Court was created in
as part of the early19th century development of
was developed after
when a Town Council meeting asked the Aberdeenshire County Road Trustees
to find a way to connect the original steep, muddled Medieval streets of
Aberdeen to the surrounding countryside. His plan was for 2 streets, one
of which would run from Castlegate to the Denburn and the other which would run
from the Castlegate to the North of the town. The former became
This was a particularly difficult project to complete as the Street had to cut
through 15 feet of
St Katherine's Hill
at the East end and be built on a series of arches culminating with a large
bridge at the
The site of St Catherine's Chapel, founded in 1242,on the summit
of St Catherine's Hill. The chapel had gone by 1661, although it
is said to have survived the Reformation, and the greater part of the
hill was removed in the early 19th century. Allegations of an associated
Franciscan Nunnery are unsupported by record evidence (Easson 1957). The chapel
has been sited to the summit of the hill as shown on pre-19th century plans. J
Gordon 1661; G Taylor 1773; A Milne 1789; W Kennedy 1818; Name Book 1866; D E
Court is named after the Adelphi in London, located off The Strand.
The London Adelphi was laid out by the brothers John and Robert Adam
and the name commemorates this relationship: Adelphi is Greek for ‘brothers’.
The street was laid out on the crest of St Katherine’s Hill in the early
19th century. Other Aberdeen streets named after London streets are:
Whitehall; Spring Garden and Mile End.
Adelphi Close linking Union Street with Market Street
via the Adelphi Development on St Katherine's Hill.
Adelphi Billiard Rooms, 7 Adelphi Court
George Mearns, China Merchant, Adelphi Court,
26, Union Street
Adelphi Hotel, 10 Adelphi ; Prop N Moncur
The 1947 Stoneywood Mill Employee Handbook, was printed by Messrs. George Robb (Adelphi) Ltd.
This is a good example of a early 19th century townhouse with the traditional
external finish of painted harl and granite margins. With its fine corner arched
entrance, the house makes a positive contribution to the narrow street of
Early 19th century. 2-storey attic and
basement L-plan townhouse with abutting 2-bay house to North (converted to
flats) and with arched entrance doorway in re-entrant angle to South. Cream
painted harl with grey granite margins. Band course above basement. Cill course.
Piended dormers. Granite steps with curved iron railings with spiral ends lead
to 6-panel timber entrance door with narrow timber jambs and tall side lights.
Large multi-paned semi-circular fanlight above. Round-arched window with
Y-tracery glazing at attic gable to West.
Large late 20th century extension to East containing flats.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Some cast iron
St Catherine's Chapel
little is known for certain about this chapel. It was situated upon St
Catherine's Hill; although whether the hill derived its name from the Chapel
or vice versa is not
known. It has been said that the Chapel was founded by the Constable of
Aberdeen in the 13th century. Of this Fenton Wyness wrote, in 1971 `in 1242,
John Kennedy, the
Constable, established a Convent in the Shiprow. This was dedicated to
St. Catherine of Sienna and finally gave its name to the hill on which it
stood - St. Catherine's Hill, now covered by the buildings in Adelphi.
The Convent was ruled by the Grey Sisters of the Order of St.
Catherine but how long they remained in Aberdeen is a matter of speculation'
(Wyness, City by the Grey North Sea,
1971, p.5). He goes on to suggest that the Chapel was that of the Convent.
St Catherine of Sienna lived between 1347 and 1380. It is more
likely that the dedication was to St Catherine of Alexandria, a late
Roman period saint. Indeed in 1360 Thomas de Chalmer of Findon founded
the altar of St Katherine the Virgin in St Nicholas Church (Cooper, Chartulary
of St Nicholas, II 1892, p.16) This was to the saint now known as St
Catherine of Alexandria, which can be seen in that both have the same day,
25th November. The cult of St Catherine of Alexandria is most connected with
Rouen where a Monastery was dedicated in her honour in 1030. It is not
beyond the bounds of possibility to think that the Normans brought this cult to
There is no real evidence to back any of this up. Firstly there was never
was a Nunnery in Aberdeen. However the other elements of the story that
the Chapel was founded in the 13th century and by a Constable of Aberdeen may
have some legitimacy. Parson Gordon wrote in 1661 that St Catherine's
Hill `took its name long since from a chappell which
stood upon the top of it, which was dedicated to St Katherine, builded by the
then Constable of Aberdeen, anno 1242. The founder's name is forgotten,
and the Chappell itself long agoe rased to the grund' (Parson Gordon,
Description, 1842, p.16) Indeed this also seems to have been the tradition
amongst the Chaplains of the Chapel. In 1542 it was noted that the
`chapell was foundit and biggytt iijc syne be the
constabill of Abirdene for the tyme, for decoratioune in honour of Sanct
Katheryne' (Stuart, Extracts from the Burgh Register Volume I, 1848,
p.181). There would seem to be no reason to doubt that the Chaplains knew of
their own founder or had an approximate (or indeed certain) date for its
founding. However, it may well be the case that the Chaplain was simply
repeating a belief rather than a fact.
The only other information which pertains to the Chapel relates to a dispute in
1542. The Chapel was reached by way of a `vennel' or passage way
leading from Shiprow up the side of St
Catherine's Hill and located between the properties of John Chalmer
on the North and Thomas Scherar on the South. The problem arose as
Chalmer (coincidentally the same surname as the family who founded and
maintained a close link with the altar of St Catherine in St Nicholas church)
had built onto the vennel, effectively blocking off access. On 7 March
1542 the council ordered him to stop building on the passageway (Stuart,
Extracts from the Burgh Records Volume I, 1848, pp 176-7).
was not enough for Chalmer: an entry engrossed in the Council register
dated 5 June 1542 shows that Sir John Cumming, Chaplain of the
Chapel had complained to the King. Cumming presented the reply
letters to the council. The reply ordered the council to sort the issue out:
they resolved that the chaplains had previously been in possession of the
vennel and that Chalmer's actions were not lawful (Stuart, Extracts
from the Burgh Records Volume I, 1848, pp 181-3). On 24 March 1544
letters from Mary Queen of Scots ordered Chalmer's arrest by the
Council, as he was apparently `in a rage of wodnes, and
dailie molestand and peturband this toune.'. He was to be held in
irons in a suitable house (curiously not the Tolbooth). The suggestion
seems to be that Chalmer had some mental problems, the Council registers
entry continues that he was to be kept `in irns quhile he returne to his wit'
(Stuart, Extracts from the Burgh Records Volume I, 1848, pp 280-1). This seems
to suggest a periodic attack of a problem on Chalmer's part, perhaps at a
2 year interval. Moreover one of the Council, Gilbert Collinson
felt so moved as to have it put in writing that he felt that Chalmer
should not be arrested and kept in irons. On 6 November 1555 Chalmer was
found guilty of wrongly claiming that Bailie David Mar had stolen £100
from him (Stuart, Extracts from the Burgh Records Volume I, 1848, p.292).
Chalmer was clearly suffering from some mental impairment, an issue
recognised in the Council's dealing with him. Moreover, clearly Collinson
was sympathetic to Chalmer's plight.
On 1 July 1558 Mr John Reid, the next Chaplain of the Chapel again
raised the issue of the vennel. He again proved that it was in the
possession of the Chapel and that it should be 5 foot wide so that 2 men
might easily pass each other and that a horse with a load might have access. The
case ended with the Provost and Baillies issuing a warning to Chalmer to
keep the passage clear. This seems to suggest that he had again been blocking
the route (Stuart, Extracts from the Burgh Records Volume I, 1848, pp 309-310).
This is the last that is heard about the Chapel: it seems fair to conclude that
it probably went out of use at the time of the Reformation. Certainly,
Parson Gordon's quote, above, shows that the Chapel had been demolished some
time before 1661.