There has probably been a church in Braemar for more than a thousand years. But the initial wave of Celtic Christianity dating back to the dark ages was swept aside to make way for the Roman Catholic Church in the 1200s, before that in turn was displaced by the Reformation in 1560 and the orgy of destruction that followed it.
By the 1800s Braemar still comprised two fairly distinct villages, one either side of the Clunie Water. The first Braemar Parish Church, the "East Church" was built in 1845. It still stands opposite the Invercauld Hotel, but has been converted to residential use.
Braemar's "West Church" was built by the breakaway Free Church following a schism in the Church of Scotland in 1843. The original wooden building was replaced by a stone church in 1845. In 1870 the stone West Church was in turn dismantled before being reconstructed in Aberarder as a school. On its site was constructed the building that now serves as Braemar Parish Church.
The new church was the inspiration of the Minister of the day, the Rev Hugh Cobban. He sadly died just days before the church was opened and, unusually, is buried within the church, just behind the pulpit.
The split in the Church of Scotland was healed in the years after 1929, and in 1945 the Braemar congregations came together in what became the Parish Church.
Braemar Parish Church can be found behind the Highland Heritage Centre and Tourist Information Centre. Visitors to Braemar will also find two other active churches in village: an Episcopal Church and a Roman Catholic Church.
The design of the church reflects its "back to basic" roots as a Free Church. Internally it has the look and feel of a barn, with its exposed beams and shaped ceiling. In the early years the church was also without an organ, music being against the principles of the Free Church. Today it has a digital organ.
The focus of the church remains the pulpit, while behind it is an apse containing four lancet shaped stained glass windows. These contain medallions illustrating text, lilies, a branch with fruit, and a tree with palms.