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Glenbervie Church











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The old church of Glenbervie, a prebend of Brechin, was dedicated to St Michael.  Partly rebuilt in 1771 and enlarged in 1798, in 1826 it was abandoned in favour of the present barnlike building on a cheerless site a bowshot to the north. Of the former church only the Douglas burial aisle, in what was the presbytery of the medieval edifice, now remains. This fragment, at present almost smothered in ivy, is entered by a plain door in the W wall and lit by a single, unmoulded, round arched window, probably of the eighteenth century, on the S side. It contains the altar tomb, now somewhat dilapidated, of the ninth Earl of Angus and his Countess, Egidia Graham, with their coat of arms and an inscription in Latin, which bears that the widow erected the monument in memory of her husband and herself; the date of her own death has never been filled in. Above this monument is a long panel in three large slabs, dated 1680, and displaying the gruesome mortuary emblems that were just then invading funerary art, together with the heraldic bearings of the Hassa, Olifant, Melville, Auchinleck and Douglas families, and an immense inscription recording in florid Latin the descent of the barons of Glenbervie from Hugo Hassa, a native of Germany, whose date is given as AD 730, and who married Germunda Dervies, heiress of Glenbervie !4 Underneath the burial aisle is a vault, with side benches for the coffins of the Earl and his lady; these, however, have now disappeared.


On a detached fragment of the old church is a modern brass commemorating the ancient family of Stuart of Inchbreck. It was erected by John Stuart, Professor of Greek at Marischal College, Aberdeen, who died in 1827, and who in his day was a distinguished Fellow of our Society and contributor to our Proceedings. Far more interesting are two table-stones which cover the paternal great grandparents and great granduncle of Burns (Kinnear 1910, 85-96).


These were restored in 1885, and again in 1951. In addition to St Michael's, there was also a chapel, with a well, dedicated to St Mary, at Deliavaird, about a mile further up the Bervie Water. In the Den of Drumlithie is St Conon's Well and the reputed site of his chapel. St Conon is said to have died on 26th January 648: he may be the same as St Machonog to whom the church of Inverkeilor in Angus is dedicated (Forbes 1872, 307-8).


The original nucleus of population in Glenbervie was at the Kirkton, which indeed is said to have been made into a burgh of barony under the Douglases. The present village centre is Drumlithie, a mile to the ENE. It does not seem to be earlier than the sixteenth century; in 1585 there was a chapel at Drumlithie, under the patronage of the laird of Glenbervie (Innes 1856, II 345). The village was for long a centre of the hand-loom weaving industry. The people were staunch Episcopalians, and their chapel was burnt by the Duke of Cumberland's troops in 1746.


The present Episcopal church dates from 1863.


Amongst the ministers of Glenbervie Church were:

Archibald Douglas 1581-1584 son of William Douglas, 3rd of Glenbervie & 9th earl of Angus; parson here 1581; d. 1584; no issue
Duncan Douglas 1585-ca. 1590 yst son of William Douglas, 3rd of Glenbervie & 9th earl of Angus; parson in 1585; d. bef. 1591
James Douglas 1590-1635 uncle of his two predecessors; 2nd son of Sir Archibald Douglas, 2nd of Glenbervie; parson in 1590; still min. 1635; mar. Grizel, dau. of -- Irvine of Beltie; issue: Robert, of Nether Kilmonth; James, min. of Kirkwall; John; Eliz. (mar. -- Inglis in Brigtondykes)


Note: There is also a Glenbervie in New Zealand, which was the home of Sir Robert Andrews Mackenzie Douglas, 3rd Baronet


See also:

  • Mackenzie-Douglas of Glenbervie
  • Douglas of Glenbervie

  • Glenbervie House


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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024