History of St Ternan’s Banchory

St Ternan’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Banchory was founded in 1851, with help from the generosity of local landowners. The church has survived and adapted to the various influences of history, such as the arrival of the railway from Aberdeen in 1853, world wars, economic hardship and secularisation. In 1953 women joined the Vestry for the first time.

Banchory has expanded since the 1970s with the growth of the petroleum industry, and St Ternan’s has been part of that growth. In 1985, the foundation stone was laid for our Church Hall, which provides space for our Sunday School and fellowship events, and is offered to the wider community during the week for use as a teaching, prayer, and general gathering space.

In 2001, an historical profile of St Ternan’s Church was commissioned by the then incumbent Rector, Ross Royden, and undertaken by Professor John Hargreaves. This historical profile has recently been updated by the author and is available for download.

Who was St Ternan?

Little is known about the life of our patron saint, St Ternan. Research by Dr Sandy Waugh has however established that he was a priest of the Celtic community associated with Ninian at Whithorn, and that his missionary work during the seventh century led to many conversions among the Picts of Kincardinshire and east Aberdeenshire. Tradition speaks of his establishing a small monastery on the north side of the River Dee which runs through Banchory, and of a cell being near the present Banchory Ternan East Church.

What is the Scottish Episcopal Church?

It is called Scottish because we trace our history back to the earliest known Christian communities in Scotland about 400 AD. 

It is called Episcopal (from the word for bishop) because we have maintained the biblical and traditional form of church order, having bishops, priests, deacons, and laity honoured by sacramental recognition (ordination and baptism) and specific ministry roles in the community.

We are part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which includes the Churches of England and Ireland, the Church in Wales, and The Episcopal Church in the United States. For more information, history, and news visit the Scottish Episcopal Church website.


The River Feugh running through Banchory

The River Feugh running through Banchory

The church's St Ternan window

The church's St Ternan window