Duthil.

 

Associated Chapels: Achnahannet; Finlairg; Chapeltown.

OS Ref: NH 935243   RCAHMS No: NH92SW 6

The name of Duthil is said to be derived from the Gaelic, Tuathail - 'lands to the north' (of Creag an Fhithich), but records show that the original name was Glenchearnich - 'glen of heroes'. Of old, Glencharnie was a thanage or shire.

Though an old establishment, Duthil Church is a severe disappointment. It is now used by the ancient Clan Grant as a Centre. The Grants of Castle Grant had their burial place here since c.1585, many of the later chiefs of the Clan being Earls of Seafield. Within the graveyard there is a number of old gravestones and, sadly neglected, what appears to be a very old font on the south side of the building. The church was, in medieval times, dedicated to St Peter but it is probable that there was a more ancient foundation but not at this site. There is an old chapel site at Finlairg (see under Cromdale) but the presence of the name Achnahannet at NH 974274 shows, perhaps, where the original Christian site was located. The present residents of the farm, whose family have lived here for more than three generations, know of the tradition of an ancient Celtic site, but tell that no remains whatever have been found to indicate where the community may have been sited. The little valley is well worth visiting, particularly in the autumn, and was very much on the 'main road' in ancient times - there were hill tracks here leading over to Forres and the Laigh of Moray - and this was not, as Barrow says, "too remote to have been an ecclesiastical centre."

In medieval times, Duthil was a prebend of the Cathedral of Moray, being gifted by Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn, 1224-42. It is said that the church which stood here, "was one of the few Popish chapels which survived the Reformation" (Anderson & Anderson 1834) but it was pulled down eventually in about 1840 when the present building was erected. It is said that the previous church, which was within the Deanery of Strathspey, was erected in c.1400.

The parish was united with Rothiemurchus in 1625.

 

The present building at Duthill.

Ancient baptismal font.

 

Mausoleum of the Chiefs of Clan Grant, Earls of Seafield.

 

One of the old graves within the churchyard.

A chapel is thought to have existed near the old Castle of Muckrach, close to Finlarig House. Here, a Class 1 Pictish symbol stone was discovered bearing a divided rectangle and Z-rod above a crescent and V-rod. Could this have been where the church existed in later Celtic times, having moved from the annat (Achnahannet).

Surprisingly, there is another instance of the name Auchnahannet at NJ 062331 and here also are the remains of a stone-walled burial ground containing the turf covered footings of a chapel.

An old graveyard called Chapel-town or 'Bail-an-chaibeil' stood in the southern part of the parish at Deshur (NH 930198). Nearby was 'Fuaran Fionntag' or the Well of Virtue which was famed for its curative powers. No trace now remains of the chapel which stood here.

"Badenoch and Strathspey, 1130-1312, 2: The Curch,"  Barrow, G.W.S.  Northern Scotland, Vol 8.  (1988)

 

 

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