This Sunday the Welsh chief of a Scottish clan, who was brought up in England, will don his kilt for a divine service in a little church be bought for a fiver.
The still of the summer Sabbath will be broken by the sound of voices singing, some of them Welsh, The setting, though is not a valley in Wales but the verdant Vale of Ythan in rural Aberdeenshire.
In holding next Sunday´s service, the Chief of Clan Buchan is keeping the word he gave to the Church of Scotland when he took over the old kirk of Logie Buchan after its congregation merged with that of nearby Ellon in the mid-Seventies.
Captain David Buchan promised that he would keep it wind and watertight, maintain it as a church and make it available to former parishioners or to anyone wanting to use it for a legitimate purpose. Since then, funerals, baptisms and weddings have been held as well as the service organized annually by Capt. Buchan himself.
The tall, distinguished-looking Laird of Auchmacoy, Chief of Clan Buchan and ex-Gordon Highlander officer, was born in Wales, educated at Eton and brought up in England. But by descent, he is more Scottish than many Scots. He is descended on his mother´s side from the old line of Buchan which can be traced back to the 14th century.
For as long as that , and probably longer, there have been Buchans in Aberdeenshire. In fact, the graves of many of Capt. Buchan´s ancestors lie under the floor of the church where next Sunday´s service takes place.
"I bought the church for sentimental reasons," he explained. "Around here, disused churches tend to get used as stores for things like oil or used byres. I´m blowed if I was going to have oil pipes lying on top of my ancestors or cows trampling all over them."
He was only 17 when his maternal grandfather, Norman Buchan, 18th Earl of Caithness, died, leaving him the estate of Auchmacoy and the chieftaincy of Clan Buchan which goes with it. "I had no idea that this was his intention," said Capt. Buchan. "I had not even left school. My National Service was coming up and I was considering joining the Welsh Guards which my father had joined during the First World War."
But his grandfather clearly had other plans. After he died in 1947, the old man left a life-interest in Auchmacoy House to his eldest daughter and the estate to his grandson, David Trevor, as he then was. The conditions were that the lad should change his name to Buchan and that he would become a regular soldier in the Gordon Highlanders.
It was ´dictation from the grave´ but it was to prove providential-both for Auchmacoy and the Clan Buchan. The estate has almost doubled in size and Clan Buchan has flourished with its own crest and tartan and a clan association with branches throughout the world.
After leaving the army at the age of 25, the young laird found that at Auchmacoy there was really nothing for him to do. The estate was still tenanted and fac- tored and he could even farm on his own account.
So he persuaded a cousin with agricultural qualifica- tions to oversee the estate, insisting that he should manage as much as he could his hands on. As tenants left, the estate took over their farms and also bought up adjoining land. In that way, a good farm was established in six or seven years.
Meanwhile, in London, David Buchan became first a merchant banker, then a stockbroker rising, in 1962, to become the senior partner of a London stockbroking firm. In 1961, he married the Hon Susan Scott-Ellis, daughter of the 9th Baron Howard de Walden.
Now they have a family of five - a daughter and four sons. Capt.Buchan retired from active business in 1972 and the couple spend about eight months of the year in London.
As with the farm, Clan Buchan, too, has flourished and he is very proud of his chieftaincy. The Buchans were originally a sept of the Comyns but whereas there were thousands of Buchans in Aberdeenshire, there were hardly any Comyns.
In the 1960´s, prominent Buchans from Peterhead and Fraserburgh approached their chief with the suggestion that they should have a clan of their own. He agreed, and so did the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
Now the Clan Buchan Association´s annual newsletter reaches 2,500 households worldwide. Capt. Buchan hopes that some of his clansmen will join kinsmen and friends from Aberdeen Welsh Society at worship on Sunday.
The little church is within sight of the gracious mansion of Auchmacoy erected, in 1825, by the Victorian architect William Burn. It was built for the young James Buchan and his wife Helen Duff - and James´s spirit may well be present on Sunday. His ghost is said to walk from the mausoleum in the ground of Auchmacoy, through the fields and across the Ythan to the kirk at Logie Buchan where many of his ancestors are buried.
Article by: Pearl Murray