Strichen Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NJ 94510 55390, map


High Street / West Street
AB43 6TT


Strichen Parish Church is located at the northen end of the planned village of Strichen, on the corner of High Street and West Street. It stands in small grounds close to the roadside. The church was built in the late 19th century as a Free Church but became a parish church in the 20th century after the older church a short distance to the south-west closed. 

Description (exterior)

The church is quite a striking building, which looks down the length of High Street. It was built with very large grey granite blocks and has thin, neat joints in the stonework. The roofs are slated and have decorative ridge tiles. There is a tall corner tower and spire, nave, vestry and hall complex. 


The corner tower is square on plan and there is a tall pointed-arch doorway in the south-east face, with chamfered edges and a recessed wooden door. It has a thin hoodmould, which extends into a stringcourse, which extends around the tower and the south-east gable of the church. Low down in the south-west face of the tower is a small round window with hoodmould. Above, in the slightly narrower second stage, is a tall, narrow pointed-arch (lancet) window in the south-west face and a pair of lancets in the south-east face. The most ornate stage of the tower is the belfry at the top. Each face has a central pointed-arch, louvered opening, which is gabled at the top. The corners have narrow recesses which form slender buttresses and on top are tall, octagonal pinnacles with decorative stone finials. The tower is topped by an octagonal stone spire with a large metal weather vane.


The south-east gable of the nave has a single very large pointed-arch, stained glass window with a thick hoodmould and stone tracery, mullions and transomes. The tracery includes two quatrefoil panels and a central multi-foil panel. Above in the gablehead is a small trefoil window, set within a round opening. On the apex is a tall stone finial. Attached to the gable is a short tower or bay, which provides an additional entrance to the church. It has a small pointed-arch door on the south-east face and a lancet window above. The side face has a square window at ground floor level, with a pointed-arch window above. It has a small, hipped roof. 


The side elevations of the church have four tall pointed-arch windows and a gabled bay at the rear (north-west), in which is a large pointed-arch window. The four narrower windows in the nave sides have quatrefoil tracery and small, square panes of coloured glass. The wider windows in the gabled bays are similar but have larger cinqfoil panels. 


At the rear of the church is a vestry and session house complex, which largely hides the north-west gable of the nave. This gable has a single, central round window with fine stained glass. The vestry and session house are single storey in height and have a hipped roof. In the centre is a small gabled bay with a chimney on top. Attached at the north-east end of the vestry and session house is a large and contemporary hall, built at right angles to the church nave. A recent extension with a flat roof has been added to the front of the hall and contains a kitchen, toilets and a small meeting room. 

Description (interior)

The interior of the church is bright and open. It has white-painted plaster walls with a lower wooden dado. There is a fine barrel-vaulted roof structure, the beams of which are supported on stone corbels in the walls. The nave has original fixed wooden pews, divided by two passages which lead to doors leading from the vestibule.


The vestibule at the front of the church is under the gallery at the south-east end. The vestibule has two entrance doorways and a large war memorial inbetween the doors into the nave. A spiral stone stairwell in the tower provides access into the gallery. The gallery is quite steeply-pitched and is corbelled out slightly into the nave. 


The sanctuary area is at the north-west end of the nave. The large pulpit forms the focal point of the church and it is set within a tall, shallow arched recess, in which is also found the round stained glass window. The wooden pulpit has fairly plain panelling and tall pinnacles. There is a wooden stair on each side to the pulpit. In front of the pulpit is a small, open communion table, lectern and font, along with a minister's chair and a number of elders' chairs. In the corner of the nave is a small pipe organ, which is still in use today.

People / Organisations:

Duncan McMillanArchitect of the church1893


  • Church built (1893)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 7929
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NJ95NW 49
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 180889

Bibliographic References:

Banff and Buchan: An Illustrated Architectural GuideCharles McKean1990p99