A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Fordyce, a village and a coast parish of Banffshire. The village, standing on the right bank of the Burn of Fordyce, 2½ miles SW of Portsoy and 4 ESE of Cullen, is a burgh of barony under the Earl of Seafield, having received its first charter in 1499, and another in 1592. It has a post office under Banff, and a fair on the second Wednesday of November.

The parish contains also the town of Portsoy, with the villages of Sandend and Newmills, and prior to the Reformation comprehended likewise the present parishes of Cullen, Deskford, and Ordiquhill. It is bounded N by the Moray Firth, E by Boyndie, SE by Ordiquhill, S W by Grange, and W by Deskford and Cullen. Its utmost length, from NNE to SSW, is 75/8 miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 55/8 miles; and its area is 17, 430 acres, of which 2/3 are foreshore, and 34¾ water. The Burn of Boyne, rising on the northern slope of Knock Hill, runs first across the southern interior, then 7 miles north-north-eastward along all the Boyndie border to the sea; Durn Burn runs 6 miles through the middle of the parish to the sea qt Portsoy; and Fordyce Burn, rising at the boundary with Deskford, runs 3¼ miles across the north-western district to the sea at Sandend Bay. The coast, which, measured along its sinuosities, is 8¾ miles long, is somewhat bold and rocky, with bays at Portsoy and Sandend, and headlands called East Head, Redhythe Point, Crathie Point, and Logie Head (189 feet). It is pierced with several caves, the principal Dove, Kitty, Bow, Cloutty, and Findlater Caves, none of them of any great extent. The interior is partly a fine flat, with frequent inequalities or rising-grounds, and partly a series of hills, with intervening and flanking vales and dales. Chief elevations, from N to S, are Cowhythe (257 feet), Crannoch Hill (300), Durn Hill (651), Fordyce Hill (580), the Hill of Inverkindling (923), and Knock Hill (1409), the last of which, culminating at the meeting point with Grange and Ordiquhill, presents a majestic appearance, and serves as a landmark to mariners throughout a considerable sweep of the Moray Firth. The rocks exhibit great diversity, at once of character and of interconnection; and, from the time of Hutton downward, have strongly attracted the attention of geologists. A beautiful serpentine forms two masses, respectively 73 and 1500 feet wide, in the vicinity of Portsoy, and is associated with syenite, hornblende, quartzite, clay slate, limestone, and talc or mica slate, whilst containing asbestos, amianthus, mountain cork, steatite, schiller spar, magnetic iron, chromate of iron, and other minerals. Mostly greenish and reddish in hue, sometimes yellowish and greyish white, it has often been called Portsoy marble, and is highly valued as a material for ornamental objects, having been exported in some quantity to France for adorning Versailles Palace. veins of graphite granite, comprising quartz and felspar crystals in such arrangement, that a polished section resembles rudely formed letters, occur in the same neighbourhood; and a beautiful quartzite, suitable for use in potteries, has been quarried on the northern side of Durn Hill, and exported to England. Limestone has been worked in three quarries near Fordyce village, near Sandend, and at the mouth of the Burn of Boyne; and trap rocks, comprising common greenstone, syenitic greenstone, hypersthenic greenstone, and augitic greenstone, occupy most of the interior. The soil is variously a light or a clay loam, and a strong clay, very productive along the seaboard, but cold and wet towards the S. One-half of the entire area is regularly or occasionally in tillage; onefifteenth is under wood; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. Glassaugh House is a chief mansion, and Findlater Castle a chief antiquity, both being separately noticed. Other antiquities are remains of an ancient camp on Durn Hill, and cairns, tumuli, and remains of ancient Caledonian stone circles in various places. Four proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 6 of from £50 to £100, and 18 of from £20 to £50. The seat of a presbytery in the synod of Aberdeen, this parish is divided ecclesiastically into Fordyce proper and the quoad sacra parish of Portsoy, the former a living worth £418. Its parish church, at the village, was built in 1804, and contains 1100 sittings. At the village, too, is a Free church; and five other places of worship are noticed under Portsoy. Fordyce Academy, an institution for the education and board of nine boys. of the name of Smith, natives of the parish, was founded and endowed in 1790 by Mr George Smith of Bombay. Besides three schools at Portsoy, the five public schools. of Bogmuchals, Brodiesord, Fordyce, Fordyce female, and Sandend, with respective accommodation for 49, 70, 124, 72, and 64 children, had (1881) an average attendance of 35, 39, 136, 66, and 42, and grants of £31, 8s 6d., £32, 10s. 6d., £121, 12s., £57, 15s., and £37, 5s. Valuation (1843) £8712, 3s. 5d., (1882) £19,216, 4s. Pop. (1801) 2747, (l831) 3364, (1861) 4145, (1871) 4153, (1881) 4289, of whom 1976 were in the ecclesiastical parish and the registration district of Fordyce.—Ord. Sur., sh. 96, 1876.

The presbytery of Fordyce comprises the quoad civilia parishes of Banff, Boyndie, Cullen, Deskford, Fordyce, Ordiquhill, and Rathven, the quoad sacra parishes of Buckie, Enzie, Ord, and Portsoy, and the chapelry of Seafield. Pop. (1871) 25, 776, (1881) 26,345, off whom 4507 were communicants of the Church of Scotland in 1878.-The Free Church also has a presbytery of Fordyce, whose ten churches of Banff, Boyndie, Buckie, Cullen, Deskford, Enzie, Fordyce, Ordiquhill, Portknockie, and Portsoy, together had 2514 communicants in 1881.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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