"RATHEN, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (S.) from Fraserburgh; containing, with the villages of Cairnbulg, Charleston, and Inverallochy, 2270 inhabitants, of whom 1357 are in the rural districts. This place, which is of some antiquity, originally included the greater portion of the adjacent parish of Strichen, and a considerable part of the parish of Fraserburgh. Very little of its history is known . . . The PARISH is bounded on the north and north-west by the bay of Fraserburgh and the river Rathen, and on the east by the German Ocean, along the shore of which it extends southward more than two miles. . . Crops are raised of oats, barley, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips, with the various grasses. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved, and considerable tracts of waste land have been reclaimed and brought under profitable cultivation. . . Many substantial and comfortable farm-houses have been built. . . For ECCLESIASTICAL purposes this place is within the bounds of the presbytery of Deer and synod of Aberdeen. The minister's stipend is £169. 14. 4., with manse, and a glebe valued at £9 per annum; patron, Lord Sultoun. Rathen church, a structure of unknown date, was repaired in 1767; it contains 684 sittings. In 1842 a chapel of ease was built by subscription. . . At Cairnbulg and Inverallochy are the remains of castles, both of great strength, especially the former, of which the walls, of extraordinary thickness, are still nearly entire. . . More"
[From Samuel Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1851) - copyright Mel Lockie 2016]



A book of monumental inscriptions for this parish is available from the Aberdeen & NE Scotland FHS.




Church Records

Presbytery of Deer - Synod of Aberdeen

Here are details of the Birth, Marriage and Death records for this parish, available on the OPR films.

Film Births Marriages Deaths
235/1 1704-63 1704-27 1770-92
235/2 1764-1819 1742-1819  
235/3   1773-1800 1821-54
235/4 1820-54 1820-54 1821-54
235/5 1805-54    

Description & Travel

Here is a detailed description of the parish, written in 1875.

You can see pictures of Rathen which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Rathen has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



This parish appears on sheet 30 of the OS Landranger Series, and on sheet 150 of the OS Pathfinder Series.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NK008609 (Lat/Lon: 57.638283, -1.988137), Rathen which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

Here is a list of place names in the parish.



A booklet containing extracts from the 1696 Poll Book for this parish is available from the Aberdeen & NE Scotland FHS.