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Location of Fordyce Parish

See the Maps Section below for links to a fully-detailed version of this location plan.

"The parish, including the whole of the quoad sacra parish of Portsoy, is of a quadrangular form, irregular, however, and approaching nearly to that of a triangle. Its greatest breadth, in a straight line along the sea-coast, is 6 miles; its least, at the southern extremity, 2 miles; its greatest length, from the mouth of the Burn of Boyne to the top of the Knock Hill, 8 miles; and its least, from Logie Head to the same point, 7 miles. The number of square miles in the whole parish is about 28. It is bounded on the north, by the Moray Frith; on the west, by Cullen, Rathven and Deskford; on the south, by Grange and Ordiquhill; and on the east, by Ordiquhill and Boyndie.

The general appearance of the parish is irregular, and presents considerable variety of hill and dale. In its centre rise the hills of Durn and Fordyce, extending continuously, and in a crescent form, from north-east to south-west; while the Knock Hill, in the south, rears its head still more majestically, and is seen as a landmark from a considerable distance at sea. The height of the Knock is from 1200 to 1400 feet above the level of the sea, and that of Durn about 700 feet. ...

The coast is rather bold and rocky. It is intersected by two bays, that of Portsoy, where there is a safe and commodious harbour for ships, and that of Sandend, where there is a sandy beach about half a mile in length, with a small creek at the Redhyth Point, in which vessels of very light tonnage occasionally moor. The principal headlands are the East and West Heads, so called from their relative position to Portsoy, and Logie Head, at the western extremity of the parish."

(Contributed in February, 1842, by the Rev. Alexander Reid, Minister of Portsoy, to
The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol. XIII)


Monumental Inscriptions for Fordyce have not been published. However, Aberdeen And North-East Scotland FHS (ANESFHS) have some unpublished MIs for the parish. Members may request lookups.

These are included in the Online Index to the MIs

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Aberdeen And North-East Scotland FHS (ANESFHS) have published a name Index to the 1851 Census for Banffshire. Fordyce (together with Cullen and Deskford) is published as code AA214.

ANESFHS also hold unpublished indexes and transcriptions of the 1861 Census for most Banffshire parishes (including Fordyce).

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Church Records

Kirk of Scotland
Free Kirk
The following registers of the Portsoy congregation are held at the National Archives of Scotland with the catalogue numbers shown:
Catholic Church
Copies of the following records for Portsoy are held at the National Archives of Scotland with the catalogue numbers shown:
Kirk Session Records

Kirk Session records generally include records of Discipline, which often include information on illegitimate births, and Accounts, which may mention persons on Poor Relief. The surviving Fordyce Kirk Session records are listed on a separate webpage.

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Description and Travel

Portsoy in 1769

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There is a wide range of maps available for Fordyce, historical and modern, on paper and online. Many ancient placenames continue in use, and will therefore appear on modern maps, but as parishes ceased to be of any significance for Local Government in Scotland in 1974, parish boundaries will be found only on historical maps.

Maps on Paper
Maps Online

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Names, Geographical

You can view a comprehensive Gazetteer list for Fordyce including placenames culled from the Ordnance Survey "Explorer" (1:25000) map, the 1896 Ordnance Survey 1" map, the 1841, 1851,1861 and 1881 Census and Thomson's "Atlas of Scotland" (1832).

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Under the "Poor Law Amendment Act, Scotland" (1845) responsibility for Poor Relief was taken from the Parishes of the Kirk of Scotland, and vested in new Parochial Boards, whose territories largely coincided with the old parishes. The Parochial Boards were not (as in England) grouped into Poor Law Unions, and there were few Poorhouses outside the cities and large towns.

Day-to-day administration of the Poor Law was in the hands of the Inspector of the Poor for each parish, and these Inspectors were obliged by law to maintain detailed records of applications and of relief supplied. The most valuable of these are the "Record of Applications" and the "General Register of the Poor". The "Minutes" are very variable, but on occasion can also contain information on named individuals.

The following Poor Law records have survived for the Parish of Fordyce:

These are held by Aberdeen City Archives. The records are available for viewing, subject to the 100-year rule.

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(According to New Statistical Account:)
Year 1755 1782 1801 1811 1821 1831
Population 3212 3425 2747   3245 3364

(According to Ordnance Gazetteer:)

Year 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 3364     4145 4153 4289 4268

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[Last updated: 25 Oct 2005 - Gavin Bell]

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