Calls to protect Ellon’s Annand Aisle

Councillor Rob Merson, Mitchell Annand and Alan Cameron at the Annand Aisle
Councillor Rob Merson, Mitchell Annand and Alan Cameron at the Annand Aisle

Moves to protect a deteriorating ancient memorial in Ellon are one step closer after a local councillor has suggested that the site should be considered for preservation.

Requests to extend a 3D scanning and preservation project could possibly include the ancient ‘Annand Aisle’ in Ellon Parish Church Kirkyard.

Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson had already contacted council officers calling for options to be explored to secure EU funding to include other historic archeological artefacts in a project for the 3D recording of Pictish Stones.

After an illustrated talk from Ellon and District Historical Society Chairman, Alan Cameron, Councillor Merson has now requested that the Annand Aisle should be included in any project of that kind.

Requests were previously put forward from Councillor Merson that the 3D scanning project should be expanded to protect other deteriorating treasures including the Kennedy headstone at Slains Kirkyard and the headstones of Robert Burns’ ancestors at Dunottar Kirkyard.

Councillor Merson said he sensed significant enthusiasm for his suggestion that the project might be extended.

Mr Merson said: “I was very pleased to hear that this suggestion will be explored further, and have also asked that the memorial be included in the proposed cross-Service list of historic structures for which the council ought to assume responsibility.”

Mr Cameron said: “The Annand Memorial, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is the last remaining vestige of an aisle of the mediaeval church which previously stood on the site of Ellon Parish Church. It was an annexe of Deer Abbey, and is believed to have been an important centre of religious teaching and study in Ellon at that time.

“The inscriptions on the memorial were quite legible when I first came to Ellon in the 1980s, but have unfortunately deteriorated significantly since then. I would very much hope that a detailed 3D record might be taken of the memorial, but would hope that consideration might also be given to protecting the inscription from further deterioration, perhaps by placing a clear Perspex panel with a replica of the original inscription in front of it.”

Ellon Academy former pupil, Mitchell Annand, added: “Given the family connection, I was fascinated to learn from Mr Cameron that the memorial commemorates a marriage between the Annands of Auchterellon and the Frasers of Philorth, both of whom were very influential families in the North-east at that time.

“I would certainly welcome the preservation of this important relic of local history for the benefit of future generations.”