Templars Park

 

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Templars Park Churchyard

 

Templars Park was dedicated to the Virgin Mary by the Knights Templars about 1225. A chapel, originally in the parish of Peterculter, was built on the site in 1287. This chapel was thought to be of a similar design to that of St Mary of the Storms at Cowie. It was finally demolished in 1782 when the present parish church was erected nearby. Today there remains just a few fragments of the original chapel.

The kirkyard is surrounded by a high wall which gives it a secluded and sheltered aspect. Among the more distinguished families buried there are the Irvine-Boswells and the Irvine-Fortescues, descendants of the first laird of Kingcausie. Many of the stones seen today are Victorian or later vintage. However there are a number of good examples of 18th century stones which are well worth looking out for as they are becoming increasingly rare to find in this condition.

The graveyard, maintained by Aberdeenshire Council, is in good order, though the grass was quite long (and wet!) on my first visit which became a bit of a chore to walk through. A number of the gravestones are subsiding and some are 'buried' underneath bushes and difficult to reach. Those of the Fortescue family are in some of the heaviest shrubbery and difficult to reach. Heavy pruning is really required to release these stones before they become completely enveloped. Many flat stones are submerging under layers of brambles, grass and moss and these too would greatly benefit from some careful ground maintenance. I feel a good bit of tender loving care would reap great rewards for the graveyard and allow many interesting artefacts to be seen as they were intended.

Templars Park is now within the grounds of the Maryculter House Hotel. To get there by car take the South Deeside road out of Aberdeen and follow the signs for the hotel. Parking is easy within the hotel grounds and close to the graveyard. The hotel is to be congratulated for its obvious pride in looking after the grounds surrounding the walled graveyard. Remember that the graveyard is within the private grounds of the hotel and I would recommend you talk to the receptionist before you visit the graveyard - as a matter of courtesy. I'm sure you will be made most welcome.

This is a very historic site that is not particularly well known. Set close to the river Dee it is a beautiful and very atmospheric location. Incidentally, the Knights Templars whose original function was to protect those on pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, were never completely dissolved in Scotland and the organisation is still in existence today!

Though not the most spectacular graveyard to look at it is still worth a visit. Recommended.

2008 Update - I believe that this graveyard has received a major 'cleaning up' and consequently the problems I have reported above no longer exist. Next time I'm in the area I hope to check this for myself.

If you require a specific gravestone photo from the above send me your relevant details and I'll e-mail you what I have. Contact me here

 

Click on photos below to enlarge


Commemorative stone dedicated
to the Knights Templar