From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Kirkmadrine Stones and Chapel

Dumfries and Galloway
54°47'37.1"N 4°59'17.0"W
NX 080 484

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Kirkmadrine Stones are the oldest Christian memorials in Scotland, located at Kirkmadrine Church, in the Rhins of Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway. They were discovered in the 19th century during construction of a family mortuary chapel in Kirkmadrine.

There are eight stones at the church, three of them date to 450 AD, while the remaining stones date from the 700s to 1100s AD. They are all Christian memorials, either grave stones or used in the church, they demonstrate the growth and the importance of this westernmost tip of the region for the introduction of Christianity in Scotland, and the understanding of northern Britain as it was released from Imperial Rome in the AD 400s.

The engraving on the oldest three stones reads, HIC IACENT S(AN)C(T)I ET PRAECIPUI SACER DOTES IDES VIVENTIUS ET MAVORIUS, translated as, Here lie the holy and chief priests, Ides, Viventius and Mavorius. The next one commemorates someone named Florentius Kirkmadrine, the third, ‘the beginning and the end’. They were directly associated with the churchyard, and stood in the burial ground until the 1840s.

The stones are on display in a glass fronted porch attached to the present chapel, which was built at the end of the 19th century a by Lady MacTaggart Stewart of Ardwell, in the style of a 12th century Romanesque church. It can be reached by a footpath leading from a small parking area on the roadside.