Clatt Ault Kirk – a wonderful place. In addition to the occasional wedding and funeral, we have regularly held concerts both in the kirk and in the village hall. The right place for your events.
For enquiries and bookings email@example.com or call Brian Muirden 01464831461.
Christianity first came to Clatt in the late 6th Century AD when St Moluag, a contemporary of St Columba, visited from the Isle of Lismore off the Argyll coast. He founded two great centres of Christianity at Rosemarkie and Mortlach, with 6 parish churches dependent on Mortlach, including Clatt. For over a thousand years, Moluag was commemorated in Clatt annually with St Mallock’s Fair, held over some 8 days. He also founded a monastery at Clova, near Lumsden. 500 years later, Clova monastery closed and its lands were bestowed on the church of Clatt in perpetuity.
Around 1140, King David I granted 5 whole parishes to the Bishop of Aberdeen – whose seat had recently moved from Mortlach to Aberdeen – St Machar’s, Rayne, Oyne, Tullynessle and Clatt. For the next 400 years the ‘Shire of Clatt’ was an important part of the bishops’ endowment, its revenues helping to build St Machar’s Cathedral and the bishops’ many palaces. Its location was strategic as it stood on the crossroads where the road from Grantown and the Cabrach headed East to the port of Aberdeen, while the drove road from Caithness and Moray headed south towards the Cairn O’ Mount and beyond. The little village of Clatt soon formed around it. The village was created a Burgh of Barony by King James IV in 1501 giving the Bishops of Aberdeen authority to hold a weekly market as well as public fairs.
At the Reformation in 1560, the link between the Scottish church and Rome was cut and the bishops and the monasteries were all abolished. At the parish level, Catholic priests were succeeded by Calvinist ministers, and the worship of God in Clatt Kirk continued without a pause. The Bishop of Aberdeen’s ‘Shires of Clatt & Tullynessle’ were acquired piecemeal by new landlords, most of them kinsmen and children of the last bishop, William Gordon. So were founded the houses of the Gordons of Knockespoch, Tillieangus, Auchmenzie, Auchlyne, Law and Terpersie; while Lord Forbes acquired the farms next to Druminnor – Towie, Tayloch, Blairindinny and Boghead – of which his family had been tenants for centuries.
The church in Clatt had been a place of Roman Catholic worship until the Reformation; when the building was refurbished in 1779 it was recorded that a carved tabernacle and piscina were found set in the wall, as well as a tablet of freestone with an effigy of Our Saviour on the Cross, but this was all sadly destroyed.
The date on the bell tower is 1640 but there was clearly a much earlier building than that – certainly from King David’s time, and probably as far back as St Moluag. The date over the door reads 1886, which would relate to the last exterior alteration.
The church was closed for regular worship in 1991 and Clatt parish was amalgamated into the Parish of Noth, with its church in Rhynie. Clatt Kirk was purchased in 1994 by members of the community, with permission to continue its use for weddings and funerals, and otherwise for cultural events that would keep it at the centre of community life. A major refurbishment was carried out in 2001 with support from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2006 Clatt Auld Kirk was established as a Scottish charity, ref SC037502, to own and care for the kirk.