Longside

From Pratt (1858)

. . . the new Episcopal Church, dedicated to St John—a noble edifice, and strictly correct in its ecclesiastical character— designed by William Hay, Esq. It consists of a nave with north and south aisles, and a chancel. Between the nave and the chancel, a central tower rises to the height of about ninety feet, the upper story of which is pierced on each of its faces by a double lancet and quatrefoil, under a hood-moulding; it is finished with a pack-saddle roof—an old Scottish feature in ecclesiastical architecture. . . .In short the internal arrangements as well as the external features of this noble church, which is designed in the severest style of the thirteenth century, are such as to reflect the highest credit on the architect, and on those who have been chiefly instrumental in promoting its erection . . .

The village of Longside is built on an eminence sloping gently on all sides, and on the summit and centre of the hillock stand the old and new parish churches, nearly side by side . . . The old church is still standing, but having become too small for the greatly increased population, it was superseded by the new church built in 1835. The Lych-gate, at the entrance of the churchyard, is an object of considerable interest to the student in Ecclesiology.

In the New Statistical Account, the following modest record of the New Church occurs: "A plain building for about a thousand sitters, was founded in 1835, and opened for public worship on the 7th August 1836." It is commodious and well-proportioned, and has a steeple with a bell and clock.

Main Street in Longside is the main road from Mintlaw to Peterhead, and although Main Street contains some examples of pleasant domestic and commercial architecture, the Parish Kirk, and the Old Parish Kirk are invisible to the casual visitor, which is a pity because both are interesting buildings. The Parish Kirk, is a Presbyterian rectangular box, but an inner section of its gable projects a little from the outer section, and the porch projects a little from the inner section, adding a restrained, well proportioned and welcoming progression to what would otherwise be a plain wall. At the apex of the gable is a bell-cote and in the central section of the gable, there is a clock framed above by a hood-moulding similar to that above the trio of lancet windows in the central section of the gable. Likewise, the windows in the side-walls of the church are well proportioned and the whole effect is tranquil and altogether more generous than the average church of its type. The Old Kirk, built in 1620 (McKean, 1990) stands in the middle of the Kirkyard, a much smaller building, unroofed, and adjacent to the kirkyard gate. The Episcopal Church stands at the very edge of the village, even beyond the village itself in Pratt's time, on the Peterhead side. (Perhaps Pratt was exhibiting a certain bias in favour of the episcopalians in his detailed description of St John's Church, and the perfunctory description of the Parish Kirk.)

(Revision date: Friday 16th March 2012)




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