King's College and
University was a pre-Reformation one, founded by a Bull from the Pope in 1494,
and in the course of the next half-century had sunk into the position of a
conventual school, and when Protestant doctrines had pereated the community,
Earl Marischal founded a rival institution in 1593. So, as has been well
said by our latest local historian in Robbie's Aberdeen,
"It is curious and at the same time a gratifying fact that a very large
part of all that is known of Scottish history, at what may be called the period
of transition from the traditional to the trust worthy, has been gathered from
the writings of men who were connected with the Cathedral Church or with King's
Two Universities so close to each other was a singular phenomenon in so poor
a country, and necessarily led to some amount of rivalry, which, if in some
respects unwholesome, was highly approved of, and fostered by many of the
inhabitants, and notwithstanding the benefits of an extended curriculum in a
united institution, the union in 1860 was long keenly resisted.
So eager were Aberdonians for guidance and instruction, that as a local
"Oor fathers then socht for their bairns
As much o'lear as cud be gi'en;
Sae Colleges they biggit twa-
Thae braif, bauld men o' Aberdeen."
But, not content with "twa" colleges, each of which claimed to be a
University - with the right of granting degrees - they actually aspired to have
three, so keen freetraders were they in the matter of education.
John Farquhar, a native of Crimond in Aberdeenshire, (b 1751, d 1826), having
acquired an immense fortune in India - he died worth a million and a half -
offered to appropriate £100,000 to found a College in Aberdeen on the most
enlarged plan of education, with a reservation on points of religion; for his
admiration of the simplicity and purity of the lives of the Brahmins had deeply
influenced him. But parliamentary sanction being refused, the scheme was
dropped. While singular to relate as showing the strong desire of the
natives of the district for education, Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth
obtained, in 1592, a charter for a University and College at Fraserburgh.
Parliament ratified the institution in 1597, and Charles Ferme, an Edinburgh
regent, was appointed principal. Owing to troublesome times the hostility
of the Earl of Huntly, the institution fell into decay and collapsed into ruin.
by George Walker