The family Leslie of Balquhain received the Fetternear estate from the last pre-reformation bishop of Aberdeen and held it almost continuously thereafter until the early 20th Century. It was Colonel Charles Leslie, the 26th Baron of Balquhain, who had St John’s built once the estate’s catholic population had become too great to be accommodated in the family chapel in Fetternear House. It was built a few years later than the church of the Immaculate Conception that was established in Inverurie by Fr Tochetti in 1852. Colonel Leslie’s son or grandson, Charles Stephen Leslie, established the Fetternear Trust and conveyed the land, church, presbytery, outbuildings and lodge house to the trust in 1915.
William Aloysius Leslie of Balquhain (1641 – 1704) was a Jesuit, ordained in France, who served as professor of philosophy in Perugia, rector of the Scots College in Douai and rector of the Scots College in Rome (twice) before returning home as superior of the Jesuit mission in Scotland. The coat of arms, the IHS symbol on the front of the adjoining residence and the St Ignatius of Loyola window are most likely in honour of his memory.
Stained glass windows:
The window in the west wall of the sanctuary depicting St Angela Medici of Brescia, foundress of the Ursulines, carries the Leslie (and Dalyell) coats of arms, celebrating Elizabeth Leslie and Frances Dalyell who were, respectively, once superioress and a simple nun in the convent in Lille. The Ursuline order allows one to make a link to the window of St Charles Borromeus and, through his acquaintanceship with St Edmund Campion and others, perhaps including St Ignatius Loyola himself, links back to the Society of Jesus.