Cruden Old Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NK 08850 36300, map



Also known as:

  • St Olaf's Church


The old church of Cruden Bay, known as St Olaf's, was abandoned due to the encroachment of coastal sand dunes. The exact site of the church is not clear today and it is thought it was moved and rebuilt due to the sand in the 13th century. It is thought the church had been founded in the 11th century. A small section of the east wall and some foundations are said to have been visible until the 1830s, when they were completely removed and used in the construction of a nearby road. 

The church was relocated to the site of the current parish church of Cruden (see separate site) and was itself replaced by the current building there. A damaged stone font, thought to derive from the early abandoned church of St Olaf is preserved in the current church. It was damaged during the Reformation and later buried in the rectory garden of St James' Episcopal Church (see separate site for this church). 


  • Church founded (11th century)
  • Church abandoned (13th century)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 449
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NK03NE 1
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 20865

Bibliographic References:

The Object Name Book of the Ordnance SurveyOrdnance Survey1868Book 22, p131 & 139
Ecclesiastical remains at Cruden and St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of ScotlandF C Eeles1913Vol. 47 (1913), p470-83