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Glenbuchat Heritage

2 Glenbuchat Kirk and Graveyard
The Glenbuchat Image Library
2 Glenbuchat Kirk and Graveyard

Click for start of Graveyard Project

Plan of the gravestones with text itemising the graves

The Story of the Old Kirk Of Glenbuchat
Glenbuchat as a parish dates from 1473 previous to which the Glen formed part of the huge mediaeval parish of Logie in Mar. At that time the parishioners had to cross the Don to worship at Logie Kirk and one Easter some were drowned in attempting to cross the river. In response the Bishop of Aberdeen erected Glenbuchat into a parish with the church being dedicated to St. Peter.

The oldest part of the building, the masonry on the lower parts of the walls is all that remains of the earlier church. It has twice been rebuilt, first in 1629 and then around 1792. It is this combination of styles and the lack of the subsequent major alteration that makes the church unique and typical of a Scottish Kirk of the 17th and 18th centuries.

It is the north side and some of the gables that remain from the 1629 rebuild with the south wall being mostly 18th century. At the apex of the west gable there is a stone bearing the date 1629 and the initials of Andrew Kerr the minister at that time. The two gable windows belong to the late 18th century while those on the south side are older and have been recycled from another building.

The two doors on the south side represent a traditional arrangement, the western door being for the general congregation and the eastern one mainly for the minister's use. Common with other Scottish churches there is no opening to the north,

The belfry is in Kildrummy stone and was originally on the west gable but was removed to the east end by Kildrummy mason, David Wood around 1857. The bell is dated 1643 and has the name of Dutch bell-founder Peter Jansen. At the southwest corner of the church is a ledge for a sundial.

The importance of the church is that it preserves internal arrangements of the 18thcenury. The walls are plastered, as is the coved ceiling. Between the pews the floor is cobbled and the alleys are laid in Correen stone. The pine pews are arranged on three sides of the pulpit which with its sounding board is mid-way in the south wall and is lit by two skylight panes in the roof.

In front of the pulpit is the precentor's desk with a double fork for the precentor to display the card announcing the tune. Most of these cards are still preserved in the church.

The pews on the north side and the manse pew east of the pulpit are of the box type. Those on the north side each contain small narrow tables and the partitions between these can be lifted out allowing for the tables to be set together for Holy Communion. Holy Communion was celebrated in Glenbuchat once per year around the end of August or the beginning of September. The annual service on the third Sunday in August keeps to this tradition to which all visitors are welcome!

At the east end is the Laird's loft which was erected in 1828 and displays heraldic arms of the Earl of Fife. This is the work of Ebenezer Ramsey and is of Mar Lodge pine wood.

From the Aberdeenshire Archaeology Reports of the survey of the Church and Graveyard

They state:

“Boundary wall and gate piers : The gates to the kirkyard are new and as yet have not been
painted. One of the gate piers leans out slightly and the boundary wall sports many minor
cracks. These minor points need to be inspected regularly.
The Old Kirk : The old kirk was built in1629, the W. gable contains a triangular
Date stone initialled with M.A.K. reputed to be the initials of Minister Andrew Kerr.
The E. gable is crowned by a large bellcote complete with an unusual large urn finial.
The S. façade is symmetrically arranged with two windows and two doors allowing the internal arrangement of the kirk to function, having a centrally-placed pulpit.
Although the kirk appears to be in excellent order externally, subject to extensive repairs
carried out in 1964, the interior of the kirk is deteriorating badly. The paint is peeling off the
walls and a large portion of plaster has fallen off the ceiling towards the W. end. Externally
there are a few loose slates on the roof and tree branches overhang the N. side of the kirk, could cause concern in later years.
The kirk, especially the gables, is beautifully proportioned, utilising the basic architectural
elements to great effect. The overall design of the kirk is of great importance as it illustrates the transition from medieval to prototypical 18th - century ecclesiastical architecture.
Tombstones : There are approximately 37 recumbent tombstones of which 10 are particularly
well-decorated. There are over one hundred upright memorials dating mostly dating
from the early 19th -century. The twin tablet Reid memorial, to the rear of the kirk, needs to be taken down and rebuilt otherwise it will fall over and the stones will break.
Conservation Digest : Urgent details.
The interior of the kirk requires to be inspected prior to an urgent programme of works being
instigated. It is said to contain several good memorials though the fine box-pews and pulpit
can be observed through the windows. The yard is well maintained though the recumbent stones would benefit from being lightly brushed.
There are several sections of the boundary wall that are cracked and will eventually need to be tied together or rebuilt.
Interpretative Potential : High.
The kirk is of a particularly beautiful and functional design which illustrates the transitional
ideals of the pre-18th - century kirk with that ofthe 18th - century form.
Access issues : The kirk and yard are located in the remote, though populated, area of
There is no provision for parking cars.
Date of visit : 29/07/98.”

Picture added on 02 October 2014 at 22:56
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