Associated Chapels: Chapleton; Kinmylies; Muirtown; St Catharine's; St Giles; St John's; St Michael's; St Thomas'.

OS Ref: NH 665455    RCAHMS No: NH64NE 13

The church history of Inverness is, indeed, ancient but it is doubtful if it extends back to the time of the Age of the Saints. The first mention of a parish church is in a charter of King Alexander in 1240 although one author notes a reference in 1170.

The Parish Church was dedicated to St Mary and was gifted to Arbroath Abbey by King William the Lion (1189x96).

Cromwell used stones from the Dominican or Blackfriars, which he had demolished, to build the Citadel. This fort was down near the river mouth. Interestingly, he bought the stones from the Town Council, so they were obviously far from innocent partakers in the destruction of the old friary!

The present parish church was built in 1770, but its steeple is of much earlier date and is possibly a remnant of the ancient medieval church of St Mary which stood here in the days of Wallace and the Bruce. Other sources consider it to be 14th century work.

Bught Park, scene of many a famous shinty match and highland gathering, was formerly called Kilvean, from St Bean. The nearby Torvean Hill has the same derivation - Bean being Baithene (536-600) the second Abbot of Hy {Iona}.


Dominican Friary.

Alexander II. founded the Dominican monastery here in 1233. The house was dedicated to St Bartholomew and was closed at the time of the Reformation.

Grey Friars.

They Grey Friars had a house in Inverness. Olny one column survives of the church within the graveyard. A hoard of silver coins (Henry III. and Edward I.) were dug up near the site of the Grey Friars about one hundred years ago. The present Chapel Street refers to  the chapel which belonged to the friary. A number of authorities state that there was but one friary in Inverness and that the idea of two is a confusion. It was certainly the custom of the Grey Friars not to establish themselves in a town where the Dominicans already had a house.


Kinmylies was, of old, the Bishop's lands. It is said that on these lands, in 1690, the last wolf to be killed in Scotland met its end, "above the house of Kinmylies." The chapel itself is believed to have been situated within the garden of Kinmylies House where foundations and human bones have been discovered. It is possible that the Bishop of Moray had a house within these lands.

St Giles.

It is believed that this chapel stood within the bounds of the old parish church but down closer to the river.


There is a tradition that there was a chapel near the Toll-house at Muirtown (NH 651461) but no remains of it have ever been found.

St Catharine's.

There was a chapel of St Catharine which stood on the west bank of the river but no trace of it remains.

St John's.

This chapel stood in a field below the Castle Hill. The field was for long known as Dire-na Pouchk, or the Land of the Poor and was in the possession of the Kirk Session.

St Thomas'.

The lands of this chapel lay behind what is now Shore Street in Inverness. A field beyond Rose Street was known in olden days as St Thomas' Chapel, possibly indicating a link with Arbroath Abbey which was dedicated to St Thomas.



The approach to the graveyard. Remains of the church.


Looking east. The raised mound within the churchyard.




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