Glengairn Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 30030 01157, map


Kirkstyle, Glen Gairn
AB35 5UR


This small, remote church lies in the narrow valley bottom of Glen Gairn, with steep hillsides rising to the north and south. The River Gairn meanders along the valley and there are small fields on either side, making use of the narrow band of fertile land and used by the small farms and smallholdings scattered along the valley. 

Description (exterior)

The church is a simple, rectangular building, aligned roughly north-east/south-west. It sits in a small, grassed enclosure and has no graveyard. There is a small nave and a session house and vestry attached to the north-east. It was rubble-built and the walls are harled and painted white. The roofs are slated.


The nave has gothic features in the south-west gable and more classical characteristics for the rest of the structure. The south-west gable has a group of three pointed-arch (lancet) windows to the centre. The middle window is slightly larger but has been blocked and harled over. The outer windows have large panes of clear glass. The surrounds of these windows are in good quality ashlar stone. Mounted on the apex is a small, simple birdcage-style bellcote. It has ashlar uprights, a ball finial and a small bell is hung in the opening, rung by an external pull. The south-east side elevation of the nave has two fairly large round-arched windows with replacement clear glass panes. There is a central memorial panel to a past minister. On the north-east gable is a chimney. The north-west wall is blank. 


The attached vestry and session house is a smaller, narrower structure and may possibly be a later addition as it has different style openings. There is a wide, rectangular doorway, which is the only entrance into the church. It has a subtle shouldered-arch top. Alongside is a large rectangular window, again with a shouldered-arch top. It has replacement clear panes. The north-east gable of the vestry/session house has a central chimney, which is advanced forward slightly of the rest of the gable. This may add strength to the structure. A tall chimney pot is mounted on top. To either side of the chimney is a very narrow window with a round-arched top. The southern window is blocked. The north-west elevation is blank apart from an unusual small, round window at the western end, which helps light the inner hallway. 

Description (interior)

The interior of the church is plain and functional, but is still light and welcoming. The walls are plastered and painted white and the floor is of stone flags with areas of carpeting. The nave is accessed via a door off from a small entrance area or hallway. The nave has simple wooden bench-like pews, divided by a central passageway. The sanctuary area is at the south-west end and is raised up from the nave by two steps (later concrete replacements). There is a small communion table in the centre and a harmonium in one corner. A wooden lectern is used by the minister as there is no pulpit. In the north-eastern corner of the nave is a small pipe organ, made by the Positive Organ Company of London.


  • Church built (c1800)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 3882
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ20SE 26
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 97150

Bibliographic References:

Deeside and the Mearns: An Illustrated Architectural GuideJane Geddes2001p147
The Object Name Book of the Ordnance SurveyOrdnance Survey1868Book 19, p25