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Gaelic: Inbhir Uraidh
Grid reference: NJ7721
Location: 57°16’48"N, 2°22’48"W
Population: 10,885  (2001)
Post town: Inverurie
Postcode: AB51 3/4
Dialling code: 01467
Local Government
Council: Aberdeenshire

Inverurie is a Royal Burgh and parish in Aberdeenshire, approximately 16 miles north-west of Aberdeen on the A96, and is served by Inverurie railway station on the Aberdeen to Inverness Line. The nearest airport is Aberdeen Airport at Dyce.


Inverurie sits in the Don Valley at the centre of Aberdeenshire. The town straddles the River Don and the River Ury, is surrounded by farmland and only four miles from the imposing mountain of Bennachie. The town centre, although to call it that would be a mistake as it actually lies much more to the east side of the town due to recent burgeoning growth on the west, is slightly triangular and is dominated by the grand "Town Hall" built in the late 1800s. In the middle of the "square" (as it is known locally) is the Inverurie War Memorial capped by a lone Gordon Highlander looking out over the town. The main shopping areas include the "Square" and West High Street which stems off from the centre towards the more residential part of the town, although recently, with the development of "out of town" retail parks and supermarkets, these streets have become less busy. The part of the town south of the Don is actually called Port Elphinstone it is however common to hear the title "Inverurie" used to refer to both Inverurie and Port Elphinstone as a single town.


The word "Inverurie" comes from the Scottish Gaelic language Inbhir Uraidh meaning "Mouth of the Ury" after the river which joins the Don just south of the town.

It was commonly spelt "Inverury" until the late 1800s when, it is alleged, it was altered to avoid confusion with Inveraray in Argyll, because it was felt that "a" and "u" were particularly hard to distinguish in handwritten addresses.


Inverurie is said to have been founded by David of Huntingdon, Earl of the Garioch, brother of Malcolm IV King of Scots, great-great-grandfather of Robert the Bruce who defeated the Comyns nearby at the Battle of Barra on Christmas Eve 1307.

Its religious foundation pre-dates this by five centuries with the establishment of the Kirk of Inverurie now known as St Andrew's Parish Church [1]

However, the town's earliest known charter dates from 1558, with its modern development taking place after the building of the Aberdeenshire Canal linking Port Elphinstone with Aberdeen Harbour in 1806. The Inverurie Locomotive Works (1905-1969) led to a modest increase in size and prosperity, but it was not until the Oil Boom" of the last quarter of the 20th century that the town developed into much of its present form.

The nearby Easter Aquorthies and the stone circle at Newseat recumbent stone circle are fine examples of the rich history of the North East of Scotland, ancient monuments dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC. There have been three well known battles in the town: The Battle of Inverurie (1308), the Battle of Harlaw (24 July 1411) between Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles (MacDonald) and an army commanded by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar; and the Battle of Inverurie (1745) during the Jacobite Rebellion of that year.


Inverurie is a thriving market town, now with a monthly Farmer's Market, with many small shops, businesses and services. Its main industries other than service and commerce are agriculture, oil and, until International Paper closed the mill in March 2009, paper manufacture.

The Great North of Scotland Railway constructed its locomotive construction and repair works on a 15-acre site at Inverurie. Robert Louis Garden became the last General Manager of the Loco Works and remained in this position until its closure.

Agriculture continues to be a mainstay of Inverurie's economy, as it has done since the town's inception. Thainstone Mart, to the south east of the town, is the biggest livestock market in Scotland, and rents out commercial units to various agricultural support services. Lying beside Thainstone Mart, the paper mill was a big employer until the mill was closed in 2009.

Following the discovery of North Sea oil in the mid 1970s, several oil service companies appeared in Inverurie. Many residents who work in this sector do so on offshore oil installations in the North Sea on a "two week on- two week off - or four week on, or six week on" basis in addition to those who work in the town itself.

In recent years, Inverurie has also seen increasing numbers of Aberdeen commuters going to live there making it "the fastest growing town in Great Britain".


Inverurie natives speak the Aberdeenshire Doric dialect of Scots.

Historically, Pictish is the ancient language of the area, which can be found in many placenames. It appears to have been a Brythonic language. The Book of Deer originates from a few miles to the north-east.


The oldest church in Inverurie is St Andrew's Parish Church, part of The Church of Scotland. It was founded in the 9th century by the Culdee monks on the left bank of the River Don at its junction with the Polnar Burn on the lands of Baddifurrow now known as the estate of Manar. It was known as the “Kirk of Rocharl”.

Soon after the erection of the “Kirk of Rocharl”, two dependent chapels were built – one at Montkegy (now the parish of Keithhall, the other at “The Bass” on the banks of the River Ury. A fort stood on this mound and this latter chapel was probably built to accommodate the settlers within and around the stronghold on the banks of the River Ury. A manse was built there and the kirkyard also grew around it. This graveyard is now known locally as “The Bass” or “The Old Cemetery”.

During the reign of Malcolm Canmore (1057) and his Queen, Margaret, Inverurie was created one of the new Saxon parishes with its dependent chapel at Montkegy placed under the care of Lindores Abbey in Fife.

This change from Culdean Christianity in Scotland was displaced by the Roman system, and probably occasioned the building of a new church at Polnar, and the placing of the parish under the protection of a saint. The name “Kirk of Rocharl” disappears after 1198 and “The Chapel of Apollinaris” takes its place. This is the only such dedication in Scotland, though it is popular on the Continent.

In the 14th century, (during the reign of King Robert the Bruce) the Chapel at Polnar lost its importance and was doomed to fall into decay, while the Church at the Bass assumed the name and dignity of the parish church.

This daughter chapel of the “Kirk of Rocharl” (now the parish church) was ultimately to become the real centre of Christ’s faith in the district until 1774, while the church at Monkegy remained dependent on Inverurie until 1631.

The first recorded vicar of the parish was Dominus Ricardus, who was ministering to the parish in 1262.

The first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland met in 1560, and thirteen years later Inverurie received its first minister, the Rev George Paterson who was also “Bishop” of the Garioch. He had supervision of Daviot, Montkegy, Kinkell and Kintore.

The third Church of Scotland minister of Inverurie, (Alexander Mill – a royal “presentee” of King James VI), had the Manse transferred from the Bass to the site of the present Kirk before 1600, by the Sketry Burn.

Four ministers were appointed in turn after Forbes. In 1770 William Davidson was inducted as minister of Inverurie. During his ministry a “mystery church” was built on the present site of the Kirk in 1775, using stones from the old Kirk at “The Bass”. Sixty-six years later it was demolished, for reasons lost with the passage of time.

Davidson’s successor (Robert Lessell – minister, 1800 – 1853) was responsible for the building of the present building on the site, erected to the Glory of God and dedicated as such on 14 August 1842.

Only a year later, in 1843, the first General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland took place in Edinburgh. In 1877 the “Free Kirkers” built their present church on the West High Street, Inverurie.

At the union of the United Free Church and The Church of Scotland in 1929 the “Auld Kirk” of Inverurie was renamed as “The South Parish Church”. In 1953 it adopted the name “St Andrew’s Parish Church”. It remains “The Auld Kirk” of Inverurie. In the 1960s, under the leadership of The Revd Douglas Lister, the Church was re-ordered: the Communion Table was restored to its prominent place in the centre of the chancel, a new pulpit was commissioned and placed at the north side of the chancel and the lectern at the south side. A central aisle was created.

The Priory of St Margaret of Scotland - Order of St John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitaller) hold their Patronal Festival at The Auld Kirk of Inverurie since the present minister there is Prelate of the Order. Plans are underway for a renovation of the Church and the replacement of the Peter Conacher Organ. (In November 2008 the new Organist and Director of Music was appointed in the person of Mr Brian P Smith, BA, BPhil, FRSA, MCIM. Mr Smith comes with a wealth of experience having been an Organist and Choirmaster in Dover during his school days; Organist and Choirmaster of the Anglican Chaplaincy, University of Leeds; Organist and Choirmaster St Andrew’s Church Dover; Organist and Schola Master at the Venerable English College Rome; Director of Music St Mary’s Church Bromley; Organist St Chad’s, Haggerston, London. In addition Mr Smith was accompanist for Ealing Abbey Choral Society; Chorus Master International Voices (A professional opera chorus); a member of Chelsea Opera Group and latterly Chorus Secretary, and organised concerts in the town.)

Formally known as the Inverurie Parish Church, a split in Church of Scotland over the appointment of ministers in 1843 (The Disruption) led to the creation of the West Parish Church (known locally as "The West Kirk") which was founded as a Free Church (a church free from Edinburgh control) thus causing the Inverurie Parish Church to change its name.

In the mid 20th Century, the West Church elected to return to the Church of Scotland, however, the two churches stayed separate due to the burgeoning growth in the town.

The West Kirk is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment and are currently worshipping in the nearby Inverurie Academy whilst St Andrew's Church, which sits on the High Street, continues to hold services in its buildings every Sunday at 10.00am

St Andrew's Parish Church is still seen as the "Town Church" and the colours of the local youth organisations and Royal British Legion proudly hang inside.

Other Churches and places of worship in Inverurie include St Mary's Church (Scottish Episcopal), The Roman Catholic Church, The Baptist Church, The Gospel Hall and the Salvation Army Meeting Hall.


Inverurie Loco Works FC, playing their matches at Harlaw Park, are the local Highland League football team and Aberdeen FC is the nearest Scottish Premier League team. Rugby Union is played by the Garioch Rugby Football Club.

Inverurie is also a member of the Aberdeenshire Cricket Association.

Former World squash Number One Peter Nicol, was born in Inverurie.

Colony Park Football Club are the town's juvenile team, and the largest juvenile club in Scotland with over 400 members having being founded by Dod Reid, MBE, in 1978 and three other parents who helped Dod get the club together.

Middlesbrough FC midfielder Barry Robson was born in Inverurie.


There are four primary schools, one secondary school:

  • Inverurie Market Place School [2]
  • Kellands School [3]
  • Port Elphinstone School [4]
  • Strathburn School [5]
  • Inverurie Academy [6]