Auchenblae Church

Fettercairn Church


Sitting mid-way between the parishes of Fettercairn and Glenbervie, the historic parish of Fordoun encompasses the villages of Auchenblae and Fordoun, and the surrounding farming community.
Described as ‘sprawling’, the parish stretches through the Glen of Drumtochty to the Clatterin Brig then upwards over the Cairn O’ Mount to meet the parish of Strachan in the north.
 Known as the mother kirk o’ the Mearns, the present church is the third to be built on the high knoll overlooking the Luther valley.  It is recorded that the first ‘really old church’ sat on a rough parallel to the ruined Chapel of St. Palladius. It survived for almost three hundred years and during its demolition, a Pictish Stone was discovered under the pulpit where it had lain undisturbed all these years.
The successor to this old church stood a mere thirty years before it suffered structural defects rendering it unsafe. The present church designed by renowned Aberdeen architect, John Smith opened for public worship in 1829.
In the kirk yard is the ruined chapel of St. Palladius. Consecrated by Pope Celestine in 431 A.D., legend has it that St Palladius was sent by the church in Rome as Bishop to the Scots. This story is treated with scepticism by some but what is certain is that Fordoun became a place of pilgrimage and to this day attracts visitors and students of pre reformation history.
The last burial in the crypt was that of Rev. William Forbes, parish minister who died in 1771. In 2006 this ancient chapel was made a safe ruin in an enterprise run jointly by Aberdeenshire Council and Historic Scotland.
A symbolic memorial to one of Scotland’s most famous Protestant martyrs can be seen to the left of the entrance.  As a boy, George Wishart of Pittarrow worshipped in the mensal church of Fordoun.  He was burnt at the stake at St. Andrews in 1546.
Many historical items of interest are displayed within the church itself.
 Access can be arranged.
 J.M. Thomson.