Fochabers Post Office
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Fochabers Post Office

A small town in the Moray parish of Bellie, situated on high ground to the east of the River Spey, at the junction of the A98 and A96 trunk roads 12 miles (19 km) east of Elgin. Fochabers was built on its present site on the line of the Aberdeen-Inverness road in 1776 by the 4th Duke of Gordon, replacing an earlier settlement close to Gordon Castle. The old burgh of Fochabers, which had been created in the late 16th Century at a crossing on the Spey, was in a state of some decay when Johnson and Boswell passed through in 1773.

The modern planned village is a spacious settlement built around a square dominated by a classical steepled church (Bellie Church) of 1798 by John Baxter. Other buildings of interest include the Gothic-style Episcopal Chapel designed by Archibald Simpson in 1834 and Alexander Mackenzie's Elizabethan-style Milne's High School founded in 1846 with a legacy from Alexander Milne (1742 - 1839), a Scots emigrant who made his fortune in New Orleans. A viewpoint known as 'The Peeps' can be reached by following the Winding Walk and there are several woodland walks in the surrounding Speymouth Forest. Other features of the town include a folk museum and floral clock.

Standing close to the probable site of a Roman camp, the original Gordon Castle begun by George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, was developed into a great Renaissance palace by his grandson. In 1769 the Duke of Gordon invited John Baxter to rebuild the castle and in more recent times the central block was demolished and part of the remainder adapted to form a castellated mansion.

Fochabers has tourist facilities, a garden centre and on the opposite side of the river the food processing factory of Baxters of Speyside, noted for its soups, preserves and chutneys. Fochabers Gingerbread is a variety of that style of cake containing dried fruit and candied peel.

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