There has been a church serving the remote upland area where Glen Lee and Glen Mark meet to become Glen Esk for nearly 1,500 years. A church was founded by St Drostan in the early 600s on a site a mile to the west of today's church, close to Loch Lee.
This first church was replaced by one or more successors on the same site, the most recent built some time around 1600. Little now remains of this church, though the kirkyard has some interesting gravestones.
In 1803 a replacement church was build where you see it today. Much of the building material was produced by demolishing the outbuildings of nearby Invermark Castle, while many of the slates for the church roof came from the roof of the castle, so dating back to a major renovation it underwent in 1605.
Internally, Lochlee Parish Church is dominated by the fairly dark wood used for the pews, for the large pulpit, and for the gallery the west end of the church. It is not a large church, and the feel of the interior hovers somewhere between "intimate" and "oppressive".
The graveyard is well kept and attractive. Especially poignant is the gravestone near the west door of the church. This marks the grave of William Fraser, the Tarfside village blacksmith who died at the age of 90 on 19 July 1964 and of his wife Jeannie Fraser. It is in the highly unusual form of an anvil.
As one of three churches remaining in Glen Esk, the continuing need for Lochlee Parish Church for its primary function is not great. The upper end of the glen is served by monthly services held in the Maule Memorial Church, at the southern end of Tarfside, and these days only occasional services are held at Lochlee Church.
Despite this, the church is available for a quiet moment of reflection to the steady stream of hikers passing the gates from the nearby car park at the head of Glen Esk en route for Mount Keen or Loch Lee.