While doing some research on the history of Lickleyhead earlier this year, I visited Kildrummy Kirk in Aberdeenshire, formerly of the Church of Scotland. The kirk has a Victorian connection to Lickleyhead Castle. The building is not currently in use except by special appointment and I would like to thank Scotland's Churches Trust for allowing me to look around. It is still possible to get married in the church if this is of interest to you. If you do, please consider staying at Lickleyhead Castle!
Kildrummy Kirk was constructed in 1805 close by the ruins of an earlier church, St. Bride's. The furnishings that are inside the building date from between 1845 and 1850. Going up the stairs to the horseshoe gallery you get a fantastic view of the pulpit below. It is quite possible to imagine powerful sermons being delivered to an attentive congregation one hundred years ago. There is plenty of information inside about the history of the church. The Lumsden family supported the church in numerous ways including financially and many of the names on the walls have this same surname. Outside there are tombstones dating back to the 16th century and it brings a sense of amazement but also melancholy to wander among these.
As I noted in my history of the castle, Lickleyhead was owned during much of the 19th century through to the early 1920's by a branch of the Lumsden family. This family held extensive estates throughout North East Scotland and were based at Clova just to the north of the village of Kildrummy. From 1859 until 1916 the landowner of Lickleyhead Castle was Hugh Lumsden who married Maria Magdalena. Their son was Carlos Barron Lumsden who stood to inherit Lickleyhead before his untimely death.
Major Carlos Barron Lumsden, recorded as a parishioner on the memorial plaque (above) was a noted historian. He wrote a history of the reformation in England entitled 'The Dawn of Modern England'. While he was a Catholic and the kirk was Presbyterian, the close Lumsden connection to Kildrummy Kirk and the wish to commemorate locals killed during the struggle presumably outweighed any sectarian sentiment. Clicking the picture will take you to the Western Front Association's information page about this individual.
While the Lumsden family were the landlords of Lickleyhead Castle, they did not actually live at Lickleyhead Castle except perhaps briefly. Instead a branch of the Leslie family led by George Leslie lived here until the early 1870's. The castle was then let to a Captain Brooke. I will pick up these stories in future blogs.