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Visiting Crimond Parish Church, Scotland: remembering the famous Psalm 23 tune

Updated on September 10, 2015
Flag of Scotland
Flag of Scotland | Source
Crimond | Source
Map location of Buchan, Aberdeenshire
Map location of Buchan, Aberdeenshire | Source

Features a 61-minute clock

The tune 'Crimond' is one which is known worldwide, especially as sung to Psalm 23: 'The Lord's my Shepherd'. This tune is named for Crimond, a village in Buchan, in Scotland's Aberdeenshire.

Background to the tune 'Crimond'

Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836-1887) was the organist daughter of the Church of Scotland minister at Crimond Parish Church, who also ministered at Dunottar.

It is thought that the famous tune for Psalm 23 emerged during Jessie Seymour Irvine's organ classes.

Interestingly, its authorship was formerly subject to misconception; for a number of years it was attributed to David Grant (1). But Jessie Seymour Irvine is now universally accepted as the tune's originator.

On her death in 1887, Jessie Seymour Irvine was buried at the Cathedral Church of St Machar, Aberdeen.

Some history of Crimond parish church

The parish church building at Crimond is thought to date in part from pre-Reformation times, from the early 15th century. As did many Scottish church buildings in the 16th century, it became Presbyterian: a tradition which lays great emphasis on psalmody.

A stone dated 1617 has survived in the gateway to the church's burial ground.

A 61-minute clock

The church clock is noted for having 61 minutes on its face. Between 'XI' and 'XII', six minute markers may be clearly discerned.


(1) David Grant did have some connection to the tune 'Crimond' in that he wrote an arrangement of it. This version appeared in the Northern Psalter , 1872.

However, in the Scottish Psalter , 1929, it was made clear that the actual composer was by Jessie Seymour Irvine.

Also worth seeing

Fraserburgh (distance: 13 kilometres); the Kinnard Head Old Lighthouse, dating from 1787, houses the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

Peterhead (distance: approx. 12 kilometres); this thriving fishing port hosts the Arbuthnot Museum.

Slains Castle , Cruden Bay (distance: 27 kilometres) is reputed to be associated with Bram Stoker, author of Dracula .

Aberdeen (distance: 58 kilometres); notable buildings include King's and Marischal Colleges, Provost Skene's House, and the New Town House.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports, where car rental is available. There are air and rail services which connect Glasgow and Edinburgh with Aberdeen; car rental is also available at Aberdeen Airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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