ST PETERS CHURCH,
On 7th August 1857, the Banffshire Journal carried the
following notice" Opening of New Catholic Cathedral" "The new Catholic
Cathedral at Buckie was opened by the Rt Rev Bishop Kyle assisted by Rev Wm Clapperton who
was the first missionary therein"
Such was the plain statement of the opening of
the Church. After the Reformation, when the practise of the Catholic Religion was
forbidden, there were many Catholics in the Enzie area, and the Statistical records of
1834 show that there were around 400 at that time in Buckie alone.
For many years, these Buckie Catholics had been active members of
Preshome Parish, but as Buckie was now growing as a centre, the case for its own Church
In 1832, some three years after the passing of the Act of Catholic
Emancipation, the Trades Hall, located in what is now Cluny Square, was leased and was
opened as a Chapel on Trinity Sunday.
Thus was the beginning of the Congregation which was to develop into
the present St.Peters.
In January 1850, Bishop Kyle negotiated with Sir William Gordon, Baronet of Letterfourie, (who together with
his brother, are buried in the church) for ground to build a new Church. This was agreed
and sufficient ground was marked off to accommodate a Church with an adjacent House for
the Priest, and for a School.
Following a design conceived by Bishop Kyle and the young Architect,
Alexander Ellis, (who subsequently designed St.Marys Cathedral in Aberdeen) the
foundations were laid in 1851 and completed in 1857, with Father Clapperton as Parish
The new Church showed how the times had changed. It was no longer
necessary to conceal such a building, and the resulting fine Gothic Church with its
prominent west front (said to be a reduced version of that of Elgin Cathedral) with its
twin towers and spires, has become one of the Landmarks of the area.
The grandeur of the exterior of St.Peters is matched by the richness of the interior,
which has been enhanced in later years.
The interior is unusually light, with clerestory windows along the length of the nave,
and a large Gothic window in the west front above the choir
Although his Church was a "handsome edifice", Father Clapperton nevertheless
made many improvements. In 1865 he opened the School, and in time for Christmas 1867, a
new Organ was installed.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Parish, the Congregation presented Fr
Clapperton with £200, which he spent in creating the two marble side altars. This was the
beginnings of the interior marble work, now such a feature of the present St Peters.
Fr McIntosh became Parish Priest in 1890, and began to plan and raise funds, to
embelish and enlarge the Church.
The work duly started in 1906, and included an extension to the
Chancel, a new High Altar, Baptistry, and an additional Arch, which was formed in what was
formerly the east gable wall. Marble from many different sources was used. The altar rail
has bands of Bleu Beige, Irish green and Skyros marble on top, St. Sylvester and white
The beautiful High Altar is predominately Pavenezzo, green Swiss, and
Langeudoc marbles, with the ornamental parts of it, and the Reredos in Caen stone.
The Altar and Reredos were designed by CharlesMenart, (the Architect
responsible for the dome of St Thomas Keith) and form a fitting focal! point at the end of
During this work, the striking thirteen foot diameter rose window was
transferred intact from the old gable to the new.
In 1910, a new pulpit was constructed, incorporating a handsomly carved timber canopy,
thus complementing the decorative frames of the Stations of The Cross, which
are a Feature of the side aisles.
A few years later this elegant interior was completed and enriched by the application
of marble facings to the lower sections of the wails of the side aisles.
During 1957, the centenary year, a set of distinctive new wrought iron gates were
installed to replace those which had been removed during the Second World War.
With this in mind, a Restoration Committee has been formed, whose fund raising,
together with grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, from Historic Scotland, and
from the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust, will gather the £600,000,
necessary to carry out this work, and so ensure that St.Peter s Church will remain a
prestigious building for many centuries to come.
Following Vatican 11, in order to accommodate the new Liturgy, the altar and reredos
were most skulfully separated, with the altar being brought forward to the position it now
In 1990 it was decided that the Church badly needed redecoration, having been last
done in 1947 . The cost of professional redecoration
was however, extremely high, and the work was eventually carried out by a group of the
parishioners during late 1990-early 199!.
It was during this work, that the two massive paintings, one on each side of the
Sanctuary, and depicting Biblical scenes, were uncovered.
It is thought that they date from the 19th century and have now been
beautifully restored by the skilful work of Sister Bernadette Crooke from London.
It is understood that in the forties they were seen to be in very poor condition and
had been painted over.
Despite maintenance over the years, it has now been found that major repairs to the
flaking sandstone walls, the supporting buttresses, the roof and leadwork, are now
Times of Mass
Saturday Vigil 6.30 pm
Resident Priest Rev.E.P.Traynor
St.Ninians Tynet is served from St.Peters
Sunday Mass 8.30 am
St Gregorys Preshome is served from St.Peters Mass
Times as announced.