Pigot’s Directory

Pigot’s Directory entries for  Portsoy in 1825 and 1837



PORTSOY is a seaport in the shire of Banff, and parish of Fordyce. It is 178 miles north of Edinburgh, 8 miles W. by N. of Banff and 80 miles east of Inverness.  It was erected into a burgh of barony about the sixteenth century, by the baron of Boyne, whose descendants following the pretender in 1745, their lands became forfeited to the crown; they were afterwards given to the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and are still in possession of that family.

Portsoy is situated on a tongue of land, which, projecting into the Moray Firth, forms a small by safe harbour, capable of admitting vessels of 150 tons.  On each side of the town are fine quarries of serpentine, commonly called Portsoy marble, of excellent quality, and of a great variety of colours ; it is manufactured into chimney pieces, monuments and various ornamental articles.  There is a mount called the Downie which antiquarians say was once a druid temple ; and about a quarter of a mile westward, are the ruins of an ancient castle.

The neighbourhood abounds with excellent limestone.  The Earl of Seafield is superior of the town, which is generally governed by his lordship’s factor, as baron-bailie.   Besides the proceeds of the herring fishery, which has been actively and successfully prosecuted for some years the chief trade consists in the exportation of grain, and the importation of coals.  The population of the town is about 1700.

Post Office.

High Street Postmaster, Mr. Wm. Reid.

The mail from Aberdeen and Banff arrives every afternoon at one, and is despatched every morning at one.

The mail from Inverness and Fochabers arrives every morning at one, and is despatched every afternoon at one.

Places of Worship

Established Church – Rev. Daniel Cruickshank.  Precentor – Wm. Laddenham.
Episcopalian Chapel – Rev. Chas. Grant ; John Ewan, Clerk.
Catholic Chapel – Rev. John Forbes, Priest ; John Geddes, Clerk.

Grammar School.

Rev. Charles Grant, Rector.


Wiseman, Miss, (ladies’ boarding) Square.


Fordyce, Miss Ellen, High St
Fordyce, Miss Mary, High St
Gauld, Mrs. Eliz, Aird St
Gauld, Wm., Aird St
Hendersen Mrs Elspeth, Square
Imlach Miss Susan, Cullen Rd
Jack Capt. Wm., Burnside
Milne Mrs Janet, Square
Mitchell Mrs Isabella, Cullen Rd
Rainy Alex (baron bailie) Lintmills
Rannie Mrs Ann, Back Street
Reid Mrs Ellen, Square
Strachan Wm, Square
Watson Forbes, Hill of Portsoy
Watson Lieut James, Cullen Rd
Watson Jr, Hill of Portsoy
Wood Alex, Schoolhendrie
Wood Lieut James, Old Cullen Rd
Wood Lieut Jas Jr, Old Cullen Rd

Merchants & Tradesmen


Hepburn Wm, Church Rd
McDonald Wm, Square
Watson, Henry, High St

Boot & Shoemakers

Findlay James, Aird St
Fordyce James, Square
Grant Andrew, Old Cullen Rd
Grant John, Culbert Rig
Hutchison Peter, Aird St
Lawrence Alex, Old Cullen Rd
McLeod Wm, High St
Saunders Wm, Aird St
Smith Peter, High St
Stewart Jas, Square
Thomson Alex, Church Rd
Watt Geo, Old Cullen Rd
Watt James, Square

Coal Merchant

Ross James, Shore


Jack Miss, West End
Mark Ann, High St


Black Isabella, Low St
Calder Marcus, Burnside

Flax Dressers

Cheyne Wm, Church St
Knight Robt, Burnside


McGregor John, Shore
Millar James, Burnside
Morrison James, Burnside
Shaw Lachlan, Old Cullen Rd

Grocers and General Dealers

Brodie James, Aird St
Crawford Chas, High St
Crawford John (and clothier) Square
Martin Wm, New St
Morrison Peter, High St
Morrison Wm, Church Rd
Smith Alex, Roseacre

Inn keepers

Bell John (Red Lion) High St
Cooper Richmond (Star) High St
Duncan Alex (Royak Oak) Church Rd
Duncan Walter (Artillery Arms) Aird St
Jack Ann (Grant Arms) Aird St
McDougal Duncan (Thistle) Back St
McDuie Thos (Crown & Anchor) High St
Simpson Janet (Ship) Shore
Wright George, Low St


Jack Jacob (& cooper & fish curer) Culbert Rig
Saunders Joseph, Church Rd

Drapers & Clothiers

Benzies Arthur, High St
Minty Wm, High St
Paul James, Church Road


Burnet James & Son, Aird St
Knight Robert (yarn) Low St


Mclean John (& Ship-owner) Shore
Taylor John, (& Shore-master) Square


Cumming Jas, Cullen Rd
Dawson John, Square
Torry John, Cullen Rd

Spirit Dealers

Ross Wm, High Street
Stirling Robert, Shore


Geddes Alex, Durn
Greig Geo, High St


Smith Alex (and clothier) Roseacre

Tin Plate Workers

Grant James,   Aird Street
Wilson Thos. Square

Veterinary Surgeon

Howcutt John, High St

Wine Merchant

Greig James, High St


Lawrence Alex, Old Cullen Road
Ledingham Wm, Back St
Reid John (wheel) Old Cullen Rd
Scott James, Cullen Rd
Wilson Adam, Cullen Rd

Writer & Notary Public

Grant Geo. Old Cullen Rd


Andrew Alex, watchmaker
Andrew Geo linen & cotton agent, Burnside
Chapman Jane, straw hat maker, Aird St
Christie Wm tallow chandler, High St
Clark Abraham mineralogist & lapidary, New St
Gilchrist Robert. druggist, Church Rd
Gow Hector, nail maker, Burnside
Gow Hector, Jr portrait painter, Culbert St
Lorimer John earthenware dealer, Aird St
Mitchell Wm, constable
Portsoy Distillery, Wm Morrison, conductor
Ross Alex Irvine, land surveyor,Well Rd
Ritchie James, pilot & lodgings
Saunders George, leather dealer, Church Rd
Saunders Jr saddler & fish curer, Aird St
Stewart Alex tide waiter, Shore
Wright Wm turner, Aird St


ABERDEEN, the Royal Mail every morning at one.
INVERNESS, the Royal Mail every afternoon at one.


BANFF, from Grant’s Arms every Friday
INVERNESS, Elgin, Forres, & Nairn, from the Artillery Arms, every Friday.


PORTSOY is a seaport in the parish of Fordyce, situated on a tongue of land projecting into the Moray Firth, at the head of one of these little bays by which this part of the coast is in many places indented.  It was erected into a burgh of barony about the sixteenth century, by the Baron of the Boyne, whose descendants, embracing the fortunes of the Pretender, in 1715, forfeited their lands to the crown.They were subsequently granted to the Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and are still in possession of that family.

The town is small and irregularly built, but as a port it is in a thriving condition ; the point of land on which it stands forms a safe harbour, which has been greatly improved lately by the liberality of the Hon. Colonel Grant ; and is now sufficiently deep to moor vessels of upwards of two hundred tons burthen. Besides the proceeds of the herring fishery, which has been actively prosecuted for some years, it enjoys a trade in the export of grain and stone, and the importation of coal.   Fish-curing, flax-dressing, a woollen manufactory, and a distillery, are prominent branches among the general domestic business, which, combined with the revenue resulting from the traffic of its port, has elevated Portsoy into rather a consequential position as a commercial town.

The stone raised from the quarries of this district, (which has obtained the name of ‘Portsoy Marble’), is a beautiful mixture of red, green, and white accumulations, and is wrought into tea-cups, vases, and small ornaments, but  not frequently into chimney pieces, being found too hard and brittle for that purpose.   Some singular specimens of schistus, and a species of asbestos of a greenish hue, are met with in this neighbourhood ; but the most remarkable mineral production is a granite, of a buff or flesh colour, which, except here and in Arabia, has not been discovered throughout the world. The export of these different natural rarities is considerable, and adds to the inflowing wealth of the district, which likewise abounds with excellent limestone.

The burgh is under the jurisdiction of a barn-baillie, and the Earl of Seafield is superior.  The places of worship are a church of the establishment, an episcopal chapel, and one for the Roman Catholics.   According to a census recently taken, the population of the town amounted to upwards of two thousand persons.

Post Office

High Street, John Crawford, Postmaster.
Letters from London, &c.  (by mail-gig from Fochabers) every evening at six, and are dispatched by mail to Banff at the same hour.  Letters from Aberdeen, Banff &c.  arrive every morning at ten, and are despatched every evening at six.  Letters from Inverness, Fochabers, &c., arrive every evening at six and are despatched every morning at ten.


To Aberdeen, the ‘Earl of Fife’ from Elgin calls at Gill’s Inn every morning (Sundays excepted) at ten, goes through Banff, Turriff, &c.    To Banff, the ‘Banffshire’ from Keith, passes through every morning about nine.    To Elgin, the ‘Earl of Fife’ from Aberdeen calls at Gill’s Inn every afternoon (Sundays excepted) at half past three, goes through Cullen and Fochabers.    To Keith, the ‘Banffshire’ from Banff passes through every afternoon at four.


To Aberdeen and Banff, George Badenoch from Gill’s Inn, every Monday and Thursday.  Benjamin Kean, every Monday, and William Knox every Thursday.
To Buckie, George Badenoch, from Gill’s Inn every Saturday.
To Cullen, George Badenoch, from Gill’s Inn, every Thursday and Saturday, and Benjamin Kean, every Friday.     To Elgin, William Walker, from Gill’s Inn every Wednesday, and William Mathieson, every Saturday.


Alexander Cooper, Rev. High St.
Mrs. Dawson, Aird St.
Mr. Macduff Fife, Roseacre St.
Miss Ellen Fordyce, Square
Mrs. Geddes, Durn Road.
Mrs. Elspeth Henderson, Durn Road.
Mrs. Eliz. Imlach, Square.
Mr. John Jamieson. Old Cullen Road.
Robert Marquis, Esq, Durn House
Alex Rainy, (baron-baillie) Lintmill
Mr. Alex. Reid, High St.
Alex. Reid, Rev., Roseacre St.
Mrs. Ellen Reid, Square
W. Stewart, Rev., High St.
Mr. Wm. Strachan, RN, High St
Mrs. Janet Wilson, Hill of Portsoy
Mrs. Jean Wilson, Roseacre Cottage.
Miss Wilson, Aird St.
Lieut. James Wood, RN, Old Cullen Rd.


John Brodie, Roseacre St.
George Greig, Roseacre St.

Boot & Shoemakers

Alex. Craigie, Shillinghill.
James Findlay, Aird St
James Fordyce, High St.
John Grant, (& leather cutter), Culbert Rig.
Peter Hutcheon, Church St
James Stewart, Aird St.
Alex. Thomson, Back St.
James Watt, Old Cullen Rd.

Academies and Schools

Eliza Bond, Old Cullen Rd.
Grammar School, High St. Geo. Galloway, Master
May Marshall, Church St.
Thomas Phillips, (Society) Church St
Miss Wiseman, Aird St.


Wm. McDonald, Square.
Alex. Scott, Church St.
James Scott, Roseacre St.
Henry Watson, High St.


John Dawson, (& locksmith) Burnside.
Wm. Johnston, Aird St.
John Torry, Roseacre St.

Coal Merchants

Wm. Cheyne, Back St.
John Grant, Culbert St.
Robert Knight, Low St.
Robert McWilliam, Shore
James Ross, Shore.

Linen Drapers

Arthur Benzies, Roseacre St.
Eliza Gauld, Church St.
Adam. L. Minty, High St.
James Moir, High St.
John Walker, Church St.


George Andrew, Burnside.
Robert Knight, Low St.
John Sanders, Shore.
John Smith, Shore.

Grocers & General Merchants

James Brodie, Aird.
John Brodie, High St.
James Burnett, Church St.
Eliza Cameron, High St.
Wm. Christie, High St.
John Crawford, High St.
James Fraser, High St.
Wm. Ledingham, Low St.
Wm. Martin, Aird.
James Moir, High St.
James Paul, High St.
John Reid, Church St.
James Young, Low St.


Jacob Jack, Low St.
James Moir, High St.
Wm. Murray, Malt Barns
George Saunders, Malt Barns.

Dressmakers & Milliners

Margaret Andrew, Burnside.
Margaret McIndoe, High St.
Ann Mark, High St.
Jean Morrison, Back St.
Margaret Walker, Burnside.
Mary Watson, High St.


John Gaudie, Square.
John Jack, High St.
Wm. Murdoch, Aird St.
James Reid, Old Cullen Road.
Wm Robertson, Schoolhendry.
James Sutherland, Square.

Flax Dressers

Wm. Cheyne, Church St.
Robert Knight, Low St.

Woollen Manufacturers

Alex & Wm. Walker, (& Dyers) Boyne Mills.

Innkeepers & Vintners

Margaret Gilchrist, Culbert Rig.
Alex Gill, (Gill’s Inn) Aird St.
Wm. Inglis, Square.
Wm. Jamieson, Church St.
Agnes Largue, Aird.
John McDougal, (Thistle), Back St.
David Seivwright, (Star) High St.
Janet Simpson, Back St.
Primrose Smith, Shore.
Robert Stirling, Shore.
John Wilson, Roseacre St.
George Wright, Low St.
John Young, Low St.

Wine & Spirit Merchants

Arthur Benzies, Roseacre St.
Jacob Jack, Low St.
Adam L. Minty, High St.
James Moir, High St.


James Banner (cart) Roseacre St.
Wm. Ledingham, Low St.
Wm. Munro, Aird St.
John Reid, (cart) Roseacre St.
James Scott, Roseacre St.
Wm. Thompson, Church St.
John Walker, Church St.
Adam Wilson, High St.
John Wilson, Roseacre St.


James Millar, Schoolhendry.
James Paterson, Church St.
James Wilson, Burnside.

Fishcurers & Coopers

Walter Biggar & Co. Shore.
Charles McLean, Shore.
Robert McWilliam, Shore.
Alex. Milne, Shore.
John Sanders, Shore.


Adam L. Minty, High St.
James Moir, High St.

Watch and Clock Makers

James Johnston, Culbert Rig.
Wm. Mortimer, Roseacre St.

Writers & Notaries Public

John Forbes, Hill of Portsoy.
George Innes, Culbert Rig.
Peter Murray, Church St.

Fire & Office Agents

Aberdeen, Adam L. Minty, High St.
Caledonian, John Forbes, Hill of Portsoy.
North of Scotland, Peter Murray, Church St.
Yorkshire, Arthur Benzies, Roseacre.

Places of Worship

Established Church, Rev. Alex. Reid
Episcopalian Church, Rev. A. Cooper.
Roman Catholic, Rev. W. Stewart.


John Anderson, Cooper, Schoolhendry.
Wm. Brown, turner, Shillinghill.
Wm. Christie, tallow chandler, High St.
Abraham Clark, lapidary, Aird St.
James Crighton, excise officer, Roseacre.
Alex. Farquhar, barber, Aird.
James Farquharson, distiller, Burnside.
Hector Gow, painter, Culbert Rig.
Walter Gray,Auctioneer, Shillinghill.
Thos. Mathieson, exciseman, Hill of Portsoy.
James Michie, druggist, High St.
Wm. Mitchell, constable, Old Cullen Rd.
James Reid, Saddler, Roseacre St.
John Scott, Gigs for hire, Square.
James Smith, miller, Milltown.
Alex. Watson, brewer & earthenware, Church St.
Thos. Wilson, tinplate worker, Culbert Rig.

One Response to Pigot’s Directory

  1. Colin Stewart

    Dear Sir,
    Do you have any information about Andrew Alexander watchmaker circa 1825.
    I have a grandfather clock made by him.
    It came via my grandfather (minister in Braemar) an I believe Corriemunzie Lodge .
    I would like some further information if possible.
    Colin Stewart

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