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Mortlach Church

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Mortlach Parish Church is one of the oldest churches in Scotland. It claims to have been in regular use as a place of Christian worship since Moluag of Bangor in Ireland (a contemporary of St.Columba) came to Mortlach about 566 A.D.

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The site may have been of significance to the Picts - in the graveyard there is a weathered Pictish cross 1.75m. high. On one side there are two fish monsters, a relief cross and a grotesque beast, and on the other a serpent, bull's head and a horseman.

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In the vestibule of the church there is an even earlier Pictish symbol stone, the 'Elephant Stone'. The church itself is substantially modern, having been reconstructed in 1876 and 1931, but portions of an older building have survived.

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There is a legend that King Malcolm II extended the church three spears' lengths as a thanksgiving after defeating the Danes on the haugh below the church in 1010. The north wall with its postern door has a leper's squint and in the graveyard is the watch-house used to guard against body-snatchers.

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