Cullen Old Church is the parish church for Cullen and Deskford. John R. Hume describes Cullen Old Church as a fine example of late Scots Gothic architecture, and it was designated a Category A listed building in 1972. It is still an active place of worship, with weekly services presided over by Rev Douglas F Stevenson.
First mentioned in records dating from 1236 that document its elevation to a parish church, it was further elevated to collegiate status in 1543, and underwent a series of extensions, improvements and renovations in the centuries that followed. It is known for being the burial place of the internal organs of Queen Elizabeth de Burgh. After Elizabeth died at Cullen Castle in 1327, her body was taken to Dunfermline for interment, but the organs, which were removed as part of the embalming process, were buried at the church. Her husband, King Robert the Bruce, subsequently established a chaplaincy at the church to offer prayers for her soul.
The church sits within a high-walled churchyard, amongst many ornately carved tombs and memorial slabs. It is a simple, cross-plan church, rubble-built with sandstone and granite ashlar detailing for windows, corner stones and tracery. At the apex of the west gable there is an 18th-century bellcote, its south gable has four tall lancet windows, and there is a point-headed window, featuring intersecting tracery, in the gable at the east end of the nave. Rectangular heraldic plaques celebrate the Ogilvy and Gordon families, in honour of the founder of the college and his wife.
The interior has a cruciform layout, with a narrow nave, and aisles to north and south. A gallery runs above the west end of the nave, and curves round into the north aisle. There are wooden pews throughout, which were installed in the later 19th century. The walls would have been plastered originally, but this was removed in 1967 to allow repointing of the interior walls. The ceiling retains its original plasterwork with polygonal profiling. Against the south wall, the Seafield Loft, a substantial two-storey gallery, dominates the nave. Its panelled front bears heraldic designs and foliage; it is supported by Corinthian columns at either end, and accessed by a flight of stairs at its east end. An ornate sacrament house, donated by Alexander Ogilvy of Findlater, who helped establish the collegiate church, and his wife Elizabeth Gordon, is built into the east end of the north chancel wall.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.