Further letter received:
It is heartening that others like yourself are interested in this challenge to preserve the gravestones and indeed the ruin of Kirk of St John itself.
I think we have some way to go in sorting this out although, as I said, there is concern that the adjacent wall of the church is in such a state of collapse that time may be of the essence.
I have been contacted by Ian Cruickshank, 12th Baron of Troup but I have yet to speak to him but hope to do so very soon by telephone.
The other candidate might be the current Laird of Gamrie, Marc Ellington of Towie Barclay Castle. However, despite being our landowner, he seems quite resistant to responding to any issues pertaining to the village.
It is clear from the image I took of the gravestones that the date of death of 1699 recorded in the Garden Family Genealogy of Major Alexander Garden of Troup - the first laird - is incorrect for it reads either 1682 or 1689. I will check again on this when I next visit.
I append below an extract from the History of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick the lands of which were owned for some time by the Garden Family, before being sold off due to financial difficulties.
Denmark is mentioned and also some details of the military life in Sweden of Major Alexander Garden of Troup, the First Laird.
History of the Parish of Banchory-Devenick
"The estate then passed into the hands of the Garden family, during whose proprietorship the two portions of Banchory merged into one. Under charter, dated in 1555, granted by Sir George Meldrum of Fyvie, with consent of William Meldrum of Hatton, his son, George Garden, then designed as proprietor of Dorlaithers, acquired the estate. At the same time, Garden obtained a charter of the lands of Hatton and Auchterless in warrandice of the lands of Banchory. The Gardens were a very ancient and highly respected family, and this George, who was frequently called of that Ilk,# married Isobell Keyth, daughter to the laird of Troup, “wha wes lawful! sone to the Erll Mershall.” He was a burgess of Aberdeen, but on 18th September, 1562, he, along with twelve others, “tint the freedom” through remaining “not actually within the Burgh.” In 1589 he was one of the gentlemen sent by James I. to Denmark in connection with the marriage treaty of the Princess Anne. He left a son and a daughter.
Arthur, the son, succeeded his father George in 1590 as owner of the lands of Banchory Devenick and Kirktown of Banchory. These were then passed down to his son Alexander Garden when subsequently in 1623, due to financial difficulties, they were disponed in favour of Forbes of Monymusk.
Alexander Garden was married to Janet Straquhan, by whom he had two sons, both of whom went abroad. One of these, Alexander, who had entered the army, in which he held the rank of Major, proceeded with the troops sent by Charles I. to assist Gustavus Adolphus, and was present at the battle of Lutzen, in 1632, when the gallant king lost his life. Major Garden remained many years at the Swedish Court, where he attained to great distinction. On the abdication, however, of Queen Christina, in 1654, he returned to Scotland, and purchased the estate of Troup, from Troup of that Ilk. He married Betty, daughter of Alexander Strachan, of Glenkindy, and had issue—Alexander Garden, of Troup, who married Bathia, daughter of Sir Alexander Forbes, of Craigievar, and whose grandson, Peter Garden of Delgaty, heir to his brother Francis, Lord Gardenstone of the Court of Session, married the heiress of Campbell of Glenlyon, and thereafter assumed the additional name and arms of that family."