Huntly Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 52970 39790, map


Church Street


Huntly Parish Church is located in a Georgian planned section of Huntly, with a grid pattern of inter-connecting streets. The church sits in large grounds close to the junction of Church Street and Provost Street. 

This church was constructed within one year at the start of the 19th century. Designed to seat 1800 people it was apparently inspired by the parish church of Dysart, Fife. Its structural supports were strengthened in 1828 and the vestry was added in 1837. The organ was installed 1894 and the halls added 1927.

Description (exterior)

The church is built on a massive scale and noticeably dominates this area of Huntly. Essentially a large rectangular building, it has a vestry and session house at the north-east end a large church hall stands nearby to the south-east. 


The church is built in granite with large rough-ashlar coursed blocks and the wide-pitched roof is slated. The north-west and south-east side elevations are identical and have four very large round-arched windows with simple Y-tracery and large panes of clear glass. There is a large central pedimented doorway in Roman Doric style, complete with attached pilasters. There is a fine fanlight above the rectangular double-leaf door. Just above the doorway is a round rose-window with stained glass. 


The south-west gable is used as the main entrance today, It has a simple round-arched doorway to the centre with a tall fanlight. Flanking the door are recessed, blind round-arched openings with a rectangular window within. Above, at gallery level are three small rectangular (almost square) windows, bellow a shallow stringcourse. In the gablehead is a semi-circular vent with a louvered opening. On top of the gable is a very small (for the scale of the church) rectangular bellcote with a stone ball finial and a metal weather vane.


The north-east gable has two large round-arched windows, each with stained glass. Above a shallow stringcourse, which is continued around the side walls at wallhead level, is a semi-circular vent, the same as described above. There is a finial base on the apex but no finial is present today. Attached to the gable is a single-storey session house and vestry complex. It is low-roofed with a shallow central gable and a flat roof to either side. There are rectangular windows and a door on the north-east side. 

Description (interior)

The interior of Huntly Parish Church is very grand and imposing, with well-crafted classical detailing. There is a very large horse-shoe gallery around three sides, which focus on the sanctuary, pulpit and massive pipe organ. 


The pulpit is centrally placed in front of the organ and has a spiral stair at either end. It has been painted white to make it stand out against the surrounding dark wood. The pipe organ is very tall, reaching almost to the ceiling, and is encased in dark wood panelling. The organ console is in front of and below the pulpit. The sanctuary area beyond the pulpit has side pews and moveable chairs and the communion table stands to the centre. It is fairly ornate and has carved wooden legs. There are three finely-carved chairs, the central one of which is the minister's chair. Flanking the sanctuary and organ are two very fine stained glass windows. The nave beyond the sanctuary has fairly plain pews, divided into three by two passages. 


The gallery reaches around three sides of the church and it is notable for its size, needed to help accomodate 1800 people the church was designed to hold. The central section of gallery is curved outwards, while the other sections have straight edges. The gallery fronts are simple, painted panels and the structure is supported on sturdy Doric columns, painted to match the gallery front. 

People / Organisations:

Alexander LaingArchitect of the church1805


  • Church: Build/construction (1805)
    People: Alexander Laing
  • Church: Repair (1828)
    supports strenghtened
  • Church: Addition (1837)
  • Church: Addition (1894)
  • Church: Addition (1927)
  • Church: Addition (1960 to 1964)
    Stained glass windows

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 4139
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 34899B-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ53NW 78
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 188082

Bibliographic References:

The History of StrathbogieScott, P.W1997Ch27, pp133-139
Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie, an illustrated architectural guideIan Shepherd2006p19-20
The New Statistical Account of Scotland1845Vol. XII, p1042
The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957p243