Kirkmichael is now fully open every day during daylight hours! The Kirkmichael Trust has repaired the ancient and once derelict and dangerous buildings at Kirkmichael in the Black Isle, and created a unique display of medieval ornamental memorials inside.
And see our project video here to see what we are creating – since recording, Kirkmichael has been successfully restored!
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Kirkmichael lies on the shore of the gloriously scenic Udale Bay, on the north east of the Black Isle, beside the B9163.
The old buildings tell a tremendous story. Initially there was a medieval church, serving the original parish of Kirkmichael. Following the Reformation, the nave was adapted for use as a protestant kirk, whilst the chancel became the Braelangwell Mausoleum. The parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, mostly in the possession of the family of Urquhart, were amalgamated by Act of Parliament in 1662, with a requirement to build a new “centrical” church at the farmstead of Resolis. However, the estate owners kept the two old kirks of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden going until they were too ruinous to repair, and Kirkmichael therefore continued in use as a kirk until 1769. The chancel was already the mausoleum of the Urquharts of Braelangwell (and in more modern times, the Shaw-Mackenzies of Newhall). Now George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield, around 1800, rebuilt part of the nave as a splendid mausoleum for the family.
The kirk-yard itself is remarkable. Some of the choicest tales of the Cromarty stonemason and writer, Hugh Miller, involve Kirkmichael. He laboured here on a stone lying just west of the bell tower gable. Jane Duncan, best-selling novelist of the 1960s, and still very popular today, is buried near the south wall. There are two very unusual separate mausolea, to Lady Ardoch and Florence Dunbar, wife of William Grant of Ardoch, to the south and north of the kirk. There is a superb example of a medieval complex cross lying beside the yew tree. And many of the slabs contain dense assemblages of artistically-worked symbols of mortality and immortality.