By John Ritchie, for many years Manager of Tom’s Forest Quarry, Kintore.
In taking a retrospective view of the Granite Industry, I may say in commencement that the writer has had over 30 years practical experience in all its branches both at home and abroad. There is an old saying, "Though you lead a donkey round the World, he will be a Donkey when he comes back." Still it may be of interest to review the various phases which have taken place, and the altered conditions and facilities of working granite during those years.
But I anticipate. The chapel is prettily situated close to one of the entrances to Kemnay House, a little way beyond the farm of Milton of Kemnay (Mr H. D. McCombie), close to the Kemnay and Alford Road, and amidst a clump of trees, whilst nearby is the cottar's house tenanted by William Emslie, the beadle. Passing along the road you would never suspect the building to be a place of worship. It is a plain old dwelling with chimneys at both ends. Originally it was erected by dissenters in the district, who gave it the form of a dwelling house, so that in the event of its ceasing to be used as a church it might readily be adapted for ordinary residence. In the fullness of time it reverted to the proprietor, I understand and it has since served as Mr Burnett's chapel.
Every community has its share of legends handed down from the past. Over the years some of the facts may get lost or sometimes the story may get embellished, occasionally two or more tales may get joined together. In Kemnay there was a story of an effigy of a Burnett laird being burnt but of the rest of the tale, no one seemed to remember much about it.
Being the oldest timber merchant in these parts, I have been asked to collect a few memories of lumbering upon Deeside, and to set them down in writing. It is well to understand that I claim no experience whatsoever in composition beyond the dictating of very brief business missives.
Several elements require to be present if oral history is going to be interesting and successful. Among these it is necessary to have a good rapport with the interviewee, a common interest and knowledge in the subject under discussion and the ability to 'draw' or extract information simply without seeming to pry.
Objective: To try and trace the changes and developments occurring over the years of that area of ground at Parkhill/Kirkstyle, Kemnay, which for almost two centuries has been the site of a joinery business with a croft.
The history of Kemnay and its people.