Patrick Grant – 1585 – 1620s Colin Mackenzie – 1633 Roderick Mackenzie – 1642 John Sanderson – 1656 – 1660s Colin Nicolson – 1670 James Grant – 1686 William Grant – 1709 – 1764 John Grant – 1765 – 1820 Donald Martin – 1821 James Stewart – 1838 – 1862 Rev. Dr. William Forsyth – 1863 – 1907 Duncan Robertson – 1907 Rev. Archibald W. Ross – 1922 – 1932 Mr. Norman Walker – 1965 – 1971 Abernethy Trust – 1971 – present
Manse for the Old Kirk – 1770 – 1929 Private residence – 1929 – 1971 Christian residential outdoor activities centre – 1971 – present
The heritors for the Church of Scotland
1760 (Earlier Manse dating 1620s)
About half a mile up the minor road from the golf course, signposted ‘Abernethy Trust’, next-door to Aultmore House.
The heritors were local landowners and factors who had the responsibility of appointing and paying the minister. The ministers income came from his glebe (see below) and a stipend from the heritors – this being one tenth of their income.
Originally, this was received in the form of local crops (here oatmeal and barley). Later it was cash, calculated from the value of that seasons crop, as set by the sheriff (64 pounds in 1793). By the early 1900s it was a standardised cash amount.
1624 – Patrick Grant built the first Manse. Likely a small stone and turf building with a thatched roof. Apparently used by several successive ministers.
1736 – A ‘mansion house’ was built for the minister (William Grant), with assistance from the Duchess of Gordon. The cost was apparently 700 pounds. This is probably the beginnings of the current building.
1769 – rebuilding work 1773 – plan shows the building as E shaped
1907 – structural changes, including improvements to water supply, demanded by the minister Duncan Robertson.
1929 – bought by the minister, Rev Archie Ross, at the time of the union in 1929 and greatly extended since then. [Note added by, Dr Jean Munro & Elizabeth Fleming (2008)]
1932 – manse and glebe sold to Archibald Ross The main stone building has been sensitively added to and modernised by Abernethy Trust over the past 34 years – now featuring a large dining room and kitchen, lounges, audio visual theatre lounge, a small shop, offices, showers and bedrooms for over eighty people.
The Site (‘glebe’) The Manse possessed a ‘glebe’ – land allocated to the minister which could be farmed and so form part of his income (in fact, one of the present cottages on site is called ‘Glebe cottage’).
The heritors were tasked with providing the minister with ‘suitable offices and garden of not less than 4 acres or enough grass to graze one horse and two cows’ (the horse would have been used by the minister for heavy work and for transport through the parish).
1773 plan shows the glebe to be 6.5 acres arable and 7 acres pasture land. Until 1866, the minister or his worker would work the land themselves. After this time, an act was passed allowing the minister, with consent, to let the glebe and so generate income.
1932 – when sold, the glebe measured 23.5 acres.
The Manse’s current 30 acre site now features lawns and native woodland made up of Scots Pine and Birch, alongside the Allt Mor stream.
Abernethy Trust facilities presently on the site include dry ski slope, tennis courts, playing fields, indoor climbing wall, archery range, canoe pond, zip wires, problem solving activities, abseil tree and ropes courses. Other buildings on site feature offices, indoor heated swimming pool, changing rooms and showers, squash court, sports hall, stores for skis, boats, mountainbikes and other equipment, vehicle workshops, staff accommodation, four guest chalets and three timeshare lodges. The building in the 1960’s.
M. O’Reilly lForsyth, W (1900) ‘In the Shadow of Cairngorm’ (Northern Counties Publishing Co.,Inverness) (Reprinted 1999 by Bothan Publications, Aviemore) Gray, J.L. (2005) Local resident MacEwan, Rev. J (2005) Local resident. McCook, A (2004) Local resident. Munro, Dr. J ‘The Church in Abernethy’ (research document for Abernethy parish church)
Patrick Grant – 1585 – 1620s
Assured the Synod of Moray that ‘he now hes his residence in the parochin of Abernethie and sall abyde thair and build ane manse besyd his gleib.’
Colin Mackenzie –
1633 Roderick Mackenzie –
1642 John Sanderson Applied to the Laird of Grant to cut turf to repair the Manse.
Rev. Dr. William Forsyth:
Born at Dell Of Abernethy 24th August 1825. A gifted and accomplished writer and preacher. Author of the definitive work on the history of the parish of Abernethy – ‘In the Shadow of Cairngorm’.
Married 11th February 1863 Barbara, daughter of William Asher DD, Minister of Inveraven Seven children : William, John Gordon Asher, Margaret Jane, James, Alaistair Crawfurd, Francis Stewart, George Granville Sutherland.
Educated Grantown Grammar School, Kings College, Aberdeen (MA – 1843).
Licensed by Presbytery of Forres 29th July 1846 Ordained to Ardersier 15th October 1846 Translated to Dornoch 27th April 1853
Presented to Abernethy and Kincardine by John, Earl of Seafield, translated and admitted 24th April 1863
Doctor of Divinity (Aberdeen, 1st March 1890)
Published works: A Homiletical Commentary on Psalms XXVI -XXXV (1878) ‘In the Shadow of Cairngorm’ (1900) ‘Highland Homilies’ (1906) Contributions to : ‘Good Words’, ‘The Homiletic Quarterly’, ‘The Pulpit Commentary’ and ‘Dictionary of National Biography’.
Duncan Robertson Rev. Archibald W. Ross Previously minister at the Old Kirk.
Following the union of churches in 1929 the Church of Scotland sold the Manse, now surplus, into private ownership.
Rev. Ross and his wife resigned and bought the House of Abernethy. The parish minister was then Rev John Fleming, serving at both the Old Kirk and the Free Church on Dell Road (then known as Seafield Place).
Mr. Norman Walker:
Owner of Pitlochry Knitwear Co. Ltd. After attending an outdoor activities course at Glenmore Lodge in 1964, Mr. Walkers vision was to provide outdoor activities for young people in a Christian environment. After owning the house for 6 years he gifted it to the Abernethy Trust and it became the first of their centres.
Abernethy Trust Resulting from Norman Walker’s vision of providing outdoor activities in a caring Christian environment.
The Trust, a non profit making company with charitable status, runs three other residential outdoor centres in Scotland. Most of these properties have been gifted to the organisation by their owners – at Ardgour (near Fort William), Ardeonaig (Tayside), Barcaple (Borders).
Another centre the Isle of Arran closed after many years operation. The staff team at each centre are all Christians and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds. They work in In House, Instructional, Maintenance, Administration and Leadership teams and many live on site. Over forty people make up the staff at the Nethy Bridge centre. Abernethy Trust Instructors, Cairngorm
Nethy Bridge Community Centre
We are grateful to the listed businesses and organisations, without which it would not be possible to run a community website.
A charitable company limited by guarantee
Registered charity number: SC 012389
Company registration number: SC 379387