Embark on a Journey Through Time: Unveiling the History of Dufftown

Welcome to a place where the echoes of centuries past reverberate through cobbled streets, where every building stands as a testament to the tales of generations. This is Dufftown, a charming jewel nestled in the heart of Speyside, and our website is your portal to the rich tapestry of its history.

As you step into the digital corridors of Dufftown’s past, prepare to be transported through time. From its humble beginnings to the vibrant community it is today, Dufftown’s history is an intricate mosaic of triumphs, challenges, and the resilient spirit that defines this Scottish town.

In these pages, we invite you to delve into the annals of Dufftown’s evolution. Uncover the stories of the pioneers who laid the foundation stones, explore the rise of its iconic whisky heritage, and witness the ebb and flow of life that has shaped Dufftown into the cultural and historical gem it is.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or a local resident eager to rediscover your roots, our website is your digital guidebook. Through meticulously researched articles, captivating visuals, and immersive storytelling, we aim to bring Dufftown’s history to life, providing you with a virtual key to unlock the mysteries of the past.

Join us on this captivating journey through time, where each click opens a new chapter, and each detail adds another layer to the narrative. Dufftown’s history is waiting to be explored, and we invite you to be a part of this digital expedition into the heart and soul of one of Scotland’s most enchanting towns.

Latest Posts
  • ResourcesNovember 26, 2023
    Juvenile Friendly Societies (1922)Unfortunately, the first books of the Dufftown Juvenile Society have disappeared, and the first record of this institution is a roll of 333 members, dated 26th January 1849. This document was recently found by miss Cantlie, Fochabers, a sister of Sir James Cantlie, and handed over to Mr John M’Pherson, who has been for several years and now is President of the Society. It was found among some old papers belonging to her father, the late Mr William Cantlie of Keithmore, and Agent of the Town and County Bank at Dufftown. The handwriting on the roll is beautiful, quite a work of art, and the heading reads as follows:  Scheme of Division of the Funds belonging to the Dufftown Juvenile Society, instituted on 26th January 1835, and now dissolved, namely, the sum of One Hundred and Seventy Five Pounds 4/5, in equal shares of Ten shillings and four pence one-eight to each of the following 333 members, who were found clear on the Quarter-penny Book of the said Society upon 16th January 1849, when the business of the Society was finally wound up, 26th January 1849.  From a perusal of this, one might naturally conclude that the Society then ceased to exist; but, as will be seen from future records, this was not really the case. Since 1873, from which date minute and “Entry and Quarter-penny” Books have been preserved, the Society has been wound up, and re-instituted every ten years; and from its institution in 1835 the constitution of the Society arranged for a winding up and paying out of ing. Mr Alexander Dey, Interim Treasurer, handed over to Mr Peter Naughtie the new Treasurer the sum of six pounds three shillings sterling, being the Entry Money of two hundred and forty-six members joined to this date, and the new Treasurer made offer of Messrs John Innes and Peter Thompson as security to the Society for his intromissions, which “being accepted, they accordingly sign this minute along with him. The following members were appointed a Sub-committee for the purpose of revising the Bye-laws, Rules and Regulations, and making any necessary alterations, and to lay the same before a meeting of the Committee at an early date, viz.: Messrs Thompson, Naughtie, Dey and Grant.  P . THOMPSON, P . Adjourned.PETER NAUGHTIE.JOHN INNES.PETER THOMPSON.  At Rose Cottage, Errol Bank, Dufftown, this 21st January 1873, the sub-committee of the Dufftown Juvenile Society, appointed to revise the Bye-laws, Rules and Regulations of the Society, being met, all present, and the President having been called to the chair, the Committee went carefully over the Bye-laws, &c., and amended them as follows:— Bye-Laws, Rules and Regulations.  First.— A Committee of sixteen Members above twenty-one years of age shall be elected annually at the General Meeting of the Society, such Committee to be elected by members above sixteen years of age, and to con- sist of the following office-bearers, viz.:—A President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer, a Clerk, a Secretary, a Box Master, an Armour Bearer, a Standard Bearer, six Stewards, a Key-keeper, and an Officer, five of the saidCommittee to be a quorum.  Second.— A Committee of twenty-one Boys shall be elected annually, none of whom shall be above sixteen years of age, the said Committee to be elected by Boys below that age, no grown up members of the Society having any voice in the election of the’ Junior Committee.  Third.— Every one becoming a member of this Society before the General Meeting in January 1874, shall pay to the Treasurer the sum of sixpence as Entry Money. A Quarter- penny shall be payable annually at the General Meetings, to be held on the first day of January or within eight days thereafter, and any members failing to pay their Quarter- pence within that time, shall be liable for interest at the rate of one penny per annum for every year in arrears; and, it they allow themselves to be over three years in arrears, they shall be struck off the roll of members. The Quarterpenny is hereby fixed at sixpence. In the event of the first day of January falling upon Saturday or Sunday, the Annual General Meeting of that year shall be held on the Monday following.  Fourth.— Every one becoming members of this Society at and after the General Meeting of 1874, must pay Entry Money and Quarter- pence equally, the same as if they had entered the Society at the beginning, with interest thereon up to the time they become members.  Fifth.— The whole of the Society’s funds shall be lodged by the Treasurer in a Bank or Banks, and the Interest thereon annually added to the Stock. Should there be any surplus arising from ticket money of the Society’s Annual Ball after defraying the expenses of the same, it shall be added to the Funds.  Sixth.— No sick allowances shall be given out of this Society’s funds, but in lieu thereof Five Shillings of Mortality Money shall be allowed upon the death of a member after the General Meeting of 1874, which sum the Treasurer of the Society shall pay to the proper party, upon getting due intimation of the death of the Member, provided the deceased was clear on the Society’s Quarterpenny Book at the Annual Meeting preceding his death, or within eight days thereafter.  Seventh— Any member going out of the Country, so that it might be inconvenient for him to continue a member of the Society, shall be at liberty to sell his share, it being understood that the Committee shall get the first offer of his or their shares, and may pay the same out of the Society’s funds, if they consider it profitable to do so. Failing this he may sell his share to any person, who is fit to be admitted a Member of the Society. Mem- herb so admitted must pay sixpence to the Clerk for getting their names inserted in the Society’s Books.  Eighth.— The Treasurer and Clerk of the Society shall receive the sum of Three shillings each for their Trouble, and any Member pro- posed for election to either of those offices, who shall decline to accept the same without as- signing a sufficient reason, must pay one shilling as a fine for so doing. The Treasurer shall be changed annually, and shall give Two Securities for all his Intromissions to the satisfaction of the Senior Committee.  Ninth.— All Members capable of attending must be present at the Annual General Meeting of the Society, and, after the necessary business is transacted, there shall be a procession of the Members through the streets of the Burgh. The Junior Committee shall walk in front and the other Boys—Members of the Society—behind them, and the Senior Committee shall walk at regular distances among the Boys to keep order, and the other grown up Members of the Society, two and two, in the rear of the boys.  Tenth.— After the procession a Ball shall be held in the evening, the price of the tickets to be threepence for all Members under sixteen years of age, and all Members above sixteen years of age shall pay sixpence for each ticket. The Stewards shall furnish Bread and Beer— (since changed to “the refreshments”)—to the Company at the Ball, but no spirituous liquors shall be allowed in the same, neither shall any- one be at liberty to go out of the Ballroom to any house, for the purpose of drinking the same, otherwise the said Member shall immediately be struck off the Society. No person who is not a Member shall be admitted into the Ball.  Eleventh.— Members must keep order, and regularity at all the meetings, and Balls of the Society, and no Member shall be allowed to come into the same drunk. Should any Member do so, he shall be struck off the Society, and turned out of the Meeting or Ball. The Society shall be dissolved at the General Meeting of 1883, when the last Quarterpenny is payable, and the funds then belonging to the Society shall be divided equally, as soon as possible thereafter, amongst the then Members, who shall be found clear on the Society’s Books, within one week after the said General Meeting. P . THOMPSON, P .     Dufftown, 11th February 1873, in a Meeting of the Committee of the Dufftown Juvenile Society with a good attendance of Members and the President in the chair, the former Minutes of Meetings were read and approved. The Bye-laws, as revised, were read and sanctioned. Thereafter William Grant, President of the old Society, presented to the new Society the Box, Four Flags, &c., &c.                            Peter Thompson, P.   At Dufftown “The Boys Ball,” which has always been associated with “The Walk,” is held in the evening. The floor is reserved for the younger members of the community from seven to 10 o’clock, when the mass of surging joyful children is a sight not easily forgotten. At 10 o’clock the juveniles retire, and adults take their place. Others than members of the Society have been for many years admitted to the ball, and any surplus from the drawings, after paying expenses, is now given for some charitable or deserving purpose. During the last two years £20 were handed over to the Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, £10 to the Stephen Cottage Hospital, £10 to the Mortlach War Memorial, and 9 to the Dufftown Amenities Committee. [...]
  • News PaperJanuary 27, 2022
    A Notice of Dufftown (1857)A correspondent of the “Elgin Courier” supplies a notice of the origin of Dufftown, which may be interesting to some of our readers. The town he says, is pleasantly situated near the centre basin of two or three miles in circumference, which has been scooped out from the hills that everywhere surround it, and can only be approached by the glens and chasms that break the continuity of its immoveable guardians. This basin or hollow at the beginning of this century, was, excepting a few acres of cultivated land, entirely marsh and moor, and must have presented as cold and dreary a landscape as can well be imagined. Some nine or ten mud hovels were scattered about, without order or arrangement, near to where Conval and Kirkton Streets now are, and were known by the appellation of Laichie, and formed the nucleus of the present village. The inhabitants of Laichie were tradesmen, such as shoemakers, wrights, blacksmiths, and one merchant-the latter, however, was more in name than reality, as the greater part of the merchant business in the parish was transacted at the Kirkton (about a quarter of a mile distant), where the inn at Hardhaugh, which was the only one for many miles, offered more temptation to the traveller, and was moreover, more in the public way, as the principal road to Glenrinnes and the upper districts passed through it. As our readers are aware, it was the late Earl of Fife who projected the idea of establishing the present village. He employed the late Mr Thomas Shier, long resident at Keith, and the surveyor and constructor of many of the roads in the North, to plan the town:- The first foundation was laid for Mr Duff’s house, but the first fire was kindled in that house, afterwards famous as “Babbe Law’s lodging house;” and was the alacrity with which fues were taken off and builded upon, that in a very short time the Kirkton became eclipsed, and the postmaster, Mr Kagg, and Mr Eyvil, the merchant, or the Raal (Real) Eyvil, as he was called, raised their camp and followed the throng. In fact, there was a general exodus from it, and few, if any, remained in any way connected with business save Mr M’Connachie of Hardhaugh Inn, who clung to his position for the sake of the fading glories of Harry Fair, which lingered for a short time at its old stance until it was transferred to the square of Dufftown. Every feuar now vied with his neighbour in improving his acre and a half of “out field” or rent-free land; and the noble proprietor had soon the satisfaction of seeing bogs and fearn bushes giving place to cultivated and blooming fields. Much, however, was yet to be done. The road to Craigellagie was as wretched as could be desired, the one to Keith was exceedingly bad and the only one to Glenrinnes was that which may be still traced from the Kirkton. Lord Fife, who may be said to have been the father of the village, from the interest and care he took of it, again came to the rescue, and Mr Shear once more appeared in the district, to the annoyance of some few farmers, who cared less for the accommodation of the villagers or the public, than for the protection of every inch of ground from the pollution of Thomas’s pins and guiding poles, which they justly considered were but preludes to a more daring innovation; and some of them said to have been particularly obliging in showing him the beauty and utility of roads beyond their own fields.             Dufftown now began to be a place of some importance, and threatened to rival the older villages of Rothes and Charlestown. Markets were held during the summer months, and the Dufftonians, with a liberality that has ever characterised them, vended the mountain dew at every door in the village. This liberty, however, only extended to market days; and since it rarely happened that everybody had managed to sell all the stock, the following or “auld day” was usually spent in doing the neighbourly turn of assisting brother dealers to get clear of their liquor, and it not unfrequently happened that the “auld day” was worse than the market, before the remaining spirits had been consumed. Of course, their whisky was obtained by illicit distillation, or from unlicensed distillers, for though the Excise were beginning to tighten the reins upon them, the terrors of law as yet had made very little impression, and hardly any concealment was sought; for an old inhabitant informs us that it was a common thing for him to see three or four brewing pots carried out in the morning while he was opening his place of business; and so much was it made a traffic of, that most of the principal persons in the district were engaged in it, and Mr Gordon, the first innkeeper in Dufftown, lost his live by the preventives at Banff, while attempting to take some of it into that town. About this time Free Masonry was the rage; and the St James’s Society in Dufftown was one of the strongest in Scotland, and, as a matter of course, could not do without a “Lodge”. A fine building was therefore erected with a front to the square, and one to Kirkton Street, and having in it a splendid hall, capable of containing from five to six hundred people. Lord Fife, who was “grand-master,” is said to have proposed to put a tower or spire upon it; but owing to some cause of other that was never done. The lodge was now the centre of attraction for the Dufftonians, who were almost all “masons”, and between the general meetings of the St James’s and those for letting the shops and houses in the building, the building was never long unoccupied, and continued so long; as the society existed to be the boast and pride of the members. Little change can now be noted for several years, as free-masonry absorbed the enthusiasm and public spirit until the visitation of cholera, when the Board of Health the appointed, required that in all towns and villages, some places should be erected for keeping vagrants or such persons as might be supposed likely to spread contamination through the country. The place first proposed for this erection was near the lime kilns, below the village, and money was collected for the same; but as it was allowed to lie over for a time, and the cholera then disappearing, it was proposed to build instead a lock-up place for riotous and disorderly persons. A scuffle which took place between some “glen” men shortly after, is said to have given force to the proposal, and caused the tower now standing in the middle of the square to be erected. It took some time before it was finished, as the necessary funds were difficult to be raised, until Mr Findlater got the rent of the Dufftown and Glass market stances to assist them, when he advanced himself the sum necessary to complete it. The fine clock and spire now on it were not included in the original plan, nor would they have been there at all but for the liberality and exertions of Mr Findlater. Another portion of the plan (a town hall with shops underneath), was abandoned, principally from the opposition it received from the feuars in the square, who did not care about having their dwellings overshadowed by it; nor was ever the tower long used for its original purpose, as the authorities, when reducing the expense of the rural constabulary, refused to pay rent for it, when it was turned into a shop, and has been used for that purpose ever since.             Since the tower was finished, there has been little alteration in the appearance of the village, but many great improvements have been introduced, among the first of which way, the planting of a branch of the North of Scotland Bank; and perhaps none of them have been found more beneficial or convenient, for all the banking business from beyond Tomintoul had until then to be transacted at Keith; water pipes through the streets followed; a Gas Company was formed; another branch  bank established; post-runners appointed for the district of Glenrinnes and Auchindown; a Literary Society established; a railway proposed; a Cricket Club in course of formation, and nothing wanted but street lamps, to put us on footing with larger and more pretending towns of the empire. Along with the structural improvements, the habits of the people have changed, and the commerce and comforts of the place greatly augmented. But a few years ago, meat could only be had now and again, in certain months of the year, and at best some old tough cow; or, if otherwise, one some accident had befallen, and those who were not contented with that or had particular desire for better had to send to Elgin or Keith for it. Now we have three energetic and enterprising fleshers, who kill two or three cattle each a week, and meat of the very best quality can be had at any hour of the day. Of course, more than the villagers are obliged to these men for this. The farmers, instead of driving from market to market, get their cattle disposed of in stalls; and we are sure we speak the mind of the inhabitants in general when we say that we are all under obligations to them for the conveniences and comforts they place within our reach. In the shops, too, the change has been equally great, and we would advise the author of the Speyside Guide to come up and see Mr Shand’s new shop before he publishes his next edition, that he may find something else moralize upon than tobacco pipes, al where improvement is being made, has just added another beauty to the village, in flitting up a shop with a splendid glass front, door and windows being divided only by slight metal pillars, and each window, one sheet of glass. In fact, so rapidly has the village progressed, and so well supplied are we with the comforts of life, that we are aware of nothing we stand in need of but a barber. [...]
  • News PaperJanuary 27, 2022
    Dufftown  – A Centenary Year (1917)BANFFSHIRE JOURNAL, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1917 Even amid the stress and the turmoil of a war that is testing to its foundations the staying power of every belligerent, it would not be fitting to pass over the fact, let the reference be as cursory as it may, that this year the flourishing burgh of Dufftown celebrates its centenary as a place of settled residence. Did ordinary conditions prevail, one can well envisage the scene of enthusiasm with which the members of the enterprising municipality and their leal-hearted constituents would have celebrated an event of the kind. But ordinary conditions do not prevail, and the celebration of the centenary of Dufftown has necessarily to be delayed. Sure we are of this that “when the boys come back” – and Dufftown has in this respect an altogether wonderful record for the number in its population. In respect we mean of its young manhood at the front – the happy and auspicious event in the history of their beloved town by the storied and romantic waters of the Fiddich and the Dullan will have a celebration worthy not only of the local incidence of the year, but made the more happy and the more hearty since days will have come again when the Angel of Peace exercises his beneficent sway. What may take place after the present war in the sphere of the establishment of townships it would be an idle inquiry to pursue, but it is a historical fact that in the county of Banff there are now settled communities that as such have their earliest dates associated with years immediately following on wars and warlike upheavals. The last battle fought on British soil was followed almost immediately by the foundation of what is now the burgh of Aberchirder. The years that immediately followed the Peace of 1815 saw the establishment in the county of what are now substantial and thriving townships. One of them is Cornhill of Park, about which we wrote a few weeks ago. Another, beyond the Balloch, was in its infant years actually known as Waterloo! And yet another, perhaps the most flourishing of all, a delight to everyone who sees it and enjoys its natural beauties in just such a summer season as that which is leaving us, is Dufftown, called by the family name of its founder. Associated in many ways with the House of Fife, and still having a venerated connection with pleasant “Laichie” down by the venerable church of the parish, in which and in the lovely Kirk-yard below it, there are to be gathered by the seeing eye and the understanding mind some items of the high traditions in many spheres of human activity that to this day are characteristic of the aspirations of the brae-set burgh that looks out upon the heather-clad expanses of the Convals. The founder of Dufftown was James Duff, fourth Earl Fife. He was called “the Good Earl”, and although he died so long ago as 1857 we put it on record as sober fact that an elderly gentleman in Dufftown last week, happening to refer to him, still spoke of him as “The Good Yerl”. His lordship had a great military career, and in Spain received a wound that had life–long physical effects; when he left the Peninsula, Wellington presented him with a jewelled sword, which he himself had received in India, and the Spanish Cortes conferred on him the rank of General. For the last twenty years of his life, he lived continuously at Duff House. Among the villages he founded was Dufftown. It took place just 100 years ago. All accounts agree with the date. In the New Statistical Account, published over 60 years ago, the date of the foundation of Dufftown is given as 1817. The estate books, most authoritative of all, give particulars of how preparations for the formation of a village were made in 1816, and. they mention that the first feus were given off in June 1817. Dufftown is, therefore, just 100 years and three months old. On 10th June 1817 there was a gathering, held at Mether Cluny, at the house of the district factor, Mr Watt, and then the conditions of feuing were read out. For a little time the infant town was called by the locally historic name of Balvenie. Very soon, however, it came to be known as Dufftown, and as Dufftown, it has been known during all the intervening years. It must have been an interesting event in the life of the founder Earl to have established the nucleus of the future burgh in a district that was the cradle of the family. And he may have seen perhaps something of the potentiality of the site of a community that has in these days blossomed out into one of the most popular inland health and holiday resorts in the North of Scotland. As there were brave men before Agamemnon, so there were far–seeing, prescient men of the future of old Laichie, for more than one hundred and twenty years and a writer said of the site of the future Dufftown what may, in all truth be said of it today – “The appearance of the country is very fine. Variegated with hill and dale, wood and water, growing corns and pasture covered with flocks, it looks both beautiful and rich, and even in winter the trees by the river banks with their snowy foliage and the lofty mountains all in white exhibit a diversity of view abundantly pleasing and grotesque. Fiddichside is one of the loveliest straths to be seen in any country. There are some landscapes, especially in Glenfiddich, and about Pittyvaich, Tininver, and Kininvie that anyone who has a taste for such things will not grudge a day’s ride or two to go and see. They are a mixture of the sweet and the wild, and furnish a great deal of picturesque and very rural scenery. If a Thomson or an Allan Ramsay had lived here, they would have been famous in song”. Thus the writer of more than a century ago. He goes on to say that “There is neither town nor village in all the parish. The whole is country. The Kirktown of Mortlach (the ancient Laichie) is only two or three houses on the glebe or about the church”. The garrulity that characterises the author’s writings is one of the charms of the Old Statistical Account as a whole. “The writer of this”, the goes on to say, “was minister of Mortlach, being the fourth from the Revolution, when he was translated to St Nicholas, Aberdeen: he is married and has four sons. He was succeeded by a bachelor. As to his predecessors, Mr Shaw’s History of the Province of Moray will inform those who have the curiosity to know”. Peace to the ashes of the worthy clergyman, of his four sons, of his bachelor successor, and of his unmentioned predecessors! The progress and development of Dufftown during the hundred years of its history have been as a matter of fact of a very pleasing and substantial kind. In material affairs it has prospered greatly. Its yearly valuation today is within a few units of £6000. Not including the lotted lands, which have throughout its history been a most valuable asset, the burgh entries in the valuation roll number 543 rateable subjects. At the last census it had a population of 1626, and that represents a decrease from the period of the previous decennium when the staple business enterprise of the place flourished greatly. And that staple business consists in the manufacture of malt whisky on a scale so great that Dufftown has become one of the headquarters of the industry in the North of Scotland. Whatever be the reason of it, the making of whisky, legally or illegally, enters in a very direct way into the social history of the whole district around. A century ago, a writer deplored that what he called “illegal distilleries”, but what were more commonly known as “bothies”, “were carried on to a great extent in this parish”. Today there are seven large distilleries in the parish, all closely adjacent to Dufftown, some indeed within the boundaries of the burgh, and all of them contributing in no small measure to the material resources of those whose homes are in the town. There are seven of them – Mortlach, Parkmore, Glen Fiddich, Balvenie, Pittyvaich, Convalmore, and Glen Dullan, representing in the bulk a great localised industry, the business fortunes or vicissitudes of which are directly reflected on the well-being of the community at large. Close by the burgh, too, runs a rich vein of limestone. It has been worked for many years and the reputation of the product, still turned out on a large scale, continues to be high. Dufftown is as well the natural market centre for a large surrounding area. Its connection with the agriculture of the district is wide and intimate, and many of the feuars are themselves interested in agricultural pursuits. For attached to each of the old feus there is an allotment of three Scotch acres of land, a possession that has been a great boon and has been a material help in the development of the town. When originally given off, each plot consisted of one and a half acres of infield and one and a half acres of outfield. The latter being probably rough pasture for the most part, but it is long since the whole has been converted into infield, with the result that on every side Dufftown is surrounded by fertile areas that by good husbandry have been made to blossom as the rose. Farther afield, giving a greatly added charm to the physical outlook, are the everlasting hills, now ablaze with bright and fragrant heather – Ben Aigen, Corriehabbie, the Convals, Ben Rinnes, Jock’s Hill, and the hill of Glenmarkie, representing a circling sweep of heights refreshing alike to mind and sense. Old names linger in the, nomenclature of the town. To the old residenter, the modern Fife Street is still Crachie Street, the way to the delightful little hamlet at the wool mills. Balvenie Street may be called Castle Street, the way to the rugged and still stately old pile of Balvenie Castle. To some, Conval Street is known as Queen Street, for by that way, through Glenrinnes, came Queen Victoria in the autumn of 1867, just fifty years ago this month, when Her Majesty drove across from the Deeside hills at Balmoral to visit the Duke of Richmond at Glen Fiddich Lodge. And to not a few Church Street is still known as Kirktown Street the way to ancient Laichie. And the way to the venerable Kirk of the parish, with all its hoary memories and traditions, and with, too, its story of how Malcolm the Second, in the misty days of a long past age full-filled a vow by adding three spear lengths to the fabric of the Kirk. Here still is the Kirk of the parish, venerable even in its modern dressing, and interesting to all by the monuments and figures that it contains. Around and below the Kirk is the cherished churchyard in which in these days of war and the tumults of war one looks with renewed interest to the many memorials of men, natives of the district, who rose to positions of eminence in the Army. The task of these is accomplished and done, and whose names are emblazoned in local rolls of honour. Near at hand is the U.F. Church, where. Sir William Robertson Nicoll began his ministerial career. In other parts of the town are the pretty Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches. In the matter of halls, too, the community are well provided. The town hall built by the late Provost Symon, a man of abounding energy and of unexcelled local patriotism, is now the property of the East of Scotland Public House Trust. The St James’ Lodge of Freemason have a fine place of meeting of their own, and the commodious hall of the Parish Church is in the same block of buildings as the Reading Room, an institution that has long proved its abiding value and which continues to be well supported, the number taking out annual tickets of member-ship being about 250. With the Fife Arms and Commercial Hotels, both of them comfortable and well appointed Dufftown is in a position to offer a hearty welcome to the temporary sojourner within its gates. A plethora of amusements have been provided by enterprising bodies, including bowling, tennis, and golf, while the angler may whip the waters of the Fiddich or the Dullan, or get pleasantly suntanned by the banks of numerous hill burns. On every hand there are attractive walks. The heights of Ben Rinnes invite the mountaineer; the lesser Convals make their appeal to those not so ambitious. There is the walk to the Giant’s Chair up one side of the Dullan and down the other, by way of Pittyvaich, presenting in these days of early autumn a scene of keen physical delight. The whole town’s wood and Tomnamuidh wood are intersected with walks, right to the old pile of Balvenie Castle. The Master’s Walk is another favourite. Here, below the old Schoolhouse, is the Master’s Well, where the schoolmaster drew his water supply before the introduction of a public system, and here is an old stone, bearing the date 1816, which used to form the top of an old well on what is now the Square of Dufftown. The old cattle markets have disappeared, but so far as regards the amount of business transacted their place has been more than taken by a branch of the Elgin Market Green Auction Co., ably represented on the spot by Mr. Alex. Farquharson. In Friendly Societies, Dufftown is strong, and the Free Masons, the Oddfellows and the Shepherds all do useful and valued work. Quite early in its history, Dufftown was provided with a public supply of gas, and when the works were acquired a good few years ago for the extension of Mortlach distillery buildings a scheme of electric lighting was influentially discussed. It was thought that motive power could be had from some of the streams that pass the burgh, and although it has not yet fructified, it has not been lost sight of as one of the possibilities of the future. In the interval a good few private instalments have been made of acetylene and petrol gas, but in the main dependence is still had on the paraffin lamp. Alive throughout all its history to the value of education, Dufftown maintains well its high record in a sphere that every North countryman regards as important, and the fine block of school buildings, with their roll of over 400 pupils, is sufficient attestation of the place educational effort holds in the outlook of the community. The joint labours of nature and human effort have given the burgh a distinctive place as a favoured holiday resort and one was interested to learn that the passing season has been in this respect one of the brightest and most successful experienced for a number of years. Dufftown’s most famous son has been the most bountiful benefactor of his native place. Of Lord Mount Stephen’s wise schemes of benefactions there is much to remind one. Here, for instance, is the beautiful Stephen Cottage Hospital, built and endowed by him, and opened seven and twenty years ago by the lord of the manor. It has been an untold blessing to Dufftown and the entire district around. It has for some time provided accommodation, amid surroundings of’ an ideal kind for fourteen wounded soldiers. Their convalescence is completed under conditions that could not be excelled. His lordship’s generous pension scheme by which a sum of £16 is given annually to 50 old persons in his native parish has helped to keep the wolf from many a humble door and to add comforts to life that otherwise would have been quite unattainable. A fine illuminated window put into the Free Church when it was rebuilt was his lordship’s gift, and in many manses farther afield the yearly yield of his beneficent scheme of endowment has come as a welcome addition to individual stipends. The house in which Lord Mount Stephen was born has been rebuilt, but its site and buildings representing it are still and will ever be regarded as cherished connections of the town with one whose life and deeds will in Dufftown to all time be held in high regard and proud gratitude. From some of the old “toon’s bairns” stories of ancient memories may be gathered, and from none better than perhaps from Bailie M’Kay, who, born in Dufftown, can look back placidly on many years spent in the service of the community. The Bailie can recall his father telling him how about the year 1818 there were only three “reekin’ lums” in what is now Dufftown, one of them being “Bauby Law’s” in Fife Street and he can show you a house in Conval Street in which on a weather beaten stone there is the date 1820. He can point to houses still slated from the quarries of Auchindoune. James Milne had the slate quarries there, living in a hut in which he made his food. James was precentor also in the Auld Kirk, and the story is told of how on one occasion he in his secluded fastness only knew that it was a Sunday when he heard the eleven o’clock bell ring. Speed of foot soon brought him over the hill, and borrowing a black coat from some one near the church, he performed his duties in the lateran with all his accustomed coolness. The Bailie can tell stories of the building of the Tower, the most prominent feature of all the town, how some drove sand and some stones, and in the end the factor had to take up the unfinished work. The basement was let first as a druggist’s shop, leading contents of which were castor oil and senna leaves. He himself, 70 years ago, saw the clock being unpacked by “Watchie Gordon”, and he can recall the days of the old town hall, built by the Free Masons, and now used as an ironmonger’s warehouse. The houses were for the most part roofed with thatch, and the kitchen floor was almost always made of clay, renewed once a year from a clay hole on the-Market Green and beaten into shape by barefit laddies. The Bailie can recall Lewie Fraser, who, more rogue than fool perhaps, once when taken before his superiors on a charge of stealing a sheep, made the plea that he had found a bit of string, “an’ there was a sheep at the en’ o’t”. It was Lewie, too, who fell asleep one day in his cart. Some wags removed the horse from the vehicle, and when the astonished man awakened from his sleep, he was fain to exclaim that “If I’m Lewie Fraser, I’ve lost a horse, an’ if I’m nae Lewie Fraser, I’ve stolen a cairt”. Another town’s character was Hugh Robertson, who dressed usually in old Scotch garb, and decorated himself like a modern Montenegron with pistols, dirks and daggers in quite a picturesquely awesome fashion. His long hair he kept in plaits, but when in full dress it was taken down. He was a thatcher to trade, an occupation that has quite disappeared, and for many a year he led the annual walk of the Juvenile Society, whose meetings form the rallying ground of natives of the town far and near. One severe winter the supply of tobacco in Dufftown went done. When the storm broke up somewhat, John Dawson rode to Keith on horseback, but could get only a single roll, tobacco being scarce there as well. It was taken to Dufftown and sold at 3d. the half ounce, and, said Bailie McKay, there was a crowd round the door as though a roup were going on. According to Hugh Robertson that was the “terriblest winter he ever saw, for a lot of old folks de’ed in Dufftown then that he never saw deein’ afore”. The Bailie recalls a time when there were almost thirty licensed places of one kind or another in Dufftown. There was Murray’s Inn where the Fife Arms now is, the Fife Arms was on Balvenie Street, next the Bank and Beaton’s Inn was in the corner where the Bank now is, all three practically adjoining one another. In the Bailie’s present house of Morven, one of the Cantlies of Keithmore had a shop, right next to it was a baker named Annie Mackie, the only baker then in the town. She put a woman out in the morning with rolls, Jeannie Gatherer by name, and she has passed into local song          “Is Jeannie Gatherer aye ‘steppin’ weel          wi’ Annie’s het rolls in her creel?” A public house in Conval Street became later the Star Inn, and on the same street Sandy Milne from Craighead had the license which is now held by Mr James Geddie, who occupies therefore one of the oldest licensed premises in the town”. The first town hall, built by the Free Masons, and tenanted then by Wm. Shand from Glenrinnes, had a license attached to it, and as if that were not sufficient below the hall there was a licensed shop, occupied by Mrs. Moir. The White Horse, now the Commercial Hotel, was always one of the leading places of entertainment in the town. In Fife Street, Wm. Gordon, son of Mr Gordon, the distiller, had the licensed shop where Mr Sheed now is; Lucky Craib’s public house a little farther down; Warrack’s Inn was beside, the chapel; the Bull Inn was kept by George Taylor; the Plough Inn – a lady occupant, “Bell o’ the Plough,” is still remembered – was where Messrs Watt Brothers now are, and at the corner of the street yet another license was held by James Smith. Not only were there numerous inns and places of the kind, but also in those days there were no restrictions of any kind. Before the Forbes Mackenzie era it was not an unheard of thing for a party to be held with the shutters on, and never know that the light of another day was shining until the shutters were taken down at the close of the merrymaking. Of such were the “good.” old days. In the pre-railway days, there was a coach from Keith to Dufftown and to get the Speyside coach to Elgin the traveller had to go to Craigellachie. John Peterkin was the carrier between Dufftown and Aberdeen, making the journey once a fortnight “weather permitting”, and John Grant was the carrier from Aberdeen to Glenlivet and Tomintoul, passing, of course, through Dufftown, sometimes in charge of three heavily laden carts. Deacon Ragg was the first postmaster that Bailie M’Kay recollects. One of the name of Ramsay carried the mails, and when he arrived in the town he market his progress by the lusty blowing of a horn, so that the folks might know to go to the Post Office for their letters. Truth to tell these were sometimes few in number, and on at least one occasion the whole mail consisted of a letter to the clerk of the Richmond lime works. One of the periodical markets then held was a wool market which took place in Shand’s Hall, and a regular frequenter of all the markets was one Proctor, from the Betshauch, whose sole wares consisted of brose caups. The Bailie has heard stories, too, of the market fights between the Gaulds of Glass and the M’Connachies of Glenrinnes when the cracks of lusty staves on hard heads resounded on the street, when the Gaulds, if strong enough, would chase the M’Connachies up the Glenrinnes road, and, if the tables were turned the M’Connachies would chase the Gaulds across the bridge of Crachie. There are so many “sma’ stills”, throughout the district, illicit of course, that the man who repaired them went by the name of, “Coppery” and it is recalled that the water at one of the best known of these “bothies”, up in the Convals, was years ago introduced into the burgh water supply. To get up a raffle or a tea drinking for any poor person was a common occurrence, and the Bailie declares that on the occasion of a wedding the amount of shooting that was engaged in might have done credit to the bombardment at the Somme. Newspapers were scarce and. dear. The history of a copy of the “Banffshire Journal” was given thus – it began on Conval Street with Eyval the Merchant, went across to Davie Craib’s, then to Melvin’s, across the, street again to Willie Gauld, a shoemaker, then to John Ellis, a shoemaker, and to John Shand, a cartwright, and on the Monday it reached the Conval crofts, where being about a week old, a read of it was cheaper.  And so, along what has been on the whole a pleasant road, Dufftown has reached its centenary year. It can look back on its past with satisfaction and anticipate its future with hope, and nothing better can be said either of individual or of community. That Dufftown may long flourish will be the warm wish of the numerous folks whom it has made its fri [...]
  • News PaperJanuary 27, 2022
    Dufftown and its Vicinity (1862)SCENERY OF THE DISTRICT. Among all the Highland villages in Scotland, there is not perhaps one that has a more picturesque or beautiful situa­tion than Dufftown. Tomintoul and Grantown both com­mand a wider landscape. The clear and rapid Avon winds past Tomintoul through valley and gorge, on its way to Ballindalloch, and the Spey rolls in majesty past Grantown, through vast forests of pine, that seem to cover the shoulders of a hundred hills. From both these villages the huge mass of the Cairngorms seem near, and, spotted with snow in mid-summer, gives an Alpine charac­ter to the scene, which is imposing, but bleak and dreary. In architectural beauty Grantown is far superior to Tomintoul, but it stands on the side of a strath, and not in a glen, neither do Aberlour, Keith, nor Huntly. Dufftown alone occupies this position, and completely realizes to the mind of a spectator the spot where his fancy has placed a village among the mountains of Scotland. He sees before him a complete Highland glen, without a feature awanting, with the brown hills propping the sky all around him, and mountain streams winding through a fertile valley, adorned with ruined castles, by churches, by a fine village, and the uplands covered with everything that bespeak agricultural industry and enterprise. A minute description of the glen might be tedious to the general reader, and we shall, there­fore, only mention the more striking features of it, which will now be seen by many visitors from the South, and, when the Fiddich-side Railway is finished, also by many from the North. On landing at the Dufftown Railway Station, and look­ing round him, the traveler will see the tops of brown mountains meeting the sky in every direction. Looking up the glen, Benrinnes will be seen towering over the Convals like a giant, the Scurran of Lochterlandoch on the top of the mountain appearing like some vast fortress, command­ing the whole country around, at an elevation of about 2700 feet above the level of the sea, and 1800 feet above the base of the mountain. The Conval hills, of less altitude, will also arrest attention. They are three in number, and may be called a chain of hills merely separated from Ben­rinnes by a narrow pass, and, together with that mountain, may be said to extend from Avon to the Fiddich, below Dufftown, a distance of twelve or fourteen miles. At the east end of the Convals, and apparently shutting in the glen in that direction, a hill higher than any of the Convals is seen—Benaigen, with an elevation of some 1G00 or 1800 feet, wooded almost to the summit, and washed at the base by the Spey and the Fiddich. Further to the east is the hill of Kininvie, not lofty, but cultivated to the top. HOUSE OF KININVIE. Here, upon a holm formed by the Fiddich, stands the fine mansion house of Kininvie, the property of Geo. A. Young Leslie, Esq. Looking down the Fiddich upon it, it seems to be nestled in a cosie nook or hollow among the hills, and has all the appearance of being at the foot of Benaigen, whose brown and bald top above the zone of wood seems to have been flattened by some convulsion in nature. Even by the naked eye one can discover that the mansion house of Kininvie has a castellated appearance, and that it stands in the center of fine wood, with large cultivated fields descending towards it, separated by thorn and beech hedges, as in the park-like scenery at Forres. Part of the House of Kininvie is very old, but, like many others, it has been enlarged and modernized, and is now a very fine residence. The villa of Hazelwood beside it is esteemed one of the finest and most picturesque cottages in the country. GLENFIDDICH, ACHINDOWN, &C. The east side of the glen, like the west, is bounded by hills, but they are less striking. The scenery is more tame in that direction. South of Kininvie is to be seen the hills of Tullich and Parkbeg, closing in a portion of the glen, and between which the railway passes before it crosses the Fiddich at the Castle of Balvenie. Extending the view still farther to the south east, the pass is seen through which the Fiddich finds her way into the valley of Mortlach from Glenfiddich, the great deer forest of the Duke of Rich­mond, in which there are only two or three keeper’s houses for a distance of ten or twelve miles. In this splendid forest it has been estimated that there are not less than three or four thousand head of deer ; and every season the Richmond family, along with their distinguished visitors, find excellent sport in what may be called the wilderness of Glenfiddich. Between this forest and Mortlach, on the course of the Fiddich, lies Achindown, famous in the song- “ As I cam in by Auchindune, A little wee bit fae the toon ; Unto the Heelans I was boon. To see the Haughs o’ Cromdal. ” We are not very sure of the quotation, and shall pretend to say that Dufftown was the “toon” mentioned, but the district of Achindown is a rich one in agricultural pro­duce, there being many fine farms in it. And here we may notice that one of these, Keithmore, now occupied by Mr Cantlie, was at one time tenanted by Marshall, the famous composer of Strathspeys. Some of the other principal farms in this district are Tallochallum (Mr Geo. Gordon), Glencorie (Mr Petrie), Pitglassie (Mr Tod), Laggan (Mr Murray), Raws (Mr Duncan), Tomnon (Mr Thompson), Clunymores (Mr Simpson and Mr Keltnan), Clunebeg (Mr Nicol), Parkhead (Mr Sellar), Auchenhandoch (Mr Stewart), Enoch (Mr Moir), &c., &c. CASTLE OF ACHINDOWN. But there is one object more interesting to the general reader than any farm in the district, and that is the famous Castle of Achindown, situated upon a green knoll overlook­ing the Fiddich. This castle is said to have been built in the reign of King James the Third, by Cochrane, a great favorite of the king. It was long part of the Lordship of Deskford, and from the Ogilvies passed to the Gordons in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Achindown Castle is famous in story, having been often besieged and plundered in the days of clan war. It is even said to have been burned with thirty-seven persons in it. Another story tells of a noble lady who struck off a chieftain’s head with a sword at Achindown ; but these and other tales must not in the meantime make us linger here. RAILWAY BRIDGE ACROSS THE FIDDICH. Having now glanced at the hills and valleys surrounding the glen, we come to speak of nearer objects that will at­tract the attention of travelers. About a mile before ar­riving at the railway station in coming from Keith, they will suddenly find themselves on a high embankment, and before they have time to look at it they will be upon a stone bridge of two arches, some fifty feet above the bed of the Fiddich. This bridge, they may be told, along with the cutting and embankments on each side of it, cost not less than £12,000. It was a heavy work, but it is now a com­plete one. The engineers, and also the contractor, Mr Brand, have done their work in such manner that, wild as the Fiddich is, not even a flood of ’29 in her would be dangerous to the strong pillars and wide arches that have been erected. OLD CASTLE OF BALVENIE Crossing this bridge, and while in a deep cutting, the traveler, in looking up a wooded knoll, will see among trees the ruins of the Castle of Balvenie, from the top of which a stone might be thrown across the line. This castle, like that of Achindown, is an object of much interest, and students of history who have an hour to spare should pay it a visit. It is now some years since we described the Castle, and since that time it has been so frequently described by some others that even the people of Dufftown have become weary of it. At present we claim their indulgence, for the Keith and Dufftown Railway has just been opened, and, as it passes close by the foundations of the Castle of Balvenie, we cannot allow the ruin to pass with­out observation. When or by whom the first castle was built it is useless to conjecture, but it has evidently been the work of more than one age, and tradition would have it that the oldest part of the castle has been a Pictish tower. History, as well as architecture, gives some support to this idea, for old historians mention a fort as being near the spot where Malcolm II. defeated the Danes in the great battle of Morthlac in the year 1010. In later times the Comyns, Douglases, Stewarts, and Abernethys successively held the Castle, no doubt all altering and repairing their stronghold to be proof against assault in a barbarous age. It now belongs to the Earl of Fife, and above the iron gate we read the barbarous motto of the Stewarts, Earls of Athole, “ Forth Fortuine and Fill thi Fettris.” This is an instructive lecture on the time when the Castle of Balvenie was in all its glory. The stranger standing within the ivy- covered ruins of Balvenie Castle is reminded of powerful sad turbulent barons, and of the ravages of time, whose subduing band conquers everything and consigns it to oblivion. THE HOUSE OF BALVENIE. At a short distance down the Fiddich from the old Castle of Balvenie, a new Castle of Balvenie was built in 1724, by William Duff of Braco and Dipple, who became Earl of Fife. A worse spot could not have been easily chosen for a baronial residence, and the new castle was inhabited only for a short time. The castle, as Shaw says in his his­tory, and as any one may see, is built on “a moist, low, and unwholesome soil,” almost on a level with the bed of the Fiddich. It now appears a square block of unorna­mented building, neither of castellated form nor apparently belonging to any order of architecture. It has still its doors and windows, and the paneling of the walls inside seems yet to have suffered but little. The top is covered with lead. How long the builder of this misplaced castle lived in it we cannot say, but it could only have been for a few years, for he removed to the House of Rothiemay, and, we believe, died there. His son James, second Earl of Fife, allowed the new Castle of Balvenie to remain tenantless, never paying any attention to it, and it has been closed for nearly one hundred years. THE BATTLE OF MORTLACH. After going up and looking at this relic of antiquity, we shall suppose the traveler to descend and take a walk up Fiddichside to Dufftown. In doing this, we had almost said, he will be treading upon consecrated ground, for he will be going over the very spot where the last terrible on­slaught of the Battle of Mortlach took place. There a King of Scotland stood in the midst of his panic-stricken army, that had lost three generals ; there he prayed and vowed to the Blessed Virgin, and, rallying his troops, led them again to battle—to victory over the terrible Danes, who were then the scourge of the North of Scotland. Vestiges of the great battle still remain. The spot where many of the killed lie buried is pointed out, and stones commemorative of the event may still be seen. THE CHURCH OF MORTLACH. Religion, as well as war, makes the spot where the Dullan and Fiddich meet very interesting. Long before the Battle of Mortlach in 1010 there was a church here, dedi­cated to St Moloch. Like the Abbey of Kinloss, it may have originally been a cell of the Culdees; but, be this as it may, there was a bishopric of Mortlach, which made the glen sacred in the days of old. The bishops transferred their seat to Aberdeen, as those of Spynie did to Elgin, and now not a vestige of their residence remains, the dam of the distillery covering part of the garden once belonging to the bishops of Mortlach. The parish church near this spot, is of great antiquity, it has been modernized — the skulls of Danes were once built into the walls as trophies of victory. Two of the windows are quite unique—they are the original ones; and the walls, said to have been built in the beginning of the eleventh century, might stand other 850 years. The story about the length of Malcolm’s spear being added to the church has little to support it but the mark that is seen in the wall. Nor can we stop to inquire into the tale of the Dullan being dammed up with ox hides near the Giant’s Chair, before the Battle of Mortlach. DUFFTOWN. The village situated in the midst of the scenery we have sketched, and close to ground so famous for war and religion in early ages, is quite of modern date. In the year 1814 there were only some thatched cottages on the spot where Dufftown stands, and the place was called Laichie. In 1816, Lord Fife, through his factor, Mr Watt, gave off feus, previously fixing the plan of a village. These feus were given for 999 years—perpetual feus, as they are called, and consisted each of three acres—one half of it in-land and the other out-land, besides one-fourth of an acre for a house and garden. Many feus were taken off, the terms being liberal, and in 1817 many feuars began to build. They did not like the name “ Laichie,” and, as there was now to be a village, they applied to Lord Fife for a name to it, recommending, we believe, the famous word “ Water­loo.” The reply of his Lordship is said to have been to the effect that everything in the kingdom would be called Waterloo—even fisher’s creels—and for that reason he would just call the place Dufftown, after his family. The plan of the village was four streets running at right front a common centre, forming a wide area, and the building, we may say, has gone on without interruption until there is now a population of more than 1200 in Dufftown. Many of the houses are of two storeys, and all are well built. There’s no sandstone in the district, but lime rock is abundant, besides different species of primitive rock. In the centre of the area mentioned, a tower was built by subscription in the year 1832- intended as a kind of jail or lock-up for vagrants. It was, however, converted to another purpose, and there is now a druggist’s shop in the basement floor of the Tower of Dufftown. It is a very conspicuous object, four storeys high, besides a spire covered with zinc, surmounted by a vane, the whole height being about ninety feet. Dr Menzies, one of the most enterprising gentlemen in Dufftown for public improvements, and Mr Findlater, factor for the late Lord Fife in the district, both took a deep interest in the erection of the tower, and, by means of subscription and their own liberality, got a fine clock that cost £150, and a bell that cost other £50, thus completing what may be called the Steeple of Dufftown. Except this tower, there is not, strictly speaking, a public building in the village, for the public hall of the town, as an Irishman would say, is private property, and belongs to Mr Shand, merchant, one of the most extensive Proprietors in the village. With one exception, that of ex-Provost Macdonell, who is solely a draper, all the other merchants have general businesses, and their number is twelve. Having begun to speak of merchants, we may continue, and notice that the principal among them are Mr Shand, already mentioned, Mr Morrison, and Mr Innes, both of whose shops are in Mr Shand’s property, Mr Robert Eyval, Mr John Walker, Mr Robert Eyval Junior, Miss Gordon, Mr James Smith, &c., &c. There are two saddlers in the village- Messrs Symon & Son and Mr George Grant; three blacksmiths- Mr William Grant, Mr Peter Fraser, and Mr Stronach; two joiners- Messrs J. & J. Macpherson and Messrs James Dey & Son; one cabinetmaker- Mr John Yeats; three builders- Messrs Craib & Shiach, Mr Wm. Mackay, and Mr Findlater Coutts. It may naturally be asked, how, in a small place, all these merchants and tradesmen can be supported? For they all carry on extensive businesses, turning over more money in the course of the year than any one could believe. The reason of this is to be found in the fact that a number of Highland glens have, as it were, a common centre in Dufftown, and that a better spot could not have been selected for a village. Lord Fife knew this and acted accordingly, and the result is that Dufftown shares largely in the trade of Achindown, Cabrach, Glenrinnes, Morange, Glenlivet, Boharm, Botriphnie, and Glass. This is the secret of Dufftown’s success and the reader will not be surprised when we state that of late years the value of property has risen greatly in it- fully one-third, it is said; and the number of houses presently building also shows the prosperity of the place. Within the last two or three years a number of very fine houses have been added to the village, fine villas with gardens beautifully situated upon the rising ground above the confluence of the Fiddich and Dullan- really charming residences in a spot combining all the features of rural beauty. The same spot was chosen more than 800 years ago by the Monks for a monastery, and, as at Kinloss, they pitched upon a spot of the richest soil to be met with in the whole country. Long ago, however, the foundations of the monastery have been ploughed up, and one fine house after another is rising upon lands that were once consecrated.             Among the first of the fine villas erected on this once hallowed, and still beautiful spot was “The Cottage,” which was built by Mr Macintosh of the Mortlach Distillery, and which has for many years past been inhabited by Mr Petrie, banker, who lately made a large addition to it for the accommodation of his branch of the North of Scotland Bank, and his other business. The roman Catholic Chapel, Schools, and Parsonage are near the same spot, within little more than a stone-cast of the site of the old monastery. Next, we may notice here a large house lately erected by Mr Cowie, Mortlach Distillery, a most commodious residence with a fine garden, and close by it another new building appears very much in the same style, and of about equal dimensions, belonging to Mr Gordon, Mortlach Distillery. Here all the houses have fine hanging gardens facing the rising sun. Up the valley the Manse of Mortlach has a very fine appearance. It’s Elizabethan architecture, and beautiful situation on a green holm embosomed in wood, render it to the eye of the beholder one of the sweetest spots on the banks of the Dullan. The house of Pittyvaich is seen in the background, peeping from amongst the trees by which it is very pleasantly surrounded. Near Fife’s Mills, Mr Gordon of Tallochallum built a fine residence a few years ago, and since he resigned his farm in favour of his son, Mr Gordon, land surveyor, he has lived in it. Close by, Miss Gordon has erected a house very similar in dimensions and style. We have already alluded to the new Female School, and we should also notice a new house built on the opposite side of the street by Mr Shiach, mason. TRADE OF DUFFTOWN. The village can support two banks. There has been a branch of the North of Scotland Bank in it for twenty-four years conducted by Mr Petrie, and some five or six years ago, a branch of Aberdeen Town and County Bank was established in Dufftown, and Mr Cantlie, Keithmore, appointed agent. On market-days the banks are thronged, and all men of business in the district now seem convinced of the value of banking establishments. Depositors are becoming gradually more numerous, even from the most remote corners of the glens, where the chest was wont to be the “ safe,” there being a strong suspicion that banks were not altogether to be trusted. For a long time past there have been seven cattle markets in the year at Duff­town, and there will now be twelve, besides a weekly corn market. Monthly cattle markets have just been established in order that the farmers of the district may the more fully reap the advantages of the railway communication now opened to Dufftown. This is one proof of the stimulus that the opening of the railway is to give to the trade of the dis­trict, and, as a farther proof of this, we may mention that Messrs Gordon & Cowie, distillers, are to establish a coal depot at the railway station ; that Messrs G. & G. Kynoch, Keith, are to build manure stores and have an agency at it; that Mr Gordon Robertson, Keith, is to do the same ; that Mr Alexander G. Bremner, Keith, is to have a coal depot, and an agent also at the station ; and it is more than likely the corn dealers of the district— Messrs Macdonald, of the steam mills, Dufftown ; Mr John Innes, Bregach, Glenrinnes, and others- will forthwith erect grain stores. MORTLACH DISTILLERY While speaking of the trade of the town, we must not omit to notice the public works, and the first of these that claims attention is Mortlach Distillery, which was built by Messrs Gordon, Mackintosh, & Co. It was ultimately ac­quired and wrought for some years by A. T. Gregory, Esq. of Buchromb. it was then purchased by Messrs J. & J. Grant of Glengrant, then distillers at Aberlour. This firm took away the distillery apparatus, and the distillery was unoccupied for some years, the barley granary in the interval serving as a Free Church until one was erected in Dufftown. Mr John Gordon then bought the distillery, and for some years conducted a brewery business in it. In a short time, however, he commenced distilling, and, by and bye. assumed as a partner Mr George Cowie. The works have been greatly enlarged and improved. The granary is now 150 feet in length, and capable of holding more than 600 quarters of barley. The malt barns are beneath, and, as the work is situated on a slope, the dis­tillery premises are on a lower level still. The supply of water is abundant and fine, and the whole machinery is driven by an overshot wheel, twelve feet in diameter. Eight men are employed at the distillery, and about forty quarters of barley are used weekly. The works are most compact and convenient, and the spirits produced are of excellent quality. They are mostly sold in Leith and Glas­gow, but have attained some celebrity in the district trader the name of “The real John Gordon.” In byres adjoining the distillery there are generally about twenty-four cattle kept, and fattened upon burnt ale and draff, the ale being conveyed to them from the distillery in pipes, so that nothing more is necessary than to turn a cock in the byre and let it flow into their troughs. Besides this bestial about 150 pigs are fed upon the refuse of the distillery. LIME WORKS. Next in importance to the distillery, and in its immediate neighborhood, are two lime works, one of them situated on the Duke of Richmond’s property on the east side of the Dullan, and called the Richmond Lime Works, while the other is on the west side of the stream, and is known as the Tininver Lime Works. As the ladies must always have the preference, we are bound first to notice the Tininver Works, of which the ostensible manager is Mr Gordon, late of Tullochallum, but the management in reality devolves upon Miss Gordon, a young lady that combines shrewd business habits with all the feminine tenderness and amia­bility that distinguishes her sex. She is now supplying the contractor on the Strathspey railway with lime, and has engaged to furnish 3000 bolls to the Forres and Dunkeld Railway ; and we may add that Miss Gordon is establish­ing another lime work in Botriphnie, on the Drummuir estate, where there is very fine rock. The Richmond Lime Works, east of the Dullan, of which Mr Cantlie, Keithmore, is tenant, also turn out a great quantity of lime, supplying it to builders and farmers over the whole district. Lime is driven from these works, on either side of the Dul­lan, to Cabrach, Rhynie, Auchindown, Kildrummie, Towie, and Strathdon, on the one side, and to Glenlivet, Inveraven, Aberlour, Knockando, Rothes, and Dallas, on the other— a proof of the excellence of the material. STEAM MILLS. The steam mills erected at the east end of Balvenie Street, about eighteen months ago, by Mr M‘Donald, Bal­venie Mills, have brought a valuable addition to the trade of the town. They are threshing and meal mills, driven by steam power, built upon the most improved principles, and furnished with first-class machinery. The mills are 63 feet long, 20 wide, and 18 high, and the kiln is 18 feet square. No improvement has been neglected so far as shifting the ma­terial is concerned, and the onlooker sees a novelty in the drum of the threshing mill striking downwards, a plan that does not throw the corn among the straw. The engine driving the whole is of ten horse power, and is a fine piece of workmanship. The contrast between such mills and the “flail, and sheelin’ hill, and the quern” – all used to make the sheaf into meal in the olden time—is great indeed, for the sheaves go in at the one door of the mill, and the meal in sacks comes out at the other. The wool mills belonging to Mr Stewart also deserve no­tice. They are called Fife’s Mills. Hitherto they have only prepared the wool and spun it, but arrangements are now being made for weaving as well as spinning—weaving, we believe, in power-loom fashion, which would be a novelty in the district. There is a large dye-work connected with the mills, and an extensive trade carried on. While thus noticing manufactures, we must not forget the one that supplies Dufftown with gas. The distillery has had a gas work of its own for many years, and some nine or ten years ago the village was illuminated for the first time with the new light. The manufacturing of it has not paid the shareholders, although the price to the consumers is 15s per 1000 cubic feet. The causes of this we leave others to ex­plain. In a village of so much trade, in the centre of an impor­tant district, there is of course much buying and selling, and much sold under the auctioneer’s hammer. Dufftown, by the way, has long been rather famous for its auctioneers. The late Mr John Grant was almost inimitable as an auctioneer, and was the great land measurer and valuator of the district, and known extensively for a valuable work he published on land measuring, &c. As an auc­tioneer he was succeeded by Mr Cantlie, also a first-class salesman, having an exhaustless fund of wit and humour, that put buyers on good terms with themselves and all the world. Mr James Grant, son of the first mentioned auc­tioneer, followed Mr Cantlie in the business, and is one of the most extensively employed and smartest salesmen in the whole country. So much for the trade of Dufftown. Now for its tempe­rance. Dufftown, being situated in the centre of a district where “ ewies wi’ the crookit horn” were once common, had the unenviable character of being rather on the wrong side of teetotalism. About a dozen years ago, when there were only 800 to 900 people in the village, there were twenty- three public houses in it, or about one to every thirty inha­bitants, and as families are averaged to consist of six, every six families would seem to have had an inn of their own. What a field for a teetotal lecturer! But this is taking Dufftown proper rather at a disadvantage, as the country round was, no doubt, as drouthy as the village, and was nearly all supplied from the same source. These days, how­ever, are past, for now the number of public houses and inns together is only sixteen, to a population of more than 1200. The chief innkeepers are- Mr Wm. Wilson, Fife Arms Hotel; Mr John Mitchell, White Horse Inn ; Mrs Craib ; Mr David Craib ; Mr James Coutts, Star Inn ; Mr George Stewart, Plough Inn, Mr George Taylor, Black Bull Inn, &c. Coming to speak of learning and the learned professions, we must first notice that there are three medical gentlemen in the village—Dr Menzies, Dr Ritchie, and Dr Keir. All are well employed, owing to the extent of the district, in addition to the town population. It is invidious to make comparisons in any profession, but in one department—as an accoucheur—Dr Menzies is really eminent, and is readily acknowledged to be so by the profession. CHURCHES. The Catholic Chapel and the buildings connected with it, as seen from the street, do not appear to be very extensive, but when examined more closely, they completely surprise a stranger. Here we find a boy’s school, attended by sixty scholars, and taught by the laborious and kind-hearted priest, the Rev. John Kemp. The school is hung with maps ; and the children are taught most efficiently by an accomplished scholar. Besides this school, the premises has within the past two years been greatly enlarged. In fact, a great establishment has been built for a girl’s school, with every accommodation for boarding them— public rooms, dormitories, and everything necessary for such an institution being fitted up, and far advanced towards completion. In a short time there will probably be well nigh two hundred, boys and girls together, receiving education at the seminaries of the Catholic Church of Duff­town. Passing from these schools to the door of the chapel, we find a neatly kept garden and a large green-house. The Rev. Mr Kemp is not only his own gardener, but his own joiner, for the green-house (and a splendid one it is) was all made by him during the vacations of the school; and the new girl’s boarding establishment is built after the plan of Mr Kemp, who certainly fulfils the command of being diligent in business as well as being a fervent in spirit. The Catholic Chapel was built in 1824, when the place of meeting for the congregation was transferred from Achin­down to Dufftown. The members gather from a distance of ten miles round, and the attendance is large. The church in which they worship is a perfect model of its kind : and, to an enlightened mind, nothing is more pleasant than to see beauty and ornament in a temple dedicated to the worship of the God of Israel, whose house on Mount Zion had both the one and the other. Presbyterians until the present age have been contented with churches as plain as barns, there being a stupid superstition against ornate church architecture, but the Catholics have held to the Gothic; and in Dufftown we find a church with groined arches supporting the roofs in Cathedral form, but without looking attentively at the ribs of these are seen to be beautifully gilded, and imitation marble walls correspond with the splendour above. The organ is too powerful for the church, so much so that it would break the glass in the windows were the tones not subdued. It is in reality a splendid instrument. The altar however, deserves more attention, there not being its equal in the whole North of Scotland. On the left side of it is a painting of St Moloch, the Patron Saint of Mortlach, and on the right St Bean, and the “Assumption” in the centre. Over the altar is to be seen a gorgeous canopy. Gothic in form, and surmounted by a dome, on which the armorial bearings of twelve bishops are represented, the number of dioceses into which Scotland was at one time divided. The coat of arms of the Bishop of Mortlach is more conspicuous than the rest, being engraven in brass. The splendour of this church is due in a great measure to the late Rev. Mr Gordon, a gentleman that combined fine taste with superior talents for his office. He was, as a composer in music, second perhaps to none in the kingdom, in of which his pieces are sung through all the Catholic chapels in Scotland. He was the intimate companion of Mr Marshall, the famous composer of Strathspeys, and in the parsonage- may still be seen the old organ on which Mr Gordon played when composing his tunes. The chapel has, however, been farther decorated by the present incumbent, Mr Kemp, who has established the schools already men­tioned, and whose amiable character, as well as his diligence, makes him, we mav say, the favourite of all. The Church of Mortlach, whose antiquity we have al­ready noticed, is seated for about 1000 of a congregation, and it may be said she is filled every Sabbath. The Sabbath School is also well attended, the scholars being about 110. and the pastor, the Rev. Mr Cruickshank, is ably assisted in managing the school by his amiable partner in life, by his family, and various members of the congregation. The Free Church is not a large building, but is very conspicu­ously situated, and there is a very fine manse close beside the church. The Rev. Mr Shoolbraid, the minister, belongs to Elgin, and labours with much zeal and acceptance. SCHOOLS, &c. After churches, schools naturally come under our notice, and with them Dufftown is certainly well supplied. The parish school, situated at the top of the village, and only at a short distance from the church, has been much en­larged of late, and is attended by about 100 boys. All mo­dern improvements in education have been adopted in the school, which is taught successfully by Mr M’Pherson, a certificated teacher. Last year a girl’s school was erected near the parish school, and is now attended by nearly 100 girls. The two seminaries have no connection with each other ; but the Rev. Mr Cruickshank has been most active in getting up the female school, collecting subscriptions for it, along with a number of other gentlemen who have taken an interest in the matter. The building has cost nearly £600, about one-half of which was got from government, and the other half raised, as we have said, by subscription. Miss Gill, who has been appointed teacher, is, we believe, a native of Montrose, in Forfarshire. She is, of course, a certificated teacher, and is giving, we are told, great satis­faction. Besides these two schools, there are others in the village. There is one under the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, attended by about forty girls, and ably thought by Miss Menzies; and another girls’ School, with an attendance of about fifty-five, among whom Miss Hector labours also with diligence and success. To these female schools we must add a boys’ school, kept by Mr Da­vidson, who is now advanced in years, but is still an excel­lent teacher, and has about sixty scholars under his tuition. We have already mentioned the Catholic schools, and have only to state the interesting fact that one in every five of the population of the parish is at school—a very large pro­portion indeed, and highly honourable to the district. While speaking of educational institutions, we may state that there is a Subscription Library in the village—a large one for the place. Mr James Grant is librarian, and readers have ample choice among bonks of science and lite­rature, and a number of periodicals are taken in by the readers. Psalmody is now greatly improved in the parish by means of an association, under the leadership of Mr Ingram, precentor of the Parish Church, who labours with unremitting diligence, and has infused a spirit among the people for church music. A taste for instrumental music has also been spread by the Dufftown Juvenile Instrumen­tal Band, taught by John Walker, Esq., accountant. North of Scotland Bank. His is purely a labour of love, and, by his musical talent and diligence, the band has made great progress. The interesting village and district we have just described will soon become better known throughout Scotland, now that railway communication has reached it, and the fa­cilities will stimulate every branch of industry carried on in the district. [...]