Crathie and Braemar Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NO 15000 91300, map


Auchendryne, Braemar
AB35 5ZP


Crathie and Braemar Parish Church was built in 1869-70 and was originally a Free Church. It replaced an earlier Free Church on the site, which was built in 1845 before being taken down and rebuilt in Aberarder. The church stands in the heart of Braemar village in an area known as Auchendryne. There are small garden grounds surrounding the church but there is no graveyard.

Description (exterior)

The church is a Victorian Gothic building, a common design during this period of the 19th century. It opened in 1870 and is a cruciform structure, with a nave, transepts, apse, tower and baptistery. Snecked and coursed granite rubble was used in the construction, with contrasting granite ashlar dressing stones and quoins (corner stones). The roofs are slated and there are small gabletted ventilators near the roof ridge of the nave. The windows of the church have latticed glazing.


The north, principle elevation has a central, projecting gabled entrance porch. It has a group of three cusped, pointed-arch (lancet) windows with a small star-shaped window above. The pointed-arch doorway into the porch has a double-leaf wooden door with elaborate, decorative metalwork. The north transept arm projects from the nave to the east of the porch and has a similar arrangement of (slightly larger) windows. The nave has small, cusped lancet windows, divided by small buttresses.


The large, two stage tower stands at the north-east corner and is attached to the transept and apse. It has a shouldered-arched door in the east face and small, narrow windows above. A stringcourse divides the lower stage from the belfry. There are large, pointed-arch belfry openings with large louvres. The top of the tower is slightly corbelled out and there are decorative corner pinnacles. The broached stone spire has clock faces set within gabled projections on every face, and is topped by a metal weathervane.


Alongside the tower, on the east elevation, is the curved apse. This has small cusped lancet windows and a projecting lower course of stonework. The south elevation is largely a mirror of the north, but instead of an entrance porch there is a much larger baptistery. This has a curved south face and a hipped roof, and is attached to the south transept and nave.


The west gable of the church has a small, gabled porch centrally placed, with flanking cusped lancet windows. It has a narrow pointed-arch door and a finial on the apex of the gable. Above, in the nave gable, is a round window with multi-foil tracery. A stone finial is mounted on the apex.

Description (interior)

The interior is fairly restrained and is arranged around the sanctuary in the apse at the east end. A very large Gothic arch divides the nave and apse. The original wooden pews are retained and they are divided by a central passage and two side passages (or aisles). The timber hammer-beam roof structure is visible and the walls are plastered and painted and the floor is carpeted.


The imposing pulpit is centrally placed, forward of the apse. Two staircases give access from either side and the wooden panelling is carved with quatrefoil designs. An oak communion table, finely carved with grapes and other floral and architectural decoration, stands in front of the pulpit. Elder's chairs are placed behind in the curve of the apse. The minister Hugh Cobham, who planned the church but died on the eve of its opening, is buried in the apse. The apse has stained glass windows depicting Biblical figures.


The small transepts are divided from the nave by pairs of pointed arches and have pews. At the west end is a small gallery with a simple wooden panelled front.

People / Organisations:

R LambArchitect of church1869-70No documentary evidence to confirm he was the architect but it seems likely he was.
Rev. Hugh CobhamFirst minister of the church1870He pressed for the new, larger church to be built.


  • Church built, replacing a smaller church (1869 to 1870)
  • Church became Church of Scotland (1929)
  • The church united with other congregation (1945)
    The two Braemar Church of Scotland congregations finally united, despite this church becoming Church of Scotland in 1929.

Archive References:

Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: NO19SE 25
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 6270B-listed

Bibliographic References:

Deeside and the Mearns: An Illustrated Architectural GuideJane Geddes2001p155
Crathie and Braemar: History of a United ParishJ Stirton1925