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Huntly, General

Burgh (Medieval), Town (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Huntly, General

Classification Burgh (Medieval), Town (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Milton Of Strathbogie; Torrisoule

Canmore ID 17754

Site Number NJ53NW 19

NGR NJ 52 39

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Huntly
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Gordon
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Huntly is hill-girt and river-wrought: the rivers Bogie and Deveron enclose two sides of the town which lies in a wide bowl of rolling, upland country. It stands athwart two major routeways: that from Strathdon to the coast and the east/west one from Aberdeen to Moray, and takes it name from the Gordons of Huntly, who hailed from Berwickshire and from whom,

in 1445 or 1449, the first Earl of Gordon was created. The third Earl, Alexander, received, in 1506, a charter which confirmed him in his lands as long as his 'chief messuage be named the Castle of Huntly'. This is therefore the heart of Gordon country, the family who were the major Catholic landowners in late medieval Scotland, and a source of inspiration and grief in equal measures. Created a burgh of barony in 1545, the regular grid-plan derives from the 1776 scheme of the Duke of Gordon.

There are so many Huntlys - the castle complex by the Deveron, the old town straggling up the hill from the Bogie, the grand new burgh with its eclectic square, surrounded by solid, often rather fine 19th-century development, with the modern expansion to the west and south.

'Vpon the River of Dovern ar castelis, Touris, palices and gentil menis places nocht few, in quhilkes ar cheif and Principal, Strathbolgie, the principal place of the Erle of Huntley and Rothemay...'

Bishop Leslie (1578) in P HumeBrown, 'Scotland before 1700 from contemporary documents', Edinburgh, 1893

Houses in Huntly at one time were called 'The Rawes' (being built in rows) as in the local proverb: 'Ne'er misuse a Gordon in the Rawes o'Strathbogie'.

'A very pleasant village ... It has a clean, beautiful, thriving look, and without asking a single question, one can see that manufactures are carried on in it to a very considerable amount annually'. Linen manufacture was introduced about 45 years ago by an Irishman, Hugh Mackveagh, and silk stockings 'made from the waste purchased from the silk and silk

gauze weavers. They manufacture the finest silk into knee-garters, mitts and breeches-pieces. They have also a small tannery and a manufacture of white and brown threads'.

Francis Douglas, 'A general description of the east coast of Scotland from Edinburgh to Cullen', Paisley, 1782

'Huntly is now a place of no particular manufactures and the trade is merely local and confined to the immediate

neighbourhood. The town appears to be rapidly declining ...'

Pigot's Directory, 1837

'By 1900 [Huntly] had four woollen mills, a hosiery factory and a large agricultural implements manufacturer. It served a wide area as a market and shopping centre, attracted many holiday visitors, and enjoyed the patronage of the Dukes of

Richmond and Gordon.'

S Wood, 'The Shaping of 19th-century Aberdeenshire', 1985

Taken from "Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie - An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NJ53NW 19 52 39

Also known as Milton of Strathbogie or Torrisoule. Erected burgh of barony (Earl of Huntly) 27 March 1488; erected burgh of regality (Duke of Gordon) 21 May 1684.

G S Pryde 1965.


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