Until 1560, there was only one Church in Ellon -
The inside of Ellon Parish Church prior to the renovations in 1967. Note that it faced North-
The symbol stone is part of a cross and is representative of the many carvings done by the Pictish people who lived in this area and who were our forebears.
To return to the Churches page, Click HERE
The old RC Chapel in the Coach house
The current Church of Our Lady & St John the Baptist
The present Parish Church which was called St Mary’s is substantially the same building as the one constructed in the 1770s. There have been a number of modifications over the years in 1829, and in 1876. In 1873 a heating system was introduced and an organ recess was built in 1884 and the first organist Mr James Whitely was appointed as organist. The church was reconstructed and redecorated in 1907. In 1967 the upper floor was removed leaving a balcony only on the west wall. At that time a vestry and session room were built and the symbol stone which was on the North wall was relocated to the East wall below a new stained glass window. At this time, too, the organ was relocated to the balcony.
In 2009, the fixed seating was removed and a new ground source heating system and oak floor were added. The old bench seats were replaced by single padded seats.
ELLON PARISH CHURCH
The Parish Church is on the same site and can be traced back directly to the original Church in Ellon dating back to at least the 12th century. It was the Church of St Mary and that was its name until 1947. The churches in Scotland had a long and unsettled history. Originally the churches in Scotland were Catholic and this was true of the early and mediaeval church in Ellon. The Reformation in 1560 changed all that and for many decades thereafter, the Church in Ellon swung between Episcopalian and Presbyterian practice. Indeed from about 1560 until 1600 the building was not used at all. Eventually, the Church of Scotland was settled as the Presbyterian Church on the accession of William of Orange to the throne of the UK. Much of the conflict in the Church of Scotland was about the right of the congregation to choose their own minister and over the years, there had been many break-
St Mary’s Church continued through the years and in 1929 the “Free Church” which by this time had combined with the Ellon Presbyterian Church joined with St Mary’s. Services continued in both churches ie St Andrew’s and St Mary’s until 1947 when St Andrew’s was closed and St Mary’s became known as Ellon Parish Church.
Ellon Parish Church prior to 1967. Note the door on the East wall and the absence of the session room.
Ellon Parish Church after 1967. Note the new stained glass window on the East wall and the absence of a door on that wall. Also the extension on the north wall to house the vestry and session room.
The Mediaeval Church in Ellon
This fragment, called the Annand Aisle is all that remains of the Mediaeval Church in Ellon. This Church was knocked down in the 1770s and replaced with the present building -
The original church was built in a cruciform shape facing East-
NORTH TRANSEPT OR AISLE
CHEYNE of ARNAGE (ROSS)
SOUTH TRANSEPT OR AISLE
BANNERMAN OF WATERTON (FORBES)
In 1843 there was a huge split in the Church of Scotland in which 30% of the ministers and a corresponding percentage of the congregations seceded to form a new Church -
This Church once stood at the junction of Station Road and Union Street. It was built in 1895 by the Ellon United Presbyterian congregation. In 1905, the UP Church amalgamated with the Free Church to become the United Free Church. In Ellon, this was called Ellon UF Church (North). In 1929, the UF Church amalgamated with the Church of Scotland and until 1947 both Churches were used. In 1947 the former UF Church was closed and in 1953 became the Ellon Cinema. Latterly it was used as a Furniture Showroom (The Schreiber Centre) by Frasers of Ellon. In the early 1990s it was demolished and houses were built on the site
ELLON FREE CHURCH 1856
The Communion Cups
The cups for the administration of Holy Communion take the form of beakers in silver a form found most often in the North-
Episcopalianism was practised in Ellon since the time of the Reformation and in the early years there was great persecution of those who adhered to that faith. As the religion of Scotland it alternated with Presbyterianism according to the political supremacy of the time. Many from the North East supported the Jacobite cause during the 1715 and 1745 uprisings. However, things came to a head in 1789 when William of Orange came to the throne of Great Britain. The Scottish Bishops refused to give him their oath of allegiance since they had already sworn allegiance to the deposed King James VII and argued that that oath could not be revoked.
King William consequently turned to the Presbyterian cause and by an Act of Parliament established the Presbyterian Church to be the established Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Church was dis-
However, the Episcopalians built a meeting house in the Church yard but this was burnt down by the Hanoverian soldiers after the 1745/46 rising. They continued to worship in sheds and barns with their preachers disguised as crofters until 1816 when they built a new church close to the present building at St Mary on the Rock.
Tom Patey was brought up in the Rectory of St Mary’s where his father, the Rev Thomas Patey was the Rector. Tom trained as a doctor and while at Aberdeen University developed his interest in climbing. In time he became a top climber in the Alps and the Himalayas. He is perhaps best remembered for his ascent of the Old Man of Hoy with Chris Bonnington. This was shown on Television. Tom who was a GP in Ullapool at the time died in 1969 aged just 37 as a result of a climbing accident.
During these travails, Robert Burns visited Ellon and met with Bishop Skinner who was priest of Ellon and Udny from 1764-
In 1816 the new church was built and the Rev Nathaniel Grieve was priest there for 60 years. It was, however a poorly constructed building and in time there was a need to replace it. The current church was built in 1870-