Birnie Kirk was built c. 1140 and became the first cathedral of the Bishop of Moray. It remained the cathedral church until 1184 when Bishop Simon de Tosny died. His successor Richard de Lincoln moved the seat to the church of Kinnedar. The church is one of the oldest in Scotland to have been in continuous use.

The nave was shortened by a few feet in 1734 but the remainder is the original 12th-century structure. The building is constructed of finely cut ashlar blocks. It is simply designed with a nave and a smaller chancel. The nave and chancel are partitioned by a striking Romanesque arch. A baptismal font, contemporary with the building, sits in the corner of the nave.

In the grounds stands a Class I Pictish symbol stone, attesting to the area's long history. The circular nature of the grave yard suggests that the church overlies an earlier, Dark Age site.

There is a legend that in November 1704 Sir Robert Gordon, known as the 'Wizard of Gordonstoun', was pursued by the Devil as he rode towards Birnie Kirk. In the chase, Sir Robert was thrown over the churchyard wall, breaking his neck. Since he died on consecrated ground, the Devil could not claim his soul.

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Founded: 1140
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Ailie MacLeod (6 months ago)
Love to visit but mostly to see my parents in the graveyard.
Gisella Rindi (12 months ago)
A secret gem in the outskirt of Elgin. Find your peace in this historic church and leave a prayer of thanks for those who keep it so well preserved
Stanley Jones (2 years ago)
A small kirk simple in style set in open rolling countryside. There is a new large window dedicated to the late Rev. Torrie who married us 45 years ago. Some very old headstones including the family stone of the Grants the famous whiskey family. Not close to Elgin but well worth getting Sat Nav out. Not far away is Millbuies a lovely walk around 2 lochs set in woodland. Well worth a detour. Take the kids and dogs along with a picnic for a great few hours in the fresh air.
craig barnett (2 years ago)
Lovely wee church, really peaceful
Scott K Marshall (4 years ago)
A traditional and historical Kirk c1140 just south of Elgin with stunning stained glass windows - the first Cathedral of the Bishop of Moray. It also has a Pictish Stone on the Grounds.
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