Saints and Stones: Old Deer Old Kirk

The Old Kirk probably dates to the 15th Century, but its roots go back much further. Traditional scholarship suggests that the kirk was established on the site of a Culdee settlement established by St. Columba and St. Drostan around 580 A.D. Drostan was a follower of St. Columba. Legend has it that Columba and Drostan founded the monastery together, but there is much doubt regarding this claim. The original monastery is most famously associated with the 9th Century gospel book known as the Book of Deir, the author probably a monk during the 8th Century. Nothing exists today of the original monastery.

The Columban monastery seems to have existed only as a folk memory by the time the new Deer Abbey was founded by William Comyn, the Earl of Buchan, in 1219. The location chosen was a little over half a mile west of the village and on the north side of the river, but it seems likely that Comyn chose Deer for his abbey because the story of the earlier monastery offered a sense of religious continuity stretching back to St. Columba's day. Deer Abbey was to thrive for 350 years before everything stopped with the Reformation in 1560.

About Deer

Undiscovered Scotland: Old Deer Old Kirk
Wikipedia: Old Deer
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Abbey of Deer
Wikipedia: Book of Deer
The Book of Deer Project
Firth's Celtic Scotland: St. Drostan of Deer

Journey to Deer

The village of Old Deer is located at the intersection of the B9030 and the B9029 a few miles west of the small town of Mintlaw in the northeastern region of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. As you enter the village, the Old Church is not immediately obvious; but if you enter the current church's churchyard and walk around to the rear, the roofless ruin of the Old Church will come into view.

Ordnance Survey Map (NJ9780347641)

Visitors Information

Visitors information on Old Deer Old Kirk may be found on the Undiscovered Scotland Old Deer Old Kirk website. Visitors information on the village of Old Deer may be found on the Undiscovered Scotland Old Deer website page. General tourist information may be found on the Aberdeen City and Shire website.

Additional Photos of Old Deer Old Kirk

Road Sign for Old Deer Old Kirk
Sign for Book of Deir Written Near Old Deer Old Kirk
Interior of Old Deer Old Kirk
Interior of Old Deer Old Kirk
Portion of Memorial in Wall, Old Deer Old Kirk
Memorial in Wall, Old Deer Old Kirk

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