"The History of Methlick Parish Church" by Reverend Angus H. Haddow B.Sc. was written during his tenure as the minister of Methlick Parish Church to which he was inducted in 1990. The following has been extracted from the book for the interest of our visitors.
The book was prepared with the "assistance of Gordon District Council, the David Gordon Memorial Trust, Gordun Forum for the Arts, Methlick Community Council, Mr. James B. Presly, Mr. George Cheyne for the design of the book`s cover, Lord Haddo and my wife for her encouragement and tolerance throughout my research". The book was printed by P.Scrogie of Peterhead. The black and white photos are scanned from the book.
There are four place names in Methlick which indicate the prior existence of a church-Andet, Chapelpark, Chapelton and Chapelhaugh. The oldest is Andet (or Annat) which is one of the oldest religious terms in the Celtic Church both in Scotland and in Ireland, signifying always the mother church in a district. Professor W.J.Watson writes "wherever there is an Annat there are traces of an ancient chapel or cemetery, or both, very often too, the Annat adjoins a fine clear well or stream" All these conditions are satisfied by the site of Annat near the farm of Chapelpark.
It was here in the 5th. century that St. Ninian built a church from which he and his followers preached Christianity in Aberdeenshire thus making it the first church in the nort east of Scotland. Near the church there was a well known as St. Ninian's well. In the New Statistical Account of 1845, Rev. Dr. Whyte, the minister of Methlick wrote "Until recently, traces of a churchyard were distinctly visible-they have disappeared about 50 years ago under the plough".
Through the years the church has had a number of name changes:
1846-1900 Methlick Free Church
1900-1929 Methlick United Free Church
1929-1933 Methlick North Parish Church
The present church building, referred to as "one of the finest specimens of Presbyterian architecture in the country" although begun by the son of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, was completed during the time of his grandson, the "Sailor Earl" in 1866 seating upward of 900. The architects were Brown & Wardrop, Edinburgh, the style Norman-Gothic with saddle-back tower, The first service in the building was conducted by Rev. J.W.Whyte on 21st. April 1867.
An interesting feature of the building was provision was made for an organ to be incorporated at a future date. In 1877, a petition, signed by 596 members and adherents of the congregation requested Lord Aberdeen to hold a public meeting so that steps could be taken for the introduction of an organ. The result was the imposing "Father Willis" organ which is in the church at the present day.
The churchyard at Methlick lies between the village and the Ythan and surrounds the ruins of the old church of 1780 which was built on the site of an even older church.
Adjacent, but not attached to the church is the old burial aisle of the earls of Aberdeen. Within the walled enclosure are burries the 1st, 3rd and 5th earls and other members of the family including Lord Haddo, the father of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen who was killed by a fall from his horse at Gight in 1796.
In the north wall of the church itself is a tablet with inscription to Dr. patrick maitland who is considered to have been the first to introduce inoculation for small-pox into Britain.
Near the west corner of the graveyard is a monument to another native of Methlick, Dr. James A.S. Grant-Bey who had a distinguished career in Egypt particularly as a cholera specialist. So highly was he regarded by the Tewfik Pasha that the title Bey was conferred on him in 1880.
Other stones commemorate Robert Moir a merchant of Aberdeen, three Methlick ministers (Rev. Andrew Ritchie, Rev. Ludovic Grant and Rev. James W. Whyte).