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Kirk of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen

4.0
#9 of 17 in Historic Sites in Aberdeen
Religious Site Landmark
The Kirk of St Nicholas is a historic church located in the city centre of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is now officially known as the "Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting" as it has membership of both of the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church. It is also known as "The Mither Kirk" (mother church) of the city.The earliest mention of a church on the site of the present Kirk can be found in a Papal document of 1157. Given Aberdeen's proximity to the sea, St Nicholas was chosen as the patron saint of Aberdeen, as a miracle attributed to him was the rescue of some sailors in a storm.The Kirk was enlarged in the 15th century. St Nicholas and St Mary's, Dundee, were probably the largest parish churches in medieval Scotland. This work was dedicated by Bishop Elphinstone in 1498. The 500th anniversary of the dedication of the enlarged church was marked with the installation of a special stained glass window at the main entrance to the Kirk, overlooking Drum’s Aisle.The church contains the Drum Aisle (the ancient burial-place of the Irvines of Drum Castle) and the Collison Aisle, which divide the two congregations and which formed the transepts of the 12th-century church of St Nicholas (architectural detail survives from this period). The West Church was built between 1751 and 1755, to plans given to the burgh by James Gibbs, in the Italian style, on the site of the medieval nave, the East in 1834 in Gothic-revival style on the site of the choir. In 1874 a fire destroyed the East Church and the old central tower with its lead-clad timber spire and its fine peal of nine bells, one of which, Laurence or "Lowrie", was 4 ft (1.2 m) in diameter at the mouth, 3.5 ft (1.1 m) high and very thick. The church was rebuilt and a massive granite tower erected over the intervening aisles, a new peal of 36 bells, cast in the Netherlands, being installed to commemorate the Victorian jubilee of 1887. These were replaced in 1950 with a carillon of 48 bells, the largest in the UK.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
56 reviews
Google
4.0
TripAdvisor
  • Because it was Spring the church was shut. We tried knocking on the door and it was opened by a man, who turned out to be the Minister, the Rev. Stephen Taylor, who kindly let us in and proceeded to g...  more »
  • Nice graveyard to wander through and building to admire, and inside the building it is rather beautiful, and there's a display window at the side so you can look at the recent archaeological dig going...  more »
  • Interesting to wander round reading the gravestones. Lots of local people sitting having picnics as weather was very good. If you like this kind of thing you could spend a day here reading stones!  more »
Google
  • Fun events! Beautiful building and great community.
  • Nothing much to see, the building and area is nice, but nothing special inside
  • What a gem! A really interesting upper storey never found in English churches. Downstairs lots of history of The Mither Kirk and fantastic modern sculptures and bespoke furniture by Tim Stead. Wonderful stained glass window by Shona Mcinnes. Lovely lady guided us then told us about the amazing installation at Migvie old Kirk....which is another story. You do not need to have a "churchy" background to appreciate this great treasure......but keep any visiting children quiet please.
  • Quite incredible to discover inside the stained-glass windows
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  • beautiful church, but I admit it we weren't there closed...
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Aberdeen offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts. You'll be able to find something within your budget, whether you're looking for an inexpensive option or a luxurious five-star hotel. For the latter, you may have to stay just outside the city and have access to a car to easily be able to come and go. Nearby towns such as Stonehaven have popular tourist attractions and are an attractive alternative to staying directly in Aberdeen.
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