St Mary's Church, Maryculter

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 84420 99990, map


By Maryculter House Hotel
AB12 5GE

Also known as:

  • Maryculter Old Kirk


St Mary's Church was founded by the Knights Templars (an Order introduced by David I to protect those on pilgrimage to the Holy Land) in the late 13th century. Walter Bisset had established a Preceptory of Templars here in 1225. It was built as a chapel but became the parish church of Maryculter in 1535. The church remained in use until 1782 when a new church was built 1km to the south.

The church is surrounded by tall walls, which enclose the ruins of the church and the graveyard. The site is on the banks of the River Dee and in the grounds of Maryculter House, now a hotel and conference centre. 


The fragmentary ruins of the church lie in the middle of the graveyard and there are no visible remains of the other structures associated with the Templars Preceptory. The church measures 23m by 7m and was built using rubble stone. Some carved stone from the building have survived and are found in the ruins. These include parts of doors and windows and also a piscina, made up of a carved bowl and supporting column. A number of yew trees and other shrubs and bushes grow in the loose rubble remains. Numerous later burials have been placed into the ruins. 

People / Organisations:

Walter BysetFounded Preceptory of Templars1225


  • Church built (1287)
  • Becomes parish church (1535)
  • Church abandoned (1782)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4071
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NO89NW 8:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 37103

Bibliographic References:

Deeside and The Mearns: An Illustrated Architectural GuideJ Geddes2001p77
Medieval religious houses in Scotland: with an appendix on the houses in the Isle of ManI B Cowan and D E Easson1976p160
RCAHMS: The archaeological sites and monuments of North Kincardine, Kincardine and Deeside District, Grampian RegionRCAHMS1984p34