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The University Link
One of the first ministers, the Reverend Charles Ferme, also held the post of first-Principal of Fraserburgh University. The University, however, was short-lived, and you may see a plaque commemorating its existence on the exterior wall of the remains of the Alexandra Hotel in College Bounds.
The Stained Glass Window
The superb stained glass window, adorning the chancel is indeed a work of great art and beauty and it is reckoned to be one of the late Douglas Strachan’s best works. The interior of the church is in simple classic style with a ceiling of great interest. These escaped the ravages of the war years, including the great havoc wrought with much loss of life just a stone’s throw away from the church.
Psalm 148 is the basis of Dr Douglas Strachan’s conception and depicts praise from the Church on earth to heaven above, including also the homage paid by the heavenly hosts of Christ.
The lower half of the window is filled with groups of figures representing mankind of all degrees and ages: “Kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth; both young men and maidens; old men and children”; who offer up homage; the King removing his crown (symbol of temporal power); the judge with his volume of wisdom closed in the presence of Omniscience; the Youth in the full vigour of young health; pouring out music; the maiden with gentle; the old man with weakened body; adoration alone remaining; the young mother guiding her child to praise, etc. These are all represented as standing in the court of a Byzantine building, which represents the Church on earth.
The gateway of the Byzantine building is ornamented with panels, suggesting the symbols of the evangelists. The doves which flutter before the doorway and the lily beside the young girl, and the warrior in the foreground, are all emblems of peace and purity.
The upper portion of the window is filled in a circular form by the hosts of heaven, Christ enthroned in the centre being surrounded by choirs of angels. Above are Powers, Principles, Dominations, Virtues, Angels and Archangels. Beneath the Christ, a link between Him and earth below, are figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, the builders of His church on earth. The two side panels contain the figures of the Prophetess Miriam and Deborah who, in the Old Testament, stand as the representatives of praise.
The pulpit of Fraserburgh Old Parish is itself a memorial to the men who gave their lives during the Great War, 1914 – 1919. The names of those who fell adorn the brass plaques which panel the six prominent faces of the pulpit structure.
The names of those who gave their lives in the Second World War are commemorated on a memorial statue which is located at the junction between Saltoun Place and Strichen Road. Every year on Armistice Sunday the morning service starts early and a 2 minute silence is observed to honour those who died.
An interesting historical fact relating to WW2 takes us back to the pulpit, where a scar can be seen upon the base. This mark was left when debris crashed through the roof after a bomb landed on a public house where Woolworths now stands. The roof is long repaired, but what is now known as “Hitler’s Mark” still remains.
The “Veteran” was built in Quebec in 1856. On November 3rd 1874 she sailed from South Shields with a cargo of coal bound for Pensicola, Florida. She ran into a severe gale and lost her main top mast and sails. A steam tug was sent to her aid but was unable to make much headway and both took shelter in Fraserburgh Bay where the tug left the “Veteran”. The wind increased and distress rockets were fired as the “Veteran” drifted onto rocks.
The distress rockets were heard during the service in the church and the Rev. A McLaren immediately stopped the service and appealed for the able-bodied men in the church to help with the rescue. Heroic efforts succeeded in saving 10 men including Captain Thomas. A memorial to these men stands in Kirkton Cemetery.