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Historic Scotland
Historic Scotland

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History

William de Brechin founded the Maison Dieu hospital between 1261 and 1267 to serve the poor in Brechin.

The beadsmen, or pensioners, were given free board and lodging in exchange for praying for the hospital’s founder. They prayed in this chapel, and lived in the adjacent hospital.

Maison Dieu’s remains

Of the original medieval complex, only fragments of the church remain:

  • the south wall, featuring three lancet (narrow pointed arched) windows and a fine doorway
  • the east gable of the church, shared with the house next door

The hospital continued to serve the poor throughout the Middle Ages, and after the Protestant Reformation it was transferred to the burgh authorities.

In 1636, the post of precenter, who led the singing in the chapel, was merged with that of schoolmaster at the burgh grammar school. That title was still in use a century later.

By the 1800s, the chapel had been partially demolished and put to use as a stable. A map from the early part of that century shows the chapel backed on to open space. While the hospital would have doubtless consisted of more buildings, their location is not known.

 

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