Crathie Kirk

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Crathie Kirk
Crathie Kirk
Crathie Kirk is located in Aberdeen
Crathie Kirk
Crathie Kirk
Location of Crathie Kirk in Aberdeenshire
57°02′23″N 3°12′44″W / 57.0397°N 3.2123°W / 57.0397; -3.2123Coordinates: 57°02′23″N 3°12′44″W / 57.0397°N 3.2123°W / 57.0397; -3.2123
Denomination Church of Scotland
Churchmanship Reformed
Presbytery Kincardine & Deeside
Minister(s) Revd Kenneth Mackenzie
The kirk in 1895

Crathie Kirk is a small Church of Scotland parish church in the Scottish village of Crathie, best known for being the regular place of worship of the British Royal Family when they are holidaying at nearby Balmoral Castle.

Crathie Kirk is now united with neighbouring Braemar to form a single parish with two places of worship. Eventually this parish will be further enlarged to include Glenmuick (Ballater), the minister (since 2005) is the Reverend Kenneth Mackenzie. Mackenzie was previously minister of the Church of Scotland congregation in Budapest, Hungary (1999–2005).


Crathie has been a place of Christian worship since the 9th century when a church was founded on the banks of the River Dee by Saint Manire (Bishop of Aberdeenshire and Banff and a follower of Saint Columba, the pioneer of Christianity in Scotland). It is traditionally held that Manire baptised Pictish converts in a pool of the Dee east of the modern village of Crathie. A single standing stone at Rinabaich is all that remains of Manire's church (where Manire himself is reputedly buried). Subsequent places of worship were situated further west, near the location of present-day Crathie village, the ruins of a 13th-century church, dedicated to Saint Manire, stand on the riverbank south of the current structure.

A later church was built at the current site in 1804. Queen Victoria worshipped there from 1848, and every British monarch since has worshipped at Crathie Kirk. Victoria laid the foundation stone for a new, much larger, church in 1893. Victoria's decision to worship at Carthie Kirk initially caused a scandal, particularly when it was discovered that she had received communion there, as Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church of England, it was expected that she would worship in the Scottish Episcopal Church, which recognised the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, although the Sovereign's first act on her accession is to promise to protect the presbyterian polity of the Church of Scotland and it would be illegal[dubious ][clarification needed] for her to worship in the Scottish Episcopal Church, a dissenting body in Scotland.[1]

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal married Timothy Laurence, then a commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, on 12 December 1992. The couple chose to marry in Scotland as the Church of England did not, at the time, permit remarriage after divorce, it is unlikely[dubious ] however that was the only or even the primary consideration; at the time both of the Princess's children were at school in Scotland and Crathie Kirk is close to her parents' private home at Balmoral.[2] The Church of Scotland, which does not consider marriage to be a sacrament, has no objection to remarriage after divorce, depending on the circumstances which led to the end of the previous marriage,[3][4] the British Royal Family attended the Sunday service here after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on the morning of 31 August 1997.



The walls are built of local granite and the roof made of Scots Pine. Building materials were donated by the surrounding estates, and £5000 raised from the local population to fund construction, the church, built in the fashionable Gothic revival style by Elgin architect A. Marshall Mackenzie, was completed in 1895. Marshall Mackenzie then went on to build St Ninian's Chapel, Braemar for Queen Victoria's grandson-in-law, the 1st Duke of Fife. Crathie Kirk's south transept is reserved for royal use, the north transept contains pews belonging to the Farquharson family, Lairds of Invercauld and owners of Braemar Castle and to the Gordon family, Lairds of Abergeldie and owners of nearby Abergeldie Castle.

Royal connections[edit]


  • 1563 - Sir Laurence Coutts
  • 1567 - Richard Christison
  • 1574 - John Wilson
  • 1576-85 - Archibald Wilson
  • 1590-1608 - David Sanderson
  • 1626-63 - Alexander Ferries (Ferguson) M.A.
  • 1669-99 - William Robertson M.A.
  • 1700-14 - Adam Ferguson M.A.
  • 1715-48 - John McInnes M.A.
  • 1784-88 - James Wilson M.A.
  • 1789-1822 - Charles McHardy M.A.
  • 1822-40 - Alexander McFarlane
  • 1840-63 - Archibald Anderson M.A.
  • 1864-74 - Alexander Minty Beattie M.A.
  • 1867-73 - Malcolm Campbell Taylor M.A.
  • 1874-96 - Archibald Alexander Campbell D.D.
  • 1897-1918 - Samuel James Ramsay Sibbald M.V.O., D.D
  • 1919-41 - John Stirton C.V.O., D.D.
  • 1937-63 - John Lamb C.V.O., D.D.
  • 1964-71 - Ronald Henderson Gunn Budge M.V.O., M.A.
  • 1972-77 - Thomas James Trail Nichol M.V.O., M.B.E., M.C., M.A., D.D.
  • 1979-96 - James Alexander Keith Angus T.D., M.A., L.V.O.
  • 1996-2005 - Robert P. Sloan M.A., B.D.
  • 2005 - - Kenneth I. Mackenzie B.D., C.P.S.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robbins, Keith (2010). Political and Legal Perspectives. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 78. ISBN 9789058678256. 
  2. ^ "Divorce". 10 July 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ BBC Religions - Divorce in Christianity
  5. ^ Church of Scotland Year Book

External links[edit]