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. Many landowners in North-East Scotland founded planned villages which they hoped would provide work 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 is a fine example of such a planned village. It was founded in 1764 by Alexander Gordon, the laird of Auchintoul, and was originally known as Foggieloan, after a nearby fermtoun which is marked, along with Auchintoul House on the first detailed map of the area, drawn about 1750.
The original village was built on a grid pattern around a central square. Walking round the old part of the town, now a conservation area, you can imagine how the original settlement looked, 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.
Although there are very few buildings in Aberchirder and the surrounding area which would find their way into books on architecture, there are some which have a lot of history to tell us.
Here are brief details of some of these buildings which you can see as you explore the village . You will find more information by following the links to the Virtual Museum.
Aberchirder around 1900 had three churches as well as three chapels. Visit the Virtual Museum – Religion – for their history.
- New Marnoch Church, Main Street east end
- St Marnan’s Church, Main Street top end
- United Free Church, corner of North Street & Cornhill Road
As late as 1960 Foggie suffered from water shortages in dry weather and had to rely on the original public wells. You can see three of these today.
- Back Spoot, Taylor Drive
- Bruckle Well, Bronchal Court
- Little Haven, off South Street
At one time Aberchirder had five hotels, of which you can still see four. You can find more details in the Virtual Museum – Commerce
- Fife Arms, The Square
- New Inn, 79 Main Street
- Temperance Hotel, The Square (now a private house)
- Walkers Inn (former Commercial Hotel), South Street
Today all children of primary age in and around Foggie attend the school in Smith Crescent. In earlier times many buildings in the town were used as schools. Two of them can still be seen. See the Virtual Museum – Education – for more details
- Aberchirder School (now the Old School)
- St Marnan’s School (now St Marnan’s Church Hall)