Portlethen

 

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A little part of the Ecclesiastical History of Portlethen

 

The district of Portlethen, is now a quoad-sacra parish with a large population, containing the famous fishing village of Findon and two others.  There has been a church in that district from time immemorial.  Before the reformation, I believe, it was a family chapel.  The old church was popularly called the "Red Kirk," because it was roofed with sods, i.e., rough turf cut from the moor.  Form the session records it appears that, about the middle of last century, these two churches were occupied, on alternate Sundays, by a licentiate of the church, Mr Wilkie, to whom I shall afterwards refer, the people of Portlethen having been warned by the Kirk Session of Banchory to attend at Banchory Church when preaching was at the Sod Kirk.  That arrangement, however, did not last long, as Dr Morison mentions in the New Statistical Account that, when he came to Banchory, in 1785, the Church at Portlethen was occupied by any strolling preacher who chose to hold forth to the people.  From that time till 1840, a licentiate of the church officiated in it.  When I came to the parish, the preacher was a Mr Pirie, but, on his death shortly afterwards, a Mr Law, Schoolmaster of Maryculter, was appointed to preach in the church on Sundays.  His salary was at first 30, but was afterwards increased to 35 a-year, and a pony presented to him.  He was ordained minister of Portlethen, as a Chapel of Ease in 1840, when he was provided with a more suitable salary and a manse, and he then gave up his school.  Some years afterwards the church and a populous district around it were erected into the quoad sacra church and parish of Portlethen.  Mr Law was a man of great simplicity of character and a very attentive and conscientious minister.  He ingratiated himself very much with the fishing population, by his kind and obliging disposition, and by the special notice he took of them in his intercessory prayer, and in particular of any dangers or accidents they had met with at sea.  On one occasion when some of them were speaking of him, one of them said, "I wat Maister law tak's terrible gweed notice o' his (us) in's prayers, an' o' onything that happens till's whan we're at the sea."  "Aye," said another who went under the by-name of 'Michty jeems,' and who had been nearly blown off the coast with his crew the week before by a sudden hurricane, "True's the word that ye say, man, for I wat he took gweed notice last Sabbath o'or bla' (blow)."

Past and Present of Aberdeenshire
by The Rev William Paul
1881


Portlethen Church Today