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Royal Deeside : Some ancient Kirkyards

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Over many years people from Royal Deeside settled in all parts of the world. With easier travel and the internet making genealogical research easier, descendents of these emigrants are seeking information about their forebears. In particular, Braemar is the seat of the Farquharson clan so that many members have ties to this beautiful corner. Information on how to get help with tracing family history in Aberdeenshire is given below. On this page some of the historic kirkyards are briefly described:

Tullich (1 mile east of Ballater)

Glen Muick (0.5 mile west of Ballater)

Crathie (Crathie Village by Balmoral)

Braemar (0.5 mile east of Braemar)

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Gravestone, Glen Muick near Ballater
Gravestone for Jon Mitchell in Glen Muick churchyard

Tullich Kirkyard

The first church at Tullich was founded in the 7th Century AD by St Nathalan, one of the great Scottish saints. He cultivated the land by the church and distributed the produce generously to local people. After his death in 678AD his relics were held at the church until the Reformation in 1560. Tullich was the most important village in the area and in the 13th Century much of the land was owned by the Knights Templars. In the late 18th Century the nearby wells at Pannanich were developed as a Spa and then the new town of ballater was developed to cater for the large number of visitors. The importance of Tullich rapidly declined and the church fell into disuse after the new church of Glenmuick, which combined the parishes of Tullich, Glen Muick and Glen Gairn, was built in 1798.

Tullich Kirkyard is notable for its circular boundary wall, so built to deny the devil a hiding place and the stones with Pictish inscriptions (testifying to the great age of this kirkyard). Tullich is commemorated in dance. The Tullich Reel was said to have been created by parishioners waiting for a minister who was very late for a service. The minister finding the congregation dancing was very angry and cursed them.

Glen Muick Kirkyard

This small kirkyard is located close to the junction of the South Deeside Road and the Glen Muick Road. It is most notable for the crude headstone marking the grave of Jon Mitchell of Dallyfour. It indicates that he lived between 1596 and 1722, dying at the age of 126.

Crathie Kirkyard

St Colm is believed to have bought Christianity to the Crathie area in the 6th Century but Crathie is particularly identified with the 9th century Saint Monire. His original chapel is believed to have been sited about 4km east of the present village but the kirkyard is associated with a church that was probably built sometime in the 15th Century. In 1805 a new church was built on the site of the current Kirk. Queen Victoria regularly attended services there but by the end of her reign a larger church was required. The present church was completed in 1895 and has since been used regularly by members of the Royal Family when in residence at Balmoral.

Within the kirkyard there are several memorials erected by Queen Victoria in memory of members of the household at Balmoral. Perhaps the best known of these is to John Brown where he is described as ' the devoted and faithful personal attendant and beloved friend of Queen Victoria'. The unusual relationship between the Queen and John Brown was recorded in the film 'Mrs Brown'. The kirkyard is the resting place of a branch of the Farquharson clan, the Farquharsons of Monaltrie. Perhaps the most important of these was Francis Farquharson. Leader of the Deeside battalion of 500 men supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden in 1746, he was captured and taken to London. After a last minute reprieve from execution he spent 20 years in exile near London. On his return to Deeside he created the spa at Pannanich which led to the creation of the town of Ballater. In many ways therefore he can be regarded as the founding father of Deeside as we know it today.

Braemar Kirkyard

In the 8th Century a meeting took place between Bishop Acca of Hexham and Angus, King of the Picts. The Bishop was fleeing from his see and carrying with him relics of St Andrew. As a result of this meeting the bishop built a church and dedicated it to St Andrew. The site of this church was close to where Braemar Castle now stands about half a mile east of the village of Braemar, It is believed to be the first church in Scotland dedicated to St Andrew, who is now the Patron Saint of Scotland. (The blue flag with diagonal white bands is known as St Andrew's Cross.) The relics were later moved to the town now known as St Andrew's but to this day the local Catholic Church is dedicated to St Andrew. The church remained on its original site until a larger church (the present one) was built within the village of Braemar in the mid 19th Century. The site of the original church is now occupied by the family vault of the Farquharsons.

One grave in the kirkyard is that of Peter Grant. Born in 1814, he was captured at the Battle of Culloden but escaped from Carlisle Castle while awaiting trial. Living to an old age he became known as Auld Dubrach. When George IV visited Edinburgh he heard the story of 'his oldest subject and oldest rebel' and granted him a pension of a guinea per week. Sadly, Old Dubrach didn't enjoy the privilege for long as he died in 1824 aged 110 years. Not buried in the Kirkyard is the body of Black Colonel John Farquharson whose name is linked to the Colonel's Bed in Inverey. His request to be buried at Inverey was ignored and he was buried in Braemar. But after repeated burials the coffin was each time found above ground, so it was finally reburied in Inverey.

Tracing Family History in North-East Scotland

The Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society is a registered charity with an office in Aberdeen. For further information on how they may help you trace your family history please contact them at

164 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5BD

Tel +44 (0) 1224 646323 : Fax +44 (0) 1224 639096

e-mail: secretary@anesfhs.org.uk
web: http://www.anesfhs.org.uk/

Septs of the Clan Farquharson

Barrie; Bowman; Brebner; Bremner; Caig; Carracher; Christie; Christison; Coates; Coutts; Cromar;
DeBarre; Fairhair; Farahar; Farchair; Fargason; Farker; Farquhar; Ferret; Ferry; Findlay; Finlay; Finlayson;
Finley; Forker; Gracie; Grassick; Grassie; Hardy; Kellas; Kerbacher; Kerracher; Leys; Lyon; MacArtney;
MacEacher; MacGardie; MacHardie; Macinlay; MacKindlay; MacPadden; MacSwayed; McWade;
MacWood; Maclag; Paterson; Quaid; Reiach; Reoch; Riach; Tause; Waide; Waite; Waye; Wood



Top of Page

Introduction A History of Royal Deeside The Deeside Railway The Old Military Road Old Kirkyardst
Queen Victoria and Royal Deeside John Brown, Loyal Servant Francis Farquharson Lord Byron, poet Alexander Gordon
Macbeth and Braemar Braemar Gathering and Highland Games History of Braemar Clan Farquharson Bridges of Ballater
19th Century Ballater History of Dinnet area Aboyne History Aboyne Wartime Poetry Aboyne Great War Records
History of Dinnet History of Tarland Scott Skinner, the Strathspey King Glen O' Dee Hospital Brunel's Bridge
    AA Box 472    




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