DUFFTOWN, a village, founded in 1817, was created a police burgh under the “General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act in 1863. The burgh is in the parish of Mortlach and is 118 miles north of Edinburgh, 52 north-west of Aberdeen, 30 south-west of Banff, 14 north-east of Inveravon, 10 south-west of Keith and 6 south-east of Aberlour, situated a short way to the north of the old decayed hamlet of Mortlach, near the junction of the Dullan and the Fiddoch waters. It has a station on the Elgin and Keith branch line of the Great North of Scotland railway, via Rothes and Craigellachie Junction.

This place has been much improved by its patrons, the Duke of Fife and the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the former having in 1881 carried out a thorough system of drainage at a cost of about £700. The town comprises a central open square from which streets diverge each side. In the centre of the square stands a large tower of considerable height with turrets at the corners and surmounted by a belfry containing one bell and a clock with four dials, which, in commemoration of the Jubilee of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria, were converted into illuminated dials at a cost of about £10: it was formerly used as a gaol, but is now (1903) used as the burgh chambers and court house, and includes a dwelling place for the burgh officer.

During the summer months the burgh is much frequented by visitors, on account of its healthy situation and the beautiful scenery in and around its vicinity. There are two hotels, viz. the Fife Arms and the Commercial; the former is an establishment of long standing. An extensive trade in lime is carried on by Mr. James Kemp, Parkmore Lime Works, and there are seven distilleries. “There are two branch banks. viz. the Town and County Bank Limited and the North of Scotland Bank Limited. A commodious Masonic Hall was built in 1887, which is also used for meetings &c. A Sheriff court for small debt cases is held four times a year, in January April, July and October, as fixed by the sheriff.

The places of worship comprise a church of the Establishment, which is of very ancient date, restored in 1877 at a cost of £1,500; in 1888 a fine organ was erected at a cost £700: the building has three fine lancet windows in the east end, and contains several interesting monuments, one being erected in 1420 in memory of a chamberlain of Balvenie Castle, another to a John Gordon, of Brodland who died in 1433 at Buchromb, also one at the end of the 17th century, interesting as being the monument of an ancestor of the present Duke of Fife: it is asserted that this church was the cathedral of the first Bishopric of Scotland, and that the three bishops of this see were buried here, the bishopric being afterwards transferred to Aberdeen.

The United Free church enlarged and remodelled in 1891, when a tower and spire were added, and a stained window has been presented by Lord Mount Stephen. The Episcopal church erected in 1880 by Canon Jupp, of Aberlour, in memory of his mother, is an edifice in the Gothic style and will seat 135 persons: the circular east window is stained. There is also a Roman Catholic church.

The Stephen Cottage Hospital was founded in 1889, at a cost of £2,500, by Lord Mount Stephen, of Grand Metis, Canada, and Brocket Hall, Hatfield, Herts, who was born at Dufftown in 1829; it is beautifully equipped and contains 10 beds and one cot; the endowment fund is £5,500, and it is open to the inhabitants of Mortlach and Glenrinnes. A new Isolation Hospital for Upper Banffshire is now (1903) in course of erection. The Mortlach parish Hall, opened in 1894, at a cost of £1,600, is vested in the kirk session of the parish church, and comprises a public reading room and library; the hall itself will hold 700 people.

Mortlach is famous as the scene of the signal victory gained over the Danes by Malcolm II in 1010, which was fought a few hundred yards south-west of Balvenie Castle. The district also possesses the ruins of Auchindoun castle and Balvenie Castle.

The Elgin Market Green Auction Co. Limited hold a sale for cattle &c. at their mart every alternate Thursday, and feeing markets are held the third Wednesday in May, the second Wednesday in July and the third Wednesday in November. The arear of Mortlach parish is 34,184 acres; burghal (Dufftown), £5,002; population of the civil parish in 1891, 2,754, and in 1901, 3,426, and 2,784 in the ecclesiastical parish, of which Dufftown contained 1,823.


Provost, John Symon
Bailies, Donald Spence & Alexander Taylor
Councillors, Nine
Burgh Prosecutor, John L. Craig
Clerk, Alexander Walkinshaw
Sheriff’s Clerk Depute, John Innes
Burgh Surveyor, Donald M’Kay
Sanitary Inspector, Alexander S. Begg
Treasurer & Collector, John Innes
Inspector of Poor & Collector of Rates,
Acting Clerk & Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages, George Innes, Albert Place
Hon. Sheriff Substitute, Alex M’Cowie