Diocese of Ross (Scotland)

Coordinates: 57°34′52″N 4°07′55″W / 57.581°N 4.132°W / 57.581; -4.132

The Diocese of Ross was an ecclesiastical territory or diocese in the Highland region of Scotland during the Middle Ages and Early modern period. The Diocese was led by the Bishop of Ross, and the cathedral was, latterly, at Fortrose. The bishops of the Early Church were located at Rosemarkie. The diocese had only one Archdeacon, the Archdeacon of Ross, first attested in 1223 with the appearance of Archdeacon Robert , who was consecrated bishop of Ross on 21 June 1249 x 20 June 1250. There is only one known Dean of Christianty (sic.) (rural dean), one Donald Reid called the dean of christianty of Dingwall on 12 June 1530.

Diocese of Ross
Diocese of Ross.jpg
HeadBishop of Ross
Archdeacon(s)Archdeacon of Ross
Known rural deansDingwall, [not known]
First attestation1127 x 1131
Metropolitan before 1472None
Metropolitan after 1492Archbishop of St Andrews
CathedralFortrose Cathedral
Previous cathedral(s)Rosemarkie (?)
DedicationSt Peter
Native dedicationSt Boniface (or Curetán)
Mensal churchesNigg, Tarbat
Common churchesApplecross, Gairloch, Kintail, Lochalsh, Lochbroom, Lochcarron
Prebendal churchesAlness, Ardersier (Dean), Avoch (Abbot of Kinloss), Contin, Cullicudden, Dingwall, Edderton (Subdean), Fodderty (archdeacon), Inverferan (Succentor), Kilchrist, Killearnan (Archdeacon), Kilmorack (Precentor), for a brief time held by the Chancellor), Kilmuir Easter, Kilmuir Wester (Dean), Kiltearn, Kincardine, Kinnettes (Chancellor, held briefly by Precentor), Kirkmichael, Lemlair (briefly held by Archdeacon), Logie Easter, Logie Wester (Treasurer, briefly held by Archdeacon), Newnakle, Nigg (Bishop), Rosemarkie, Roskeen, Suddy (Precentor), Tain (Subdean), Tarbat (Bishop), Urquhart (Treasurer), Urray (Succentor)
Catholic successorMerged into resurrected Diocese of Aberdeen, 4 March 1878
Episcopal successorDiocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness
Skene's map of Scottish bishoprics in the reign of David I (reigned 1124–1153).

A dean of the cathedral chapter (Henry) is first recorded in 1212 x 1213; a Subdean (William de Balvin) in 1356. A Precentor, sometimes in Scotland called Chanter, (Adam de Darlington) is attested in 1255, a Succentor (Matthew) in 1255. A Chancellor (Maurice) is attested for the first time in 1212 x 1213, a Treasurer (William) in 1227.

Following the Scottish Reformation of 1560, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland abolished the episcopacy in the diocese. The Roman Catholic Church continued to appoint bishops in communion with the Holy See. Bishop John Lesley, however, was a post-reformation bishop who remained catholic. Episcopacy was abolished in the Church of Scotland between 1638 and 1661, when it was restored under the "Restoration Episcopate". After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Scottish bishoprics again came under threat until in 1689 Episcopacy was permanently abolished in the established church in Scotland. From the early 18th century, the Scottish Episcopal Church appointed bishops.

In the twelfth century, the diocese is usually called "Rosemarkie", but thereafter it is called Ross. The diocese covered, roughly, the old county of Ross (also called Ross-shire).

List of parishesEdit

  1. Alness
  2. Altyre (Kilmorack)
  3. Applecross
  4. Ardersier [detached, geographically in Moray but in Ross diocese]
  5. Avoch
  6. Contin
  7. Cromarty
  8. Cullicudden
  9. Dingwall
  10. Edderton
  11. Eddyrdor (Killearnan)
  12. Fodderty
  13. Fortrose Cathedral
  14. Gairloch
  15. Inveraferan (Urray)
  16. Kilmoremethet (Kilmuir Easter)
  17. Kilmuir Wester
  18. Kiltearn
  19. Kincardine
  20. Kinnettes
  21. Kintail
  22. Kirkmichael
  23. Lemlair
  24. Lochalsh
  25. Lochbroom
  26. Lochcarron
  27. Logiebride (Logie Wester)
  28. Logiemethet (Logie Easter)
  29. Nigg
  30. Nonikiln/Newnakle (conjoined with Rosskeen by 1274)
  31. Rosemarkie
  32. Rosskeen
  33. Suddie
  34. Tain
  35. Tarbat
  36. Tarradale (Kilchrist)
  37. Urquhart

Titular Catholic see RosemarkieEdit

In 1973, it was nominally restored as a Catholic Titular see of the lowest (Episcopal ) rank, under the name Rosemarkie. It has had three incumbents


  • Cowan, Ian B., The Parishes of Medieval Scotland, Scottish Records Society Vol. 93, (Edinburgh, 1967)
  • McNeill, Peter G.B. & MacQueen, Hector L. (eds), Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, (Edinburgh, 1996)
  • Watt, D.E.R., Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638, 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)