Abernethy Old Kirk, Nethy Bridge

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“Pews” is the buzzword for this newsletter.

Many of you reading this will know the pews in the Old Kirk are arranged in an unusual “horseshoe” layout. It is believed there are only around six Scottish churches remaining with pews in this configuration. AOKA vowed never to remove the pews and on the strength of this decision, obtained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The pews are numbered 1 to 49, although 3 pews were removed many years ago to make way for the back aisle and space for the organ. If you average 8 seats per pew then the Old Kirk provides adequate seating for 368 people. Many local families had their own pews. If your family had a designated pew, please let us know, you could help further our records. If you have any memories or stories of being in the kirk, please relate them to us. For instance a lady visited recently, she grew up in the village and recalled when, one Sunday, sat in a certain pew, she watched as a number of hens strutted in through the open door.

The front pews directly facing the pulpit have hinged ledges; these were the “communion pews”. Two shorter pews allowed space for the log burner, the only source of heating in the 1870’s. Some parishioners would take a log to Sunday worship to help warm the Kirk. Today only a steel plate remains which can be viewed on the ceiling where the metal flue was located.

We have found it fascinating to try to decipher the graffiti on some of the other pews; yes we have graffiti, see the attached photographs! Not surprising, mostly rear pews have been defaced! I am sorry to say they aren’t in Banksy’s league and unlike Banksy, signatures and names have seemingly been carved with pride. There are a few drawings, our favourite one, we have named “the clay pipe lady” alongside can be deciphered “Robertson”. Probably frowned upon at the time, these artistic attempts have now become an intrinsic part of the Old Kirk. Listed below are some of the culprits/artists, can you recognise any? Is your name listed? Is your ancestor’s name listed? With your help, perhaps we will be able to date the graffiti which we believe is a relevant and interesting source of local history.

James and John Asher, Station House
DG loves MM (with arrow through heart)
Lizzie Ann George
A Barron
John Green
Dates carved into the pews – 1898; 1917; 1918; 1964
Robert Murray
J E Archibald Arthur George William Campbell B McKay
Clay Pipe Lady
N. Smith
Thomas McLachlan George Smith
John Smith

AOKA continues to go from strength to strength; we welcome two new Directors, Dougie Burns and Eric Hart. Eric will be looking after our Facebook page and he has set up our Flicker site. Welcome to Barbara Black, our new Minute Secretary; we very much appreciate Barbara taking on this important role. Thank you to Grantown Grammar School student Ruairidh Maclean who has very kindly volunteered his skills to AOKA as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Ruairidh has recently set up Pinterest for us. The Old Kirk now has a presence on Facebook, Flicker, Twitter and Pinterest, so please check out these media sites. Many more photos will be added regularly including more of the graffiti.

The AOKA Team wish you all a very happy festive season.....look out for the “star in the east” window!

www.oldkirknethybridge.org Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 01479 821944 / 07934413063

AOKA Newsletter November 2015 1

AOKA Newsletter November 2015 2

AOKA Newsletter November 2015 3