Funding sought to preserve historic gravestone

The 200 years-old gravestone is that of the first church minister and is now deteriorating.
The 200 years-old gravestone is that of the first church minister and is now deteriorating.

Deer Community Council is seeking funding from Aberdeenshire Council for a rather unusual heritage project.

The group wants £950 in order to restore a 200 years-old gravestone which lies in the Old Deer churchyard.

The community council has submitted an application to the Buchan area committee for the cash and councillors will be asked to give their approval when they meet in Peterhead later today.

The heritage project is based around the Stuartfield Congregation Church, the Manse and the people who lived there over the past 200 years.

Councillors will hear that the aspct of the project that the funding is requested for focuses on the restoration of a gravestone in Old Deer churchyard erected in 1831, marking the burial place of the first two wives of the first minister, James Robertson.

He lived and preached in Stuartfield for 30 years before moving to America then Canada after the death of his second wife.

Councillors will hear that he had 15 children, who despite hard times caused by poverty and limited opportunities during their early lives in Stuartfield, went on to become very successful individuals with some descendants becoming quite prominent people.

The Stuartfield Community Association commissioned a conservation assessment report on the gravestone as they were concerned that, although in reasonable condition for its age, it was deteriorating and because of its importance to the history of Stuartfield, they want to restore and protect it for future generations.

Two quotes were obtained for the restoration work and they would like to progress with the one that proposed to carry out the repairs highlighted, amounting to £1,188.

Members will consider the funding proposal at today’s meeting.