A place of worship for the last 900 years.
Bendochy Parish Church is one of the oldest ecclesiastic sites in Scotland, the walls of the present Church being seven hundred years old. Even earlier, in the time of the Culdees, there was a religious centre here.
The Cistercian abbey of Coupar Angus, just two miles away, took over the church in medieval times. At that time, it would have been a simple rectangular white-washed stone building with plain rectangular windows and an earth floor. The Monks would have forded the River Isla just above the Church when visiting it and Coupar Grange, the home farm of the Abbey of Coupar. This ford was still in use in living memory.
After the Reformation in 1560, box pews were installed in the Church and a fine oak pulpit placed in the centre of the East wall where it stands today.
It is similar to the pulpit in St. Andrews from which John Knox is reputed to have preached…the only two of their kind in Scotland.
In 1885 there were extensive alterations and repairs which lasted six months. The original walls, which are understood to be very old, were retained, transepts added to the East end, a porch to the entrance and a vestry to the rear. A new belfry was built on the West end. The present belfry and bell, with its outside rope, is still in use, and is rung, by hand, every Sunday as a call to worship.
In the back wall of the church is a stone erected, in 1587, to the memory of Nicol Campbell, proprietor of Keithock, son of Donald, Abbot of Cupar, and grandson of the Earl of Argyle.
Another, in the west passage, was erected, in 1584, to the memory of his brother David, proprietor of Denhead, in Cupar parish.
There is also a stone to Leonard Leslie, Commendator of Cupar Abbey, who died in 1605, aged 81.
And there is a figure in the wall, dated 1606, representing John Cummin, proprietor of Couttie, in Bendochy parish, dressed in a coat of mail, and standing on a dog.
An entry in the Old Statistical Account of Scotland, Perth describes the manse: " The manse is sweetly situated on the banks of the Isla, snugly embosomed in its own little grove of wood, and oh! ye my successors, lift not up the axe against the trees. Touch not the old ash that has stood for a century the sentinel of the manse, guarding it from the eastern blasts, and protecting from the storm the graceful birches that weep and wave their branches below."