St Mary's Church, Cowie, Fetteresso

Grid reference

NO 884 873 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

388400 787300





Altitude (metres)




Nearby places

Our Lady's Well, Fetteresso (0 miles)

St Kiaran's Well, Fetteresso (1.04 miles)

St Bridget's Church, Dunnotter (1.93 miles)

St Ninian's Well, Dunnottar (2.13 miles)

St Ninian's Chapel, Dunnottar (2.18 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



NMRS gives description of internal measurements and apparent lengthening in the fifteenth century of what appears to be a thirteenth-century building. It stands within a curvilinear burial ground at the head of the cliffs. Cowie does not seem to have ever become a fully fledged parish. At its consecration in 1276 it was 'capella de Collyn' (Paris BN Latin 1218, fo. 3r) and it was specified that by its consecration 'no harm was to come to the mother church of Fetteresso' (Ita quod nullum preiudicium generetur matrici ecclesie de Fethyressach). In 1722 it is recorded: '... there is yet standing pretty intire the walls of an old church, as is already mentioned, below which is a spring called Our Ladies Well, of old time as is reported, much frequented and yet held in veneration by the countrey people' (Geog. Coll. i, 255). Aberdeen Breviary says that Nathalanus built three churches at his own expense at Tullich, Bethelnie and Cowie. Also note that Cowie was made into a burgh in 1540, and at that time it was given a weekly market on Saturday (de Cowy die Sabbati) and a fair ‘in festo S. Nachtalani’ (RMS iii no.2299). Watson (1926, 330) recalls an old rhyme that was current at Cowie: 'Between the kirk and the kirk ford/there lies St Nachlan's hoard'), indicating the cult of Nechtan/Nathalan/Nachalan here.

Relationships with other parishes

Within Fetteresso, parish

Within Fetteresso, parish

Relationships with other places

Adjacent Our Lady's Well, Fetteresso