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11 historic churches across Aberdeenshire including Crathie

Crathie Kirk has a long-standing history with the royals.

Crathie Kirk has been instrumental to the Royal Family. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson
Crathie Kirk has been instrumental to the Royal Family. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Aberdeenshire is surrounded by a number of churches each with their own stories to be told. How many have you visited recently?

Kincardine O’Neil Old Parish Church

The Aboyne based church is believed to have been built around 1330 AD and remained in use until the 1860s. It was established as the village’s place of worship following the ordination of St Erchard, a local saint.

When the building burned down – and was subsequently rebuilt – in 1733, it underwent a major restoration across the 18th and 19th century and also featured a hospital – which later got converted into burial plots.

Kincardine O’Neil is based in Deeside. Image: Shutterstock.

Longside Old Parish Church

Built around 1619, the Longside Old Parish Church has undergone many transformations over the centuries, and has been roofless since the 19th century.

There are many attributes and features, such as the windows and doorways, that can be viewed, highlighting the changes made to the historic building.

Tullich Church

Tullich Kirk remains standing just a mile and half from Ballater and served as one of the three parishes within Deeside before a joint venture was explored in the 1700s. This saw the parishes of Glenmuick, Tullich and Glengain merged into a single church unit with the Tullich Kirk left derelict.

Visit the ruined remains of the church. Image: Jim Irvine.

St John’s Church

The quaint coastal village of Gardenstown is an immersive tourist spot featuring a collection of of galleries, a pottery and art and craft workshops. On a summer’s day locals and visitors can catch sight of the dolphins along the Moray Firth with a beautiful backdrop across the bay.

And just beyond the cottages of this fisherman’s village sits St John’s Church, built in dedication to the eponymous Evangelist around 1004 AD. The church itself was constructed across two periods with the east side having been established around the early 16th century whilst the remaining fixtures were built around the 17th century, though there are little remnants left.

Explore the sights of Gardenstown. Image: Jim Smith.

Muckle Kirk, Peterhead

The Old Parish Church on Peterhead’s Maiden Street, is also known as the Muckle Kirk.

The historic building dates back to the early 1800s. It was built between 1804 and 1806. However, the church closed in 2016 and merged with another congregation in the town.

The category-A listed building was put up for sale last year.

Muckle Kirk, Peterhead. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Crathie Kirk

Crathie Kirk has had a prominent place in the history of the Royal Family since the 1800s having been used by Queen Victoria and her successors whenever they visited Balmoral. It was actually the late monarch who laid the foundation stone in 1893 as well as two stained glass windows.

The Kirk has remained a place of worship to the royals, hosting the wedding of Princess Anne as well as celebrating the life of Her Majesty Queen  Elizabeth II during a private service.

King Charles and Queen Camilla attended Crathie Kirk for the first time since becoming monarchs in August 2023. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

St Machar Cathedral

The site has been a place of worship since 580AD, and there has been a cathedral there since the 1130s.

The building on The Chanory in Old Aberdeen is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Legend has it that the left arm of William Wallace is buried within the walls of the cathedral after his body was cut up and sent to different corners of the country after his execution in 1305.

St Machar Cathedral has been a site of worship for centuries. Picture by Wullie Marr / DCT Media.

Glenmuick Church

Glenmuick Church takes up its residence right in the centre of Ballater, standing tall with its spire on the south-east corner.

Its interior is just as striking as the building’s exterior, featuring iron columns, an organ and communion table for worshippers. Though there is understanding the foundations may have been installed around the 1700s, the majority of the domineering landmark is dated back to 1874 when the former joint parish was replaced.

Glenmuick Church is in the heart of Ballater. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Macduff Parish Church

The Macduff congregation hosts both services and a range of youth groups throughout the week, and invites people of all ages to get involved. The building itself overlooks the town and has been standing since 1805, preserving centuries of history and symbolism.

A Poppy display was erected at Macduff Parish Church near Banff. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

St Palladius’s Chapel, Auchenblae

Thought to be built on the site of a cell built by the saint in the 5th century, the oldest part of the church dates back to the 1200s.

It was restored in the 16th and 18th centuries, before later being abondoned when a new church was built alongside it. It was restored again in 2006. The east gable of the chapel to roof height survives.

Inverurie West Parish Church

The Inverurie based church is situated in the heart of the town. It was originally built in 1877 and went on to establish the Acorn Centre in 2008, which is used to facilitate community spirit and offer hospitality to the local community.

Many original features of the church have been maintained over the years, but expansions have been made to meet the needs of worshippers and their loved ones.

Services run all throughout the year.