Church of Scotland ------------

A brief history of our churches


Daviot Church (OS 723 394) Daviot Church at night

The Church of Daviot was granted its charter in the 13th century as a mensal kirk for Elgin Cathederal and the Abbey of Pluscarden. The original church may have been built about the time of the reformation. A later church was certainly built in 1763-4 although no trace remains. (1795 Old Statistical Account Vol. 14 pg70.)

The present church dates from 1826 and is situated beside a small hillock, locally known for generations (at least from the time of the old drove roads) as Cnoc an t'Saigart, the ‘Priest’s Hillock’. (Now across the new A9.)

The contractors were Macphail and Macfarlane (or Macpharlane). The specification and possibly the design was prepared by Alexander Grant factor to The Mackintosh. The contract price was £873 13s 0d. The galleries were removed and the walls were strengthened with steel tie rods in 1936. Daviot and Dunlichity parishes were united in 1618.

After the Reformation there came an unsettled period of national turmoil, with the story of the parish reflecting the conflicting claims of Presbyterianism and Episcopacy. The repercussions continued well beyond the Protestant 'Settlement' of 1690, and the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1745, and have been painfully felt in these parts of the Highlands. In the early 19th century, the parish of Daviot became the scene of one of the test cases over the question of patronage, which led to the 1843 Disruption and the establishment of the Free Church of Scotland.

A landmark on the new A9, Inverness 5 miles north. Daviot Church, was formerly known to drovers as the 'kirk of the golden cockerel' because of its distinctive weather vane. Near the church door to the right is the burial plot of the family of the late Rev. Alistair MacLean, the writer father of the famous author of the same name, and to the left is that of the late Rev. Dr. John MacPherson.

The present building replaced a previous building with its separate bell tower, it was completely restored in 1991, with substantial help from Historic Scotland. It is now part of the linked charge of Daviot and Dunlichity with Moy, Dalarossie and Tomatin.

Dunlichity Church

Dunlichity Church (OS 659 331) 6.5 miles from Daviot.

Of old 'Lundichity' dedicated to St Finan.

On a very ancient site. It is believed that St Finan preached here. In 1643 an effigy of St Finan was taken from Dunlicity and burnt at the Mercat Cross in Inverness.The present church dates from 1758.

Presbytery ordered reconstruction in 1757 with a westward extension by 12 feet. Rebuilt 1759-62. There were later repairs in 1826 and an extensive repair by architect William Lawrie in 1859.

Notable features at Dunlichity include the marks on the wall where arrows or, swords were sharpened, the old Watch house, built in 1820 for the guarding of the graves, and a very interesting burial ground, including the stone erected to Rev. Archibald Cook, who became the first Free Church minister here, at the time of the 1843 Disruption. The graves record the old families of the Strath, including the burial enclosures of the MacGillivrays and the Shaws.

On a rocky hillside beside the church there is the baptismal stone –believed to have been the original stone used in baptisms in the area.

For the information above I am indebted to our former minister Rev Lilian M. Bruce who did considerable research into the history of our churches.