Portsoy Timeline

This time line is a work in progress. It lines up Portsoy events (in
) with things that were going on in the wider world.

Comment, corrections and additions (including web links if available)
gratefully received. You can use the box at the bottom of this page to make your inputs.

Other Scottish history timelines:

1050-1560 The Middle Ages

1066 Norman Conquest of England

1160 Salmon Rights are being selectively granted by the Crown

1411 University of St Andrews

1445 Findlater Castle fortified by Walter Ogilvie of  Auchleven

1451 University of Glasgow

1495 King’s College, Aberdeen
1496 Education Act

1507 Printing introduced

1517 – 1648 The Protestant Reformation

1528 Patrick Hamilton a Protestant Martyr

1550 Portsoy created a Burgh of Barony

1555 John Knox (1514-1572) returns to form the Protestant National Party

1560-1690 The Age of

1560 Reformation Parliament and 1st book of discipline

1562 Queen Mary stays at Craig o Boyne September 19th
1566 Alexander Ogilvie marries Mary Beton (Queen’s Four Marys)
1581 Ratification of Portsoy’s Burgh of Barony
1580 (circa) Boyne Castle built to replace the earlier Craig of Boyne Castle

1582 University of Edinburgh

1587 Execution of Mary Queen of Scots

1603 Union of the Crowns

1615 St John Ogilvie, a Banffshire-born Jesuit priest, was hanged for refusing to renounce the supremacy of the Pope. He was the only Roman Catholic martyr in Scotland and was canonised in 1976.

1616 Privy Council commands every parish to establish a school.

1618-48 Thirty Years – War Protestants v Catholics in Europe

1625-1690 Reaction and Restoration

1638 National Covenant

1639-40 Covenanters at war with King

1642-49 Civil War in England

1650 Charles II sailed into the estuary of the river Spey and signed the Covenant before going ashore.

1690-1830 The Age of

1692-93 Build Old Harbour at Portsoy
1694 Build Soy House
1696 Build ‘Ritchies’ at Portsoy

1701 –14 War of Spanish Succession (Brought on by Louise XIV)

1701 Contribution for the ransom of Katherine Gray’s husband from the Algerian War

1707 (March 25 ) Last meeting of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh – until

1707 Union of Parliaments

1707 – 1815 Scottish Enlightenment

David Hume (1711-1776)

1715 First Jacobite Rebellion

1715 death of last Episcopalian incumbent

1719 27th September – An act of the General Assembly against smuggling
or running of goods contrary to the law was read from the pulpit

Adam Smith (1723-1790)

Adam Ferguson (1723-1816)

1724-43 General Wade in the Highlands

1727 Old Star Inn built on N High Street – Portsoy
1730 Mill of Durn Built
1733 The Astronomer James Ferguson stayed at Durn House under the patronage of Sir James Dunbar of Durn
1740 Build nos 23 and 27 North High Street
1742 John Yule appointed as first minister for Portsoy

1745 Second Jacobite Rebellion

1745 Ogilvies forfeit their lands to the Earl of Findlater and Seafield
1746 – 1804 Portsoy Church in the ‘Institute Hall”?

1746 Battle of Culloden

1746 Church at Mains of Durn burned by Cumberland’s Soldiers

1750-1820 The Industrial Revolution

1756-63 Seven Years War – Britain v Prussia

1759 Birth of Robert Burns (Homecoming 2009)

1760 British Conquest of Canada

1760 Clearance of Scottish Highlands to make way for sheep farming

1764 Lord Deskford abolishes run-rig and introduces crop rotation in Banffshire

1769 James Watt’s Steam Engine patented

1770 Durn House Built

1775-83 American Revolution – ruins Scotland’s tobacco trade

1786 Threshing machine introduced – driven by water, horse or steam

1786 British Fishery Society established

1788 Last record of visible signs of Craig o Boyne

1789 French Revolution begins

1789 George Washington President of USA

1792-1862 French Revolutionary Wars

1792 Universal Liberty Club of Portsoy produces anti-slavery petition

1793 Corn prices rise steadily because of War with France

1798 Build Town Hall on the Square
1798 Volunteer Service of Portsoy Established (Banffshire Reporter May 20th 1914)

1798 new Episcopalian Church built in South High Street – converted to a rectory in 1840

1800-15  Farming improvements increase profits due to French War

1803-15 – Napoleonic Wars

1805 Battle of Trafalgar

1805 Thread making industries peters out in Portsoy
1805 Ropeworks sold by Messrs Gordon Knight & Co to Forbes Watson

1807 Slave Trade Abolished

1807-21 Highland Clearances

1808     The Volunteer forces became the Local Militia

1810 Extensions to Soy House
1810 7 Seafield Terrace – Hermiston
1811 Last Earl of Findlater dies at Dresden
1812 Herring Fishing begins at Portsoy

1812 Comet Steamship

1813 Salt making industry in Portsoy dies out
1815 Portsoy’s Second (east) church built

1815 Battle of Waterloo ends war against France

1815     Local Militia Disbanded after the defeat of Napoleon

1817 13 Seafield Terrace – Nile Cottage

1820 Salmon fishing moves to the sea

1830 + Modern Times

1825-28 Build Portsoy New Harbour

1825 Stockton Darlington Railway

1825 Pigot and Co’s Directory of Portsoy
1825 John Saunders, saddler and fish curer on Aird Street
1825 Harbour Pilot James Ritchie living in the ‘Ritchies’
1827 “Portsoy and London Shipping Company” Formed – folds after several years
1828 Stake net salmon fishing begins at Portsoy by Messrs Gerrie & Hector
1829 Catholic Chapel (Church of the Annunciation) built in Portsoy
1830+ Portsoy Seatown made over
1832 Mr William Minty removes ruinous houses from NW of square in Portsoy
1834 Salmon Bothy built
1835 Nos 36-42 Church Street

1833 Abolition of Slavery in British Dominions

1833 Municipal Reform

1836 The Rev. George A. Griffin was appointed Catholic parish priest at Church of the Annunciation

1837 Telegraphy invented by Morse

1837 Branch of the Banff Central Savings Bank established in Portsoy
1837 Grammar School on South High Street has 30 boys
1839 Repair Portsoy New Harbour

1839 The first beginnings of photography

1840 Penny Postage introduced

1840 St John the Baptist Episcopal Church
1840 46-47 South High Street (Clydesdale Bank)
1842 Secession for Church in Portsoy – new building beside the Grammar School

1843 Disruption of the Church

1843 Boat Registry begins
1843 West Church Built
1843 Portsoy boats 8 – down from 13 some 40 years previously
1843 Linen, cotton and woolen looms down to 4 from 30 earlier in the century
1844 Portsoy Free Church Built

1845 Potato Famine

1847 United Presbyterian Church formed

1850 No 26 Seafield Street – Bank of Scotland

1854-56 Crimean War

1856 Founding of MacDonald Brothers?(or 1878)

1858 British East India Co Established

1858 Barometer issued to every port

1859     Volunteer company formed as the 4th Company of The Banffshire Corps of Artillery Volunteers. James Moir elected as Captain

1859 Banff, Portsoy Strathisla Railways links to Portsoy August 2nd

1861-65 American Civil War

1861 1-3 Hill Street – Cadzow House

1861     Volunteers receive two 32 pounder guns on 15 February, sited on a battery built by the volunteers over the following months

1862 John Allan was the owner of the Mill
1866 Portsoy United Presbyterian Church Built
1867 Great North of Scotland Railway takes over 1st August

suez canal

1869 Suez Canal opened

Construction began in April 1859, and at first digging was done by hand with picks and shovels wielded by forced laborers. Later, European workers with dredgers and steam shovels arrived. Labor disputes and a cholera epidemic slowed construction, and the Suez Canal was not completed until 1869–four years behind schedule. On November 17, 1869, the Suez Canal was opened to navigation. Ferdinand de Lesseps would later attempt, unsuccessfully, to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama.

1869 Parish (West) Church rebuilt with handsome spire
1869-1920 The Banffshire Reporter Newspaper (Portsoy)

1872 Education (Scotland) Act established a universal, compulsory system of education

1875 Peak of Herring Curing – 45,000 barrels sold
1875 Colonel James Moir along with Messrs. Morrison, merchants, Turriff,
undertook the erection of the Glenglassaugh Distillery. (Banffshire Reporter,
Wednesday October 5th 1887)
1876 Portsoy Town Clock Tower Built

1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the Telephone

1877 School opened in Chapel Street
1877 Col Moir & Messrs P&J Sutherland buy the 147 ton Schooner Magic for the Baltic and Mediterranean Trades
1877 “The Rt Hon Sir John Charles Ogilvie Grant, Earl of Seafield and Baron Strathspey, gave feu of a  piece of ground on the banks of the Soy to Mr George Macdonald, Tacksman of the Marble Quarries and of 1 King’s Arms Yard, London. This also gave him the privilege of using the water of the Loch of Soy and the Mill Dam for the purpose, connected with his business of cutting, polishing or otherwise manufacturing Serpentine or Portsoy Marble.”
1884 3 Institute Street (YMCA Institute)
1884 Railway line extended to Tochieneal
1886 Railway line extended to Garmouth
1886 Seaborne trade from Portsoy falls into decline

1886 Gottleib Daimler invents first motor car

1887 “Annie’ lost at sea Jan 20th
1888 Wm Ewing becomes owner of the Mill

1889 County Councils established

1892 Extra storey added to ‘chemists’ shop
1892 Town Hall on Square converted to Salvation Army Hall

1895 Parish Councils established

1899-1902 South African War


1900 United Free Church formed

1903     Volunteers became the 2nd company of the Banffshire Core of  Volunteers

1903 Beginning of aeroplane flight

1904 July 30th Campbell Hospital opens

1904 Macdonald Bros granted a patent on 1st July for an auxiliary propulsion system for fishing boats

1905 “Pomegranate” lost at sea
1908 “Atalanta” lost at sea

1908 Henry Ford introduces factory line production of motor cars

1908 Patent for Macdonald Brothers Steam Capstan

1908     Volunteer forces become the Territorial Army

1911-49 Chinese Revolution

1913 UF West Church becomes Portsoy United Free Church

1914-19 World War I

1915 Panama Canal Opened

1917 Russian Revolution

1920 Establish the League of Nations

1922 Wireless broadcasting begins

1923 Unveiling of War Memorial in Portsoy
1923 United Free Church (East) Bought by Portsoy Town Council for use as Town Hall
1923 1st January – London and North Eastern Railway created
1923 (March) Salvation Army reaches Portsoy

1929 Union of the Churches

1932 Harbour acquired by Portsoy Town Council
1936 Reopening ceremony for Portsoy School

1936 BBC begins first regular TV broadcasts

1936-39 Spanish Civil War

1939-45 World War II

1940 12 Hill Street Bombed on 16th July
1941 Links cottage bombed on Saturday 22nd February

1945 United Nations established

1946 Fire at Mill and extensions made
1948  January – North Eastern Region of British Railways set up


1954-75 Vietnam War

1956 July – Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre


1960-66 Independence of many Colonies

1961 John F Kennedy President of USA (shot 1963)

1961 Queen Elizabeth II visits Portsoy
1964 Portsoy Marble Workshop opens

1965 North Sea Oil discovered

1967 Begin restoration of Harbour Area
1967 Plaque awarded by the Saltire Society
1968 Last passenger train in Portsoy station 8pm May 4th (Beeching cuts)
1968 Macdonald Brothers cease operations
1968 North Eastern Farmers buy the Mill


1970 First SNP victory at national election

1971 Decimalization of the currency

1973 June 23rd Loch Soy opened as a boating pond

1974-75 Reform of local government

1974 Richard Nixon resigns as President of USA

1975 Portsoy Fire Brigade wins Arbuthnott Trophy

1975 – The Portsoy 75 Club Established

1978 Scotland Act

1979 Margaret Thatcher Prime Minister of UK

1978 Portsoy comes fourth in BBC’s ‘Pride of Place’
1978 Dr Robert Scott dies (25 years medical practitioner)


1980 Independence for Zimbabwe

1981 first volume of the Greig-Duncan collection of NE Ballads published

1982 Falklands War

1989 Berlin Wall peacefully demolished


1990 Salmon Bothy closes down as a commercial concern
1993 First Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

1994 Local Government Reform

1998 Scotland Act

1999Scottish executive and parliament come into being

1999 The Banffshire Partnership is established (Takes over from Portsoy and District Limited (PDL))


2008 Portsoy Salmon Bothy reopens

2012 (February) Portsoy Past and Present FaceBook page created

2012 (April) Portsoy Past and Present Community Group is created


Back to top of page



3 Responses to timeline

  1. Ian – thanks for that – a very useful source – the details are now HERE

  2. Roger Griffin

    1836 The Rev. George A. Griffin was appointed Catholic parish priest at Church of the Annunciation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>