Abridged from Pratt (1858):

It is said that as early as the fourteenth century, a farm on this spot was divided into crofts; and that a party of Danes, either landing or being shipwrecked took up their residence with the inhabitants; and that, having been bred to the fishing in their own country they instructed the crofters in the art. These, after a time made fishing their sole occupation. The knight of Pitsligo encouraged his fishermen biy improving the landing-place. He also entered into an agreement with them to furnish them with boats, on the condition that he should receive a fifth part of all the fish caught. This arrangement lasted for many years.

Anson (1950) noted that the dominance of the port of Fraserburgh drove neighbouring ports, including Sandhaven, Pittullie, and above all, Rosehearty into decline. The dominance of Fraserburgh was established by the arrival of the railway in 1865 (McKean, 1989).

Close by Rosehearty are the ruins of Pitsligo Castle,

seat of Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, the peerage forfeited in 1746 as a result of the support of Alexander Forbes, 4th Lord of Pitsligo, for the Jacobite rebellion in 1745. A consequence of this was that the castle was looted by Flemish troops (Watt, 1988) and finally unroofed by the Gardens of Troup (McKean, 1989). In contrast to the traditional view of Scots Castles as functionally defensive, McKean (1991) develops a reconstruction of Pitsligo Castle and argues that in its final form the castle was more appropriately viewed as a château, a country house dramatised by decorative defensive features, asserting indirectly the authority and knightly virtues of the proprietor. McKean remarks

. . . the Keiths, the Murrays and the Lindsays would not have trapped themselves within an anachronistic and inconvienent quasi-military building form. Only those believing that 16th century Scotland remained barbaric by comparative standards on the Continent could have countenanced the idea.

A couple of miles away from Pitsligo Castle stand the ruins of Pitullie Castle, the ruins displaying details confirming that it too is more properly regarded as a château rather than a primarily defensive building. McKean (1989) makes particular mention of the oriel windows that look out from the corners of the towers, and the fine workmanship of the bases of the now lost hanging turrets.

Nearby, at Mounthooly there is a fine castellated doocot, a resource of fresh meat in the spring, when the squabs are fat, and a symbol of the wealth and extensive properties of the laird who erected it.

Pratt notes

The Church of Pitsligo [ruined since his time, and now referred to as the Old Kirk of Pitsligo] is of peculiar architecture. The belfry which is of beautifully carved stone and very striking in appearance, seems to be a mixture of the Italian and the Dutch.

Today, the ruins of the Old Kirk are overshadowed by the mighty Hill Church of Rosehearty, a massive church, granite-built, with cherry-cocking, and a rather slender and jagged bellcote that somewhat resembles the belfry of the Old Kirk.

(The 7th of 14 pages. Revision date: Friday 16th November 2012)

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