The earliest recorded date of a Christian Community in Crimond is 1262, although there must have been Christians in this part of the country much earlier than this because of the activities of the followers of St Columba, – St Fergus and St Drostan – known to be in the area and because a chapel at Rattray dedicated to the Virgin Mary was founded there at an early date, possibly, 811 AD, although it has been said this could have been earlier.
At first there was no resident Minister, Crimond being supplied from Aberdeen, but in 1567 George Nesbit, Reader, was appointed to the Parish and was in charge until 1573.
In 1574 Alexander Keith was appointed Minister and in 1576 the first known Church was built, that date having been above one of its doors. The Church stood within the graveyard but all that now remains is a portion of the South wall and part of a neat ornamental stone cornice which is built into the churchyard wall. On the cornice in bold letters is the text:-
“For in Thy courts one day excels a thousand others have” (Psalm 84 v. 10)
The present Church erected in 1812 and substantially renovated in 1895 stands near the main road at a distance of above half a mile from the old Church. In the West End is a steeple containing a clock, presented by James Laing of Haddo (Crimond) and Streatham Hill, Surrey, a native of the parish. This was taken from the farmhouse at Haddo and the spot from where the clock was removed can still be seen today.
Crimond Clock which bears the text – “The Hour’s Coming” was famous for having, as a result of an error, 61 minutes. In 1949 when the clock was being repainted the extra minute was removed, but thus caused such a furore that the extra minute was restored. In February 1994 the mechanism of the clock was electrified. The original movement of the clock is displayed in the Church in memory of the late Councillor Norman Cowie OBE.
A two-light stained glass window is sited in the east end of the Church in memory of two former ministers, the Reverend Alexander Boyd and Revered Alexander Irvine.
Originally, there was no vestry but this was added in 1854. On panels in the vestry were painted in gold leaf the names of all Church Officers, Organists etc, together with the following list of patrons:-
James VI 1573
Gilbert, Earl of Errol 1655
Andrew Hay of Mountblane 1729
Thomas Buchan of Auchmacoy 1744
James, Earl of Errol 1796
James, Earl of Fife 1839
In 1962-63 when the Church was being renovated these panels were removed.
Originally there was no vestibule but a number of years ago the two back rows of the pews were removed and a partition erected to form the present vestibule.
The interior of the Church is very well appointed. A fine pipe organ – 2 Manual Connacher of which we understand there are only two of these instruments in Scotland – the other in St Mary’s Cathedral, Aberdeen. The organ was completely overhauled in 1984-85 at a cost of £3500 and rededicated in an evening service of worship on Sunday 26th May 1985.
The original installation of the organ was due to the hard work of Mrs Calder, wife of the Minister (and a daughter of the Manse – she being the daughter of Mr McLaren, Minister of Fraserburgh Old Parish Church) who managed to acquire a grant from the Carnegie Trust.
To commemorate the Centenary of the new Church a Communion Chair and Brass Alms Dish was presented to the Woman’s Guild in 1912. Later in 1926 the Guild also replaced the rough Communion Table with a new table, which matched the chair.
The communion silver in the Church is very old – 2 of the Communion cups being dated 1745. They are still in use although now very thin.
Until the early 1950’s, communion tokens were in use, the oldest of these being dated 1763. with constant use many of them have become very thin and the date obliterated.
Crimond Church has become famous because Her Majesty the Queen chose the tune “Crimond” to be sung at her wedding.
“Crimond” was composed by Ms Jessie Seymour Irvine (called Seymour) a daughter of Dr Irvine, Minister if the Parish.
Ms Irvine was very musical and along with a number of other young ladies attended a class for organists at Banff. One of the exercises required of them was to compose a Psalm tune. “Crimond” was Ms Irvine’s effort. It was first performed at an evening service in Auchterless Church but Ms Irvine was not happy with the harmonisation of it. Mr David Grant, a fine musician from Aberdeen, was present at the service and she asked him to harmonise it for her. Consequently he was credited with having composed it. The Church has now rectified the mistake, with the credit going to the originator, Ms Irvine.
At the back of the Church there are 4 etched glass panels to commemorate the 23th Psalm to the tune “Crimond”
A brass plaque with all the names and dates of Ministers appointed to the Church is in the vestibule of the Church.
The Church has a wind vane in the shape of a fish that was lost around the time of World war 2 and only found in the 1990’s when it was placed back on top of the spire.
Crimond Church celebrated it’s Bicentenary with a special service on Sunday 24th June 2012. The Church was filled to capacity (500). The guest preacher was The Very Reverend Professor Alan Main, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 1998-99. The congregation was welcomed by the Rev. Abi Ngunga, Interim Moderator and Minister of St. Andrew’s Church, Peterhead and Dr. John Kinnon, Session Clerk. Dr. Kinnon also welcomed anyone baptised or married in Crimond Church. Others taking part were the Crimond School Choir, Crimond Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and the Strichen Praise Band.
Individuals taking part were Ailsa and Kirsten Hendry who sang “Aaron’s Blessing” at he end of the service. Their mother Mrs. Helen Hendry played the organ for the service. Prayers were said by Mrs. Pat Christoffersen and Mr. Tim Barker. The readings were given by Mrs. Jill Cook, Clerk to the Board. Dr. Kinnon outlined the history of the 200 years of worship at the present Crimond Church. Greetings were received from the following people:-
- Rev. Albert Bogle, Moderator of the Church of Scotland 2012-13.
- Presbytery of Buchan, represented by Moderator Ian Leslie and Presbytery Clerk, George Berstan.
- Smyrna Presbytery Church in Georgia ,U.S.A. This congregation sing the 23rd psalm “The Lord’s my Shepherd” every Sunday to the tune “Crimond”
- Lonmay Parish Church, our linked church.
- St. Fergus Parish Church who were linked to us from 1954 until 2008.
- Mrs. Elizabeth Noble who was organist at Crimond in 1962.
- Greetings from Mr. And Mrs. H. Bisset,two of our members who were visiting relatives in America.
- Her Majesty the Queen. The Session and Board sent Her Majesty the Queen a Commemorative Communion Token to mark her Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty the Queen sent her warm good wishes to all. Everyone was asked to sign the visitors’ book and received a commemorative pen as a memento of the occasion.