Taken by declan chalmers 1995
The History section below was written sometime after 1901 by one of its minister's mentioned in the text, Rev. Hugh Fraser.
Parish dates consist of the start and end dates of Baptisms,Marriages and some deaths in the parish records
Finally a section with the family names that are connected with this parish from 1640
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Muiryhill looking south east
By the Rev. Hugh Fraser, M.A.
It is probable that the light of Christianity came to this parish through the labours of missionaries from lona. The names of some of these are preserved in the names of the principal Fairs in neighbouring parishes - Marnan and Brandan. A spring which for many years supplied the town of Banff with water, has long been known as St CoIm's Well. From old records we find that the first church erected in the parish was dedicated to St Columba.
In 1314 a charter was granted by Marjory, widow of John, Earl of Atholl, granting to the Abbot of Cupar the patronage of the Kirk of Alveth, with the whole lands of Kirkton, &c., comprising a large part of the north east end of the parish. The boundaries of the Church lands are here minutely detailed, but owing to improvements and changes since effected it is now difficult to trace them at all points. The present Parish Church was built in 1792, and was a plain structure with four windows in the south wall and one in each gable. From time to time it has undergone various repairs and improvements. In 1882 the inside walls were lathed and plastered, the area of the church re-floored and re-seated, a commodious vestry and porch built, and a system of heating by hot-water circulation introduced. The church is now seated for 409, and has a Communion Roll at present of 351.
From 1883 a harmonium was used in the service of praise, and in 1900 this instrument was exchanged for a vocalophone at a cost of over £100 The harmonium is now used in the Rosieburn meeting-house, where fortnightly evening services are held. This building, it may be mentioned, has within recent years been almost entirely renewed through the liberality of parishioners and the Woman's Guild.
The church bell bears date 1645.
1574-1580 Henry Mortimer. (a)
1718.1745 James Stewart. (c)
1586-1589 James Lyle. (b)
1745.1775 Alexander Wilson.
1628-16- James Melvill.
5776.1805 George Sasgster.
1642-1684 Robert Blair.
1805-1840 James Sangster.
1684.1717 George Campbell.
1841-1867 Andrew Todd, D.D.
1868- Hugh Fraser, M.A.
Present Office-Bearers are:-
Elders-Messrs Charles Christie, Bagra, 1898(d); Robert Findlay, Itlaw, 1898; Peter Hay, Malyrust, 1898; Alex. F. Leslie, Monteoffer House, 1875; James MacWilliam, Deuchnes, 1898; William Livingston, Newton of Mountblairy, s885; Aneas Reid, Clayfolds, 1898; Andrew Simpson, Rosieburn, 1885. Session Clerk, Mr A. Stuart, Schoolhouse; Organist and Precentor, Mr James Andrew, Fattiehead; Church Officer, Mr Robert Thain, Berryton.
The Communion plate consists of one quaich1 two cups bearing the following inscription: "Georgius Oglivius de Banf Deo & Ecclesi~ Alvahensi hoc Poculum Consecravit" [George Ogilvie of Banif dedicated this cup to God and the Church of Alvah], with crest, and date 1625; two cups, the gift of Mrs Wilson, Carridale, Coatbridge; and two cups, three patens, and flagon, the gift of the Woman's Guild ;-all solid silver.
The following bequests were made to the Kirk Session for the poor in the parish not in receipt of parochial relief --By John Watt, at one time merchant in Banff; £92 3s. 6d.; Archibald Duff, Macduff; £93 13s. 6d.; George Morison, late Boat of Auchinbadie, £121 155. 6d. The interest of the Watt Bequest is expended on clothing or coals; of the Duff Bequest on tea and sugar on New Year's Day; that of the Morison is restricted to natives of the parish who are resident in it.
The Churchyard was considerably extended in 1888, the whole of the ground laid out in regular divisions according to plan, and the enclosing walls repaired. Among the oldest memorial tablets is one bearing date 1589, with crest and the letters I.M. G.M. It is believed to have marked the last resting place of a family who owned the lands of Auchinbadie. The tablet is now built into the outside wall of the vestry. On the outside of the south wall of the church is a tablet bearing the following inscription -"In memoriarn perennaturam mulieris lectissimae, Elizabethae Camphel, uxoris suae charissimae, D. (a) Georgii Campbel, V. D. (b) apud Alvenses quondam praeconis filiae, natae I I Cal. Sept. anno 1696, conjugatae I 3 Cal. Feb. anno 1717, tandemque denatae 3 Id. Maias anno 1728, Archibaldus Campbel, Regia colligendis reditibus amoris ergo monumentum hocce maestissimus curavit extruendum "-"In evetlasting memory of a most worthy lady, Elizabeth Campbel, his beloved wife, the daughter of Rev. George Campbel, at one time preacher of the Word of God at Alvah, born 22nd August 1696, married 20th January 1717, died 13th May 1728, Archibald Carnpbel, a Collector of the King's dues, out of love and in his great grief had this monument erected."
Beneath this is a granite tablet erected by parishioners; and friends in memory of the Rev. Andrew Todd and his widow, and another in memory of the members of his family.
In the Churchyard are not a few memorial stones with interesting inscriptions. Some of these are rather quaint and curious, and may be given here:-
Here Lyes Intered the Body of James Ruddiman, (C) Induler (a) Some time in Raggal and afterwards in Ratie in the Parish of Boyndie who having verteously and with a good reputation arrived at the age of 67 years departed this Lyfe October the 22nd 1707. Sumum nec metuas diem nec optes. (e) This stone is Erected Be James and John Ruddirnan his sons. Here rest in peace the Bodies of John Ruddiman late Farmer in Alehouseburn who died the 8th May 1742, and of his spouse Isabel Mime who died 5th August 1763.
Here Lyes the ashes of Thomas Walace, Squar Wright (f) in Banf, Deacon, Conveener, Burges of the said Burgh, who departed this Life the 30th of March 1712, in the 47th year of his age. This grave stone is erected by Jean Clerk his Loving Spouse in Memory of her affection to the Defunct.
In Glory now we Hope he in Triumph Reigns, Eternally with the great King of Kings.
George Chapman died at Inchdrewer 1first May '777, in his 84th year and Hellen Stewart his spouse 4th January 1780 in her 93rd year. He was an honest man. She was a virtuous woman.- Erected by Dr Chapman their son.
(Dr Chapman for many years conducted a prosperous boarding school at Inchdrewer. The poet Burns spent some time with him when on his tour in the north).
Pause gentle stranger, from the Tomb
Consent to Learn thy hastening Doom.
Boast not of youth, its Sweetest Flower
Oft blooms and withers in an Hour.
Love's Virgin Flame my Bosom fired.
Its purest joys my hopes inspired.
A few days more and on my Bier
My Bride let fall the Widow's tear.
how now dear ghosts
do name and ensigne show that oh
with us your days
should prove too
few the cinkfoyles
show that vee were
fading grass which
might ansunder by
heat be turned to ashe
your name denots
jehovah's fervent love
when that your
soules are caught
from us above the
grasse grasse the soules above the
skys mong mortal
men your ain imortail lves.
This stone shows elaborate ornamentation. Much of this, however, has disappeared in the course of time. The tombstone bears sacred texts indicating the brevity of human life and the hope of a blessed resurrection-" As for man, his days are as grass," &c., &c. A smooth space at the top probably contained ensigns "-perhaps figures suggestive of the "ghosts," the spirits of the dead-and sculptured cinquefoils. The further inscriptions,
HERE LYES THE ASHES OF THOMAS JOASE, INDULAR AND LATE BAILYIE OF BANF WHO DECEASED THE . . . MARCH 1665
HERE LYE THE ASHES OF JOHN JOASE... HIS LAWFUL SON DECEASED 25 JANUARY ANNI 1666 AS ALSO...
line the sides.
With this help, and by modernising the diction, the obscurity of the inscription is somewhat relieved, and the whole may read
How now, dear Ghosts, do name and ensign show
That oh, with us your days should prove too few!
The cinquefoils show that ye were fading grass
Which might asunder by heat be turned to ash.
Your name (a) denotes Jehovah's fervent love
When that your souls are caught from us above
The grass. Grass! The soul's above the skies;
'Mong mortal men your one (6) immortal lies."
The Manse was built in 1870 on the site of the former Manse built in 1764. The population of the parish has for many years been steadily decreasing. In 1871 it stood at 1436. At the last census in 1901 it had fallen to 1186.
(a) The name "Joase" or "Jehovah's." (6) One part or body.
('1) Reader. (6) Translated to Rathven. (C) Translated from Inverkeithoy. (d) The date after an Elder's name indicates the year of his ordination.
(a) D.-Dominus or Reverend. (b) V. D.- Verbi Dei, of the Word of God. (C) James Ruddiman was the father of the Latin grammarim. (a) Indweller or tenant. (e) "Neither fear nor desire the day of thy death." (f) Cabinetmaker.
Alvah Parish Dates
Baptisms 1717 - 1854
Marriages: 1720 - 1854
Missing :Jan 1813 -1818