A brief history of the Episcopal Church

 in the Stonehaven Area. 

The first church in the neighbourhood of Stonehaven was planted at Dunnottar but only the name survives in St Ninian's den. The parish church of Dunnottar remained for some centuries until a new church dedicated in honour of St Bride or Bridget, was built by the Earl Marischal in Dunnottar woods where a more modern church now stands. The parish church of Fetteresso (built in Kirktown) in honour of St Kieran was dedicated by David de Bernham, Bishop of St Andrews, in 1246. The history of these churches before and after the reformation followed similar lines to the history of churches all over Scotland.

 Shortly after the 1715 Rebellion, the Episcopalians, now apart from Establishment, worshipped in the Tolbooth, Stonehaven under Mr Peter Rose. In 1737 a cruciform chapel was erected in the high Street. Following the Jacobite uprising of 1745, the Duke of Cumberland on his march north to the battle of Culloden in April 1746 stopped briefly at Stonehaven. On his orders the Episcopal Chapels at Muchalls and Drumlithie were entirely razed to the ground on the grounds that all Episcopalians were suspected of being loyal to Charles Edward Stuart. The Chapel at Stonehaven was only rescued from a similar fate by the pleading of Sheriff John Young. However, all of the furnishings were taken out into the High Street of Stonehaven and burned and the chapel was unceremoniously converted into stables for the King's cavalry.

Nothing is left of the High Street chapel except the belfry stone, which is preserved in the porch of St James' and the altar cross and candlesticks which were given to King David's, Inverbervie.

 With the increased rigour of the Penal Laws of 1746, it was an offence to conduct services in the presence of more than five people. Nevertheless, services were conducted at various houses in the High Street. The Rev Alexander Greig was convicted in 1748 for this offence and after trial, spent the winter of 1748-49 in the Tolbooth Jail at Stonehaven harbour with his companions from Drumlithie and Muchalls.

 After worshipping in various houses for a time, the Episcopalians built a small chapel in Cameron Street near Keith Lodge. They worshipped here until 1815 when they sold their chapel and applied for money to make improvements to the older chapel to which they returned.

 By the 1860s the old chapel had become too small so Robert Thom, Dean and Alexander Penrose Forbes, the Bishop (and a former Rector), planned a new church. The foundation stone of the present St James' Episcopal Church was laid by Bishop Forbes on St Matthew's Day (21 September) 1875. The nave took two years to complete and was opened for service on 1 October 1877. The nave was hardly sufficient so a chancel was added, opening in 1885 so the church could accommodate 520. At that time there were 900 adherents, 400 communicants and 230 pupils in the Sunday School. The Baptistery was dedicated in 1906.

 Notes extracted from a booklet by William Christie:
'The Church in Stonehaven' 


Further Information


The Scottish Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our orders of service are not dissimilar to those of the Church of England and so should be familiar to services in other parts of the Anglican Communion. We are always happy to welcome visitors, newcomers and new members from the Church of England and other denominations.

You are very welcome to join us at any of the services which are held at the following times:
        St James, Stonehaven                 St Philip's, Catterline:    
        Sunday                                                        2nd Sunday of the month
        9.00am        Said Eucharist                          No service until further notice
       10.30am       Sung Eucharist

    Second Wednesday of the month

      10.30am       Eucharist and Healing Service 


As we do not have a rector at the moment, we use the Reserve Sacrament booklet when no priest is present. Otherwise we follow the Scottish Liturgy blue service booklet.

There is an introit hymn of welcome followed by a short time of intermingling to meet and share with one another the Peace of Christ and then the service continues according to the booklet words. Music and singing praise is enhanced by the uplifting touch of church organist, Peter Parfitt …. a wonderful sound!

 Having joined in faith affirmation and prayers of intercession, the Eucharist [Holy Communion] is then celebrated and offered.

 All are welcome to receive Holy Communion should you choose to do so. If you prefer you may come forward simply for a blessing from the priest/celebrant. All children are welcome to come for a blessing. 

Our Sunday Club children come into this part of the service and there is a time at the end for them to share and show their pictures, crafts, learnings, etc!

Do join us any time - you are always welcome.


St James' Episcopal Church, Stonehaven Scottish Registered Charity No.SC000301
St Philip's Episcopal Church, Catterline Scottish Registered Charity No.SC023282