Tullibardine Chapel
Tullibardine Chapel
In 1446 Sir David Murray built a chantry chapel at Tullibardine, near his fortified house (now vanished). The Murrays were ancestors of the Dukes of Atholl, and at Tullibardine they wanted to provide for priests to say prayers for the souls of their family. Oddly, the formalities of founding a college of priests here were never formalised, perhaps because Sir David died in 1452.
The grandson of the founder, Sir Andrew Murray, enlarged the chapel in 1500, rebuilding the earlier structure on a cruciform plan topped by a sturdy bell tower.

Following the upheavals of the Protestant Reformation, the chapel was no longer used for private family worship, though there is an intriguing reference to an illegal service held here in 1564. Though services (at least, legal ones) ceased, the chapel continued to be used as a burial vault for the Murrays. One of the most touching burials here occurred in 1740 when Lord George Murray buried his infant daughter in the chapel.

The child had died of smallpox, and it seems that both Lord George and his wife would have been buried at Tullibardine, but Murray's involvement with the Jacobite cause put an end to that idea. Lord George commanded the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden, and following the disastrous end of the Jacobite Rebellion, he was forced to flee abroad, and never returned.

The chapel interior
The chapel interior
In 1816 the 4th Duke sold Tullibardine to James Drummond, his son-in-law. Drummond was buried here in 1851. The chapel is technically still owned by the Drummond's Earls of Perth, but it has now maintained by Historic Scotland.

What is truly remarkable at Tullibardine is how the chapel interior escaped the ravages of religious reform in the 16th century and emerged relatively intact. Very few medieval churches in Scotland managed to escape the turmoil of the Reformation intact, which makes the condition of Tullibardine Chapel so important.

The medieval timber roof still soars over the interior, with the walls lined with aumbries and statue niches. Both the interior and exterior walls are decorated with Murray coats of arms. Also carved into the walls are mason's marks, 'signatures' in stone made by the craftsmen who built and rebuilt this lovely medieval building.

The oldest heraldic carvings are those created by the founder, Sir David Murray. Above the north door are the arms of Murray, while on the north wall of the choir are the arms of Murray quartered with Stewart of Innermeath, representing the marriage of Sir David's parents. Also on the north wall of the choir are the arms of Murray impaling Colquhon, commemorating Sir David's marriage to Margaret Colquhon. On the gable end of the south transept are the arms of Sir Andrew Murray and Margaret Barclay, which took place around 1500.

The transept arch
The transept arch
Statue niche se into a chancel arch
Statue niche set into
a chancel arch
Murray arms quartered with Stewart
Murray arms quartered
with Stewart