Ardclach Bell Tower

Historical tower looks over ancient parish

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The Ardclach Bell Tower sits elusively on a hill above the River Findhorn. If it wasn’t so well signposted from the A939, it would be difficult to find.

Once you’ve driven down the long single-track road at Ardclach, there’s not much in the way of parking and a steep climb up the hillside before it comes into view.

Cared for by Historic Environment Scotland, who themselves call it a ‘true architectural oddity’

Despite its size, and apparent invisibility close up, it has a rather commanding place on the top of a knoll with spectacular views across the Findhorn valley.

It is a small, stone-walled building with two storeys, and according to custodians ‘probably built by noted Covenanter Alexander Brodie’ in 1655.

And it is from here you can see its purpose. With the Ardclach Old Parish Church (now privately owned) down at the riverside, it might have been difficult for the parishioners to hear a bell, but up here on the hillside, would have echoed for miles around.

The first Ardclach Parish Church is said to have been built in 1626 with records showing rebuilds in 1762 and 1839, and renovation in 1892.

There is a suggestion that it doubles up (or masquerades) as a watchtower – Brodie’s support for the Presbyterian cause had led to several attacks on his estate by Royalist forces.

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