Tullich Church, Aberdeenshire

The recording of a ruined kirk in deeside

Tullich Church montageIn August 2018, AOC was involved in a very important project to consolidate and repair the ruined 15th century Tullich Church (right), near Ballater in Aberdeenshire, as part of a wider initiative to embrace the heritage value and visitor experience of the church for the local community and visitors. As part of the preliminary works, AOC undertook a detailed measured survey alongside a written and photographic historic building survey of the kirk prior to an ongoing programme of consolidation, which includes some downtakings and rebuilding, and the removal of the cement render and replacement in lime mortar. We also hosted a ‘taster session’ in historic building recording and survey with the local community to raise awareness of the project and create a unique learning experience.

The church was built in the 1400s – a date allocated due to the architectural style of a door in the north elevation – and was dedicated to St Nathalan. There is evidence that the church was built over the remains of a previous 7th century church and has a number of historically valuable Pictish stones associated with it, which are now in the care of Aberdeenshire Council. The present ruin, which was abandoned in the late 18th century in favour of a new church built in Ballater, was once owned by the Knights Templar in the 1200s, who later became the Knights Hospitaller to the Order of St John. They built a drainage ditch around the church, which stands in a prominent position on a slightly raised mound. It sits within its own churchyard surrounded by a roughly circular churchyard wall, which was replaced in the 19th century. After its abandonment, the church was stripped of its roof and furnishings and appropriated as a burial aisle for the prominent families in the area, including the Farquharsons, the Patersons and the Grants. As well as new display panels and designated walks from Ballater, a new structure will also be constructed to house and protect the Pictish stones which will be returned to the site.

For more information on the Aberdeenshire Council Ruined Kirkyards project, please visit their webpage.

Other contributors to the project include: LDN Architects; David Narro Associates; Urquhart Stonemasonry Ltd.; Alan Tait Design; Signergy; and North-East Scotland Preservation Trust.

Read more about the history of the church, and the results of recent excavations and geophysical surveys, on Canmore.

Below: a detailed 2D elevation drawing of the south elevation derived from the pointcloud dataA detailed 2D elevation drawing of the south elevation derived from the pointcloud data