Historic Scotland

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Remarkable survival 

Deskford Church’s sacrament house is an extraordinary feature. It sits next to the spot where the church’s altar once stood. 

Sacrament houses are cupboards that held the consecrated host – the wafer believed to be transformed into the body of Christ during Mass – in appropriate surroundings. 

The inscription on Deskford’s sacrament house tells us that it was made in 1551 and donated by Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Deskford and Findlater and his second wife, Elizabeth Gordon.  

The sacrament house is decorated with: 

  • two angels holding the monstrance – the vessel in which the host was exposed for the adoration of the congregation 
  • the recess for the host itself, with quotes from St John’s Gospel and the Book of Genesis 
  • below this are two shields displaying the arms of Sir Alexander and Lady Elizabeth, along with the dedicatory inscription 

Simple spot 

Deskford Church was built in about 1540 as an appendage of Fordyce Church and was dedicated to St John.  

It was altered for Presbyterian worship in the early 1600s. New doorways were made and a laird’s loft, where the landowner and his family worshipped, was installed at the east end. 

The kirk was replaced by a new building in 1872, though the old church’s cemetery is still in use today.