Fintray Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 84030 16640, map


Hatton of Fintray
AB21 0JB


Fintray Parish Church is located just to the north of the small village of Hatton of Fintray, which lies in open agricultural land in rural Aberdeenshire. The church is accessed by a narrow trackway off a steep, tree-lined valley side. It is built close to the manse and just to the north-east of the old ruined church of Fintray and its surrounding graveyard. 

The church was built in 1821 to replace the medieval church of Fintray, which had become unfit for worship and also too small. 

Description (exterior)

Fintray church is rectangular on plan and a fairly simple structure with a recent extension and hall to the rear. Loosely Gothic in design, it has harled walls with granite details, including a base course, buttress faces and door and window surrounds. The wide, double-pitched roof is slated. 


The east gable of the church is the principle elevation of the church and faces a small car park among the tree-lined boundary. There is a central pointed-arch doorway with a small fanlight and double-leaf wooden doors. A small stone stringcourse above supports a group of three round-arch windows in the middle of the gable. The central window is slightly taller than the two flanking it, and all three windows have clear, multi-pane glass. In the gablehead is a small quatrefoil opening. On the apex of the gable is a stone pinnacle. At the sides are diagonal, stepped buttresses with granite faces and pinnacles that match the one on the apex. 


The south elevation has four large pointed-arch windows to capture as much light as possible. The windows rest on a narrow stringcourse and have simple Y-tracery and clear multi-pane glass. The granite base course has a number of metal air vents in order to help airflow under the floor and prevent moisture being trapped in the wall. The opposite north elevation is close to the tree-covered boundary and is featureless.


The west end of the church has seen recent alterations. The original gable of the church largely mirrors the east gable, with similar (although slightly smaller) round-arched windows, quatrefoil opening and pointed-arch doorway. The pinnacled corner buttresses are the same as those found at the east end. On the apex is a rectangular bellcote with pointed-arch openings and a stone finial with stumpy pinnacles on the corners. A date of 1821 can be made out inscribed into the base of the bellcote. 


Attached to the west gable is a 2003 extension. A rectangular hall is attached to the gable by a narrow vestibule section that has a side entrance and new toilet facilities. This vestibule area leads into the church (via the original door, which is now internal) and the hall. The hall has been designed to match, as much as possible, the architecture of the church. The gabled hall has a granite base course, harled walls and granite surrounds. The south gable window is pointed-arch and has similar tracery and glass panes to those in the south elevation of the church. The west wall of the hall has two rectangular windows. The south gable has a small round recess with '2003' depicted in metal. 

Description (interior)

The interior of the church is orientated towards the sanctuary along the south wall. There is a horse-shoe gallery around the north, east and west walls and a small vestibule and stairway (to the galleries) at the east and west ends. A small vestry is found at the south-west end of the church. 


The sanctuary is raised up slightly from the nave and is dominated by the very tall wooden pulpit, where the minister can be seen, and can see, everyone in the nave, including the galleries. It has fairly plain tre-foil headed panels and a large sounding board above. A curved staircase leads up into the pulpit and has a machine-turned banister. In front of the pulpit is a large wooden communion table with a detailed, carved panel with vines and grapes. There is also a wooden font, lectern and chairs with matching details as found on the pulpit. 


The original pews of the nave and galleries are still in place, including box pews at the west and east ends. The gallery fronts have simple wooden panels and the galleries are supported by blue-painted cast iron columns. In the south-east corner of the nave is a small pipe organ with thick wooden casing. 


  • Church built (1821)
  • Extension and hall built (2003)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4124
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 9143B-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ81NW 58:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 112791

Bibliographic References:

Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie, an illustrated architectural guideIan Shepherd2006p169
The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957p242
Scottish Development Department, List of Buildings of Architectural or Historical InterestScottish Development Department1960-presentFintray Parish, p1
Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the ReformationH Scott et al (eds.)1915-61Vol. 6, p56-9