Dufftown - Encyclopedia

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DUFFTOWN, a municipal and police burgh of Banffshire, Scotland, on the Fiddich, 64 m. W.N.W. of Aberdeen by the Great North of Scotland railway. Pop. (1901) 1823. It dates from 1817 and bears the name of its founder, James Duff, 4th earl of Fife. Although planned in the shape of a cross, with a square and tower in the middle, the arms of the cross are not straight, the constructor holding the ingenious opinion that, in order to prevent little towns from being taken in at a glance, their streets should be crooked. The leading industries are limeworks and distilleries, the water being specially fitted for the making of whisky. The town has considerable repute as a health resort, owing partly to its elevation (737 ft.) and partly to the natural charms of the district. The parish of Mortlach, in which Dufftown is situated, is rich in archaeological and historical associations. What is called the Stone of Mortlach is traditionally believed to have been erected to commemorate the success of Malcolm II. over the Danes in 1010. The three large stones known as "The King's Grave," a hill-fort, and cairns are of interest to the antiquary. The old church of Mortlach, though restored and almost renewed, still contains some lancet windows and a round-headed doorway, besides monuments dating from 1417. A portion of old Balvenie Castle, a ruin, is considered to be of Pictish origin, but most of it is in the Scots Baronial. It has associations with Alexander Stewart, earl of Buchan and lord of Badenoch (1343-1405), son of Robert II., whose ruffianly conduct in Elginshire earned him the designation of the Wolf of Badenoch, the Comyns, the Douglases (to whom it gave the title of baron in the 15th century), the Stuarts and the Duffs. The new castle, an uninteresting building, was erected in 1724 by the earl of Fife, and though untenanted is maintained in repair. Two miles to the S.E. of Dufftown is the ruined castle of Auchindown, finely situated on a limestone crag, 200 ft. high, of which three sides are washed by the Fiddich and the fourth was protected by a moat. It dates from the 11th century, and once belonged to the Ogilvies, from whom it passed in 1535 to the Gordons. The Gothic hall with rows of fluted pillars is in fair preservation. Ben Rinnes (2755 ft.) and several other hills of lesser altitude all lie within a few miles of Dufftown. About 4 m. to the N.W. is Craigellachie - Gaelic for "the rock of alarm" - (pop. 454), on the confines of Elginshire. It is situated on the Spey amidst scenery of surpassing loveliness. The slogan of the Grants is "Stand fast Craigellachie!" The place has become an important junction of the Great North of Scotland railway system.

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