The attractive village of Rait stands a little to the north of a minor road crossing the Sidlaw Hills through the Glen of Rait, seven miles north east of Perth. At the east end of the village and on the north side of the burn that runs through it, are the ruins of Rait Church.
Many ruins you come across have been manicured and consolidated, the debris tidied away and the encroaching vegetation cleared back. None of this applies at Rait Church, which gives every appearance of having been left untouched since it went out of use, with much of it later collapsing into piles of rubble which still remain where they fell. This adds to the fascination of the church, but it also means that no one has taken the usual steps to ensure that what is still standing won't fall on your head: if you do explore, take great care.
Rait Church was oblong in shape and measured 20.1m long and 6.1m wide, including walls that were 0.9m thick. The east gable continues to stand to its full height, and some of the walls stand 2.5m high. Other parts of the walls have collapsed entirely, and the west end of the church comprises a large pile of rubble from which some very mature trees are growing.
In the surrounding graveyard you can still see some early gravemarkers, though they are fairly heavily weathered. One, dated 1771, records the burial of a lady called Elspet and her nine children. This was later partly overlaid by railings used to form a burial enclosure at the south west corner of the church. The presence of some modern graves shows that the graveyard continues to be used for burials.
It seems likely that the building whose remains you see today was constructed some time in the 1200s, though equally likely that it was altered after the Reformation in 1560. A high level window in the east gable suggests that the church may have had at least one gallery inserted at some time. If the church was built in the 1200s, then it probably stands on the site of one or more earlier churches. In 1120 a chapel belonging to the Augustinian priory founded at Scone six years earlier stood here, and this in turn may have incorporated an already existing chapel.
Some time before 1634 the neighbouring parishes of Rait and Kilspindie, a mile to the south, were merged, and Rait Church was simply abandoned. Perhaps the most surprising thing abut it is that, given its early date of abandonment, so much of it still survives, and in such an undisturbed state.
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Grid Ref: NO 228 269