Laurencekirk (/ˌlɒrənsˈkɜːrk/, Scots: Lowrenkirk,[1] Scottish Gaelic: Coinmheadh) is a small town in the historic county of Kincardineshire, Scotland, just off the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen main road, which bypassed it in 1985. It is administered as part of Aberdeenshire. It is the largest settlement in the Howe o' the Mearns area and houses the local secondary school; Mearns Academy, which was awarded the Charter Mark in 2003.

Location within Aberdeenshire
Population2,920 (2012)
OS grid referenceNO7171
 Edinburgh67 mi (108 km)
 London380 mi (612 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtAB30
Dialling code01561
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament

Its old name was Conveth, an anglification of the Gaelic Coinmheadh, referring to an obligation to provide free food and board to passing troops. Laurencekirk is in the valley between the Hill of Garvock and the Cairn O' Mount. The famous landmark of the Johnston Tower can be seen on the peak of the Garvock.

Laurencekirk was, in the past, known for making snuff boxes with a special type of airtight hinge (known as a "Laurencekirk hinge") invented by James Sandy.

Laurencekirk Golf Club (now defunct) first appeared in the early 1900s. The club closed at the time of WW2. [2]

Lewis Grassic Gibbon wrote much about The Mearns and the surrounding area in his book Sunset Song. A tribute centre can be visited at Arbuthnott a few miles from Laurencekirk.

Fred Urquhart worked on the land at Laurencekirk in the Second World War, and his short stories make use of his observations of rural life here.[3]


The Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line passes through the town. The station, which closed to passengers in 1967, was re-opened on 17 May 2009. The opening of this station has affirmed Laurencekirk's status as a commuter town providing links to Aberdeen, Dundee and beyond.

Laurencekirk has three public houses; the Crown, The Royal and the Western.

Laurencekirk Primary school was built in 1999 and Mearns Academy, the senior school, opened in a new building n August 2014. The Community Centre, Library and Police Station are housed within the Mearns Campus. There are two public parks, both with children's play areas, and in addition the memorial park houses a bowling green and a skate-board facility.

There are two churches, a Church of Scotland and St Laurence's Church, an Episcopalian Church which is part of the Diocese of Brechin. The Episcopalians had been driven from the parish kirk in 1693 the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and built a new meeting house at Rdmyre, which was destroyed in 1746. The Episcopalians built a chapel dedicated to St Laurence in Laurencekirk 1791 which took in the congregations of Redmyre and Luthermuir. The current St Laurence' was opened in 1873 and now also serves the congregations of Drumtochty, Fasque and Drumlithie.[4] its archives are held at the University of Dundee as part of the Brechin Diocese's Archives.[4]

Representations are being made for a grade separated junction (flyover) at the south end of the A90 Laurencekirk bypass and a petition has been presented to Parliament in Edinburgh.

Local landmarks

Johnston Tower was built to commemorate the Duke of Wellington's victory over Napoleon in the Peninsular War.[5] It is situated on the Garvock Hill alongside a wind farm. The neighbouring residence, Johnston Lodge, was built in 1780 by James Farquhar, MP for Aberdeen Burghs and later for Portalington.[6] The house was later owned by Lord Gardenstone.

Local radio

Alongside the commercial enterprise of the local newspaper, The Observer The Kincardineshire Observer[7] (often referred to as The Squeeker) which was first published in 1902, Laurencekirk has a Local Community Radio Station in Mearns FM.[8] Broadcasting from nearby Stonehaven in the Townhall, Mearns FM helps to keep Laurencekirk up to date with local and charity events, as well as playing a wee bit of music. Staffed completely by volunteers, Mearns FM is run as a not for profit organisation, broadcasting under a Community Radio licence, with a remit to provide local focus news events and programming. Jointly funded by local adverts and local and national grants. Mearns FM has one of the largest listening areas of any Community Radio Station owing to the Mearns' distributed population, Mearns FM was set up to try to bring these distant communities together.[9]

Notable residents


  1. The Online Scots Dictionary
  2. “Laurencekirk Golf Club”, “Golf’s Missing Links”.
  3. "The Fred Urquhart Collection Series". Kennedy and Boyd. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  4. "BrMS 13 Records of St Laurence's Church, Laurencekirk". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  5. "Johnston Lodge". Primelocation.
  6. "FARQUHAR, James (1764-1833), of Johnston Lodge, Laurencekirk; Hallgreen, Inverbervie, Kincardine and 13 Duke Street, Westminster, Mdx". History of Parliament.
  9. Mearns FM launch release
  10. Monuments and monumental inscriptions in Scotland: The Caledonian Society of Scotland
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