A significant date in the history of Fetteresso Church is marked this week, when on Sunday the January 22 - Fetteresso “new” Church will be 200 years old.
The old Fetteresso Church (St Ciaran’s) at the Kirktown of Fetteresso which 200 years ago was well over 560 years old and according to the Old Statistical account of 1794 was unfit to contain the congregation. It was described as having no plaster on the walls or ceiling, with pools of water which gathered on the floor for several days after heavy rain. Moreover, old Fetteresso Church was inconveniently located for the ever expanding population of the “Barclay of Ury” planned town of the Links of Arduthie. Indeed, the allocation of space within the old Church for the 740 “new” town members was one seat!
The need for a larger new Church at a more convenient location was the obvious solution. After lengthy debate (1785-1808) between the congregation Presbytery and the landowners (heritor’s) who would have to finance this new venture, eventually a decision was taken in 1808 to build a new Church at “Arduthie” the present site.
Plans were drawn up by the Architect John Paterson to build a large Church for 1,200 parishioners. Since he had just finished the renovations for the Duff Family Home of Fetteresso Castle in 1808 - presumably this is why Fetteresso Church resembles a castle.
Rather surprisingly, there are no official records that tell us when exactly the new Church was opened. The drainage gutters have the date 1810, this would seem to be the date of the laying of the foundation stone as recorded in a fisherman’s (Robert Lee) diary at the time. Whatever the exact date we can be sure that the Congregation would have been more than happy with their magnificent new Kirk. When the present Congregation gathers this Sunday, some 200 years on, we can be grateful for the foresight of a previous generation, a cause for celebration indeed. Fetteresso Church 200 years not out -A life of Worship, A life of Love, A life of Service.