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Kirkton of Auchterless

(Kirktown of Auchterless)
Aberdeenshire

A hamlet with a church in the Aberdeenshire parish of Auchterless, the Kirkton of Auchterless (occasionally Kirktown of Auchterless) lies in the northeastern foothills of the Grampians, 5 miles (8 km) south of Turriff. Situated close to the River Ythan, the settlement lies in a valley here known as the Howe of Auchterless, a name remembered in a traditional 17th-century ballad that claimed there was "many a bonnie lass in the Howe of Auchterless'. Today the most eye-catching feature is a Gothic red sandstone church built in 1877-79, with a spire added in 1896. This building replaced the earlier St Drostan's Church whose ruins to the southwest retain a bird cage bellcote with a bell dated 1644. There are marble tablets dedicated to the Duff family in the old kirk and in the new churchyard stands the Duff of Hatton mausoleum built in 1877. The farm of Chapel of Seggat to the northeast is associated with a former chapel adjacent to the Well of Our Lady and with Peter Garden who allegedly outlived ten monarchs, dying in 1775 at the grand old age of 131. At the nearby farm of Hillhead of Seggat the novelist James Leslie Mitchell was born in 1901. Better known as Lewis Grassic Gibbon, he lived here for the first seven years of his life and used the name Seggat in the first volume of 'A Scots Quair', published in 1932. Chief amongst the many prehistoric antiquities in the surrounding parish of Auchterless are the quartzite kerb cairns at Logie Newton which date from the 2nd millennium BC.


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