Aberlour

Associated Chapels: None known.

OS Ref: NJ 263428    RCAHMS No: NJ24SE 2

St Durstan's (Drostan's) church at Aberlour is one of the oldest Christian establishments in what became in later times the Diocese of Moray. {"Sgir Durstan" or "Skir Drustan" simply means Durstan's field or enclosure.} The church was a part of the Deanery of Strathbogie and it, along with the church of Boharm, became a prebend of the cathedral of Moray c1224. There was a passage-boat (ferry) across the River Spey at the church. The canon who was prebendary of Aberlour & Boharm was bound to provide a deacon to serve as his substitute in the cathedral church.

Brockie's manuscript (p3, 754) which was in the library at Blair's College, states that "the monastery of St Drostan, commonly Kil Drostan, now Abelour, was situated on the right bank of the River Spey" where the cemetery now is "and there his relics were garnished and kept with great veneration." Here, of course, 'monastery' is used in place of the more correct Celtic term 'muinntir'.

In the archives of the Scotch College of St James at Ratisbon there is an old catalogue of monasteries in which occurs this ancient Monastery of Drostan and in which it is stated that St Drostan was sent to the north from Iona by Abbot Fergnus in AD 618. Now, there may be a confusion here with St Drostan's foundation at Deer but it is worth noting that the Abbot of Iona from 605 - 623 AD was, indeed, an individual by the name of Fergnae.

The only remnant of the later medieval church is the complete (but ivy-encrusted) South gable which lies within the older part of the present churchyard (NJ 2636 4275). It is constructed of uncoursed masonry with rubble infilling, and has a single splayed window with a square stone lintel.

 

The South gable, sadly, lies under this great mass of ivy!

 

Close by is what appears to be the font of the ancient church sitting upon a plinth/memorial.

Original font?

Suspected original font of the early church.

St Drostan's Well is situated just within the grounds of the Aberlour-Glenlivet Distillery, across the road from the graveyard. It seems that the water of life has flowed from this spot, in one form or another, for many, many, years!

 

 

 

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