Virtual Museum


Aberchirder : A Classic 18th Century Planned Village

The second half of the 18th Century was a time of great change in country life in Scotland, as new ways of farming meant fewer people were needed to work the land. In contrast to most of their Highland counterparts, many landowners in North-East Scotland felt a moral duty to help their surplus tenants. Their approach was to found planned villages which they hoped would provide employment in textiles and other industries - and, of course, to provide the landowners themselves with an additional source of income from the rents and feu duties.

Aberchirder, in the county of Banffshire, is a fine example of such a planned village. It was founded in 1764 by Alexander Gordon, the laird of Auchintoul. The photo on the right shows Auchintoul House as it looked around 1900.  It was seriously damaged by fire in the 1980s, but the Gisselbaek family have now restored it beautifully.

(Photograph Contributed by Phyllis Wright)

Auchintoul House

Roy Map

Aberchirder was originally known as Foggieloan, after a nearby ferm toun* which is marked on the first detailed map of the area, which was drawn by Roy as part of a military mapping exercise aimed at making it easier to control Scotland in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. The map also shows Auchintoul House.

* A few cottages surrounded by land cultivated by the tenants.

Although Gordon called the village Foggieloan, his successor as owner of the estate, John Morison, renamed it Aberchirder after the thanes of Aberkerdour who lived at Kinnairdy Castle (right) on the River Deveron in the 13th Century. However, the popular name of Foggieloan - often shortened to Foggie - has survived for over two centuries, and has been incorporated in the motto of the coat of arms.

(Gammie Postcard contributed by Bill Simpson)

Kinnairdy Castle

Aberchirder in its Early Years

The original village was built on a grid pattern around a central square, with a mix of single or one-and-a-half storey thatched, stone-built houses fronting onto the streets and, at the back, long feu gardens which provided the inhabitants with most of their food.  At that time Foggie consisted of a fairly complete Main Street, with buildings on feus running north to Back Street (now North Street) and the Long Lane (now Southview Terrace).  A few houses had been built on feus on the north side of Back Street, but there was no South Street.  It only appeared when the Banff to Huntly turnpike road was built in 1805, passing along the southern edge of the village – as the main road still does today.

Map of 1799

Click on the image to open a larger map in a new window.

This map of 1799 shows how the original village was built on a grid pattern around a central square,

Many of the original houses were improved or replaced during the 19th Century, but the house shown south of the Square on the map, still survives in a ruinous condition, and is Foggie’s oldest building.

(This photograph is from the Foggie 2000 collection within the museum.)

Foggie's oldest building

Holmes Postcard

The old part of the town, now a conservation area, lets you imagine how the original settlement looked.

This picture, taken  around 1900, looks towards The Square from the top of Main Street.

(Holmes Postcard contributed by Bob Peden)

To view other images of relating to the Foundation of Foggie, please visit
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