St. Talorgan’s (a.k.a. Old Fordyce Church) – Fordyce, Scotland

Hey, friends! A few weeks ago, I wrote about Fordyce, Scotland, and the sixteenth-century fairy tale castle that graces the center of that charming village. Mr. C and I were so delighted to come across the castle on our visit and were equally thrilled when we saw St. Talorgan’s, the old medieval church ruins and cemetery right next door. Of course, we just had to wander over for a closer look.

Old Fordyce Church sign.
A stone wall and a celtic cross in front of Fordyce Castle.
Standing in the kirkyard looking toward Fordyce Castle.

Looking toward Fordyce Castle.

We learned that St. Talorgan’s (also called Old Fordyce Church) is thought to have been built in the 13th-century, very likely on the site of an earlier church dedicated to St. Talorgan. According to the information board at the site, St. Talorgan is believed to have been of Irish descent. He “came to these northern parts to spread the Christian Gospel and in time, was dignified as a Bishop in the Holy Roman Church by Pope Gregory.”

The original church structure would have been long and rectangular.

An artist's rendering of St. Talorgan's.
An artist’s rendering of St. Talorgan’s.

All that remains of the original building today, however, is the roofed, two-story bell tower, the chancel (divided into two burial enclosures), the roofless chapel known as St. Mary’s Aisle, and a roofed burial enclosure, known as the Abercrombie Aisle. Shall we take a look around?

St. Talorgan's bell tower.
The two-story roofed bell tower was remodeled in the 17th century. The bellcote is dated 1661. In the past, the tower was used as both a prison and a session house.
Northeast view of St. Talorgan's bell tower.
The bell tower from the northeast.
A stone effigy  of a knight on a tomb.
The medieval chancel is divided into two burial enclosures. This one contains the tombs of the Ogilvie Family of Findlater and Boyne and is adorned with an effigy of a knight with a canine companion at his feet. c. 1510
A stone carving of a knight.
Effigy of a recumbent knight
A stone carving of a knight.
Effigy of a recumbent knight
A burial chamber at St. Talorgan's.
The second burial enclosure within the chancel.
Church ruins at St. Talorgan's.
The roofless chapel, known as St. Mary’s Aisle (to the left of the bell tower).
Church ruins and gravestones at St. Talorgan's.
A burial enclosure at St. Talorgan's.
A roofed burial enclosure with bellcote, knowns as The Abercrombie Aisle – dated 1679.
A stone plaque.
Carved plaque, marking the burial aisle of the Abercrombies of Glasshaugh.
The Abercrombie Aisle at St. Talorgan's.
The Abercrombie Aisle (left) and the bell tower (right).

For over a thousand years, Christian worship took place on this site, but by the end of the eighteenth-century, the existing church was no longer meeting the needs of its parishioners. So, a new kirk was built on the west side of the village, consecrated in 1804.

The Old Kirk Cafe and Bistro in Fordyce, Scotland.
Former Fordyce Parish Church – now The Old Kirk Cafe and Bistro

Today, that replacement church is no longer a place of worship but is the home of The Old Kirk Cafe and Bistro. I think it’s a bit sad that it is no longer used for the purpose it was built, but wow, what a great place to eat. And in such a cool setting! 

Fordyce may be a tiny village, but if you ever find yourself exploring the area along Scotland’s Moray Firth coast, it is well worth the quick stop to enjoy a meal, see the castle, and have a wander around the kirkyard. St. Talorgan’s was another great Scottish find.

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you all continue to stay safe and healthy as things around the world are slowly starting to reopen. Take care, and I’ll see you again soon!


11 thoughts on “St. Talorgan’s (a.k.a. Old Fordyce Church) – Fordyce, Scotland

Leave a Reply