The two parishes were separated in the 12th century when William the Lion, King of Scots, gave a large grant of the lands of Culter, around 8,500 acres, which were south of the River Dee to the Knights Templar.
The Order of the Knights Templar was created to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The Knights made a distinctive sight in their white cloaks decorated with the scarlet cross of the Order.
In 1225, a Preceptory of Templars was established by Walter Bisset of Aboyne. On the north bank, the lands of Culter were granted by King Alexander II to Robert Wauchope. A Chapel was built by the Templars, south of the River Dee, in 1287 which was dedicated to their patron saint, St Mary, The Blessed Virgin. A chapel had already been dedicated to St. Peter on the north bank of the river- so Culter was now divided into two parts: Peterculter and Maryculter.
The Knights Templar became so wealthy and powerful they were disbanded, in 1312, by the Pope Clement V and King Philip IV of France. In the records of the Templars' trials which took place at the Abbey of Holyrood, Edinburgh in 1319 the name of the last Preceptor of the Templars, Willam de Middleton of the "tempill house of Culther" is noted. The land at Maryculter passed on to the Order of the Knights Hospitallers. They were also known as the Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Their garb was a black cloak with a white cross. They remained until the Reformation when their lands passed to the Crown. However, in 1535, the Knights Hospitallers were able , by an Act of Parliament, able to feu their lands to "men of substance". Kingcausie estate was feued to the Irvine family, Auchlunies passed to the Collisons and Blairs to the Menzies. In 1827 the estate of Blairs was gifted by John Menzies to the Roman Catholic Church to establish a college for boys who wished to become priests. The college continued until 1986 and now houses the Blairs museum.
The Church of St Mary, near Maryculter House, was in use until 1782. The last minister of St Mary's is buried here, John Glennie (1720-1801)
A table shaped stone in memory of the Reverend John Glennie, minister at Dalmaik for 13 years and at Maryculter for 39 years, bears a lengthy inscription in Latin extolling his virtues; it tells that he died in peace "after a life spent in preaching the Gospel, instructing the young and bringing up his children to live well and happily".
A new parish church was built to the south- now the Kirktown of Maryculter . The tourist attraction Storybook Glen is close nearby. The City of Aberdeen Boys' Scout Association acquired part of the estate in 1935. This is now a camping and training ground for the Scouts of the area- Templar's Park.
Little now remains of the Church of St Mary's which the Templars built on the south bank of the Dee in the 13th Century. When the new church was built in 1782, St Mary's fell into disrepair. Until 1890, it was still possible to see the stone effigies of a knight in armour and his lady, beautifully carved in freestone, lying in the ruins of the disused chapel. The knights head rested on helmet and the lady rested upon a stone cushion. At their feet lay a little dog.
These figures are believed to be Gilbert Menzies and his wife Marjory. The Menzies family feued the lands of Blairs from the Knights Hospitallers in 1535. The Menzies were a powerful and influential family in Aberdeen. Gilbert Menzies was the Lord Provost of Aberdeen for 25 years. These figures can now be seen at the West Kirk of St Nicholas, right in the heart of Aberdeen- each laying in a window bay on the south side of the Kirk.