Records of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney

Scope and Content

This collection comprises records of the (pre- 1865) Diocese of Aberdeen and the (post-1865) United Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney. Records of the (pre-1865) Diocese of Orkney and its churches are not included in this collection.

Besides the registers, minutes, accounts and miscellanea relating to the Diocese itself, the collection contains records of St Andrew's Cathedral Aberdeen and of 49 local churches throughout Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardine; of various Episcopal societies; and relating to the Episcopal Church in America. The coverage of the individual churches varies greatly, from very scant to fairly comprehensive. A large 'miscellaneous' series contains Bishops' papers and correspondence, and a good collection of sermons and liturgical works dating from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Overall, the collection is very rich in historical documents, including some relating to Jacobite activity.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish Episcopal Church has common roots with the other Scottish churches going back to at least the 4th century AD. It became a non-established autonomous church in 1690, formed by those who refused to accept the Revolution Settlement, when the Church of Scotland was established as Presbyterian without bishops. In the North East episcoplianism retained considerable support, with one third of all Episcopal clergy in Scotland in the Diocese of Aberdeen in 1784. During the 18th century the Church suffered because of its continuing support for the Stuart dynasty/ Jacobite cause. Nevertheless it revised its Scottish liturgy and administration and retained a distinct spirituality. It is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, and consecrated the first bishop for the United States of America in Aberdeen in 1784.

The Scottish Episcopal Dioceses of Aberdeen and Orkney were united in 1865 to form the united Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney. Its geographic extent covers Orkney, Shetland, Aberdeen, and parts - though not all - of the old counties of Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire.

This information has been extracted from David M. Bertie, Scottish Episcopal Clergy 1689-2000 (Edinburgh: Clarke, 2000). Further details about the history of the Diocese and individual churches is contained therein.


Arranged by congregation, and by record type therein

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University in 1988

Other Finding Aids

NRA(S) Survey list 2697 is available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

Microfilm copies of some records deposited in National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

The records of the diocese and its constituent churches were originally held locally. During the 20th century many - though not all - came to be deposited in the Diocesan Office.


Occasional additions of newly discovered or later material anticipated

Related Material

Diocesan and parish records

Aberdeen Diocesan Library manuscript volumes, 1665-1907 (ref. GB 231 MS 3337). This collection includes minutes of the Aberdeen Clerical Association, 1858 - 1907, which bridge a gap in the Association's minutes deposited here in GB 231 MS 3320. The Diocesan library from which this collection originates has also been deposited in the University (ref. DL), with related correspondence in the papers of F.C. Eeles, 1911 - 1931 (ref. GB 231 MSU 602).

Records of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen, 1730-1974 (ref. GB 231 MS 3499). Includes church registers (including baptism, marriage and burial) and other early records, which were absent from the St Andrew's Cathedral records deposited here in GB 231 MS 3320.

Lonmay Episcopal Church registers, 1727 - 1854 (transcripts) (ref. GB 231 MS 2748)

Peterhead Episcopal Church baptism registers, 1738 - 1788 (transcripts) (ref. GB 231 MS 2749)

Inventory of St Peter's Episcopal Church, Fraserburgh, c 1963 (ref. GB 231 MS 2450)

Sermons preached at the Scottish Episcopal Churches at Meikelfolla, Macterry, Tillydesk, Chapelhall, Kinharrachy, Old Meldrum, Banff, Portsoy, Ellon, Turriff, Lonmay, Crichy, Parkdargue, 1774-1862 (ref. GB 231 MS 3504).

Photographic printer's blocks of churches, officials and occasions in the Scottish Episcopal Church Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, with corner stone of ancient altar at Lonmay, undated (ref. GB 231 MS 3533).

Personal papers of individuals associated with the church

Personal papers of F. C. Eeles, regarding the Episcopal Church in Scotland, 1862 - 1863 (ref. GB 231 MS 2507)

Personal papers of Reverend James B. Craven (1850 - 1924), Archdeacon of Orkney (ref. GB 231 MS 0894 - 0896; GB 231 MS 2150 - 2156; GB 231 MS 2197). These deposits contain Reverend Craven's antiquarian and genealogical research notes, as well as papers relating to his extensive research and several publications on the history of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Episcopal Church in Scotland and Dr Henderson: letters and papers by a lay Episcopalian, Aberdeen, 1831 (ref. GB231 MS 2180)

Other records

Episcopal Church in Scotland: Canons and Constitutions ecclesiastica (ref. GB 231 MS 904)

Episcopal Church in Scotland: A Shorter Catechism, 1726 (ref. GB 231 MS 2074)

Full reference details available on the Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online


David Bertie Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689 - 2000 (Edinburgh: Clarke, 2000)

Additional Information

This material is original