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Maryculter House Sweet Chestnut

You never know what you might find in a car park..

10 July 2009

Our volunteer speaker Alan Hunton had plenty to talk about recently when he found an incredible ancient sweet chestnut in the grounds of the Maryculter House Hotel on a recent business trip to Aberdeen.

This magnificent tree stands in the grounds of the hotel which is unique among Scottish Country House Hotels as it is founded on the site where the Knights Templar once trained, in around 1227AD. Dating back to the 12th Century, clearly documented through King John, Bonnie Price Charlie and even the Titanic Disaster, this was at one time the homeland of the Knights Templar, who gave pilgrims protected passage on their way to the Holy Land.

The Knights Templar were founded in 1119 to protect Pilgrims making their way to and from the Holy Land. The popularity of the Templars spread rapidly throughout Christendom and by the 13th Century, under lavish patronage by the Crown and the nobility, they had risen to a position of wealth and power throughout Europe. Having been introduced to Scotland by David I (1124-1153), they were granted lands in the parish of Culter by his grandson William the Lion (1165-1214) in 1187. However they already had a presence in Aberdeen, a chapel on the north side of the Castlegate (roughly where St Peter’s Chapel is now).

Exactly how far this tree dates back is difficult to say but one thing is for certain it must have seen a lot of history. It took Alan a lot of hugs and it is clearly on an ancient site.

Maryculter House Sweet Chestnut: Photo Alan Hunton