Fraserburgh in the 19th century

A Fraserburgh scene

From Pratt (1858)

The town of Fraserburgh is built on a small plain, about a quarter of a mile southwards from the Castle of Kinnaird's Head. The rocky headland on which the castle stands is generally believed to be the Promontorium Taixalium of Ptolemy, which he speaks of as at the entrance of the Ęstuarium Vararię, or Moray Firth.

The town is built in nearly a square, the streets generally intersecting each other at rightangles. The eastern quarter lies close upon the harbour and bay; and in this, which appears to be the most ancient part of the town, are the Parish Church, the Town-house, the Saltoun Arms Inn, several banking offices, and some good shops and dwelling houses.

The Parish Church stands near the Cross, and according to the Statistical Report, "was rebuilt in 1802; is a large, plain, good structure, and capable of containing 1000 sitters." "It has a spire with a bell, which was built by subscription, and cost about L. 300 sterling."

The Cross—a stone pillar— rises to the height of twelve feet, surmounted by the royal arms and the armorial bearings of Fraser of Philorth . . .

The Saltoun Arms, a large and well-appointed inn, is on the west side of the square . . .

At the south-west corner is the residence of Mr Chalmers, Baron Baillie, and factor to Lord Saltoun. It is an excellent and well-constructed house, with a handsome exterior.

Near this point is the new Town Hall, a fine building, containing some noble rooms, especially the great hall.

The Town House, first opened in 1855, is of considerable merit, and its domical spire of good design, but situated too near the parish church to show to advantage. Placed less in proximity to a building of such marked contrast to itself, it would have been unimpaired in its bold and striking effect.

Today Saltoun Square is very much as it was described by Pratt. Sadly, the handsome Saltoun Inn is closed and boarded up and The Registrar's Office may have been converted from the Factor's house described by Pratt. The Town House still stands by the Parish Church as it did in Pratt's day, still a striking and happy contrast to the stolid and lumpish kirk beside it.

(Revision date: Friday 27th June 2008)