HIstory List

  1. The Quakers
  2. Freedom Lands
  3. Jaffery family

Kingswells Statistics

Population (2010):
Population (2013)


Council Area:

Aberdeen City

Grid Reference:

NJ 867 071

A commuter village of Aberdeen City with agricultural engineering industries, situated to the north of the AYE, 5 miles (8 km) west of Aberdeen city centre. Nearby are fine examples of immense Consumption Dykes created in the 19th century during a period of agricultural improvement to 'consume' rocks and boulders littering fields. The small Gothic Free Church was also constructed in 1857 using boulders gathered from local fields.

Aerial View of Kingswells (2004)

Aerial View of Kingswells (2014)

Kingswells is an area rich in history.

The Jaffrey family who purchased Kingswells estate in the late 16th century, built Kingswells House and were one of the more important Quaker families in the area.

Burial Ground of Jaffray Family

Of Kingswells House 

If you view behind the 5-mile garage to the top of the hill you will see a cluster of mature trees emanating from a drystane dyke enclosure. Within the enclosure is the burial ground of the distinguished Jaffray family of Kingswells House and also some of their friends. As the family were Quakers they could not be buried in established parish graveyards. 

The burial dates span from 1673 with the last being 1838. I do not know if they were all Quakers. Registry indicates there are 11 burials. I understand the site to be under the responsibility of the City Council. 

Having visited the burial ground there are no gravestones or evidence of burial mounds. It is reputed that there was originally gravestones, but they have either been removed or possibly were flat and therefore over grown. There is a small sign in the enclosure dyke detailing the names of those buried there. 

Because of their Quaker beliefs many of those buried in the graveyard suffered harsh persecution. This adds to the poignancy and sense of solitude that I feel when I have visited the graveyard. 

With reference taken from the [Rural Institute] publication on the History of Kingswells and District the following abbreviated extracts illustrates the notables that lie in the graveyard and a sense of their oppression. 

Kingswells House

History has it that King Charles stopped here for a drink from the well at the front door, thereby giving the present Kingswells area its name. Predominantly a family home, it was once also a secret Quaker meeting house during the 17th Century.  Today it is owned by the Summerland Trust and they have lovingly restored it back to its former glory.



Comsumption Dykes

The consumption dykes in the area; Kingswells is home to the Long Cairn, one of the oldest prehistoric monuments in Aberdeen.

In 2003, Historic Scotland, the government agency with overall responsibility for the care of scheduled sites, provided a grant for the old-Kingswells dyke for conservation. Additional monies for the £11,000 rescue scheme came from Aberdeen Countryside Project and Aberdeen City Council.

This 140-year-old dyke in Kingswells was deteriorating because of people climbing over it, and parts of it were in danger of being destroyed completely.  Now this 280m wall is scheduled as an ancient monument of national importance.

The work, was carried out by local dry stone dyker, Michael Kay, who took on two staff - Ken Armstrong and Andy Stephens - from elsewhere in Scotland to help. Aberdeen City Council, which owns the wall, over saw the project.

The dyke was originally built on agricultural land owned by 19th century city advocate Francis Edmonds and was created by workers clearing the land for crop planting or grazing. It was scheduled as an ancient monument of national importance in 1933. 

Running parallel to Kingswood Drive, just a few yards from the road, it is one of three such dykes in the Kingswells area. The wall currently conserved, and one of the others, have paths built onto the tops of them, and are used by local people as walkways. 

Aberdeen City Council archaeologists consulted with Kingswells Community Conservation Group over the dyke project, and members of the group visited the site to watch the work in progress and tried their hand at dyking. The Council provided signs to explain about the drystone dykes and its significance as a historical monument. 


How Gillahill Got Its Name
By dead of night the 'Resurrectionists' used to bury the dismemberedcorpses in the wooded enclosure in Gallow Hill field. These dismembered corpses were all that remained after the Resurrectionists had learnt their Anatomy at the College.
(This information comes from 'A History of Kingswells and District', a wonderful little book originally published in 1966 by the Kingswells Rural Institute).

Kingswells Church

The Congregation of Kingswells; originally United Free; was formed in 1857. It was the local people's reaction to the disruption of 1843. The members wished to be able to appoint their own Minister by ballot, and not have to depend upon the choice of a patron. The Church building was erected in 1858, on a site provided by Dr. Francis Edmond of Kingswells. It was the first example in the Northeast of polygonal ragwork, which is the fitting together of irregular stones, with raised mortaring to give a pleasing pattern. Members and friends of the Congregation gathered the stones, with which the Church is built, from the surrounding fields. The rafters and wood-lined ceiling; gifted by Dr. Edmond &endash; are almost unique and lend an atmosphere of warmth to the building. The stained glass windows, by Douglas Hamilton, depicting "The Crucifixion" and "The Resurrection" were installed in 1958 to commemorate the Church's centenary).

War Memorial

Skene Road stands the War Memorial

Outside the Church and facing the Skene Road stands the War Memorial; a broken column denoting broken lives. The Memorial was first erected on a site at the switchback at the end of the First World War. It was removed to the Church grounds in 1938. It bears the names of the men of Kingswells, who lost their lives in the two World Wars. Included in the list is Captain James Brooke of Fairley, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery in action. His two brothers and his brother-in-law, who also lost their lives during the Great War, are likewise named on the Memorial Text taken from Kingswells Church Annual Magazine; permission granted by Rev Harvey Grainger (2001).


Original Manse

The original manse, now a private residence, is situated at the north end of Fairley Road. It was built in 1859 and was occupied by successive Ministers until 1979, when it was sold and the new Manse erected in the Lang Strach at East Husterstone Farm.


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