The English Establishment was seriously unsettled by the Gordon Riots of 1780 and suspected that the French could have been behind them to destabilize Britain at a time when it was engaged in hostilities with them, Spain and the American Colonies and the army was seriously stretched as a result. The French Revolution of 1789 made them even more agitated since they suspected that revolutionary zeal would be exported to Britain, and “Madame la Guillotine” would be set up in Whitehall. Conscious that the Scots still had a feel for the “Auld Alliance” with France, the government was anxious to keep us sweet, especially the Catholics not entirely cured of Jacobitism, and so gave financial subsidies to the Scottish Bishops to support Aquhorties, the new seminary near Inverurie (pictured above). It had become, in 1799, the successor to Scalan which the same authorities, in the previous eighty years, had used its troops to attack several times.
The students from Scalan must have thought they had died and gone to Heaven when they turned the corner and saw this impressive pile!