The building in the foreground (the oldest in Ellon) at the right of the picture was the “Old Schools” and was used to educate the young men of Ellon before the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872. When John Knox swept away the Catholic Church in 1560 and replaced it with the Presbyterian Kirk, he also decreed that there would be a school in every parish. It may be that this school dates back to that time. Among those who attended the school were Sir James Reid who became Physician to Queen Victoria and Sir James McDonald who was right hand man to Cecil Rhodes in Africa. Both were born and brought up in Ellon and had their early education there.

Scologs: However the first indication of a seat of learning in Ellon is mentioned in the Book of Deer - a tenth century gospel manuscript which talks about the scologs or scholars in the Church at Ellon. The picture shows that the old school and the church are on the same site illustrating for us the close relationship between the church and education over the last millenniun.

THE FREE CHURCH SCHOOL                                                                

 In 1843, there was a massive disruption in the Church of Scotland and a large percentage of the ministers and congregations left the Church to form the Free Church. At one stage Ellon had two Free Churches. One result of this was that the Free Church built its own school. The building is in Kirk Lane behind Fraser’s showroom and is now flats. This school which had a number of distinguished scholars ceased after the Education Scotland Act.


From about 1850 until 1872 there was a school in Ellon specifically for young ladies. The school was sited where the Vet’s surgery is today. Again this school was supported by the Church of Scotland.

With the passing of the education Act, education became available to every child and all of the “private” schools closed when the new Ellon School was built. The building is still used (the Old Academy) although it was much extended over the years.


More information in the Book - “Ellon Skweel” by Fred Crawford available in the Library. This charts the history of Ellon School from 1876 to 1976.

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