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The name Aden (pronounced Aa-den), originally Alden meaning bonnie burn or brae, is first recorded in a New Testament manuscript written by the Celtic Monks of Deer Monastery, known as the Book of Deer.



Robert the Bruce gives the Barony of Alden to Robert Keith I, Great Marischal of Scotland, as a reward for loyal service during the War of Independence and these lands remain in the hand of the Keith’s for almost 400 years



Cromwell’s Act of Grace – Wars of the Three Kingdoms

William Keith, 7th Earl Marischal has his lands sequestrated to the Commonwealth

for opposing the English Parliament since 1648 and he is put into Tower of London

until the Restoration



James Ferguson of Badifurrow purchases Pitfour Estate (of which the Barony of Aden was part of) from the York Buildings Company, who are purchasing estates that have been forfeited and becomes 1st Laird of Pitfour (The Sheriff)



James Ferguson (1st Laird of Pitfour dies, his son James becomes 2nd Laird)

Lord Pitfour



Alexander Russell of Moncoffer (1st Laird), a Banffshire Laird, purchases the estate

from James Ferguson, 2nd Laird of Pitfour. The mansion house is built (possibly on top of the remains of a castle).



Alexander Russell of Moncoffer (1st Laird dies)

The estate goes to his son Alexander Russell (2nd Laird)



Alexander Russell (2nd Laird) marries Margaret Cumine of Kininmonth, bringing

Kininmonth into the family holdings. His tenure as 2nd Laird saw the creation of the

semi-circular steadings in 1800 (now the Farming Museum). John Smith was the architect but the plans had possibly been drawn up with the previous laird.



Alexander Russell (2nd Laird dies). The estate goes to Alexander Russell (3rd Laird)



Alexander Russell (3rd Laird) dies, unmarried and the estate passes to his brother,

James Russell (4th Laird)



James Russell (4th Laird) marries Caroline Lambton. They rebuild the Mansion House

in the early years of their marriage (in the neo-classical style by Aberdeen Architect,

John Smith, again plans were possibly drawn up by a previous laird). They also add the Coach House and Gate Lodges. Caroline also redesigns the grounds and plants many specimen trees. Buchanness Lodge is purchased as a second home for family members.



James Russell (4th Laird) dies and the estate passes to James George Ferguson Russell, his son (5th Laird) who is not the intended heir. Alexander Cumine Russell, the intended heir is killed rescuing a drowning man from HMS Birkenhead in 1852



James George Ferguson Russell (5th Laird), marries Elizabeth Sophia Young, but dies without having children. Aden now passes to his brother, Major General Francis Shirley Russell, a career soldier (6th Laird). He marries Philippa Augusta Maria Baillie, on 1st September, 1888 and has 5 children. In 1895 he becomes Conservative MP for Cheltenham.



Francis Shirley Russell (6th Laird) dies, after disinheriting his eldest son, Alexander Duncan Cumine Russell. He is succeeded by his second son, Drostan Russell

(7th Laird), who dies of Blackwater fever in 1915, whilst serving in Africa.



The estate passes to Drostan’s brother, Sidney Cumine Russell (8th and final Laird).



After the First World War it is a difficult time for farming and three quarters of the estate is sold off



Sidney (8th Laird) marries Meriel Fetherstonhaugh on the 19th April, and their homecoming was marked with a garden party for more than 300 people. This was one of the last great social occasions held at Aden.



Sidney and Meriel sell off the Aden estate, much of Old Deer and the estate’s remaining 52 farms. Home Farm and policies are let to local farmers. The family moves south to Thistlegate, Charnmouth in Dorset at a time which must have been

particularly sad coming soon after the death, from illness, of their eldest son, Cumine. After a successful career as one of the first country librarians, Sidney, the 8th Laird and last Russell of Aden, dies on 18th January, 1965.


The new owners (possibly business men from Manchester and friends of the Russells) use the estate mainly for shooting, and the grounds and buildings

become neglected


1939 – 1945

Second World War

The park is used to billet soldiers. The house was still intact at this time.

The farm buildings are still inhabited


The estate falls into dereliction and disrepair, and the roof is taken off

the mansion house (although this has been disputed)



Aden is purchased by Banff and Buchan District Council



With support from the Countryside Commission for Scotland, the Council set about

reversing the decline in the estate and the mansion house is consolidated. The estate is designated a Country Park.



The renovation of the steading as the Farming Museum is completed.



Hareshowe of Ironside (originally standing near New Deer) is dismantled

and brought to Aden piece by piece, being rebuilt and restored to the 1950’s era.



Aden, often referred to as “the jewel in the Buchan crown” is recognised as one of the country’s best green spaces with a prestigious Green Flag Award. The Award judges recognise and reward the best parks in the country and Aden impressed them with its excellent use of green space, well-maintained facilities and high standard of safety and security.

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