Crathie Kirk

(Crathie Church)

A modest granite Gothic Revival construction on the north bank of the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, Crathie Kirk lies above the A93 road, a half-mile (1 km) east of Balmoral Castle. It has strong associations with the British Royal Family. Completed in 1895 to serve the Church of Scotland parish of Crathie, this was the second church on this site, the first was built in 1805. The current building was the work of local architect A. Marshall Mackenzie (1848 - 1933) and features a distinctive steeply-pitched nave, square stumpy central tower, and large rose window in the west gable. Construction was funded by the local population, neighbouring landowners and members of the Royal Family. The south aisle is reserved for use by the Royal Family, with its own entrance, whilst the north aisle is used by the Farquharson family, Lairds of Invercauld, and the Gordon family, Lairds of Abergeldie. The church has been B-listed since 1972.

Queen Victoria worshipped here, having laid the foundation stone of the church in 1893, and donated two of the stained-glass windows and the original organ. Her faithful servant John Brown (1826-83) is buried in the kirkyard. All subsequent monarchs have worshipped here while resident at Balmoral. The pulpit is made from eighteen different types of Scottish granite and the marble pebbles inset into its moulding were brought from Iona by Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest daughter. The communion table is made from Iona marble and was given to the church by King George V and Queen Mary in memory of King Edward VII. The reredos, a decorative screen behind the altar which is an unusual feature in a Scottish Presbyterian church, was a gift from King George V and Queen Mary. It is made from oak recovered from a country house in Leicestershire and is modelled on the reredos at Kings College Chapel in Aberdeen. The font is of granite from Kemnay and Rubislaw Quarries, and was the gift of the Royal Highnesses Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn in memory of their son Arthur. A bible with a red leather cover bearing the royal crest was given by Queen Elizabeth II in 1962. Princess Anne married Commander Timothy Laurence here in 1992. The Rev. Kenneth Mackenzie, minister of Crathie Kirk, was one of the clergy who spoke in 2022 at the committal service of Queen Elizabeth II at St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

Crathie Parish has been linked to neighbouring Braemar since 1979, forming the parish of Crathie and Braemar. The original 'Father Willis' organ, which was expanded in 1911, was controversially replaced with an electronic organ in 2003, after repair and restoration costs of the original instrument were estimated at £150,000.

To the south lies the remains of St. Manir's Church, established in the 13th C. itself commemorating an earlier church founded by St. Manir or Monire, who was a follower of St. Columba and was said to have converted the Picts to Christianity and baptised them here in the River Dee.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better