Torphins and Mid Deeside Church Building
This is an unusual church building with a striking interior, built between 1874 and 1875, designed by J Russel Mackenzie and possible showing influence of Alexander Ellis. It is located at the north end of the village of Torphins, and situated in wooded grounds with car parking all around. The site is raised above the road into Torphins and the manse sits slightly up the hill from the church, to the west. Commonly known as North Church when a former United Free Church in Torphins became South Church (now closed), it is now the only church in the area.
The church is long and low, with a narrow, rectangular nave, an apse at the east end and a tower to the north ,similar in Germanic style to some churches found in parts of Central / Northern Europe in the Mid 19th Century. The roof structure is slated and has a single metal ventilator on the ridge line. Large blocks of coursed granite were used to build the walls, and subsequent pointing has obscured a lot of the stonework.
The east end of the church forms the main focal point, with an apse, entrance porch and striking, tall dormer roofs above windows and entrance. The porch is reached by a stone stair case and has a row of windows and exposed timber in the gable. This leads into the apse, which forms a vestibule area before entry into the nave of the church. The apse has tall windows, necessitating tall, slender dormers, which are slated and have exposed timber.
The side elevations are long and low and have rectangular windows, which reach the wallhead. All the windows of the church have lattice glazing, apart from a single stained glass window in the south elevation. The junction of the nave and apse has a small, stepped buttress. The north elevation is dominated by a tall, rectangular tower. It has rectangular windows at ground level and pointed-arch, louvered belfry openings above. The piended roof shows Germanic influences, and is topped by a weather vane. The low, west gable features a three-light lancet window with stained glass.
The interior is dominated (as intended) by its imposing scissor-beam pine roof structure, which shows the influence of architect Alexander Ellis. The nave was designed with low walls and a tall roof to emphasise the internal roof structure. This creates a light and spacious space, heightened by the large dormer windows in the apse end of the church. The walls are painted white and have a number of stone memorials and locally-made wall hangings. The floors are covered by blue carpet.
The sanctuary at the west end of the church, is raised from the nave by several steps. A large organ occupies the north-west corner of the interior. The sanctuary has a carved wooden communion table and a fairly tall pupit, reached by wooden steps. The simple pews of the nave are in pine.
An extension to the church has recently been opened, giving a valuable community resource for Church and village functions.
South Church Building History and Description
This former church stands in the heart of Torphins village, along the main road. It was built as a United Free Church at the start of the 20th century and stands in fairly small grounds with mature gardens to the north-west. The congregation later united with Church of Scotland, in 1929, and the church was re-named South Church. It was latterly in use as a church hall and Auction Room, but had generally lain redundant for some time, then used for many years as "Mother HUbbard" pine furniture retail store. "Mother Hubbard" closed in summer 2011, and the building reopening in November 2011 as a Co-op "Morning Noon and Night" Mini Market, whose existing smaller shop in the village it replaced.
The church was built in granite, with small stone pieces set between large blocks (known as pinning). The roof of the nave is slate
The north-east elevation, fronting the main road, consists of the nave's gable end and a fairly tall square tower. The nave has a three-light window made up of pointed-arch (lancet) openings with simple tracery and hoodmoulds. There are small panes of square glass, some coloured. Below the main window are pairs of small lancet windows. A group of three lancet vent openings are located in the gablehead. The corners of the gable have buttresses, which are built into the skews. A tall stone cross finial is mounted on the apex of the gable. The tower is fairly simple, with a pointed-arch entrance doorway to the north-west and small rectangular windows at ground level. There are small stair lights higher up in the structure and a belfry stage has large pointed-arch openings with hoodmoulds. At the top is a simple battlemented parapet. A slender (spike) spire rises from the top of the tower and is tiled (rather than slated)
The side elevations of the church are relatively simple, with tall and narrow lancet windows equally spaced along the length. The southern end of the building is taller, due to sloping ground, allowing for a series of rooms under the nave. These are lit by rectangular windows at ground level.
The south-west gable of the church has a tall apse, centrally placed in the gable. It has lancet windows at nave level and rectangular windows below, in the basement level. There is a small attachment at the south corner, which has a small door and rectangular windows. Above is a tall chimney, which reaches the level of the nave roof apex.
The original church interior fittings and furnishings have long since been removed when the building was originaly redeveloped, but retains the original visible wood roof beams and remaining Stain Glass windows.
Former United Free Church (South Church)
Former Free Church (Craigmyle Free Church), Torphins : Dt : 1844
This small former Free Church was built by architect James Henderson in 1843-4 at the start of the Disruption. It is located just to the east of Torphins,at Greystones, Craigmyle
, along a small single-track road, where a number of modern houses have been built. The church has been converted into a private house and is surrounded by mature gardens, which overlook the wide valley south of Torphins.
The original church was rectangular on plan and orientated approximately north-south. It had large round-arched windows along the side walls, which now have recent glazing, and has, as in the original, a slate roof. There is now a chimney on the south gable and the original open 'birdcage' style bellcote has been removed.