Old Machar


"ABERDEEN, OLD, or OLD MACHAR, a parish, chiefly without, but partly within, the city of ABERDEEN, in the county of Aberdeen; comprising the former quoad sacra parishes of Bon-Accord, Gilcomston, Holburn, and Woodside; and containing 28,020 inhabitants. This place, originally a small hamlet, consisting only of a few scattered cottages, was, from the erection of a chapel near the ancient bridge of Seaton by St. Machar in the ninth century, called the Kirktown of Seaton. It was undistinguished, however, by any event of importance till the year 1137, when it became the seat of a diocese, on the removal of the see of Aberdeen by David I. from Mortlach, in the county of Banff, where it was originally founded by Malcolm II., and had continued for more than 120 years. . . . The town is pleasantly situated on a gentle eminence, near the river Don. Across the river is an ancient picturesque bridge of one lofty arch, in the early English style, said to have been built by Bishop Cheyne, though by others ascribed to King Robert Bruce. . . Since the dissolution of the see, the town has owed its chief prosperity and support to its university, which was founded by Bishop Elphinstone, in the reign of James IV. . . The PARISH originally comprehended the parishes of New Machar and Newhills, which, after the Reformation, were separated from it: anciently there was a deanery of St. Machar. . . Ecclesiastically the parish is in the presbytery and synod of Aberdeen, and patronage of the Earl of Fife; the stipend of the first minister is £273. 1. 3., and that of the second £282. 19. 9., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £31. 10. per annum. The church was formerly an elegant structure, of which the choir was destroyed by the reformers. . . The interior of the remaining portion suffered great mutilation under the Covenanters, who destroyed the altar, and the rich carvings and other ornaments and in 1688. . The portion of the building appropriated as the parish church is neatly fitted up, and contains 1594 sittings; the chapel in King's College contains 350 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church. . . More"
[From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]




Church Records

Presbytery of Aberdeen - Synod of Aberdeen

Here are details of the Birth, Marriage and Death records for this parish, available on the OPR films.

168B/6 1621-1721 
168B/7 1722-83 
168B/8 1783-1819 
168B/9  1642-1766
168B/10  1766-1819
168B/111776-1800 (Appendix)  
168B/151820-54 (Appendix)  
168B/16 1820-35 
168B/17 1835-47 
168B/18 1847-54 
168B/19  1820-49
168B/20  1849-54
168B/21  1772-1854 (Duplicate)
168B/22Index to 1820-54  
168B/23 Index to 1820-54 
168B/24  Index to 1820-54

Description & Travel

Here is a detailed description of the parish, written in 1875.

You can see pictures of Old Machar which are provided by:





This parish appears on sheet 38 of the OS Landranger Series, and on sheet 246 of the OS Pathfinder Series.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NJ931119 (Lat/Lon: 57.197547, -2.116266), Old Machar which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

Here is a list of place names in the parish.



A booklet containing extracts from the 1696 Poll Book for this parish is available from the Aberdeen & NE Scotland FHS.