The Collegiate Church of Arbuthnott.

This church, which is still in use as the Presbyterian parish church, is one of the jewels in the crown of the medieval church in Scotland and, accordingly, we give it a more detailed treatment than others. In truth, a whole web-site could be devoted to this church.

Interior of the South or Arbuthnott Aisle showing what is supposed to be the tomb of the founder, Sir Robert Arbuthnott (died 1506).

{Click on the picture for a larger version and to see other pictures of this church.}

Dedicated to Saint Ternan, the church is situated about three miles from the costal village of Bervie, and not far from the ancient mansion of Arbuthnott, home to one of the oldest families in the land. It is an exceedingly interesting and picturesque structures, and contains work of three distinct periods, representing different phases in Scottish ecclesiastical architecture. The chancel, known to have been dedicated by Bishop David de Bernham in 1242, is the oldest part of the building but part of the nave may possibly date to this time also. The very striking south aisle, which is known, from the Arbuthnott Missal, to have been built by Sir Robert Arbuthnott at the end of the fifteenth century. The aisle is in two stories having a priest's room above. It is in this room that the then vicar, James Sybbald, wrote the famous Missal along with its two sister volumes the Psalter and the Office. The Missal was finished in the year 1491, and was presented by the writer and the founder of the aisle "to the high altar of the pious Bishop St. Ternan". The Psalter was finished before this, in 1482, and it would seem that the third volume, the Office, was finished soon after.

View from the north-east showing the original 13th Century chancel.

From the Register of the Great Seal of date 30th May 1505, it appears that the chapel was then endowed by Robert Arbuthnott, James Sybbald being one of the witnesses. Sir Robert died in 1506, and the vicar in the year following.

Plan of Arbuthnott..


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