- MACDUFF, a burgh of barony, and a sea-port, in the parish of Gamrie, county of Banff, 1 mile (E.) from Banff; containing 2228 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the eastern bank of the river Doveran, at its influx into the Moray Frith, and nearly opposite to the town of Banff, was in the early part of last century an inconsiderable fishing-village called Down. It derived its present appellation from its proprietor, James, second earl of Fife, by whom it was greatly extended and improved, and who, in 1783, obtained from George III. a charter erecting it into a burgh of barony, upon which he conferred the family surname. The town, which is neatly built on the acclivity of a hill rising gently from the shore, consists of numerous streets, and in the direction of Banff, on the west bank of the Doveran, is an elegant bridge of seven arches; the streets are lighted with gas. A public library is supported by subscription. The surrounding scenery is enriched with the plantations in the grounds of Duff House, of which the town commands an interesting view. The manufacture of ropes, sails, and twine, which last is made into nets, is carried on to a considerable extent; and the curing of herrings and other fish affords employment to many of the inhabitants.The trade of the port consists in the exportation of cattle, grain, and fish, and the importation of lime, coal, timber, and bones for manure; the number of vessels belonging to the port is fifteen, of 1036 tons aggregate burthen, and mostly engaged in trading to Leith, London, and the Baltic. The number of vessels annually entering the port is 200, averaging an aggregate burthen of 11,000 tons; and the amount of shore dues annually averages £300. The harbour, which is the private property of the Earl of Fife, by whom it was constructed at a great expense, is easy of access, and one of the best in the Moray Frith; it affords safe anchorage for vessels of any burthen, and good shelter for the numerous boats engaged in the herring-fishery, of which this place is the principal station. A market for provisions of all kinds is held on Tuesday; and the inhabitants have also facility of access to the market at Banff, which is on Friday. The burgh, under its charter, is governed by a provost, two bailies, and four councillors, triennially elected by the resident burgesses, whose qualification is the tenure of lands within the burgh. The magistrates hold bailie-courts for the trial of civil causes to a trifling amount, and of petty offences, in which they act without an assessor; but their jurisdiction is exercised in but few instances. Macduff is included within the parliamentary boundaries of Banff. The town-hall is a neat building, to which a small gaol is attached. A penny-post has been established here under that of Banff; and facility of intercourse is maintained by good roads, and, for the conveyance of produce, by the harbour. There is a church, situated on an eminence, a neat structure with a spire, and containing 858 sittings: the minister has a stipend of £120, arising from the Earl of Fife's endowment, and is likewise in possession of a manse and glebe. The members of the Free Church have also a place of worship; and one of the parochial schools is situated in the town. In the immediate neighbourhood is a mineral spring, called the Well of Tarlain, which is much resorted to, and with which are connected facilities for sea-bathing.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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