Inveraven.

 

Associated Chapels: Bridge End, Dounan (St Brigid), Kilchrist (Saviour) also known as Neuenchrist, Chapleton (St Machaldus), Tullich (St Donald).

OS Ref: NJ 183376   RCAHMS No: NJ13NE 7

Iveraven, also known as Inveravon, is pronounced Invera'an by the locals. The 'medieval' church here was built between 1108 and 1114 and was dedicated to St Peter as was the nearby Holy Well. However, it is believed that there was a chapel here from the earliest times, perhaps associated with St Drostán's foundation at Aberlour. The antiquity of the site is demonstrated by the presence of some exquisite symbol stones - some of the best to be seen. Although these bear no Christian symbols they do point to a significant population centre which would, undoubtedly, have attracted the attentions of the early missionaries. It is believed that they were recovered having been used in the foundations of the medieval church.

The present church of Invera'an.

Sometime c.1206x15 the church of Invera'an was gifted to the Bishop of Moray by Malcolm, Earl of Fife. In 1226 AD the chapter of Moray was re-organised by Andrew de Moravia when he moved the cathedral from Spynie to Elgin, and from this time Invera'an formed part of the prebend of the Chancellor of the diocese (along with Urquhart). Shaw states that it had been erected into a prebend by Bishop Bricius at the time of his foundation of the Cathedral at Spynie between 1208-1214 and this is confirmed in charters where it is spoken of as "the Church of St Peter de Strathouen with its chapels and 1 davach of land."

 

The collection of symbol stones at Invera'an.

 

Crescent and V-rod above a triple disc and bar and mirror-and-comb.
The 'bird' image on this stone is without equal.
Mirror case above an eagle with a mirror and comb on the right.
This stone was only found in 1964.

 

The head of a fabulous Celtic 'beast'.
Described as an 'Elephant' (head and foreparts only).

In some old documents, one of the stones is described as "the Peter Stone," reflecting the dedication of the church, but I have yet to find out which one - some help here from our readers?

Within the graveyard and standing, it is believed, on the site of the disjoined burial ground aisle which is mentioned as having been built in 1586 as a "burying place for the family of Ballindalloch," is a more modern mausoleum commissioned by George (later Sir George) Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch and Invereshie. He was buried there in 1846 as have been other members of the family since that time.

In 1829 the church was so environed by a burn on one side and the Spey on the other that it threatened to yield to the fate predicted that, "the Kirk of Inveravon would gang doon the Spey fu' o' folk."

At the time of being visited in 2005 the church was open to visitors - refreshing today - and is a wonderfully peaceful place to visit and contemplate Celtic 'mysteries'. The approach is evocative of other times. It is now served by the minister at Tomintoul, along with the church of Glenlivet.

There is no sign of the Chapel at Tullich, nor that of Kilchrist (NJ207277) which is said to have been washed away. However, RCAHMS records a possible chapel at NJ 226255 (NJ22NW 9) and this may be the Tullich site which is said to have been dedicated to St Donald.

 

 

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