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07572 582198

Following the path of the city’s oldest recorded street, “Vicus Fraxini” “The Way of the Ash Tree”. 

including the history of the Guestrow, now obliterated by 21st century development, Marischal Square

Beginning at one of Aberdeen's historic public houses, we follow the story of Aberdeen's oldest street, Netherkirkgate, aka "The Way of the Ash Tree".  St Nicholas Lane didn't exist until the development of Union Street in 1801, the site was occupied by the medieval almshouse of St Thomas.  The latter was taken over by the Burgesses & Trade guilds after the Reformation in 1560, eventually closing in 1771.  St Nicholas Kirk itself has proved to be of ancient origin, with recent archaeology taking it back to the mid-11th century when Malcolm Canmore, Macbeth's rival, was King of Scots.  Included in this tour:

  • The Wallace Tower and its association with John "Spanish" Phillip, Aberdonian artist and member of the Royal Academy
  • Guestrow's many inhabitants - Provost George Skene of Rubislaw, Matthew Lumsden, Covenanter, Archie Simpson, architect
  • The comical tale of the Russel Head, the intriguing gargoyle on the corner of Provost Skene's today
  • The mystery of the forgotten sepulcure in Quakers' Court
  • The lost courts & wynds of Broadgate
  • Marischal College and its development from Franciscan monastery to university

Marischal Square might not be everybody's cup of tea, but this tour illustrates the history and culture of the Guestrow, once an illustrious residential and commercial centre, but latterly the slum known as The Gush.  Bringing the ghosts of the Ghaistraw alive! 

Starts: Outside the Prince of Wales Pub, St Nicholas Lane
Ends: Marischal College, Broad Street
Terrain: pavements


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Hidden Aberdeen Tours (founded 2011) is wholly owned by Dr Fiona-Jane Brown as a sole-trading operation which occasionally works with contractors.

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