now in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Entries in papal evidence refer to a Simon de Cryche holding the church of 'Doldbar' in 1394 and 'Audebair' in 1403; both entries refer to the church as in the diocese of St Andrews. Both entries must refer to Albar Church, which was a rectory of St Andrews. Simon may have been the priest or even the rector. The only explicit reference to a rector of Aldbar is also found in a subsequent entry in papal evidence: this names the rector, in 1425, as Nicholaus of Grenlau (or Greynlaw). In 1433 Aldbar Church was granted to the College of Methven. In 1450 John Smert was the perpetual vicar of the 'pensionaria' of Aldbar. Following the Reformation, the minister of Methven took the title of Provost of Methven and Chaplain of Aldbar. Before it's merger with the parish of Aberlemno in the 17thc, the burn of Melgund formed the boundary between the two parishes.


There is no documentary evidence for Albar Church or its parish before the 13thc. Although Aldbar is close to Brechin and its cathedral, the church was situated in the diocese of St Andrews.


A. Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 (Edinburgh, 1922), 524.

Bannatyne Club, Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti Andree in Scotia (Edinburgh, 1841), no. 41, xxviii, and 36

Bannatyne Club, Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, 1: Registrum, Aberdeen, 1856, 42 and 111-2.

Bannatyne Club, Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis, 2: Appendix Cartarum, Aberdeen, 1856, 142, 310 and 438-9.

W. Bliss, ed., 'Volume XCVI: 10-12 Benedict XIII. Anti-Pope', Petitions to the Pope 1342-1419, London, 1896, 620 (f. 182) and 628 (f. 34d).

I. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Edinburgh, 1967, 11.

R. Fawcett, J. Luxford, R. Oram and T. Turpie, Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches, http://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/corpusofscottishchurches (accessed 18/06/2020)

A. Jervise, ed. J. Gammack, Memorials of Angus and Mearns, 2, Edinburgh, 1885, 71-80.

A. Jervise, 'Notices descriptive of the localities of certain sculptured stone monuments in Forfarshire, part 1', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2, Edinburgh, 1857, 194-6.

D. MacGibbon and T. Ross, Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland, 3 (Edinburgh, 1897), 519.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 11, Edinburgh and London, 1845, 631.

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, James Skene Album, 1832, 32.

J. Stuart, Sculptured Stones of Scotland, Aberdeen, 1856, 25.

J. Twemlow, ed., 'Lateran Regesta 250: 1419-1425', Calendar of Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, 7, London, 1906, fol. 203.

J. Twenlow, ed., Calendar of Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, 10, London, 1915, fol. 137.

R. Walker, 'Scottish Baptismal Fonts', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 21 (Edinburgh, 1887) 408-9.