Midmar church building

Midmar Church was built in 1787. It is a typical country kirk; a plain, rectangular building made of grey granite. It was built to replace ‘Midmar Old Kirk’ which is the ruin that you can see down on the main B9119 road. It was designed by John Midleton of Shiels in 1786. As you walk around the church, look out for the decorative pointing on the outside walls where small stone chips have been inserted into the cement; termed ‘cherry-cocked’.

The Rev Dr John Ogilvie was Minister when the new Church was built and served Midmar for 53 years. He was a friend of, and very much admired by James Boswell.

In 1755, the first census of the Parish was taken by Dr Webster, showing a population of 979 (this was five years before Dr Ogilvie started his long ministry). In 1792 following another census, the population had fallen to 945, 34 fewer during a period of 37 years. At that time there were 35 farmers, some blacksmiths, carpenters, tailors, shoemakers and a few shopkeepers, together with general workmen. Women were employed to knit stockings for two shillings a week. The population of Midmar in 1801 was 803, in 1951 it was 1166, in 1901 it was 1000, then fell rapidly and at the 1961 census there were only 532.

During Rev Edward Lumsden's ministry, extensive alterations were made to the church building. In particular, the entrance porch, three gallery lancets and a roundel above were added. The church was closed for several months from September 1884 to allow the work to be done, worship meantime taking place at the school. The side walls and gable end of the main entrance were extended and the vestry was enlarged. The seating area, balcony and pulpit were renewed.

Rev Johnson Oliphant was ordained in 1904 and served until 1908 and during this time paraffin lights inside and outside the church were installed and provided by Mr James L. Milne of the Comers Shop.​

Rev Francis McHardy was ordained in 1908 and he was responsible for the installation of the organ and in 1914 the extension of the cemetery around the N, E, and S, sides of the church.  

Midmar Parish Kirk 1787

'Predecessor at foot of brae dedicated to St Nidan. Archetypal country kirk, a plain Improvement-period rectangle in coursed squared, cherry-cocked rubble, with five generous round-headed windows in south wall.

Calm tree-girt kirkyard contains fine recumbent stone circle with canine-like pair of stones flanking the recumbent.

West end rebuilt with three lancets and porch, and interior recast, 1885; other additions, 1942'.

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press http://www.rias.org.uk