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ISBN: 9781841147901
The Book of Banff
The Book of Banff
  • Description
Banff is a good site for a castle, a bluff at the mouth of a river. So the royal and ancient burgh was founded because the kings of Scotland had a castle there. Edward I of England, the Hammer of the Scots, spent time in Banff Castle, and Banff was the last outpost of the English in the north of Scotland in theWar of Independence. Like several other burghs, the town’s modest wealth came from salmonnetting at the mouth of the river. Banff traded with the Baltic. The core of the town plan, the remains of the castle, and names like Carmelite Street, are all that is left of medieval Banff.

After the kings, the town was dominated by local noblemen, the Ogilvies, the Grants, and then the Duffs. But the Ogilvies died out, the Grants preferred Cullen, and the Duffs built Macduff as their own town, so perhaps none of them quite controlled Banff as they might have hoped. Instead in the eighteenth century lesser gentry built themselves town houses, the politics of the town was Jacobite, wanting the old Stuart kings back, and the economy relied quite heavily on smuggling. An English family, the Robinsons, started industry, and built themselves the grandest houses in town. Banff was an attractive Georgian town,where respectable ladies and half-pay offices would choose to retire. In the nineteenth century, though Macduff was much more prosperous and go-ahead, Banff did flourish. The railways came, the herring fishing prospered.

There was a cultural life. The parish minister, the rector of the academy, and the editor of the Banffshire Journal were all honorary Doctors for their national quality. In the twentieth century the Dukes of Fife left Duff House, the railways closed, the industries were at a low ebb, the county of Banffshire was merged with others, and the older buildings were seedy and unloved. “Ding them a’ doon”. But it is still a delightful place to stay, and there are hopes of a Banff renaissance.

Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN: 978 1 84114 790 1, hardback, 297x210mm, 160 pages. Published October 2008. Reprinted October 2009.

REVIEWS: Scots Magazine.

Web Price: £19.99
23.17 EUR 24.99 USD 32.74 AUD

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