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
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
Click on photos below to enlarge