Avoch Parish Church of Scotland Charity No.SC003921
The following information is based on a report produced in 1970 to celebrate the centenary of the present Avoch Parish Church Building.
The Present Church was built in 1870, replacing that of 1670, which was itself, a successor to a medieval building. The previous two churches, which were built in a North to South direction, were destroyed by fire. The present church is built with its axis oriented in an East to West direction and it has been suggested that the change in direction may result in better fortune.
The Church is famous for it's beautiful stained glass windows, which were made by Barnett of Newcastle. The congregation subscribed for the east windows on either side of the pulpit; the window on the left depicts the Adoration of the Christ Child and that on the right, the Death of Christ after the Crucifixion. The round window above the pulpit depicts the Ascension of Christ surrounded by the Angels. The Gloriously coloured panels and text of the west window are illustrations of the Beatitudes. There are four small white roses in the small triangle-shaped which are thought to represent the white rose of Rosehaugh Estate. Mr. James Fletcher, the Laird of Rosehaugh donated this window when the Church was built in 1870.
Many years ago a young painter of Avoch sign-painted "The Beatitudes" as well as the Lords Prayer in gold on the rear pulpit wall facing the congregation.
The Vestry has within its walls signs of great antiquity in the form of a Roman Catholic wine repository or Sacrament House. There are various theories as to the source of the Sacrament House it may have come from the Chapel of Our Lady in Ormonde Castle Avoch, or been provided by the Abbey of Kinloss which had appropriated Avoch Parish Church in the Middle Ages or it may have been retained from the first Avoch Church. James III created his second son, also James (born 1476), Marquis of Ormond at his baptism; he granted him the Lordship of Ardmeneach in 1481, and elevated him to the Dukedom of Ross in 1487. This same, Marquis of Ormond resigned his lands, except Ormond, in 1502, having become 'an ecclesiastic' (Douglas 1813, 416; Origins Parochiales, II, ii (1855), 542-4). In the Middle Ages Avoch Parish Church was one of those that had been appropriated by the Cistercian Abbey of Kinloss on the south side of the Moray Firth. Abbot Thomas Crystall is known to have repaired it during his incumbency at Kinloss (1504-28) (Kinloss Recs xlvi, xlix; Cowan 1981, 92), but whether these building activities included the provision of the Sacrament House at Avoch is not recorded. Pullen and Brayshaw, in their brief history of the church in the Black Isle, state that in 1670 the church 'was rebuilt under Episcopal rule' and that the Sacrament House was retained from the 'ancient church', but give no indication of the source of this information (1927, 9).
The bell that summons villagers to Church on Sundays may also be an antique. It is said that when Cromwell's men desecrated Fortrose Cathedral, the bells were put on the deck of a ship for shipment to Inverness. The ship ran into a storm en route and the bells were lost overboard. One was later trawled up in a fisherman's net and installed in the belfry of the rebuilt Parish Church. It is said the bell is inscribed with the words ‘Mine name is Anna’
Sir Alexander Mackenzie and James Douglas Fletcher were great benefactors to the community. Mr Fletcher donated the Moderator's Chair and the Communion Table. The vaults of the famous explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie and family and the Fletcher Rosehaugh family are in the churchyard.