(The Broch)

Mercat Cross, Fraserburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Mercat Cross, Fraserburgh

A Moray Firth fishing port and resort town in the Buchan district of N Aberdeenshire, situated 43 miles (69 km) north of Aberdeen behind the rocky Kinnaird Head promontory at the west end of Fraserburgh Bay. Locally referred to as the Broch (a Scots word for burgh), it was originally known as Faithlie when it was founded in 1569, following a charter granted in 1564, by Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth whose grandfather built the first harbour (later extended 1807-37, 1855-75 and 1881). In 1601 it was constituted 'a free port, free burgh of barony, and free regality, to be called in all time coming, the Burgh and Regality of Fraserburgh'.

Its mercat cross dates from 1736 and its lighthouse (1786), the oldest in Scotland, sits on top of Fraser's Castle, a rectangular four-storeyed tower built in 1570. Nearby is the Wine Tower, the remains of a 16th Century watch tower built over a 30m (100 feet) long cave known as the Selches Hole. Fraserburgh Academy dates from 1872 and the town's hospital was gifted by a local fish curer, Thomas Walker. Today, Fraserburgh remains an important commercial and fishing port, ranking second in the UK for the tonnage of fish landed (11% of the total fish landed in Britain in 2006). Other industries include food processing, light engineering and tourism.

Fraserburgh was the home town of fashion designer Bill Gibb (1943-88), polar explorer Dr. Stewart Slessor (1912-85) and Thomas Blake Glover (1838 - 1911) who was responsible for opening up Japan and is said to have given Puccini the idea for his opera Madam Butterfly.

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