Cruden Parish Church

National Grid Reference (NGR): NK 07050 36570, map


Bridge End
AB42 0QB


Cruden Parish Church is located at a junction of rural roads and close to an old bridging point of the Water of Cruden. The current church was built in the 1770s on the site of a number of previous churches dating back to the 13th century. There is a sizeable graveyard around the church and a later cemetery extension is alongside to the south. Across the road to the east is a small church hall complex and large car park. The large former manse stands in large garden grounds across the road to the north.

Description (exterior)

The current church is a fairly large building with some unusual features, notably its round towers. It was built using well-finished, tooled and coursed pink granite blocks and has slate roofs and spires. It is generally Georgian in its detailing, such as round-arched windows and doors. There is a fairly standard nave with a side aisle extension, organ chamber, stair towers, vestry and session house. 


The south elevation of the church has four round-arched windows and a central organ chamber, which was added in the early 20th century. The four round-arch windows, two on either side of the chamber, are at ground level and have clear multi-pane glazing with timber mullions and transomes. The tall, gabled organ chamber is built in a slightly pinker granite and has a small round window with stained glass high in the gablehead. The sides have tall round-arch windows in a similar style to those in the nave. 


The west gable of the church has two round-arched windows with clear multi-pane glazing; the gallery window is slightly taller than the window below. Mounted on the apex is a typical 18th century birdcage-style bellcote with a rectangular opening and a stone ball finial. The opposite east gable matches the west, apart from there is no bellcote, but a small finial instead. 


The church has been extended to the north, likely in the mid 19th century. There is a fairly narrow aisle, which runs the length of the nave, with two attached stair towers. The aisle has round-arched windows in the ends and a large one on the north face. It has a flat parapetted roof with a small gable to the centre, in which is a small round window with stained glass. A small gabled porch is attached to the aisle on the north side. The towers are at the east and west ends of the aisle and have rectangular windows and slate roofs. The small session house with a side entrance extends from the north-west end of the church. The session house was built a few years after the main north aisle had been completed, replacing a porch that matched the one at the east end. Thus before the session house was built onto the north elevation, it was symmetrical. 

Description (interior)

The church interior remains largely un-altered since the north aisle and towers were built in the 1830s, apart from the organ chamber to the south. The walls are plastered and painted and there is a panelled ceiling. There is a gallery on three sides of the nave, supported on iron columns. The nave and gallery have plain wooden pews and corner vestibules provide access into the chuch from outer entrances. 


The fairly large pipe organ fits snuggly in the chamber that was built onto the south elevation in the early 20th century. The organ has painted pipes and plain wooden panelling. In front of the organ is the chancel area. There is a fairly plain wooden communion table with arcade panelling, together with minister and elders' chairs. The pulpit is placed at the junction of the chancel and organ chamber - it is original but not in its original position. It has a very tall backboard with a canopy and the platform is reached by a wooden stair to the west. A small lectern in front is more commonly used by the minister today and a small font is also found in the chancel.  There are a few artefacts in the church from previous buildings on this site, including carved stone fragments and a 13th century stone font. 

People / Organisations:

John SmithArchitect1834-4Extended the church to the north
G Bennet MitchellArchitect1913Built the organ chamber


  • Church built (1776)
  • Church extended to the north (1833 to 1834)
  • Session house built (1840)
  • Organ aisle built onto south elevation (1913)

Archive References:

Scottish Church Heritage Research Archive - Offline databaseReference: 450
Historic Scotland Listed Building Reports - Online databaseView HS Listing Online: 3057B-listed
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: RCAHMS NK03NE 20:00
Canmore - Online database View Canmore Report Online: 20877

Bibliographic References:

The New Statistical Account of Scotland1845Vol. XII, p980
The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation ChurchesG Hay1957p242
The Third Statistical Account of Scotland: The County of Aberdeen1960sp464
The Object Name Book of the Ordnance SurveyOrdnance Survey1868Book 22, p69
Banff and Buchan: An Architectural GuideCharles McKean1990p168-9