Now the medieval origins of some of Scotland’s oldest churches is being uncovered by an investigation into the nation’s rich religious heritage.
It was believed that only around 50 churches across the country built between the start of the 12th century and the Reformation in 1560 had survived.
But an initial survey by academics at St Andrews University found more than 60 in the dioceses of Dunkeld and Dunblane alone and they have now been handed a grant of almost £500,000 to extend the project to other areas of Scotland.
It is hoped the project will help preserve historically important churches whose origins have been obscured and put them at risk.
Principal investigator Professor Richard Fawcett, of the university’s School of Art History, said that the buildings had been “neglected” when it came to documenting their historical and cultural value.
“Our understanding of medieval parish churches in Scotland is a very much more limited than it ought to be,” he said. “I remember when I first came up to Scotland 30 odd years ago I read that there were no more than about 50 parish churches still in use in Scotland that were substantially medieval.