fp-1.3 History 1550 to 1879


General History – 1550 to 1879

Researched by Findlay Pirie

This article contains many fascinating snippets of information about the life and work of many people who (a) once trod the pavements of Portsoy and/or (b) ventured forth into the wide world south of Ordiquil.


Banffshire Reporter, 22nd. September 1876: -

CHARTER OF PORTSOY – According to the best translation we can obtain of the “Charter of Portsoy” – it is as follows: -

“OUR SOVEREIGN LORD, with the advice of the estates of this present Parliament, has ratified, approved, and confirmed, and by the tenor of the said act, ratifies, approves, and confirms the Charter and Infeftment granted by his Highness’ dearest mother, under his great seal, making, constituting, and confirming the town of Portsoy in free Burgh of Barony, of which Charter the tenor follows –

Mary Queen of Scots

MARY, by the grace of God, Queen of Scots, to all faithful men, both clergy and laymen, in all her dominions, greeting. Know ye that, with advice and consent of our well beloved cousin and guardian, James, Duke of Chatelherault, Earl of Arran and Lord of Hamilton, Protector and Governor of our Kingdom,

for the maintenance of good government and prosperity in the town of Portsoy, lying near the sea, in the lower part of our county of Banff, pertaining hereditary to Sir Walter Ogilvy of Boyne; for the reception and entertainment of our lieges who come either by sea or land to the said town, and for the general benefit, improvement, and good government of our Kingdom ; as well as for the good, faithful, and gratuitous services rendered to us by the said Walter ; we have made, erected, and created, and do hereby make, erect, and create the said town of Portsoy, with its pertinents, lying in the thanedom of Boyne, in our foresaid county, into a free Burgh of Barony for ever,

with free and full power, authority, and licence to the present and future inhabitants of the said burgh to buy and sell in the same, wines, wax, woollen and linen cloth, broad and narrow, and all and sundry other kinds of merchandise, and also grant to them to hold and to have bakers, tailors, butchers, fishsellers, and all other necessary tradesmen belonging to a free Burgh of Barony,

and also grant the said burgh free burgesses, who in all time coming shall have full power annually to elect ,bailies of the said burgh , and all other officials necessary for governing the same, with power further to the burgesses and inhabitants of the said burgh for ever to have and to hold a market cross, and a market every week on Wednesday, with a free annual fair on the day of the holy Archangel Michael (Michaelmas Day) and for eight days thereafter,

and to receive, intromit, and likewise to dispose of tolls, customs, and all dues which belong, or which are in any way distinguished as belonging to a free fair, and also to use and enjoy for ever the liberties , powers, and privileges and privileges belonging, or in any way by the law and custom of our Kingdom held as belonging, to a free Burgh of Barony.

The said town of Portsoy with its pertinents (we give) to hold and to have to the said Sir Walter Ogilvy of Boyne, his heirs and assignees, and to the bailies, burgesses, and inhabitants of the said burgh, from us and our successors, for a free Burgh of Barony, with all and sundry the privileges, liberties, and concessions aforesaid, for ever, freely, quietly, fully, entirely, honourably, well, and in peace.

In testimony of which we have caused to be affixed to this present charter our great seal, before witnesses: – The Most Reverend Father in Christ, John, Archbishop of St. Andrews; our well beloved cousins, Archibald, Duke of Argyle, Lord Campbell and Lorn, and William, Lord Ruthven, our Privy Seal; our well beloved friends, Mr. Thomas Majoribanks of Ratho, Master of our Rolls and clerk of Register and Council; John Bellenden of Auchnoul, our Clerk of Justiciary; and Alexander Livingstone of Donipace, our Chancellor.

At Edinburgh, this fifteenth day of the month of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand five hundred and fifty, and the eighth (1558) year of our reign.”

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, August 11th 1942: -

PICTURES FROM HISTORY

The Hill of Durn – Primitive man has added an interest here by the construction of a series of fortifications, the date of which is unknown. These defence works reveal a state of anxious fear in the minds of the inhabitants of the time, also the development of one of the first laws of nature, self-preservation.

From the extent and strength of the works it is evident that they were designed not only for the bulk of the people but for all their goods and chattels. The description runs “There is a triple fossae and rampart on the sides and top of the hill which seems to quite surround it. Its highest point, which includes the large plain on the top of the hill, appears to have been strong, with a stone rampart or wall, especially at the entry or the most accessible part, where it joins the Hill of Fordyce. It commands a good view of the country and probably was used as a retreat for the people, their families and cattle in the event of invasion from the sea by the Danes, or incursions from the wild Highlanders.”

Glassaugh – Some sixty years ago another discovery was made a little to the west of the Hill of Durn, in the Glassaugh area. Here there was a hillock of some size, in all probability looked upon as a natural elevation of the ground. Chance led to inspection and this revealed a structure of stone covered with a coating of green sods. The interior, which was of large size, disclosed a stone coffin, containing a human skeleton. The inside measurements of the building were sixteen feet in height and sixty feet in diameter. Such cairns are recognised as of two types – chambered, belonging to the Stone Age; unchambered, to the bronze age.

Circles of stones are not uncommon in many parts of the country. On the site of the now ruinous windmill at Glassaugh there was a circle of stones until its removal about the year 1760. The stones were fourteen feet in height and the diameter of the circle sixty feet. A stone coffin containing a skeleton and a deer’s horn were found within the circle.

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From the Fordyce Parish Church records, 18th. December 1709: -

ALLOCATION OF CHURCH SEATS – Intimation of Act of Kirk Session giving to the ‘Seamen of Portsoy’, rights to occupy seats in the loft of the Church of Fordyce equal to the rights already enjoyed by the seamen of Sandend

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1728 – Portsoy Cemetery brought into use.

1740 – GREAT FAMINE – Following the disastrous harvest of 1740 there was a great famine.

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1741 – GREAT FAMINE – From the Fordyce Parish Church records: -

April 26th. Condescended that in respect of the great poverty and dearth of victual a general distribution should be made of the ‘Poor’s Money’.

May 8th. The minister and elders having met there was distributed to the poor £71/10/-

May 13th. The minister represented that he had been considering the distressed state of the parish by the great dearth and scarcity of victual and therefore moved that the Session should advance what money they have in hand just now and give their obligation to any gentlemen that would lend them money for the purchasing of meal for the use of poor people in the parish – to both of which the Session unanimously agreed.

June 25th. Thanks expressed to Captain Abercrombie of Glassaugh for advancing funds to the Session to purchase meals for the poor.

Nov. 1st. Intimation was made of a thanksgiving to be observed next Thursday on account of the “plentiful harvest”.

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1741 LOSS OF TWO SANDEND FISHING BOATS. – From the Fordyce Parish Church records: -

14th. June – Text from the morning sermon. Luke 13, 1 to 5 on the occasion of two of the fishing boats from Sandend being cast away at sea and all the crews drowned.

21st. June – Intimation made of a general collection throughout the Parish for the relief of the poor widows in Sandend.

19th. July – Elders hand over the collection for the widows of Sandend. Total £54/19/-. To be given to them by degrees.

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1741 ABANDONED CHILD FOUND AT ARNBATH. From the Fordyce Parish Church records: -

Sept 27th. – Session met and was constituted. A fatherless child having been dropped in John Ogilvie’s house at Arnbath and nobody knowing to what place it belongs, it was agreed that 18 pence be given to the said John Ogilvie to take care of it until further enquiries be made.

Oct. 26th – Agreed that a peck of oatmeal be given weekly to Robert Runcie for maintaining the poor child left in John Ogilvie’s

May 4th. 1746 – Ordered that the poor child in Robert Runcie’s be dismissed to beg its bread and that the treasurer give something to buy clothes.

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Meeting at Banff on the 17th of May 1745 years. of the Commisioners of Supply with Regard to the Administration of the Roads in the County of Banff

It being represented, in name of my Lord Findlater, to the Justices that the public road after passing the Bridge of Durn in the King’s highway betwixt Banff and Cullen is becoming quite impassible by the brae on the side of the said road giving way and falling down, and that it’s absolutely necessary to alter the said road and carry it in through the head of the Town of Portsoy or thereby, and for that end his Lordship has caused the tenant leave out a rigg of land for making out said road, and was desirous to have the Justices of Peace concurrence for that effect. The Justices ordain that the said road be altered and made out at the sight of Sir Robert Abercromby, Sir William Dunbar, Mr. Grant of Tochieneal and the overseer, or any two of them accordingly.

Note : – From the foregoing it would appear that the old road up Langies Brae to Cowhythe was crumbling away on the sea side in 1745 and that a new road was constructed passing the present site of the water cistern. It follows that Cumberland’s Army must have travelled by this new road and crossed the burn at the bridge near the entrance to the R.C. Church which became known as Cumberland’s Bridge. – F Pirie.

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From the internet “Railscot” : -

1750 – A military road was built from Huntly to Portsoy

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Aberdeen Journal, Monday, October 15th 1751: -

PUBLIC NOTICE – WEEKLY MARKET – That the weekly market of Portsoy is to be revived. And to begin upon Saturday 19th October current, and to continue to be held upon every Saturday in all time coming. That as the merchants of the town are to attend upon market days, the country may expect ready sale for victual, fleshes of all kinds, linen yarn and all other commodities. That for encouraging the market, no toll or custom will be exacted for goods brought in.

Moreover the Baron Baillie will give one shilling sterling premium every Market Day for the first twelve months, to the person who shall expose to sale in the market, and actually sell, the most and best yarn, spun in their own families, of lint of the growth of Banffshire.

And that the first Market Day of every quarter will be given a good wheel and reel to the person who shall have got the most of the premiums for yarn in the quarter preceding.

No yarn to be allowed to contend for the premium that has ever been sold in a market before, nor yarn spun at any spinning school, established by the trustees.

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Aberdeen Journal, June 5th. 1753: -

FIRE AT PORTSOY: – On Sunday fe-ennight an inn-keeper’s servant at Portsoy carried a candle into the stable with him, and, on going to bed, carelessly left it amongst some straw, by which means the whole was set on fire; the stable was consumed to ashes, the poor boy and two horses burnt to death.

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Aberdeen Journal, Tuesday, October 30th. 1753: -

PUBLIC NOTICE. – Whereas sometime in the month of January 1750, was left in the hands of James Baxter in Portsoy, a parcel of iron pots, with a small matt of hemp, and since that time no person having claimed them, this public notice is given. That if the proprietor of said goods do not call for them, and pay cellar rent and other charges, betwixt this and the 1st. of January 1754, the goods will be sold for cellar rent and other charges.

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Aberdeen Journal Tuesday, May 13th 1755: -

DEATH OF BEGGAR WIFE – Last week died in the Parish of Fordyce an old beggar wife who called herself HAY, remarkable for being very troublesome whenever she came, and pretending extreme poverty. In the time of her last illness she collected her money (which amounted to upwards of 40 l. sterling) and secured it under her arm-pit where she hugged it while Life remained. On her demise the neighbours kept a merry Wake, and bestowed a hearty burial on her. And though during her life she knew of no relations there are several people now claiming kin to the Pelf she had scraped together in so base a manner.

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From the book: – “A Tour of Scotland in 1769″ by Thomas Pennant”. Third Edition. Reprinted by Melven Press, 176 High Street, Perth in 1979: -

Passed by the House of Boyne a ruined castle, on the edge of a steep glen, filled with some good ash and maples.

Near Portsoy, a small town in the parish of Fordyce, is a large stratum of marble, in which asbestos has been sometimes found: it is a coarse sort of Verd di Corfica, and used in some houses for chimney-pieces. Portsoy is the principal place in this parish, and contains about six hundred inhabitants, who carry on a considerable thread manufacture, and one of snuff; there also belong to the town twelve ships, from forty to a hundred tons burden; and there are in the parish six fishing boats, each of whose crew consists of six men and a boy.

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Aberdeen Journal, Monday, September 17th 1770: -

PORTSOY WEAVER BANISHED TO THE PLANTATIONS OF AMERICA – On Tuesday, at Aberdeen, came before Lord Coalston, the trial of Walter Anderson, weaver in Portsoy, accused of breaking into a heckling- house belonging to Messrs. Robertson & Co., Portsoy, and stealing 20 spindles of 3-hank yarn, and money to the amount of a few shillings. The jury inclosed at once and returned their verdict at five, all in one voice, finding the libel proven.

Lord Coalston immediately proceeded to pronounce sentence against him, banishing him to the plantations in America for 14 years, and adjudged his service for 4 years in terms of the Act of the 6th year of his present Majesty.

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Aberdeen Journal, Monday, November 5th 1770: -

PORTSOY WEAVER ESCAPES FROM PRISON: -

PUBLIC NOTICE – Whereas in the night between Saturday and Sunday the 27th. and 28th. days of October 1770 the following persons, who were all under sentence of banishment in the Tolbooth of Aberdeen, made their escape from prison by cutting the iron staunchers of the room window where they were confined viz. : -

WALTER ANDERSON – By trade, a weaver, aged about 25, about 5 feet 5 inches high, fair complexioned, light coloured hair and wore a whitish coat and red striped vest.

The authorities aforesaid are offering a reward of FIVE POUNDS, sterling, to any person who will inform upon and discover any of the above named criminals, so as they may be apprehended and committed to prison.

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Antiquities & Scenery of the North of Scotland, in a Series of Letters, to THOMAS PENNANT, Esq. by the REV. CHARLES CORDINER, Minister of St. Andrews Chapel, Banff. 1780: -

June 3rd. 1776 – At Portsoy there is a manufacture of stocking threads, for the London and Nottingham markets, carried on to a great extent. In some seasons three hundred tons of flax are there imported from Holland; but Cullen, Huntly, Keith, and other manufacturing villages, are supplied thence: that article is therefore an expense of twenty or thirty thousand pounds a year, to this corner alone, which might be evaded by raising flax at home.

It is with regret the managers of these manufactures find that they cannot be supplied with flax raised at home. The principal obstacle seems to be, the want of hands experienced in the management of it, when taken off the ground; for many, who are successful enough in raising the most promising crops, have often the mortification to find them in a great measure ruined, ere they can be brought to heckle.

It is, however, in some degree an equivalent, that victual is exported to at least as large an amount: in some years fifty thousand bolls, equal to forty thousand English quarters, of barley, malt. pease, &c. are shipped from Portsoy.

There are generally from fifteen to twenty vessels belonging to the place, from forty to a hundred and fifty tons burden: for some of these profitable employment is found, at the fisheries among the Western Isles; each is equipped with three boats, and require eighteen hands: they sail early in the spring, about the beginning of February, for Loch Gairloch; and apply to the cod-fishing there until the first of May, when it is usual to go to the banks of Barra-Head, where they catch ling. All the fish which they take are salted and dried on the spot; and the vessels return in August, on purpose to send their cargoes to the proper markets along with salmon. The vessels which carry these to the coasts of Spain and Portugal, or up to the Mediterranean; together with those which have been sent out with grain; return with wines, salt, flax, wood, iron, and whatever other articles are required, either for home consumption, or those branches of trade in which the inhabitants of the place are engaged.

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Aberdeen Journal, August 7th 1780: -

FRENCH PRIVATEERS – All our hopes of protection on this coast and in the Murray Firth are again at an end. The seven vessels mentioned in our last, from whom we hoped to have a good account of the Privateer, have either missed her, or did not give themselves the trouble to look out for her; for, notwithstanding the very particular information that was given to the Commodore, both here and at Peterhead and Fraserburgh, the fleet kept right on their course towards the north. One of the officers who landed, gave out that they were to leave two of the frigates for the protection of the Murray Firth; no such thing, it seems, was meant. For on Wednesday the privateer chased two vessels into Fraserburgh and keeps off in her old station.

We are further informed, that there are now, and have been for some time past, two Revenue Cutters lying snug in Cromarty Bay, and two others lying off the mouth of the Spey; one mounting 22 guns, and the others 14 or 16 guns each.

We will not say they are afraid to come out in quest of the Privateer, whose force must be considerably lessened by sending off her hands on board the four prizes they carried, or that they do not choose to go on a service where there is nothing to be got but dry blows; but we may venture to affirm they would be better employed on the outlook, than lying where they are. The Privateer has now 14 ransomers on board, some of them for large sums; he has sunk one vessel, and sent four hemp and flax vessels to Norway. In all nineteen sail. Pretty pickings for “Monsieur”, in less than a month and on a very small extent of coast.

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Aberdeen Journal, Monday, July 29th 1782: -

TO THE HUMANE AND GENEROUS. In the end of July last, the sloop “Swallow” of Portsoy was captured by a French Privateer, and ransomed for 100 guineas, and Gilbert Nicol and Alexander Paterson, two of the hands, were carried as joint ransomers, and confined in the castle of St. Malo. The owners of the ship, and of the most considerable part of the cargo, having become bankrupt, and every expedient suggested for the relief of the ransomers having proved ineffectual, the friends of Gilbert Nicol have raised money and procured his release.

Unfortunately for Paterson, who continues a close prisoner at St. Malo, his friends circumstances are such as make it impossible for them to raise his part of the ransom, and the expenses charged for his maintenance. It is therefore humbly proposed to the humane and charitably disposed of every rank and denomination, that they will be pleaded to lend their generous aid to procure the liberty of an unfortunate young man, who has, for twelve months past, suffered all the hardships of a miserable captivity.

Donations will be received by Mr. Chalmers, printer, Aberdeen; Baillie Alexander, Banff; Mr. Gordon, minister, Gamrie; and Mr. Peterkin, minister, Down.

>>>>> Notes: – From the International Genealogical Index: -

Christened 17th April 1760 in the Parish of Gamrie, Gilbert Nicol, son of Gilbert and Isobel Nicol

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Aberdeen Journal, May 2nd. 1785: -

GIRL KILLED BY GOLF BALL – On Saturday, the 23rd instant, as some young men were playing golf on the Links at Portsoy, the ball unfortunately struck a young girl on the head and fractured the skull, of which she died next morning.

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Aberdeen Journal, Tuesday, July 10th 1787: -

PORTSOY VESSEL TAKEN BY THE CUSTOMS – The prize taken by the Fairy sloop of war, as mentioned in our last, proves to be the “Christian and Peggy” of Portsoy, Burgess master, from Flushing, with rum, brandy and tobacco, captured on the 27th. ult.; Troup Head being SSE and distance about eight or nine miles, after a chase of near two hours.

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The Earl of Findlater and Seafield.

The people of Banffshire, and particularly those who were tenants on the Seafield estates, were astonished to learn, in the summer of 1791, that their landlord, James, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield, had suddenly departed the North for his estate in Saxony. The reason for the Earl’s unexpected flight, which had remained a mystery, has only recently been satisfactorily explained, and the blame firmly placed at the door of the Duchess of Gordon.

One day in the summer of 1791 at Cullen House this Earl of Seafield was expecting a visit of the Brodie of Brodie who was returning home on horseback from Aberdeen. Brodie was late for lunch but the Earl delayed the meal until he arrived. At once Brodie apologised, explaining that he had been delayed in Aberdeen at the launching of a vessel the “Duchess of Gordon” which was to carry passengers and goods coastwise to and from the small Moray Firth ports.

During the meal, Brodie, in describing the fine points of the new ship, emphasised a novel feature the ship had, a copper bottom on which to rest high and dry at every low tide in the Moray ports. Whereat, Findlater commented sourely, “Weel Brodie, I aye kent that yer Duchess had a brass neck, and a brazen face, but I niver kent she had a copper a e”.

In due course the story reached the Duchess who instructed her law agent to take action against the Earl in the House of Lords. Accordingly, soon afterwards, Lord Seafield removed himself to Germany to escape the legal action. Taking abroad with him only his butler, David Clark and his wife the parents of Sir James Clark, Physician in Ordinary to Queen Victoria the Earl never returned to his native land although he maintained a correspondence with the North via his servants and their families.

His main residence in Germany, a princely mansion in Dresden, where he died without issue on 5th October, 1811, was much plundered by the French during their first invasion of Saxony. The title, Earl of Seafield and his extensive estates in Banff and Moray devolved on the family of Grant of Grant, while the ancient title of Earl of Findlater fell to William Ogilvie, a clerk in the War Office.

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The Third Statistical Account of Scotland, Parish of Fordyce 1961: -

SMUGGLER’S SECRET PASSAGE FOUND – Only recently, during excavations, a secret passage leading from the harbour to Culbert Rig (probably used by smugglers) was discovered by the burgh surveyor.

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March 13th. 1792 From the Annals of Banff page 317:-

SWINDLER PUNISHED – The Sheriff Depute, James Urquhart, having considered the verdict of assize against Alexander Scott, Servant, Mill of Boyndie, “adjudges, decerns, and declares the said Alexander Scott to be carried from the Bar to the Tolbooth of Banff, to be therein detained until Monday 26th. March, and on that day, betwixt the hours of nine and ten o’clock in the forenoon, to be taken from thence and with his hands tied behind his back, bareheaded, with a rope round his neck, and a label on his breast, having these words in capital letters “ALEXANDER SCOTT, AN INFAMOUS SWINDDLER AND CHEAT” and in that form to be drawn through the streets of Banff, accompanied by the Town Drummer, beating the Rogue’s March, until he be brought to the west end of the town, and to be carried from thence to the village of Portsoy, and there in the middle of the Square, or area opposite to the house of Mrs. Gordon, Vintner, to stand exposed to public view, as on a pillory, for the space of one full hour, and from thence to be set at liberty.

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Aberdeen Journal, Monday, February 20th. 1792: – Public Notice -Universal Liberty Club.

A numerous and respectable meeting of the Universal Liberty Club convened at Portsoy on the 30th. of January last when a committee of twenty-one members were appointed to hold correspondence with other similar clubs and societies, and to co-operate with them by every legal and constitutional means to obtain a More Equal Representation in Parliament – the Abolition of the Slave Trade – the Test Act and other Penal Laws – the Burgh Reforms – the Equalisation of the Coal Duty – and Trial by Jury in Civil Cases, etc. etc

Letters addressed to the Secretary (post paid) duly attended to 1792.

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From “Transactions of the Banffshire Field Club 1913 -1914: – (Also appeared in the Banffshire Reporter of 2nd. June 1915)

THE AFTERMATH OF WAR IN BANFFSHIRE Letter from Lord Fife of Duff House to Lord Dundas dated June 13th, 1792. “July 14th. 1792 – Of this date, Alexander Leith, a distiller in Portsoy, a small town on the sea coast of Banffshire, by distributing a quantity of spirits procured a mob to assemble there to celebrate the Anniversary of the French Revolution which was accordingly done in the most tumultuous manner by firing cannon etc., of which a very pompous account was immediately published in the provincial newspaper called the ‘Aberdeen Journal’ (which on July 18th. printed a letter dated Portsoy, July 4th. as follows :-

This afternoon a flag was raised on the Schoolhill with a motto, in large capitals, ‘Universal Liberty ‘. A battery of five six pounders was erected and three salutes discharged under the direction of a veteran of the Artillery in presence of a numerous convention assembled around. At every salute a grand cheer was vociferated ‘Liberty ! Liberty ! Universal Liberty !’. Towards the evening, the Friends of Liberty adjourned to the Scotch Arms Inn, where amongst a variety, the following liberal and suitable toasts were drunk: -

  •  Universal Liberty.
  •  The 14th July & Destruction of Despotism.
  •  Abolition of the Slave Trade.
  •  Abolition of the Test Act & all Penal Laws.
  •  The French National Assembly.
  •  The Independent Members of Parliament.
  •  Reform of the Scottish Boroughs
  •  M. de la Fayette.
  •  The King of Poland
  •  The Prince of Wales.
  •  Mr. Fox
  •  Mr. Wilberforce
  •  All ladies who contributed to the Cause of Liberty
  •  All Men who ever bled in the Cause of Liberty.

The above meeting produced the formation of a Society called the “Universal Liberty Club” of which Mr. Leith became President.

1792 January – And at this time an advertisement in the above newspaper (of January 23rd) intimating a meeting of the Society (“The Universal Liberty Club meets at the New Inn, Portsoy, on Monday, the 30th. of January curt.

In order to appoint a committee of correspondence with the Clubs and Societies throughout the world in the glorious cause of liberty, the Rights of Man; a just fear and equal representation in Parliament; the abolition of the Slave Trade, and other disgraceful and oppressive laws existing in Great Britain.

As the regulations of the Club are of the most liberal as well as constitutional principles, they will that day be submitted to the consideration of the meeting. It is, therefore, requested that all members in the neighbourhood will attend about noon; and as a number of friends to the Cause have notified their intention of attending the meeting, dinner will be on the table precisely at three o’clock.’)

It occurred to the Sheriff Depute of the County that this advertisement was evidently seditious and punishable. But on the other hand, as there seemed little danger of any great disturbance in so remote a corner of the Kingdom, the idea of a prosecution against the authors of the advertisement was dropped and the Sheriff contented himself with giving them a hint that their conduct had attracted his notice and attention. The consequence was, that the meeting of the Society, tho’ pretty numerous, passed over without any external noise.

1792, June 2nd. – “Of this date, information was given to the Sheriff Depute and Provost of Banff that the same Mr. Leith, joined by some other members of the Club, were busily employed in going thro’ the town of Banff stirring up the populace to raise a tumult on His Majesty’s birthday – under pretence of Burning the Effigy of a Gentleman High in the Service of the State, as had been done in the sight of patient Magistrates in some other towns

His Majesty’s Proclamation against riots arrived just at this time, and the Sheriff and Magistrates thought it incumbent on them not only to publish it, but also to add another by themselves founded on it and applicable to the local circumstances than appearing. During the publication of this last thro’ the town of Banff, Mr Leith appeared on the streets following the Crier; interrupting him in a very seditious manner; turning all authorities into ridicule and setting them at defiance. The meaning was obvious to inflame the minds of the rabble. But Mr. Leith chose instantly to walk off himself.

“It occurred to the Sheriff Depute and Provost that it would be much easier to prevent than suppress a tumult, and having learnt that the effigy intended to be used as the means of signal of Convocation was in a house near the town, they went there in person attended by their peace officers, seized and destroyed the effigy, and brought the maker prisoner into town, where, being joined by Mr. Rose, another gentlemen in the Commission of the Peace, they examined him. He avowed the intention of a tumult on the 4th; that he had been employed by above a hundred persons to make the effigy, but refused to name any of them. Whereupon, he was committed to prison till he shall find bail for his appearance, and in the meantime that he shall keep the peace; and yet he remains in prison.

1792 June 4th – “There being no military in the place, the Provost and Magistrates called on the substantial householders to assist them in keeping the peace, and the Provost introduced forty stout fellows, his own salmon fishers, for the same purpose well armed with bludgeons etc. The day passed over in great quietness; and, tho’ a few boys and idle people disposed to mischief assembled at night, yet, finding their leaders intimidated by the measures taken did not appear, they were dispersed without any real disturbance and everything has been since perfectly peaceful.

Lord Adam Gordon, Commander-in -Chief on the application of the Sheriff Depute and Provost, has ordered a Company of soldiers to march here from Fort George, and as they will arrive in a few days the peace will certainly be maintained and the Liberty Club will be narrowly watched.”

As a matter of fact, Dundas did not view the situation so seriously as his excited correspondent for he wrote to Fife from Whitehall on June 20, 1792, in quite a calm strain (H.O. 103; 1 page 98): -

“I was yesterday favoured with your Lordship’s letter of the 13th. inst. containing a narrative of the measures which had been pursued by the Sheriff Depute and Provost in consequence. On a perusal of the narrative it is evident that Mr. Leith was by far the most active person in raising the tumult, and if sufficient matter could have been found to warrant it (of which persons on the spot must be the most competent to judge) it could have been wished that, instead of the maker of the effigy, Mr Leith had been taken into custody and be brought to punishment in a legal and regular manner, in order to deter other people from following his example.”

“From the paper now before me, I do not find that any act has actually been committed by the person now in confinement that can well justify his further detention; and, if no other ground than that of making the effigy can be found, I would recommend to your Lordship and the Magistrates to release him as soon as possible.”

Lord Fife felt that Dundas had not done him justice for he wrote to the Minister on November 22nd. 1792 (H.O. 50; 348):

” I did not get much credit with you for the part I took last year on my return here, but, be that as it may, it has so far answered that there has never since been a meeting, public or private (of the Liberty Club?) nor the smallest appearance of discontent.

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Banffshire Reporter, Wednesday, May 20th 1914: -

THE VOLUNTEERS OF PORTSOY IN 1798 – The Volunteer service of Portsoy goes back to the year 1798. The first muster roll is for the period Dec. 25 1798 – January 24 1799, but the company seems to have been organised before that. The Portsoy contingent formed the 7th. Company of the 1st “Banffshire Corps of Volunteers,” commanded by Lord Fife, with Alexander Duff of Mayen, who afterwards joined the Inverness-shire Militia in 1803. There were originally nine companies in the Battalion, Banff contributing six, while Cullen, Macduff, and Portsoy sent one each.

The muster rolls of the Portsoy Company are preserved in the Public Record Office, London. They are kept in the class of War Office papers known as W.O.13; bundles 4185, 4186, and extend from 1798 to 1808, when the Volunteers were turned into Local Militia, an arrangement which lasted only eight years. When the Volunteer Force was reconstructed in 1803, Portsoy was allotted to the 2nd. Battalion, and was commanded by Captain John MacBean, who remained with it to its end in 1808.

The names in the muster roll of 1798 are interesting, not only as showing the pioneers of the Territorial system in Portsoy, but to compare the surnames now to be found in Portsoy: -

  •  Captain – David Greig
  •  Lieutenant – Robert Knight
  •  Ensign – John Taylor
  •  Sergeant on permanent pay – Adam Wilson.
  •  Sergeants not on permanent pay – Charles Dawson, Adam Wilson, Forbes Watson
  •  Corporals – James Hall, John Smith, John Wilson
  •  Drummers – James Burges, Robert Gordon

Privates

  •  Aven, William
  •  Bain William
  •  Blair, Alexander
  •  Booth, John
  •  Brodie, John
  •  Burges, George, sen.
  •  Burges, George, jun.
  •  Burges, Peter
  •  Burnet, James
  •  Burnet, John
  •  Chisholm, James
  •  Cheyne, Alexander
  •  Cook, William
  •  Currie, John
  •  Dawson, James
  •  Drum, James
  •  Elder, Alexander
  •  Ewen, Alexander
  •  Farquhar, Francis
  •  Findlay, James
  •  Findlay, William
  •  Gerrie, Alexander
  •  Gordon, Walter
  •  Hewat, William
  •  Inglis, Archibald
  •  Johnston, Robert
  •  Legg, Alexander
  •  Lumsden, James
  •  Lyon, John
  •  Macdonald, Roderick
  •  Mackenzie, John
  •  Macpherson, William
  •  Mitchell, James, sen.
  •  Mitchell, James, jun.
  •  Mitchell, Thomas
  •  Raeburn, John
  •  Reid, John
  •  Rhind, James
  •  Robertson, George
  •  Robertson, William
  •  Ross, Andrew
  •  Russell, Andrew
  •  Saunders, George
  •  Scott, George
  •  Scott, James
  •  Smith, James, sen.
  •  Smith, James, jun.
  •  Taylor, George
  •  Taylor, William
  •  Thomson, James
  •  Thomson, John
  •  Thomson, Peter
  •  Thomson, William
  •  Walker, Peter
  •  Winlaw, Adam
  •  Winlaw, James
  •  Wood, Alexander
  •  Wood, William

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Statistical Account of Scotland, Parish of Fordyce, 1791 -1799 : -

GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE PEOPLE – The people are in general disposed to industry. Since the failure of thread-bleaching at Portsoy, there is no manufacture of consequence carried on within the parish. But most of the inhabitants raise as much flax, and weave as much linen cloth, as serve their families. Perhaps not 1000 yards of the cloth manufactured in it are sold out of the parish at present. The manufacture of linen seems to have existed in the parish 300 years ago, for amongst other privileges granted to the weekly market at Fordyce, by charter for the Crown, that of selling linteum latum et arctum, is given in 1490.

The better sort of people are much disposed to give charitable assistance to the shipwrecked; but perhaps the old feudal savage custom of distressing the shipwrecked, and embezzling their property, would appear, if not restrained by law, and by the humanity of the better so

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Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday March 24th. 1819: -

FIRE AT PORTSOY – At Portsoy on Monday the 15th. curt. and about noon, a stack of hay, along with a stack of corn and fodder, belonging to the Rev. Mr. Cruickshank was accidentally (as is supposed) set on fire from an adjoining cooperage. Fortunately owing to a mild day and the ready exertions of the inhabitants, the fire was confined to the spot where it originated; otherwise a neighbouring stack-yard and a range of thatched houses northwards on each side of the street must have become a prey to the flames.

Quarritur – Ought not coopers be prohibited from framing their casks by fire in the open in streets and lanes (to the great danger of lives and property, especially in the neighbourhood of thatched houses) and compelled to use such fires within their workshops; otherwise they and their employers will become liable for damages?

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Letters from a Holidaymaker in Portsoy.

From George MacDonald, (1824-1905) Poet, Writer & Preacher, writing to his father in Huntly as a boy on holiday in Portsoy

Portsoy 15 August, 1833.

My dear Papa,

I return you many thanks for the kind letter I received on Wednesday. I am happy to hear that you are well. I have been unwell for two or three days, my throat was a little sore and my head very painful, but I am quite well now and have been in the sea today and like it very much. When I was down at the bathing I met a boy who was once a school-fellow of mine at Mr. S—– ‘s school, and he showed me the carcase of a whale which had been cast on the shore. Mrs. Morrison told me that the men at the green got a good deal of fat off it.

Johnny is very amusing. He seems to be more frightened at the tub than at the sea. We are all quite well. Would you be so good as come down and stay with us till we go home. Aunt makes me drink the water, but I am unwilling to do it. I am sorry that my writing is so bad, but my pen is very bad.

I remain, my dear Papa, Your affectionate son, George MacDonald

Portsoy- August 1, 1834.

My Dear Papa,

As you desired me to write to you by the first opportunity I have complied with your request. I received your kind letter just as I was coming out of a boat in which I had been sailing and thank you for it. . . . I have bathed every day since I came, and I drink the salt water every two days. I have been at Fordyce, I think it was on Wednesday.

We were in a very old house with a castle attached. The woman in the house took us up to a room and brought out the gin bottle. Mr. Mortimer pretended to take some of it, and got off with a very good excuse. Jane pretended to take some too but did not taste it. Margaret and James did take some of it, but when it came to me (I had whispered to Mrs. M. that I wouldn’t take it) I said I can’t take it so I got away and did not break any of the Rules of the Temperance Society.

There was a Prussian schooner in the harbour and William and I went out with it yesterday morning and came back in the pilot boat. We were far out of sight of land [because of a sea fog] and I did not think it very easy to get over the ship’s side into the boat. I am very fond of the bathing and William will perhaps learn me to swim. You may tell Aunt to send down a shirt to me as she said she would do. Tell Alex and Johnny that I will bring up some marble stones to them. I have not more to say at present, but in the meantime I remain, my dear Papa,

Your Affectionate son, George MacDonald

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, October 12th 1847: -

PORTSOY – We regret to state that smallpox prevails to a very considerable extent in this town and neighbourhood and in one or two cases has proved fatal.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, November 21st 1848: -

POSTAL SERVICES TO FORDYCE – Mr. Joseph Watt, late shoemaker, Portsoy, has been appointed foot post to the village of Fordyce. By this arrangement the inhabitants of the village and surrounding districts will receive their letters and papers nearly twenty-four hours sooner, and will be enabled to answer business letters by return of post. The appointment in the meantime is but temporary and the runner’s salary made up by subscription, but it is to be hoped that the Post Office authorities will ere long be induced to lend their assistance, so that it may become permanent.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, 16th. September 1851: -

PORTSOY HOLIDAY – The lieges of Portsoy, in these gay times, determined to be as happy as other people are, set apart Wednesday last, (10th. Sept) as a holiday for themselves, when the shutters sealed up the shop windows, and throughout the town the dull beaten rounds of daily life were forsaken for a day.

The previous notice for the holiday was rather short, yet, notwithstanding, it was quickly understood and most willingly observed, and as the day was very favourable for out-door recreation, in the morning speedy arrangements were made for pleasure excursions.

About one o’clock the sloop “Vigilant” was freighted with a live cargo and piloted forth of the harbour with hoisted colours, while her goodly company, as their “fairy frigate” walked out into the silver bay, sent sweet strains of music to the shore. But now the only matter of disappointment appeared. In vain she spread aloft her white sails to the breeze – no favouring breath from the serene heavens visited their drooping folds.

No stir in the air, no swell in the sea;

The ship was still as she might be.

Nevertheless, the party were not to be thwarted, and the lusty boatmen pulled their oars strongly, and launched the vessel out a considerable way, until in the distance a soft motion began to darken the bright crystal of the waters. The heavens breathed – the canvas felt it – and the gay flag flashed out its colours. The vessel wended her way westward till opposite the ruins of the Castle of Findlater, moated by the sea and fortified by its beetling cliffs. The party surveyed this interesting scene a while and then endeavoured to direct their course eastward, as they had agreed to, land at the Boyne, and join a large party there at four o’clock.

The wind, however, had fallen, and the vessel lay like a log on the water, so that it appeared impossible to reach that haven (distant five or six miles). But “labor omnie vincit.” A number of the party descended into the small boat, and casting their coats and hats, bent their backs to the oars, and laid out many brave hard strikes, till they moored their ship at the mouth of the Boyne. They now joined the numerous company who by this time had spread their banqueting table on a green turf at the foot of that majestic pile, where venerable grandeur ever draws aside the foot of the passing stranger.

In the bosom of this beautiful and romantic dell, the joyous groups – rendered picturesque by the varied vestments of the fairer spirits – laughed away the sunny hours, and to the sound of stringed instruments and the music of the gushing waters, mingled in the tripping dance, till the setting sun began to withdraw his purple beams from the fading scene. At this hour the party broke up, and closed the day with mutual congratulations of enjoyment and hearty goodwill.

The party were highly indebted to Mr. John Gaudie (whose comical powers are so well known), who, entertained them with some of his best songs and not less so to the other gentlemen who kindly favoured them with music.

What a contrast this afternoon scene might have offered to scenes which yon grey fabric – a memorial of sad times, that were of danger and strife and blood – has witnessed in its day. The loop holes in the walls, whence the vengeful arrow was sped against the assailing foe; the dungeons are dark and grim where the bleeding captive groaned in his chains – and we, happy mortals, whose lots have fallen in these latter days, unsuspicious of aught save the gliding hours, were enjoying ourselves beneath the sun of liberty and peace, above the sleeping dust of those who fought for their poor breath, and died to find repose.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, August 30th, 1859: -

CRICKET MATCH AT PORTSOY – A more than usual number of persons by rail from Banff, paid us a visit on Saturday last, and among them a cricket club who played in one of the parks of Durn, the use of which was kindly granted by Mr. Wilson.

The Club was accompanied by a band of music, and, after the match was finished they formed into a procession, and, headed by the band, who discoursed appropriate airs, marched through most streets of the town. While opposite the shop of James Moir, that gentleman generously treated each of the band and the cricketers to a glass of whisky; and Mrs. Gray of the “Royal Oak” did the same.

Before the train left some awkward proceedings took place between some of the Banff party and some of the young men belonging to Portsoy, but we cannot say who was to blame. We only mention the circumstance in the hope that it may help to prevent a repetition.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, June 5th. 1860 :-

PORTSOY – CRICKET CLUB – The young men forming the club have now obtained their caps, which are of a very elegant and uniform order, and present rather a showy appearance. The caps are of black cloth, with a bright ornamental band, and a French peak. Several new members have joined the club.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, September 11th. 1860: -

FORMATION OF THE PORTSOY VOLUNTEER ARTILLERY CORPS The company of Volunteer Artillery proposed to be formed here has now been formally organised, as will be seen by the letter from the War Office, accepting their services, of which the following is a copy: -

War Office, 24th. August 1860

My Lord, – With reference to your letter of the 11th. inst., offering for the Queen’s acceptance the service of a company of Artillery Volunteers at Portsoy, under the Act 44 George III c. 54 I have the honour to inform you that her Majesty has been graciously pleased to approve and accept the same.

The Corp is numbered the 4th. in the County of Banff, and its maximum establishment will consist of one Captain, one 1st. Lieutenant, and one 2nd. Lieutenant, and 80 men of all ranks – I have the honour to be, My Lord, your Lordship’s obedient servant,

(Signed) De Gray and Ripon, The Earl of Fife (In the absence of the Secretary of War)

On receipt of this communication, a meeting of the Committee was convened, and the contents announced, when it was resolved to call a full meeting of the corps, for the purpose of electing officers, in order no time be lost in getting the corps fully officered, equipped, and ready for service.

A meeting of the corps was accordingly held in Minty’s Hall, on the evening of Thursday, 9th. September, which was numerously attended, and at which a good many new members joined the corps. John Forbes, solicitor, was unanimously called to the chair, and, at considerable length, explained the steps which had been taken towards the formation, and the present position, of the corps.

Having further explained that the meeting had been called mainly for the purpose of electing officers, and having asked if any member of the corps had any one to propose as Captain, Dr. Gardiner stepped forward and nominated James Moir, banker, for that office – which was seconded by Mr. Findlay, and unanimously carried. Mr. Alexander Allan, corn merchant, was then proposed for 1st. Lieutenant; and Mr. John Murray, Land Surveyor, as 2nd. Lieutenant; and both were duly and unanimously elected. Dr. Gardiner was then appointed Honorary Surgeon to the corps, and the Rev. John Innes, the minister of the parish, was elected Chaplain. Mr. Bisset, accountant, North of Scotland Bank, was appointed Secretary and Treasurer.

Messrs. Moir, Allan, Murray, and Gardiner, having respectively addressed the meeting, expressive of their sense of the honour which had been conferred on them, and their resolution to do everything that lay in their power to preserve the same unanimity in the corps which had characterised the meeting, and to promote the interests and efficiency of the company as a body, our indefatigable Treasurer, Mr. Bisset, with a praiseworthy anxiety that the onerous duty which he had been elected to discharge should not be altogether lost sight of, handed a subscription list to Captain Moir, who handsomely subscribed the sum of ten guineas. After this handsome initiatory subscription, though the meeting was almost purely composed of the volunteers themselves, the subscriptions speedily ran up to about £30, while about 20 of the members, instead of giving subscriptions, are to provide their own uniform and accoutrements.

A cordial vote of thanks was then vociferously accorded to Mr. Forbes, for his conduct as Chairman, which being duly acknowledged by him, three hearty cheers for the newly elected officers, and three cheers more for her Majesty being enthusiastically given, the meeting separated. It was very gratifying to observe the perfect harmony which was preserved throughout the meeting, and it is to be hoped that this augers well for the future prosperity of the corps. No time will now be lost in getting the necessary preliminary arrangements completed and regular drill commenced.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, September 25th 1860: -

GAS SUPPLY – For some weeks back the inhabitants have experienced great inconvenience from the want of gas, attendant upon the extension and improvement of the gasworks. These have now been completed, and on Saturday night the town was again illuminated. The importance of the gasworks will now be doubly appreciated, as, during the time the community was deprived of it, the contrast between it and the candle, which only served to make darkness visible, was somewhat inconveniently brought under notice. It is said also, that there is to be a reduction in price, and if this is the case, it is to be hoped that energetic steps will at once be taken to have the streets lighted, as the recent changes in the thoroughfares occasioned by the extension of the line to the harbour, render this ‘ a consummation devoutly to be wished’

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, February 19th. 1861: -

PORTSOY – COAST DEFENCES – The great guns for our local volunteers, two 32 pounders, arrived here on Friday last, and a further supply of stores is daily expected. Owing to the changableness of the weather, the works at the battery have not yet commenced, but operations will now be proceeded, with all possible despatch.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, January 10th 1865: -

HOUSEBREAKING AT PORTSOY – On Sunday evening last, during the hours of public worship, a most cool and daring act of housebreaking was perpetrated on the premises of Mr. John Thompson, baker, Portsoy. The shop had been entered by a window in the end of the street. The glass had been broken, and some flower pots taken carefully out, and laid down on the ground. The articles missing are 5s. in copper, and several packages of confections. The footprints of the thief are distinctly visible, and as he was seen by several persons, although indistinctly, it is to be hoped that the efforts of the police to secure his capture will eventually be successful.

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From a memorial in the old section of Portsoy cemetery.

DEATH OF WILLIAM JACK, SHIPMASTER. – “William Jack, Master of the “Pride of the Ganges” lost his life in a mutiny of the coolies in the Chinese Sea, 11th. December 1865, aged 32.” -

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, 6th. February 1866: -

PORTSOY- “THE PRIDE OF THE GANGES” – A despatch from Singapore under the date 23rd. December 1865 notices the circumstances which seems to have given rise to the report in our last as to the murder of Captain William Jack in a mutiny on board the “Pride of the Ganges” on which he was commander. The “J.D. Vineer” (Dutch barque) arrived at Singapore the day before (22nd. Decr.) from Hong Kong and that in latitude 17 N she passed the “Pride of the Ganges”, standing in towards the China Coast, and signalling “mutiny on board.” The “J.D. Vineer” signalled “Heave to, and I will come to your assistance” the reply to which was not followed. The Dutch vessel followed, but the “Pride of the Ganges” out-sailed her, and when last seen the signal “Master overboard” was flying.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, June 26th 1866: -

OUTBREAK OF TYPHUS – Typhus of a rather malignant description is prevalent in the Seatown area. There have been several deaths and upwards of 20 cases are being treated at present.

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Banffshire Journal. Tuesday, January 22nd 1867: -

RELIEF FOR THE LABOURING POOR – As might have been expected, the severity and duration of the snowstorm has begun to tell with disastrous effect upon the labouring poor. In the best of times, no inconsiderable portion of this class have enough to do to make ends meet. In the present instance little work has been done for more than a month; and the consequence has been that, but for the kindly interposition of sympathising friends, many would have been reduced to a state of absolute starvation.

On Monday the 14th. inst. a number of gentlemen, headed by Messrs. Moir, banker; Allan, merchant ; Wm. R. Gordon, Durn House, met to devise some means of alleviating the growing misery around them ; and their deliberations pointing to the establishment of a ‘soup kitchen’ as one of the most likely means of rendering substantial assistance to the necessitous, the Drill Hall was forthwith turned into a temporary cooking depot, and suitable parties engaged to do the necessary work in connection with it.

A public meeting was also held, at which the town was divided into districts, and collectors appointed to canvas for the necessary funds, which resulted in upwards of £20 being collected – in addition to which, Mr. Bryson on Thursday, handed the Committee five guineas as a donation from the Earl of Seafield, and also a handsome subscription from himself.

The farmers in the neighbourhood, have also, in many cases, spontaneously sent in quantities of meal, potatoes and vegetables. Since then, about 140 rations of good, nutritious soup, with an allowance of bread, have been distributed daily; in addition to which, from the residue of a former fund, quantities of coals and meal have also been served out. The Parochial Board has also most considerately served out quantities of coal and meal to the paupers, in addition to their ordinary allowance.

It is pleasant thus to have to record the ready willingness of those who have to bestow a part to relieve the necessities of the suffering and the destitute.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, December 3rd 1867: -

PORTSOY – PENNY READINGS – On Friday, at the penny readings here, there was a very large audience – Colonel Moir in the chair. The readers were Mr. Garland, Cowhythe, who read the ‘Legend of St. Swithin’; Mr. Colville, solicitor, Banff, who read ‘Locksley Hall’, ‘Lady Clare Vere de Vere’ and ‘The Little Vulgar Boy’; and Captain Sutherland of the “Moir” who read ‘The Irish Schoolmaster’ and ‘Rory O’More’s Present to the Priest’. The music was supplied by Miss Stephen, Fordyce, and Miss Jessie Watson, Portsoy. The usual votes of thanks were accorded.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, November 2nd 1869: -

PORTSOY LITERARY SOCIETY – A meeting of the Portsoy Literary Society was held in the Grammar School on Tuesday the 19th ult – Mr. Boaden in the Chair – for considering the unsatisfactory position of the Society, with a view to the adoption of whatever steps might be deemed necessary under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed.

The Society, we may mention, has not been in a very flourishing condition during the past year or two. This state has not been brought about by any revulsion of popular feeling, but has been caused rather by the fact that a great number of gentlemen, most of whom were very active, intelligent, and zealous members of the Society, have left Portsoy to pursue their various vocations in other localities, many of them having gone to distant countries. Of the four individuals who were the originators of the Society – viz. Messrs. James Wilson, John Bisset, Joseph Bisset and John Shand, only one remains in Portsoy. Mr. Wilson is now a Minister in connection with the Established Church in Glasgow; Mr. John Bisset has gone to China; and Mr. John Bisset to Scrabster.

Of the other members who have left, we may mention Dr. Klingner, who has gone to Canada; Mr. William Klingner to Glasgow; Mr. William Cooper, to India; Mr. John Yeats and Mr. Joseph Summerfield, to Banff; Mr R. McLean to Edinburgh; Mr. Thomas Phillip, to Skene; Mr. Maries to Liverpool; and Mr. Joseph Stevenson to Nairn, etc. The absence of these gentlemen has been a serious blow to the Society, more especially as their places have never been adequately filled up.

At the meeting, therefore, on the 19th. ult., at which there was but a poor attendance, Mr. Boaden, seconded by Mr. Paterson, proposed that the Society should be dissolved, the library divided among the working members, and the funds in hand handed over to the Managers of the Soup Kitchen. This was agreed to, subject to an understanding that the minute would remain open for discussion at a meeting to be held that day week, in order that any other suggestion might be considered relative to the future existence of the Society.

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Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, February 13th 1877: -

NEWSROOM – Portsoy – Our newsroom has been opened now, and anyone for a penny may step in, and read the principal papers of the day, and some of the magazines. The room is comfortably fitted up, and will prove a great boon to many.

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(Book 1.3  General History 1550-1879)

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