The village of Old Deer

Abridged from Pratt

A view of Old Deer or nearby

The village of Deer is of great antiquity. The parish church stands at the east end of the village, and within fifty yards of the river. It is a large building and according to the Statistical Account fitted up to contain 1200 sitters, and built in 1788. It is in the style common to the period, plain and substantial, but with no particular architectural character.

"Deer," says the writer of the Statistical account, "if not the first, was probably one of the first places in Buchan where a christian church was erected." There is a legend that, when some pious individuals formed the design of building a house for the worship of God, and selected such spots, one after another, as appeared appropriate for the purpose, though they saw no person, they heard a voice thus accost them—

"It is not here, it is not here,
That ye're to big the Kirk o' Deer,
But on the tap o' Tillery,
Where many a corpse shall after lie.

"A church accordingly was built on a knoll or small mount, embraced by a semicircular bend of the Ugie, and, as was customary, a piece of ground around it was set apart for a burial-place, so that the weird is fully verified."

"The Church of Deer was long built before the Abbey, and was never subject to it. It was one of the Ecclesiae Matrices, or mother churches of these bounds."

Old Deer and its neighbourhood as it was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been depicted in picture postcards, many of them taken by J. Parks who had the chemist's shop in Old Deer.

(Revision date: Monday 7th December 2009)