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The 2020 New Year Quiz
Forum: 2020 New Year Quiz
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21-01-2020, 03:26 PM
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Forum: Banffshire's Thanages
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21-01-2020, 02:49 PM
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September 2019 Transactio...
Forum: Transaction of the Month
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21-01-2020, 02:44 PM
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August 2019 TRANSACTION O...
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21-01-2020, 02:42 PM
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July 2019 TRANSACTION OF ...
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June 2019 Transaction of ...
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Forum: Emigrants from banffshire
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21-01-2020, 02:33 PM
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Mediaeval Cross
Forum: Kirkmichael Cross
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21-01-2020, 01:50 PM
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Jamieson family name
Forum: Family names in banffshire
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21-01-2020, 01:39 PM
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  The 2020 New Year Quiz
Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 03:26 PM - Forum: 2020 New Year Quiz - No Replies

Closing date: 31st January 2020.
Please click on the 'email' link to the left of this panel to submit your entry.

1. Which Banffshire castle lies just east of Whyntie Head?
2. In the early C20th, which Banffshire distillery provided the official malt whisky of the House of Commons?
3. Which Banffshire town incorporates Yardie and Gordonsburgh?
4. By what name was the parish of Ordiquhill formally known?
5. Which of these three Banffshire hills is highest? The Bin of Cullen, The Knock, The Balloch.
6. The border between which pre-Pictish Iron Age tribes ran north/south through Banffshire?
7. Who is the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire?
8. Fat Hen was grown and eaten widely in Banffshire. What is its correct name and what type of plant is it?
9. Where in Banffshire would you find the Temple of Fame?
10.Which Banffshire Thanage is omitted from this list? Boyne, Enzie, Netherdale, Conveth(Inverkeithney), Mumbre(Montblairy),
11.Which river runs past Tomintoul Distillery?
12.Who founded the planned village of New Keith?
13.From where were the fishermen who founded Findochty reputed to have come?
14.The grounds of which Banffshire castle are the home for a world-famous herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle?
15.In which Banffshire communities would you find respectively the Wee Hoose and the Muckle Hoose?
16.In which Banffshire church and in what year was the last sermon in Banffshire gaelic preached?
17.Which classical scholar and author of a best selling latin school text book was born in Inverboyndie in 1674?
18. Three hundred years ago farmers in Banffshire grew mashloe. What kind of crop is it?
19.The leader of which infamous and eccentric C18th religious sect was born at Fitmacan near Whitehills where her father was an
20.When the county of Banffshire was first established it was bi-lingual, but predominantly gaelic speaking. What is the gaelic name for

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Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:49 PM - Forum: Banffshire's Thanages - No Replies

How have the Enzie's boundaries changed over time and did this relate to land acquisition or was it more related to status such as parish or thanage?

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  September 2019 Transaction of the Month
Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:44 PM - Forum: Transaction of the Month - No Replies

1886 The top of Ben[n]achie
Banff is a coastal town, but the Field Club has a long history of heading for the hills. In August 1886 there was a Field Club outing to the top of Ben[n]achie. [In the article it is spelt with one ‘n’].  No-one owned up to writing the report, but if you rule out the people who don’t get compliments paid to them – I would never dare refer to myself as ‘our genial and energetic secretary’ - there is a fair chance the author was Aeneas Chisholm, the popular and charismatic Roman Catholic parish priest of Banff, who went on to be Bishop of Aberdeen. He surely deserves compliments because it was on his suggestion that the Field Club had been founded six years before. He had seen the Inverness Field Club at work.
They stopped to look at the very fine ruins of the castle at Harthill. “One could not but remark that the loop-holes appeared to point, for the most part, in one direction up the glen”. There’s a nice point about up-country neighbourliness. “The castle is well worth visiting, as it gives a better idea of the outs and ins of these old keeps than any other ruins we know”. The castle was restored in the 1970s, so the description of it as a ruin, used to store farm machinery, is an interesting glimpse of a lost past.
Then they went to look at the Maiden Stone near Chapel of Garioch, which, like other Pictish stones, has carvings on one side that seem pretty obviously Christian, while the ones on the other side don’t. They had a lot of fun trying to get Christian meanings out of the less likely ones. Did you know that the coat of arms of Inverness is a crucifixion, with the supporting figures an elephant and a camel? There is a creature that might be an elephant on the Maiden Stone, enough said. Some at least of the clergy present were not convinced by this search for Christian symbolism.
Then of course they climbed the Mither Tap, and had a wonderful view, very well described in the article. But what caught my attention was that the author lists everyone who went on the outing, eleven names, and I thought I would see what the ‘search’ facility would do to tell us about these people. One immediate comment is that six of the eleven were clergymen. There was obviously time available for strenuous leisure activities in the life of Victorian clergy. I’m not going to tell you about Mr Bruce, the parish minister of Banff, as there is an easily available biography, or about Bishop Chisholm. But let’s look instead at some of the laymen.
There is Councillor Coutts. In other Transactions he is Provost Coutts. When the Northern Scientific Societies had held their annual meeting in Banff in 1883, there was a guided tour of Banff. “The party then proceeded to Mr Coutts' garden, when it was pointed out that it probably formed the centre of the monastic buildings belonging to the Order of the Carmelites. The mound in the centre of the garden was noticed, and there was pointed out the probable sites of the chapter-house, cells, and fratery [sic] on the east, kitchen, refectory, &c., on the south, the dormitories on the west, and the church upon the north.” To this day, remains of this unfounded imaginative scheme are handed down orally in Banff.   Provost Coutts was a keen Conservative in a Liberal town, and he had a short fuse. “I remember Provost Munro telling me that at a meeting of the Banff Town Council, when Mr Coutts was Provost and Mr Watt, of the National Bank, a bailie, Mr Watt, who was sitting beside the Provost, said something that irritated Mr Coutts. He on the spur of the moment struck Watt over the fingers and told him to "go to hell." Mr Watt retorted— "I fear ye widna get rid o' me there." (Wm Alexander – Transactions 1920)  We shall return to Mr Shand, the President, and Mr Yeats, the Secretary, another time. Mr Yeats had served in Provost Coutts’ office, but escaped.

You can read the full text of this article at https://banffshirefieldclub.org.uk/PDFs … hie_WM.pdf

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Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:42 PM - Forum: Transaction of the Month - No Replies

1886 William Cramond:  ‘The Pirates of Barbary and the Presbytery of Fordyce’
I confess that the rather Pythonesque visual image suggested by this title first drew my attention. But it is only appropriate that an article by William Cramond should be one of the first selected of our Transactions of the Month.
Anyone who has worked on the local history of Banffshire will have come across Dr Cramond (1844-1907). His two thick volumes of the Annals of Banff are just the start. He worked on the archives of parish after parish. Naturally enough he was a founder member of the Field Club, and three times served as its President. As I look back in the Transactions I see he was not just an antiquarian. There is a paper there in 1882 on the shells of Banffshire. He made his living as a parish schoolmaster in Cullen, probably an inspiration to his best students but a holy terror to most.  And here is a paper by him on ‘The Pirates of Barbary and the Presbytery of Fordyce’.
No, the pirates off our coast were technically Christian, and the presbytery never embarked on missions in Morocco. But if like Dr Cramond you work through the presbytery records of Fordyce, you discover that up in Banffshire we did have a wider perspective. In 1621, for example, collections were made in all the parish churches of Scotland ‘for the relief of Scotch prisoners in Tunis and Algiers’. We hear of men from Montrose, from Pittenweem, from Inverness, all prisoners needing ransom. In 1704 the Kirk at Cullen raised £4.4/- for poor John Thomson from Turriff. That’s getting close to home. And not only were there captives who needed to be ransomed, there were the poor mutilated creatures who returned. (The usual term of sympathy used to be ‘a poor object’.) Here we have the image of those who gathered round the church doors hoping for charity. “In 1723 there was collected in the Kirk of Rathven the sum of 2s 10d for a distressed seaman who had his tongue cut out by the Turks”. 
Dr Cramond has all this evidence at his fingertips. But what I thought was how could we follow it up using our new ‘search’ facility? There on the first page of his paper is a list of typical ‘poor objects’ at the church door. Could I pinpoint one? There was ‘a woman on a barrow’. I tried the search for ‘barrow’. The word came up 16 times. 12 of them were archaeological – good news to archaeologists, not to me. But there in a paper of 1932 from the records of Forglen was “1720 July 23 To a poor woman carried from house to house on a barrow 00.04.0”. That’s 4 shillings.  The search had worked.
But distractions are more fun. In the old kirkyard of Banff is the Victorian grave of Mr McPetrie, ‘chief of police in Banff’. He had three policemen under him. Searching for ‘barrow’ I discovered that none of them were young, and they doubled as street-sweepers. “They suspended their work at their respective dust barrows” and chased criminals. My image of Victorian policemen shifted when I learned that. Did yours?

To find this Transaction in its entirely, follow the link to https://banffshirefieldclub.org.uk/PDFs … yce_WM.pdf.

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Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:40 PM - Forum: Transaction of the Month - No Replies

1907 Garden M Hossack: ‘Further reminiscences of the Burgh of Banff’

When my friend John Ord told me how he had discovered the ‘Transactions’ with delight in his youth, I asked him to suggest a story that had stuck in his memory, and he thought of James Edward Kyber. I did a search, and there it is in this Transaction.
This is one of our longest ‘Transactions’. Mr Hossack, the Sheriff-clerk of Banffshire, was by then in his seventies (he was dead within a couple of years). At a brisk pace, you could probably deliver this paper in an hour and ten minutes. It is, however, so enthralling, that I feel quite sure they would have been glad to listen longer. Mr Hossack had been a boy in the Seatown of Banff, and he begins with the harbour. You may know how to load cars on a RORO ferry, but do you know how to load cattle on a schooner? Like Mr Hossack, I was intrigued by the sea shanties on Provost Wood’s stinking guano boats. Did you know there was a navigation school on Coldhome Street? Did you know they played base-ball in Banff? Would you recognise the distinctive livery of Provost Robinson’s servants?
Mr Hossack had a sharp mind and a detailed memory. He talks about specific rights of way, about the visiting circuses, about the specifics of what was sold in each market, about the repertoire of each street musician. He was a natural raconteur, and his characters come to life.
One of these was James Edward Kyber, foreign correspondent for a firm trading in herring. We all know that the Biggar Fountain in Banff commemorates the success of the herring trade with the Baltic. Mr Kyber was a refugee from the Russian Empire. The Banff locals would tease him by mentioning the Czar Nicholas, whom he hated. Mr Hossack presumed he was Russian, but in fact he came from Livonia, a land occupied by the Russians, which is not the same thing. Unlike Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Livonia was not re-founded in the 20C. The last native-speaking Livonian died about fifteen years ago. Mr Kyber’s father was a Lutheran clergyman, and indeed his brother was a Lutheran bishop, who came and visited him in Banff. What caught my friend’s fancy was that the poor man fell on hard times, and killed himself gruesomely. The strange thing was that he still owned an unusual handwritten book given to his father by the great Lavater which Mr Hossack says was worth more than £50, in those days wealth. There is a story there that might resonate many miles from here. Banff has many links with the Baltic.
But do read Mr Hossack.

Here is the link to this Transaction: https://banffshirefieldclub.org.uk/PDFs … nff_WM.pdf

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  June 2019 Transaction of the Month
Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:38 PM - Forum: Transaction of the Month - No Replies

“A Walk along the Sea Braes from Macduff to Gamrie Mohr” by Mr William Forbes of Macduff ( February 28th 1895).

This is an account of a walk. I am not a bold walker, and when Mr Forbes says “When it is low water we may scramble along if we are not afraid of ‘rough places,’ leaping over pools of water and crawling by turns, until we reach the opening of a long natural tunnel...  and grope our way etc” I recognise I am beaten. Or try this for a modern Field Club outing: “The Loup” – “If it is low water, we watch for a few minutes the surging of the tide, and, when a favourable moment arrives, we spring across the chasm, clutching the projecting cliffs...” Mind you, to be up the cliffs is if anything worse – there are phrases like “headlong, hundreds of feet to the beach below”.  Ah well, all the more reason to say strongly that this wonderful Transaction begs for a modern film-maker. Then we could see the Naming Cave, where people wrote their names with the red ochre found in the little pools there. I have sailed along that coast, and no-one ever pointed out to me the Adam and Eve Cave – “when boating, the attention of strangers is always directed to the two castaways in hiding.”
Mr Forbes knows the names of all the rock formations, and of course their geology. He names in Latin and Doric the plants and the sea-birds. He is scornful of the then popular taste for seeing bogus rock forts everywhere. “It is so situated that a few boys with their pockets filled with stones would have made it very hot with its occupants.” The trouble was that people saw the traces of burning in the rocks, and they said “a vitrified fort”, but it was simply evidence of burning kelp, an industry that folk thought, 200 years ago, would be the economic salvation of Scotland.
So much of this Transaction begs for modern visual aids. It is certainly still worth reading. Facts turn up that you would never have expected. There is a burn which flows down from Longmanhill which, Mr Forbes thinks, was “the first stream in the north of Scotland which has lent its aid to the production of the electric light”. Never underestimate our Victorian ancestors. 


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Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 02:33 PM - Forum: Emigrants from banffshire - No Replies

Both recently and over the centuries, many individuals or their ancestors have emigrated from Banffshire. We would be interested in hearing their stories. If you have one, just register, login and leave a post.

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  Mediaeval Cross
Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 01:50 PM - Forum: Kirkmichael Cross - No Replies

Yesterday the Field Club went on a tour of Strathavon, the southernmost part of Banffshire. During this we visited Kirkmichael Church, where the last sermon in Banffshire Gaelic was preached in 1892. In the Kirkyard is a mediaeval stone cross. Does anyone have any details about this?

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  Jamieson family name
Posted by: BFC_Admin - 21-01-2020, 01:39 PM - Forum: Family names in banffshire - No Replies

We have had a query about a Jamieson family in the Enzie to Fordyce area. The Great Great Grandmother, Mary Davidson was a farm servant at Backburn Farm in Shielmuir and the Great Great Grandfather, John Jamieson was a servant at Glassaugh. His father and mother had been at Inkerman Croft on Aultmore. Can anyone provide further information?

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