Visit Buckie and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Buckie, Moray. When Robert Burns visited the area in 1787, the villages of Easter and Nether Buckie had between them a population of 700, and most of the houses were thatched but-and-bens. Today the population of Buckie, which has in the interim absorbed the hamlets of Buckpool, Gordonsburgh, lanstown, Portessie, and Strathiene, amounts to 8,000. The peak of 8,897 reached in 1911, when the herring-fishing boom was at its height. It was John Gordon of Cluny who in 1872 took the decisive step that, with the completion of the Cluny harbour, raised Buckle to its pre-eminence as the greatest line-fishing port in Scotland, and soon afterwards to the centre of the busiest herring-fishing district in Britain. Now the herring fishing is in eclipse, and the harbour is packed with neat, colourful, dual-purpose boats.
In the centre of the town, laid out on top of a cliff beneath which the fish market and the basins of the harbour lie, is the Cluny Square while at its western end is another square, dominated by the tall spires of St Peter's Catholic Church, a great cathedral-like building erected in 1857. This is a reminder that the parish of Rathven, in which Buckie lies, has been a stronghold of the Catholic religion ever since the Reformation.
There was an interesting historical reason for this. Rathven, with the adjoining parish of Bellie, across the Burn of Tynet in Moray, formed the province of the Enzie, largely belonging to the pro-Catholic Marquess of Huntly, the head of the House of Gordon and its scions.
The influence of the Gordons was so strong that, from the Reformation onwards, the inhabitants continued to cling to the traditional faith, and as late as 1617 there were over 1,000 known Catholics in Banffshire, as compared with only fifty in Glasgow. Ten years later, the Catholics of the Enzie built, in the ancient kirkyard of St Ninian's at Chapelford (6 miles South West of Buckie) on the right bank of the Tynet Burn, the first Catholic church to be erected in Scotland since the Reformation. A time of trial was coming for them. The House of Gordon deserted its faith, and the Jacobite Rising of '15 resulted in intense anti-Catholic feeling, so that in 1728 the church was wrecked by an armed band of Protestants.
Today its site is marked by a cross erected in memory of Bishop Nicholson, the first Vicar Apostolic of Scotland, who died in 1718. With him lie the remains of twenty-six priests who laboured in the area.
A barn near the Bridge of Tynet was the next refuge of the Catholic faithful, but it was burnt down after the '45. In 1755 the laird of Tynet offered the use of a but-and-ben that had been converted into a sheep-cot. It is this long, low, whitewashed building, with square windows and a slated roof — distinguished only by a ball of stone on the western gable — that was revered as the “Banffshire Bethlehem” of the Catholics. Outside, where sheep still graze around its walls, it still maintains its disguise. Inside it has been very beautifully restored and is in regular use. As times improved, a somewhat larger and more conventional type of church — St Gregory's, Presshome — was built by the Enzie Catholics in 1788.
About 2 miles West of Buckie, not far from the mouth of the Burn of Tynet, is Portgordon, founded by the 4th Duke of Gordon in 1797. It was built as a trading port for the export of the grain from the Enzie, and it continued to do a considerable amount of trade by sea until the end of last century, by which time there was a large herring-fishing fleet.
Nearby towns: Banff, Elgin, Keith, Lossiemouth
Nearby villages: Arradoul, Auchenhalrig, Bogmoor, Broadley, Clochan, Cullen, Deskford, Dipple, Drybridge, Findochty, Fochabers, Fordyce, Garmouth, Gordonstown, Ianstown, Inchberry, Keithan, Kingston, Lhanbryde, Mill of Tynet, Mosstodloch, Nether Dallachy, Newmill, Ordiquish, Orton, Portgordon, Portknockie, Rathven, Sandend, Spey Bay, Upper Dallachy, Urquhart
Have you decided to visit Buckie or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Buckie bed and breakfast (a Buckie B&B or Buckie b and b)
- a Buckie guesthouse
- a Buckie hotel (or motel)
- a Buckie self-catering establishment, or
- other Buckie accommodation